Again, I feel the need to clarify.
In the last post in the Guide to Meditation series, – Just enough – I described my entry into the world of Buddhism and the teachings of Buddha.
That doesn’t mean you should be a Buddhist to meditate.
In the Practice Note last Sunday, I emphasized that one’s theism or non-theism is not important to meditation. The same is true of one’s Buddhism or non-Buddhism. In fact, there are many Christians, Jews, and other religious folk who practice Buddhism specifically in the way Buddha described it, yet these people maintain their own religious beliefs and practices. There’s no conflict there. Buddha’s teachings are universal and can be followed by anyone. Anywhere. Any time. Any religion. No religion.
I will continue the story of my own Buddhist path in the series, and I hope the nature of that will all become clear, but at this point I feel it is important to be clear that meditation in general and meditation as I explicate it here, are not the exclusive province of Buddhist practitioners. I am not telling this story to get you to become a Buddhist. I don’t even think I’m “a Buddhist” – I’m not even sure what a Buddhist is – except in the simple fact that I follow the teachings of Buddha, who taught me to meditate.
And it seems to me that though there are clearly differences in the forms of meditation taught by different people of different religions and traditions, there are enough commonalities that we can discuss them as a body of practice. Just as there are different ways to teach the violin, the idea is to learn to play the instrument, and once one learns, many ways to actually play it. So with meditation, there are different ways to teach it, different ways to play it.
Clearly too, there are ways that are better, ways more suited to individual idiosyncrasies and needs for teaching anything. There are forms of meditation that are more helpful and forms that lead you down a primrose path to perdition. As I said in the beginning of this blog, my intent is to help folks find a way into meditation that suits them, as well as give assistance in avoiding some of the hazards along the way.
If you have questions, comments, or scathing indictments, please leave a note! I’d love to hear from you!