Buddhist Meditation: A Primer
The aim of the majority of people that practice Buddhist meditation in our era is to relieve stress and concentrate their attention on another goal besides fast paced ones that modern society is focused on. Another goal of today’s meditating person is to be more acutely aware of the environment they are in–the city or countryside around them–wherever they are located.
They are seeking a better understanding and mind’s view into the loveliness and natural beauty in surroundings. They are trying to de-focus from the violence, aggression, and dog-eat-dog ways of the world. They are pursuing the meditative art of peacefulness; they are trying to discover this inside of their beings.
Similar to other kind of meditation, Buddhist meditation has one focus on an object or function–an ordinary object or function. This technique re-focuses the mind on one thing like breathing. The concentration is on breathing that is flowing with rhythm, that is deep, that causes one to exhale slowly. The idea is to think about breathing so the person meditating isn’t distracted by random thoughts that pop into the mind.
Another important aspect is the posture while meditating. Posture has an effect on how effectively you breathe and somehow it contributes to or detracts from your ability to free up your thinking and spirit. Some of the postures used by different teachers are: seated, cross-legged, kneeling, and lying.
Buddhist meditation says that you can find your real soul by practicing it. This is different than some of the generic meditation that is popular. Buddhists think you can obtain a real insight.
Buddhist meditation is aimed at clarifying the mind and sharpening the meditator’s perception. The difference in Buddhist meditation and some forms of mediation is that the meditator’s goal is to have certain visions. These visions are involved in his religious beliefs concerning particular objects. Practitioners of Buddhist mediation can achieve this vision state but it isn’t what this form of mediation is really about.
To the Buddhist practitioner this achievement is really an obstacle to his or her true goal. They consider it an unreal–delusive feeling of satisfaction. It is a falseness making one think he has fulfilled the purpose of his religious endeavors. This meditator understands that the only thing that has been done is to make an objectification of something he had in his mind.
So what is the purpose of Buddhist mediation in the stricter sense? It is to expel or eject from one’s self the erroneous derivation of pleasures–in the place where pain exists. It is to teach the practitioner to dispel the sense of things being permanent, when things are actually not permanent. And if reality ceases to be–to have an understanding of the situation–that it is not real.
The person practicing Buddhist meditation today may only be seeking to relax and de-focus from the stress of the modern hectic lifestyles. This person may want to be more attentive to his world and the beauty in it and seeks to de-emphasize the ugliness in the world.