One day, when I was about four, a nun arrived at the door. She had made the long journey from Lhasa at the request of my father, Sera Kharto Tulku, and she was there to teach me how to meditate. She gave me no instructions regarding what to contemplate or how to hold my mind, but she was an expert in enforcing proper meditation posture. She made me sit with my back absolutely straight and rigid, my legs crossed and my feet resting soles-up on my thighs, my hands on my knees, my chin tucked in and my tongue curled back to the roof of my mouth. Some days she made me close my eyes, and if I opened them, she thumped me on the forehead and said, "Meditate." Some days my eyes had to be open in an immovable gaze. If I dozed, she thumped me. "Meditate." This went on from the moment I awoke until bedtime, for weeks or perhaps months.
Jox wrote:Hi all,
it seems to me that "meditation" and "meditation retreats" have died out until the end of the 19th century, until the Eastern Buddhists saw interest by Westerners, in particular British, in meditation. The same was for yoga and Hindu practices.
Nobody in Asia meditates as we in the West do, this is something new: my teacher was ShiFu Sheng-Yen, but including teachers Mauzemi Roshi, Chogyam Trumpa, and Goenka reading biographies it is not clear how far the meditation lineage goes, or doesn't.
These days, monks in Asia, weighed down by centuries of tradition and custom, have in some cases lost touch with this universal aspect of sitting, and no longer have a clear understanding of why to do it. One Zen monk from Japan who was visiting a Zen retreat center in America observed the enthusiasm and numbers of meditators with astonishment. "How do you get them to meditate without beating them?" he asked. In his training temple in Japan, the young monks disliked meditation, and saw it as an unpleasant burden.
TM is a Hindu form of mantra meditation, and it has no counterpart in classical Theravada.
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