Religious Studies. Unit 2- Buddhism-Meditation.

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Key words

   —Right Effort

—Right Mindfulness —Right Concentration/meditation —Bhavana (cultivation/training of the mind) —Samadhi (higher level of concentration) —Samatha (calm) —Vipassana (insight) —Metta Bhavana (loving kindness) —Brahma Viharas (‘divine abidings’)

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Meditation before Buddha

—Buddha learnt meditation in India from shramana teachers in the forest.   —Buddha developed certain meditation techniques unique to Buddhism.

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Meditation and Buddha

—Buddha discovered the special value of meditation. —He meditated under the bodhi tree and gained enlightenment. —The importance of meditation in Buddhism is based on Buddha’s personal experience of its benefits.

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Purposes of meditation

—“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles” dhammapada 103   —What do you think this means?   —Buddhists use meditation to transform their minds from distraction, emotions and confusion to a state of peace and clarity.

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Buddhist Meditation…

—Purifies the mind —Ends suffering and its causes —Leads people to enlightenment

These are spiritual rather than worldly purposes (unlike using meditation to de-stress)

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—Sanskrit and Pali term bhavana means cultivation or development – training the mind —Meditation aims to free the mind from greed, craving, anger, ill-will, laziness, anxiety and to cultivate positive qualities such as concentration, awareness, diligence, confidence, joy, tranquillity

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Ultimate aim

—To cut through thoughts and emotions to access the nature of mind in order to attain the highest wisdom, compassion and peace.

“in its natural state the mind is peaceful, without happiness or suffering. This is the true state of the mind” Ajahn Chah


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2 main types of Buddhist meditation

—Samatha – probably existed before Buddha and is still practised by Hindus today. —Vipassana – developed by Buddha and practised specifically by Buddhists.

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Meditation practice

 —Most Buddhists in the West meditate each day.

—Lay Buddhists meditate at home rather than at temple or monasteries. —In Asia only monks and nuns meditate regularly. —Lay people in Asia  chant which also arouses joy and mindfulness.

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Samatha meditation

—Means ‘calm abiding’.   —Develops mental concentration and peace of mind.   —Sometimes called tranquillity meditation.   —1st step = cultivation of mindfulness.

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4 types of mindfulness

 —- mindfulness of body

—-mindfulness of feelings and sensations —- mindfulness of mind —-mindfulness of mental states —Focus on first one for a short while to calm mind and body as a preliminary to other samatha practices.

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