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Seminars and Workshops

​​Buddhist  Meditation  for  Beginners

The Pali word for meditation is 'bhavana' which means 'to make grow' or 'to develop'.

People have practiced meditation for a long time, based on Buddhist meditation principles, in order to effect mundane and worldly benefit, but the healing aspects of Buddhist meditation practices bring about psychological awareness, healing, and well-being. Although mindfulness meditation has received the most research attention, loving kindness (metta) meditation, for example, is beginning to be used in a wide array of research in the fields of psychology and neuroscience.

The Buddha taught many different types of meditation, each designed to overcome a particular problem or to develop a particular psychological state. But the two most common and useful types of meditation are Mindfulness of Breathing (anapana sati) and Loving Kindness Meditation (metta bhavana).

The quest for enlightenment isn’t the only reason as to why to meditate. Aside from the scientific benefits of meditation, it is seen in Buddhism as one of the main ways to eliminate the three mental defilements of greed, hatred and delusion; which are the root cause of all suffering through novelties such as anger, envy, the displeasure of not getting what we want, the displeasure of getting what we don’t want, etc. And all this mental anguish is the root cause of why we perform bad deeds, which in Buddhism, creates negative effects for us in the future in accordance to the Buddhist Law of Karma.

To really understand meditation,  it requires more than just learning from reading about it, but it is a practice that requires doing, and cannot be fully understood by reading or explanation alone. it’s difficult to really understand Buddhism and/ or meditation unless one actively practices it and experiences it for themselves.

To really understand meditation,  it requires more than just learning from reading about it, but it is a practice that requires doing, and cannot be fully understood by reading or explanation alone. it’s difficult to really understand Buddhism and/ or meditation unless one actively practices it and experiences it for themselves.

If one understands the world and themselves in a deep and transforming way, then you are ‘awakened’ or buddha. Meditation is one of the tools that Buddhism employs to bring this about.

Various schools of Buddhism use meditation in different ways. In a Tibetan tradition, meditators might use a mantra which is repeated to help focus their mind and which embodies the truth of Buddhist teaching. In a Theravada tradition, mindfulness might be developed by paying attention to the breath, or to body and feelings, or the current of ideas and images that moves through the mind as meditators sit and observe themselves.

If Buddhism is a religion or not, everything depends. The Scholar Charles Prebish said “Yes,” because Buddhism postulates a conception of ultimate truth and a path to experiencing that truth. Tibetan Buddhist teacher Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche said “No,” because Buddhism is instead a science of the mind. And Zen teacher Joan Sutherland answered “Kind of” because attachment to Buddhism can be religious, but your experience might be different. But the most important answer is your own, if it is a religion, psychology or a way of life, because if it works for you, you’re right.

There are many different kind of meditations in Buddhism, like the Tibetan visualization practices, Zen, Vipassana, Pure Land and others.  

For example, Shamatha (mindfulness) is a well-known Buddhist practice that focuses on developing calmness, clarity and equanimity and when combined with vipassana (awareness) practices, it can lead to profound insights and spiritual awakening.

Another meditation practice is Metta (lovingkindness) meditation but there are many forms of this meditation, beginning by directing wishes for well-being and lovingkindness toward ourselves and progressively to others. Ultimately this form of meditation is about feeling the love and radiating it out until the distinct edges that usually categorize us as “me, friend or enemy” fade away and what is left is benevolence, pure and simple.

The meditation in Vajrayana Buddhism (Tantra) is through the use of complex guided imagery based on Buddhist deities like Tara.

Vajrayana Buddhism includes all of the traditional forms of Mahayana meditation and also several unique forms. The central defining form of Vajrayana meditation is Deity Yoga, and this involves the recitation of mantras, prayers and visualization of the yidam or deity. Advanced Deity Yoga involves imagining yourself as the deity.

Other forms of meditation in Vajrayana include the Mahamudra and Dzogchen teachings, each taught by the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism respectively, but there are also other practices such as Dream Yoga, Tummo (Inner Fire), Phowa (meditation on the intermediate state - at death), and Chöd.

Different meditation practices:

Theravada / Hinayana:

Anapanasati  (focusing on the breath), Satipatthana  (Mindfulness of body, sensations, mind and mental phenomena), The Four Immeasurables (including compassion- karuna- and loving-kindness - Metta), Samatha (calm abiding), Vipassana (insight), and some others.

 

Mahayana and Vajrayana:

Deity yoga, Ngondro (preliminary practices), Tonglen (giving and receiving), Phowa (transference of consciousness at the time of death), Chöd (cutting through fear by confronting it), Mahamudra (the Kagyu version of 'entering the all-pervading Dharmadatu', the 'nondual state', or the 'absorption state'), Dzogchen (the natural state, the Nyingma version of Mahamudra), The Four Immeasurables, (Metta), and other techniques.

There are many meditation practices, but we will not do any of the Zen Buddhism and center ourselves in a couple of the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, in a light form, like Samatha, Vipassana, Metta, Dzogchen, Deity yoga (Vajrasattava – to remove negativities- and Medicine Buddha – for healing) and a couple more.

Of course, it will come with a bit of explanation of the philosophy and aim behind each one of the meditations and of Buddhism in general, as there are a lot of misunderstandings about  Sutra and Tantra in the West, and it will be also helpful to have it clarified. 

But as Dalai Lama often says:

“Listen to what I say, but if you feel it doesn´t apply to you, throw it out of the window”.

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Next seminar:

Date:

17th and 18th November 2018

Place:

​​Rottenburg am Neckar

Price:

​​180€    

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