Sitting in Meditation
When we practice meditation we need to have a comfortable seat and a good posture.
The most important feature of the posture is to keep our back straight. To help us do this, if we are sitting on a cushion we make sure that the back of the cushion is slightly higher than the front, inclining our pelvis slightly forward.
It is not necessary at first to sit cross-legged, but it is a good idea to become accustomed to sitting in the posture of Buddha Vairochana. If we cannot hold this posture we should sit in one which is as close to this as possible while remaining comfortable.
The seven features of Vairochana’s posture are:
1 The legs are crossed in the vajra posture. This helps to reduce thoughts and feelings of desirous attachment.
2 The right hand is placed in the left hand, palms upwards, with the tips of the thumbs slightly raised and gently touching. The hands are held about four fingers’ width below the navel. This helps us to develop good concentration. The right hand symbolizes method and the left hand symbolizes wisdom – the two together symbolize the union of method and wisdom. The two thumbs at the level of the navel symbolize the blazing of inner fire
3 The back is straight but not tense. This helps us to develop and maintain a clear mind, and it allows the subtle energy winds to flow freely
4 The lips and teeth are held as usual, but the tongue touches against the back of the upper teeth. This prevents excessive salivation while also preventing our mouth from becoming too dry
5 The head is tipped a little forward with the chin slightly tucked in so that the eyes are cast down. This helps prevent mental excitement
6 The eyes are neither wide open nor completely closed, but remain half open and gaze down along the line of the nose. If the eyes are wide open we are likely to develop mental excitement and if they are closed we are likely to develop mental sinking
7 The shoulders are level and the elbows are held slightly away from the sides to let air circulate