MEDITATION IS LIKE THE BLOOMING OF A LOTUS FLOWER
The function of meditation practice is to heal and transform. Meditation, as understood in my (Thich Nhat Hanh) tradition of Buddhism, helps ud to be whole and to look deeply into ourselves and around us in order to realize what is really there. The energy that is used in meditation is mindfulness; to look deeply is to use mindfulness to light up the recesses of our mind, or to look into the heart of things in order to see their true nature. When mindfulness is present, meditation is present. Mindfulness helps us to understand the true essence of the object of meditation (whether it is a perception, an emotion, an action, a reaction, the presence of a person or an object).
By looking deeply, the meditation practitioner gains insight or wisdom. This insight has the power to liberate us from our own suffering and bondage. In the meditation process,, fetters are undone,, internal blocks of suffering such as fear, anger, despair and hatred are transformed; relationships with humans and nature become easier; freedom and joy penetrate. We become aware of what is inside us and around us; we are fresher, more alive in our daily existence. As we become freir and happier, we cease to act in ways that make others suffer and we are able to bring about change around us and to help others become free.
The energy of mindfulness is constantly produced, nurtured and strengthened during meditation. The meditation practitioner is like a lotus flower in the process of blooming. Buddhas are fully bloomed human flowers, beautiful and refreshing. All of us are buddhas to be. That is why in our practice centers when people meet each other they form a lotus with their palms and bowing greet each other while saying "A lotus for you, a buddha to be," as they inhale; and then while smiling say "a buddha to be," as they exhale. They have the appearance of a blooming flower.