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Buddhadharma : Summer 2015
summer 2015 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 65 The Spirit of Practice If we’re not careful, says ajahn munindo, we can get attached to the technique of meditation and lose touch with its spirit. Sometimes we need to take a more creative approach. M any of us have read some of the scientific articles extolling the ben- efits of meditation. Research into the effects of meditation practice on the brain has produced evidence of considerable benefits. I’ve also come across articles disparaging and discouraging Buddhist meditation. Some people who have tried it, but after a while given up, claim it can be unhelpful, dangerous, and maybe even life destroying. These claims are not necessarily by people who haven’t tried hard, who have perhaps just done one vipassana course in India before giving up. Sometimes they’re from people who have hammered away at meditation for years but eventually become disillusioned. I’m not really surprised by such results. When we first come across these teachings, they present us not just with something to believe in but also with something we can actually do in relationship to our consciousness, and this gives us hope. So we enter into the experience of meditation with enthusiasm, confidence, and energy. We throw ourselves into practice, and maybe we get some results. Then what do we do? Once we’ve had some experience, especially one that feels special, it’s easy to cling to the memory. If it was pleasant, we may try to duplicate it. If it wasn’t, we may still cling to the memory, afraid that it may be repeated. Sometimes the way meditation is taught overemphasizes technique. And clinging to technique can lead to clinging to results. In the beginning, we learn from the techniques. But that’s not all there is to meditation. It took me a long paintings by michael newhall