Guide to Buddhist Meditation
Buddhist meditation is one of the most effective techniques that can help you to relieve stress and improve concentration.
Nowadays, many people are searching for methods to escape their busy and stressful lives.
They are looking for something to provide them extra energy to get through today’s demanding lifestyle. And to also have that extra energy to spend time together with family and friends.
Buddhist meditation’s primary goal is to get to the path of Enlightenment.
The practitioners believe that the body is controlled by the mind and due to this, in order for your body to function properly, you have to get rid of the negative energy inside your mind by meditating.
Keep in mind that meditation techniques, especially Buddhist meditation, have existed for centuries. Buddhist meditation has been demonstrated as a very effective meditation technique.
So, if you are searching for enlightenment or you want to learn how to relieve stress effectively, you should definitely try Buddhist meditation.
Why do people meditate?
The main reasons could be the search for inner peace, calming your thoughts and learning to listen to yourself.
In today’s world the accumulation of things and possessions play a big part, people live a life of materialism. Most of us are constantly looking forward into the future and seldom have the time to stop and look within.
The popularity of meditation varies among religions and different cultures. It may also mean different things to different people.
Buddhism, a philosophy and a religion that originated in Asia, places a great importance on meditation as a way of discovering the meaning of life. To the Buddhists meditation is a path to enlightenment.
What is Buddhist Meditation?
To understand Buddhist Meditation, you have to know that Buddhism is based on the Four Noble Truths.
Initially we have to understand that there is suffering in the world which happens because of our ignorance and our desires. When we understand and accept this, we can finally find a way to end this anguish. Those who find the answer reach the state of Nirvana and enlightenment.
This brings us to the core of Buddhist meditation which is the practice of the eight fold path.
These virtues are the right action, right concentration, right effort, right livelihood, right mindfulness, right speech, right thought, and right view.
Buddhists recognize the presence of sufferings in the world. But then, recognition is nothing without any intention to alleviate and free mankind from this pestilence.
The main goal of Buddhist meditation is to be free from pain and agony.
To be able to do this, one must know what causes pain and suffering. This is basically brought about by our endless desires and expectations from the world, from the people around us, and from life itself.
Expectation usually breeds despair, and this is what we have to conquer.
Buddhist Meditation for Beginners
Buddhist Meditation Posture
- Find a quiet place where you can practice the meditation without being interrupted.
- Use a soft cushion, pillow or yoga mat to sit on.
- Let your hands rest on your lap with the palms facing upward.
- It might be hard for a beginner to stay in this pose for 5 minutes or more. Don’t be afraid to make modifications if you need to.
- Close your eyes and just concentrate on your breathing.
- Try to relax all your muscles
- Just focus on the breath and clear your mind.
Guided Buddhist Meditation by Mingyur Rinpoche
Different Buddhist Meditation Techniques
There are a number of different Buddhist meditation techniques that the Buddhist monks and meditation enthusiasts practice.
Despite the modifications, the techniques are all usually based on developing two things- mindfulness and awareness.
Concentration to the movements of the body and to the ever altering states of mind is to be developed in order to identify the real concept of self. Objectivity can be a valuable assistance to thinking clearly. With objectivity comes awareness and the ability to focus the mind.
Buddhist institutes use different techniques in meditation. Some focus on such practices as breathing meditation while others on movement.
The diversity of the meditation techniques can be really wide. Most methods can be specific to a certain school. Only a few masters aim to combine and categorize the practices from multiple Buddhist traditions.
The actions of Buddhist Meditation are based on two things. The first is called “Samatha” which means tranquility and the second is called “Vipassana” which means mindfulness.
Samatha meditation contains a lot of breathing techniques that are intended to develop concentration, detachment, self-control and happiness. There are 40 samatha meditations and each technique teaches the mind to focus on a single object to produce various states of calmness.
Vipassana oppositely develops self-awareness by being able to comprehend the things that are going inside your head. By practicing this method regularly, you will develop wisdom which makes you free from suffering.
Do you need to be a Buddhist to practice this kind of meditation?
The answer is no, even if these techniques are based on the doctrines of Buddhism.
Buddhist Meditation Chants
Sometimes Buddhist monks use chants or “mantras” while meditating. A mantra is a sequence of words or syllables that are chanted as part of Buddhist practice.
Probably the most known mantra is “Om mani padme hum” from the Tibetan Buddhists.
Read more about the Mantras from The Buddha Centre
Buddhist Meditation Music
Music is not traditionally used during meditation practice, but it might help you concentrate. If you are looking to meditate for relaxation purposes then listening to music could have a very powerful relaxing effect.
Benefits of Buddhist Meditation
People who practice Buddhist meditation have discovered that they are able concentrate better, work more efficiently and have more energy during the day.
Through Buddhist meditation methods, people are able to live a happier life and have reduced negative thoughts that can affect their daily life. Buddhist meditation techniques work well for anger management.
Although there is still no significant scientific proof about the effects of Buddhist meditation, you have to consider that there are quite a lot of people who are testifying about the usefulness of the technique.
Buddhist meditation is one of the many techniques around that can help you to relieve stress, to have a better outlook in life and to improve your overall physical health.
Meditation, at its best, is an effective tool that can help you to find inner peace, and to maintain it, no matter how unsatisfying the outside world can sometimes be.
Best Buddhist Meditation Books
Buddhist Meditation: Tranquility, Imagination and Insight
Step by Step: Basic Buddhist Meditations
The Heart of Buddhist Meditation: The Buddha’s Way of Mindfulness