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Buddha Meditation

Buddhist meditation, often referred to as Buddha meditation covers a variety of techniques, but they all return to the basic virtues of Buddhism, where deep thought, serenity and self-knowledge are the keys to spiritual enlightenment. Buddha meditation initially focuses on the breath.

Buddha meditation is used to speed towards enlightenment, a state where the individual is truly awakened to the universe around them, and beholds for the first time the complete sanity of the nature of the universe.  Enlightenment through contemplation and rumination is a freedom from the cycle of worldliness, which is called Samsara, where all is suffering, death and rebirth.

Buddhism is an ancient religion without gods that originated around the fifth century BCE with the prince Siddharta Gautama who, after his enlightenment, was known as the Buddha.  Not only is Buddhism a religion, it is also a philosophy and a psychology and in each of these respects, the discipline of  Buddha meditation is cornerstone. 

Sidhartha Gautama, who became the Buddha, lived from 563 BCE to 483 BCE, and as the founder and supreme teacher of of Buddhism, was a spiritual leader from ancient India.  As a young prince, he married and lived a worldly life, but became dissatisfied with this.  He left the life he had known and devoted himself to teaching and gaining enlightenment.  His travels were hard, and he rejected the luxurious life he had known in favor of a ascetic life of contemplation and rumination.  He discovered the Middle Way, a path between self-indulgence and self-mortification, realizing that both these extremes tied the individual to a cycle of suffering.

As with any sect as ancient as that of Buddhism, there are many schools of thought and just as many methods of meditation.  Meditation is a powerful tool for Buddhism, a method by which a person rises above the cycle of suffering. 

Many of the schools for Buddha meditation start with breathing.  An awareness and consideration of the breath is the first step on the road to awakening, where a person becomes  aware of their own body and the very act of drawing in and releasing air is given the importance it is due.

Another important aspect of Buddha meditation is visualization, where a picture is held in the mind's eye and through intense consideration, the mind is opened and the soul reaches for a higher place.  The Tibetan tradition of Buddhism has thousands of visualization meditations alone.

One focus for Buddha meditation is the seeking of the right way and of the right mind.  This thought leads to right action, which is paramount in any Buddhist philosophy.  The Satipatthana Sutta tradition of Buddhism argues that there are four foundations for mindfulness:  the feelings, the state of the mind, the body and metal objects.  Through contemplation and reflection on these topics, a state of awareness and enlightenment can be achieved.

Another focus for Buddha meditation is a contemplation of impermanence, where not only is it expected that the world and the view will change, but it is accepted, even embraced.  Nothing lasts forever and sorrow at the end of a cycle only wastes energy and brings about suffering.

Buddha meditation can bring a sense of wellness to your life, and even for non-Buddhists, the results seen in mental and physical health afterwards is invaluable.

By Amy Barnfeld

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