Buddhist Meditation

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Meditation is very difficult to describe and can only truly be explained once experienced. It is the practice of mental concentration leading ultimately through a sequence of stages to the final goal of spiritual freedom, nirvana. The purpose of Buddhist meditation is to free ourselves from the delusion and thereby put an end to both ignorance and craving. The Buddhists describe the culminating trance-like state as transient; final Nirvana requires the insight of wisdom. The exercises that are meant to develop wisdom involve meditation on the true nature of reality or the conditioned and unconditioned elements that make up all phenomena. The goal of meditation is to develop a concept in the mind.

Learning to meditate properly, however, is very difficult and must be done under the supervision of teachers. A person who has not practised meditation before, finding it difficult to understand the nature of his mind, may think he is meditating while his mind runs disorderly. Counting is an easy method to control the wandering mind. If a person fixes his mind well on his meditation, he can maintain this counting correctly. New beginners, attempting to meditate without a teacher can take a number of ‘wrong paths'. For example, one can focus and concentrate on the ‘wrong thing' and he would become sleepy and could become obsessed on the object, this being "wrong concentration". Mindfulness is crucial to the process of meditation, as without its careful observation, one cannot see things "as they really are".

The Buddha recommended places such as a forest, hut etc because in order to practise, silence is an essential factor. There are four postures that can be adopted for meditation: standing, sitting, reclining and walking. Of these, the most suitable posture to practise at the beginning is the seated posture.

Meditation is popular in western culture today as it helps us ‘chill' and calm, as we are easily stressed in our hectic lives. As well...
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