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Meditation alone . . .

July 8, 2017

With the ongoing trend of mediation and the new world on mindfulness and Zen, I wanted to say in the title that “Meditation alone is not enough”.

In the East, Buddhism  is often more ritualistic (like prostration and circumambulating the stupa) and not too much of meditation.  But the spread of Buddhism, especially ZEN Buddhism, to the West has its central theme in meditation.  Today, one can see many centers that taught meditation or incorporate meditation with yoga or chanting of mantras.  Many even choose to believe that meditation is the way to solve any problems.

But this “commercialization” of meditation is beginning to be dangerous.  Many people are meditating without knowing what it is or worse being taught by teachers who has no idea what it is and how to do it except it solves problems of migranes, stress and hypertension.  Many spend hours believing they are meditating and even more hours trying to perfect this art.  But in actuality, they were spending time day-dreaming and indulging in their own thoughts and fantasy on the Zafu cushion.  They merely enjoy the quiet and serene environment and benefited merely because in their “usual” life they do not have anything serene or similarly quiet.  Some even went on to try 5-day, 10-day meditation, thinking it was a marathon training like going for 50-mile, 100-mile training to push themselves to the limit.

There is no such thing as a “meditator”.  One can train himself on running and become a marathoner or 100-mile runner, but the aim of meditating is never to show anyone or prove anything, or become a meditator.  Some people believe meditation is a treatment for suicidal thoughts or urges.  But last week, we had a Pennsylvanian girl of York who jumped over the Norman Wood Bridge into the Susquehanna River shortly after her 10-day meditation retreat.

So if you are having mental issues or depression, make sure to learn the proper Buddhist teaching and follow some legitimate Buddhist master (or monastics of religion with traditions in meditation).  Do not meditate on your own, one can easily 走火入魔, and the outcome will be adverse if not suicidal.

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