A Bodhisattva on the path of wisdom should exhibit great compassion and aspire to attain Samadhi—not just for one’s own liberation, but also for the sake of liberating all sentient beings. In this way, all attachments to forms are relinquished and any entanglement with worldly affairs ends. Thus, the body and mind are unified, and movement and tranquility become inseparable.
Diet should be balanced, neither excessive nor insufficient. Sleep should also be moderate, neither excessive nor insufficient.
For meditation, choose a quiet place, use a thick floor cushion as a meditation seat, and wear loose-fitting clothing.
Having properly arranged one’s clothing, one mindfully sits upright in either the “Full-lotus” or “Half-lotus” meditation posture. For Full-lotus, start by placing the right foot (ankle) over the left inner thigh; then, place the left foot (ankle) over the right inner thigh. Or, for the Half-lotus Posture, place only the left foot (ankle) on top of the right inner thigh.
Next, rest the back of the right hand over the left foot. Then, put the back of the left hand into the palm of the right hand, and gently touch the tips of the thumbs together.
Slowly lean forward and sway the torso left and right, then sit with straight spine. The torso should neither lean to right, nor to the left side. Do not hunch the back, or lean forward or backward. The lower back, up through the neck, should align vertically, as with a pagoda. Do not hold the spine and torso so straight and tight that breath is disturbed.
The ears align with the shoulders; the nose and the navel should also align vertically. Then, gently place the tip of the tongue up against the upper palate and close the mouth, gently touching the teeth and lips together.
Keep the eyes slightly open to prevent drowsiness. The “Samadhi1” attained, by doing so, is the most powerful. Since ancient times, many accomplished masters attained Samadhi with open eyes during meditation. Zen Master Fa Yun Yuan Tong also warns against meditating with closed eyes, calling it the ‘Ghost Cave of Black Mountain’ for reasons that are only known to those who have mastered this type of meditation practice.
Once the body is settled in the proper position, and the breath becomes smooth and even, then relax the abdomen.
Do not think about anything. No thoughts about good or evil. As soon as a thought arises utilize the practice of “awareness”; when exercising awareness, thoughts vanish. Over time, by gradually releasing the “grasping mind,” meditation practice naturally becomes a single uninterrupted flow. This is the key to meditation.
Although meditation is “the doorway to peace and joy,” many end up with illnesses because they have not properly utilized the mind. With proper understanding of the practice of meditation, the four elements comprising the physical body (e.g., water, fire, air, earth) become balanced and harmonious. Thus, the spirit is refreshed by the clarity of right awareness. The joy of Dharma will nurture the spirit, resulting in the experience of great peace, purity, and joy. For those who have attained enlightenment, they are like a dragon enjoying a pure lake of cool water or a tiger supported by a mountain. Even for those not yet enlightened, the right application of the method is like the wind that intensifies the fire such that there is no need for over exertion of effort. As long as a practitioner is aware whether his practice is carried out with sincerity, he will not be deceived in his effort.
As the practice deepens in the Tao, various demonic states and conflicts between thoughts that are productive and thoughts that are destructive occur. As long as right awareness is present, however, there are no obstacles. The Surangama Sutra, the Tian-Tai Samatha- Vipassana, and Gui Feng’s ‘Principle of Practice and Attainment’ have detailed the workings of the devil, so those who wish to be properly prepared for meditation disturbances are advised to learn them.