ACCESSING THE SOFTWARE
OF THE MIND
After earning his Master’s degree in Computer Engineering at San Jose State University, Venerable Andrew Tikkhaviro decided to leave his life behind to become a monk and meditation instructor. In the following Q&A session, we will discuss his background and thoughts on the importance of meditation.
Q: Why do you think meditation is important for people to learn?
A: Meditation is important for people not just to learn but to practice. Meditation can help people to overcome their suffering to the root of problem by making their minds healthy and clear. It is the way to bring their minds back to their natural state which have their own self-defense mechanism. They will be able to find peace within themselves and will automatically love to share with others, which will bring peace to their community and the world.
Q: How were you first exposed to meditation?
A: I was born in a Buddhist family in Thailand, which is a Buddhist country. My family is well connected to the temple and the Buddha’s teaching, and practiced meditation regularly. I had many chances to visit the temple when I was young. When I was in primary school, we had field trips to the temple and I learned to meditate. As a kid, I have had a personal interest in meditation and would go to the library and bookstore to learn about meditation, but it was not successful. Not until I came to Azusa, California, that I started to practice meditation again after not trying for many years. This was the starting point as I continue to practice meditation until today.
Q: Why do you like the Dhammakaya meditation technique?
A: The unique feature of the Dhammakaya meditation technique is the center of the body. From my experience, once I allow the mind to be at the center, I can feel balanced and peace from the center. The reason that the center is important can also be explained scientifically. The other reason why I like the Dhammakaya meditation technique is that it is simple. It does not need any complicated steps to practice. It emphasizes on relaxation or sabai, which means a state of being relaxed and carefree in Thai language.
Q: Why did you choose to become a monk?
A: Initially as a traditional Thai Buddhist, I chose to become a monk in order to pay gratitude to my parents. After experiencing monkhood, I decided to continue as a monk because it gives me more opportunity to do good deeds until I reach the ultimate goal of a Buddhist.
Q: What kind of meditation advice do you have?
A: First of all, you need to find good inspiration for you to start meditating. Remember that meditation is not hard. Just relax and be sabai. Next, find the best time for yourself to meditate regularly. Don’t give up. Find good friends to encourage you to keep practicing. Anyone can succeed in meditation as long as you don’t give up easily.