Introducing Mahasati Meditation

In today's complex and hectic world, meditation is playing a more and more important role for those who seek psychological well-being and balance. Many teachers, mostly from the East, provide many different forms of meditation. Some teachers use breath-counting and breath-concentration. Others teach concentration on a mantra or a koan. Some tell their students to visualize a religious image or some form of light or color. These methods all share the same central theme - the concentration of the mind.

Luangpor Teean, an important teacher in the world of Thai Buddhism, introduced a new way of looking at and practicing meditation - Mahasati Meditation. He taught that meditation is the art of seeing things as they are with awareness and wisdom. Usually we see the world and everything around us through the filter of our concepts or thoughts and through our mental images which we have collected in our daily life since childhood. Thus, these thought are both the source of human activity and human suffering. Thought is, for Luangpor Teean, the source of greed, anger and delusion.

Luangpor Teean said that we cannot simply suppress greed, anger, and delusion by keeping moral precepts, nor can we suppress them by maintaining calmness through some form of meditation based on concentration. Though these activities are useful to some extent, we need to go to the root of suffering: to let awareness see through and break through. When we see things as they are, outside of thought, the mind changes its qualities completely. At the very moment of awareness, the mind immediately becomes active, clear, and pure. With this active, clear, and pure mind we will realize the law of nature and the freedom of life. And then, we will be free from suffering.

Mahasati Meditation is a form of moving meditation. In Mahasati Meditation the practitioner moves rhythmically with their awareness open to the movement of body and mind. The movements are simple and repetitious, yet Mahasati Meditation is a powerful, deep, and advanced method for self-realization.

Periods of sitting mediation alternate with walking meditation. There is complete flexibility in the amount of time spent on each posture. Even when practicing as part of a group each meditator is free to sit or walk as they so wish.

The aim of Mahasati Meditation is to attain direct insight into one's self-freedom from pain and suffering, and to attain a healthy mind, one that is stable and wise. This healthy mind benefits not only the practitioner, but is also a beneficial influence on the practitioner's surroundings, including those who are close to him/her, and to society in general.