Meditation Practice (at a Buddhist Temple)

One of my 2011 goals is to try more new things. It doesn’t matter what type of newness it is, just that is something new for me. With that in mind, I have started The Unique Project. Anything that is new/unique will be part of this project to expand my horizons and viewpoints.

After speaking with my friend Erin, we decided to visit a Buddhist Temple/Monastery in Sterling, Virginia. This temple, known as Wat Varnna Rangsee provides meditation training to help spread the Buddhist teachings. I’ve never meditated before in my life so I decided to see what all the hype was.

The grounds around the temple were very relaxing. The monk told us that during the warmer months they practice walking meditation outside. I was able to capture a few good photos of the grounds but it seems that photography is banned in the temple itself (not surprisingly). Once inside the temple, it was a very modest affair. A large open area with a few cushions to sit on. The monk had us sit in a semi-circle and after reading the evening’s opening prayers we got down to meditating.

We first practiced walking meditation which is exactly how it sounds. You walk (for us in a circle in the temple) while concentrating on one word for our footfalls. For us, it was the word “Pu-To”. We would say this to ourselves as we walked with our eyes closes (for as long as possible). Then we practiced sitting meditation. That form of meditation is more commonly known, and for someone like myself, a lot harder to do. While I think I got to a mediated state for a few minutes, I was unable to keep in that state as my legs kept locking up. I was unable to stay in one position for very long. Our monk told us that meditating is really just focusing on one breath at a time, over and over, over a period of time. I did have a lot of fun trying some new and learning from very good teachers. I look forward to a few more mediation experiences and hope to get better at the art.

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