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If You Find It Hard to Meditate…

Try the difficult path to enlightenment

Colorful abstract image of faces

Illustration Credit: Meditation Heads by Andrea D'Aquino

When I entered a meditation center in Burma, one of the first things I was taught is that there are two ways to find liberation. Surprisingly, given that this was a meditation center, I found that meditation—“self-oriented” liberation—was the second and easier path to awakening. The first, and the more difficult, was liberation through world relationships.The classical Buddhist texts refer to this approach as “the way of the Bodhisattva.” In contemporary, trans-religious terms this essentially means that by engaging in relationships we discover ourselves. Its more elevated meaning is that by serving the freedom of others we free ourselves. This style, which is the cornerstone of the “liberation through living” model of spiritual awakening, rests on the idea that wisdom—the liberating blend of intuitive discernment, creative compassion, and basic goodness—counters the habit of self-centered fixation. And self-centered fixation is the root cause of greed, fear, anger, and all other forms of suffering.“Liberation through living” can be likened to the dedication of good parents who are willing to endure any …

Alan Clements was one of the first Westerners to become a Buddhist monk in Burma, and coauthored The Voice of Hope, Conversations with Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace laureate, as well as Instinct for Freedom. He is a spiritual maverick working for global human rights and environmental sanity, while sharing his contemporary understanding of liberation.

This entry is tagged with:
MeditationBuddhismCompassionWorld CultureAwakening

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