Buddhist Meditation: Unlock your mind for a happier and meaningful life
What is Buddhist Meditation?
Buddhist meditation is the religious practicing of meditation in Buddhism. The closest terms in the classical languages of Buddhism for meditation are
- Bhāvanā (mental development)
- Dhyāna (mental training leading towards serene and luminous mind)
Buddhists strive for meditation as the path toward awakening, liberation, and Nirvana. It includes different meditation techniques, remarkably
- sati or shamata (mindfulness);
- anapanasati (breath meditation);
- dhyana (developing an alert and luminous mind);
- asubha bhavana (reflections on repulsiveness);
- pratityasamutpada (dependent origination);
- anussati (recollections);
- Brahma-viharas (loving-kindness and compassion);
These techniques aim to develop equanimity, samadhi (tranquility and concentration) and vipassanā (insight) thus leading to abhijñā (supramundane powers).
The most common form of Buddhist meditation is Mindfulness meditation and Loving kindness meditation. Whilst there is a lot mentioned on the above, Loving kindness and focussed meditation has a base in all the other forms and so the first step to Buddhist meditation is practicing the both or either of the one – to start off with.
Breath meditation is the most well-known form of Focussed/Mindfulness meditation, again it’s not the only one. Buddha educated that we should ideally be in control to hold the mind whilst sitting, standing, walking, lying down or any chores. Even everyday mundane events can be made opportunities to tauten the meditation muscles. This helps in cultivating positive qualities as a blessing in disguise.
The 4 Foundations of Mindfulness. Buddha believed and proved that mindfulness meditation is an essential component of passage to attaining freedom. In order to cultivate awareness and mindfulness, there are four things to be considerate of:
Body – what is discerned by the senses at this moment?
Feelings – how are we accepting or rejecting perceptions?
Mind- what reactions and thoughts are we experiencing – positive or negative?
Phenomena – what is the essence of our perception of things?
What’s different about Buddhist’s mindfulness meditation?
The basis of any mindfulness meditation – is a non-judgmental cognizance of what we are in contact with at the moment. Following the breath during any course of action to keep the mind aware and focused is the mindfulness meditation.
But what highlights Buddhist mindfulness meditation is the reason or the motivation for meditation. It focuses on salvation from confusion and restlessness thus leading to accomplishment of freedom. The meditation generally begins with taking a moment to recall and accept the sturdy reason behind meditation and fixing affirmation in the mind about it so as to reap the benefits more. Upon the end of their meditation session, they reiterate and recapitulate on their purpose and goal with more confidence and compassion. For Buddhists – especially – the qualities of discernment and cognizance are very significant and usually included in their prayers. Ideally, you don’t need to be a Buddhist to value these qualities.
The mindfulness meditation is not religious and is beneficial to everyone.
Now, how to practice Buddhist’s mindfulness meditation?
(i) To begin with, practicing Buddhist’s mindfulness meditation, you will have to start your session by remembering and understanding as to why you are meditating. This will help you in practicing affirmations and will become a habit unknowingly thus making you confident about anything and everything.
(ii) Now that you know what your motivation is, focus on recalling your goal. What is that you need to achieve from this meditation technique.
(iii) Couple and associate with a caring and an empathetic heart. Recall the saying, the mind is where the heart is!
(iv) Get the acceptance from your body for a posture. The posture should be in complete agreement with your body not giving a slightest of disdain. Remember, your body is supporting you with the changes, so it is highly important to settle your mind which will then aid you in resting your mind. And, set your time.
(v) As you meditate, your mind will talk you into a plethora of ideas and talks from what’s being done, what needs doing, what’s been done and importantly, how you feel about all of that. It’s alright, let that flow. These thoughts are vying for your attention, then gently but solidly bring your mind and focus back to the breath. It may seem daunting that you are having more thoughts than ever, but it is just a trap to ward you off.
(vi) You are done with your first day. Realize how you felt it and start practicing more of it and eventually increase your time.
“Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken. Take heed, do not squander your life.” —Dogen Zenji