Buddhist meditation

Practice of meditation in Buddhism / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Buddhist meditation is the practice of meditation in Buddhism. The closest words for meditation in the classical languages of Buddhism are bhāvanā ("mental development")[note 1] and jhāna/dhyāna (mental training resulting in a calm and luminous mind).[note 2]

Buddha Shakyamuni meditating in the lotus position, India, Bihar, probably Kurkihar, Pala dynasty, c. 1000 AD, black stone - Östasiatiska museet, Stockholm, Sweden

Buddhists pursue meditation as part of the path toward liberation from defilements (kleshas) and clinging and craving (upādāna), also called awakening, which results in the attainment of Nirvana,[note 3] and includes a variety of meditation techniques, most notably anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing). Other techniques include asubha bhavana ("reflections on repulsiveness");[1] reflection on pratityasamutpada (dependent origination); anussati (recollections, including anapanasati) and sati (mindfulness), culminating in dhyana (developing an alert and luminous mind);[2][3][4][5] and the Brahma-viharas (loving-kindness and compassion). These techniques aim to develop equanimity and sati (mindfulness); samadhi (unification of mind) c.q. samatha (tranquility) and vipassanā (insight); and are also said to lead to abhijñā (supramundane powers). These meditation techniques are preceded by and combined with practices which aid this development, such as moral restraint and right effort to develop wholesome states of mind.

While these techniques are used across Buddhist schools, there is also significant diversity. A basic classification of meditation techniques is samatha (calming the mind) and vipassana (gaining insight). In the Theravada tradition, emphasizing vipassana, these are seen as opposing techniques,[note 4] while Mahayana Buddhism stresses the interplay between samatha and vipassana.[6] In both traditions, breath meditation is a central practice. Chinese and Japanese Buddhism also preserved a wide range of meditation techniques, which go back to early Buddhism, and were transmitted via Sarvastivada Buddhism. In Tibetan Buddhism, deity yoga includes visualisations, which precede the realization of sunyata ("emptiness").[note 5]