What types of meditation session do you offer?
We offer in individual and group sessions. We have one or two one-day retreats per year. Each meditation session generally held in guided meditation. Middle Way Meditation uses mantra “Samma Arahung” and/or visualize crystal ball at the 7th base to still our mind.
We do not charge meditation and Dhamma instruction. For the Buddhist practice of generosity, donations are given to provide financial support so that our center can continue to offer meditation sessions at no charge. Donations are tax-deductible. Please write your name and address on the donation envelope should you need the receipt to be sent to you.
If you are coming to a session and have never meditated before, we recommend that you read our instruction in this website. We also recommend that you start to do some meditation on your own using the audio file in our website just so you have a little bit of experience before you get here. But no experience is required for beginner.
To register for a Saturday session, visit our schedule page. Then select the date you want to come and click on register.
To register for a personal training, use our contact form to request a session with our Buddhist monk. You must have joined Saturday day session to register for a personal intensive meditation guidance. Ten hours of meditation sessions are required for the personal session. If you do not meet this guideline; you may register as a visitor on weekday and Saturday session and follow our daily schedule.
Stretching: Simple Yoga is offered before the meditation session and it is optional.
Meditation: Meditation involves sitting meditation and being mindful at all other times.
Dhamma Talk: Buddhist philosophy and meditation tips are discussed. (optional)
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You are welcome to sit either on the floor or on the chair. The balancing and relaxing sitting posture will help you find the center of body easily and allow you to relax your mind. If you sit uncomfortably, you will focus on your aching rather than on your mind. Please adjust your sitting posture and relax your body first. For newcomer, you are encouraged to sit comfortably in a chair. Sit with your back straight, your shoulder relaxed, your feet are flat on the floor (cushions are available to support your feet). The cross-legged posture is only suitable for those whose body is flexible or has been trained to sit cross-legged before. If you sit cross-legged, please sit with your back straight, and shoulder relaxed, place your palms up with right palm over your left palm and place them closely to your body. Use sitting cushion to help you get your back straight. If a person’s sitting cushion is too low, the sitting bones, pelvis, and lumbar (low back) will often push back, and the upper body will slump forward. On the other hand, a cushion that is too high will cause the pelvis to shift too far forward, and create swayback in lumbar (low back). So, it is in generally advisable for a new comer to engage in trial and error experimentation to try different height of sitting cushion that feels comfortable and appropriate for their body, as well as trying sitting forward and back on a cushion. We provide firm cushion. Chairs are provided in the back of the hall for those who need them. You are also welcome to bring your own cushion.
While meditating in the hall, should you need to change your posture or need to go to bathroom, please do so quietly. Please be courteous of your neighbors.
Where is the center of our body and mind ?
In this meditation, the center of the body and mind is two finger breaths above the level of the navel, deep in the center of the body. The center of the mind is the awareness itself. We bring the awareness to the center of the body so that the mind and the body will be in balance. Through the point at the center of the body, we have found that there are numerous dimensions of the body and mind overlaid on top of each other so that all of them have a common center. We can think of this point at the center of the body as a doorway through which, with meditation, we can explore the multitudinous dimensions of ourselves, to find the true peace and happiness. By placing the body and mind together, so that they share the same center, we can create the highest amount of concentration in all dimensions of ourselves, and multiply peace and happiness without limit.
What is the meaning of ‘Samma-Araham’, and why repeat it ?
Samma-Araham is a compound term derived from ancient Indian philosophy. Samma is a prefix which means the righteous one. In ancient Indian philosophy, there was the belief that all human beings, regardless of nationality or faith, have their own goal of highest achievement. This goal they called the arahant and the one who achieves it they called arahanta. The compounded term Samma-Araham means the righteous absolute of attainment of a human being. Samma-Araham needs to be repeated because we use the term as a mantra to prevent the mind from wandering from one idea to another during meditation. Using the mantra, the mind can be trained to rest at the center of the body, because the sound of the words produces a slight vibration in the mind which helps the awareness to move in the direction of happiness and peace. You can use other words instead but any word which is chosen to be used should have positive associations and should not lead to passion, hatred or delusion. It should be repeated until the mind is calm and peaceful. After this stage, the sound of the mantra will fade away by itself, leaving just the crystal ball shining and still at the center of our body. Our reason for using the mantra is just a technique for training the mind to rest at the center of the body, inside the crystal ball.
Why is the crystal ball used as the object of meditation in the Dhammakaya technique ?
First of all, we don’t need to use a crystal ball. Any object of meditation will do as long as you have a positive feeling towards it, or at least a neutral one. Also, the object of meditation should be chosen which does not increase the level of passion, hatred or delusion in your mind. Meditating upon the image of your husband or wife will not make for very good meditation because it will increase your level of passion and this will destroy any degree of calm which you had already attained.
By contrast, a flower is a good object of meditation, as is the moon or the sun, because for most people these things arouse a positive feeling. If you can think of nothing better, why not try visualizing the pillow which you use to sleep each night ?
The important thing is to bring the object to rest at the center of the body, because this is where the most successful degree of concentration can be developed. You will find that whatever the object you originally chose, it will turn to become a crystal ball, in the course of meditation progress, if it is maintained at the center of the body. This is natural law of meditation.
