1. Why do we need to accumulate merit and morality before practicing meditation?
Because our blessing is too little, and we are lacking in merit, then we are likely to face obstacles, and our practice will difficultly progress. If we purify our minds, try to do charity, live a generous life, create much merit, we will bring happiness to people.
People who have no enough morality and virtue are easy to make mistakes. Although their retritutions have not come yet, they still get worried and un-restful. Their practice can hardly progress.Thus, while practicing meditation diligently we need to keep on with control of minds. It means that we should be modest, and consider ourselves as small as dust so as to destroy arrogance. We also need to be when seeing people’s achievement so that we can get rid of selfshness,jealousy or evil.
2. How can we practice meditation diligently while we have to work for usual living?
Everyday, when we contact to people or work hard or arrange something or take a rest, we should always check our minds and bodies carefully. Our mind need to reside in bodies, and the bodies must be known to be impermanent. (Keeping the right mindfulness everyday in the most important)
3. Why do we have to contemplate the impermanence of the body?
When we reside in the body we can attach to it. If we know it to be impermanent, then we will no longer attach to it. We don’t think it’s real or it’s ours. If we don’t attach to it any more, then we can open the door of wisdom. We can go deep into mind, and destroy self or bad habit. So, knowing the whole body is always to come along with knowing the impermanence of the body.
Thank to contemplating the impermanence of the body, we gradually wipe out our basic instinct. For example, we were once greedty, but now we are not greedly any more, or we used to grow angry more than often, but now we can control our feelings.
If we can destroy an attachment to the body, then our mind can be peacefull. We can easily have sympathy for people who make mistakes. We even hope they will change better one day.
Based on the doctrine of impermanence, we can never think that everything will last long or stable. When we achieve the significant increase in prosperity we don’t know for sure whether it can be maintained for good. Receiving love or a favor from the other, we shouldn’t subjectively think think that they will love us forever. Facing adversity or abstacle, we must keep calm, not retreat from practice, not despair, and not be pessimistic, because we know everything won’t last long.
For this reason, when we practice meditation at t he first step, we should know well the whole body, which will help our brain relax, and then it can return to its function.
If we don’t know our body to be impermanent, then you keep on loving it. Thus, our basic instinct still exists in mental formation. At that time, though our brains relaxes, our selfishness, desires, anger, and greed will be never destroyed, and they can drive us to hell. This is because our ego is untouched.
If we know well the whole body, and then we know it to be impermanent, then our selfishness, desires, anger and greed will be gradually destroyed. That is why the Buddha tought us that we should contemplate the impermanence of the body that will be reduced to ashes one day.
(Instruction on meditation of Thay: Thich Chan Quang)