It is a means of aiding mental discipline.
It is a vehicle to get rid of craving, ignorance and hatred. also known as the three fires.
It is considered significant within buddhism as meditation represents one of the three divisions of the 8 fold path. namely, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.
The buddha acheived enlightenment while meditating.
He continued meditating after his enlightenment.
And he died in deep meditation.
Meditation is strongly believed to be a necessary element in order to gain enlightenment and attain Nirvana.
There are three techniques among buddhism. these are Samatha, Vipassana and Zazen.
Samatha (Midfulness of Breathing)
Samatha Concentrates on an awareness of the body, feelings, the mind and different mental levels. (Jhanas).
By being aware of the present state of the 5 skandhas, the buddhist can experience physical and mental tranquility.
Samatha Meditation is usually started by concentration of breathing (or sometimes on walking).
By concentrating on breathing, one can train the mind to ignore anything else.
The word Zazen means to be "sitting in meditation"
This is the main type of practise within the Zen tradition of buddhism.
This practice is based on the concept that all beings are already buddhas and nirvana is present now.
Buddhist who practise Zazen do not concentrate on the 3 marks of existence (dukkha, anicca and anatta) because the mind should be freed of any thoughts, rejecting anything that seeks to confuse the mind.
They do not believe, therefore, that too much emphasis should be placed on the buddha's teaching during medation as that would lead to mental confusion rather than a clear mind.
Specialist technique that is important in order to gain enlightenment.
Suited best to more Intelligent Buddhists.
the practitioner tries to concentrate on the 3 marks of existence, such as, Dukkha, Anicca and Anatta.
If Successful, the practitioner will no longer speak in terms of "me" due to recognition of the nonexistence of the self.
Pure Land Buddhists
Even though most buddhists would call meditation an essential part within Buddhism allowing them many things, such as: gaining enlightenment.
Not all buddhists practise this.
Pure Land Buddhists do not practise Meditation, as they believe it is reinforcing the sense of self, rather than undermine it.
They see meditation as naval grazing, as in, looking in on one's self, which causes them to reinforce their feeling of me, myself and I.
Quotes for Meditation
Damien Keown said:
"The importance of meditation in Buddhism can be appreciated by reacalling that it was while meditating that the Buddha gained his enlightenment."
"All schools of Buddhism see Meditation as the High Road to Englightenment."
"Meditation is one of the three divisions of the 8 fold path and thus occupies a central place in Buddhist practise."