October 25, 2004

The chants we do in the evening, before the meditation, are meant to put you in the right frame of mind to do the meditation, pointing out skillful ways of thinking. Whether we’re contemplating the body; issues of aging, illness, death, and karma; thoughts of goodwill; reflection on the nature of the world: All of these thoughts are designed to remind you of how important it is to meditate. They also remind you of your motivation for meditation. Whether you’re here to find something solid in the midst of the world, or as an expression of goodwill, it’s useful to remember — each time you sit down to meditate or do walking meditation — why you’re doing it, the importance of what you’re doing, so that you do it with an attitude of proper respect and attention. In other words, you don’t just go through the motions. You don’t treat it casually.