Why We Should Meditate
Meditation is not about being ‘spaced out’. Instead, it’s a skilful and easy technique for discovering a wealth of happiness and joy within us. Often meditation is taught as a form of relaxation, to calm our minds and to reduce our stress levels. These are all beneficial by-products of meditation, but according to the Buddhist teachings they shouldn’t be the endpoint of our meditation. Instead, there is another reason behind our practice of meditation.
In modern times, we are being taught by society to search for happiness in the all the wrong places. Happiness doesn’t come from finally attaining all the perfect things in worldly life, but from the discovery of who we truly are. This episode explains how meditation’s primary goal is to come to an understanding about our own true ‘selves’, to know the true nature of our own minds, and how this wisdom allows one to achieve the highest happiness possible. All the past spiritual masters have found meditation to be the fastest and most effective technique for uncovering the vast treasure of joy and happiness that lies within each of us. This video explores some of the basic but fundamental reasons we should meditate.
There is beautiful sutra spoken by the Buddha called the Tathagatagarbha Sutra. In it the Buddha explains how we all have Buddha nature; it is just presently covered by our obscurations and negative emotions such as anger. Using metaphors the Buddha describes how our Buddha nature is simply hidden within. Much like the treasure I mention in the above video, a stanza in this sutra reads:
It is like a store of treasure
Inside the house of an impoverished man.
The owner is not aware of it,
Nor can the treasure speak.
For a very long time it is buried in darkness,
As there is no one who can tell of its presence.
When you have treasure but do not know of it,
This causes poverty and suffering.
When the buddha eye observes sentient beings,
It sees that, although they transmigrate
Through the five realms of reincarnation,
There is a great treasure in their bodies
That is eternal and unchanging.
When he sees this, the Buddha
Teaches on behalf of all beings,
Enabling them to attain the treasure-store of wisdom,
And the great wealth of widely caring for one another.
If you believe what I have taught you
About all having a treasure store,
And practice it faithfully and ardently,
Employing skilful means,
You will quickly attain the highest path.
(Source: The Mahavaipulya Tathagatagarbha Sutra)
This really is a beautiful sutra. I found it very inspiring myself and a wonderful reminder that everything we want is inside.