4 Buddhist Meditation Techniques

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Buddhism is a religious philosophy subscribed to by Buddhists. It involves various meditative practices and techniques. Whilst in the past these meditative techniques were the preserve of the Buddhists, they have become popular in the recent years among the non-Buddhists. There are a number of goals that Buddhists aim to achieve with their meditative techniques.

Mindfulness (summa sati)

It is one of the four tenets or foundations as exemplified by Buddha. The satipatthana sutta is one of the ways of mindfulness. It is embodied in the canonical text of the Buddhist. It combines a number of factors which are mainly:

• Energy
• Mindfulness
• Understanding of phenomena
• consciousness

This is the element of the mind whereby we develop thoughts for others just as we think about ourselves. It is the conscious or state of awareness that involves the thoughts, feeling as well as body sensations.

Concentration (samma samadhi)

This is the second major meditative technique .it forms the foundation to the access to insight. It is made up of first jhana; second, all the way to the fourth jhana.The first jahna revolves around the withdrawal from sensuality based on thought and evaluation. The second jhana is based on unification, composure and awareness. The third jhana is born of equanimity whilst the fourth one is for purity if you are pure, you will get the right concentration that you need in order to access insight.

Samma ditthi

This is the same as right view which is wisdom that one gets through the meditative technique of vipassana.

Anapanasati

One of the foremost techniques used by Buddhists is anapanasati. It concerns itself with the breath. It is expounded in the Buddhist principles whereby we tend to forget the ordinary in and out breathing and we focus on the meditative aspect of it. In other words, breathing is not supposed to be perceived as a means a way of keeping as going but a meditative object. We allow our minds to wander off in the inhalation and exhalation aspect.

The Immeasurable

There are four immeasurable according to the Buddhist meditative techniques. They include the Metta and karuna. Karuna embodies compassion. It reminds us that we should be compassionate about others. Metta stands for kindness. Buddha emphasized on the need to show our kindness to others. This act should radiate from our inside and not just for the sake it. There are various acts of kindness that we could exhibit. Giving or sharing is an act of kindness that is very much emphasized by the Buddhists in their meditation.

Kammatthana

Known as vipassana kammatthana in full, this is a meditative technique which is a form of insightful meditation which prepares us for the path of peace and better understanding of who we are. It is a personal meditation which concerns itself with the place of work. It describes our thoughts, feelings and actions at the place of work. To improve one’s mental development, we concentrate our thoughts in our efforts at the workplace and how this reflects on our character.

Vipassana

As a form of insight, vipassana embodies seeing things as they are .it is the reality of things as we see them in nature. To find peace of mind and enjoy nature with all its trappings, we must all develop the insight of vipassana. According to Buddha, this can be practiced through meditative techniques. it was captured under the dictum ‘ know yourself’. When we know who we are and where we stand in the universe, we will always do the right thing and relate well with the physical and mental objects. According to Budda, the source of all our sufferings is the inability to confront the reality. Humans tend to escape from the very cause of pain that they face. This is the reason why we have poor people whilst there are those who have a lot but cannot share what they have with the poor. We have diseases and war. All these result from the fact that we as humans fail to acknowledge where who we are and what we can do to alleviate human suffering.

The very day we accept our human shortcomings and improve our life, we will have achieved the greatest destiny that was envisioned by Buddha many years back.

The word vipassana is made up of two parts; the first one ‘vi’ is a prefix which denotes discernment. It is the ability to discern or inner ability to distinguish more than one thing in an entity. The ‘passana ‘in the word stands for perception. In other words, we should be able to discern things with our inner eyes.

Mahasati Meditation

The source of the mahasati meditation is the awareness of the movement of the body. The technique was developed to help the person meditating to have a deeper understanding or self -awareness of the functions of the body. Are you aware of all the movements of the body? Most of us walk through life without giving thought to what every movement means. Yet when every thought arises, we should be able to move with it and make out what it means in our motion on daily basis. Let us look at the practical examples:

Sitting

What comes to your mind when you sit down? It is not just a mere act of lifting yourself from a lying position or standing position and sitting on a chair. In that state of sitting, out thoughts arise.It is important to learn the act of sitting and the thought processes which accompany it.

Other body movements include walking, standing and sleeping. All these movements have deep meanings in our physical, mental and spiritual life. When we are aware of them, we become better persons who are able to be thoughtful about every physical movement we make.

Something About The Meditation Techniques

All the meditation techniques described above are divided into two: Insightful and tranquillity. They both each represent something in our daily life the insightful type of meditation is the one that we are calling vipassana bhavana. The tranquillity meditation, on the other hand,is the samatha –bhavana or concentration. As the name suggests, this kind of meditation helps one to learn to focus on one object to the extent that your mind enters into it. We have seen Buddhists go into a transcendental meditation which basically is it. The benefit of this kind of concentration is that it helps one to remove from the mind what is impure; a good example is when you are angry over something. By going into trance-like, you are able to escape from this feeling of anger.

When we meditate, we are able to put our thoughts to a particular issue without being interrupted. This could explain why Buddhists meditate in isolated areas like mountains and monasteries.

Supramundane Powers
These are powers which transcend the mundane. This is defined in the spiritual or the celestial sense.

Tranquillity
One aspect of Buddhist meditation techniques. Buddhism promotes a sense of calmness, restfulness and peacefulness.

Insight
Through meditation, you are able to perceive a more intuitive understanding of things or people.

Let us now look at the meditation techniques in the Sanskrit language and what they mean.

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