Dhyan, Zen and the current craze of Meditation

American management gurus have suddenly discovered Meditation and Mindfulness and like it is with everything else, they pontificate and propound eloquently about these two without knowing much about them. Not all, mind you, but there are some famous ones who are suddenly grasping at mindfulness and meditation to stay relevant. I have a problem, with fads. Also all things that come out of America are not necessarily the right things as we have seen over the years. Its a great country and I am not debunking their achievements and I always stand by my statement about the US of A – its the country that shows what human potential can achieve and it will always be an example for that.

BUT, and its a big BUT – its a very young nation and like the young, it has scant regard for age old practices. The journey that the US has had has been about science, about proving everything and it has been about making money. The only yardstick of success has been the material richness. A large part of the average American’s time goes in ensuring his/her corporation succeeds in making money – any which way. A rich nation always flirts with the esoteric and the mystical because they can afford to. India was called the “golden bird” … we were a rich nation and so had all the time to delve into the depths of our being. Our stomachs were full. Today America’s stomachs are more than full and they are missing that something which is beyond money and material riches.

Enter the gurus and mystics, a handful that are genuine masters and most of them, just great business men who have found this to be a good money making proposition. The management gurus can’t be far behind – they immediately adopt the buzzwords and some back it up with some research and some borrow the research and they open another line of business. Here’s the trouble with Meditation – its an individualistic experience and cannot be mass produced or productized. Just as most of the Western minds cannot accept Yoga as anything more than merely a form of exercise…. they are down a slippery slope with Meditation and mindfulness. Just as yoga has been bastardized, Meditation too is getting bastardized.

Here are two explanation for Meditation – one is from a management guru and another is from the Master of Masters Osho… draw your own conclusions –

Read the entire piece on this link – Meditation- where to begin

“Meditation is an excellent way to enhance emotional intelligence skills, especially self-awareness. There are many effective methods. Meditation was developed within the framework of religions; every major world religion has its meditation methods. I surveyed meditation paths in my first book, The Meditative Mind, recently released in a digital version. But now these meditation practices have been taken out of the religious context and their benefits made available to anyone, regardless of religious beliefs. Those benefits include heightened concentration, relaxation, improved health and resilience under stress and an overall sense of well-being.”

And Osho’s answer –

“Meditation is a simple process of watching your own mind. Not fighting with the mind. Not trying to control it either. Just remaining there, a choiceless witness. Whatsoever passes you simply take note of it With no prejudice for or against. You don’t call it names. That this should not come to my mind, That this is an ugly thought and This is a very beautiful and virtuous thought. You should not judge. You should remain non-judgmental. Because the moment you judge, you lose meditation. You become identified. Either you become a friend or you become a foe. You create relationships. Meditation means remaining unrelated with your thought process Utterly unrelated, cool, calm Watching whatsoever is passing. And then a miracle happens: Slowly slowly one becomes aware, that less and less thoughts are passing. The more alert you are, the less thoughts pass The less alert you are, the more thoughts pass. It is as if traffic depends on your awareness. When you are perfectly aware Even for a single moment, all thinking stops.

Immediately, there is a sudden stop and the road is empty, there is no traffic. That moment is meditation.”

Read the entire page on this link – What is Meditation?

I have nothing against management gurus and meditation does deliver several benefits, undoubtedly… but meditation and mindfulness are not things you speak about without expertise ! And you don’t learn about meditation by reading about it – its something that comes out of experiencing and I just feel the management gurus who are not meditators, should refrain from advising people on how to meditate. They can certainly train executives and CEOs on how to concentrate, how to focus and how to relax, but peddling a product that you have no domain expertise on doesn’t work.

I have not learnt to meditate but I will and certainly not from a management guru :).

I came across this fascinating journey of the word “Dhyan” in Osho’s book “The Fire of Truth” and that set me off on this blog. Here is an excerpt –

“…. The word Zen is Japanese, but it is not Japanese; it is a Japanese pronunciation of a Chinese word Ch’an. And you should remember that Chinese and Japanese are non-alphabetical languages, so pronunciation differs.

…… Ch’an is also not Chinese. It came to China with the Buddhist monks some two thousand years ago. Buddhists used the language Pali; their word was jhan. It became in China ch’an. The Pali word jhan comes from the Sanskrit word dhyan, so it has a long history of traveling, taking different shades, meanings.

It is dhyan that we are translating as meditation, pure meditation, just witnessing. There is no question of any certain religion……..Dhyan is complete in itself. It is the beginning and the end of the whole evolution of consciousness -the alpha and the omega.”

So go ahead and try meditating. There is no danger …. just don’t get conned into buying books about meditation written by non-meditators.

5 thoughts on “Dhyan, Zen and the current craze of Meditation”

  1. Bindu,
    I can’t claim to be much of a meditator, but I’ve read a lot about it over the years. The “fad” toward mindfulness and meditation in the US may be a reaction to the frenzy of society and social expectations. In a country dedicated to “busyness,” including “multi-tasking,” there is little appreciation for relaxation, “doing nothing,” and serenity. Perhaps the US version of “meditation” and “mindfulness” is a way to reduce guilt about relaxation. And, of course, the profit motive enters in to make it more marketable.

    • Katharine, where have you been ? Have missed you :). You are as always, so right ! The profit motive is exactly what I was getting at. Thanks for articulating it so well. You truly have a way with words.

      • Bindu,
        Awwww. It’s nice to be missed. I have let WordPress lapse, to some extent, involved on WriterBeat.com when involved at all. I have been reading your articles but not always commenting. More reflective lately, and haven’t felt I had much to contribute.

  2. Wonderful post.Very well written. Unfortunately , such a pure & auspicious act like Meditation has been turned into business venture by some. At this note ,however, I would like to share my recent article on Meditation as there are certain things that you write nor for acknowledgement but to reach maximum people who might draw something useful from it .Here it goes :

    #AnsweringTheUnanswered #Meditation

    While I am certainly not a spiritual Guru and definitely not an enlightened being , but I have every reason to be grateful to the nature or to the divine for helping me to be continuously on this auspicious path of seeking thyself for quiet sometime now.

    The very purpose of writing this blog is to answer, based on my own experiences , based on what exactly I have actually felt and subsequently understood so far , some of the very basic questions/doubts which usually bother the beginners as I sincerely wish that whosoever flag starts his/her spiritual journey ,finds absolutely no reason to quit this path.

    Hope you too will find this write up worth reading and worth sharing so that it reaches the right seekers !



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