Some people may believe that to meditate means "to do a sitting zen meditation", "to empty the mind" or "to empty the self". Is that what it's really about? It is true that after an austere ascetic training, Buddha sat under a Bodhi tree in a zen meditation and reached enlightenment. Buddha did not reach enlightenment because of the austerities he had performed. He had realized the meaninglessness of such austerities and concluded that one should not be so extreme in life, but should walk the middle path. Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree and pondered upon such matters as, "What is the universe?", "What is the cause of suffering?" and "What is the meaning of birth and death?" Of course, he must have been thinking and seeking the truth on a scale much bigger than we
can imagine. Doing his zen meditation under the tree, Buddha had to fight with many things. These were things inherent in men, like greed for money, greed for power and other such greed. He won his battles and became enlightened to the Truth.
I believe it's very difficult for laymen to awaken to the truth through meditation. We just don't have the time or the heart to try. (That is why we need
the time to free ourselves from thoughts that distract us.) But anyone of us
can probably ponder deeply on the problems we are confronting through meditation. Buddha says in his teachings that there are causes, conditions and effec
ts. It probably means, if you can understand what the problems and suffering
are all about, then you can remove the causes and free yourself from them.
The sutras are philosophical writings of the truth that Buddha acquired through his enlightenment and written down by his disciples. Originally, Buddha's teachings were handed down in an oral tradition. The sutras had to be memorized by heart in order for the teachings to be transmitted accurately, and so the
tradition of chanting the sutras out loud came into being. But the sounds of
the sutras seem to have the effect of opening the chakras (energy centers) of
the human body as well. For us laymen, it is extremely difficult to understand the meanings of the sutras accurately. But we can start out by listening to this CD. You may truthfully bring your past to mind and in all clearness look at here and now and think of the future as it should be for you. Or don't
think about anything difficult, relax, close your eyes, make your breathing even, and let yourself be with the sounds of the chanting. You may just find yourself becoming enlightened like Buddha under the Bodhi tree.