Meditation workshop at Wat Thai, DC

Today I would like to introduce the meditation technique according to the term in Buddhism. Meditation means the training of the mind. Why do we train the mind? The mind is very important. The mind is master. The Buddha said if we train the mind and get rid of the defilements from the mind, that means we can find peace of mind. Mind is very important. Mind is the chief. Mind is master. If we do or think or act with a polluted mind, then suffering will follow us. Or if we act or think or speak with a purified mind, then happiness will follow us. This is the word of the Buddha. In Buddhism we focus on the mind and have to train the mind to become a pure mind. So the technique that I would like to share with you today is meditation for strength and relaxation. You might know many, many meditation techniques. But today I would like to explain and demonstrate to you the basic technique. The technique for today is just the basic one. The one you would want to practice. You can practice at home or anyplace. First of all, I would like to show you how to sit, because there are four postures altogether. One is the sitting meditation, another is the standing and walking, and then lying meditation.

[Sitting and Breathing Exercises.] So start with sitting meditation. Now sitting meditation. You can sit crossing your legs. Put the right one on the top the left one and put your right hand on the left one on top of your leg. Sit straight back and relax. Or you may put your hands on your knees. But you have to sit upright and straighten your spinal cord and relax. When you put your hands on your lap, try to relax your shoulders, relax your neck, relax your whole body. Every part of your body should be relaxed. You may sit on the cushion, or may sit on the chair or sofa, however you feel comfortable. But you are required to sit upright. When you sit comfortably, then close your eyes and close your mouth. Try to focus your mind on your breath. When you breathe in, focus your mind at the nostril. You will feel the air passing in and out in the nostril, and fix your mind on that spot. This is the first step: to focus your mind on the breathing. And then move your mind to follow the air. When you breathe in, take a deep in-breath. The air will go to your abdomen. Your abdomen will fall and rise when you breath in and out, so that you can fix your mind on that spot. When your abdomen is rising, then notice that rising. When you breathe out or exhale, your abdomen falling down, and then fix your mind on that spot. Just observe the falling and rising at your stomach or abdomen. So in this way you can fix your mind on one point, because in meditation you try to put your mind on only one spot. And then relax your body. When you close your eyes, you visualize your entire body. See your sitting posture in your mind. And then relax from the feet to the head, up and down, up and down. Relax your feet, relax your ankles, relax your knees; relax your thighs and buttocks. The lower parts of your body should be relaxed in your sitting meditation. And then the middle parts of your body from the navel up to your chest. Relax your spinal cord. Sit upright. And your shoulders should be relaxed. So from your shoulders down to your navel, the middle parts of your body, you should be relaxed. And then move your mind to your neck, your chin, your face, and your head. Try to relax the upper parts of your body. Set your mind at the top of your head and see or visualize your entire body in your mind. So by this way you can see yourself inside, not outside. After you have checked all your body relaxation, then go back to the normal breath. Just observe breathe in and breathe out. You breathe in, and you know that you breathe in, and when you breathe out, you know that you breathe out. Be mindful all the time. Don’t pay attention to any kind of sound that can distract your mind. Just focus your mind on the breathing; that is what we call the breathing exercise. So you can sit as long as you are able. Start about five minutes, and then you can increase to ten minutes, fifteen minutes, or thirty minutes, or one hour, as much as you can. But the important thing is try to relax and take it easy. Don’t stiffen up your body; just relax your body and your mind. So you will find peace of mind this way. Don’t fear and worry in any case, just know it and let it go, and relax. So in this way you can sit and get real happiness from the meditation technique.

