An important question but not actively discussed because who gets addicted to such a boring activity anyway?
Since Buddhism places great emphasis on meditation, Buddhist may find this question awkward. It’s like asking somebody if there is an addiction to prayers? Moreover, this is a very vast topic because it involves the examination of various meditation techniques and its impact on our daily life.
Is there such a thing as excessiveness to meditation? Again, no direct answer because it depends on individual circumstances.
But let us try to establish some road signs and checkpoints because when our meditation goes awry, our mind follows suit. Let’s start this post and see how far we’ll go. Again, my posts are from a layman’s perspective only.
Foremost, I think we need to ask ourselves; Why do we want to meditate? The natural response is that meditation is beneficial. For city dwellers, this usually refers to the peace and tranquillity that is produced by meditation. In a way, it helps us find an equilibrium to our stressful life. Helps us think clearer and focus better.
Can peace and tranquillity produced from meditation be bad?
The answer is a straight forward yes; if it becomes a form of escapism.
Before Buddha decided to rely on himself to gain enlightenment, he studied meditation with 2 acclaimed meditation masters. They taught techniques that enable one’s mind to be blissfully tranquil during meditation. They taught these peaceful states as nirvana. However, Buddha rejected their teachings. Why? Simply because those states are temporary. One can feel extreme blissful and tranquil during the meditation, but upon exiting those meditative states, one is still troubled by an afflicted mind. In another word, those meditation states allow people to escape the reality of life.
Buddhist meditation can also induce such blissful tranquillity. However, we need to exit those blissful rapture and direct our mind to examine ourselves. That is for gaining wisdom. Wisdom helps us understand the reality or Ultimate Truth. When we realize the Ultimate Truth, the mind no longer gets afflicted. Thus, Buddhist Nirvana is final.
Therefore, if we become addicted to peaceful states instead of cultivating wisdom; then our meditation becomes non-Buddhist. That addiction to escapism meditation can be bad.
Especially, if we shut ourselves in our room and neglect our daily responsibilities. Sometimes, people use religion as an excuse to escape the harsh reality of work or even difficult relationship. If we find ourselves craving for blissful states induced by meditation or chanting, then we need to be wary.
Buddhist meditation does not make us neglect our responsibility and we should not use it as an excuse to escape our chores and duties. Meditation is just a tool for gaining enlightenment and should not be mistaken as the goal (Enlightenment)
May all be well and happy.
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