Benefits of Meditation
There are an innumerable number of benefits to meditation. This ancient practice is one of the pillars of Buddhism to achieve eternal bliss or Nibbana. Today, in popular culture meditative practices are used to relieve stress, to foster better relationships, or to simply find spirituality. At the NC Buddhist Temple meditation is taught for these reasons and to find true peace and happiness. The program is guided by Ven. Wajirapala Thero, a visiting or resident monk, and Mr. Christopher Thurston a long time meditator and devotee of the temple. They are available to guide and help you along the way to finding inner peace and discovering your true potential.
The intent of meditation is to purify the mind. It brings the mind to a state of awareness and tranquility, a state of concentration, and insight and breaks the bondages of prejudices or biases springing from our greed, hatred and delusion.
Samatha and Vipassana Meditation
Theravada Buddhism presents two major types of meditation: Samatha and Vipassana Bhavana or meditation. Vipassana and Samatha are two wholesome qualities that arise from the practice of meditation and are interrelated. Samatha bhavana or serenity meditation aims at developing a calm, concentrated, unified mind as a means of experiencing inner peace and as a basis for wisdom. The practice of Vipassana bhavana or insight meditation aims at gaining a direct understanding of the real nature of phenomena and is regarded as the essential key to liberation, the direct antidote to the ignorance underlying bondage and suffering1. Vipassana (Insight meditation) is a form of mental training that will teach you to experience the world in an entirely new way. You will learn for the first time what is truly happening to you, around you and within you2
Anapanasati or Breath Meditation
Anapanasati or breath meditation is the cultivation of mindfulness by focusing one’s mind on the process of breathing in (ana) and out (pana). It is merely used as a tool for realizing his or her connectedness with the rest of life. The traditional Theravada literature describes the techniques of both Samatha (concentration and tranquility of mind) and Vipassana (insight or clear awareness). There are forty different subjects of meditation described in the Pali literature. They are recommended as objects of concentration and as subjects of investigation leading to insight. Using the breath as his primary focus of attention, the meditator applies participatory observation to the entirety of his own perceptual universe. He learns to watch changes occurring in all physical experiences, in feelings and in perceptions. He learns to study his own mental activities and the fluctuations in the character of consciousness itself. All of these changes are occurring perpetually and are present in every moment of our experiences2
1Jhanas in Theravada Buddhism by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
2Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
“It is you that must put forth the effort. A Buddha only points the way!”
– Gautama Buddha
The Contemplation of the Body( Kayanupassana) comprise of 14 forms of Meditation namely
- Navasivathika which comprise of 9 forms of Meditation
The Section on reflections on repulsiveness (Patikulamanasikara) In Buddhist scriptures, this practice involves mentally identifying 32 parts of the body, contemplated upon in various ways.
Step1: Session started after observing five precepts. The participants used the Traditional Posture with exceptions to those with limited ranges of motion.
Step2: Objects of contemplation.
These 32 body parts are contextualized within the framework of the Great Elements (Mahabhuta)
- Earth Element(Patavi) (20)
head hairs (Pali: kesā), body hairs (lomā), nails (nakhā), teeth (dantā), skin (thacho), flesh (maṃsaṃ), tendons (nahāru), bones (aṭṭhi), bone marrow (aṭṭhimiñjaṃ), kidneys (vakkaṃ), heart (hadayaṃ), liver (yakanaṃ), pleura (kilomakaṃ), spleen (pihakaṃ), lungs (papphāsaṃ), large intestines (antaṃ), small intestines (antaguṇaṃ), undigested food (udariyaṃ), feces (karīsaṃ),brain(Mattalungam)
- Water Element( Aapho)(12)
bile (pittaṃ), phlegm (semhaṃ), pus (pubbo), blood (lohitaṃ), sweat (sedo), fat (medo), tears (assu), skin-oil (vasā), saliva (kheḷo), mucus (siṅghānikā), fluid in the joints (lasikā), urine (muttaṃ).