I looked into the type of meditation that they teach and got goose bumps. It is Dhammakaya meditation. From what I’ve read, they teach you to rest your mind in the center of your body. You can also imagine a small glowing sphere in the middle of your body, slightly above the navel. As your practice improves and your mind calms, supposedly this sphere glows and you experience different stages of inner peace and happiness, ultimately (when combined with other aspects of the Buddhist path) leading to enlightenment. From what I understand, they believe that this process helps us to reveal Buddha-nature or the true-self, which is always within us but is obscured because of the defilements and karma caused by our unskillful thoughts, speech, and actions. I have always liked this view of Buddha-nature, that it is our core nature but has simply been obscured, like a dirty lightbulb that needs to be polished.
The Buddha-nature and the sphere reminded me of an experience I wrote about in 2015 during the 49-day Buddha challenge:
My recent experience (the one that I’ve written about but haven’t decided on sharing or not) was sort-of a war between the instinct and the ego, between the biology and the intellect. They reached a truce, decided to work together, and became very still, as if tired from battle. The strange thing (to me) was that something other than emptiness emerged, or perhaps a better way to say is that something else was revealed – the spirit. I can’t think of a better way to describe the, not feeling, not awareness, not presence, not thing, yet also not not any of these, than a term I’ve seen in Buddhist texts – “luminous”. The image of a light calmly shining there as it always has been. As if a storm subsided and when the clouds dissipated, one could see the light of a lighthouse that you didn’t know was there. It feels like this is where “happy” comes from. I can’t help but smile when I see Amy-Leigh having fun. I can be completely distracted in thought, and then she will do something funny or have a great big smile on her face, and all of a sudden the thought ceases and I have an experience (feeling is not the right word) of happiness, of peace, of joy. I have sometimes referred to this as “my heart smiled”. This indicates that it was something within. I have gotten that feeling while watching the various sunsets, oceans, snow falling, and I have always just attributed it to beauty and being calm. But now I think it is something else. It is not a result of external factors, it is that the external factors create a situation in which the instincts and mind relax so that the spirit is revealed. It was the spirit all along. This is why spiritual teachers throughout the ages have urged us to look within, not externally, for peace and happiness. It is already there, just waiting to be accessed.
I am planning on starting a meditation practice this year, and I think that I may become a practicing Buddhist for reals this year. The prospect of finding a group that teaches a way to access the experience that I felt above is so exciting. Oh yeah, and their motto is “world peace through inner peace”. Amen! I will post about my experience.
May this be a year of positive transformation within ourselves. I think we could all use some of that. And may this be a year of positive transformation in the world. The gods know we could all need that!
Metta to all beings,
P.S. I think that this may be my 200th post. Cool!