Do you think walking meditation is a walking style? More to the point have you even heard of it before?
Well we were in the last camp - never even heard of it! We stumbled across it pretty much by accident. One of those serendipity things we finding happening more and more as we gather neat stuff to share with you.
We think it is so unique and beneficial we decided to share it with you here. Another good idea to help you get walking, feeling great again and being more fulfilled!
Walking meditation isn't really a walking style as such. It's actually a part of the Theravada Buddhism practice of meditation.
Allow us to share with you an article on the subject by Sayadaw U Silananada as provided by the Buddhist Publication Society.
(You can find full download instructions for a FREE copy in PDF format at the conclusion of the article on Page 5.)
by Sayadaw U Silinanda
Source: Bodhi Leaves No. B 137 (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1995). Transcribed from a file provided by the BPS. Copyright © 1995 Buddhist Publication Society. Access to Insight edition © 1996For free distribution. This work may be republished, reformatted, reprinted, and redistributed in any medium. It is the author's wish, however, that any such republication and redistribution be made available to the public on a free and unrestricted basis and that translations and other derivative works be clearly marked as such.
At our meditation retreats, yogis practice mindfulness in four different postures. They practice mindfulness when walking, when standing, when sitting, and when lying down. They must sustain mindfulness at all times in whatever position they are in.
The primary posture for mindfulness meditation is sitting with legs crossed, but because the human body cannot tolerate this position for many hours without changing, we alternate periods of sitting meditation with periods of walking meditation.
Since walking meditation is very important, I would like to discuss its nature, its significance, and the benefits derived from its practice.
The practice of mindfulness meditation can be compared to boiling water. If one wants to boil water, one puts the water in a kettle, puts the kettle on a stove, and then turns the heat on. But if the heat is turned off, even for an instant, the water will not boil, even though the heat is turned on again later.
If one continues to turn the heat on and off again, the water will never boil. In the same way, if there are gaps between the moments of mindfulness, one cannot gain momentum, and so one cannot attain concentration.
That is why yogis at our retreats are instructed to practice mindfulness all the time that they are awake, from the moment they wake up in the morning until they fall asleep at night. Consequently, walking meditation is integral to the continuous development of mindfulness.
Unfortunately, I have heard people criticize walking meditation, claiming that they cannot derive any benefits or good results from it. But it was the Buddha himself who first taught walking meditation. In the Great Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness, the Buddha taught walking meditation two times.
In the section called "Postures," he said that a monk knows "I am walking" when he is walking, knows "I am standing" when he is standing, knows "I am sitting" when he is sitting, and knows "I am lying down" when he is lying down.
In another section called "Clear Comprehension," the Buddha said, "A monk applies clear comprehension in going forward and in going back." Clear comprehension means the correct understanding of what one observes.
To correctly understand what is observed, a yogi must gain concentration, and in order to gain concentration, he must apply mindfulness. Therefore, when the Buddha said, "Monks, apply clear comprehension," we must understood that not only clear comprehension must be applied, but also mindfulness and concentration.
Thus the Buddha was instructing meditators to apply mindfulness, concentration, and clear comprehension while walking, while "going forward and back." Walking meditation is thus an important part of this process.(continued)
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