One question I'm often asked: What is my (Meng's) personal practice like? Well, it's like daily living, actually...

Poetry of daily living

To me, "meditation" is a lot more than sitting on a cushion. It's something I try to dedicate every living moment to. The Pali word that's often translated as "meditation" is "Bhavana". I suggest that "Bhavana" should really be translated as "cultivation", coz Bhavana is not restricted to sitting, but applies to every living moment as well.

(Sidenote: "Bhavana" literally means "make become". There is no English equivalent that I know of)

My cultivation (I'll use this word from now in place of "meditation") revolves around the practice and cultivation of 3 qualities: Kindness, Serenity and Mindfulness.

Kindness is simply that. It is something that can be practiced at every waking moment. I suggest that Kindness is the foundation of Perfect Speech, Perfect Action and Perfect Livelihood. I also suggest that every moment of practicing Kindness is a step in the cultivation of Compassion, Appreciative Joy and Love.

Serenity (Samadhi, also translated as Concentration and Stability) is the practice of calming the mind. This is where sitting on a cushion comes in. In sitting and being aware of one's breath (or chanting a mantra, or focusing on the image of Buddha etc), one gains mental stability and calmness. Sogyal Rinpoche puts it very beautifully: it's like transforming the mind from a violent waterfall to a calm ocean.

My experience is that it doesn't make much difference what posture one sits in. One can even sit on one's favourite chair if one so wish. What is important is mental calmness. It'll be a great bonus if one can carry over this serenity from sitting position to daily life. That is a wonderful experience.

Mindfulness means full awareness of oneself, one's emotions, thoughts, body and speech at all times. It means living fully here and now, and using every moment to learn about ourselves, about Samsara, Dukka and Dharma.

Mindfulness, I humbly suggest, is the most important of all Buddhist practices. In the Theravada and Soto Zen traditions, at least, Mindfulness is THE pillar of one's cultivation. Mindfulness is the source of Insights and Wisdom, and the overcoming of Dukka. My own experience is that Kindness clears the ground of rocks, Serenity plants the seedlings, and Mindfulness takes care of their growth and reaps the reward.

Simply put, my Cultivation ("meditation") is eating and sleeping. In everything that I do, I try to practice the 3 qualities above. As far as the practice of Dharma is concern, there is no difference between sitting on my butt and living daily life.

To me, Dharma is in the beautiful poetry of daily living.