Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is meditation?
Meditation is a means of transforming the mind with techniques that encourage and develop concentration, emotional intelligence, and a calm seeing of the true nature of things.
2. What are the main traditions of Buddhist meditation?
There are three main traditions of Buddhist meditation, Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, and Vacharayana Buddhism.
3. How long does it take to learn to meditate?
A beginners course of meditation, by a certified meditation instructor, usually takes one hour per week for seven weeks and a one day retreat. Those who complete the course receive a certificate signed by the Abbot.
4. How do you dress for meditation?
It’s best to wear loose fitting slacks and a comfortable shirt or top.
5. What do you sit on when you meditate?
You can sit on a mat on the floor, or you can sit on a zafu and zabuton, or you can sit on a straight back chair or even a sofa.
6. How long do you meditate?
Beginners usually meditate for 5 to 10 minutes at a time and gradually increase the time until 30 to 35 minutes is reached. Some hard core meditators meditate for an hour or more. But you can meditate for a little as 1 minute.
7. What is the best time of day to meditate?
The best times to meditate are when you get up in the morning and just before you go to bed at night. I’s also helpful to meditate for a short period (5 minutes) in the middle of the day.
8. How do you prepare for meditation?
You prepare for meditation by completely relaxing your body and mind, keeping your back straight and your head up. Meditation is the only rest your mind ever gets. Your mind is active even when you sleep.
9. Do you keep your eyes open or do you close them when you meditate?
In Theravada Meditation, which is the method this center teaches, you gently close your eyes.
10. Are there any methods to help you concentrate your mind when you meditate?
You can watch your breathing, visualize a crystal ball at the center of your body, and recite a mantra.
11. What words would I use as a mantra?
In English, you could use the words “clear and bright” recited softly over and over until the words naturally fade away as you go deeper into meditation.
12. Does meditation help you sleep better at night?
Research has shown that people who meditate regularly sleep better than people who do not meditate.
13. Does meditation help you perform better at work?
Research has shown that 85% of the best performers in the fields researched all meditate. An example is Ray Dalio owner and CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the U.S., meditates twice daily.
14. What tradition of Buddhist meditation does the center teach?
The center is rooted in the Theravada tradition and teaches mindfulness meditation also known as the middle way.
15. What does the middle way mean?
It means all things in moderation without going to extremes. To use words like always or never is to have an extreme view and is rarely correct.
16. What does mindfulness mean?
Mindfulness means paying attention to what you are doing in this moment. It’s the opposite of killing two birds with one stone or doing one thing and thinking about something else.
17. Is meditation broken into sections like a story with a beginning, middle, and end?
Some traditions think of meditation as having three parts which correspond to right practice, right attitude, and right understanding.
18. Can people who are not interested in joining the Buddhist faith learn to meditate?
Yes, meditation is neutral and can be practiced by anyone at any time, but is usually practiced by people have discovered its benefits and appreciate them.
19. Will meditation help me live in the present moment?
There are many virtues to living in the present moment and meditation will help you know and appreciate them
20. What is the Buddha Dhamma?
The Buddha Dhamma is simply the teaching of the awakened.
21. What does it mean to be awake? It seems like people are awake most of the day?
To be awake means to attend to the present moment and not dwell in the past or imagine the future. Yesterday is a cancelled check, today is ready cash, and tomorrow is a promissory note.
22. Can you tell me anything more about meditation?
I think we’ve covered it. Now it’s time for you to experience it directly by taking a meditation course from a certified meditation instructor. I highly recommend it.