Buddhist Meditation and Mindfulness Meditation Techniques
Meditation is a mental discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the conditioned thinking mind into a deeper state of relaxation and awareness. Meditation involves turning distracted attention to a single point of reference. Meditation is also one of the medium or path to attain the ultimate spirituality and enlightenment.
Buddhism has extensive study and references on meditation. In Buddhism, meditation is the path to achieve the ultimate peace that each soul looks for. Buddhist texts have recommended various meditation techniques. Buddhist meditation has expanded and evolved for more than thousand years. Some of the great human virtues like concentration, introspection, tranquility and mindfulness are developed with these meditation techniques.
Benefits of Buddhist meditation techniques are availed by Buddhists and people from other religion and communities. Buddhism mentions that meditation is a path to attain enlightenment and nirvana.
Non followers of Buddhism pursue meditation for mental and physical well being. Buddhist meditation is used by medical science to treat disorders of human mind.
Since Buddhist meditation techniques are free from any authoritative doctrines, they are widely used across the world. They are used for spiritual and health requirements.
Theravada tradition in Buddhism devised ninety methods of developing concentration and mindfulness. Similarly, the Tibetan tradition has thousands of meditation methods developing the visionary qualities in an individual.
In Buddhism, mindfulness meditation can be obtained by noble eight fold path of Buddha. It will develop right concentration, right introspection, right view about things and right mindfulness.
One of the important inferences or suttas in Buddhism is the Sattipathana sutta. In this Buddha outlined four foundations towards attaining mindfulness. These four foundations are the body, state of the mind, mental objects and feelings. Body is divided into breathing, postures, clear comprehending, reflection on repulsiveness of the body, reflection on material elements and contemplation regarding the cemetery. Mental objects are further divided into hindrances, aggregates, sense-bases, factors of enlightenment and four noble truths.
Serenity and insight are the two qualities of the mind attained through meditation. They are the two swift messengers of nibbana.
Buddha preached forty methods of meditation. Each individual needs to select the method that will suit his mind.
Meditation practices from others like Zongmi typology are included by Buddhism in its meditation techniques. Though different meditation techniques appear to be the same externally, they differ internally with respect to the motive and purpose. There are five types of meditative techniques namely Ordinary, Outside Way, Small Vehicle, Great Vehicle and Supreme Vehicle.
One of the greatest teachers of the western Buddhist order is Kamalashila. He mentioned that there are five basic methods of meditation. They are mindfulness of breathing, metta bhavana including all four Brahma viharas, contemplation of impermanence, contemplation of conditionality and six element practices.
Contemplation of impermanence is further divided into four parts. They are contemplation of decomposing corpse, reflection on death and reflection of the Tibetan book of dead's which is named as 'Root Verses'.
Buddhist meditation techniques, such as mindfulness meditation are widely varied to suit any individual needs. Practicing them will help you attain tranquility of mind, general well being and spiritual blessings
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