What is Buddhist Meditation?
Buddhist meditation refers to a form of mental concentration and mindfulness, that is, forging self-consciousness to attain enlightenment and spiritual freedom. Originated from the teachings and experiences of the historical Buddha, meditation is central to almost all the forms of Buddhism, but it varies in different Buddhist traditions.
In Zen Buddhism, meditation is a central practice, while in Theravada Buddhism, it is the only way to get liberation from suffering. Meditation can be practiced by sitting in a special posture, or simply going throughout one’s whole life. It is widely believed to still one’s mind and to develop a state of peacefulness.
What are Buddha’s Four Bases for Meditation?
The Buddha identified four bases for mindfulness
- Body: For breaching, postures, clearing comprehension, cemetery contemplations and reflection on the repulsiveness of the body and material elements.
- Mind status
- Mental objects
What Are the Major Types of Buddhist Meditation?
- Tranquility Meditation or Samatha
It is to calm down one’s mind and practice one’s mind into a state of concentration. It is helpful in steadying, composing and unifying one’s mind. Compared with the skill of concentration, the aim of concentration is less important and it varies in individuals and occasions. Through the meditative development of tranquility, one is able to get over hindrances and get closer to liberation.
- Insight Meditation or Vipassana
It is to realize important truths of impermanence, suffering and no-self. It is the major form of meditation of the Theravada Buddhism. Mindfulness is a central practice of insight meditation. The most widely known ways to develop mindfulness include: waking mindfulness, sitting mindfulness and mindfulness of daily activities.
- Loving-Kindness Meditation
It is to develop the central virtue of Buddhism: loving-kindness. One who is practicing this meditation is supposed to develop a mental habit of altruistic love for oneself and all living beings. It is a way of purifying and sweetening one’s mind.