Buddha under the tree

The buddha statue under the tree More than 2500 years ago, a person sat beneath a tree and vowed not to get up until they had discovered the truth. At first, he was confronted with the dark forces of delusion, but by nightfall they could not deter him or break his resolve. By dawn, through the strength of his concentration as the star of venus appeared, he fully awaked to the full potential of human existence. This person is known today as the Buddha.

What Buddha discovered was that the basis of all our suffering and dissatisfaction is due to ignorance of our true nature. The root of our ignorance was a simple, but extremely stubborn habit—we are distracted from who we really are. We are lost in mind’s projections—thoughts, emotions and sensations—never turning our attention toward their source. We never get to know the mind itself.

Buddha saw that to bring an end to suffering, all we have to do is cut the habit of distraction and bring the mind home to itself. Buddha taught that through the practice of meditation we can end the habit of distraction and discover our true nature.

Take a moment to just sit with your mind. Observe the how thoughts and emotions rise and fall. Can you simply remain present or do you get lost in thinking about them? If you notice you have become distracted, come back to observing.

The practice of meditation is very easy with few instructions. The most common way to meditate is by placing your attention lightly on your breathing. If you feel the sensation of the inhalation and exhalation of the breath, that is meditation. But of course after a while we forget all about the breath, we become lost in thinking about thoughts. But the moment you realize you are distracted just come back to the sensation of the breath going in and going out. Feeling the breath is meditation, recognizing that you have become distracted is also meditation. Normally we get distracted and we don’t notice. But now, during the meditation session we are noticing.

Sit either on the bench or on the grass in front of the Buddha statue. Now place your attention lightly on the sensation of breathing. If you notice you’ve become distracted, come back to the breath.