Inner Disarmament: Meditation as a Path to Peace
“When strong, the mind must have current. The same as electricity, light must have lamp, lamp must have electricity, electricity must have current. If power not enough, cannot have light.” Luang Phor Viriyang Sirintharo
Luang Phor Viriyang Sirintharo is the head of a Theravada Buddhist order in Thailand. Theravada Buddhism, along with Mahayana, is one of the two main branches of Buddhism. Most followers of the Theravada tradition live in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Burma, Laos, and Cambodia. Like Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada promotes the teachings and practices of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama.
Hundreds of novice monks as well as thousands of followers throughout Thailand have learned the wisdom of meditation from Luang Phor for more than 60 years. He now brings his teachings to Canada in the hope that a state of inner disarmament will lead to global understanding and peace for all. He has built five temples in Canada already. His temples offer an open invitation to anyone who is interested in studying meditation, free of charge.
At age 20, Luang Phor became a novice monk, the youngest age at which a monk can be accepted into the Theravada order. Theravadan monks are celibate and obtain their food on daily rounds to the homes of devotees. Without these offerings from the community, the monks go without. Monks have no set limit on the time they spend in their order. Many people join for a short time; some devote their lives, as Luang Phor has done. The life of a monk is strict and without material comforts. Joining a monastery is viewed with great respect throughout Asian culture.
Some Buddhists believe that the sacred sound of “Om” accompanied creation and continues to echo and vibrate throughout the universe.
Luang Phor has been practicing advanced meditation since the age of 13. This is an unimaginable accomplishment for a child, when some adults spend their entire lives working toward this goal. When questioned about this feat, the Buddhist master shrugs it off saying, “It is very easy.”
As an adult, Luang Phor decided that meditation had to advance along with the world if it was to make a lasting impression. He worked to better understand the objective of meditation so that he could teach it more effectively to others. He focused on making the discipline straightforward and simple. First of all, the mind must be calm and focused. To achieve this state, a name or sound is often repeated to help silence thoughts. In meditation, the word “Om” is often repeated as a mantra , or sacred formula. Some Buddhists believe that the sacred sound of “Om” accompanied creation and continues to echo and vibrate throughout the universe.
The most important lesson Luang Phor shares deals with conflict. People have different opinions, and different opinions can cause conflict. If the conflict in your life is great, you will not be able to control your mind. Through meditation, conflict must be reduced in your mind, family, community, and ultimately, your world. Through this daily practice, Luang Phor believes peace is truly possible. As he says, he taught himself, so it must be easy.