Many explorers visit
Thailand to study Buddhist meditation without knowing much of its
history. In this article we will review what is known to date. Hunters stare at
flames during the primitive ages. Medieval Indians unite to discover the
underlying processes and structure of the universe. Tribal societies commune
with invisible spirits, while Hindus discovered divinity as the ultimate truth.
Siddhartha Gautama realized the inevitable suffering of life upon turning 29.
He was a prince in Nepal during the sixth century B.C., but left to live in
austerity and relieve humanitys universal suffering.
He was renamed Buddha, and his studies and practices led to the foundation of
Buddhism. Life is permeated with sufferings that would cease when desire stops.
There can be no divine salvation for ones deeds. But one can meditate, and
experience positive changes in the bodys metabolism, blood pressure, and brain
activation, among others. Of course, one can meditate anywhere. He or she just
has to make time to contemplate, find a relaxing environment, keep back straight
while sitting, and listen and maintain silence. But nearly 95% of Thailand’s
population is Buddhist, and the Ashoka of the Maurya Dynasty had renounced war
just to propagate Buddhism. Nowhere else then should meditation be practiced
than in the region who regarded this devotional exercise closely. Meditation
helps develop concentration, which the religion of Buddhism offers. Through
Samatha (tranquil meditation) or Vipassana (insight medi¬tation), meditators
are able to have discipline in their breathing. It does not matter if
travellers are either Buddhists, Muslims, Jewish or Christians; mental
developmentthe best word to define the concept of meditation in Englishis a
personal experience. But theres a general rule. Meditators staying in
monasteries must follow the Eight Precepts. The first, Panatipata veramani
sikkhapadam samadiyami, implies that meditators should always keep their room
tidy. Bringing food inside would attract insects, fungi and bacteria. Smoking
is not prohibited, but is advised against. Visitors could not enter the rooms
of meditators. Gossiping is looked down upon. The second precept, Adinnadana
veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami, tells meditators to refrain from comparing
with others their personal experiences, or mix these practices with other
meditation techniques. Meditators are not allowed to leave the monastery
without expressing permission. They are responsible for every loss or damage.
Abrahmacariya veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami means that meditators must don
proper clothing at all times. Any physical contact is disallowed, and
authorities in the temple can expel a student or refuse visitors. There
shouldnt be listening to music or receiving telephone calls during a session
to ensure the fifth precept, Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami, is keep
to. Refrain from intoxicating drinks (Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani
sikkhapadam samadiyami), or eating after noon (Vikalabhojana veramani
sikkhapadam samadiyami). Refrain as well from dancing, singing, going to see entertainments,
wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics
mala-gandha-vilepana-dharana-mandana-vibhusanathana veramani sikkhapadam
samadiyami). Last but not the least, Uccasayana-mahasayana veramani sikkhapadam
samadiyami, or refrain from lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place. If
meditators got tired during the day, lay down if they may but in the room.