Why Do We Meditate?

Why do we meditate?  What are the benefits of meditation?

In our Hinayana course this past week, we delved into the benefits and obstacles to meditation practice.  We started by looking at the question of why we meditate.

This quote from Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche was quite helpful to point out the benefits of meditation and the motivation for sitting down to meditate.


All that we experience in samsara—all the suffering, fear, and pain—arises from, and depends on, our mind. When we understand this as our basic situation, we understand the need for meditation practice and the shortcomings of not having one. Various objects arise in our mind streams, and these trigger our fixation—we either want to avoid or possess them in some way. This constant push and pull, this aversion and desire, produces all sorts of confusion and suffering.

When we meditate and work with our minds, we work with basic feelings. When we have the opportunity to receive the instructions and practice them properly, we can work with the constantly changing states of our mind. We can stabilize them and develop peace and wisdom.

According to the Buddha, taming our mind stands as the only reliable method to remove our suffering—that suffering comes from how we relate to the appearances of our seeming reality, which arise from nowhere but our mind. Nothing else can cause liberation from suffering but working directly with our mind. Through recognizing that all appearances arise in the mind, through understanding that we experience all appearances with the mind, and through comprehending that the mind experiences appearances by means of mental projections and labels, we finally appreciate the necessity of working directly with our mind. We need to understand this. If we think that no relationship exists between our mind and the pleasant or unpleasant appearances that we experience, we will lack certainty about the need to tame our mind.


From the Nalandabodhi Study Path: Hinayana Course Two – Hinayana Path & Fruition

Published by Nalandabodhi 3902 Woodland Park Ave. North Seattle, WA 98103 U.S.A

© 2009 by The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche © 2009 by Nalandabodhi

All rights reserved. Published February 2010


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