Living Meditation

What is living meditation?

The cultivation of sitting meditation and daily virtuous life are inseparable. We can say that Sitting Meditation and Living Meditation (living fully) are like a pair of wings that elevate us to the sky of liberation.

Living Meditation is defined as living in a serene and compassionate way.

Living serenely means not allowing ourselves to be swayed by the ups and downs of life. We know to stay away from excessive excitement, agitation, noise, excessive desires, and various sensations.

What is living meditation?
What is living meditation?

Life is filled with adversities and obstacles, and sometimes it also brings rewards from past merits. People are constantly subjected to the vicissitudes of life. A practitioner of meditation must maintain a calm mind, not suffering when encountering unfortunate events and not becoming overly elated when encountering favorable circumstances. One must remain equanimous in the face of life’s joys and sorrows in order to discover the happiness of meditation, which is boundless and pure joy.

Throughout life, people try to replace suffering with worldly pleasures. However, both suffering and worldly pleasures ultimately bring sorrow to individuals. Meditators must detach themselves from this cycle of sorrow and discover the true happiness that comes from meditation. These two forms of happiness are distinct from one another.

We must contemplate carefully in order to make a determination to follow the path of the Buddha’s teachings and escape the vicissitudes of life.

Life also offers various forms of entertainment. Although they are called entertainment, in reality, every activity stirs the mind. Gambling, alcohol, sex, drugs, obscene movies, as well as various forms of fighting such as boxing, cockfighting… are the most obvious sinful pastimes. Countless acts of evil arise from these dark amusements, burying many people in deep abysses of suffering. The law of karmic retribution will compel them to face the consequences in the future.

Then there are seemingly wholesome forms of entertainment that gradually unsettle the mind and erode morality. For example, excessive enthusiasm in football, violent computer games, intimate dancing between men and women, stimulating music, revealing clothing… all contribute to the deterioration of the soul. We are grateful to the Buddha for establishing moral guidelines to protect practitioners from these forms of entertainment that disturb the peace of mind. Even playing chess, which seems to enhance intellect, actually consumes a great deal of mental energy and time. Except for composing poetry and music to contribute to the propagation of morality, any other form of artistic expression that serves to convey personal emotions also agitates the mind. In general, meditators must assess what causes the loss of their inner serenity and know how to avoid and refrain from it.

For those at an advanced level, they can achieve a mind that is consistently undisturbed, not just serene.

Living with compassion means living with love and responsibility towards life. While we must keep ourselves away from the distractions and entanglements of worldly life, meditators are actively engaged in contributing love and compassion to the world. Living serenely and living with compassion are contrasting qualities, but they are both important elements that make up an authentic meditative life.

Meditators must harmonize these two ways of living beautifully throughout their lives. They always cultivate a heart that embraces love for all beings, even when they are not actively doing anything, that love is present and abundant within their hearts, alongside inner peace. And whenever there is an opportunity, meditators always offer assistance to others, whether it is a small act like picking up someone’s shoes or a grand endeavor like organizing moral education for street children… Those who live with compassion rarely harbor negative thoughts about others, even if there are disagreements or differences of opinion. When we see others behaving in ways that do not align with our views, we can offer explanations for their actions, understanding that there must be reasons behind them, instead of hastily condemning each other. Thinking ill of one another and condemning each other is the cause of the tragic division in the Buddhist community. Those with malicious intentions seeking to undermine Buddhism only create a situation where the monastics and lay followers harbor negative thoughts about each other. We must transcend such pettiness in order to love and cherish all human beings. In summary, Living Meditation, serenity, and compassion are the manifestations of genuine diligent practice in meditation.

Please explore more about:

Is meditation just about sitting still?

In today’s fast-paced industrial society, it is extremely difficult to focus on meditation. Although meditation is the purification of mind, we should not seek inner peace by abandoning our responsibilities. That is a wrong path. We must seek inner peace through Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, doing everything correctly, avoiding any wrongdoings. By doing so, we will achieve concentration and attain meditation, which is the teaching of Buddha.

Is meditation just about sitting still?
Is meditation just about sitting still?

The Buddha did not teach us to have a careless mind, to be speechless, or without profession. The Buddha did not teach us to abandon everything in order to meditate. What the Buddha taught us is to think, speak, act, and work, but we must do so without making mistakes. By doing so, we will have the merit to concentrate our mind in meditation.

Living without responsibility means we have no merit, no blessings. In terms of society, we are useless people, and according to the law of karma, we will gradually lose our blessings because we do nothing, but we still have to eat and breathe every day. In terms of religion, we belong to the category of breaking the teachings. Why do we break the teachings? Because we do not build the teachings and propagate the idea of not doing anything, then the teachings gradually decline. If we do not have responsibility for the teachings, we have no responsibility for the people, which is destructive. Not doing anything is a kind of destruction. The Buddha’s teachings are not about doing nothing, but about doing the right thing.

How should we practice meditation correctly when life is busy (if we need to work, organize, or calculate)

We completely dwell in our bodies, tranquil and content. And we always remember the impermanence of the body, knowing that the entire body is subject to change. If our work is stressful, we have a mind that knows the body. If our work is not stressful, we add the notion of impermanence to the body. And if there is no work, our breath naturally appears, similar to when we are in meditation. The same goes for when we sleep. Before sleeping, we may have certain aspirations, depending on each individual, and then we dwell in our bodies, feeling the breath go in and out without controlling it.

When to practice meditation?

Some people ask when they should meditate because they are too busy with their jobs and cannot sit still in meditation, unable to concentrate. They think they have to wait until retirement to start meditating.

The answer is that nobody starts meditation with a calm mind right away. Whether you use the correct method or the wrong method, it will not yield any results; the mind will still be filled with distractions and illusions.

When to practice meditation?
When to practice meditation?

Over time, it might be months or even years, those who use the wrong method will become restless, and they may develop various illnesses. On the other hand, those who use the right method will begin to experience changes in consciousness, tranquility, and faith.

Once you see the results, even if you are busy with work, you can still meditate with a focused mind. Therefore, don’t wait until all your work is done to start practicing mindfulness meditation; you should start as soon as possible, today or tomorrow. However, the most important thing is to find the right method, as making a mistake in this practice could lead to countless wandering lifetimes.