On Wednesday evenings we meet up to meditate together for an hour and a half. The Tergar Boudha Meditation group is given on donation basis and open for all. As we put up posters for the group, quite a lot of people passing through Boudha see them and drop in. Some are coming to try meditation for the very first time! Others are more experienced meditation practitioners and might come regularly to the group and a few are Shedra students wanting a community to practice with.
I am now beginning my last semester in the BA program at RYI and looking back, it has been very valuable to have this weekly meditation group, connecting with other meditation practitioners and as a compliment to the studies at the Shedra. Being a Shedra-student can be a bit tiring and stressful at times, especially since it often feels like an endless stream of things to learn and analyse, with the profound philosophies such as Madhyamaka and Yogacara to get into, practicing translation of Tibetan texts, learning new vocabulary, writing exams and papers and the list goes on…!
It is such a relief to take a break from studies in the middle of the week, let go of all the stress and get in touch with the present moment experience sharing a session of meditation practice with others. After all, on a deeper level, the point of all sophisticated philosophical investigation and analysis is to make it personal, to use the new ways of looking at that we learn in class to transform one’s old habits. This transformation is done through the practice of meditation.
Each practice session we follow more or less the same routine, the curriculum based on Mingyur Rinpoche's two books, ‘Joy of living’ and ‘Joyful wisdom’.
It starts with a guided meditation called ’Body, Space and Awareness’ followed by a discussion period. Then anyone who feels like it, is free to share his or her own experience, following a number of given guidelines and based on the topics we work with that day. Finally there is another period of sitting meditation. The discussion part, should not be seen as separate from the meditation practice, as it is also a part of the practice of developing awareness. Mingyur Rinpoche, in his approach to meditation, emphasizes that we can connect with the meditative awareness in all of our daily activities. This part of the program has grown to become especially important to me, as apposed to when we first started the meditation group a year and a half ago. At that time, I had quite a different experience… I remember feeling self-conscious about leading the group in the guided meditations and worried that I wasn’t able to convey the material in a clear way, but more than that, being shy to talk in front of groups, I felt embarrassed to share my own experiences with a number of complete strangers.
Now, having become accustomed to the process, I can really see the value of sharing one’s experience. It can be very helpful for a Dharma practitioner to learn to share one’s difficulties and day-to-day insights and get to know how to listen and learn from other practitioners, for many reasons. One of the values I find, is to see that one is not alone. But, in fact, when we dare to share our difficult experiences with others, we see that we all have more or less the same hang-ups and issues to deal with, and this can help to lessen one’s sense of suffering or isolation. Through sharing one’s experience, the experience itself can come to seem less solid and more fluid and transformable. Furthermore, one can get very inspired and empowered listening to other people sharing their experiences and insights gained through meditation practice, evoking thoughts such as “If they can transform their experiences through meditation, so can I”.
For these reasons, I would like to thank all of you who have participated in the meditation group and also welcome anyone who is interested, to drop in!
~ Moa, from Sweden
The Tergar Boudha Meditation Group, meets regularly on Wednesdays at 6.30 pm, in the PRK Guest House, upstairs lounge. (It is located opposite the Double Dorje Restaurant).
For further information please check www.tergar.org