Introduction to Buddhist Meditation

Buddhist Meditation The following paragraphs are questions and answers about Buddhist meditation. These questions may come to you at any time, as a student of Buddhist studies. You should know and understand about the answers to these questions. Question : what is Buddhist meditation? Answer : Buddhist meditation is the way to calm one’s mind according to Buddhist teaching. It is one pointedness of mind. It is the way to control one self and to concentrate the mind. It is the way to purify the mind from unwholesome thoughts such as hatred, selfish desire, greed, ignorance or mental defilements or impurities. In short, meditation is the way to purify mind from hatred, greed, and ignorance. Question: Why should we train our minds? Answer : In Buddhism, the mind is of primary importance. It is the most important element in the human being. All deeds, wholesome or unwholesome, are the result of processes of the mind. That is why the Buddha has repeatedly proclaimed that the mind is the forerunner of all actions, the chief of all things. Therefore, the mind should be trained and refined. Meditation helps train and refine the mind, it helps the person who does meditation practice to be mindful at all times of living. The student needs concentration while doing his or her home work and assignments Meditation helps everyone at all times to live and work effectively and successfully. Question : How many kinds of Meditation are there ? Answer : There are two kinds of Meditation Concentration Meditation (Samatha Bhavana) and insight Meditation (Vipassana Bhavana). Concentration Meditation aims at training one-pointedness of mind or mind focusing. It is developed by fixing the mind on a chosen object such as the image of the Buddha or a circular disc painted in a particular color. One focuses the mind you may focus your mind on an object until you remember that object clearly, then close your eyes slowly and do not think of anything else. Do keeping your mind on that object until you want to stop practicing meditation. This is the way the mind temporarily becomes calm. Anger, worry, restlessness, lust, doubt are temporarily suppressed. Insight Meditation. It is the endeavor to achieve complete insight into the real nature of all phenomena. It is realization of understanding all things as they really are. For example, when meditator sits for meditation practice, closing his or her eyes, observing his or her breathing-in and breathing-out carefully and slowly, when the mind becames calm and clear. Meditator may apply calm and clear mind in observing the nature of his or her thought, and feeling as the really are. He or she may contemplate on their nature, the nature of change, impermanence. He or she may also observe his or her breathing-in and breathing-out and contemplate rising and falling of breathing-in and breathing-out, and sees the chage, the impermanence of this natural activities of breathing and living thing. When his or her mind sees and understands this nature, the mind would not cling or attach anything, the mind becomes free from clinging and attachment. This is a way of insight meditation. At the present, many people observe basic concentration such as breathing-in and breathing-out, being with the present from moment and seeing everything as it really is , rising and falling, and say I practice insight meditation. We may continue our study about insight meditation at a higher level when we go for college and university’s duty. To reach perfect Wisdom about life, concentration meditation, however, is always needed. To get good results in any kind of ordinary or worldly work, concentration and mindfulness also need to be applied. In practice, the meditation practitioner needs guidance and supervision from an experienced and expert teacher to lead him or her in practice. Question : What would happen if one worked without concentration and mindfulness? Answer : if one works without concentration and mindfulness, then work can not be perfected. For example, if the student studies without mindfulness and full attention, he or she could not remember the subject being studied. Finally, the student does not get a good grade. There is a role to be played by concentration during study. In the same way, understanding and insight, as worldly tools need to be used before starting any work. This is also the role of insight when applied to daily living. Question : What are the Benefits of meditation? Answer : The benefits of Meditation can strengthen our minds, and enable us to face all kinds of problems and difficulties in daily life with confidence. It helps us to concentrate better by sharpening our mental faculties. It frees us from all kinds of stress, worries and anxieties. It improves our mental and physical health. It helps develop a sound mind in a sound body. Meditation helps in cleansing our minds of impurities. It cultivates in our minds loving-kindness, compassion, inner peace, and humility. It prevents us form attaching to hatred, greed, passion, selfishness, jealousy, and so on. These are the benefits of Buddhist meditation, both in our spiritual life and in worldly endeavors .however, the proper atmosphere, self-confidence, frequency and regularity of practice is needed to realize the benefits of meditation. More details about Meditation can be studied in the Buddhist Course for Young Students Book III by Ven. Dr. c. Phangcham. “the well trained mind brings real happiness and permanent peace to the world of beings”.