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A yearlong series of teachings to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, founder of the Shambhala Sun.

A Meditation Instruction


Doubtlessly, meditation practice is one of the most important and at the same time most confused subjects that we experience. It’s confusing because of our own expectations that the practice of meditation should bring about a certain sense of tranquillity, equilibrium, and spiritual "high."

I would like to emphasize that the practice of meditation as it was presented by the Buddha is no more and no less than working with yourself—sitting with yourself, alone, without entertainment, without further feedback and encouragement.

The sitting practice of meditation is one of simplifying one’s basic psychology and one’s basic problems. Simplifying in this case means having no expectations about the technique, not expecting that the technique is going to liberate you or provide flashes of excitement or mystical experiences. In keeping with how the Buddha taught, I would like to present the situation of meditation extremely simply, without metaphysical or philosophical overlay.

To benefit from meditation, you need more than just a glimpse. You need to make a commitment to training yourself in meditation. Otherwise, there will be a lot of gaps and missing the point, and you will experience unnecessary confusion. So it’s important to stick with the practice and follow the instructions that you receive. It might be best to look at meditation as a way of life.

If you stick with the practice and go along with exertion and patience, you will have a chance to realize yourself, to understand yourself. Such understanding may be extremely boring. Such understanding may be seeing something you don’t want to see. Nevertheless, we can’t reject ourselves before we know what we are. So I encourage you to be brave, from that point of view. Please don’t chicken out and either reject yourself or congratulate yourself. Rather, try to work with the techniques and the tradition that is presented to you.

The practice of meditation in Buddhism is a very simple technique that was recommended by Lord Buddha himself. I myself have been trained in this technique. Meditation in the Buddhist tradition is connected with the idea of bhavana, a Sanskrit word that refers to spiritual exertion or discipline all together. That is the basic point of meditation: unless you are inspired to discipline yourself, it is hopeless. If you only discipline yourself halfway and then give up, that will create congestion and indigestion for yourself.

From that point of view, meditation can be very demanding. If you stick with it, however, if you sit regularly and follow this discipline, you will develop understanding and become skilled in the clarity of the practice. Your experiences won’t be dramatic, by any means. The practice will purely lead to discovering yourself, I’m afraid. You won’t see cherubs and gods, heavenly realms, colorful mantras, or yantras—none of those.

Meditation is very simple and extremely down to earth, to the extent that it’s irritatingly down to earth. Through the down-toearth practice of meditation, you can see the colors of your own existence. The earth begins to come back to you rather than that you are getting messages from heaven, so to speak.

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