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Lotus posture

When sitting in the full-Lotus posture, I vow that living beings will have solid good roots And attain the Unmoving ground. (FAS Ch11 127)

“When you sit down (to meditate), you take your left leg and put it on top of your right thigh, and then take your right leg and put it on top of your left thigh. That's the full Lotus posture. It is also called the Jewelled Vajra sitting position. It is also called the Bodhi position. Although there are many names, they all refer to this one position. If you sit in this position it is easy to enter Samadhi. It is also easier not to doze off. On the other hand, you can also sleep in this position. However, if you don't want to sleep, you don't have to. Why? It is because everything is made from the mind alone.

“When you sit, your body should be held upright. Don't lean back with your neck cocked backwards. Don't lean backwards or forwards or slouch to the right or left. Sit straight but not stiff as a board. Don't sit so stiffly that it seems you are hemmed in on all sides by stiff boards or iron bars. I say this because I know there are certain people who, when they sit, immediately sit up as stiff as boards. They pose like wooden statues. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to maintain yourself like that. That is not the way to subdue your body and mind. subduing the body and mind should be very natural. Don't display some special style. . . . When meditation is done naturally, there is not any force at all about it. You just sit there very relaxed, and you feel quite comfortable. . . .

“When you are sitting, you want to make your breath eRev. For instance, you don't want to make a point of taking very deep breaths . . . like a cow. . . . On the other hand you shouldn't breathe like a mosquito–so shallowly that its barely audible…. You breathe in when you need to breathe in, and you breathe out when you need to breathe out. It's very natural and you make your mind pure and don't have any false thinking.

“Put the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. That way the saliva in your mouth will flow directly into your stomach. That is why it is best for people who meditate to refrain from smoking, drinking, and taking other intoxicants (alcohol, recreational drugs, cigarettes). Don't rely on external conditions to aid you. If you don't smoke and you don't drink, then your saliva won't be scorched and bitter, and you will be able to swallow it into your stomach, where the saliva helps in harmonizing the energy and the blood.

“When you are sitting, don't be afraid of the pain. Perhaps you can sit for half an hour before the pain starts, but when it does begin you should be patient. It is at that point when patience is of the utmost importance. The more it hurts, the more you are patient, just as if you were raising a child. You should say, “Come on, child, don't cry. Wait a bit and I will give you some candy.” You can tell your legs, “Don't lose your temper; don't get angry. Wait a bit until I've Mastered this sitting, and then you won't hurt anymore. Then we will have end birth and death.” Tell your legs that the very best thing to do would be to go to sleep and not get angry. . . . When your legs hurt, you should bear it, and then pretty soon you will be able to sit for an hour, two hours, Three hours. You will sit there in a state of unmoving suchness, and there in that unmoving state several hours will paSS V]]ery quickly. That means you have experienced a little bit of 'light ease', and you should continue with your cultivation. If you continue with your cultivation, then you can obtain genuine Samadhi power.

“Some people are really worried. . . . They say, 'Well I'd like to investigate Chan, but I can't sit in full Lotus posture, so it is useless.' Don't worry; if you can't sit in full Lotus you can sit in half Lotus. That's putting your left leg on top of your right thigh. Why does the left leg go on the right leg? . . . The left leg is yang and the right leg is yin. The left leg represents heaven and the right leg represents earth. And so heaven is on top and the earth is on the bottom. You can sit that way. And if you can't manage half Lotus, you can sit in any way that is comfortable. subdue your body and mind. cause the body and mind not to lose their tempers, so that no matter how long you sit there is no fear of pain, and they don't get angry. . . .” (TD 66)

To sit still for a single moment, Is worth more than building as many paGodas of the seven gems As there are g[[rains of sand]] in the Ganges river. (TD 67)

On Sitting in Full Lotus posture–An historical Account

“A long time ago in China, there was a monk who recited Sutras for dead people. He always recited Sutras for others' sake, but not for his own sake. He created Merit and virtue for other people, but not for himself. One day he came back from creating Merit and virtue for others. It was dark on his way back home. While he went through a village, a dog barked at him. It woke some people, and he heard a woman inside a house say, 'Do you hear the dog barking so loudly? Maybe there is a thief. We'd better take a look.' Her husband replied, 'It cannot be.' The dog then barked more fiercely, so he looked outside through the window.

