I bow to you in respect.
As you have often said, we should not practice Chan unless we have a Good Knowing Adviser’s guidance (even though, as I understand it, we do not need his direct guidance). That is why I dare not practice Chan.
However, I really enjoy sitting in full lotus and whenever I can, I do. Now, my sits have increased to 45 minutes. I notice that when I recite the Buddha’s name or a mantra while sitting in full lotus, I get tired more easily than when I’m reciting while circumambulating. Could I please have your opinion on the following:
1. If I only sit in full lotus without meditating,are there any benefits?
2. When I’m sitting in full lotus for 45 minutes while following my breath, is that considered meditation? Are there any risks involved?
You are doing just fine. There is nothing to worry about.
It is OK for beginners to practice Chan on their own. I do emphasize that all meditators should seek a competent Chan teacher (also known as a Good Knowing Adviser) to train under in order to gain more benefits as well as to avoid potential problems. The rationale is this: it is most critical to build the proper foundation so that you will continue to progress toward higher and higher levels smoothly.
It is a very good idea to sit in full lotus whenever you can. Please continue to increase the length of your sit.
It is also a very good sign that you felt more tired when in full lotus than when circumambulating, which is a walking meditation. Please keep it up. Your tiredness will eventually go away, and soon you’ll feel much better sitting in full lotus while making your recitations. Regarding your questions:
- Yes, you will receive inconceivable benefits every time you sit in full lotus.
- It’s OK to meditate in full lotus while following your breath. It is perfectly safe to do so at your current level.
Finally, if possible, please make the effort to make an appointment with my staff and come and meet with me. I can share with you more specifics to further assist you in your practice which you seem to get great enjoyment and benefits from. I can also assign a mentor to guide you under my supervision.