What is Buddhist Meditation?
There are many different Buddhist meditations, and each one has its own unique focus. Broadly speaking, Buddhist Meditation is an opportunity to relax and lay aside your concerns so that you can allow your mind to see more deeply into the nature of reality. Some people think that Buddhist Meditation is about 'blanking the mind' or developing some sort of 'laser-like' concentration - but this is far from the case.
People who practice Buddhist Meditation often find they feel calmer, more grounded, and more alive. With regular Meditation these qualities can begin to influence the rest of one's daily life, so that a new sense of abundance emerges and we feel better about our selves and are better able to cope with life's ups and down's.
Meditation has been shown to have many medical and psychological benefits, such as promoting a sense of wellbeing, enhancing the immune system, lowering blood pressure and reducing stress. For example, see an article on the BBC website.
Meditation teaching at Triratna Retreat Centres
At our retreat centres we offer instruction in a number of different forms of Meditation, the most important being the Mindfulness of Breathing, The Metta Bhavana, and Just Sitting.
Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation
The mindfulness of breathing is a traditional Buddhist Meditation practice that enables us to dwell in the present moment. It is a simple method that anyone who wants to reduce their mental clutter, or feel more spacious can learn. In this meditation you learn to sit in a calm and comfortable position and then relax into the sensations of the body, gradually allowing your mind to dwell upon the experience of the breath. As you relax more and more into the meditation, distractions gradually fall away, like snow flakes falling to the ground. An inner stillness emerges and we become naturally aware of the present moment and the richness of life.
Metta Bhavana Meditation
The Metta Bhavana or 'Meditation on Loving-Kindness' is another traditional Buddhist Meditation practice. This method enables you to develop a greater emotional awareness, flexibility and openness. In the meditation practice you sit quietly and relaxed in your body. Then you proceed through a series of reflections exploring different emotions such as appreciation, empathy, and kindness. Metta means kindness and it is a basic human quality - it is an open heart and mind to our selves and to others. As the Meditation progresses we can begin to feel happier and more fulfilled in ourselves and can empathise with the joys and sufferings of all living beings.
Just Sitting Meditation
Just Sitting is another Buddhist Meditation practice which encourages a pure and open awareness of the content of ones experience. The meditation can be done in different ways, but in essence we learn to 'just sit' and notice whatever is happening within our consciousness, without rejecting or discriminating anything. When explored deeply, this meditation reveals the inherent qualities of the mind itself, which is clear and open and beyond thoughts.
For more information about Buddhist Meditation see the Triratna Buddhist Community website.