If you are new to Buddhist meditation, you might find it helpful to know something about our sessions before you come along.
In many ways, Buddhism is the odd one out among the religions of the world, because it has nothing to say about ‘God’! In our sessions, we do not require participants to have any agreed concept of ‘God’, so you could also be a member of any faith group, or none at all. Buddhism certainly has a philosophical and spiritual ‘message’, but this can be shared equally by all, and our emphasis is on meditation practice rather than Buddhist theory.
You may have heard of ‘meditation’ which involves elaborate techniques to achieve a required state of ‘mindfulness’. Don’t worry! In our practice, there is no ‘wrong’ way…and no prescribed methods. During meditation, we do NOT ‘try to achieve’ . We allow the mind and body to relax, provide a ‘breathing space’ in our busy, chaotic lives, and allow our thoughts to disperse. But when thoughts do arise again, as they tend to, we are glad to allow them to drift away like ‘debris on a river flowing by’. No meditator is more ‘successful’ than another; the only aim is to free and open the mind.
Some participants find it comfortable to sit on a floor cushion, others sit in upright chairs…There are certain poses which are more helpful than others, but most people consider physical discomfort to be particularly unhelpful during meditation! Also to get into a helpful frame of mind, there is a certain amount of simple ritual involved.
A gong or bell is sounded at the beginning of a 30-minute session, and then maybe a ‘mantra’ is slowly chanted and repeated:
e.g “OM AH HUM VAJRA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUM”
The gong is sounded again at the end. There is then a very slow ‘walking’ meditation, followed by a second 30 minute seated meditation, begun and ended by the gong.
Afterwards, over a cup of herbal tea, we informally discuss issues related to Buddhism, either that come to mind from life experience or from short book readings. The sessions are free of charge, but the room hire has to be paid for, so we welcome any small donations towards this.
Please do not hesitate to ask questions…