Drepung Loseing Monastery monks gave attendees advice on meditation, stress relief

Meg Grice

With midterms, allergies and general life obstacles, life taxes us as much as it fills our days with satisfaction. Fortunately, there are multiple avenues for regaining enjoyment and peace with oneself.

On Thursday, monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery hosted a lecture titled, “Monastery, Meditation for Focus and Stress Relief.”

Sheling Rinpoche and Geshe Rinchen, after removing their shoes and setting down small circular pillows, began with a prayer. Rinchen and Rinpoche additionally thanked the audience for coming to the event.

Meditation focuses on a particular object, claimed Rinchen. There were three main points to the presentation: what is meditation, the body’s posture and the benefits of the process as a whole.

Rinchen referred to a seven point posture for an ideal state. First, one sits in a lotus position with the left foot on the right foot. Second, one’s right hand rests on the left with thumbs touchings. The spine should also be straight, “…like [an] arrow” and the are shoulders relaxed with open arms. Third, there should be approximately four fingers distance from the chin to the chest, and the eyes should be partially closed. Finally, the tongue rests on the top palet in the mouth.

“Energy flows smoothly” with the idea of the seven point posture, Rinchen said.

Relating to our present day, Rinchen said how for “…people with busy schedules, [meditation] brings calmness.”

“Our mind is like a wild elephant attached to a rope,” Rinchen said.

The rope is like mindfullness, we are the elephant, and the tree is the object. Without the object, we cannot do meditation.”

However, this object can vary for each person. A Buddhist statue could work for some but may not work for others. As an example, Rinchen pointed out how a student in college might focus on a specific subject.

Bad thoughts come and go in everyone’s mind, Rinchen said. Attachment, hatred and ignorance, the three main sources of negativity, are nevertheless important, however.

It is natural for them to come and go. We must allow them to come and go, because these distractions will not stay forever. Recognizing the sources of distraction, we take our focus back, this is happiness, according to the monks.

Though Rinchen explained how the morning is the ideal time for meditation, any time that works best for an individual is acceptable. Doing five minutes each day, and then progressively increasing the allotted amount is an excellent way to start.