Why Meditation is so Challenging? 108

Why Meditation is so Challenging? 108

Have you ever struggled with meditation and wondered why it's so challenging? You're not alone! Let's explore together and see if we can figure out what's going on.


Milarepa hoped holes in their meditation mats.

The 11th-century Tibetan Yogi Milarepa once told his students that he hoped they would become practitioners who meditate so intensely that they wear holes in their meditation mats. However, he observed that the disciple was becoming a practitioner who wears out his shoes from walking everywhere rather than meditating.

This indicates that meditation posed difficulties for notable Yogis historically. However, with time, they persisted and attained a state of uninterrupted meditation and enlightenment. Let's draw inspiration from their success and start this journey together, progressing one step at a time.


So, why is meditation so challenging?

According to Buddhism, we need to cultivate positive merit to have a thought of wanting to sit in meditation and to be able to meditate without obstacles.

Numerous Buddhist practices to accumulate merit entail repetitive tasks like reciting a mantra extensively. Contemporary influencers promote habit transformation in 21 days through persistent practice, echoing an ancient practice dating back to Buddha's era 2500 years ago.

This tradition underscores habit formation through regular repetition. This aligns with the explanation behind Buddhism's merit system, which integrates scientific principles. Later in the article, we will draw inspiration from the stories of what Buddha lost by meditating to motivate ourselves to meditate. However, for now, let's explore the ins and outs of meditation in 30 different ways.



Details about Meditation.


1. What is meditation?

Meditation means to be accustomed to it. 'Ghom' in Tibetan means to become a habit. Meditation involves concentrating on an object, sound, or sensation and being mindful.

Being mindful while engaging in any activity constitutes meditation; however, watching violent movies with mindfulness does not qualify as meditation due to its adverse effects on the mind.

As a novice, the first step is to cultivate mindful awareness by focusing on the breath or any source of compassion. It's crucial to handle a beginner meditator's mind with tenderness and care, similar to caring for a baby. As our practice enhances, it transitions into a habit and eventually integrates into our being.


2. Why meditate?

At first, we aim to have some control over our minds so that we can avoid some suffering. At a higher level, we strive to attain enlightenment.

Master Dongkar Lobsang's book states that Buddha imparted teachings on the Tripitaka, consisting of three collections of scripture. The first is Vinaya, which is synonymous with discipline. The second is the Sutra, which pertains to concentration and meditation. The third is Abhidharma, which is related to wisdom.

At present, our mind is influenced by three harmful emotions: attachment, anger, and delusion. These emotions arise due to the ego and ignorance respectively. Our inability to attain enlightenment is due to ignorance. To overcome ignorance, we must gain an understanding of emptiness. Achieving this requires mastering our mind through meditation, which in turn requires discipline. To cultivate discipline, we must avoid the ten non-virtuous actions. These actions include:


  1. Cutting off life.
  2. Taking what is not given.
  3. Impure sexual behavior.
  4. false speaking.
  5. divisive talk.
  6. harsh words.
  7. Idle talk.
  8. Covetousness.
  9. Maliciousness.
  10. Wrong views.

3. What did Buddha lose by meditating?

Buddha was once asked: what did you gain from meditation?

Buddha replied: Nothing.

The person asks again: Then why do you meditate?

Buddha said: " Let me tell you what I have lost: I lost my anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, and fear of old age and death."


4. Which meditation guide towards enlightenment?

By practicing meditation, one can achieve a stable and purified mind, ultimately leading to enlightenment through the practice of Shamatha and Vipassana meditation techniques.

Shamatha By Dakinis Art, Why meditation is so challenging? 108

Image: Shamatha by Dakinis Art


5. What is the best meditation for beginners?

Numerous meditations exist, such as breath meditation, Shamatha, vipassana, Tonglen meditation, visualization of Guru, Buddha, Yidam, and chanting meditation.

For beginners, breath meditation, Shamatha meditation, and Tonglen meditation stand as three of the most beneficial meditations to practice.

Starting with the breath is ideal as it is a readily available and accessible object of focus that accompanies us constantly. On average, humans take 21600 breaths daily, and the duration of our breaths affects the length of our lives. This is why, when angry, we tend to breathe rapidly, leading to health issues and reducing lifespan. It is advisable to practice deep breathing and avoid anger to promote longevity.

As we meditate, we often notice the influx of thoughts, which can be frustrating at times. This experience is akin to doing laundry—just as more dirt surfaces when we wash clothes, more thoughts may emerge during meditation. This increase in thoughts indicates our growing awareness of our inner thoughts, and it shows that the vigilant mind is on guard.


