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Nature

Meditation Methods

Meditation is an ancient spiritual technology that was discovered long before the establishment of the world’s major religious institutions. All religions, at some point in their development, have utilized meditation methods in accordance with the goals of each path. Buddhism is no different.

There are hundreds of different methods of meditation. Meditation brings stability of mind, and psychological studies have shown that practitioners can gain practical benefits, such as reduced stress, improved relationships, and a change in mental outlook and moral reasoning.

All methods in Buddhism can be put into two main categories - wisdom and compassion. Two well-known meditations to develop compassion are metta-bhavana, from the Theravada tradition, meaning “the development of loving-kindness,” and tonglen from Tibetan Buddhism, meaning “taking [suffering] and sending [love].” The methods for developing wisdom are shamatha, meaning “calm abiding,” which works on concentrating the mind, and vipassana, meaning “insight,” which is a more involved type of reflection.

If anyone is interested in pursuing meditation, it is recommended that you consult a teacher with real experience. Here are some links to credible meditation instruction.

Zazen as taught by the Zen Mountain Monastery: www.mro.org/zmm/teachings/meditation.php

Shamatha as taught by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche: www.shambhala.org/meditationinstruction.html 

Satipatthana as taught by Nyaunggan-Aye Sayadaw: www.nibbana.com/nga02.htm 

Vipassana-Bhavana as taught by Ayya Kheminda: www.enabling.org/ia/vipassana/Archive/K/Khema/guidelinesForVipassana.html                                                                         

Loving-Kindness Meditation as taught by Pannyavaro: www.buddhanet.net/metta_in.htm

Tonglen as taught by Pema Chodron: www.feminist.com/resources/artspeech/insp/tonglen.html 

For meditation instructions from other traditions, browse the links page and see Yoga or other sections.