[Standing and Walking Exercises.] After sitting meditation, your practice should be continued by standing and walking meditation. In standing meditation, you stand and close your eyes. You may put your hands in the front of your body, or you may put your hands in the back. But when you stand, it is required that you close your eyes and try to visualize your standing posture. Put your mind on the top of your head and see your standing posture by the inner eye or by the mind. And take a note in your mind or say to yourself the word “Standing.” It means you put your mind on the top of your head and see your entire body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, and say in your mind, “Standing.” Now put your mind on the feet. And now again you see the body upward from the tip to your head, and say again in your mind “Standing.”
Now put your mind on your head. And visualize one more time your body from the top to the bottom, and say “Standing.”
[The First Step of Walking Meditation: “Right” and “Left” “Walking.”] Now put your mind on your feet and get ready. On the first step of walking meditation, notice only right or left. You put your mind on the right foot and step forward, right, forward, touch. And you put your mind on the left foot, left, forward, touch. You think and you move at the same time. Don’t move before or after you think. Thinking and moving should be in the same action in the present moment. “Right.” You think of “Right” and then you move your right foot. Step forward and put it down. In the same way “Left,” forward, touch. “Right,” forward, touch. “Left,” forward, touch. “Right,” forward, touch. “Left,” forward, touch. When you reach the distance, then put your feet together and close your eyes. Visualize your standing, and starting from the top of you head again three times, think “Standing.” “Standing.” “Standing.” “Standing.” “Intending to turn.” Now we are going to turn right. So the position should be continued. Turn right, turn the right foot first. “Turning.” Left foot, “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” Now you are in the same position, same direction. And then “Standing” again three times, seeing from the top of the head to the tips of the toes. “Standing” three times. “Standing.” “Standing.” “Standing.” “Intending to walk.” Now we are going to start walking. Put your mind on the right foot. “Walking.” That means your right foot first. “Walking” [left foot]. “Walking” [right foot]. “Walking” [left foot]. “Walking” [right foot]. “Walking” [left foot]. “Walking” [right foot]. And then “Standing” three times again. “Standing.” “Standing.” “Standing.” “Intending to turn.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Standing.” “Standing.” “Standing.” “Intending to walk.” And then start. “Walking.” “Walking.” “Walking.” Do it this way. This is walking meditation.
[The Second Step of Walking Meditation: “Lifting” and “Touching.”] But there are six steps all together in walking meditation; this was only the first step. The first step of walking meditation, as I demonstrated it, was “Right” or “Left.” Now step two is “Lifting” and “Touching.” The technique: you have to do “Standing” three times. And then focus your mind on the right foot, and then “Lifting” and “Touching”; left one, “Lifting” and “Touching.” “Lifting,” “Touching” [right foot]. “Lifting,” “Touching” [left foot]. “Lifting,” “Touching” [right foot]. “Lifting,” “Touching” [left foot]. And then when you reach the distance, put your feet together and think to yourself “Standing” three times as you did before. And “Turning,” turn to your right. “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” At every step try to pay attention. Be careful, be mindful and alert. At every step.
[The Third Step of Walking Meditation: “Lifting,” “Moving,” and “Touching.”] The next step is step three. Step three is “Lifting,” “Moving,” and “Touching.” You have to know every step. When you lift your foot up, “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Touching.” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Touching.” Step by step, try to observe every step. “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Touching.” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Touching.” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Touching.” Put your feet together. “Standing” three times. And then “Intending to turn.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” Again, “Standing” three times.
[The Fourth Step of Walking Meditation: “Heel Up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” and “Touching.”] And then walking meditation, step four. Step four, you lift your heel up, you know your heel is up. “Lifting,” you know that you lift your foot, step forward, and put it down. “Heel up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Touching” [left foot]. “Heel up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Touching” [right foot]. “Heel up,” Lifting,” “Moving,” “Touching” [left foot]. “Heel up,” “Lifting,” Moving,” “Touching” [right foot]. “Heel up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Touching.” [left foot]. Stopping, and “Standing” three times. And then, “Intending to turn.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.”
[The Fifth Step of Walking Meditation: “Heel Up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Lowering,” and “Touching.”] For step five, then, put your mind on your right foot. “Heel up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Lowering,” and “Touching.” “Heel up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Lowering,” and “Touching.” “Heel up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” Lowering,” and “Touching.” “Heel up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Lowering,” and “Touching.” “Heel up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Lowering,” and “Touching.” Put your feet together, and “Standing” three times. And “Intending to turn.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” Close your eyes and “Standing” three times. After that, “Intending to Walk.”
[The Sixth Step of Walking Meditation: “Heel Up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Lowering,” “Touching,” and “Pressing.”] Step six is very detailed. So try to focus your mind and observe every movement of your foot. “Heel up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Lowering,” “Touching,” and “Pressing.” The sixth step is “Pressing.” You should know completely your foot on the floor. And after that, shift to the left side. “Heel up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Lowering,” “Touching,” and “Pressing” [left side]. And shift to the other side. “Heel up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Lowering,” “Touching,” and “Pressing” [right side]. “Heel up,” Lifting,” Moving,” “Lowering,” “Touching,” and “Pressing” [left side]. “Heel up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Lowering,” “Touching,” and “Pressing” [right side]. “Heel up,” “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Lowering,” “Touching,” and “Pressing” [left side]. And when you reach the distance, you stop. Put your feet together and “Standing” three times. “Intending to turn.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” “Turning.” And then you walk up and down, up and down. As you like, choose any step, one suitable for you. You can use step three because step three is suitable and the natural way to walk. “Lifting,” “Moving,” “Touching,” this step is easy to remember. But if you need to control your mind and try to put your mind in the details of moving meditation when you can walk, use step six. You can develop your mind, develop your practice, and step one through step six are good for walking meditation. So you can divide the time between sitting thirty minutes, and then standing and walking together thirty minutes, and then go back to your sitting. So you sit for thirty minutes sitting meditation and continue from there.

