I recently read an interesting article by Lewis Richmond titled Buddhism and Meditation: Why Most Buddhists in the World Don’t Meditate. Mr. Richmond states: “It may be a surprise to many Americans, and even to American Buddhists, to hear that the vast majority of the world’s Buddhists do not meditate. But it is true. Among the 250 million or so Buddhists alive today, only a tiny fraction have a regular meditation practice”.

I was surprised to hear this and for a moment it threw my whole meditative practice into chaos. How could this be possible? I have heard from several independent sources that the Dalai Lama meditates daily and he is the leader of the Buddhist world – could this be false too? I doubt it…  Is there a rash outbreak of “Cafeteria Buddhists”? (kind of like cafeteria Catholics). According to Lewis Richmond’s article, this is a more recent trend – even with monks.

Shocking! ….unless you look at it this way….

It is interesting – for those in East Asia that are born in a Buddhism society, there is less ego growing up. In western taught Buddhism that is the first challenge for us newbie’s– to understand that the ego is in control of our True Nature and has been since early childhood. For those in the east there is less emphasis on false-self, self-gratification and materialism. For them, daily life is meditation, thus requiring less formal meditation.  As I stated in a recent blog, you can meditate almost anywhere. What is life, but one long meditation – a journey full of love, loss, wisdom and the occasional lesson learned.

Still, that statistic surprises me. From my personal experience, meditation has completely transformed my way of thinking – it has allowed me to live in the present – away from thoughts of the past and future; fear and fantasy. It is there within these sublime gaps in thoughts that our True Nature arises.

But again, I did not grow up in a Buddhist society that has more emphasis on compassion, energy and wisdom. I grew up in Southern California and was taught that money is important to success and to fear God and Hell… Between you and me, that is a tough bridge to cross but meditation is that proverbial bridge. Now, I am not a full-blown Buddhist but I do allow that philosophy to govern much of my actions and reactions. Meditation fits nicely in my vision of a Responsive Universe so I am going to keep at it..  …and so should you 🙂

John C. Bader