Reader comment on Bhante Gunaratana's passage ...
On Mar 29, 2011 Somik Raha wrote:|
This piece brought up a couple of thoughts for me. First, I was talking to a friend just before coming here today and he asked me a question, "how do I know that the pleasure I feel during meditation is or isn't bliss?" As in, he was asking how to distinguish between pleasure (the good stuff with attachment) from bliss (the good stuff without attachment). The first response that came to me was what a monk I know would say, “Only you will know.” At another level, a great danger with meditation is attachment to sensations. Therefore, if my meditation activity makes me feel like wanting to sit again and again and I'm helpless, that meditation is creating more bondage than it's destroying. Meditation, if done properly, should lead to more awareness and more equanimity.
In a sense, this passage seems to be answering the question "what is the goal of meditation?" Meditation is one of those strange tools that, although being a means to an end, is best practiced without an eye on the end. Indeed, the more we crave equanimity and awareness, the further we go from it.
I also remembered when, after a round of meditation, I asked a monk, "could you please share some thoughts with us?" The monk shared some thoughts, two of which are relevant here. He said, "In this day and age, meditation is not sufficient for progress. One has to engage in action." After a pause, he continued, "In this day and age, action is not sufficient. One has to engage in meditation." :)
Viral built on this idea with the comment (inspired by a monk), "Meditation is inner service. Service is outer meditation."