A Handbook 25th Feb 1989
Meditation is a subject that has a wide scope of fields. It can be said to relate Indian Yoga, mystical practices, spiritual enlightenment, kung fu (martial art), exercises for healthy living etc. In this work, I would like to present meditation as a form of spiritual enlightenment, a way of living for the present and a means to solve our problems.
I first started to meditate in April 1981. I began after I had studied the Buddhist 'Diamond Sutra'. As stated in the sutra, there is a need to understand at least a 4 lines stanza and expound it to others. So I chose -'All phenomena are like; A dream, an illusion, a bubble and a shadow; Like dew and lighting; Thus should you meditate upon them'.
This 4-lines stanza stresses on meditation (or visualization).
Stated in the sutra ' Visualize The Buddha of Immeasurable Length of Life', 1st to the 13th visualizations teach us to meditate (visualize). From my understanding of the sutra, it is to gaze at the tip of our nose. (In actual fact we have to concentrate on the 'mysterious gate of the square inch', midway between our eyes as stated in books on Taoist Yoga). Our eyes must be open (gaping) during meditation.
Why must we concentrate on the 'mysterious gate of the square inch'? Let me elaborate. Holy Koran, Surah XLVIII, Victory, verse 29 states that ' the mark of them is on their forehead from the traces of prostration. Such is their likeness in the Torah and their likeness in the Gospel - like as sown corn that sendeth forth its shoot and strengtheneth it and riseth firm upon its stalk; delighting the sowers'. Look at the illustration in figure 'corn plant', then compare it with figure '2 eyes' below.
In the New Testament, Hebrews chapter 9 verses 3 - 5 state :'Behind the second curtain was the tabernacle called the Holy of holies, containing the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant completely covered with gold; inside it the golden jar of manna, Aaron's rod that sprouted, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat - about which we cannot now go into details'. (Cherubim is a winged creature with human head.) See my illustration in figure 'covenant' below. I do hope I give the correct details.
In the Old Testament, there are descriptions of the Most Holy Place in the Temple, where 2 winged creatures overshadow the covenant box. Chronicles, chapter 5 verses 7 - 10 state: 'Then the priests carried the Covenant Box of the Lord into the Temple and put it in the Most Holy Place, beneath the winged creatures. Their outstretched wings covered the Box and the carrying-poles. The ends of the poles could be seen by anyone standing directly in front of the Most Holy Place, but from nowhere else. (The poles are still there today.) There was nothing inside the Covenant Box except the 2 stone tablets which Moses placed there at Mt. Sinai'. See figure 'covenant box' below.
One article in the Readers' Digest, 1983 January issue, titled 'Bio-magnetism: an awesome force in our lives', states that 'there might have some magnetic particles in the human brain clustering where the nose joins the skull'. That is somewhere in the spot between the 2 eyes.
The above illustrations show the importance of the 'mysterious gate of the square inch'. It can be called The Truth.
Recordings of birds are found in many scriptures. Example, New Testament, when you see a vulture you know there is a corpse below it. Chuang Tzu's big bird that has to climb a high mountain before attempting to fly, and Confucius's Great Learning states 'As to resting, the bird knows where it can rest - is it right for a man to be less than a bird!'.
In Bhagavad-Gita, chapter 6 verses 13 - 14 state 'Holding the body, head and neck erect, motionless and firm, gazing at the tip of the nose and not round about, fearless, secure, restrained in mind, and established in the vow of continence, he should sit in spiritual communion with Me, looking upon Me as his highest and most precious end'.
How to meditate? - There are many ways to meditate. It all depends on the instructions from meditation teachers and the objectives of the meditators. For spiritual enlightenment, I recommend the following method.
1) Eyes gazing at the tip of own nose
2) Tongue curled up, tip touching palate (soft palate) (I call it tongue lock)
3) 2 hands placed together
This meditation can be performed standing, sitting or laying down. It depends on individuals and posture comfort. It is advisable to maintain an erect body. See figure below.
Time for meditation is flexible. As for me, I prefer 5 am and 10 pm. Initially try to do 5 - 15 minutes and gradually prolong to 1 - 3 hours (or longer if you prefer). For beginners, the initial stage is quite difficult, but you can use your hands to guide. Place palms together and put the indexes at your nose tip. You can see something like the picture below.
Mentally, try not to think of anything. Six Patriarch, Hui Neng, when he was chased by monk Wei Ming spoke 'Since the object of your coming is the Dharma, refrain from thinking of anything and keep your mind blank. I will then teach you'. When Wei Ming had done that for a considerable time, Hui Neng said 'When you are thinking of neither good nor evil, what is at that particular moment, Venerable Sir, your real nature (literally original face)?'.
There is nothing to gain from spiritual meditation. When the mind is empty, then IT can mystically manifest itself. When we aim for it, we do not get it. Even when we have got it (enlightenment) do not think we have got it, or else we may lose it.
Usually our legs cramped during meditation. Try to bear it, or you can switch position/posture and carry on meditating. Another way is to control the breath (inflow as well as outflow) longer.
Breath in and out naturally. Observe how a baby breaths and imitate it during meditation. Relax your body muscles (very important).
Certain feelings will result during meditation. I cannot go into details because individual has his own particular feeling/achievement, but I can quote Svatesvatara Upanishad, chapter 2 certain verses. 'The first fruits of the practice of Yoga are : health, little waste matter, and a clear complexion; lightness of the body, a pleasant scent, and a sweet voice, and an absence of greedy desires'.
