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Episode 13 Transcript: Something to Meditate on

Episode 13, 7 February 2015, Something to Meditate on. [08:55]


Intro: Welcome to Buddhism Guide’s Audio blog.

Episode 13: Something to Meditate on. [00:45]

1. Single Minded Concentration.

  • In Gautama Buddha’s Eightfold Path, what is traditionally talked about in Right Meditation is being able to concentrate single mindedly, on the object of your meditation.
  • However, I feel that before we can get to this point, we need to learn about single minded concentration, on our action of:
    • Body,
    • Speech, and
    • Mind.
  • In other words, our daily actions.
  • How do we do this?  Well, we need to:
    • study Gautama Buddha’s teachings,
    • understand them,
    • meditate on them.
  • If we meditate, we make the teachings a part of our lives.
  • We’re able to bring them into every aspect of our lives.
  • It also allows us to move beyond mere intellectual understanding, to make the teachings our own.
  • When we read books or hear teachings we understand them on an intellectual level.
    • This is knowledge; but we have to turn that knowledge into wisdom.
    • The way to do that is to meditate.
  • Padmasambhava told one of his disciples in an oral teaching:
    • It is of no benefit to know about the dharma, you must take it to heart, and put it into practice.
  • The way to live a responsible life, is to meditate on the Eightfold Path, make it a part of your life, and then check your progress every day at a daily review session.

2. Right View. [02:37]

  • The first part of the Eightfold Path is Right View.
    • So, while meditating on Right View, you have to really understand the workings of cause and effect.
    • You have to realise that whatever intentional actions you do, be it with your body, speech or mind, they will create a reaction in the future.
    • You need to meditate on this point, so that it becomes more than just an intellectual information.
    • You have to be naturally aware of it whenever you perform any intentional action.
  • You also have to meditate on the impermanence of all phenomena and the non-existence of a true self.
  • These two points should probably be studied with a teacher, as they are quite profound.
  • You should understand them and ask any questions to dispel any doubts you may have.
  • Finally, you have to mediate on them, after that you meditate on Right Intention.

3. Right Intention. [03:43]

  • You should not harm others, nor have ill-will towards them and your actions should not be driven by the Three Poisons, which are:
    1. Attachment,
    2. Aversion, and
    3. Unawareness.
  • These all stem from our mind, and so it is only us who can be held responsible for them.
  • You must contemplate on your every action.
  • In this way you will not be intentionally disturbing yourself, or others.

4. Right Speech. [04:17]

  • Next, mediate on Right Speech.
  • Many a time we open our mouths before using our brains, and what comes out is harmful and unhelpful to others.
  • We lie, commit slander, use harsh words and gossip with such ease, it’s frightening.
  • It is as though our mouth has a life of its own.
  • How do we address this problem?
    • It’s simple, meditate on your speech.
    • Lying is never going to help anyone.
    • We may say we lied so as not to upset someone, but when they find out we have lied, they get more upset.
    • When we slander someone, we are not making friends, but enemies.
    • Swearing in someone else’s face is going to hurt them, and gossiping is just a waste of time.
  • So you have to meditate on how you speak and only then will you learn to talk in a way that is both helpful and kind.

5. Right Action. [05:28]

  • Now comes Right Action.
  • As Gautama Buddha advised his son, Rāhula:
    • If there is a deed you wish to do, reflect this way:
      • Is this deed conducive to my harm or to the harm of others, or to both?
      • This is a bad deed, entailing suffering.
      • Such a deed must be resisted.
    • If there is a deed you wish to do, reflect this way:
      • Is this deed not conducive to my harm, to the harm of others, or to both?
      • Then this is a good deed entailing happiness.
      • Such a deed must be done again and again.
  • So we must ensure we are fully in tune with our actions, so that we are aware of when we are being led astray by the Three Poisons.

6. Right Livelihood. [06:24]

  • This brings us to Right Livelihood.
  • Again, ensure that your work does not harm anybody and bring suffering to them.
  • Think about your chosen profession and if you see that you are harming a living being, try to change jobs, or at the very least minimise the damage you cause.
  • Here, we have to not only meditate on our livelihood, but we also have to be honest about the effect we are having on the world.

7. Be at ease on the cushion. [06:57]

  • In all of the above, ensure you put in the Right Effort and Right Mindfulness.
  • Because it is impossible to sit quietly and mentally still on the meditation cushion, if you are not at ease.
  • If your minds are agitated by hatred, consumed with jealously, being held by desire and greed.
  • If we are killing, stealing, and lying, how can we sit and meditate peacefully and productively.
  • This is why we need to study the Eightfold Path, understand it, meditate on it and finally, we will be able to live responsibly.

8. Right Mediation in a Nutshell. [07:42]

  • Let us try to put Right Mediation in a nutshell:
    • When our minds are unguarded and we are not concentrating, our actions, speech and thoughts are also unguarded.
    • On the other hand, when our mind is concentrating and guarded, our actions, speech and thoughts are also guarded.
  • This is what Shanti Diva says in A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra).
    • “Oh you who wish to guard your minds, I beseech you with folded hands: always exert yourselves to guard mindfulness and alertness.”

Outro. [08:25]

  • You can find more information about this subject in Karma Yeshe Rabgye’s books at
    1. The best way to catch a snake – A Practical Guide to the Buddha’s Teachings;
    2. Life’s meandering path – A Secular Approach to Gautama Buddha’s Guide to Living;
    3. Ripples in the stream – A Pragmatic Journey Through Gautama Buddha’s Teachings.
  • They’re available now, from Amazon and Kindle.
  • Thank you for listening, and I hope you enjoyed Buddhism Guide’s audio blog.
  • Until next time, remember, the only person we can ever truly know, is yourself.




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