I thought of writing down a few points to think about.
1. For most people, “meditation” automatically brings up to the mind an image of someone sitting in the lotus position with eyes closed and in “deep meditation.”
2. That may be true for Vedic “breath meditation” (Prānāyāma) or even “being mindful for calming the mind”: “How to Meditate.”
- There is no question that those techniques will help calm the mind and bring some “peace of mind” to those living hectic lives.
- But “Buddhist meditation” goes much deeper.
3. The correct “Buddhist mediation” is not for such temporary relief. It is focused on ending ANY trace of suffering in the rebirth process, not just in this life.
- But one must first understand this “long-term suffering” that Buddha taught. Before fully understanding that (and becoming a Sotapanna Anugami), one cannot even start on the correct Buddhist meditation.
- I have started a new series of posts to emphasize this and explain the process: “Buddhism – In Charts.”
4. Only after one comprehends the “broader worldview of the Buddha” that one will realize that one needs to be engaged with “meditation” in every waking moment.
- Thus, the first step is to become a Sotapanna/Sotapanna Anugami by getting to the first step in the Noble Eightfold Path, i.e., Samma Ditthi.
- The first type of “Bhavana” or “meditation” in Buddha Dhamma to get to this stage mostly involve learning the “broader worldview of the Buddha” from an Ariya/Noble Person (listening or reading) and then contemplating those concepts and grasping those concepts. That involves learning Four Noble Truths, Paticca Samuppada, Tilkkhana, etc.
5. After that, one must follow that Path and complete the rest of the steps. That is the second type of “Bhavana” or “meditation” in Buddha Dhamma.
- That simply means “living according to the principles learned to overcome the rebirth process: Samma sankappa (right thoughts), Samma Vaca (right speech), Samma Kammanta (right actions), Samma Ajiva (right livelihood), Samma Vayama (right effort), Samma Sati (right focus), and Samma Samadhi (right mindset of an Arahant).
- One must try to think “right thoughts” and discard any “immoral thoughts,” for example. Does not that involve every waking moment? Same for speech, actions, and livelihood.
- That is not about getting jhanas, samapatti, etc., even though some people may get those too.
6. Note that the Buddha taught that one can AND should “meditate” in all four postures: sitting, standing, walking, and lying down.
- Of course, a part of that can involve formal meditation sessions in the sitting position where one contemplates Dhamma concepts AND cultivate the anicca, dukkha, and anatta nature of this world.
- The Budha taught Satipatthana/Anapanasati to formalize and streamline that process. Those steps involve contemplating the nature of one’s physical body, how to contemplate Tilakkhana (while reviewing Paticca Samuppada), etc. That involves formal meditation sessions. One only gets a taste of Paticca Samuppada at the Sotapanna stage.
7. Such a “formal meditation session” may be used even before getting to the Sotapanna stage, where one can contemplate and try to piece together Dhamma concepts.
- Also see “Sīla, Samādhi, Paññā to Paññā, Sīla, Samādhi” to learn more about the “transition process” to become a Sotapanna.