The Seven Keys for Sitting Meditation
Taken from the book Qigong Empowerment, Guide to Medical, Taoist, Buddhist, Wushu, & Energy Cultivation by Master Shou-Yu Liang & Wen-Ching Wu
Entering a calm abiding state is a very important step in Buddhist Qigong. A calm abiding state is achieved by gradually reducing the scattering thoughts in your mind and by focusing the mind on one intention. A calm abiding state is achieved when your body feels like floating clouds in the sky, your qi flows without restriction, and your body feels transparent. The tranquil feeling you feel when you enter a calm abiding state can not be fully described with words. This is a state of ultimate wisdom, great luminosity, and absolute consciousness of the cosmos. Often times, after a few hours of meditation, it feels as though it were a few minutes. Many people, through the practice of qigong, have this type of experience. However, this type of experience doesn’t necessarily mean a state of tranquility. When one is able to attain a calm abiding state, this experience becomes more and more apparent. Many Chinese meditators often say, “One day in the heavens is like one year on earth.” Implying that one day in heaven for people who have reached enlightenment is like one year on earth for the unenlightened.
In Buddhist Qigong, qi in the human body can be divided into different categories according to its flow and its functions. There is qi that supplies the basis of life, qi that flows downward, qi that flows horizontally, qi that flows upward, and qi that flows all over. The Seven Keys for Sitting Meditation are guidelines to assist the different categories of qi to flow in their proper paths and perform their proper functions. They are also initial guidelines for the mind and body to achieve a calm abiding state, and a preparation for Buddhist Qigong practices.
1. Sitting in Full or Half Lotus: Full Lotus is accomplished by crossing both feet with the bottom of the feet facing up. The half Lotus posture is accomplished by crossing one leg over the other leg. Sitting in this posture regulates breathing, providing a smoother path for the qi flowing downward, to enter the middle channel easier; and eliminates annoyances resulting from jealousy.
2. Making the Tranquil Hand Seal: This seal is accomplished by overlapping one hand on top of the other hand, and pressing the tip of your thumbs lightly together, with palms facing up. Men left hand on top and women right hand on top. Then place the hand seal in front of your dantian. This posture allows the qi that flows horizontally to enter the Middle Channel easier, and eliminates annoyances resulting from anger.
3. Straighten the back and spread the shoulders. Keep the spinal column erect, while maintaining its natural curvature. Relax the diaphragm, to allow spiritual energy to reach all over the body. Spread shoulders slightly to allow the qi that flows all over the body, to enter the Middle Channel easier, and to eliminate annoyances resulting from infatuation.
4. Press your chin slightly towards your throat. This will allow the qi that flows upward to enter the Middle Channel easier, reducing absurd thinking, and eliminating annoyances resulting from greed.
5. Touch your tongue to the palate of your mouth and focus your eyes in front of you, about 170 centimeters away (about 70 inches). Eyes open or half open. This will allow the qi that supplies the basis of life to enter the Middle Channel easier, and eliminate annoyances resulting from arrogance.
6. Silence your mouth. Exhale carbon dioxide and inhale fresh air. Attain peace and stability of the facial features (ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and heart). To a meditator, the feelings arising from the five facial features should not be thought of as right or wrong; nor good or bad. Only in a neutral state will the meditator attain peace of mind. This state is like a sleeping baby, most peaceful and calm. But, it is not a state of daze. Do not misunderstand daze as a tranquil and calm abiding state.
7. Silence your mind. The mind must be at peace and stable. Don’t think about the past, don’t think about the future, and don’t think about now as you are engaging in meditation.