Nyinthun: A Day of Peaceful Abiding

In Shambhala, a nyinthun is a day-long meditation session. Nyin is Tibetan for “day”, and thun means “session” of formal meditation. Why meditate for a whole day?

In, Turning the Mind into an Ally, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche writes, “To meet our basic goodness, we meditate. Through peaceful abiding, we learn to rest fearlessly in our natural state. We see what an enlightened being sees…”

So, do we really have to meditate for a whole day(!) to meet our basic goodness? No, we don’t. But learning to “rest fearlessly in our natural state” is another matter. That takes dedicated practice because for most of our lives we are “practicing” avoidance of that kind of resting. Or, maybe that’s a bit presumptuous? Let’s see, the Sakyong goes on to say, “We experience basic goodness when we relax deeply into how things are, without wanting to change them.” Does that sound like a good description of your daily experience? If so, perhaps nyinthuns aren’t for you, but it would still be nice for you to show up and support the rest of us.

Please Note: Every form of practice has its baggage to overcome and nyinthuns are no different. The idea that meditating for a whole day is a good thing to do can automatically set you up to feel like, “Oh, I must really need to change a lot. I must be really far from basic goodness if they are suggesting something so excessive…” Nothing could be further from the truth. That is some baggage that you can go ahead and leave at the door. What a nyinthun offers is an excess of opportunities to, “relax deeply into how things are, without wanting to change them.” We don’t practice for a whole day because we need to make a big change, we practice for a whole day so that we can realize again and again that nothing needs to change.