Eitaro Hayashi Q & A
Why is meditation important?
Our lives are precious, and we want to make the most of the gift of life that we have received from our parents. Meditation can gently steer us into looking at things in better ways, allowing ‘us’ to come to one important realization after another.
Tell me some quantifiable results from meditating?
Meditation improves focus and that is important in a world where we are confronted with so many distractions, some positive, some negative. The most important thing that meditation has taught me is to know when to speak and to know when to just listen.
What impact has meditation had in your life?
Meditation relaxes me and I have learned to take it easy in tense situations (driving in Manhattan traffic!) The process has also helped me be a better person to be around and my relationships with family and friends have significantly improved.
What would you say to someone who is interested in meditation, but is intimidated to try it?
Everyone starts as a beginner, and so did I. If you are curious about meditation as a way to manage a more balanced life, it shows openness to new things. We are pretty intelligent creatures and I’ve never seen someone not ‘get it’ after a few tries.
What drew you to Buddhism?
I was initially brought into it through a friend while living in San Francisco after college. The experiential part of it (visiting the temple, taking part in meditations) led to ‘flashes’ of realizations, and that started to take hold of me in lasting ways.
What is dharma? There is no English translation, but the concept exists in Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism
Dharma points to the actual Buddhist teachings or ‘lessons.’ It can refer to something that the Buddha expounded, or something that comes from your spiritual teacher.
What is unique about Shinnyo-en?
Everything that is intellectually learned can be applied to every situation in life, the good and the bad. Meditation starts with form, but it can also exist without the structural part; in other words, life itself starts to become an act of meditation.
Tell us about the new Shinnyo Center for Meditation and Well-being in Manhattan.
Our type of meditation is accessible to everyone. In a place as bustling and crazy as New York City, I’ve got to think that people could benefit from being able to ‘slow things down,’ learn better focus, learn relaxation techniques and see things much more clearly, all of which will make personal and professional lives more satisfying.