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Shambhala Sun | July 2014



The View: Why We Meditate

We don’t meditate to become better people or have special experiences, says CHÖGYAM TRUNGPA RINPOCHE. Meditation is simply the way we relate to our already existing enlightened state.

The actual experience, techniques, and disciplines of meditation are still unfamiliar to many people. So I would like to give you a basic idea of how meditation practice works, how it operates in our everyday life, and how it functions scientifically, so to speak.

The practice of meditation is not so much based on becoming a better person, or for that matter becoming an enlightened person. It is seeing how we can relate to our already existing enlightened state. To do that is a matter of trust, as well as a matter of openness.

Trust plays an extremely important part in the practice of meditation. The trust we are discussing is trust in yourself. This trust has to be recovered rather than developed. We have all kinds of conceptualizations and attitudes that prevent us from uncovering that basic trust. These are known as the veil of conceptualization.

Sometimes we think of trust as trusting someone else to provide us with security, or trusting someone else as an example or an inspiration. These kinds of trust are generally based on forgetting yourself and trying to secure something trustworthy from the outside. But when our approach is highly externalized, the real meaning of trust is lost.

Real trust is not outward facing, as if you were completely poverty-stricken. When you have that mentality, you feel that you have nothing valuable within you, so you try to copy somebody else’s success or style or use somebody else’s resources. However, Buddhism is known as a nontheistic tradition, which means that help doesn’t come from outside.

The Sanskrit term for meditation, dhyana, is common to many Buddhist traditions. In Chinese it is chan, and in Japanese it is zen. We may use the word “meditation” in the English language, but how can we actually express its meaning or what this approach actually is?

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1939–1987) was the author of such classics as  Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism and Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. He was the founder of this magazine.

Read the rest of this article inside the July 2014 Shambhala Sun magazine. To see what else is in this issue, click here.

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