Sunday, November 2, 2008

Meditation

The English word meditation comes from the Latin meditatio meaning `to ponder' or `to ruminate.' The Pali word usually translated as meditation is bhavana and means `to develop,' `to cultivate,' or `to expand.' Thus the word meditation is actually an unsatisfactory one for the various techniques of psychological transformation taught by the Buddha.
In relation to thoughts, one could say that there are three approaches to meditation in Buddhism: (1) to utilize thoughts, (2) to still thoughts and (3) to observe thoughts. Loving- kindness meditation would be an example of the first of these. The meditator deliberately thinks particular types of thoughts for the purpose of evoking certain emotions and behaviour. An example of the second of these types of meditation would be mindfulness of breathing, where the meditator focuses his or her attention on the breath thus slowing down and finally stopping the flow of thoughts. In mindfulness meditation the mediator develops the ability to simply observe mental activity (thoughts, emotions, conceptualizing, etc.) thus gradually becoming less influenced by them.

4 comments:

Wilfried said...

Bhante,

will you tell us something about Vipassana-Meditation? I miss an entry on your new wed site which I have visited and searched and wondering why I can not find anything about it there.

Wilfried

Justin Choo said...

Bhante,

Thanks for reinforcing what I have been interpreting regarding the three approaches. This is my first time coming across such straight forward explanation.

Bow,

Justin.

Shravasti Dhammika said...

Dear Wilfried,
I will deal with vipassana a little later

boyadine said...

wonderful, i haven't heard it being classified in these three ways before but that's exactly what it is... : )