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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  • Slide 1
  • Meditation Meditatation
  • Slide 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 Buddhas time He learned it from Shramana teachers in the forest
  • Slide 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
  • Slide 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
  • Slide 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
  • Slide 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
  • Slide 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
  • Slide 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 ones 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
  • Slide 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 ones own mind so that ultimately the two become one
  • Slide 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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