In my tradition, we recommend all people to meditate upon a crystal ball at the center of the body because firstly, it gives the meditator a shortcut, to put the crystal ball at the center of the body from ‘day one’. It saves time from being wasted with many transformations of the visualized image (parikamma-nimitta).
Secondly, across all cultures, the crystal ball is received with a positive, or at least a neutral feeling. In no culture do you find that the crystal ball has associations which are evil!
Thirdly, the crystal ball is bright, clear and pure. When the mind concentrates upon these qualities, it tends to become a mind of brightness, clarity and purity: the qualities of the mind which lead to success in meditation.
With meditation aren’t we supposed to free our mind of all attachment? Why then do we attach to a crystal ball?
Yes, we are supposed to free our mind of all attachment, but the word “non-attachment” can also be an attachment. If we have no specific object of concentration, we can no longer ascertain in our meditation whether we are attached to something or not. So, we contemplate on the crystal ball, which is an acquired attachment which we use as a “vehicle for crossing over”. It carries our awareness to a higher state. It is like a raft for crossing over a river, once we have crossed the river, we no longer have to carry the raft. We use the crystal ball in the beginning just to make our mind clear and bright. The quality of the mind is uplifted. Once its purpose has been fulfilled, we don’t continue with the crystal ball, but carry on with something else.
Can meditation be dangerous?
Meditation is like everything else in the world. It has both benefits and dangers too. But there is substantially more benefit than harm that comes from practicing meditation. Meditation creates happiness, peace, creative intelligence and a meaningful life. However, as far as I can see, there are only two dangers.
Firstly, if one enjoys meditation too much and no longer fulfills one’s duties in society, that can ruin one’s career. In such a case, it is better to turn professional and become a monk instead!
Secondly, something common to all sorts of meditation is that it is not suitable for those suffering from the mental illness called “schizophreni”. Those suffering from schizophrenia should never meditate using any technique of meditation. These people cannot control their own awareness at all. While their teacher is trying to explain something they may be listening instead to delusions and hallucinations. They cannot tell which experiences are the real ones, and which ones are fantasy. As far as I am aware, these are the only points of caution concerning meditation.
When I meditate, I’m not sure if I’m focusing exactly at the center of the body two finger breadths above the navel or not. How can I be certain?
It is not necessary to be too exacting when finding the point at the center of the body. If you like, you can imagine the point at the center of your body is enlarged so that it fills the whole of your stomach, that way you can be sure that you?re on target. In actual fact as soon as your mind comes to a standstill within this approximate area, it will automatically adjust to the exact center required by itself.
Other methods of meditation :
Is Dhammakaya meditation compatible with a mindfulness of breathing?
Certainly. You can do this by placing your awareness at the center of your body. You can feel the full extent of the breath, from the beginning to the end. Aanaapaanasati means the awareness of in-and-out breathing. So you can call Dhammakaya meditation, aanaapaanasati or mindfullness of breathing.
However, there is more to Dhammakaya meditation than this. Dhammakaya meditation also employs the practice of visualization using “kasina” (concentration on a subject or image which we use as a nucleus for our awareness), which is internal to our body. Above all, the most important thing about the Dhammakaya meditation technique is that the awareness is placed at the center of the body. With the attention here, inside the body, instead of outside the body (as is generally the case with aanaapaanasati meditation), you can create not only concentration but also self-awareness. back
Is there any relationship between Dhammakaya meditation and the cultivation of life-force in the Chinese art of Qi-gong?
The two techniques are close to each other in a certain way: but there are some differences too.
The similarity between the two techniques is that they both emphasize a single point: the center of the body.
Dhammakaya meditation focuses at a point two finger breadths above the navel.
Qi-gong focuses at a point two finger breadths below the navel. There is however a difference between the aims of the two techniques. The Dhammakaya meditation pays more attention to spiritual attainments, with this technique the effects of meditation are more far-reaching and can bring the body into a state of balance.
Chinese martial arts are generally practiced simply with the aim to cultivate the life-force and cultivate well-being and longevity of the physical body; perhaps the spiritual benefits come later.
Conditions for Meditation :
Does the food you eat influence meditation?
Yes. The amount and the quality of the food you eat both have an influence on meditation. To begin with, the quality of the food; if you eat too much you will get sleepy easily; if you don’t have enough food your health will be poor and you will feel continuously tired and weak. The quality of the food has an effect too; substances like alcohol and non-medical drugs are addictive, disturbing the awareness and destroying the ability to meditate.
Spicy food may sometimes disturb you by irritating the digestive system, making you feel unwell and unfit for meditation.
One should have a balanced diet which contains every type of nutrient known to nature. In this way you will maintain a healthy body and a healthy life in order to attain the full potential of meditation.
Are there any prohibitions which the meditator should observe?
Let’s say there are no prohibitions, but there is a baseline of decency towards all sentient life, which all meditators should observe. There are called the “Five rules of training” or “Five Precepts” namely:
- To abstain from killing or taking the lives of others
- To abstain from taking things which are not giving, thieving or stealing the property of others
- To abstain from sexual relationships outside marriage
- To abstain from telling lies
- To abstain from consuming alcohol or drugs which destroy the state of awareness.
