It was a packed hall once again as Nalandians came together last night for the first group meditation of the Gimhana Retreat, guided by the founder of Nalanda, Bro. H S Tan. As the gong was struck, the sound reverberated soothingly before fading into nothingness. Thus is the impermanent nature of all conditioned phenomena. Yet, we find ourselves constantly craving, clinging and grasping – material things, people, words, thoughts, or emotions – all of which are so fleeting, so completely empty and selfless. But we latch on anyway, and we hang on tight. We allow ourselves to continually churn and wallow in this unnecessary exercise of mulling over what is past, or what is yet to come.
When asked who wants to be calm and peaceful, almost everyone raised their hand!
It is important we understand that it is this grasping (upadana) that leads to more suffering (dukkha). With this understanding, we meditate to practise non-grasping! Before we meditate, we should prepare our mind. Body garbed in comfortable attire, we sit with an appropriate posture and connect with the deep tranquility within us. With a gladdened mind, full of friendliness and respect, we evoke a sense of interest and curiosity to investigate this intricate nature of our mind. Whatever comes to pass, we maintain awareness and equanimity. Pain, restlessness, drowsiness, and so on… we observe the arising and falling away as they come and go. Free from grasping, we are free from suffering.
Our meditation practice starts now. Just as a marathon runner trains way in advance before the actual race, so too we must train our mind while we are physically and mentally sound, in preparation for old age, sickness, and our inevitable death. Be it 20 minutes or 2 hours a day, we meditate regularly for our own well-being. While self-practice is essential, group practice is immensely helpful as we are inspired by our teachers and peers to continue on this noble Path of Peace with faith and confidence.
Do come and join us for the teaching by Bro. Tan this Sunday, 27 May 2012 at 9am – 12pm. There are also weekly group meditation sessions on Tuesdays (self-practice) and Wednesdays (with guidance) 8.30pm – 9.30pm during the Gimhana period at Nalanda. Everyone is welcome!