Articles by alphabetic order
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 Ā Ī Ñ Ś Ū Ö Ō
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0


CATHOLIC MEDITATION IN VAJRAYANA BUDDHIST MODE

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search




[“CHAKRA AND CLOUD” MEDITATION]


By Robert Magliola


Assumption U. of Thailand and National Taiwan University, retired; Interfaith Director, Ling Jiou Shan Buddhist Centre (NYC) and Affiliate, Istituto Vangelo & Zen (Desio & Milano, Italy)

Now retired and almost 78 years old, for many years I taught in Asian universities, and one of my specializations is the adaptation of Theravada, Vajrayana and Zen forms for the purpose of Catholic meditation. Since 1982 I am a Carmelite lay tertiary (Third Order laity, professed Feb. 11th, 1982). Please permit me to briefly list my credentials in Buddhist meditation practice, since the Asian traditions in

particular demand training certified by established “advanced teachers” (Theravada Buddhism) or “Masters” (official lineage-holders, Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhisms), and I think we should respect their millennia-long “wisdom” in these matters. I have trained for many years in Theravada, Zen, and Vajrayana modes of meditation, first under Thai monks at Wat Mahathat (Bangkok), the “mother monastery” of Theravada’s

Mahanikai monastics, where I trained in Vipassana-Satipatthana under the special tutelage of Phra Pitoon Vidhuro (starting with a closed retreat where we meditated ten or so hours a day and fasted from 12 noon until breakfast the following morning); and then under the tutelage of Taiwanese Buddhist nuns who belong to Wu Sheng monastery (and its Ling Jiou Shan Buddhist Society), Taiwan, and whose Master, Master Hsin Tao, holds Burmese Theravada, Chinese Chan and Tibetan Vajrayana lineages.


In February,1999, I made a presentation on "Vajrayana Form adapted for the purposes of Catholic Meditation" before Cardinal Poupard and the Pontifical Council for Culture. In March, 2013, Rev. Luciano Mazzocchi, s.x., director of "Vangelo e Zen" (www.vangeloezen.org), Desio, Lombardia, Italy, granted me an Attestato certifying that "I am qualified to teach meditation as transmitted via Zen and other Oriental

meditative forms" to "clergy, Religious, and laity of the Catholic Church" and that I am trained to do so "in the spirituality of dialogue promoted by Vatican Council II." The Attestato also specifies that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has approved of Vangelo e Zen's apostolate, thus clearing away possible barriers that could arise at the diocesan level.


The mode I teach differs from the Soto Zen form identified in the U.S.A. with Fr. Robert Kennedy, S.J. and several other well-known American Catholic meditation teachers. My experience has been that the great preponderance of Catholics cannot move directly to pure interior silence (no concepts, no words, no images, no emotion—as in Soto Zen), nor can they for long even withstand a repeated internal counting of the breath from “one to ten” or—quite a bit harder—know how to handle a “just sit there” command, all in an effort to access pure interior silence. Rather, I use an adapted Vajrayanist/Taoist/Kundalini chakra system that is thematized according to the Catholic Mysteries.


Our attention begins at the fontanel (top-center of the head, the entrance/exit gate of the formal meditation), and moves very slowly from focal point to focal point in a circle: down from the forehead (The Word issuing forth from the Trinity-in-Itself); to the Throat (creation of the universes); to the Heart (Caritas expanding out to the whole Church and the whole World); to the Solar Plexis (the Holy Spirit—the “engine” of the meditation); to Buddhsm’s dantian, 2 cms. below the navel (the Annunciation). And then, from the lowest vertebra of the spine (the Incarnation); up the dorsal column to Taoism’s “Golden Elixir field” or kidneys (the Nativity); through the "small of the back" (the

Transfiguration and sharing of its fruits with others); to the space between the shoulder blades (Christ's Crucifixion and Death). And then up the back of the head, pausing first at Taoism’s “Jade Pillow" (the Resurrection); then at the back “peak” of the head or bindu, the pivotal “dot” in Sanskrit (the Ascension); then at the fontanel, center-top (the Unity of God); then the inside center of the head (Holy Spirit); then at a flat plane stretching across the inside of the head from ear to ear (the Father). Breathing patterns (very important) enable a

concentration or focus on these Mysteries (one normally requires instruction regarding the breathing): affective prayer becomes spontaneous and easy, and can be sustained for a very long period of time. After rounds, often many rounds over many days of this kind of meditation, accompanying conceptualization begins to recede and the will fixes on its subject-matter much more attentively. Sometimes, spontaneously and from deep down within, there may rise the movement of a silent “Abba.”