[Lying Exercises.] I continue from standing and walking meditation. So next after sitting and walking, the last posture of meditation is lying meditation. The next meditation technique is lying meditation. When we go to bed we have a technique to practice also. So I will demonstrate lying meditation. When you turn from walking, “Turning,” “Turning,” “Turning,” “Turning,” walk mindfully, slowly, to your bed or where you can sleep. Walk slowly, mindfully, because you have to continue mindfulness. Pay attention to the fact that you want to take a rest, to sleep. But before you go to sleep, you have time to practice meditation as the mindfulness of your posture. You lower yourself down, right knee, left knee, and sit, slowly, mindfully, because you have to pay attention to every step. So you can lie down on your right side, lowering yourself mindfully, and use your right hand to support your head and put your left hand to support your body. In this way you can observe your entire body. And then when you feel tired, you can slowly, mindfully, put your head on the pillow. And then turn your body up. And it is very important to put your left hand at your stomach and put your right hand on your stomach. Take a deep in-breath until you can feel your abdomen rising and observe that. And breathe out, exhale, and then your stomach is falling down. And observe that spot. This is like your sitting meditation, but this is lying meditation. So close your eyes and observe just the rising and falling. See your hand up and down, up and down, as you are breathing in and out until you fall asleep. So if you hold your attention, you will not fall asleep because you pay attention too much. So in lying mediation there is no need to focus as in sitting meditation, but just relax your mind and your body and observe your abdomen until you fall asleep. So in this way you can sleep easily, peacefully, and get real happiness.
So when you wake up, don’t get up immediately. Just open your eyes when you feel you want to get up, and observe your entire body first. And then turn to your right side, put your right hand at your head, and put your left hand at your body, and then slowly, mindfully, get up by using your hands to support your body. And sitting, know yourself every step. And then put your body forward, put your hands in the front, lift your knees, and stand. So every step should be mindful. And go to walking meditation and sitting meditation as you wish.
So meditation is the technique that we have, a practice divided into four parts: sitting, standing, walking, and lying meditation. I hope that you can develop through my training and get the peace of mind by this technique that the Buddha taught us 2,500 years ago. This technique can help, anyway, anytime, anybody, American, Thai, or Laos, or anybody, because everybody needs peace of mind and real happiness. So meditation can help, especially since we live in the society where people are broken apart and stressed too much. So meditation can reduce the stress and enhance relaxation.

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