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Meditation Meditatation. Meditation in the Theravada Tradition  In the Theravada tradition meditation is the main method of transforming the mind from.

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Presentation on theme: "Meditation Meditatation. Meditation in the Theravada Tradition  In the Theravada tradition meditation is the main method of transforming the mind from."— Presentation transcript:

1 Meditation Meditatation

2 Meditation in the Theravada Tradition  In the Theravada tradition meditation is the main method of transforming the mind from confusion to clarity  The Buddha himself favoured mediation over other religious practices  The Buddha gained enlightenment through the practice of meditation  Meditation was practiced in India before the Buddha’s time  He learned it from Shramana teachers in the forest

3 Purpose of meditation  To purify the mind  To put an end to suffering  To put an end to the causes of suffering  To lead people to enlightenment  The Sanskrit word for meditation is bhavana this means cultivation  It involves freeing the mind from greed, hatred, anxiety, doubt, laziness and ill will  It involves cultivation of positive qualities such as concentration, awareness, intelligence, diligence, confidence, joy and tranquillity  The highest wisdom of compassion and peace are also attained

4 Samatha Meditation  Samatha meditation is also known as the mindfulness of breathing or tranquillity meditation  It cultivates mindfulness which means awareness ourselves and our state of mind  Mindfulness involves 4 forms: of body, feelings, sensations and mental states  Breathing is part of mindfulness of body meditation  The idea is to focus the mind on the breath and not to let it get distracted by other thoughts  Gradually thoughts slow down, we become less distracted and more centred  The mind can be compared to a glass of muddy water; if we leave it the water will gradually become clear  Samatha is like this; the thoughts and emotions gradually settle and the mind becomes clear and undisturbed

5 Vipassana Meditation  Insight meditation specific to Buddhism  Samatha meditation is the basis for vipassana  Leads to wisdom and the realisation of the ultimate truth of nibbana  It uses our intelligence and powers of observation to bring us to a deeper level of understanding  Focus’ on the Four Noble Truths  Vipassana cultivates a type of understanding that is not based on the senses or consciousness  Meditators train their minds to see impermanence and non-inherent existence  The point of vipassana is that understanding of the dhamma does not remain theoretical but becomes personal and related to experience  Must be done in the presence of an experienced tutor

6 Meditation in the Mahayana Tradition  Meditation is just as important in the Mahayana tradition  Meditation in Mahayana has two purposes: to reveal the qualities within and to realise that enlightenment could be immediately or gradually  The main differences are:- tathagatagarbha, skilful means and the master-disciple relationship  Every being has the potential for enlightenment within them  Spiritual path is simply a way of re-discovering this  The purpose of meditation is to awaken our Buddha nature, whatever method one uses is considered a valid skilful means  Variety of methods are used:-visualisations, mantras, koans (riddles) and mondos (questions)  Zen Buddhists use dramatic methods to shock dispel the ignorance that clouds the mind

7 Master-disciple relationship  One to one relationship between master and student  Teacher gives advice according to the needs of the individual  Teacher transmits understanding to the student wordlessly with the aid of various techniques that communicate the ultimate truth  This special transmission of spiritual understanding lies at the heart of Mahayana  Ensures that the power and authenticity of Buddhist teaching is continues from one generation to the next

8 Meditation in Pure Land Buddhism  Based on devotion to Buddha Amitabha (Amida)  Pure land emphasises devotional and meditational practices  More accessible to ordinary people leading busy lives  Began in China in the 4 th and 5 th centuries  Practice involves reciting the name of Amithaba Buddha (  The nembutsu is nembutsu is “I bow to Amitabha Buddha” and is recited over and over again throughout the day  It is a way of keeping his presence on one’s mind and continually asking for his protection and help  Through this process one is said to come to embody the ultimate reality that is beyond words  It does not have to be performed in a formal setting, it can be done at any time of the day even when working  This makes it flexible and easily adapted to busy lives

9 Mantras  Mantras are sacred words of power and a form of meditation  Recited in Sanskrit  They have a deeply transformative effect on the mind of the practitioner  Buddhas and bodhisattvas each have their own mantra  Each mantra invokes the being one is praying to and causes the mind to tune into his or he powers and qualities  Buddhas and bodhisattvas are seen as a reflection of the qualities in one’s own mind so that ultimately the two become one

10 Advanced Samatha  Advanced samatha is said to develop supernatural powers  These include clairvoyance, clairaudience, knowing the thoughts of others and remembering previous lives  Monks are forbidden from showing these powers or from talking about them  These powers are not important in attaining nibbana  Recent example is monk who set fire to himself as a protest against the Vietnam war  He did not move or make a sound

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