Wealth Deities: Generating Karma for Prosperity by Practicing Generosity
Purifying Negative Karma Advice Video: How to Purify Obstructions and Defilements with Vajrasattva Practice and Other Buddhist Meditations, Answered by Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
How a Home Retreat Helps Busy People Manage Time and Save Money; How to Do It, and Why it is Necessary
Buddhist Teacher Advice Video 7: Keeping Motivated in Your Daily Practice, Answered by Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
8 Rights: The Noble Eightfold Path — the Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching
BW Interview: Theodore Tsaousidis, a Teacher Who Focuses on Healing Practices in Tibetan Buddhism, Zen Meditation and Shamanism
EVENT: Lamrim The Stages on the Path to Enlightenment Lecture Series on Thursdays at Gaden Choling Toronto
Scientific Buddhist: Why Incense is More Than Just a Pleasant Backdrop to Meditation; Research Reveal Brain Health Benefits
Teacher Advice Video 6: What Advice Would You Give to a Student New to Buddhism as Starting Practices? — — Answered by Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
Female Enlightened Manifestations and Female Teachers and Lamas — Wisdom in Action; Reader Poll and Interview with Lama Shannon Young
EVENT: Geshe Thubten Sherab Weekend Teachings March 24-28, 2017 in Greater Toronto Area: Lama Tsongkhapa Meditation Practice and Lamrim
The Science of Mantras: Mantras Work With or Without Faith; Research Supports the Effectiveness of Sanskrit Mantra for Healing — and Even Environmental Transformation
Mama Buddha Tara: Compassionate Action; Stories of Tara the Rescuer
Happy Losar: How to Bring in the Auspiciousness of the Fire Bird and Celebrate the Traditions and Fun of Tibetan New Year of the Rooster. Tashi Delek!
BW Interview: Emma Slade Gave Up a Career in Finance to Become A Buddhist Nun After a Traumatic Incident; She Went On to Author Set Free and to Spearhead Fundraising for Special Needs Children in Bhutan
Happy Dakini Day! An Introduction to the Wisdom of the Female Enlightened Dakinis in Buddhism.
Illness and Cancer Advice: Video, Buddhist Teachers Answer  — — Advice for students with aggressive illnesses such as cancer, supportive practices Medicine Buddha and Black Manjushri (with full Medicine Buddha Sutra)
A Great Teacher Has Passed: The Learned and Inspiring Gelek Rimpoche of Jewel Heart International Passed Away
Karma is Not Fate: Why Karma is Empowering
Scientific Buddhist: Peer Reviewed Studies Demonstrate Buddhist Metta Loving Kindness Meditation Can Slow Aging, Increase Brain Matter, and Decrease PTSD and Schizophrenia —Ten Benefits of Compassion
Video: Students Ask the Buddhist Teacher: What advice would you give for a student who is dealing with the loss of a pet? Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
“Get Away From Her!”: Like Ripley in the movie Aliens, Palden Lhamo, the Terrifying Enlightened Emanation of Tara, Drives Off Your Inner and Outer Demons and Obstacles
Using Mindfulness to Combat Memory Loss, Early Alzheimers or Dementia: Helpful Video Advice from Buddhist Teacher Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, with the full Satipatthana Sutra
Video: Celebrating 40 Years of Dharma Practice in Remote Tasmania! One of the oldest Dharma centers in the West Commemorates with Retreat, and a Party
Vajrayana Visualization can Generate Body Heat, Heal, and Manifest Deity Qualities Helping Overcome Ego
Tantric Wrathful Deities: The Psychology and Extraordinary Power of Enlightened Beings in Their Fearsome Form
Buddha Weekly Celebrates 10 Years of Publishing Buddhist Feature Stories, Teacher Interviews, and News: We Look Back at Our Successes and Failures
Happy Chinese New Year — Year of the Fire Rooster 2017
BW Interview: Bön Teacher Chaphur Rinpoche Explains How Bön is Different, and Similar, to the Five Buddhist Schools in Tibet
Can Buddhism Continue to Flourish as the World’s Second Largest Spiritual Path as the Current Lineage Teachers Begin to Slow Down and Retire?
Video Advice from the Buddhist Teachers on Bereavement: Advice for Someone Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One.
Meditation Techniques for People With Unsettled Monkey Minds
The Emptiness of Prayer—Who Do We Pray To? “You and the Buddha are not separate realities.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
Part 2 Interview: Alejandro Anastasio, Martial Arts and Dharma Teacher, Sees a Special Relationship Between Martial Arts and Buddhism: Dharma in Action
Heart Sutra: Why it’s My Favorite Sutra
Advice from the Teachers: How do we purify negative karma? Do you have advice for people confused by karma?
Meditation is Good For You: A How To

Meditation is Good For You: A How To

Every day I find a little time for mindfulness sitting meditation, and as often as possible I practice mindfulness while walking, performing chores—taking out the garbage, shovelling snow, Tai Chi. Mindfulness is an important practice in virtually all schools of Buddhist thought, and in one form or another, most Buddhists practice it. From formal Chan practice, such as archery or KungFu practice in Shaolin, to facing the wall meditation, to active mindful chore meditation, to mantra or sutta recitation, to simple things like making offerings—all are methods of practicing mindfulness.

