On Meditation Techniques
Question: What meditation technique should I use while sitting meditation?
There are thousand different types of meditation techniques and essentially they’re all the same. The Buddha mentioned in a sutra that all the different techniques are like many fingers pointing to the moon. Do not attach to the finger, try to see the moon.
When I give instruction to someone new to meditation, I teach them to breathe-in and say to themselves, “clear mind, clear mind, clear mind” and when they exhale, say “don’t know...” The reason I give this phrase is to remind them of how to practice and why we practice. “Clear mind” points to how we keep our mind right now in this moment. What do you hear right now? What do you see right now? What do you perceive right now in this very moment? Reflect everything in this moment, just as it is. “Don’t know” points to the direction of our practice. The direction of our practice is to understand our true self. What am I? Don’t know...
Whatever technique we use, it is important to not fight our thinking. Meditation doesn’t mean just think about whatever we want. It also doesn’t mean to stop our thinking and feeling. Push nothing away and don’t hold on to anything. Hui Neng, the 6th patriarch of Zen, said, “when mind works freely without any hindrance and is at liberty to come and go, we attain samadhi of prajna, or liberation. Such a state is called the function of ‘no thinking’. But to refrain from thinking of anything, so that all thoughts are suppressed, is to be tied and bound by Dharma, and this is an erroneous view.” When you’re doing any kind of meditation technique, naturally thinking will appear. That’s fine, that’s OK. But when thinking appears, just perceive it, then notice your breath, notice what you see, what you hear, pay attention to it all. Become intimate with everything that is arising. When we can do this, we are free from the attachment to thinking. We can connect with our inner strength and wisdom. This is a technique that not only we can use on the cushion, but in each moment of our lives.
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