Talk Categories The Nature of Mind | Talk Locations Yale University

Mindfulness and Meditation in the Modern World

Meditation can help us develop inner peace and enhance physical well-being. In order to harness these benefits, one needs to have a practical mastery of meditation techniques that is grounded on the knowing what to adopt and to avoid during the practice. In this talk, Khenpo Sodargye reveals the five hindrances of meditation and the nine stages of calm abiding, and presents techniques to integrate these practices in our busy daily life.

Speech by Khenpo Sodargy

What Is the Key to Meditation?

Excerpt 1: What Is the Most Important Thing in Life?

With a peaceful mind, one can easily cope with every experience. If we observe all aspects of our daily life, we’ll find that the most important thing is to tame and have mastery over our own minds, which will free us to enjoy the beauty of life. It is said in Cloud of Jewels Sutra, “If the mind is well trained and tamed, all phenomena can be harnessed”. The reason we are suffering now is our untamed mind is not at ease.

Excerpt 2: Meditation Is the Most Effective Way to Strengthen Our Body

A Buddhist text mentioned that a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, massages and meditation are four ways to maintain good health. If we want to be healthy, we need to have a balanced diet, get enough sleep, and exercise. Nowadays, there are many methods like massage and so on that are very popular for improving and maintaining health. Actually, meditation is the most effective way to strengthen our body and slow the aging process. This is so as meditation unblocks the channels, enabling the wind energies and essences to flow freely within our body, which facilitate our practice even further.

Excerpt 3: Meditation Is More Than Just Sitting on a Cushion

Most people associate “proper” meditation with specific postures, e.g., with one’s hands in a meditation mudra, legs crossed in full lotus position, and eyes closed. Many also think that it is impossible to meditate while engaging in daily activities, e.g., while in a car, at work, or on the road. It is true that for beginners to meditation practice, it is necessary to practice Shamatha to enable the body, speech, and mind to rest in calm-abiding state. Once stability of concentration is developed through this meditation, our minds can be concentrated at will, anytime and anywhere. With such stable concentration, we no longer need to just sit still at home with eyes closed.

Excerpt 4: What Is the Key to Meditation?

Watching our mind is the key point in meditation practice. Whatever you do and think—you may think about lots of things or you may be in the state of having no thoughts at all—just observe the thoughts and actions. Try to watch your mind in this way, and you will feel different.

Excerpt 5: How to Face Possible Difficulties When Helping Others?

Those who have very strong altruistic minds do not let difficulties deter them from helping others. Like for a businessman whose ambition is to run a big business, a lot of planning and painstaking efforts are required to achieve his goal. Such a person is not daunted by the hardships of such undertakings as he considers them meaningful. Similarly, for people who endeavor to help others, the most important thing is not to be disheartened when faced with setbacks but to be resolute in the efforts to strengthen the altruistic mind until it becomes powerful enough to overcome any challenges.

What Is the Most Important Thing in Life?

With a peaceful mind, one can easily cope with every experience. If we observe all aspects of our daily life, we’ll find that the most important thing is to tame and have mastery over our own minds, which will free us to enjoy the beauty of life. It is said in Cloud of Jewels Sutra, “If the mind is well trained and tamed, all phenomena can be harnessed”. The reason we are suffering now is our untamed mind is not at ease.

What Is the Key to Meditation?

Watching our mind is the key point in meditation practice. Whatever you do and think—you may think about lots of things or you may be in the state of having no thoughts at all—just observe the thoughts and actions. Try to watch your mind in this way, and you will feel different.

Question & Answer Session

“The most important thing in our life is to tame and have mastery over our own minds. The actualization of such mastery will free us to truly enjoy the beauty of life.”

Yale University