After the resumption of a few (or many) rounds of the above-described circle, one can stop at the dantian, the “place” before “The Place” (as Jews called the Gate of Heaven, the Holy of Holies), and one does not think. One waits in silence. If possible, one does not breathe (after a while, one can bring one's breathing to a halt for a relatively long time; better yet, the breathing stops of its own accord). Another place one

can stop is at the “purple chamber” (a site between the heart and the solar plexus, reminiscent of what Catholic mystics have called the “bridal chamber”). Yet another place to stop is the horizontal plane extending from ear to ear. One can stop there, enter a cloud prefiguring the “Cloud of Unknowing,” and just "listen to the silence." (In fact, one hears the sound of silence... this is no joke ... it happens, believe me.) One is "clearing a space" for God to work. The body/mind will let you know when to stop (or of course, a very mundane sound-signal may, if one’s daily or group routine requires). Exit the meditation from the fontanel, accompanying exit with a brief aspiratory” prayer.


Of course, these states take a long time to achieve. Actually, what is represented by the pronoun “one,” above, begins—sometimes only after a long time--to fade. The beginning meditator commences, however, with visualization of the Mystery at each chakra, joined together with aspirations and affective prayer. And the progressive body/mind “states” normally develop more quickly in proportion to how classical one's sitting position is—one should strive for half-lotus or Burmese position at least, on a flat cushion (or a slanted cushion, as in some Japanese Zen) and with spine straight. For those whose bodily structure or age prevents, one can either kneel, or sit in the Japanese seiza posture, or use one of the many ingenious and very serviceable contraptions that western meditators have developed (do an internet-search to find these alternatives), or even sit in a straight-backed chair (I do not mean to deprecate the latter—the “wind” of the Holy Spirit “blows where it pleases”). It very much helps to meditate with others in a group. _____________________


Now retired and almost 78 years old, for many years I taught in Asian universities, and one of my specializations is the adaptation of Theravada, Vajrayana and Zen forms for the purpose of Catholic meditation. Since 1982 I am a Carmelite lay tertiary (Third Order laity, professed Feb. 11th, 1982). Please permit me to briefly list my credentials in Buddhist meditation practice, since the Asian traditions in particular demand training certified by established “advanced teachers” (Theravada Buddhism) or “Masters” (official lineage-holders, Mahayana

and Vajrayana Buddhisms), and I think we should respect their millennia-long “wisdom” in these matters. I have trained for many years in Theravada, Zen, and Vajrayana modes of meditation, first under Thai monks at Wat Mahathat (Bangkok), the “mother monastery” of Theravada’s Mahanikai monastics, where I trained in Vipassana-Satipatthana under the special tutelage of Phra Pitoon Vidhuro (starting with a closed retreat where we meditated ten or so hours a day and fasted from 12 noon until breakfast the following morning); and then under the tutelage of Taiwanese Buddhist nuns who belong to Wu Sheng monastery (and its Ling Jiou Shan Buddhist Society), Taiwan, and whose Master, Master Hsin Tao, holds Burmese Theravada, Chinese Chan and Tibetan Vajrayana lineages.


In February,1999, I made a presentation on "Vajrayana Form adapted for the purposes of Catholic Meditation" before Cardinal Poupard and the Pontifical Council for Culture. In March, 2013, Rev. Luciano Mazzocchi, s.x., director of "Vangelo e Zen" (www.vangeloezen.org), Desio, Lombardia, Italy, granted me an Attestato certifying that "I am qualified to teach meditation as transmitted via Zen and other Oriental meditative forms" to "clergy, Religious, and laity of the Catholic Church" and that I am trained to do so "in the spirituality of dialogue promoted by Vatican Council II." The Attestato also specifies that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has approved of Vangelo e Zen's apostolate, thus clearing away possible barriers that could arise at the diocesan level.


