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young mothers bring their children into the meditation hall because
they donít want to miss the dharma talk. Thatís very nourishing for
everyone. The babies donít know whatís happening, but they feel the
peaceful atmosphere. That energy of peace is rare in societyóitís very
rare to have fifteen hundred people sitting and producing mindfulness
and peace. If you offer children a glimpse of peace and love, even if
they are very small and they donít know language yet, that does not mean
that they donít feel it. Try to imagine a young mother feeding her baby
during the retreat. She is listening to the dharma, sheís consuming the
dharma, and the baby is consuming both the milk and the dharma at the
same time. Itís very beautiful.
on, when the children encounter the cruelty in the world, they will
remember that there was a time when they had the opportunity to
encounter the energy of peace. When a sangha,
a Buddhist community, comes together and practices, it can always
produce that kind of peaceful energy, and young people can experience it
and start planting the seeds for the future. Engaged Buddhism tries to
bring this peaceful energy into many different situations. In schools,
in hospitals, in town halls, in congress, the practice of mindful
breathing is possible.
living in the present moment at odds with enjoying the media? Can we be
mindful and still enjoy the internet and TV and movies and books?
are good books and movies that you can enjoy. Thatís okayóitís good to
enjoy them. But sometimes the quality of the film or book is not good at
all, yet you donít turn it off because if you do, you will have to go
back and experience the suffering inside you. That is the practice of
many people in our society. Many people cannot be with themselves. They
have pain, sorrow, or worries inside, and they read or watch or listen
to cover this up, to run away from themselves.
media like that is just running away and it doesnít have a lasting
effect. You can forget your suffering for some time, but eventually you
have to go back to yourself. The Buddha recommended that we should not
try to run away from ourselves, but learn to take good care of ourselves
and transform our suffering.
What would you say to someone who finds sitting meditation painful and difficult and they struggle to do it?
Donít do it anymore.
yes. If you donít find it pleasant to sit, donít sit. You have to learn
the correct spirit of sitting. If you make a lot of effort when you
sit, you become tense and that creates pain all over your body. Sitting
should be pleasant. When you turn on the television in your living room,
you can sit for hours without suffering. Yet when you sit for
meditation, you suffer. Why? Because you struggle. You want to succeed
in your meditation, and so you fight. When you are watching television
you donít fight. You have to learn how to sit without fighting. If you
know how to sit like that, sitting is very pleasant.
Nelson Mandela visited France once, a journalist asked him what he
liked to do the most. He said that because he was so busy, what he liked
to do the most was just to sit and do nothing. Because to sit and to do
nothing is a pleasureóyou restore yourself. Thatís why the Buddha
described it as like sitting on a lotus flower. When youíre sitting, you
feel light, you feel fresh, you feel free. And if you donít feel that
when you sit, then sitting has become a kind of hard labor.
if you donít have enough sleep or you have a cold or something, maybe
sitting is not as pleasant as youíd wish. But if you are feeling normal,
experiencing the pleasure of sitting is always possible. The problem
isnít to sit or not to sit, but how to sit. How to sit so that you can
make the most of it ó otherwise youíre wasting your time.