Early I had a blog entry about Catholic monks. Now I had the opportunity to ask the above question to two Thai Buddhist monks who were visiting Joensuu for a few days. I spoke with them briefly before a couple of meditation sessions that my good friend Antony invited me to (which they kind of took us through).
So why would you want to become a monk?
I was told earlier that in certain Buddhist traditions every boy is expected to spend a period of 3-6 months as a monk (as a sign of love to his mother), but only certain ones decide to continue to live in the monastery and spend their life as a monk.
One of these monks said that he wanted to become a monk since he was a small boy. He always spent all his extra time at the temple which was in his village, respected the monks, and knew that is what he wanted to do.
The other monk said that he came from a very poor family and always wanted an education beyond the primary school. Being a monk allowed him to continue his studies, and he has now graduated from the Buddhist university in linguistics, having studied semitic languages and Buddhist traditions.
Both seemed very happy (aside from the cold weather, that is.)
I’ve never tried Buddhist meditation before, but I found it quite difficult yet enjoyable. I also think it is a healthy thing to do. There are different kinds, but we sat with our legs crossed, back straight but not rigid, and hands comfortably in our lap. You close your eyes and only focus on “seeing” your breathing. Wherever you feel your breath the most (tip of nose, throat, stomach, etc), you try to focus on that area – and clear your mind of any other thought.
I don’t know if you have ever sat for an entire hour before in the same position and just tried to only focus on one thing in the moment – but it is tough. As I was sitting there, my brain kept rushing through thoughts of things that had happened or things that were coming up which I needed to do. It was also difficult not to be distracted as my legs and butt slowly felt more discomfort from sitting in the same position, as I felt an itch on my face, or as some other distraction occurred in the room – but supposedly those distractions provide the best opportunities to really focus on your breathing in deeper way.
Why I think meditation is healthy?
Here are my thoughts, but if anyone else knows better – feel free to correct me.
There seems to be something good about being in the present moment. Slowing down enough so that your conscience can speak – digging past appearance to substance – transcending the immediate emotion or feeling to the deeper parts of existence and the core of who you are. (Although it is not about Buddhism, it reminds me of movie called “Peaceful Warrior” which I would recommend that deals with being in the present moment. It is one of my favorite movies at the moment. 🙂
Maybe I’m totally missing some of the most important things, so feel free to correct me if you know any better.
I’m curious what stuff other people do to slow down for a bit and contemplate?
Or does anyone know any other reasons why meditation is healthy?