FROM STUDYING THE WORLD
TO STUDYING THE MIND
Venerable Dr. Nicholas Thanissaro left his life as a scientist and teacher to join the monkhood over 20 years ago. In the following Q&A session, we will explore some of his background, why he decided to join the monkhood, and some advice on meditation.
Q: How were you first exposed to meditation?
A: I learned meditation when I was studying at Manchester University, from the university Buddhist society. After learning meditation, I felt that there was more to it than meets the eye and I developed an interest in it. Through the Buddhist society at Manchester, I got to know Buddhist speakers and more about Buddhism.
Q: Why do you like the Dhammakaya meditation technique?
A: I have experience with other forms of meditation. I practiced breathing meditation from three years but for me there wasn't really a clear way forward with that technique. I like Dhammakaya meditation because the path of progress is very clear and easy to evaluate. It's a very well structured technique that is easy for beginners to pick up and can still be developed to a higher level. I also noticed that Dhammakaya meditation was very popular among children, so I felt it was a more natural technique if even children can learn it easily.
Q: Why did you choose to become a monk?
A: I had a strong interest in meditation and monks basically practice and teach meditation professionally. So being a monk was combining what I did for a living with what I loved, meditation.
Q: Many of our upcoming programs train people to be a "Dhamma Rep". What is the importance of the "Dhamma Rep" Program?
A: The "Dhamma Rep" program is important because it is the future of Peace Point Meditation and of meditation in general. Meditation is traditionally taught by monks, but monks are in short supply and are restricted by where they can go and who they can teach because some people don't want to be taught by Buddhist monks. Thus, it is important that we have a way to train lay people to teach meditation and spread meditation to places and people that monks can't reach.
Q: What kind of meditation advice do you have?
A: It is important to have a daily practice, even if it's not very long. Don't give up or be lazy, if you can create the motivation to meditate regularly you will see progress.