6. What is grand meditation?

Of course, once you've become more experienced, it's incredible to visualize meditating on your Guru, Buddha, or other deities. It's a great way to take your practice to the next level!


7. How to practice breath meditation?

  1. Find a place where you can sit in a relaxed manner.
  2. Make sure to maintain good posture by keeping your back straight.
  3. Let's close our eyes to direct our attention inward.
  4. Concentrate your focus on inhaling and exhaling solely through your nostrils.
  5. In case our thoughts divert our attention, we must shift our concentration back to our breath, which is the object of focus.
  6. Make sure to do it frequently, allotting 5-10 minutes of your time.

8. What are the benefits of meditation?

  1. Our concentration will be enhanced, and our memory power will be elevated.
  2. Becoming more secure allows us to focus on building positive relationships without worrying about the opinions of others.
  3. Decrease feelings of anger, lessen attachment, and desire.
  4. The key to happiness is being appreciated more.
  5. Achieve a radiance on the face by slowing down the aging process.
  6. Feeling great without any signs of depression and completely stress-free!
  7. Observe other dimensions.
  8. Attaining the state of Jhana, which is characterized by blissfulness.
  9. Upon achieving the four states of Jhana, it is believed that one can levitate or pass through solid objects such as walls.
  10. Capable of telepathy and possessing extrasensory abilities.
  11. Attaining enlightenment is possible by practicing Shamatha meditation, also referred to as Shinay in Tibetan, and Vipassana, which is known as Lhaktong in Tibetan.

9. What is Shamatha?

ཞི་གནས་ Shinay in Tibetan. Two crucial meditation techniques are known as Shamatha and Stillness; the other is Vipassana, which is also referred to as Insight. The practice of Shamatha involves achieving a state of calmness and stillness in the mind after thoughts have ceased.

It is also known as 'remaining in quiescence.' The purpose of this meditative practice is to find peace and freedom from the disturbances caused by thoughts. According to Great Tsongkhapa, with dedication, one can attain Shamatha meditation in just six months. Upon achieving this meditative state, there is no room for laziness in one's practice, as it serves as a major hindrance to any endeavor in life.


10. How to achieve Shamatha?

  1. Finding a peaceful place, free from distractions.
  2. Fewness of wishes.
  3. Contentment.
  4. Abstaining from all the activities.
  5. Discipline.
  6. Being free from thoughts of longing or desire.
Milarepa by Dakinis Art

Image: Great Yogi Milarepa by Dakinis Art


11. What is Shinjang?

According to the master, there are two types of Shamatha - one with Shinjang and one without. One with Shinjang is the actual Shamatha, and Shinjang is achieved when the mind is in complete stillness and bliss, and the body becomes so light like cotton that there is no room for laziness. Upon achieving Shinjang, our mind can be used in any desired way.

After conducting some research, I discovered that Shinjang is translated as the ability to use the mind as desired. Completely disciplined. Once we attain Shinjang, we can focus on doing positive deeds to acquire merit without any effort. It's like taking a rocket towards enlightenment! Let's all put in some hard work to get there together.


12. What is Tonglen (Give & Take)?

Have you heard of compassion meditation? It's also called Bodhichitta Tonglen meditation, and it can be super helpful! I read about a Tibetan master from the Kadampa school who was terrific at it. It is one of the most beneficial and has lots of positive merit.

In Tibetan, Tong means to Give, and Len means to Take.

It is essential to understand the concept of giving and taking in detail.


13. How to Practice Tonglen?

In order to engage in Tonglen, it is crucial to have access to a reliable guidebook on Tibetan Buddhism, such as The 37 Way to Bodhisattva.

As a great Lama says, we should practice from take.

When breathing in, taking all the suffering of Sentient Beings.

When breathing out, giving all the Sentient Beings happiness.


14. What are the benefits of Tonglen?

This is very beneficial, we no need to worry that we will get all the sufferings of others; instead, because of our great intentions, we will reap endless joy and happiness through positive merit. Travelers who have heart disease or stress problems. This is one of the best medicines.


15. What is the instant joy?

Great Shantideva reminds us that when we think about others' happiness, it can uplift us, even in tough times. Conversely, selfishness can turn the path to enlightenment into a daunting journey.


16. What is more critical frequency or length?

The frequency is more important than the length of time we spend doing it. It is advised to meditate for shorter periods but more frequently throughout the day until it becomes a regular habit. Once it becomes a habit, it becomes ingrained in our daily life.


