- What is the meaning of Mahasati Meditation?
- "Mahasati" is a Pali (ancient Indian language) term. Maha means great or
big; Sati means self-awareness or mindfulness. So Mahasati means great
self-awareness, total self-awareness, or perfect self-awareness. If one
cultivates self-awareness, he/she will be able to know his/her bodily movement
more and more. When he/she knows the bodily movement all the time, the
"knowing element" will work by itself automatically. At this point, the
knowing element grows/develops up to its full capacity. It's then called
- There are so many meditation methods, why Mahasati
Because Mahasati Meditation is a natural method which we can practice
anywhere, anytime and in all activities. "Knowing Element" is a pure and
natural quality that exists in every human being. Human body cannot stay
still. It moves naturally all the time. Mahasati Meditation is a method that
emphasizes the present moment all the time. Practitioners will see their body
and mind, and their own thought which is the source of suffering (anger,
- How long should we practice Mahasati Meditation each day?
- As long as we can. The more, the better. Whenever we have free time,
practice formal movement (rhythmic hand movements or walking meditation). Also
at works or while we are doing something else, we should be aware of our
bodily movement - one thing at a time. For example, when we are washing the
dishes, be aware of the hand that rubbing the plate. When we're driving a car,
we can observe either the hand or the foot that's moving. Choose only one at a
time. Or when we stop the car at the red light, we could move our finger up
- Can I close my eyes when I practice because I feel more distracted
if I open my eyes?
To see is the function of the eyes. We have to work with our eyes
open. Mahasati Meditation is a natural method so we are not going to do
anything against nature. Some of us who have been practicing with eyes closed
might feel uneasy at the beginning. But after practicing Mahasati Meditation
for a while, we'll get used to it and then be able to apply the technique in
our daily activities.
- Mahasati Meditation only talks about knowing bodily movement
in the present moment, how about love and compassion for others?
Mahasati Meditation does not ignore love and compassion. "Knowing
element" is a great perfection quality. Wisdom, love, compassion, joy, and
peace are all in it; but wisdom is the leader. Love and compassion without
wisdom as the leader is painful and can create more problems.
- What to do with breathing?
- We breathe naturally. While we're practicing rhythmic hand movements, we
simply know our hand movement, know that it is breathing in or it is breathing
out. That's enough. Don't recite "in" or "out". And no need to know that it's
a long/short exhalation or inhalation or it's a fine or coarse one.
- Should we combine the breathing to the movement?
- No. Just observe one movement at a time. If you want to be aware of hand
movements, ignore the breathing, and vice versa.
- How long should we practice in sitting posture before we change to
- The important point of Mahasati Meditation is to know the bodily movement
and try to connect the chain of knowing as long as possible. We are not going
to torture the body. So if we need to change the posture we can do it at any
time. But while we're changing, be aware of our movement.
- I have no idea about Buddhism, can I practice Mahasati
- Yes, of course. Everyone can practice Mahasati Meditation regardless of
age, gender, occupation, education, culture, nationality or religious belief.
As long as we can communicate and understand how to practice. The concept of
the practice is to know what we're doing at the moment or to be with our
bodily movement in the present moment.
I have a lot of stress at work, it also creates health
problems. I'd like to know if Mahasati Meditation can help?
Most people laugh and cry because of their own thought. They only know
thought but don't see thought. If we only know thought, we'll follow it, and
don't know how to get out of it. If we have strong self-awareness we'll see
thought. Thought will stop.
- While I am practicing, I still think a lot. What shall I
- In this method, we don't suppress thought. Let thought flow freely but we
don't pay attention to thought. We pay attention to our bodily movement. So
let go of thought; come back to movement.