Thread: Meditation
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:00 AM   #8
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,181
Re: Meditation

The answers here illustrate the difficulty with a question like "Do you practice meditation". "Meditation" is a very broad term, and as you can see here, covers a wide range of practices with different objectives, some of which are mutually exclusive -- one cannot practice "meditation" in the sense of Christian prayer and also practice shamatha vipassana, for example. Some of these practices require acceptance of a belief system, others do not. It may be possible to blend some of them into a single practice, but I don't think it's wise to assume that you can -- you'd need to really learn about the specific practices that interest you before you could make that call.

If the meditation practiced in your dojo is your inspiration for meditating outside the dojo, that's great -- just be aware that very, very few dojos really teach meditation practices. Most dojo "meditation" is at best cursory and a matter of monkey-see-monkey-do, rather than a practice taught by someone who follows and understands a regular practice. Having everyone sit still and close their eyes and hold their hands in a funny gesture is not the same as teaching a meditation practice, not even when you toss in a few vague phrases like "Clear your mind" and whatnot. There are significant exceptions, to be sure, but for most of us, in most dojos, if we really want to develop a meditation practice, we should look outside our dojos for guidance and support. There's nothing wrong with doing so -- most senseis are honest and humble enough to admit that they're not qualified to teach esoteric practices -- and there's much to be gained.
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