Author Topic: Why do you meditate?  (Read 9690 times)

Daiho

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Why do you meditate?
« on: April 15, 2011, 09:50:02 AM »
I listened to a lecture by Gil Fronsdal in which he asked his audience to be clear about intentions.  He noted that most of the great dharma teachers were those who started out with very specific questions, such as Dogen, who wanted to know why its necessary to meditate when we already have Buddha nature. 

And this got me to thinking.  What is my question?  Why am I meditating? 

The answer has been different at different points in my life.  For now my question is this: 

Is there anything to our existence beyond our subjective, conditioned experience of the world?  The Buddha says there is.  I want to find it.

What's your question?

Andrew

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2011, 12:35:17 PM »
Hi Daiho,

I have many questions, one every minute or so!. I sit so that I can have none for that period of time. On occasion I am successful, mostly not. Though it would seem that there is more to sitting than what we think is happening, so even this isn't a real test of success.

I don't have a single question, so I guess by the standards of Gil Fronsdal I will not be a great dharma teacher. This is no great loss to me as it isn't an ambition of mine at all. I don't think anyone has 'one great question', I think it is a figure of speech use in biographies rather than an actual description of a persons day to day thinking. 

But then again, if we are talking about Life Dramas then yes, there is a theme which could be called a 'question' though I don't think it is a real question as such, because a real question has an real answer. Life doesn't have an answer because it is so much more than a question. A life has all sorts of complexities which take as long as the life lasts to fully examine. Summing up a life in a question is useful for getting that life into a 600 page book, but not much else I suspect.

This is just my opinion, I don't claim to have a buddha nature, or to be following or expounding dharma, so it is only what it is. I used to have other opinions, and quite possibly tomorrow will hold brand new ones! Though tonight I will sit, and in the morning I will sit, and tomorrow night..you get the picture!!

love

andy

getting it done

Quardamon

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2011, 01:17:49 PM »
Hello Daiho,

I gave my answer a while ago here:
http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php/topic,866.msg7300.html#msg7300
Though it has changed for me. The continuing story of what happens in my meditations is now important to me. Like reading a good book. Also, I see it as growing up: getting into contact with lager circles.
I should admit, I do not know Gil Fronsdal.

Friendly,

Quardamon

Morning Dew

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2011, 04:32:40 PM »
At the beggining i was very much lost and wanted to find my self. Now i have found myself thanks to shamatha. At this time in life i sit down in shamatha every day  for the same reason i go to sleep or eat or drink water or walk or wash my self ... It is life. There is not much more to it in my experience.

Friendly Che


Mungo

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2011, 12:01:06 AM »
For me it wasn't an idea or decision to start meditation but more so it was something I found on the side of the road on the way through life. I am curious and I think most people are just too busy, important etc and instead seem to drive like crazy from one thing to another and never have time to check out the scenery. I came to this practice from an interest in science and wanting to know why things are like they are. After many years it just seemed that I accumulated more "knowing about" stuff which was good in conversation but was hard to apply to life. I have been at this practice for almost (only) a year and even though I haven't learned much (or anything?) the most valuable qualities are acknowledging and understanding which I think in time will lead to whats true - what this is really like. I like to think that buddha nature is essentially a label, much like a good golf swing or an artistic ability - it is possible to nurture it but without practice and understanding will atrophy. When we sit quietly, patiently, after a time, maybe we won't have to chase after answers but rather they may come to us.
You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep

Alexanderjohn

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2011, 06:32:23 AM »
Good question. I often find that when the practice is least fruitful is when I am concealing my true intentions from myself (which is always when ego starts using meditation as another way to tangle itself up). Its not really necessary to quote him but it is as Krishnamurti says, meditate simply with the urge to understand. Its only then you can sit still and realise how silly it is you're trying to find anything out at all because everything is OK ;)  Some days I sit simply with the urge to understand, some days it is because I'm sick of all the crap that floats about my mind, some days its because my ego wants to feel some sense of self-worth. All have different reasons and all have different effects. I cant really say I have one singular intention cause the mind doesn't work like that, its a busy dinnertable where every single person has a different reason for being there and they are all saying different things, i suppose I just try to sit in the middle of all of them patiently and quietly... sit until all intentions pass fade...

Off to the cushion to stop looking for answers :)

Stefan

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2011, 10:20:38 AM »

What's your question?


I have no leading question. I intend to find out, to see for myself.
Then everything will be clear, so there's no need to ask now.
And anyway, isn't a question something like craving for an answer?

My motivation to meditate is: "It feels so very RIGHT to do it."

That's it for me.

Metta, Stefan
« Last Edit: April 16, 2011, 10:22:47 AM by stefan »
anicca

Stefan

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2011, 10:22:04 AM »


Off to the cushion to stop looking for answers :)


That's the spirit!
anicca

someguy

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2011, 07:01:46 AM »
I meditate because it allows me to see the world as it truly is.

Hazmatac

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2011, 01:53:55 AM »
At the beggining i was very much lost and wanted to find my self. Now i have found myself thanks to shamatha. At this time in life i sit down in shamatha every day  for the same reason i go to sleep or eat or drink water or walk or wash my self ... It is life. There is not much more to it in my experience.

Friendly Che


Hi, this intrigues me, I was wondering if you could elaborate on finding yourself?

Daiho

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2011, 07:37:25 AM »
I told an old meditation friend the other day, one who is not nearby but with whom I maintain some irregular contact, to let me know if there is anything he needed.  He said, jokingly, nirvana.

Is no one else here interested in the deathless?

