The transformation of the mind and body from sitting in full lotus for over one hour. Billy Tiet’s experience.
Billy Tiet is a regular volunteer at Lu Mountain Temple and Wei Mountain Temple. He started to come to the temple regularly since two years ago. He is a heavy smoker and he is his only own boss. Nobody can tell him what to do. He often fires his own boss at work and he is very proud of himself doing so. But because of his bad temper, his life has not been easy.
He is a single dad. Since he separated from his wife, his younger daughter chose to stay with her dad. He was always worried how to support his young daughter. Since he can’t hold his job for a long time, he constantly had to struggle to look for a new job and pay the bills.
His health was bad too. He smokes cigarettes heavily and didn’t eat much. He was skinny and had back pain too. He also had heart problem. He always felt so tired and not motivated to work hard at his job.
He once stopped by Lu mountain temple many years ago. When he was troubling for his life and his health was getting worse, he remembered the temple. He decided to visit the temple again about 2 years ago. When he first started coming to Lu Mountain Temple more often, he wasn’t really putting much efforts to sit in full lotus. He only listens to Dharma talks and cleaned around the kitchen, washed the dishes and helped around whenever he had chance.
Billy started sitting in meditation for 10~20 minutes only and listened to Master’s dharma talks. It already helped him a lot. He was able to worry less and his health was getting much better just being around temple more often. He continued to help around when we started to do more activities at Wei Mountain Temple too.
One day, he walked into the Buddha Hall before the lunch time. Like he always did, he bowed three times to the Buddha. One of the nuns shouted at him, “You come back here, and sit!”. This was out of his expectation. He didn’t have chance to think or say no. “oh okay.. let me go and bow to Master Hsuan Hua’s altar too. I will come back”.
So he came back to Buddha hall. He sat in full lotus. The nun asked “how long can you sit? What’s the longest time you sat in full lotus?”. Billy said “10 minutes .. maybe 15 minutes”
The nun firmly said “okay from now on, you don’t unbuckle, you hear me? I will do the lunch offering and I will be back. You don’t unbuckle until I say so. okay?”. Billy replied “okay”
The nun finished the offerings and sat right next to him. He already sat for about 20 minutes. Billy started complaining about the pain. “I am sweating. I can’t do any longer, Something is poking my heart!” The nun says “is that so? it’s normal. just sit. don’t unbuckle”
After another 10 minutes, Billy said “my arms are feeling numb. I can’t move.. my back hurts”. The nun says “oh is that so? that’s normal. Keep sitting. You don’t unbuckle until I say so”
He really was in pain. But the nun wouldn’t turn her head. She was staring at him the entire time. The nun told him “Do you love your daughter? How old are you now?”, “I am 48 years old”, “Your daughter is still young. Don’t you want to get better and stay healthy until your daughter grows up?” and he said “yes of course I do”, “well then you have to sit. You have to learn to get better. you hurt so much because your body is sick”
The nun continued “It’s already lunch time. You know I don’t have dinner so I am very hungry so you should be grateful that I decided to stay and watch you. I am still here to help you so you better not unbuckle. You are almost done so just endure!”
When he sat for one hour, suddenly his face looked brighter. He was calmer and better. The nun said “okay now you can unbuckle. Do it very slowly and make sure that your legs feel normal before you walk downstairs so you don’t fall”
Billy was a different person after the sitting. The next day Billy came back to the temple and told us “I feel different. My body feels stronger. Legs were sore for a while but I had so much more energy. I wasn't tired at work anymore, I was motivated to work harder the next day after the one hour sitting.”
Billy said that he was feeling more energetic every day ever since the one hour sitting. Even when he can sleep less hours at night, he wasn’t feeling tired or sleepy the next day. He is much happier and his mood is better. He always felt that his problems are not from him. They are all from other people. But from that day of sitting in much pain, he doesn’t care as much when people give him problems. His temper got better and he feels much more at ease.
Billy came back to the Buddha hall and sat for over one hour and fifteen minutes the next day. His daughter says she is proud of her daddy!
Written by Ven. XianAn
When we visited Korea in early 2019, we met a monk, Seok-Du Sunim, at BongEunSa. BongEunSa is one of the biggest temples in Seoul city. After the retreat ended, I (at that time, Shana) visited BongEunSa again to help with English translation for their temple introduction catalogue.
Seok-Su Sunim called a laywoman who practices vigorously and introduced her to me. He and I encouraged her to learn how to sit in full lotus. After that, she contacted me through Messenger and began a daily practice of sitting in full lotus.
She blamed herself for not being able to concentrate well when she meditated. She had been instructed to do Hua-tou by a Korean master but was having much difficulty. I explained to her that not being able to concentrate was normal because she didn’t have the proper foundation.
It was challenging because she was in so much pain. She had not broken through the pain barrier even when sitting for over an hour and a half in full lotus, but she wasn’t giving up. She kept practicing and followed the instructions. She endured and endured.
Last night she texted me that she had finally sat for 2 hours. She said, “The pain is too much. It’s unbearable, but in this extreme pain, for some reason my mind is more clear.” She practices at BongEunSa Seon Center, but their sitting duration is only 50 minutes. I encouraged her to continue to sit through their normal break time, which she was able to accomplish, with a lot of tears and sweat.
She can feel her concentration has improved, and her mind is much more clear than before. I understand that this was not easy without our support in person. She is strong and determined to cultivate!