Since I was talking about meditation in my last post I will expand on that in a practical way. Meditation has many forms and is practiced by people of all faiths, not only Buddhists. So I’ve tried to include more than Buddhist types here.
It is best to learn from a teacher who can correct your posture and so forth but many people don’t have access to teachers or don’t know enough about meditation to be able to choose a teacher. And some people of other faiths may not want to receive instruction from Buddhists. There is secular meditation as well.
One can be Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu (though Hindus are well aware of this through the development of yoga in India) or any other faith or “no faith stated” and still get the benefits, now scientifically shown, of meditation. Psychology Today magazine has some information on this. And this yoga site has a further list of health benefits of meditation.
Here are a couple of links with instructions for doing Soto Zen Buddhist meditation.
- First is a video by Gudo Nishijima Roshi of Japan He has several other videos explaining the meaning of zazen and dropping body and mind on this page.
- Here is a series of photographs showing the method. There is advice given about the practice in a zendo (formal meditation setting with a group) also. This is from Soto Zen Net
The Soto Zen method involves nothing but sitting which is simple enough. There are numerous forms of Buddhist meditation.
- Some sects of Buddhism practice an awareness type of meditation such as Vipassana. Here are instructions on that in a pdf document.
- And Tibetan Buddhism practices specific varieties of meditation on Tantric objects each for a purpose. Here is a discussion of Tibetan Buddhist Meditation technique by Ole Nydahl
- A general How To Meditate is available that is suitable for anyone Buddhist or not. And a short article on How to Understand Different Types of Meditation is also available.
- The World Community for Christian Meditation following the practices of Christian monks
- On the difference between Christian meditation and other forms of meditation
- Introduction to Jewish Meditation by Rabbi Goldie Milgram
- Meditation in Islam
- Masjid Tucson has an article about Islamic Meditation with Quranic supporting quotes.
- How to Do Sufic Meditation
There are many sects and lines of philosophy in Hinduism so to begin to suggest any few types of meditation at the expense of others would be difficult. Therefore I am just going to give a general article about meditation that include links to Hindu topics.
- Meditation This article talks about forms of meditation as well as meditation in a variety of traditions and faiths.
- Secular meditation, something like a Western style yoga class which generally has little in the way of religious content, can be found. Talk to the instructor and ask if there is a meditation portion to their class.
So meditate for religious purposes, in hot pursuit of satori, to reach a state of serenity with God, to improve your health or for any other reason.
The impetus for meditation is intention. Ask yourself “Why am I considering doing meditation?” a couple of times. If the answers satisfy you they also give you a direction for the type of meditation you can look for. And the reason to make the effort of a consistent meditation practice. For the results only come from consistency.