Four Types of Meditation suitable to the Majority

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Four Types of Meditation suitable to the Majority

Postby Madushka » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:08 am

1) Buddhanussati Meditation – Concentration of the mind with the continuous contemplation of a characteristic of Our Great Buddha.
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2) Loving Kindness Meditation – Invoke blessings on other beings from one’s mind.
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3) Meditation on Revulsion - Contemplating on the disgusting nature of the hair, teeth, nails and other organs of one’s body.
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4) Marananussati Meditation – Contemplation of the inevitable death a being has to face.
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1) Buddhanussati Meditationa)

a) Memorize in detail a Buddha image you like. ( It is advisable to do the meditation in front of a Buddha image at the start.)
b) Choose a peaceful place and sit comfortably keeping the back straight.

c) Start with worshiping our Great Buddha with the following sentences which contain his nine characteristics.
End the worshiping saying, ” I worship my Great Buddha, who has nine noble characteristics, with my mind, body & word.”

i) My Great Buddha is sacred with destroying all the defilements like lust, greed & passion; therefore, being worthy of veneration by gods and humans.

ii) My Great Buddha has known all things accurately by himself, which belong to the past, present & future; things that are timeless; without the help of anybody.

iii) My Great Buddha is proficient in supreme knowledge like “attaining insight” and fifteen kinds of conduct like “moral restrain”.

iv) My Great Buddha has followed the correct path to attain the enlightenment and has spoken appropriately at all times.

v) My Great Buddha has a complete knowledge of all the three worlds; “The world of beings”, “The world of formations” & “The world of spatial”.

vi) My Great Buddha is foremost in subduing those who were difficult to tame. He disciplined the humans, gods, devils, demons, demigods and Kings who were conceited with genus, merits, super natural powers, glory, knowledge & wisdom, etc.

vii) My Great Buddha is the noble teacher of all beings, humans and gods, leading them towards the good and the blissful Nirvana (Enlightenment).

viii) My Great Buddha has discovered the four Noble Truths all by himself and has awakened thousands of gods and humans with his knowledge leading them to enlightenment.

ix) My Great Buddha is fitting to be venerated and respected by all beings because of his infinite merit, indefinite super natural powers, boundless wisdom and limitless splendor.

d) Now, close your eyes and visualize the Buddha image in your mind and imagine as our great Buddha standing / sitting in front of you.
Reflect upon a quality of our great Buddha you like most from the above nine and meditate contemplating it.

e) Meditation should be done at least 15 minutes a day.
Meditation should be done with a composed mind suppressing all the other objectives.
Do not meditate for a long time initially. Increase the time bit by bit.
Do not meditate when you have ailments till they are cured.
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Re: Four Types of Meditation suitable to the Majority

Postby James the Giant » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:19 am

Not the majority of westerners, I reckon.
Breath, vipassana, and metta for westerners.
The other stuff is too far out for westerners who are pretty weirded-out by Buddhism anyway.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Four Types of Meditation suitable to the Majority

Postby GraemeR » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:59 am

James the Giant wrote:Not the majority of westerners, I reckon.
Breath, vipassana, and metta for westerners.
The other stuff is too far out for westerners who are pretty weirded-out by Buddhism anyway.


What meditation do people think is unsuitable? :shrug:

Is it different of westerners and Asians? :sage:

Graham
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Re: Four Types of Meditation suitable to the Majority

Postby twelph » Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:36 pm

GraemeR wrote:
James the Giant wrote:Not the majority of westerners, I reckon.
Breath, vipassana, and metta for westerners.
The other stuff is too far out for westerners who are pretty weirded-out by Buddhism anyway.


What meditation do people think is unsuitable? :shrug:

Is it different of westerners and Asians? :sage:

Graham


From experience, anything that has to do with repetition of phrases that include things like "I worship the Buddha".
Myself and I assume many other people who have grown up in a Catholic atmosphere probably see this as too similar to something like the repetition for rosary beads. I understand the importance of the Triple Gem, but I think that the importance should be evenly distributed across the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha. Having confidence that the Buddha was an enlightened being, and trusting his teachings seems to cover the Buddha aspect quite nicely. As far as I can tell, the Buddha never recommended repeating his name over and over again as a meditation practice :P.
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Re: Four Types of Meditation suitable to the Majority

Postby Coyote » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:45 pm

Personally, I love devotional practice/chanting. Having been a Christian before becoming Buddhist, the devotional practices seem to fit in quite nicely. Mind you, I seem to have to opposite experience to many in that I don't feel like I am rebelling against Christianity or religion - in fact, my initial interest in religion seems to have been rebellion against being brought up with no religion.

Perhaps it is sad that many westerners don't make devotion a part of their everyday life, given that reverencing the triple gem is something that the Buddha and Theravada tradition seem to hold in high esteem. I'm not saying it is strictly necessary as such (beyond going for refuge), but its rejection seems to be at the heart of the rationalist/faith-less (I mean that in the best possible way) approach to Buddhism that some in the west have. I find they can be really powerful recollections, as much or more than recollection of impermanence, death ect.