Particularly the pleasant scent, I hereby quote the New Testament, Mathew, chapter 26 verses 7 - 13; ' A woman approached Him (Jesus Christ) with an alabaster flask of very precious perfume and poured it on His head as He was seated at the table. Observing it, the disciples said indignantly, "Why this waste? This could have been sold at a good price and given to the poor". When Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Why do you embarrass the woman? She has done something lovely for Me; for you always have the poor with you, but Me you do not have always. By pouring this perfume on My body she has prepared for My burial. I assure you that wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, this that she has done will be mentioned to her memory".'
Sometimes I can smell a nice fragrant scent during meditation and after. It comes from my own body. Dear readers, do meditate and see whether you can have the same result.
Meditation for women - Meditation for women is the same for men. In my opinion (because I am a man) a meditator/wife can weaken her husband during sex. Therefore my advice is that the wife should ask her husband to meditate as well.
Meditation for the blind - Blinds can meditate if they want. Theyy can sit or stand during meditation. With tongue curled up touching palate, they have to place a finger touching the nose bridge between the 2 eyes. This is to stimulate a sensation at the bridge, so they can concentrate on that spot. When the blinds are able to concentrate on the 'mysterious gate of the square inch', the finger should be removed, both hands placing together.
Meditation for the mentally retarded - Parents/relatives can help their mentaally retarded kin to meditate. Use a small torch-light. Putting the lighted torch-light at the nose tip, show them to gaze at the light. They might not be easily taught. We need to set an example showing them how to do it. Or another person demonstrates, the second person teaches. Mentally retarded person can only do nasal gaze. The tongue curling up method is definitely quite impossible to teach them.
A Living meditator - We meditate not for the present, but for after death. New Testament, Hebrews chapter 9 verses 16 and 17 state 'For where there is a testament, the death of the testator needs to be established. A will is effective at death; it is not valid so long as the testator lives'.
What we should do is to live a life with our own limited means. In whatever status we are in, try to be contented and happy. If we are poor, be contented to be poor. Do not use meditation or other ulterior motives to gain wealth. If we are rich, also be contented to be rich. Help the poor and the underprivileged. It is no use to gain more riches but not contended or happy.
Raise a family and pass the meditation tradition down the later generations. It is important that we have families. Here I shall illustrate on Confucianism. See figure below.
A spiritual meditator can influence the outcome of the world. First it begins with oneself. He should purify his mind, tongue and body. If he is a family man, his spiritual being is able to influence his wife and children. What more, if he is the king/president of the country; the country will be prosperous and peaceful. All the evil elements present in the country will be driven away.
You can see the goodness of spiritual meditation. At whatever status you are in, you can influence other people, but do not jump the status by force. It is against Nature.
Naturally, a president who meditates can easily bring peace and prosperity to the people. On the other hand, a meditator who wants peace and prosperity for his country men, has to topple the president first and establishes himself. This is by no means easy to do. If Nature does not give him a mandate to rule, he has to be an ordinary citizen.
Confucius had no mandate to be emperor, but his moral cultivation and teaching earned him a continuous string of descendants. Likewise, if you meditate daily, you can have a continuous string of descendants. (males only are counted)
A meditator has to be watchful of his tongue. Talking bad about others is more sinful then committing vices. Criticizing is hurting others, while vices are self infliction. You must know the differences.
After having enough children, meditator has to learn to control his ejaculation. This is to conserve the vital body fluid. Sex without ejaculation is essential to man to improve youthfulness and longevity. This practice will not harm the wife, because female has reserve energy to supply. A precaution is not to overdo sex. It is even better for enlightenment, should a meditator abstain from sex and eat vegetarian food.
Meditation to Solve Our Problems - Our mind is the master of the body. Whatever sickness we get, it is the work of the mind. You can read the newspaper daily and see reporting on all sort of illnesses causing death and suffering. Example AIDS, this is like a punishment for unnatural sex, cancer - there are so many types. This is due to indulging in excessive vices, food, liquor, sex etc. Drinker knows the danger of liver cancer, but why he still drinks to excess? His mind!
We are living in a stressful world. This is the result of materialism. People think they are having a better life with big houses, cars, luxury, money etc. With this sort of life style, comes along with it various ailments. People worry thief might break-in. With good food, they become obese, need to attend aerobic classes or slimming classes etc. Living in comfort without much manual work, they lack of exercises. So they have to join sports clubs, go jogging, playing games etc. What they are doing is to waste more money to keep their bodies healthy. Is this enough?
Meditation is for the mind - the master of the body. When the mind is sound, the body will definitely be sound. Gazing at the nose tip actually is straining the optical muscles. This affect the pituitary gland behind them. This gland helps to regulate the body.
We feel more calm after meditation. This helps to reduce stress. Many sicknesses arise from stress. We will learn to control ourselves better after meditation. We can do a better job and have a better awareness of the surrounding.
One subject matter I would like to include here is sleeping position. January 1983 issue of Readers' Digest has an article on Bio-magnetism. From my deduction, we need to sleep in a head east, legs west position. See illustration on the figure at the left.
Sleeping in this position can help us mentally (calming effect) and physically (especially the bones). It is a slow process and take years to notice results.
There are many other matters to write, but I feel action is better than words. I let the readers have the actual feeling of the action rather than reading a long winded story. THE END
Edited on 7th June 2008