Lesson 1: Shamatha meditation

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Shamatha meditation is the foundation of Buddhist practice

In this 10 day course, which takes place every Wednesday at 19:00 h on the meditation Plattform in Ta’xbiex, I will be teaching the Shamata Meditation.

Shamata is probably the oldest Mediation that we know of. It goes way back, before the time of the Buddha, more than 2.500 years.
The Shamatha Meditation was not invented by the Buddha but was already practised probably hundreds of years before. In the earliest and maybe purest Buddhist tradition, the Theravada Buddhism, which sticks closest to the historical Buddhist teachings, there are only two meditations that are practiced:

First lesson given at the Ta’Xbix Meditation Platform in July 2021

What is Shamata?

The Shamata Meditation, that I will be teaching here and the Vipassana Meditation, which is an insight meditation, that strives to give insights into the true nature of reality.
You will learn about what the Buddhist understanding of “the true nature of reality” is, but the meditation that we will be practising is the Shamata Meditation.

The purpose of shamatha meditation is to stabilize the mind by cultivating a steady awareness. 
The traditional practice of shamatha is using the out-breath as the focus of our attention. The in-breath comes by itself.
The great Tibetan Meditation Master Choegyzm Trungpa said that he had been taught that you should only use a quarter of your attention to focus on the breath. 

Shamatha meditation allows us to experience our mind as it is. When we practice shamatha, we are able to see that our mind is full of thoughts, some conducive to our happiness and further realization, and others not. It is not extraordinary that our minds are full of thoughts, and it is important to understand that it is natural to have so much happening in the mind.

Over time, practising shamatha meditation calms our thoughts and emotions. We experience tranquillity of mind and calmly abide with our thoughts as they are. Eventually, this leads to a decrease in unhelpful thoughts.

Posture is important

This week’s teaching is about posture.

The outer attitude and posture is of great importance for meditation. This is true for life in general, even if you are not meditating. Your attitude and posture should always reflect an inner presence.
The outer attitude while meditating can bring about an inner change. You have the impression that the purpose of the exercise is actually already achieved when you have taken up the position of awake presence. Your goal is achieved immediately by simply sitting in good posture.

  • Sit cross-legged, knees pointing slightly downwards
  • Hands face downwards on your thighs, just before your knee.
  • Sit wit a straight back.
  • Widen the shoulders to open the heart center.
  • Lower the chin.
  • Open mouth slightly with the tongue resting on the roof of the mouth.
  • Eyes open, gazing about 2 meters in front of you.

When and where?

Every Wednesday at 19:00 h: Free guided Meditation on the Viewing platform in Ta’Xbiex.
Find more information about the event series here.

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Hosted by
Ralf Eisend

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