On Buddha Day, once a week, Thai lay people earn merit and gain happiness by offering food to the monks and hearing the Buddha’s teaching. Making merit is a great way to build a foundation for meditation practice.
Happiness is something that we all seek and it is simple to obtain. All one needs to do is to let go of one’s worries, fears and desires, and bring the mind to the present moment. Some will say that bringing the mind to the present moment is easier said than done. What I would say is that it’s easier to do after practicing it for a while.
The practice itself consists of training the mind to be in the present moment by being aware of when the mind wanders and then gently bringing it back to what we are doing. We teach simple exercises one can practice which include the mindful prostration, walking meditation and sitting meditation.
Collectively, we call these exercises “practicing the Dhamma.” The word Dhamma is a Pali word that refers to the Buddha’s teaching. It can also be translated as the Truth or the path leading to liberation. When we practice insight meditation we are treading the path leading to liberation from suffering. In other words, when a person does these meditation exercises over and over, she trains the mind to rest naturally in the here and now rather than being preoccupied by the past and the future. The result is simply a freer and happier existence.