Note: I CHOSE TO TEACH MEDITATION IN A NON-RELIGIOUS WAY NOR DO I TRY TO CHANGE YOUR BELIEF SYSTEM. MEDITATION IS STIMULATING TO YOUR OVERALL MENTAL HEALTH, AWARENESS, CONSCIOUSNESS, AND SPIRIT.
If you are interested in more deeper Traditional esoteric and “advanced” meditation methods here is a general overview with links:
Think of learning meditation as entering gates or spheres of influence:
Gate 1. you begin to learn simple forms of meditation: the elder path: vipassana, yogas, qigongs, sitting meditations. You begin to form a “base” or foundation of experience that lead to deeper knowledge.
Gate 2. the simple techniques are mastered and lead you on the “path” to dig deeper into other methods and advanced techniques. In Buddhism, mahayana vehicle presents more advanced methods.
Gate 3: the master lead you to even deeper more advanced systems using techniques not learned before that bear good results or “fruits” of your diligence and disciple.
Gate 4: we advise the training of Dzogchen: various intense breathing methods, concentrations, visualizations, and cleansing type methods that advance your awareness and prolong states of consciousness.
Gate 5: Zen- I believe that having experienced and gone through the proper training, transmission, and guidance of the various techniques, under the watchful eye of a qualified teacher (aka Rinpoche, Maharishi, Mahayogi, Guru, Mahasiddhi, Abbot, Monk, etc.) you arrive at understanding“Zen” or “Tao” much more quickly than have done only Gate 1 practices.
My 4 four principle Tibetan Buddhist teachers: (1991-1998)
image: Left to right- Gelugpa teacher Geshela, Gelugpa teacher Lati Rinpoche, Bon master Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Bon master Lopn Tenzin Namdak.
The practices of Dzogchen (the Great Perfection) are what we mostly concentrate on, it is a system based on Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana Buddhism, but with its own systems, lineage, and meditation techniques from both Bon and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Americans have had the opportunity to study these rare methods since globalization and immigrations into the USA (due to exiled from China) of the abbots, monks, yogis, and teachers. The teachings are now open and not kept secret to sincere practitioners to keep the teaching alive and from going extinct. Dzogchen teaches the base, path, and fruits of meditation and help the meditator experience the “essence, nature, and energy” involved in proper practice.
Zen (Chan) Buddhist meditation is the simplest method involving 20 minutes of silent sitting (zazen), 20 minutes walking, and 20 minutes of more zazen, followed by a sutra reading. However, like many scholars, I feel it is a very advanced practice and better understood after training in the other 3 schools of Hinayana, Mahayana, Varjrayana, and Dzogchen which help to develop a strong base on the path of meditation. There are two main schools of Zen: Soto which involves practice of “Koan”, which is a question the master gives the student to meditate on and the Rinzai school of Zen, which is described by more zazen and less koan based training. We practice the Rinzai approach. Zen Buddhism on Wikipedia
1. The elder path/Lesser Vehicle: Hinayana and Theravada Buddhism. How to practice Vipassana meditation.
Enlightenment takes time and dedication. Practitioners of Theravada may take several lifetimes to reach enlightenment. The lesser vehicle is like a bike on a trip of a million miles to enlightenment.
This is the simplest form of Buddhist practice and is found in Southeast Asia. These are Sutra (collection of aphorisms in the form of a manual) based teachings.
2. Greater Vehicle: Mahayana Buddhism. Bodhisattvas are teachers after the Buddha who revealed various other teachings of Buddha at a later time. Tantric and Sutra based (not to be confused with sexual practices of Tantra in Kama Sutra). The bodhisattva takes vows to lead others to enlightenment. More on Mahayana on wikipedia.
The greater vehicle is like a car on a trip of a million miles to enlightenment.
5 main Schools of Tibetan Buddhism:
Zen is considered mahayana.
Places I have studied:
Richmond Va. Rizai Zen group
Jefferson Tibetan society Charlottesville Va.
Lati Rinpoche (1922-2010) former teacher of mine.
Geshe Jampel Thardo (now deceased)- JTS in Charlottesville Va.
Ligmincha Institute outside Charlottesville Va.
3. Diamond Vehicle: Vajrayana Buddhism. Some of the more advanced practices are Mahamudra and Mantrayana (reciting mantras) and working with various deities in the Buddhist Canon.
More here on Wikipedia on Vajrayana.
The diamond vehicle is like a airplane on a trip of a million miles to enlightenment.
4. Dzogchen: the Great Perfection. Realizing and living in the natural state of consciousness. More here on wikipedia on Dzogchen.
Dzogchen is like a rocket on a trip of a million miles to enlightenment.
Links to my Dzogchen teachers:
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Lopon Tenzin Namdak- Ligmincha Institute
Namkai Norbu- Tsegyalgar International
More to come:
5. Kundalini Yoga: wikipedia on Kundalini yoga
6. Sahaja yoga: wikipedia on sahaja yoga.
7. Taoist Yoga: various sects of Taoist Yoga from various sacred peaks: Maoshan, Huashan, WuDang, sects. more at wikipedia on Taoist meditation practices.