Epistemes wrote:Thubten Chodron has a book with CD of guided meditations for lam rim entitled Guided Meditations on the Stages of the Path. I'm questioning the potential value this book might have for me. I'm unfamiliar yet still slightly uncomfortable with guided meditations; they seem new agey due to my past experience with zazen, calm abiding and Centering Prayer (Christian) as archetypes of "correct" meditation, but I'm intrigued by the idea of checking (analytical) meditation because it seems like the type of meditation practiced by the Buddha, Sariputra, and other arahants. Of course, for that matter, any school could claim the Buddha practiced its model of meditation.
Ani Chodron states in the book that traditional methods like visipanna and calm abiding (and probably zazen) are good for short interims, but ultimately fail to produce long-term results in the practice of dharma. This seems pragmatically correct, but somehow, on some level with which I'm not quite familiar, this statement of hers could be disjointed since, to my limited knowledge, Theravadan, Zen, and some Tibetan practices rely upon these sole meditation techniques and advance far along the path of dharma.
While I understand the value of lam rim lies in its continuous development of a holistic, more compassionate heart and mind, I get the impression from her book that this is the correct way of meditation. Is she right? Is lam rim the only path that allows for steady, continuous improvement in the direction of the jhanas and ultimately the realization of emptiness and nirvana? I question that assertion, but I have very little basis for doing so aside from my zazen practice 12 years ago.
I'd be interested in hearing thoughts supporting her notion that lam rim with its emphasis upon analytical meditation is the correct method to truly reach realization and arguments against that notion, as well.
If, by saying "the correct method" you mean the only method, then you're unlikely to get a lot of contribution. Not everyone does lam Rim. Unless I'm mistaken Lam Rim is a Gelug practice and not everyone on this board is a Gelugpa.
I practice in the Kagyu lineage. I was taught Shamatha as my main meditation practice. I was taught that it is a "complete" practice - I need do nothing else. It pervades nearly every aspect of our practice. To say that it is "incorrect" relative to something taught in another lineage isn't likely to get much in the way of positive feedback.
Maybe you should have posted this in the Gelug forum.