After a vigorous 7-week Gimhāna season, the enthusiasm to practise meditation continues at Nalanda. On Wednesday 12 July, Nalanda founder Bro. Tan gave a simple but impactful teaching on meditation and its benefits.
Most people mistakenly value the quality of life according to the degree of sensual and material gratification experienced. Few realise that quality of life is instead directly linked to the degree of mental development. Our minds create many problems in our lives when untrained in Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. With tremendous mental proliferation, there is little peace and tranquility in life. Therefore we should meditate so that we are able to identify and deal with the disturbances that arise in the mind.
Some people who first experienced mindfulness are shocked by how much agitation they see in their minds, and would rather not continue to meditate. This is like opening the door to a messy storeroom but immediately closing it – we don’t want to see it, but the mess still remains there! We should instead persist in meditation practice so that we can gradually alleviate our agitation and ignorance.
Bro. Tan gave a vivid illustration while pointing to a gong: just as the lustre of a new gong deteriorates when left unpolished, so too the strength of our mindfulness decreases when we do not meditate. He advised that it is thus of great benefit to meditate daily to maintain the degree of mindfulness, and periodically take part in intensive meditation retreats to further develop our meditation practice. Quoting verse 21 of the Dhammapada, Bro. Tan mentioned that without such heedful practice, we are not fully aware, and therefore not fully alive.
With greater awareness of the universe within us, we truly experience a greater quality of life. With much gratitude, we thank Bro. Tan for his insightful teaching. May the cultivation of this practice lead to more understanding and liberation from ‘Dukkha’. Sadhu!