Ajahn Cittapalo began by pointing out to us that our use of the word meditation instead of samadhi sometimes leads us to the wrong mindset when we meditate. Lost in translation like so many things said or done by Buddha, the word meditation to us in western society means “Continuous and profound contemplation or musing on a subject or series of subjects of a deep or abstruse nature”. When we meditate we are usually trying to achieve the opposite. A mind state of calm, relaxation and clarity. Thoughts arise and we let them go. Ajahn used this odd fact to point out that we do tend to allow our minds to latch onto thoughts, rather then letting them go. The result is we spend our time contemplating rather than in peace. Having made us aware Ajahn asked us to allow ourselves to just let the thoughts go and not fall into contemplation.
Ajahn then guided the group in a longer than usual meditation [samadhi not contemplation], beginning with a body sweep and progressing onto just watching the breath. A meditation well suited to beginners and a pleasure to do.
After the meditation, Ajahn was asked questions relating to euthanasia and suicide. Subjects we in western society try to avoid. Ajahn answered as best he could after pointing out that Buddhism doesn’t have an opinion and that any answer given would be his point of view.
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