Meditation advice for beginners

In our busy life where we have to play many roles, we hardly have time to sit down. And when we do sit down our minds are always distracted. Can Khandro Rinpoche please give some meditation advice for us beginners?

To begin with, in the Buddhist tradition when we speak about meditation, there are two types that subsume all others: one is analytical meditation and the other is stability meditation. In general, to develop analytical meditation you don’t need to sit down in the Vairochana meditation position (which is indispensable for stability meditation, such as calm abiding and single-pointed meditation). Here, it is different and what you need to do is use analytical meditation throughout the day, in each and every action that you do, in order to develop a habit in the mind to follow virtue and not follow non-virtue.

For this you need to develop a type of mind that controls the state of mind itself, that is like a traffic policeman seeing things and putting them together. You need to have a monitoring tool in your mind that is like a policeman who checks whether the mind is going into virtue or non-virtue and is then able to pull it from a negative direction to a positive direction in your thought processes.

To do this, you need to set yourself up with a program that starts right away in the morning with your motivation. You need to set your intention with which you will carry out all your activities during the day. I don’t mean a motivation of, “I’m going to work so I can take care of my own clothing, food, reputation and that of my family, my kids, my husband, etc.,” but instead, “whatever I do, I’ll do for the benefit of all sentient beings throughout space". So, this is the motivation of great responsibility that should carry out the action of habituating the mind with monitoring, like a policeman, each and every thought, every moment, every minute, every hour throughout the day.

So, what you need to do with this watchful type of mind, that is like a policeman, is to check whether it abides within the framework of that motivation that you set up in the morning, or not. Check whether the mind is taken or not by inappropriate attention which triggers the conceptualizations of attachment, anger and so forth that are discordant with the way things actually exist. So I think, in the beginning, the most important thing about meditation is to develop a habit of monitoring the state of your mind and correcting it.