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Buddhist Meditation Techniques

Leena Palande
If you practice Buddhist meditation on a regular basis, it can enhance the quality of your life and those around you. Buddhist meditation can be followed by practicing Zen or Tibetan Buddhism techniques, for calmness and wellness of mind and body.
You can be a light to others, and you won't stumble on your own path if you can meditate regularly. Learning the techniques of Buddhist meditation can change your life completely. After practicing such techniques, there is increased attentiveness regarding body and mind, which helps to break down the illusion of self.
Regular practice does reduce craving and attachment to external objects, and ultimately, you achieve the goal, where there is no "self" that craves and no object of craving.

Techniques for Beginners

Learning Buddhist meditation involves developing mindfulness, attaining calmness, working with the mind, and taking practice further. Stress and depression are two invariable elements, generated through the demands of modern life and its hectic pace.
Stress and depression affect health, which makes people unhappy, impatient, and frustrated. Simple ten-to-fifteen minutes practice, based on breathing techniques, can help you to overcome your stress, and find some inner peace and balance of mind.

For Meditation

▣ Choose a clean, quiet place.
▣ Sit in the traditional cross-legged posture, or any comfortable position.
▣ Keep your back straight to prevent your mind from becoming sleepy.
▣ Close your eyes partially, and try to concentrate on your breathing.
▣ Feel the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils.
▣ Try to concentrate on breath, and try to forget everything else.
▣ At first, you will be tempted to follow different thoughts as they arise, and your mind will be distracted; but try to avoid this. Again and again, try to concentrate on the sensation of the breath.
▣ It requires practice, so be patient.
▣ Whenever your mind starts wandering, don't give up; just try to concentrate on the breath again. Gradually, your distracting thoughts will subside, and you will be able to experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation.
Overcoming negativity and cultivating constructive thoughts is the purpose of the transforming meditations like the vipassana technique, found in the Buddhist tradition. Once accustomed, you can enjoy this spiritual practice throughout the day, not just while seated during the practice.

Zen Meditation

Zen itself means meditation. Zen, a school of Mahayana Buddhism, focuses on experiential wisdom and attainment of awakening.
The Zen masters suggest that if you are practicing this technique alone at home, you need to practice it for at least 5 minutes or more on a daily basis. Regularity is an important key in the process of coming closer to awareness. In between meditation, there are brief periods of walking, known as "kinhin", which help to relax the legs.
The Burmese position, half lotus position, and full lotus position or the seiza are the different positions suggested in this method. During practice, you breathe in from the "hara" or the stomach chakra, which is located two inches below the navel.
You should focus your mind on this part of the body. While breathing in and out from your nose, let the breath move in and out of this chakra. This technique also emphasizes tasks from daily life. With regular practice, you start enjoying the deeds that are rooted in "alobha", "adosa", and "amoha", i.e., generosity, benevolence, and wisdom.

Tibetan Meditation

According to Buddhist philosophy, meditation is considered as a way to salvation. The Tibetan Buddhists have developed thousands of such practices, with different objectives and different styles, which suit different types of personalities.
However, the ultimate goal is to travel beyond the "I" into the great immensity called Nirvana. While meditating, you will shift the attention away from the mind, and meditate on an object of observation, external or internal, such as a symbol.
You are supposed to inspect the mental image of the considered item, created in your mind's eye. Observing it from all angles, from above, and from the corners is called "introspection". You have to examine it until it is clear and stable.
By learning this, you will be able to control the steadiness and clarity of the mental picture. At the same time, you will be learning to control your mind. As you develop mindfulness gradually, you will be able to capture laxity and excitement of thoughts before they arise, and thus, can control the arising of thoughts.
Meditation techniques help to remove the distracting thoughts, and make it possible for you to experience inner peace and contentment, just by controlling the mind. External conditions do not affect your mental state, if you practice one regularly. Still and peaceful mind helps to cope with the busyness and difficulties of life.