Ever thought about the origin of Meditation or where it came into existence?
Nobody knows the exact dates, time, or era it emerged in; but at the earliest records, approximately it came into actuality around 1500 BCE and since then people have considered it integral wisdom.
From around 6th to 4th BCE, people started with their own versions of meditation and it traveled all around the globe.
The word Meditation stems from the Latin word ‘ Meditatum’ which means ‘To Ponder’.
According to Buddhist philosophy, Meditation means when a person is trying to transpose into a hypnotic state by involving their body and mind.
It is clear that Buddhism and Meditation have a coherent relationship. Meditation is mostly the first thing that darts in the mind when we hear about Buddhism or monks.
A quick guide
- 1 Why is Meditation Important in Buddhism?
- 2 What is Meditation?
- 3 What is Buddha Meditation?
- 4 Types of Meditation in Buddhism
- 5 Advantages of Buddhist Meditation
- 6 Famous Buddha Citations
- 7 Buddhism and Meditation today
- 8 Conclusion
Why is Meditation Important in Buddhism?
We all know that Great Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment through meditation and the Buddhist scriptures have a brief about meditation.
Let’s find out the possible reason for Buddha Meditation and what is the purpose of Meditation in a human’s life further in the article.
The goal of Meditation
To understand why a Buddhist monk seems to meditate a lot, we need to understand what it is and what is the purpose of meditation.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is the practice of resting the mind and attaining a state of awareness. It is the source for thinking through all the levels of our mind & body and finally experiencing the center of awareness within.
The best part of meditation is that, while practicing meditation you are awake and observant, the mind approaches everything with equanimity. The purpose of meditation is to tranquil the mind and take the focus away from worldly things.
What is Buddha Meditation?
Meditation in Buddhism is one of the main ways to eliminate three mental defilements: greed, hatred, and delusion, the main reason for suffering as per Buddhism.
Buddhist practice meditation not because Buddha attained enlightenment through meditation but because anyone can attain enlightenment by practicing meditation in its correct form. It not for commemorating Buddha’s enlightenment, but to experience for themselves, firsthand.
Types of Meditation in Buddhism
Buddhist meditation is a form of mental concentration that eventually leads to enlightenment and spiritual freedom. There are two types of Buddhist meditation
Samatha means concentration, calmness, and tranquillity. This is the primary practice that is focused on bringing calm and mental clarity.
In Buddhism, Samatha is “dwelling in tranquillity” and, as per Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism, this forms the precondition of concentration.
To practice this meditation, one can take the help of any object and start focusing on that particular object. To begin with, one can concentrate on that object for 30 seconds and once settled, you can slowly increase the duration.
As the basic purpose of this form of meditation is to attain a deep concentration of the mind, using an object will help you improve your concentration.
The purpose of Vipassana meditation is to stop suffering by precisely understanding the mental and physical processes. Achieving this level of concentration is much needed.
One can attain concentration by constant and uninterrupted mindfulness. Hence, it has various objectives: happiness, sorrow, anger, pain, etc.
Advantages of Buddhist Meditation
Buddhism is mainly based on the principle of Dharma and includes various traditions, beliefs, and practices that are based on Buddhist teachings. Post enlightenment, Lord Buddha set out to help all sentient beings end their suffering.
In his first sermon in Sarnath called Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta preached Noble Eightfold Path along with other teachings. The following are the eight rights.
- Right Understanding
- Right Intent
- Right Speech
- Right Action
- Right Livelihood
- Right Effort
- Right Mindfulness
- Right Concentration
This, when followed, will definitely help you get inner peace.
Other than these, there are more health benefits of Buddha meditation:
Mental Health Benefits
It helps reduce the chances of depression, anxiety, and stress. It is also known that meditation works in treating anxiety as effectively as antidepressant drug therapy.
Panic disorders symptoms too are effectively reduced. It helps in reducing drug abuse and alcohol.
It helps in improving focus, attention, and stress management. It also helps in decision making through better information processing. Meditation increases mental strength, resilience, and emotional intelligence.
It’s very effective in reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, lowers and maintains blood pressure. It also controls genes that reduce stress and increase immunity by improving the production of mitochondrial energy.
Moreover, it also prevents asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disorder. Other benefits include protection against Alzheimer's, premature death, which helps to treat premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms.
Improves empathy and positive relationship by increasing feelings of compassion and decreases worries. Social isolation and feelings of loneliness are decreased.
Famous Buddha Citations
‘A man is not called wise because he talks and talks again; but if he is peaceful, loving and fearless then he is in truth called wise.’ Buddha
‘Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.’ Buddha
‘All that we are is the result of what we have thought.’ Buddha
Buddhism and Meditation today
With the regular practice of meditation, we expand our knowledge and vision. This is achieved by releasing dispassion and disenchantment from our body and soul.
In brief, the primary goal of Buddhist teaching is seeing things as they are, the impermanence of the world around you.
Buddhist meditation has the following goals:
- Leading a well lead life.
- Allowing for pleasure not based on sensual impressions.
- A source of insight meditation on mental qualities.
- A source of experience of dispassion of mental qualities.
- As a source of insight into dependent origination, stress, and disenchantment is the end of stress.
- As a source of dispassion based on emptiness, signless or undirected concentration.
A book called, Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master is a striking and cogent guide offers stories and practical approach to master the skills of mindfulness.
Only good things come out of including Buddhism and meditation in your life.
Start by reading books on the topic. This will give you the understanding required to effectively include Buddhism, and meditation, into your life and enrich it.