Sit cross-legged with your right leg on your left leg and your right hand on your left hand. If you find this position uncomfortable, you can sit on a cushion or a chair. In any case, your right index should touch your left thumb. Close your eyes very gently as if you are about to sleep. Empty your mind of all kinds of thoughts. Breathe in deeply and gently exhale a few times. Relax every muscle in your body.
Imagine that the inside of your body is hollow as well—with no internal organs. Rest your mind at the center of the body, which is located inside at the level of two fingers width above the navel.
If you find it hard to bring attention to the center of the body, you can rest your mind elsewhere inside the body where you feel most comfortable. Calmly and silently observe whatever image that arises-- whether it is darkness or bright light or anything else, just accept it without any thought.
When resting your mind at the center of the body or anywhere else inside the body, make sure not to strain the eyes. In meditation, we see with the mind, not with the physical eyes; that’s why we close them.
If your mind wanders, you can use visualization to help keep your mind still. To do so, imagine that a crystal ball is floating in the middle of your stomach. You can use other neutral objects that you’re familiar with such as an orange, a football or the moon. You can also repeat the mantra ‘Summa Arahung’ which means virtuous path, away from impurities of the mind.
Continue to rest mind at the center of the body and make no judgment or emotional response to whatever you experience. For beginners, we suggest that you practice meditation for 15 to 30 minutes in the morning and near the bedtime, and increase the length of time, say up to one hour, as you feel more comfortable.
Depending on the degree of stillness and clarity of your mind, after a while you will experience a sense of peacefulness and refreshing joy as if you’ve just come out of an inner spa.
If you feel tense afterwards, chances are you might be trying too hard. Open your eyes, adjust your sitting position until you feel comfortable, and start over again.
If you feel asleep, perhaps you need to focus more on the center of the body. Take a few deep breaths and silently repeat the mantra ‘summa arahung.’ If sleepiness persists, perhaps you are physically tired, just allow yourself to doze off a bit before starting over again.
Stilling the mind is an art, and key to mastering the Dhammakaya meditation. There are many other ways to still the mind, which suit different individuals for different reasons. If you would like to explore other alternatives in detail, we’d suggest that you come to learn meditation and receive personalized guidance that best fits your unique character from experienced teaching monks at our village.