Being an ancient city in a Buddhist country with many visitors curious about our customs, beliefs and traditions, Chiang Mai’s Monk Chat, founded in 2000, provides visitors with a unique opportunity for visitors to experience Buddhism by chatting with monks, asking questions about Buddhism, culture, tradition, ways of life of monks or simply meditating.
The Monk Chat Programme on behalf of Mahachulalongkornrajvidalaya Buddhist University, Chiang Mai Campus, welcomes all to visit and informally talk with monks.
In addition, Monk Chat also provides a Meditation Retreat Workshop (Concentration Meditation and Vipassana Meditation) which is the way to make the mind peaceful, and to develop transcendent insight which penetrates into the truth of life.
Let’s do meditation
Have you ever found yourself, when faced with a problem, feeling stressed and as if you are losing control in life? If you have, that is because you have never trained your mind and developed your mindfulness. Those who have practiced meditation are more likely able to control themselves than others. They also are mindful and less negligent in their daily life.
Today I’d like you to do basic meditation. Actually, there are many different kinds of meditation. But today I am going to tell you a meditation practice which the Buddha suggested monks practice. It’s easy, and saves you time and work. This meditation practice is called “Anapanasati” or Mindfulness of Breathing. It is the observing of your exhalation and inhalation. If you like to practice just follow the simple instructions as follows:
Before doing meditation:
- Find a quiet place that is airy and not crowded to avoid distractions.
- Leave all worries — such as your work
- Keep your expectations opens, because worrying if you’re doing it right will cause you stress prevent you from controlling your mind and being in the present moment
While doing meditation:
- Sit in a cross-legged posture, put your right leg over your left leg, then place your right hand on your left hand on your lap. After that, sit upright; your back and head, should not lay back because it will make you fall asleep. Those who can not sit cross-legged can sit on the chair. Then close your eyes slowly.
- Then, just observe your breath in and out. Or, you can imagine yourself like a tree, when you breathe in, imagine the wind is up to the tip of the tree and when you breathe out, imagine the wind flow down to the root of the tree.
- For the beginner, you should set as much time as you want. In the beginning, you should try 5 – 15 minutes then gradually extend the time. If you feel pain in any part of your body, be patient as much as you can. But if you cannot remain still, just move slowly and mindfully because when you move you could lose concentration. If you can stay still until the pain disappears, you will feel comfortable.
- When thoughts come to your mind, just acknowledge them and let them pass but do not pay attention to them.
- Whatever occurs while doing meditation, don’t be afraid because all happenings are only thoughts.
How to breathe:
Those who are doing meditation may not know how to breathe in the right way. I have good suggestions for a early beginners, as follows:
First step: Breath in deeply as much as you can.
Second step: Stop for a while then count in your mind from 1 to 5, in order to fill your lungs with oxygen
Third step: Slowly breathe out. Repeat this breathing pattern at least ten times, then breathe normally.
Hopefully, these tips will be useful for you as you do meditation.
If you would like to do meditation, just come to MCU Monk Chat at Wat Suan Dok. Here we provide meditation courses specially for foreigners.
Contact Monk Chat:
Academic affairs, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Chiang Mai Campus,
Wat Suan Dok, Suthep Road
Tel. +668 460 9135 7 Fax. +66 5327 0452
Facebook: monk chat mcu.chiangmai