Jeeprs

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2011, 07:40:50 AM »
That is the final aim, the ultimate goal, the driver for the whole effort. But it seems rather daunting when you spell it out. So I don't spell it out like that.

I thought about your question 'why do you meditate' before, and I don't really have an answer any more. I meditate just to do it, sit for the sake of sitting. Not much of an answer, but what I have at the time of writing.

rideforever

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2011, 07:43:49 AM »
1. I don't know

2. I don't know what else to do

3. It's fun

Daiho

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2011, 07:48:19 AM »
Perhaps by losing sight of the goal, we also lose the edge in our effort.

Jeeprs

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2011, 09:01:09 AM »
well that is true. But also one needs devotion and dedication to practice. This is not always a matter of goal setting and achieving. But I do think you're right in emphasising the spiritual goal of the practice. Many people seem to believe that it is for 'relaxing' or something similar, in fact I do wonder how many stick with it if that is their motivation.

Anyway to try and gather my thoughts in answer to your question, it is true that I sit just to sit - this is one of the 'ways' if you can call it that - but on the other hand, I recognize that over the months and years of practice, a very deep conversion is going on in my attitude and way of thinking about the world. It is not always easy, but it is a change for the better. So I sit to realize that state of 'pure being' in which everything is clear.

Masauwu

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2011, 11:20:01 AM »
Fancy answer / end goal... I am trapped in a web of unpleasant dreams and i want to wake up and experience the true reality. Maybe that is real freedom?

Simple answer / current status... I think there are some very wise people that discovered a path to awakening and i want to follow it and see what happens.
The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.

Morning Dew

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2011, 12:11:04 PM »
Quote
Hi, this intrigues me, I was wondering if you could elaborate on finding yourself?

Before i started meditating i was fragmented to that extent i could not see my self. I was lost. Now thanks to meditation i am going through the process of defragmentation and i can easily see my self. I have found my (conditioned) self. I am aware of it and therefor i am able to calmly respond to life ... more or less  ::)

Friendly Dusko

dragoneye

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2011, 05:50:46 PM »
The end of suffering, more than likely, is an important quality of not being alive, and dying.
Suffering, almost always, is part of being alive.
Much of my curiosity about the universe, the world, and our existence, ultimately, originates in this dichotomy.
Glimpses of answers, or more like, sensations, for understanding this, have come to me with my discovery of my heart; my discovery of heart energy, and my belief of it's universal existence.
It is probably, the only "natural" caveat, to the alive-dead choices. The place where suffering does not exist, between life and death.
While I experience this energy in a variety of venues and activities; meditation is where my heart energy is cultivated and becomes my nature. So, I meditate.
With metta,
DE
Dragoneye

Matthew

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2011, 06:27:17 PM »
...
What's your question?

Daiho,

Intent is so very important to this issue.

"How can my presence on Earth in this lifetime make the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people - and what must I do or not do to get there?"

Phrased as a question that is why I meditate.

As a statement of intent (the way I phrased it in discussions with my teacher) it would be that I vow to attain the awakened state in this lifetime for the benefit of all sentient beings.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Crystal Palace

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2011, 06:59:23 PM »

2. I don't know what else to do


This is what drives me. Everything else feels so dissatisfactory when there is a realization that death is approaching and is coming closer with every passing second. Therefore I ask myself: with my limited time, what is it that is truly important in this life? And the only logical answer seems to be to eliminate suffering, for the sake of my own self and all other sentient beings.

Warmly,
Crystal Palace
« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 07:01:26 PM by Crystal Palace »
"Abstain from unwholesome actions,
Perform wholesome actions,
Purify your mind"

Buddha

thomas

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2011, 07:05:17 AM »
In answer to -  Why do you/i meditate.

To attempt (by not attempting.. ha) to slow my overactive, overtly distracted mind, so I am able to respond to the world around me in a more contented and confidently friendly manor. Reduce my fears, anxiety, craving, self loathing, vanity, sadness and negative thinking.

To understand the true nature of the world around me. Throw away rediculous preconceptions and just see and feel it all, as it is.

Intelectually I have been working on this for years, but that only gets you so far.

« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 07:15:39 AM by thomas »
back to the breath... and back to the breath....  and back to the breath.... and back to the breath..... and back to the breath

Alexanderjohn

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2011, 01:52:09 AM »
Quote
I don't know what else to do

Me too actually, maybe my motives were not clear in the beginning (a combination of curiosity, despair/trying to escape) but when you start to see this very mind as it is then there's not much else to do but keep looking.

When on retreat someone asked my why I wanted to meditate at such a young age, I told him it seems the only decent thing left to do.

Metta,
Alex

Namaste

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2011, 05:42:34 AM »
Fancy answer / end goal... I am trapped in a web of unpleasant dreams and i want to wake up and experience the true reality. Maybe that is real freedom?

Simple answer / current status... I think there are some very wise people that discovered a path to awakening and i want to follow it and see what happens.

This!!

Andrew

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2011, 07:19:38 AM »

When on retreat someone asked my why I wanted to meditate at such a young age, I told him it seems the only decent thing left to do.


Classic line.  :D

love

andy
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gregor

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Re: Why do you meditate?
« Reply #24 on: May 11, 2011, 12:58:03 PM »
At the beggining i was very much lost and wanted to find my self. Now i have found myself thanks to shamatha. At this time in life i sit down in shamatha every day  for the same reason i go to sleep or eat or drink water or walk or wash my self ... It is life. There is not much more to it in my experience.

Friendly Che

Hi, I'm new to this forum. This answer brilliantly describes my reasons for meditation. One starts meditating out of desire to change something and ends up doing it regularly