Calm Abiding meditation, also known as Shamatha, is not a specifically Buddhist techinique of meditation but is common to other spiritual traditions as well. Single-pointed concentrating on the breath or other suitable object of meditation is a natural process that helps you to focus better on ordinary tasks and make you become more relaxed and peaceful.
This Buddhist technique of mindfulness has attracted much interest from modern scientific fields such as pychotherapy and cognitive behaviour as well as sport training.
To learn to meditate you need an experienced teacher and a well defined path. You can choose from the following:
- 8-week courses that involve a sequential set of teaching sessions that go for 1- 2 hours a week, and provide a complete introduction to help you establish a daily meditation practice. If you are already an experienced meditator you will come away with a good understanding of the principle characteristics and the finer points of the Buddhist approach to single-pointed concentration.
- Residential retreats are an opportunity to step back from the things that we ordinarily experience as obstacles to our calmness. In a very conducive environment well supported with teachings and fellow meditators, we can apply our minds to the practice of meditation in order to really taste the fruits and benefits. These retreats range from a weekend up to a 10 day retreat that is conducted at SIBA Retreat Centre each year at the end of September. These retreats are designed for people at all levels of experience. You can view photos and testimonials from the 2011 Ten-day Calm Abiding retreat at SIBA Retreat Centre by clicking here.
- Meditation groups regularly meet in various locations. They provide the opportunity to meditate with others. All are welcome to attend regardless of experience or background. Contact your nearest centre to find out what is available.
- How to Meditate is an extract from Lama Choedak Rinpoche's book Healing Relationships with an outline of the basic principle of how to practice Calm Abiding meditation.
The 8-week course has been developed by Lama Choedak Rinpoche who has also trained all the instructors.
The course outline includes:
Introduction to Calm Abiding meditation
Mindfulness of Body and the importance of posture
Establishing a regular routine
Dealing with pain.
Mindfulness of Feeling
Qualified Rounds of Breathing
Calmness and distraction
Befriending the breath
Practical benefits of meditation - not just relaxation
Mindfulness of Speech and the speech blessing Mantra of Manjushri
Super-Qualified Round of Breathing
Increasing the affinity with the breath/feelings
Meditation, awareness and the path of purification
Counting the breath
Engaging life with mindfulness
Mindfulness of Thought
Five Obstacles to Calm Abiding meditation and their Eight Antidotes
The moderate approach
Nine stages of Taming the Elephant Mind
"Where to from here?"