Namaste and thank you for downloading Medit8, the most authentic Buddhist practice app on the market. The modern meditator faces an abundance of distraction unknown to the awakened ancestors. The only tweets Zen Master Dogen dealt with were those of the local avian population. Indian Buddhist Master Padmasambhava’s world wide web was codependent origination. And things were so boring during Buddhist monk Bodhidharma’s time that he ripped off his eyelids to create a new performance enhancing drug: tea. These days tea is not going to cut it.
The modern meditator needs modern tools. And so we at Medit8 have created an app that harnesses the power of technology to aid in your awakening. It is the perfect blend of ancient and civilized. Our app is designed to block out all distractions and take you through a meditation session as it would have occurred in forests at the time of the Buddha. Let’s get started.
Medit8 would like to access your location, photos, and emails. Practice is about being open. Press the “Allow Access” button.
Take a seat on your meditation cushion. Straighten the spine. Look left and right for any stalking tigers. Look down to ensure the ground is clear of poisonous snakes. Align the nose with the navel, keep your eyes open but cast downwards. Inhale deeply, and then exhale.
Visualize the Buddha, sitting on a throne atop eight regal lions. The lions are on top of a lotus flower. The flower is comprised of many moons and suns. The Buddha is decorated in human bone. He is covered in ashes from the charnel grounds. Inside the Buddha’s heart there is a disc of sun, upon which another Buddha stands. He has four faces and twelve arms. He is holding a vajra, a bell, a consort, a drum, an axe, a cleaver, a trident, a staff, a skull cup, a noose, the head of the god Brahma, and the skin of a flayed elephant.
When this vision has crystalized in your mind’s eye, pick up your phone and, using the touchscreen, draw the picture.
Excellent. Place the phone next to you. Now, imagine you are no longer alone, but instead meditating along with all the beings in the universe. Start with your parents, but try not to get hung up there. Move on to friends, enemies, old classmates, your dentist. Continue with the cashiers at your local Whole Foods, all the gas station attendants who have ever filled your tank, and all the Starbucks employees who have ever made you coffee. Now consider Africa. Next, Asia. Consider all of the other continents. Plus the animals. Don’t forget the ocean. Or the insects. Now expand beyond this planet to all other planets and realms. Good. Go through each being one by one and consider their plight. Have all the beings join you in prayer. Feel compassion for each one. Vow to dedicate yourself to their release from the cycle of samsara.
It is time to review the vows of a fully ordained Buddhist monk. Please listen carefully to each vow and then repeat it aloud.
There are 253 vows.
There are 28 possible infractions of the tantric vows. As you recited the 253 monastic vows, Medit8 combed through your emails to determine which infractions you have committed. If you have used an unqualified consort, or failed to keep secrets from the unripened, Medit8 will know. Listen as the app reads these infractions back to you. Feel compassion for yourself. But mostly for others. You committed the infractions, after all.
Pick up your phone. A red beam of light will begin to emanate from the screen. Point the beam of light at your heart. Watch as the light slowly expands. Your body is this red light. Now, watch as the light fades. Point the phone at the wall in front of you. See the symbol of the crescent moon? See it dissolve into the flame? See the flame dissolve? All that is left is the clear light of emptiness. Make sure Medit8 can access your flashlight.
Visualize yourself spontaneously emerging from this emptiness. You are the only point in the universe, the center of the mandala, the wheel of existence spinning out from your navel. Vow to never again use the word “belly button,” as it is unbecoming of such a holy cakra. Generate special forms of bliss from this cakra and allow them to spin out and radiate through the hell realms, the hungry ghost realm, the animal realm, the human realm, the realm of demi-gods, and the realm of gods.
Shrink the mandala from the size of the universe to the size of a mustard seed. Within this mustard seed you can still see perfectly the irises of each god and goddess, each flayed and non-flayed elephant, each hungry ghost, and each member of congress. Hold this uninterrupted, single-pointed concentration for four hours.
Great work! You have begun the process of authentic, realized practice! You are on your way to to becoming an awakened ancestor! As a bodhisattva all you have to do is repeat this daily until all beings in the universe have purified their karma and escaped the wheel of existence and then you too may join them in the pure light bliss of the enlightened.
Remember, the longest journey begins with a single app.
Alex Tzelnic is a writer and Zen practitioner living in Cambridge, MA. Although his wife claims he is addicted to Words With Friends, all of his meditation has been analog.
Image: character design by Freepik