”'Is that a thief?' his wife asked.

”'No, it's only a Sutra reciting ghost!'

“When the monk heard him call him a Sutra-reciting ghost instead of a Sutra-reciting God, he felt unhappy in his heart. 'Ha! What's the matter with reciting the Sutras? How dare you call me a Sutra-reciting ghost? If I were a real ghost, I'd give you a headache.' And so he had such thoughts as he passed through the village.

“As he was walking across a bridge it started to rain, so he quickly ran down under the bridge to get out of the rain. He had heard that if one sat in full-Lotus posture the result was not bad, and so he tried it out. . . . Suddenly he saw two ghosts. They didn't bother him; instead they bowed to him.

“They said, 'This golden Stupa (i.e. reliquary monument, paGoda) must contain the Buddha's Sharira (i.e., Relics). We should respect it and bow to it.'

“Because he sat in full-Lotus position, he looked like a golden Stupa in the eyes of those two ghosts. The monk saw the two ghosts bow to him. He probably also saw ghosts when he 'took across' dead people. . . . He was not afraid of them. After sitting in full-Lotus position for a while, he felt pain. It became so intense that he could no longer endure it, even if he clenched his teeth. And so he put down the leg on top and sat in the half-Lotus position instead. When the two ghosts raised their heads from bowing, they were surprised: 'Why has this golden Stupa become a silver Stupa?' The full-Lotus position is a golden Stupa, and the half-Lotus position is a silver Stupa, viewed from the eyes of ghosts.

“One ghost said, 'inside a golden Stupa or a silver Stupa, there are still the Buddha's Sharira, and so we should still keep on bowing to eradicate our karmic offenses.!' Therefore, they kept on bowing to him.

“Probably he overheard the conversation between these two ghosts. Yet after another hour he could no longer endure the pain from sitting in half-Lotus position. Because he was used to reciting Sutras for dead people to make his living, he couldn't endure sitting in full-Lotus for half an hour and then half-Lotus for another hour. And so he put down his other leg and just sat casually.

“When the two ghosts stood up from bowing, they saw him and said, 'Now this is neither a golden Stupa nor a silver Stupa. It's only a pile of mud!' They wanted to hit him and kick him.

“The monk was so scared that he quickly went back to the full-Lotus position. When the ghosts were just about to hit him, they saw the mud pile had become a golden Stupa again! They said, 'This is certainly an inconceivable state; we had better quickly bow. And so the ghosts continued to bow.

“After this experience, the monk didn't dare put down his legs. No matter how painful his legs felt, he endured the pain. . . . He sat in meditation and recited the Buddha's name until the next morning. Then his two legs didn't hurt any more. He thought, 'I was called a Sutra-reciting ghost before, because I recited Sutras for others. But when I sat in full-Lotus position, I was a golden Stupa. And when I sat in half-Lotus position, I was a silver Stupa. But when I sat causally, I was just a pile of mud. When one sits in full-Lotus position, even ghosts come to pay their respects. This is really inconceivable!'

“After this experience, he no longer dared merely to recite Sutras for others, but Resolved to sit in full-Lotus to help his own cultivation. After Cultivating for a period of time, he got enlightened and was certified as such. After his enlightenment, he realized that the source of his enlightenment was the two ghosts who had forced him to Resolve to cultivate. And so he gave up his former name and replaced it with a very strange one: 'pressured-by-ghosts'. Thereafter, everyone called him meditation Master pressured-by-ghosts. . . .” (FAS Ch11 127-131)


1) Chinese: lyan-hwa dzwo , shwang/jye jya-fu dzwo , 2) Sanskrit: Padma-asana or padmasana, 3) Pali paduma-asana.

See Also: meditation.

BTTS References: TD 63-67; FAS Ch11 127-131, 244-245; SS I 98-99; LY I 70-75; DFS IX 1716-17, 1722-1727.


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lotus_pose.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:12 (external edit)