Do I have to be Buddhist or Understand Buddhism to take the meditation class?
The meditation classes are open to all people of any faith or religion. The meditation practice is to learn how to calm the mind so one can be peaceful, happy, and healthy. The Buddha was a teacher and his teaching is there to help anyone who is trying to be free from suffering.
How long do the classes last?
The English classes can last anywhere from 30 - 45 minutes. It just depends on how much new instruction is needed to understand the meditation practice. The focus of the time is on PRACTICING how to uses this method. In the Zoom classes there will be opportunities to ask questions. The Vietnamese Dharma Lesson Classes generally last about 1 hour, with time for questions afterward for those who participate via Zoom.
What is the meditation method being taught?
There are many ways that meditation can be taught. This practice works on the energy in us. We will be using breathing techniques where you learn to watch how you are breathing, and slowly control how you breathe as a method to move the energy within your body. At the same time as you are using the breathing method you will learn how to chant the sacred sounds of the Buddha nature to connect your own energy with this universal compassion and wisdom energy. The meditation method is Called That Bao Huyen Mon, which means Seven Buddha Nature Mantras. Over time, all seven mantras will be taught.
What do you mean when you refer to the "energy"?
Science shows us that everything is made up of energy. Even inanimate objects like rocks contain energy. So within our human bodies is this amazing source of energy which gives us life. When we breathe we bring oxygen into the body which allows this energy to be used. In the meditation practice we learn how to work on improving the flow of energy so we are healthier, and also learn how to connect our individual store of energy to the universal positive energy which surrounds us. In our classes we call our individual source of energy our "Buddha Nature" that which we were born with but may not be activated fully yet. We all share the energy within us. The more positive the energy is the more positively we impact those around us making our relationships also happier and healthier.
What is a mantra?
We all know that words have power to them. We say something mean or hateful, people's feelings get hurt. We say something kind or loving and people feel happy and peaceful. Some sounds, sacred mantras, are like very concentrated words which hold the power to positively influence us. The mantra's of That Bao Huyen Mon tradition are actually sacred sounds given to us from the Buddha. Like when a song brings back the memories and feelings of special moments in our life, the mantras bring back the memory and feelings of the primal experience of love. Deep within us we have this knowledge, and the mantras sounds helps us get back to that memory of who we are (beings of compassion and wisdom) and who we strive to become (awakened beings of compassion and wisdom)
Are there actual feelings or sensations while practicing the meditation?
Since the practice is working specifically with the energy within and around us, Yes, it is possible that you may feel or sense something. It all depends on the make up of who you are. Some people are naturally more conductors of energy than others, so you may feel tingling sensations, or heat, or pressure, or you may feel you want to move your body with the energy as it flows within. Certain parts of the body are more sensitive than others like the head, or heart area. But any part of the body can experience sensations while meditating. You don't need to do anything about these sensations, just take note and continue practicing. Many people, especially as they begin the practice of meditation, do not experience any kind of sensations. This does not mean you are not connecting to the energy, it is just that you may not be tuned into it yet. It is not important for your healing, just keep practicing and let your body mind and spirit wake up in their own time and way.
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