MEDITATION: TIBETAN BUDDHISM
If you think about it, we live in very unusual times. Now more than ever, we have access to all the important living spiritual traditions of the world. The great spiritual knowledge of the past was never so available to everyone like it is today. It gives us the possibility to explore for ourselves that, which the various spiritual paths have explored,experienced and recorded, during their investigations into the various realms of human consciousness.
Nowadays, recognition of meditation is not limited to only religious mystics or people interested in spirituality and eastern wisdom. Professional people such as doctors, psychologists, etc. are discovering that very old eastern methods can be useful in healing their patients
All different types of meditation methods have one common denominator: to investigate our mind and consciousness.
There is a huge selection of meditation methods and exercises available to us to develop our consciousness. These methods and exercises come from the east and have worked satisfactorily for thousands of years.
In the past fifty years, many of these methods have found their way into the west and helped millions of people to develop their capacity for mental relaxation, wisdom, and compassion.
In this and the following articles I would like to introduce you to the spiritual traditions, in which the above mentioned methods had their origins.
Padmasambhava (an Indian mystic) introduced Buddhism to Tibet in the eighth century. Because of Tibets natural inaccessibility and its chosen isolation, they have succeeded in preserving and keeping alive Buddha’s highest realisation, the knowledge about the hidden potential of human consciousness.
Escaping from the Chinese ”release army” in 1959, more than 100.000 Tibetans left their home together with the XIV. Dalai Lama. Today, 45 years later, Tibetan layman communities exist in most of the big cities of America, Europe and East Asia.
Hundreds of Tibetan temples and monasteries have been built in India and all over the world. Tibetan Buddhism is one of the fastest growing religions of the planet.
The Dalai Lama himself, who received the Nobel peace price in 1989, has an international status of rare if not single integrity as a person and a politician. Besides the Dalai Lama exist a lot of other Lamas who also embody wisdom and compassion in their highest development.
One of the most important and influential Tibetan teachers has been Chögyam Trungpa (1940 - 1987), who escaped to India in 1959. He could directly address his western students without translation because he spoke fluent English. During his eight training years in Tibet he learned to perfection the systematic practise of meditation. He also had a highly developed understanding of Buddhist philosophy. In Oxford, he studied Comparative religion, science, Philosophy and Art. In England he started teaching western students the Dharma (teachings of Buddha). He expressed his conviction that the Dharma, for to grow roots in the west, had to be taught free from cultural side tracks and religious fascination. He criticised the materialistic and commercial attitude to spirituality that he encountered in the West, and described it as a “spiritual supermarket”. The essence of his teaching shows meditation as a path to selfrealization in daily life. He does not only stress practise of meditation but also requests people to get involved in the community and to appreciate daily life.
Since Tibetan Buddhism found its way into the western world, many people have experienced the effectiveness of meditation practise. Just through simple sitting in silence, a balanced quiet centre in our consciousness is created which enables us to have insights into the true nature of our mind.
During meditation we come to the insight that we are part of everything, that environment and we are inseperable. The realization of the all-comprehensive inter-connectedness of all things, beings and human beings leads to compassion, gratitude and joy. Free of culturally and religiously caused masking, Buddhism shows itself as a modern, scientific, and all-comprehensive way for individuals to become more conscious. More individual consciousness will lead to a more conscious and human society.
Meditative consciousness expresses itself in part as a natural morality, born from the realisation that all forms of life in their deepest core of being are one.
Wisdom and compassion – the essence of Buddha’s teachings – are the foundations for a world in which people can live in peace with themselves and all other beings
“You can consider meditation practise as a good, even excellent way to overcome war in the world: our personal war as well as the bigger war”.
(Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche)
Dassana has been leading meditation courses in Ibiza, Holland and Germany.