Buddhist Meditation

Calm and Clear:  The Bud­dhist Med­i­ta­tion Prac­tices of Shamatha (Men­tal Qui­es­cence) and Vipas­sana (Insight)

Of all the aspects of our life, what goes on with­in – our thoughts, feel­ings and emo­tions, and our very sense of being – are at the same time the most inti­mate and yet the most mys­te­ri­ous we will ever expe­ri­ence. Dis­cov­er­ing this inner world, achiev­ing men­tal calm and free­dom from tur­bu­lent emo­tion­al­i­ty and gain­ing clear insight into the pro­found depths of one’s being and true nature has been the goal of Bud­dhist med­i­ta­tors for over 2,500 years.

Glazed ceramic figure of an Arhat (China, C.E. 907-1125)

Glazed ceram­ic fig­ure of an Arhat (Chi­na, C.E. 907‑1125)

Mod­ern sci­ence can explore the vast­ness of the uni­verse and the infin­i­tes­i­mal par­ti­cles that com­pose it, and yet we still find our­selves bewil­dered and over­come by neg­a­tive emo­tions. Our lives are dri­ven by the need to escape feel­ings of dis­sat­is­fac­tion, dis­ap­point­ment and unhap­pi­ness, only to find that every­thing we expe­ri­ence is imper­ma­nent, includ­ing our own hap­pi­ness . Clear­ly see­ing the plight of all beings, the Bud­dha cre­at­ed a means of calm­ing the mind and gain­ing insight into its real nature, pro­vid­ing a prac­ti­cal method to free our­selves from the delu­sion, suf­fer­ing and emo­tion­al tur­moil called sam­sara.

Using the pro­found yet sim­ple tech­nique of mind­ful­ness of the breath, we grad­u­al­ly learn to calm our tur­bu­lent thoughts, mem­o­ries, plans and emo­tions. With­in this clear, radi­ant space we are able to gain insight into our men­tal process­es and rec­og­nize our inher­ent Bud­dha Nature – the vast, free and com­plete­ly enlight­ened real­i­ty at the heart of all beings. This can be prac­ticed by any­one, of any or no reli­gious affil­i­a­tion what­so­ev­er, the only require­ment being a com­mit­ment to prac­tice med­i­ta­tion on a dai­ly basis.

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