What Is Meditation

His Eminence, Choden Rinpoche explained meditation in the following manner:

“To meditate means to become familiar with your positive thoughts, positive mind [the Tibetan word for meditation, gom, means to “familiarize”]. You try to increase the positive potentials of the mind and reduce the negative imprints in the mind. If you can’t do that it’s useless to just focus your mind on the breath. It’s meaningless. The main thing is to increase the positive potentials that are in your mindstream. That’s called meditation.

At the beginning you think over and over the various positive thoughts, and gradually the mind gets familiar with them, your mind becomes of that nature; then, you don’t even need to think or give a reason, the thought will rise spontaneously in your mind.

Many lamas in the past did retreat for forty years, twenty years, some for twelve years, and they didn’t get any signs of realization. It’s possible. This is from the obstacles of negativities accumulated over many eons.

When Buddha came onto this earth, the disciples had less delusions and less negative thoughts than at the present, so for that reason they attained realizations in a very short period – within one or two days. Just upon receiving the Buddha’s teachings they would attain realizations.”

Why Meditate

“So our negativities obstruct our ability to obtain realizations, and this is why we need to purify in order to have the realizations.”

The Role of Motivation

“Does working for the lama and Dharma centers purify negativities? That totally depends on your motivation. If you do this work to serve your guru and promote the Dharma, and think this Dharma will help more sentient beings and bring happiness to them; if you think this way it will definitely purify your negativities.

If you think only about this life, and think that you’re doing it to receive a salary or because you receive a nice house and good things to eat, then it’s not purifying the negativities. You have to generate the motivation that you’re working for others.”

Outcomes of Meditation

“As soon as you wake up you should think, “I’m working in the service of my guru, and I’m working to preserve and promote the Dharma, and to help sentient beings. This will help bring happiness to sentient beings.” If you do this, your whole day will become positive. If you think only of the things of this life without thinking of anything else, this won’t increase the positive side.”