Monday, September 26, 2011

The Purpose of Buddhist Meditation Is to Be Real

I often say when I teach meditation, "We meditate not just to be calm, but to be real."

Meditation has become quite popular in the West, and Buddhist teachers abound, but I wonder if we have yet learned this profound lesson well enough. The Buddha himself, beginning his spiritual pilgrimage, studied with many meditation teachers. For the most part, these teachers taught a type of meditation designed to induce calm, even trance. The young Siddhartha mastered all these techniques. He was so good that some of his teachers urged him to teach with them, but he was not satisfied. He had an intuition that these meditation practices, while deep, were but a temporary respite from the primal suffering of human existence, and that once one emerged from trance the suffering was still there. He left these teachers and vowed to look deeper.

As meditation is finding its way in the West and looking for authentic cultural roots, we are bound to re-enact Siddhartha's own search, re-discover his own disappointments and illuminations. As Kalu Rinpoche, one of the young Tibetan teachers (he is in his early 20s) said recently in a public gathering, "Dharma is reality." I thought this was quite profound, especially coming from one so young. He went on to explain that most religion, including Buddhism, offers an escape from reality, rather than a transforming insight about it. But Dharma is not like that. It is about what is true and real. Buddhist meditation is ultimately a way to discover that truth. (MORE)

Source: Huffington Post

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