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Question
sir,i have two questions:-

1)it is said that we suffer because we either think about the past or the future. we never "live in the present moment".what does "living in the present moment" mean? according to law of impermanence everything changes. so the "moment" will also change. how do we then live in something that by nature changes??

2)are there any techniques of meditation to help us develop this habit of living in the moment?

Answer
Dear Gurinder Singh,

"1)it is said that we suffer because we either think about the past or the future. we never "live in the present moment".what does "living in the present moment" mean? according to law of impermanence everything changes. so the "moment" will also change. how do we then live in something that by nature changes??"

We do not suffer because we think of the past or future. That is silly. We suffer because we think about the past or future in a certain way. Either with regret or with expectation or various other wrong perceptions. The past has already happened. But our perception of that past is always changing with the new information that we get and as we grow and learn more about life and the world. (That is where impermanence comes into play). The present is happening continuously and then because past. Then it is also subject to impermanence. That is, our impermanence of perception. The future hasn't happened. But it will based on our past perceptions, experiences and expectations, which will greatly influence of future endeavors and opinions. Looking at the future as a sure thing will usually lead towards suffering.

Just thinking about the future or past alone does not guarantee suffering. It is the perceptions in the mind that does the thinking that leads to suffering. Therefore, it is up to that mind to LEARN how to think properly and according to the TRUTHS evident in this world - that all things include suffering, all things are subject to impermanence, and that all things are not able to be ultimately owned and controlled.

"2)are there any techniques of meditation to help us develop this habit of living in the moment?"

Almost all basic meditation teaches this. I don't encourage it though. I feel that if you stay in the present too much, you are missing out on a lot of information that the past has to teach you.

But to answer your question, the simplest one is similar to counting to ten. Just breathe in and breathe out. Place your focus on your inwards and outwards breath. When your mind wanders, just focus on your breathing. This is probably the most common technique.  

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Anandapanyo Bhikkhu

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I can answer questions about Buddhist practice, Buddhist understanding and how to apply Buddhism to daily life. I can help analyze Buddhist sayings and teachings. In addition, I can help with questions Buddhism stories, fables and Vinaya(rules). I have meditated for over 10 years and can help you start with meditation. In addition, I can help provide insight into what to do when you feel that you have hit a wall with your meditation. My main area of expertise is how to think in accordance with Sammaditthi (the right view - and number 1 in the Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path. If I cannot answer your question, I have many able teachers with over 20 years experience to help me, so chances are I will be able to find an answer for you.

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I have been practicing Buddhism since I was born, but as a serious practice since 2003. I started studying under various famous Thai Theravada masters. Finally, I met and studied under Phra Acariya Thoon Khippapanyo who has recently passed away on Nov 11, 2008 and is widely accepted as a great Arahant (fully enlightened) teacher of our time. In addition, I have personally read and studied much of the Buddhist scriptures and popular literature available. I have recently undertaken the ordination vows and have become a Buddhist monk in the theravada forest monk tradition. I reside at a temple with many dedicated practitioners and great teachers. I have been practicing training my mind to be aligned with right view (sammaditthi) for over 10 years. I have also been meditating for over 10 years. In my time spent with Acariya Thoon, I learned many things and was able to incorporate them into my life. In addition to practicing Buddhism within temples and my home, I used to own two restaurants and managed commercial real estate. I had to deal with many different and problems. I learned how to use Buddhism to fix my problems, both externally (my environment) and internally (within me).

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