Benefits of Mindfulness Practice

There are manifold benefits to practice, not least of which are abandoning the clinging to the past and the worry about the future, both of which are the path of suffering. Daily practice, inexorably takes us to a place where lofty ideas like enlightened thinking is actually possible.

Personally, I find mindfulness practice has many other benefits beyond the main purpose of practice. It inspires courage by removing the worry about the future. What is there to be afraid of when you are in the present moment? It improves concentration in all tasks, making you more productive at work or play. It makes you much more attentive, making you a real blessing to your family and friends.

Meditation with a mala on Buddhis Mantras is healthy
Meditation with a mala on Buddhis Mantras is healthy, not only for the spiritual being, but for the body.

Mindfulness Proven to Reduce Stress
The most commonly mentioned benefit of mindfulness training—the very reason it is studied at every major medical university and used in psychiatry practice—is the known link between mindfulness and benefits to health through reduction of stress. To this, I can personally attest. Increased energy, improved self-esteem, ability to relax and sleep, and a general ability to cope with modern life are also often cited.

Man praying and meditating
Bowing or clasping hands in Namaste is a form of mindful meditation

Science Proves Mindfulness Positively Alters the Brain
Apparently, it goes beyond all these already extraordinary benefits, by benefiting us in terms of bodily and neurological health. A May 2011 study in Neuroimage, which has been making the rounds of lofty publications and the science community, indicates that mindfulness physically changes the brain for the better. According to an article by Carolyn Schatz, an editor at Harvard Medical School publications, “all this focusing and refocusing is increasing brain connectivity. Researchers in Los Angeles, California compared the brain activity of volunteers who had finished eight weeks of mindfulness-based stress reduction training with that of volunteers who did not do such training. Functional MRI scans showed stronger connections in several regions of the meditators’ brains—especially those associated with attention and auditory and visual processing.”
Many studies support the supposition—based on extensive evidence—that there are substantive health benefits associated with mindfulness meditation. More importantly, from a Buddhist point of view, the research specifically points to an actual alteration of brain function and also body function at a fundamental level. Dr. Herbert Benson, director of Mind-Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital discovered that mindfulness training can actually turn specific sets of genes on and off in people who practice regularly. These genes improve the body’s ability to handle free radicals, inflammation, pain, and even cell death.

Mindfulness Improves Physical Health
Other studies have shown that mindfulness meditation improves immune system function, can eliminate food cravings and binge eating, reduce stress and improve cardio-vascular health.
So, when I practice White Tara mantra mindfulness meditation, perhaps I am physically changing my body, probably enhancing my ability to prevent cell death (longer life, which is one of White Tara’s manifold blessings), reducing pain and removing free radicals which cause many diseases (also one of the many benefits of White Tara practice.) In other words, science proves that faith alone is not needed, since regardless of faith, mindfulness simply works.

[box type=”shadow”]I can also personally attest to the power of White Tara’s mantra in my own life. It simply has helped me overcome major issues relating to health, where medicine failed. Her mantra is
Oṃ Tāre Tuttāre Ture Mama Ayuḥ Punya Jñānā Puṣtiṃ Kuru Svāhā[/box]

Mindfulness Meditation How To
At it’s simplest, mindfulness is about keeping us in the present, allowing us to shed the clinging to the past and the worries of the future. For this reason, the most common techniques include sitting, standing or walking meditation involving single-minded focus on:
• the breath
• mantra repetition
• emptiness practice (focusing on nothing—which is an element of all mindfulness practice)
• observing practice — simply observing your own thoughts, your own body, the sounds around you
• focus on any single thought, word or phrase
• martial arts or repetitive physical acts such as archery, Tai Chi, Kung Fu but with single-minded focus.
The key skill, that develops over time—apparently because we are actually altering our neural pathways and brain function, according to these studies—is to allow stray thoughts to happen, observe them, but then refocus on the single-minded focus point. It takes practice. It’s relaxing. It allows you to remove the obstacles to enlightenment. And it’s good for the health.

Leave a reply

Are you a Sentient Being? *

Copyright Buddha Weekly 2007-2017. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to excerpt stories with full credit and a link to Budddha Weekly. Please do not use more than an excerpt. Subject to terms of use and privacy statement. All information on this site, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote  understanding and knowledge. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, including medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Buddha Weekly does not recommend or endorse any information that may be mentioned on this website. Reliance on any information appearing on this website is solely at your own risk.