Buddha taught about 2500 years ago that all beings want to be happy, nobody wants to suffer. Even though the times and cultures change, that statement is still very true. Our emotions have not changed and we still very much get caught up in our negative thought patterns. We are looking for happiness but maybe from the wrong place?
Meditation shows us that true happiness is found within. Happiness as being the feeling of contentment and wholeness that we often seek outside ourselves are actually our basic nature. We however have become so habituated to looking outside of ourselves for happiness that we often do not see that we are sitting on the treasure box! We all have the potential to find a deep and lasting happiness.
Practical methods to uncover this true nature of ours have been passed down through the lineage of realised masters from the times of Buddha and they are still as fresh and transformative as then. The practice of meditation awakens us to the natural ease and joy of the present moment. Through mindfulness and awareness we can learn to work with challenging situations like chronic pain, destructive thought patterns, and difficult emotions. We do not need to turn away from our lives, but instead we can turn towards our lives to see how our daily life is filled with endless opportunities to use the practice of mindfulness to find the preciousness of every moment. That kind of change in the view can make our lives more meaningful becoming a source of continuous inspiration. Becoming intimately aware of our own mind and its tendencies and habits is an empowering experience. Nobody else has so much power over our mind than we do – understanding that is a beginning of the path to freedom.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a technique for calming and focusing the mind and developing insight. It is not blanking of the mind or spacing-out, but it is a series of teachings designed to train the mind to calm down, leading to a relaxed openness, compassion and ultimately deep insight. In general the Buddhist meditation techniques can be broken down into two: Shiney (skr. Shamatha) – Calm Abiding, and Lhagtong (skr. Vipassana) – Clear Insight. Shiney gives one the space to recognise the confused state of one’s mind, put things in perspective and to relax and find peace. Lhagtong frees one from the power of one’s conflicting emotions, giving direct experience of the nature of one´s mind (also called Buddha nature or awakened mind).
There are countless techniques and methods in Buddhism that have been passed down from master to student since the time of the Buddha, some are simple, others complicated, but all are there to empower the individual ultimately to understand the nature of mind, complete freedom from suffering.
When starting our meditation practice it is really crucial to have genuine instructions on how to meditate, since if we don’t understand the essence of meditation, we might sit for decades and nothing much happens other than we are developing our sitting muscles. Reading about meditation is one thing, but having a teacher introducing you to the taste of it helps to correct misunderstandings that otherwise might develop. Once we know what is meditation and have some kind of practice, it is the discipline that can keep it going. If we don’t yet find our inner discipline and inspiration to keep on practicing, coming together as a community to practice strengthens our own practice and gives us inspiration to carry on in our daily life.
MEDICINE BUDDHA PUJA
Every other Friday 7pm-8pm
The Medicine Buddha, (Sangye Menla), is the Buddha of health and healing, both the outer, physical, and the inner, mental. His form is a deep blue colour, like that of the lapis lazuli semi-precious stone. His practice is considered to be a very powerful method for healing and increasing the restorative powers of oneself and others. Also it helps to overcome the inner sickness of attachment, hatred and ignorance, and so to meditate on the Medicine Buddha can help to decrease physical and mental illness and suffering. The prayers are chanted in Tibetan but there are texts with transliteration and full translation
Every other Friday 7pm-8pm
Chenrezig is the embodiment of compassion and through this practice we aim to awaken the same qualities of loving-kindness and compassion in ourselves. It is easily accessible and, as such, is a great introduction to Tibetan Buddhist practice and prayer for people new to this tradition. You don’t have to be a Buddhist to attend or take part. Chenrezig practice can be practiced without empowerment but if you have a chance to take it, is is recommended. If you are doing this practice regularly, it is recommended that you will get a reading transmission for the practice. The prayers are chanted in Tibetan, and the centre has texts with transliteration and translation for you to join in.