GGeneva, Switzerland – The whole world is badly affected by the Coronavirus with no definitive solutions being found. From all around the world, we hear negative images and sad news. A lot of suffering and losses. Politicians and policy makers sit in silence. All the mighty nations seem to have surrendered against a microscopic molecule. A catastrophic situation.
There are three approaches to tackle this problem:
01) Spiritual Engagement
02) Eating suitable diet which increase our immunity system
03) Developing Medicine
This is arguably the most effective way of eliminating this lung disease. Many people are dying with the effect of this Coronavirus, as it causes difficulties in respiration: lung dysfunction and an eventual pneumonia. One supplementary way to fight against this disease is learning to breath correctly. For this purpose, we find extraordinary techniques in the Buddhist teaching in the Pali canon. According to this very ancient tradition, physical health is usually dependent on the mental health. If the mind is well trained or cultivated using these techniques, the physical health will follow mental health. These phenomena can be found in the teachings of the Buddha. According to this explanation, there are 1500 mental defilements we find in the Buddhist texts. In the Girimananda Sutta there are a list of physical diseases that could harm the human body. Even the modern medical science acknowledges this effect in their vague description of placebo effect.
We find in the Vinaya code of discipline of the monks and nuns I in the section called SEKIYA which includes very important valuable advices concerning taking foods dressing and properly using the toilette. These practical advices aim to help physical health. All these teachings underline the importance of the mental health for the physical health. Most of the physical health problems could be practically cured by protecting the mental health. Mind culture or meditation based on these principles can be in the ancient Buddhist text called Vimukthi magga which had been written before the Visuddimagga. These techniques explained by Buddha includes proper breathing and its importance for the lungs. Having a strong respiratory organ which is properly replenished good quality air in the meditation context renders the body strong against diseases like Coronavirus.
These techniques are very ancient, and they had been used by many monks’ nuns and lay people in the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. According to the early Buddhism, it is said that through meditation people not only experience deep mental tranquility but also liberation from the Samsaric journey with its all disturbances. These mind culture or meditation exercises will naturally make us to breath systematically. With the result of properly breathing the blood circulation is irrigating all over the body relieving our nerves system. Practicing with highest confidence and right understanding that will minimize the mental distress and create the mental balance and cultivating the serenity of the mind. When we suffer from the dispersion or mental unbalance, the first reaction according to the modern phycology that we used to commit the touching the face nose and head. These are some of the reasons for the rapid spread of the coronavirus. There are 8 exercises found in the Vimukthimagga . Out of these 8, we are here explaining first 4 exercise which are more relevant in the current context:
Counting (Ganana). This is the first method of breathing. For that we have to keep our body erect and sit properly on a cousin or on a chair or bench. Then close your ice gently and relaxing the mind and the body take a long breath and a short breath to find the difference of the usual rhythm of the natural breath. After this with the concentrated mind focus your attention to your abdomen. Seen the rising and falling of the abdomen start to count mentally as 1 for rising 2 for falling of the abdomen. Do continuously few times and find the correct rhythm of your breathing movement. Then focused your mind to the heart and seeing the same way the rising and falling of the heart with breathing, do count mentally 3 to 4. May be from the beginning you do not feel like your abdomen but continuing this practice, you will feel the rising and falling of the heart same as your abdomen. Then as the third place that you have to focus your mind is the lunes. Doing so as before the rising and falling of the lunes while breathing do count 5 to 6. When you get used to these 3 ways of breathings naturally your mind experiences some inner peace and tranquility. So please do continue these breathing exercises as a habit of your daily routing. It will facilitate your respiratory system and you will feel something new, fresh and relieved. Apart from that you will bless to have new personality and change your life to have healthy long life.
So continue to do daily and make a cycle relating your abdomen heart and lunes in order to find deep concentration count up to 6 mentally (Everything in Buddhism is cycle not the square) If someone want to practice further concerning the shoulder, back and buttock breathing in and out and count until 12 in the similar way you get used to practice with abdomen, heart and lungs These practices will lead you to have calm and quiet life eliminating all kind of depressions, and you will be blessed to have harmonious mental balance. In this exercise we do not touch our face, nose and head in a habitual manner so that this sort of virus not easily contaminated. If someone wants to go the further and further in deep with the concentrated mind you got benefit through these exercises, seeing the reality of the changing nature of breath and all the body parts can be experience unsatisfactoriness, impermanence and state of the absence of Ego. Having a profound comprehension these phenomena’s you will be led to the final liberation that we called Nirvana.
Anubandana means following the breath by mind. According to the respiration mind follows the breathing movements. Air of the in breath goes through the nose and fill the lunes and immediately lunes make empty and goes down up to the abdomen. It is the end of in breath. Beginning of the in breath is the nose and middle of the in breath is lung. Then there is a subtle gap and then the out breath starts from the abdomen goes up to the lungs and similarly fill the lungs with air and make it empty and continue and through the nose out breath is leaving. Before starting inbreathing there is also a subtle pause. In this practice of letting mind to follow the breathing allows one to find the state of one pointedness. This is really a practical exercise for the people those who have respiration problems. It helps us to breath systematically. The state of having blocked lungs will naturally be resolved. That would help us to avoid the contamination of any sort of virus. Moreover, you will find mental relief and mental solace. At the end, this practice also leads us to the final liberation from universal suffering if you go deeper in the effort. Understanding the nature of unsatisfactoriness, impermanence as the nature of everything, and also the state of absence of the Ego through the respiration will approach us to the endless objective of Nirvanic maturity.
Phusana means keeping our attention at the bottom of the nostril as we observe the process of breathing-in and breathing-out. We do witness how the breath goes in and comes out through the nose. This practice also very subtle, and this helps us to have peaceful concentrated mind pertaining to a healthy life.
Thapana means a stable mind with an appropriate focus According to the well-known text on Buddhist meditation, the Maha Sathipaththana Sutra , This practice is an effective method of concentration even used by Buddha himself. Here, we have to keep the attention on the breathing touching points while we do the usual breathing. It is different from person to person and varies according to the structure of the face. It may be at the end of the nose or upper parts of the lips. It takes time to identify the true point and very difficult to touch the right place. When you breath in, you could feel cold and when you breath out you could feel warm: this is the only way to handle these air touching points. You have to examine this by focusing deep attention with highest mindfulness. It may take many years of continued practice.
At this juncture, it is important to consider the evolution towards insightful meditation (vipassana) through the tranquility meditation (Samatha). Through these air touching points, the sensation coldness is associated with the element of water, whereas the sensation of warmness is related to the element of fire. Moreover, the nostril or upper parts of the lips represent the earth element, and finally breath is associated with the air element. As one would acknowledge, these 4 elements are indeed the building blocks of all phenomena. Here, we naturally see the unique characteristics of the all elements: the satisfactoriness impermanence and absence of personality or not having an eternal soul. If you do continue to practice with right effort and right understanding, you will have right confidence emanating from the understanding that the final liberation from universal suffering is not far. In other words, enlightenment (nirvana) is getting closer to you day by day. It is the only proven way to find the supreme happiness and well-being.
Most Venerable Dr. Tawalama Dhammika Nahimi
Chief Sangha Nayaka of Switzerland, Chief Incumbent of Geneva Buddhist Vihara, Switzerland.