Buddhist experts and scientists are saying that the 200 year old monk (below) who was found last week meditating in Mongolia is not dead. Mongolian newspapers are reporting the scientific discovery of a mummified monk found in the province of Songino Khairkhan. Tukdam state refers to a specific meditation practice in which monks continue to meditate after death.
Modern practitioners of meditation face the same age-old question that meditators have asked themselves and each other for thousands of years: how can I motivate myself to meditate every day? Here we offer five tried-and-tested meditation tips to overcome the most common problems that beginners and experienced practitioners can encounter in motivating themselves to sit regularly. If we are going to devote some time to our meditation practice, we want to know that the effort is worth it. Research on the effects of focussing on the intricate and beautiful buddha forms used as meditation objects in Diamond Way Buddhist meditations has found that meditating on buddha forms improves visual-spatial processing in the brain.
One teaching whose time has come, is to not try to evaluate one’s own progress – even for those with many years of practice. If you wake up in the morning, Lama Ole also advises, and have a conversation with yourself to try to convince yourself to meditate, you’ve already lost. We have previously reported on research on how to form a habit, and there is ever-increasing interest and psychological research in this area. Buddhists have used meditation beads or malas for millennia to help keep concentration during a meditation session, as well as to count repetitions of mantras. Popular habit-tracking app Lift say on their blog about getting started with meditation that 11 days is the magic number: after 11 consecutive days of meditating daily, people are 90% likely to continue the habit. Lift have been running a March Meditation challenge, where members of their community share what helps them to form and keep the meditation habit.
Whether you choose the Seinfeld productivity method using an old-fashioned calendar, or the latest electronic gadget, you can encourage yourself to meditate, and make it easier, using material things to help you.
I just now heard of two people who managed to do the refuge meditation daily by hooking up via skype every morning at 6 a.m. Diamond Way Buddhism UK is a charity registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales under charity number 1093406, and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales under company number 04459822, with its registered office at The Beaufoy Institute, 39 Black Prince Road, London SE11 6JJ.
Let’s start our beginners guide to mindfulness meditation by defining precisely what mindfulness is.
The more clouds there are in the sky the less bright the world will be and the more difficult it will be to see the world. When you’re a beginners, learning mindfulness meditation is like the sun breaking through the clouds. Mindfulness is the act of focusing the mind on the present moment, without judgment and with complete acceptance. In a moment when we get into the nitty gritty of our Ultimate Beginners Guide To Mindfulness Meditation, I’ll share some excellent mindfulness exercises. Over 400 girls at the Dhammajarinee Witthaya Buddhist boarding school in Thailand are now practicing Transcendental Meditation as part of their curriculum.

Dhammajarinee Witthaya school is a very special school – it is the first and only educational institution in Thailand where poor or orphaned girls can get free education from kindergarten to grade 12. The difficult, troubled past of the students was one of the main reasons for including Transcendental Meditation in the daily routine, alongside modern academic subjects and basic Buddhist teachings.
Kru Maew, a teacher at the Dhammajarinee Witthaya boarding school, says: “Our school in the first school in Thailand that incorporates the Transcendental Meditation technique to culture the students’ ethical values.
Gender inequality is still a big issue in Thailand, with girls from poorer areas being especially vulnerable to AIDS, drug abuse, violence, exploitation and illiteracy. The number one Buddhist meditation for compassion is the Loving Kindness meditation, or Metta Bhavana meditation, a practice which was taught by Guatama Buddha more than 2500 years ago as a means of developing love and selflessness.
Loving Kindness Meditation is best practiced alongside Vipassana, walking meditation and Anapanasati. Loving Kindness is used to heighten the four qualities of love, which are: Equanimity (Upekkha), Metta (Friendliness), Compassion (Caruna) and Joy (Mudita). Loving Kindness is not only about being compassionate for other people’s  suffering but also valuing their joy, happiness and success. In Loving Kindness we recite certain words that help us to feel compassion for other people.
Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist and Director of the University of Waisman Center, conducted research involving fMRI scans of monks who had been meditating for many years. In order to glean these benefits of compassion it is important to practice the technique often. As well as extending loving kindness to others it is important to extend it to ourselves as well.
You will perform the following procedure for many people, begin with yourself, then family, friends, acquaintances and finally people you do not get along with particularly well.
Practice this Loving Kindness Meditation each day to receive the benefits we have discussed above.
Despite being over 200 years old, and sitting in meditation position on the floor, the monk’s body has miraculously remained in excellent preservation. As Dr Kerzin says, “If the meditator can stay in Tukdam meditation state, he can become a Buddha. We are aware that meditation is good for us, and yet the pressures of daily life and our various commitments can make it hard to ensure we fit a meditation session into our busy schedule each day. It’s reassuring to know that not only generations of Buddhist masters, but increasingly also modern researchers, attest to the fact that meditation leads to increased levels of wellbeing. Something to think about when planning your pension, or when hitchhiking home after your next trip to the casino. Emotions come and go like the weather, so whether we feel calm or distracted, peaceful or disturbed on this or that day is not so important. We have filled our minds with tendencies since beginningless time, and … even a broad and fast development may not be noticed by oneself. Nowadays the modern Buddhist is just as likely to carry their mala as an app on their iPhone.

17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, head of the Karma Kagyu lineage, guiding a meditation on the breath. But just as the rays of the sun can be blocked, dimmed, and transformed by clouds, so can consciousness be blocked, dimmed and transformed by thoughts and memories.
The more thoughts, stresses, concerns, and worries in the mind, the harder it will be to see clearly.
The lack of educational opportunities in turn contributes significantly to the persistency of this pattern of despondency in future generations. But after we introduced Transcendental Meditation and after they started practicing, I feel that now some students are more settled and some pay more attention to their studies,” tells Kru Maew, a teacher at the school. In Theravada, loving kindness is offered to all living things, while Tibetan Buddhists practice Loving Kindness to receive suffering and give love in return (Tibetan Loving Kindness meditation involved breathing in the suffering of other living beings while breathing out love to all).
So it is that we need to approach from two directions:  empathy for the suffering of others and appreciation and joy for their success. Matthieu Ricard, a scientist and Buddhist monk, has stated that over his 40 000 hours of meditation he has learnt to develop more positive emotions in his mind and to limit negative emotions.
The research revealed that Loving Kindness has a profound impact on the brain as it significantly heightens our compassion for others.
These days, when even major news outlets have sections on meditation tips, we can look to the 2,500 years of Buddhist meditation experience for inspiration. When we make the effort to notice the wandering puppy of the daydreaming mind and gently bring it back to the focus, deep, long-term changes become inevitable with regular practice. This is because the lack of contrast to one’s former situation will be missing or severely limited. Habits become, through repetition and unconscious association, our default way of behaving. It worked out fine and by now it has become a group of people spread over Northern Germany who join like that.
In the Pali Canon (an ancient Buddhist text), it is said that Loving Kindness Meditaiton (Metta Bhavana) helps us to sleep well, to wake well, to avoid nightmares, to be closer to other people, to feel a sense of emotional protection, to feel closer to others and to develop concentration. Goenka (a notable Vipassana teacher) advises that compassion be be practiced immediately after Vipassana or Anapana meditation.
Natural inertia then works in our favour – it takes effort to establish a habit, but once well established, it takes effort to break it.
Goenka stated that once a meditator has achieved equanimity they are able to send Loving Kindness universally to all sentient beings.

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