Pourquoi Les Bouddhistes Méditent-ils ?

In Buddhism, meditation is one of the pivots of the religion. It is practiced in different forms. Indeed, these aspects of meditation often create confusion among some Buddhist practitioners and many non-Buddhists.

But what does meditation really mean for Buddhists? In what way and for what purpose do they meditate?

General information about meditation

The term meditation means “accustoming the mind”. This is a broad definition which indicates that meditation is not specific to Buddhism. Anyone can practice meditation regardless of their religion, origin, beliefs or continent. Moreover, meditation contains a meaning that goes beyond simply escaping from the reality of daily life or emptying the mind and freeing the mind from negative thoughts.

This practice is mental in nature and involves calming consciousness, calming the mind, relieving stress and depression, enhancing sleep, strengthening concentration, stabilizing cardiovascular health and preventing aging early childhood and obesity. These are the objects of meditation from a general point of view.

A meditation session can last between 10 and 15 minutes and during this session, the person practicing it must have total concentration and must detach themselves from their external environment. The two most common types of meditation are: mindfulness meditation and transcendental meditation.

What is mindfulness meditation?

The French translation of the English term “Mindfulness” is “full conscience”. This describes anchoring focus on the present moment in an objective, lucid and, above all, calm manner. Additionally, without realizing it, everyone participates in the experience of mindfulness from time to time. To promote this phase of concentration, meditation plays a major role. It frees our mind from the flow of thoughts and enters into a healing phase.

Today, this type of meditation is used for therapeutic purposes. This therapy is the one that involves curing patients who suffer from illnesses related to psychological disorders such as chronic stress, anxiety and sometimes even heart disease. Thanks to its therapeutic aspect, meditation provides well-being to patients and for the same reason, many hospitals use this practice with the intervention of a meditation specialist. The best known is the American Jon Kabat-Zinn, he has been traveling across America and Europe for several years to practice mindfulness meditation.

What is transcendental meditation?

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is the founder of the Transcendental Meditation Program and has made it accessible to everyone around the world. He was supervised by his master Swami Brahmananda Saraswati in the 1960s. His training is a lineage of Indian tradition and known today as a practice of pure spirituality. This type of meditation is ideal for those who are beginning in the practice, because it is natural, pleasant and simple.

Learning transcendental meditation does not depend on profession, age or culture. It does not require any changes in diet, lifestyle or religious beliefs. These are not techniques chosen for personal development or other techniques. Just like mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation has many benefits, particularly in terms of health. It reduces anxiety and stress and maintains the mental and physiological balance of the practitioner.

What is the purpose of meditation in Buddhism?

When Buddhists meditate, the outward aspect that people see is peace. For Buddhists, meditation is a means, that is, a tool to follow the path taken by Guatama Siddharta known as Buddha. Since his spiritual awakening, this monk has become the reference for Buddhists and followers of Buddhist culture and practices. The Buddhist perspective of meditation is based on habituation of the mind to rebirth, complete liberation from samsara and Buddha-like enlightenment.

Is this the only reason Buddhists choose meditation? Certainly, the attainment of Nirvana, that is to say the ultimate truth, is the main objective of Buddhist meditation; but the quest for wisdom, peace and life balance is also the priority of certain practitioners. Indeed, meditation changes many daily habits and improves the quality of life of Buddhists and followers of this spirituality.

Is Buddhist meditation something to learn?

The main question is: can meditation be learned by itself or does one need to be assisted and advised by a master? Buddhist meditation practice does not just focus on concentration. Buddha even said that concentration is an obstacle to realizing the Dharma. However, it can be learned. Here are some techniques to identify it even if you are a novice:

- Choose the lotus position or choose a sitting position that suits you and make sure you are comfortable in that position. This has an impact on the meditation itself;

- Stabilize your breathing by inhaling a breath and try to hold it for a few seconds while loading the air into your lungs, thinking about your anxiety, worries, problems, etc. . Stay focused throughout this phase of the session and let your mind clear. At this precise moment, your body enters into relationship with your mind. And, finally, exhale little by little to evacuate all the loads that weigh you down.

This is the course of a meditation, it should last between 10 and 15 minutes. However, it is important to maintain concentration throughout the meditation. For Buddhists, meditation has become more than a practice, it is a way of life that reminds them of the peace, wisdom and tranquility taught by their spiritual guide, Buddha.

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