The mode I teach differs from the Soto Zen form identified in the U.S.A. with Fr. Robert Kennedy, S.J. and several other well-known American Catholic meditation teachers. My experience has been that the great preponderance of Catholics cannot move directly to pure interior silence (no concepts, no words, no images, no emotion—as in Soto Zen), nor can they for long even withstand a repeated internal counting of the breath from “one to ten” or—quite a bit harder—know how to handle a “just sit there” command, all in an effort to access pure interior silence. Rather, I use an adapted Vajrayanist/Taoist/Kundalini chakra system that is thematized according to the Catholic Mysteries.


Our attention begins at the fontanel (top-center of the head, the entrance/exit gate of the formal meditation), and moves very slowly from focal point to focal point in a circle: down from the forehead (The Word issuing forth from the Trinity-in-Itself); to the Throat (creation of the universes); to the Heart (Caritas expanding out to the whole Church and the whole World); to the Solar Plexis (the Holy Spirit—the “engine” of the meditation); to Buddhsm’s dantian, 2 cms. below the navel (the Annunciation). And then, from the lowest vertebra of the spine (the Incarnation); up the dorsal column to Taoism’s “Golden Elixir field” or kidneys (the Nativity); through the "small of the back" (the

Transfiguration and sharing of its fruits with others); to the space between the shoulder blades (Christ's Crucifixion and Death). And then up the back of the head, pausing first at Taoism’s “Jade Pillow" (the Resurrection); then at the back “peak” of the head or bindu, the pivotal “dot” in Sanskrit (the Ascension); then at the fontanel, center-top (the Unity of God); then the inside center of the head (Holy Spirit); then at a flat plane stretching across the inside of the head from ear to ear (the Father). Breathing patterns (very important) enable a

concentration or focus on these Mysteries (one normally requires instruction regarding the breathing): affective prayer becomes spontaneous and easy, and can be sustained for a very long period of time. After rounds, often many rounds over many days of this kind of meditation, accompanying conceptualization begins to recede and the will fixes on its subject-matter much more attentively. Sometimes, spontaneously and from deep down within, there may rise the movement of a silent “Abba.”


After the resumption of a few (or many) rounds of the above-described circle, one can stop at the dantian, the “place” before “The Place” (as Jews called the Gate of Heaven, the Holy of Holies), and one does not think. One waits in silence. If possible, one does not breathe (after a while, one can bring one's breathing to a halt for a relatively long time; better yet, the breathing stops of its own accord). Another place one

can stop is at the “purple chamber” (a site between the heart and the solar plexus, reminiscent of what Catholic mystics have called the “bridal chamber”). Yet another place to stop is the horizontal plane extending from ear to ear. One can stop there, enter a cloud prefiguring the “Cloud of Unknowing,” and just "listen to the silence." (In fact, one hears the sound of silence... this is no joke ... it happens, believe me.) One is "clearing a space" for God to work. The body/mind will let you know when to stop (or of course, a very mundane sound-signal may, if one’s daily or group routine requires). Exit the meditation from the fontanel, accompanying exit with a brief aspiratory” prayer.

Of course, these states take a long time to achieve. Actually, what is represented by the pronoun “one,” above, begins—sometimes only after a long time--to fade. The beginning meditator commences, however, with visualization of the Mystery at each chakra, joined together with aspirations and affective prayer. And the progressive body/mind “states” normally develop more quickly in proportion to how classical one's

sitting position is—one should strive for half-lotus or Burmese position at least, on a flat cushion (or a slanted cushion, as in some Japanese Zen) and with spine straight. For those whose bodily structure or age prevents, one can either kneel, or sit in the Japanese seiza posture, or use one of the many ingenious and very serviceable contraptions that western meditators have developed (do an internet-search to find these alternatives), or even sit in a straight-backed chair (I do not mean to deprecate the latter—the “wind” of the Holy Spirit “blows where it pleases”). It very much helps to meditate with others in a group.




Source