17. What are Samten, Chan, Dhyana, and Jhana?

Samten is a Tibetan term that translates to "firm mind" and is also known as Dyana or Jhana in Pali and Chan in Chinese. This state is characterized by one-point concentration and is considered a sub-branch of Shamatha meditation.


18. What is Karma?

The concept of Karma entails the relationship between Cause, Condition, and Effect.


19. Why is Karma an important subject?

As Great Atisha said, having deep trust in Karma is more precious than seeing the face of the Yidam deity, so Karma is a big subject in Buddhism.


20. How does Karma work?

Karma works from three doors: mind, body, and speech.

Meditation is necessary because our past and previous lives' karmic debts manifest in negative thoughts, speech, and actions. To repay these debts, we need to stabilize and control our minds through practice to avoid accumulating more debt and pay it off positively.


21. How to change Karma?

As one great master said: Look at your thoughts; they become speech. Look at your speech; it becomes action. Look at your actions; they become your habit. Look at your habits; they become your destiny.

In order to alter the outcomes, it is necessary to modify the source of the problem. To undo the underlying issue, we must change our patterns of behavior. To adjust our behaviors, we must engage in the practice.


22. Isn't meditation also a form of distraction?

It can be considered a type of distraction, but one that leads us towards the truth. Any focusing object that is chosen (breath, guru, Buddha, deities, body, and impermanence) to focus on is a consciously focusing form of distraction. However, it is a distraction that offers benefits because of the positivity of the focusing object.


According to teachings, we are connected with karma until we attain absolute enlightenment. With the practice of Buddha Dharma, our mind and body are under our control, allowing us to direct it toward positive actions and accumulate positive karma, finally reaching a state of no actions.


24. Biographies of some great Yogis?

I have written short biographies on a few of Yogis. May bring positive merit to all.

  1. Guru Rinpoche
  2. Tsongkhapa
  3. Drukpa Kunley
  4. Milarepa
  5. Ra Lotsawa
  6. Sakyapa

Demchok-Chakrasamvara

Photo: Chakrasamvara - Check out another article, How to be a Yogi?


25. What nature in Tibet teaches about meditation?

Tibet has been the site of meditation. Due to the lofty altitude, we can breathe in fresh, invigorating air that helps us stay attentive. The mountains impart the importance of stillness during meditation, and the rivers teach us about the unbroken continuity of this practice.


26. What are the best places to meditate in Tibet?

  1.  Near the Rongbuk monastery before Mount Everest North Face.
  2. Milarepa meditation cave around Mount Kailash Kora routes and near Lake Manasarovar.
  3. Tidrum nunnery Guru Rinpoche meditation cave near the hill. 
  4. Ganden Monastery Kora hikes to the meditation area and the Drakyerpa meditation cave.
  5. Samye Chimpuk meditation caves.
  6. Namtso Lake is also an excellent spot for meditation.

The great Yogis bless many places in Tibet; any caves meditated by precious masters are worth meditating for a few minutes to get blessings from the ancestors.


27. What is Yoga?

The practice of Yoga in Buddhism is exclusively taught alongside Tantric teachings.

For beginners like me, it's best to make an aspiration to the Buddha to bless us with the guts to seek the truth through the most precious path, Tantra. I recommend searching for information about Tummo, the heated Yoga, also known famously as Kundalini Yoga. I also suggest seeking as many great Yogis as we can to get blessings from them so we can awaken our energy.


28. What are the Energies in our body?

  1.  Channels (Tibetan name: Za)
  2. Winds (Tibetan name: Long)
  3. Essences (Tibetan name: Tig le)
  4. Chakra  ( Tibetan name: Korlo)

These are the primary energies that play the most significant role in the mind and the body.


29. Recommendations for Travelers?

During your Tibet travel journey, take 5-15 minutes to practice a quick breath and Tonglen meditation near lakes, mountains, and monasteries. This will help us fully appreciate nature's beauty and our existence. Daily Calm 10-Minute free Guided Meditation.


30. What is the best practice?

Finally, according to my ancestors, humbleness is the best Dharma practice. Milarepa says that if you stay at the lowest, you will reach the highest. May Dakinis forgive me for my writing on such a big, precious topic with minimal knowledge.  

Thank you so much for reading! If you enjoyed it, sharing it can benefit me and other seekers. Also, be sure to check out another article on What is Merit in Buddhism – Ultimate Wish Fulfilling? as an inspiration on the path to enlightenment! :) If there is anything I can do to improve the article, let me know by leaving a comment. Your feedback is highly appreciated.


Written By :Tenzin

Feb 14, 2023


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