Besides following these rules of training, you should be kind and ready to help other people. This should be your base-line of normal behavior as a sentient human being. If you follow these natural norms of behavior, you will find that your meditation improves a lot.
What is the point of meditating if you have no problems in the first place?
I have read many articles on the effects of meditation and even science shows us that meditation can reduce stress and depression in the people affected by these conditions. Do you have to be a person with serious problems to get any benefit from meditation or can normal people benefit too?
More than 150 pieces of research have been conducted on meditation by scientists since 1935.
- Meditation has indeed been shown to help people with physical and spiritual problems.
- Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, aggression, neuroticism and addictions.
- Meditation has also been shown to increase mental stability, self-actualization, self-confidence, sociability and scores on intelligence tests.
As for people who do not consider themselves to have problems, meditation has also helped to create more happiness and fulfillment in life.
Meditation has helped to increase people’s flexibility to environmental change, boosted performance in sports, improved job satisfaction, increased work production efficiency, development of work skills and study scores.
What is the difference between meditation and self-hypnotism?
Meditation is the natural process of mental development. Self-hypnotism is an artificial process of conditioning your memory, so that some form of behavior, feeling or sensation will be changed according to the conditions. A distinguishing feature of self-hypnosis is that it produces a loss of self-awareness, because the object of concentration used for hypnosis is external to the body.
In true meditation, the object of concentration is inside the body and the more you meditate, the more the self-awareness increases.
Is it true that in meditation a person is oblivious to his surroundings?
It depends on the degree of advancement of his meditation. If one develops strong enough concentration, the meditator will experience nothing but his own internal awareness. At this stage the crystal ball will be very bright and clear. The meditator will have the experience of being completely alone in solitude. It is a moment of delight, a moment of joy, a moment of satisfaction and happiness in the depths of the mind.
How does meditation increase one’s intelligence?
It increases one 5 intelligence by reducing the level of defilements in the mind. Take an analogy – the nature of the mind is clear and bright but it has defilements in it which, like the mud and pollution in clear water, make it clouded and dull.
Meditation is a process which allows the impurities to settle-out. Meditation precipitates the defilements of the mind, and allows the nature of the mind which is bright and clear, to reveal itself. One of the natural qualities of the mind is ‘intelligence’, in the absence of combination with anxiety, passion, enmity, folly or hatred. The natural mind is full of wisdom and compassion.
Meditation and Sleep :
Can meditation replace sleep?
Meditation can help sleep to become more effective. It can help us to sleep deeper. In a very short period of time, one can refresh one 5 awareness through meditation and allow us to make the most of our time of sleep. Together with meditation, sleep can be minimized.
However, there are still some people in my experience who require no sleep at all, but only need meditation to keep their body and mind refreshed all the time. Even the Lord Buddha himself spent four hours asleep each night. However, there were some of his disciples who spent most of their time during the night contemplating in meditation without going to bed.
What do you recommend for people who sleep badly?
I recommend the creation of loving-kindness, especially in the evening, just before going to bed. Cultivating loving-kindness re-shapes the personality of the meditator, creating an optimistic view of human nature, making one more understanding, more compassionate and warm towards other people.
The change of relationship with the world engendered by the cultivation of loving-kindness will free the mind of the things which cause restless sleep. Cultivating loving-kindness will change the pattern of sleeping for the better.
When I meditate before going to bed, I find it difficult to sleep afterwards until late at night. Why is this?
Perhaps the technique with which you meditate aggravates a form of energy inside your mind and makes it difficult for you to sleep. I suggest you allow the mind to relax before bed-time.
Create the light of peace and love for all. With this warm feeling for all sentient beings, you can sleep very well. You will enter smoothly into deep sleep.
Meditation and Medicine :
Can practicing meditation be of help those suffering from stress problems?
Yes, it is very good. If you learn to meditate you will minimize all the stress in your daily life.
Can a person on “tranquilizers” do meditation?
Yes, they can do meditation, but they may not be as successful as people who are not on any particular type of drugs. It is best to meditate with a healthy mind, free from drugs or chemicals of any kind. A natural mind is a healthy mind.
I am physically quite ill. How can meditation help?
As with any disease or illness, meditation can help you to get rid of stress. The doctor can be responsible for your disease, but there is no-one who can be responsible for your mind, unless you yourself are responsible. No-one else can take responsibility for this. This responsibility can be the drive for you to meditate.
With meditation you can take care of yourself. Patients who have less stress, will make a faster recovery than those with a tense mind.
Will meditation help an insane person, for example a schizophrenic?
I am afraid that there are particular kinds of mental disease like schizophrenia, which are incompatible with meditation of any kind. This group of people have an imbalance of neuro-chemicals in their brain. Consequently, they cannot learn from a meditation teacher because they cannot distinguish genuine instructions from auditory hallucinations.
For this group of people, it is more beneficial for them to use their time doing good works in society, practicing charity and following the moral precepts. They will always need support, love and understanding from healthy people as well.