Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Walking Meditation in Laos

Vat Sokpaluang

If you Read The  Dragon Apparent  by Norman Lewis it becomes clear it, or at least a great deal clearer, that Laos is an incredibly interesting place that does not present itself to you in the same assertive way as its neighbors. 

I found Vientiane quite the opposite to the offhand description of Vientiane in Paul Theroux's The Great Railway Bazaar.

I spent close to a month in Laos. I stayed in Vientiane for all of that time. 

 It was 95 degrees every day except one. 

When you arrive in Vientiane it quickly becomes clear that it is all about the lives and customs of its people. Perhaps it occurs to the traveller that they might become an amateur of pagoda architecture as it did me but I gave that up very quickly. 

According to Lewis, the accumulation of wealth which is not to be used for definite, approved purposes, causes a man to lose prestige among his neighbours, just as in the West, the process is reversed. The main difference, it seems, between Buddhism in Indochina, and Christianity - apart from any question of their relative merits - is that, whether we admire it or not, the former is largely put into practice. '

Lewis speaks of a culture where people act on their religious convictions. Where
'It is a stimulating reflection that the Western millionaire, obsessed for the sake of social distinction with the amassing of enormous possessions, little of which he can personally consume, would attain the same ends of personal celebrity under a Laotian Buddhist order of things by his priestly austerities - by embracing the most abject and prestige-conferring forms of poverty. '

If you attend this temple monks kindly assist you in both sitting and walking meditation.

Vat Sisavanvong.

 This video shows 90 seconds of Vat Sokpaluang, Vientiane in the rainy season.

Once you taste the peace, joy and serenity that result from the practice of slow mindful walking - you can practice walking meditation wherever you are.

Music in tune with meditation ...

Time by Hans Zimmer


From the film Inception

If you like tea with your travel visit GuerillaZ's sister site Singing Bird Tea at:

Walking Meditation

The Practice of slow mindful walking 

Taking your situation in hand
Every time you practice walking meditation, investing your mind and body in every step, you are taking your situation in hand. Every time you breathe in and know you are breathing in, every time you breathe in and know you are breathing in, every time you breathe out and smile to your outbreath, you are yourself. You are your own master, you are the gardener in your own garden. We are relying on you to take good care of your garden, so that you can help your beloved take care of theirs.

Most people in the west associate meditation with sitting quietly. But traditional Buddhism identifies four meditation postures: sitting walking, standing and lying down. All four are valid means of cultivating aa calm and clear mindfulness of the present moment. The most common meditation posture after sitting is walking. In monasteries, indoor halls and outdoor paths are often built for walking meditation. This kind of meditation is used as an alternative or as a preliminary to sitting meditation.

Walking meditation brings a number of benefits in addition to the cultivation of mindfulness. It can be a helpful way of building concentration. When are tired or sluggish, walking can be invigorating. The sensations of walking can be more compelling than the more subtle sensations of breathing while sitting. Walking can be quite helpful after a meal, upon waking from sleep, or after a long period of sitting meditation. At times of strong emotions or stress, walking meditation may be more relaxing than sitting. An added benefit is that, when done for extended times, walking meditation can build strength and stamina.

In Vientiane the meditative walking was done around a stupa. The sound of crickets and birds and the cleansing heat made for quite an environment for this kind of meditation. The monks gave very little instruction. The process itself is instructive. Leaving your footprints upon a samsaric world perfect world is quite a thing to contemplate. Kissing the earth with your feet.

People have a variety of attitudes toward walking meditation. Some take to it easily and find it a delight. For many others, an appreciation of this form of meditation takes some time; it is an acquired taste. Yet others see the benefits and do walking meditation even though they don't have much taste for it.

Find a space to walk. Some people work on a short stretch of 30 or 40 metres finding the break at the end of each walk a focus. Others. like me, prefer the circular walk, or the route walk with no repetition. Specific thinking or use of mantras helps focus the mind towards specific goals.

Cheerio for now

1 comment:

Kidbux said...

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