Buddhist meditation


Buddhist meditation

      the practice of mental concentration leading ultimately through a succession of stages to the final goal of spiritual freedom, nirvana. Meditation occupies a central place in Buddhism and combines, in its highest stages, the discipline of progressively increased introversion with the insight brought about by wisdom, or prajna.

      The object of concentration (the kammaṭṭhāna (kammatthana)) may vary according to individual and situation. One Pāli text lists 40 kammaṭṭhānas, including devices (such as a colour or a light), repulsive things (such as a corpse), recollections (as of the Buddha), and the brahmavihāras (virtues, such as friendliness).

      Four stages (called in Sanskrit dhyānas; Pāli jhānas) are distinguished in the shift of attention from the outward sensory world: (1) detachment from the external world and a consciousness of joy and ease; (2) concentration, with suppression of reasoning and investigation; (3) the passing away of joy, with the sense of ease remaining; and (4) the passing away of ease also, bringing about a state of pure self-possession and equanimity.

      The dhyānas are followed by four further spiritual exercises, the samāpattis (“attainments”). They are described as: (1) consciousness of infinity of space; (2) consciousness of the infinity of cognition; (3) concern with the unreality of things (nihility); and (4) consciousness of unreality as the object of thought.

      The stages of Buddhist meditation show many similarities with Hindu meditation (see Yoga), reflecting a common tradition in ancient India. The Buddhists, however, describe the culminating trancelike state as transient; final Nirvāṇa 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 dharmas (elements) that make up all phenomena.

      Meditation, though important in all schools of Buddhism, has developed characteristic variations within different traditions. In China and Japan the practice of dhyāna (meditation) assumed sufficient importance to develop into a school of its own (Ch'an and Zen; q.v.), in which meditation is the most essential feature of the school.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Buddhist meditation — Part of a series on Buddhism Outline · Portal History Timeline · Councils …   Wikipedia

  • Meditation (disambiguation) — Meditation may refer to: Meditation is any of a family of techniques that involve the self induction of a mode of consciousness in order to realize some benefit. For meditation as practiced in Buddhism, see Buddhist meditation Literature For the… …   Wikipedia

  • Meditation — This article is about the mental discipline. For the form of alternative dispute resolution, see Mediation. For other uses, see Meditation (disambiguation). A statue of the Buddha meditating, Borim Temple, Korea Meditation refers to any form of a …   Wikipedia

  • Buddhist philosophy — Part of a series on Buddhism Outline · Portal History Timeline · Councils …   Wikipedia

  • Buddhist prayer beads — Juzu Buddhist prayer beads are a traditional tool used to count the number of times a mantra is recited whilst meditating. They are similar to other forms of prayer beads used in various world religions; thus some call this tool the Buddhist… …   Wikipedia

  • Buddhist cuisine — Buddhist Vegetarian Cuisine A vegetarian restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan serving Buddhist cuisine in buffet style Chinese name Traditional Chinese …   Wikipedia

  • Meditation bouddhique — Méditation bouddhique Le Bouddha Shâkyamouni en méditation. La méditation bouddhique, méditation théorisée et pratiquée dans le bouddhisme, diffère radicalement de la méditation dans son acception occidentale. Son but ultime est l atteinte du… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Méditation Bouddhique — Le Bouddha Shâkyamouni en méditation. La méditation bouddhique, méditation théorisée et pratiquée dans le bouddhisme, diffère radicalement de la méditation dans son acception occidentale. Son but ultime est l atteinte du nirvāna. Le mot le plus… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Méditation bouddhiste — Méditation bouddhique Le Bouddha Shâkyamouni en méditation. La méditation bouddhique, méditation théorisée et pratiquée dans le bouddhisme, diffère radicalement de la méditation dans son acception occidentale. Son but ultime est l atteinte du… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Buddhist texts — Chinese Song Period Maha prajna paramita Sutra Page, Nantoyōsō Collection, Japan Buddhist texts can be categorized in a number of ways. The Western terms scripture and canonical are applied to Buddhism in inconsistent ways by Western scholars:… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.