Buddhism and Meditation

The Sacred Circle

On the 22nd May, the MK Triratna Buddhism Group looked at The Sacred Circle.

We used this image, common to Zen and Tibetan Buddhism to explore our attitude to our awarenss and the things that enter our “sacred circle” of awareness.

Here are the notes from the class:

In many traditions (including Tibetan and Japanese Buddhism) the circle is a powerful symbol for the sacredness of all things.

What do we mean by sacred? What do we mean by profane?

This circle may be drawn or painted.

Sometimes as a ritual this is done on the ground with you at the centre. This helps you to realise that you are always at the centre of the Universe. The circle that surrounds you reminds you that you are always in a sacred space.

Mindfulness has the aspects of breadth and focus.

When focused we have great precision – an intimate awareness of the object of meditation such as the breath.

When we cultivate a broad awareness we enter into an experience of spaciousness. There is always spaciousness available to us (even when focused).

This spaciousness is gentle. It allows us to see our world in all its’ colour, how large our world is, how fluid, how energetic – how ALIVE. This spaciousness is our Circle.

We should not think of mindfulness as something stern or harsh. It is not a discipline that we impose on ourselves, something that we do to fix our faults, to clean up our act. It is not a punishment, a project or a chore.

Mindfulness is simply learning to love all the little details of our lives. It is appreciating the bitter tang of our tea, the texture of the biscuit, the smile of a stranger.

Through mindfully attending here and now, something amazing starts to happen – life begins to open up and you realise that you are always standing at the centre of the world.

You are always in the sacred space. The sacred space is not any particular place – a temple, a meditation room or a woodland shrine. We take the sacred space with us wherever we go.

Many things enter our sacred space, including other people. We engage with others in the sacred circle.

Whatever comes into the space is there to teach us something. It might be pleasant or it might be unpleasant, but it has a teaching for us if only we can remain open to it.

How can we remain open in order to receive the teachings that life offers us?