zen monk meditating maze right posture

The Seven-point Vairochana Posture: Tips and Techniques for Improved Meditation

The Seven-point Posture of Vairochana is a traditional Tibetan meditation posture that is designed to promote physical stability and mental clarity during meditation. It is named after the historical figure Vairochana, who is considered to be the embodiment of the Buddha's teachings on emptiness in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

Who is Vairochana?

Vairochana is a historical figure in Tibetan Buddhism who is revered as the embodiment of the Buddha's teachings on emptiness. According to Tibetan tradition, Vairochana was a highly enlightened being who taught the concept of emptiness to his students in order to help them realize the ultimate nature of reality. Vairochana is often depicted as a white-robed figure holding a vajra, a ritual object symbolizing the indestructible nature of reality. He is considered to be one of the Five Tathagatas, or "Buddhas of the Five Directions," in Tibetan Buddhism, and is often depicted alongside the other Tathagatas in Tibetan art and iconography.

What are 7 points of the meditation posture?

The Seven-point Posture consists of seven specific points of focus that are meant to be maintained during meditation. These points are:

The back:
To maintain good posture while sitting in meditation, it's important to keep your back straight, relaxed, and lightly upright. This means that your spine should be aligned as if the vertebrae were stacked one on top of the other like a pile of coins. It might take some practice to get used to sitting in this position, but it will become more natural over time. Good posture will help you sit comfortably for longer periods of meditation, and it will also help your energy flow more freely and prevent feelings of sluggishness. It's important to remember to keep your back straight and relaxed, rather than tense or rigid, to avoid straining or over-exerting your muscles.

The shoulders: The shoulders should be relaxed and allowed to drop naturally, rather than being held up or tensed. This helps to prevent tension and discomfort in the upper body.

The hands: 
Hold your hands loosely on your lap, about two inches below the navel, right hand on top of the left, palms upward, with the fingers aligned. This helps to promote a sense of openness and receptivity. The two hands should be slightly cupped so that the tips of the thumbs meet to form a triangle. Your arms should not be pressed against your body but held a few inches away to allow circulation of air: this helps to prevent sleepiness.

The tongue:
To help maintain focus and concentration during meditation, it's recommended to place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth just behind your upper teeth. This can help to reduce the flow of saliva and the need to swallow, which can be distracting as you sit in meditation for longer periods of time. It's important to keep your tongue in a relaxed position and not to strain or tense your muscles while maintaining this position. Some people find it helpful to gently hold their tongue in place with their lips or teeth, while others prefer to simply rest the tip of their tongue on the roof of their mouth without applying any pressure. Experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you.

The eyes:
As a beginner, it's completely normal to find it easier to concentrate with your eyes fully closed during meditation. However, it's recommended to leave eyes slightly open and direct the gaze downward, rather than fully closing the eyes. This can help to keep you more alert and focused, and it may also prevent you from drifting off into sleep or experiencing dreamlike images that can be distracting during meditation. It's important to find a balance that works for you, and to be mindful of what helps you to stay focused and present during your meditation practice.

The legs:
If possible, sit with your legs crossed in the full-lotus, position where each foot is placed, sole upward, on the thigh of the opposite leg.

This position is difficult to maintain but by practising each day you will find that your body slowly adapts and you are able to sit this way for increasingly longer periods.

This leg position gives the best support to the body, but is not essential. An alternative position is the half-lotus where the left foot is on the floor under the right leg and right foot on top of the left thigh.

You can also sit in a simple cross-legged posture with both feet on the floor. A firm cushion under the buttocks will enable you to keep your back straight and sit longer without getting pins-and-needles in your legs and feet. If you are unable to sit on the floor in any of these positions, you can meditate in a chair or on a low, slanted bench. The important thing is to be comfortable.

The neck:
Your neck should be bent forward a little so that your gaze is directed naturally towards the floor in front of you. If your head is held too high you may have problems with mental wandering and agitation, and if dropped too low you could experience mental heaviness or sleepiness.

Maintaining these seven points of focus during meditation can help to create a sense of physical and mental stability, which can in turn help to deepen the meditation practice and promote a sense of inner peace and clarity.

This seven-point posture is most conducive to clear, unobstructed contemplation. You might find it difficult in the beginning, but it is a good idea to go through each point at the start of your session and try to maintain the correct posture for a few minutes. With familiarity it will feel more natural and you will begin to notice its benefits. However, if you are unable to adapt to sitting cross-legged you can make a compromise between perfect posture and a relaxed state. In other words, keep your body and mind happy, comfortable and free of tension.

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