Shambhala Sun | July 2014
SPECIAL SECTION: YOUR GUIDE TO BUDDHIST MEDITATION
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
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