:anjali:
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Four Types of Meditation suitable to the Majority

Postby Kamran » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:09 am

Coyote wrote:Perhaps it is sad that many westerners don't make devotion a part of their everyday life, given that reverencing the triple gem is something that the Buddha and Theravada tradition seem to hold in high esteem.

:anjali:


Actually, there is some contradiction in the suttas with regards to the tiple gem.

When near death the Buddha specifically said not to take refuge in the triple gem, but rather to take refuge in yourself and nothing else.

It seems that he saw that the ingrained human habits of devotion, reverencing, and elating the Buddha to a god like status was happening even during his life time.

We can see this happen with most ideologies, for instance, with Lenin whose body ended up being put on public display just as Russians used to do with their orthodox saints.

"Monks, live with yourself as your island, yourself as your refuge, with nothing else as your refuge. Live with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, with nothing else as your refuge."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: Four Types of Meditation suitable to the Majority

Postby Coyote » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:56 am

Kamran wrote:Actually, there is some contradiction in the suttas with regards to the tiple gem.

When near death the Buddha specifically said not to take refuge in the triple gem, but rather to take refuge in yourself and nothing else.


I don't think the sutta actually says this (not to take refuge in triple gem), but that the Buddha is most highly revered when we actually live out his teachings.

"Yet it is not thus, Ananda, that the Tathagata is respected, venerated, esteemed, worshipped, and honored in the highest degree. But, Ananda, whatever bhikkhu or bhikkhuni, layman or laywoman, abides by the Dhamma, lives uprightly in the Dhamma, walks in the way of the Dhamma, it is by such a one that the Tathagata is respected, venerated, esteemed, worshipped, and honored in the highest degree. Therefore, Ananda, thus should you train yourselves: 'We shall abide by the Dhamma, live uprightly in the Dhamma, walk in the way of the Dhamma.'"


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html

I think the point being that reverence of the Buddha should not be done to the exclusion or detriment to the rest of the teachings and not apart from them, otherwise it would be hypocrisy. I don't think there is anything in those suttas that necessarily contradict the many others that suggest taking refuge in the Buddha and that show great reverence towards him. It is balance that is key.

Kamran wrote:It seems that he saw that the ingrained human habits of devotion, reverencing, and elating the Buddha to a god like status was happening even during his life time.

We can see this happen with most ideologies, for instance, with Lenin whose body ended up being put on public display just as Russians used to do with their orthodox saints.


No doubt many do have an ingrained tendency towards devotion that has been exploited by many ideologies, but devotion to the triple gem could provide an outlet for this as long as that person lives out their devotion by practising the Dhamma day-to-day.
Anyway we shouldn't denigrate the simple faith and devotion, as I seem to recall many became sotapanna from that alone.

:anjali:
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Four Types of Meditation suitable to the Majority

Postby perkele » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:00 am

Kamran wrote:"Monks, live with yourself as your island, yourself as your refuge, with nothing else as your refuge. Live with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, with nothing else as your refuge."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I think you're stretching the meaning of this a bit too far. He spoke to the monks, who were well-established on the path. No need for them to take refuge anywhere else.
Of course, a westerner who has been brought up to disdain "religious authority" (for lack of a better word), will quite naturally interpret it in a way as to include himself as receiving the same exhortation. Surely, that inspires faith in some way, in such a mindset, be it faith in oneself or faith in the Buddha, who said such a nice thing, or both. I think that is not completely wrong either. It is quite good actually in most cases I think.

Nevertheless the recollection of the Buddha is a practice that the Buddha himself recommended in times of distress. (Don't ask me where - but it's somewhere in the suttas.) And personally I found recollection of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha has helped me in that regard, and I have come to appreciate these devotional recollections more deeply in proportion to the degree that I have come to understand the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha more deeply.
I think the act of "taking refuge" for the common person is certainly not a thing the Buddha would have dismissed. As long as we are not enlightened it is certainly good to have something that we can rightly look up to.

Just my 327 cents.

Edit:
Coyote wrote:...

:goodpost:
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Re: Four Types of Meditation suitable to the Majority

Postby Kamran » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:28 pm

You guys may be right, here is Richard Gombrich's take in "What the Buddha Thought".

"Were I writing a history of Buddhism, I would give a culpably
one-sided picture if I missed out the devotional side and the ritual
and magic it has engendered. This example, Taking Refuge by
saying the quoted formula three times, occurs many times in the
Canon, and many other passages show evidence of the same
tendency.

When, as a frail old man who realizes that death is near,
the Buddha tells the monks to take refuge in themselves - an
unusual expression - I suspect that his wording was intended as a
rebuttal of the already popular formula.


The Buddha declared ritual to be useless or worse. The growth
of Buddhist rites and liturgies was surely a wholly unintended
consequence of the Buddha's preaching. Buddhist ritual and
devotion have found no place in this book, for it has been about
what the Buddha thought."
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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