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AKRON BUDDHIST CYBER TEMPLE
A place to meditate in the Buckeye State.
Akron, O
hio

How to Meditate


Meditation

Meditation is the distinguishing feature of Buddhism from other mainstream religions. Sit, clear your mind. Either concentrate or look for insight. Furthermore, don't get attached to the habit itself.

Right Thought

If you watch a movie, you might notice that after images will keep showing up in your dreams, thoughts and ideas for a few hours or days. Right thought is an effort to control this process so that you mind moves along tracks that move you towards enlightenment.

Right Mindfulness

Mindfulness is meditation for the rest of the day, when you aren't sitting, making an effort. Mindfulness is not allowing yourself to float through the day unaware of what is going on immediately around you. Importantly, this means switching your thought away from worrying about the past and future, to concentration on what is happening right now.

What to do with your mind

You can either do concentration meditation and use you mind very intensively to pay attention to every detail of your inner mind's workings and the immediate surroundings, or you can do insight meditation, which is a searching for the true nature of things or developing compassion for all living beings.

Some common elements of concentration meditation would be breath counting, chanting, visualization of complicated pictures, and so on.

What is the best way to meditate? Its a trick question. Buddhist practice is the search for what is useful. You will eventually see if it is useful. The only short cut, is possibly reading or asking someone else about their experiences, but even this isn't a sure thing.

Samadi Meditation

Samadi or concentration meditation leads to enlightenment. There are four states of absorption. Jnana or absorption is where you are very calm and in control of your mind, and there is no more dualism, (making distinctions between self and non-self).

Taking account of every little detail about your breathing, sensations, etc. is a common Therevada technique.

Breath Counting is a typical Zen technique.

Vipasana Meditation

Also called insight meditation. This is meditation about the 4 noble truths

Koan solving, solving seemingly irrational riddles, are another typical Zen technique.

Loving Kindness Meditation

This is a Mayayana type meditation. You try to intensify your benevolence towards all beings.

Chanting, Mantras, Mandalas

The top Tibetan mantra is "Om mane padme hum." I personally don't think there is anything special about the phrases unless you assign some meaning to them. In this respect, it is equally (but probably less interesting) to count to ten repeatedly. OMB mane padre hum, roughly means in Tibetan, Body, jewel, lotus, indivisible. Mindless are complicated patterns to look upon while meditating. Trying to visualize them can be useful for concentration meditation. Again, not especially useful for enlightenment unless you assign some meaning to them, but in any case more interesting than a white wall.

Pillows

A fat phone book will do, but you can also get expensive zafus made especially for the purpose. It doesn't matter what you concentrate on, even if it pain and stiffness, but really making yourself miserable by sitting will probably do more to deter you from practicing meditation. So find a good meditation cushion. The goal is to get your butt off the ground about 4+ inches so that your back doesn't lean forward when you sit on the floor.


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