Gautama Buddha emphasized the practice of meditation as a means of developing mindfulness, concentration, and insight. Through meditation, he taught that individuals could cultivate a deep awareness of their own minds and the nature of reality, and ultimately gain liberation from suffering.
Buddhist meditation refers to a variety of mental practices that are aimed at cultivating awareness and achieve liberation. Meditation is a core practice in Buddhism and is used to develop wisdom, compassion, and inner peace.
First of all let us understand the Main Aim of Mediation.
Main Aim of Meditation.
Meditation is an English word. Buddha’s words were mainly written in Pali language. From the Pali scriptures, we see there were two main words used with respect to meditation.
First is Bhavana and second is Yoga.
1. Bhavana: In Buddhism, the term “bhavana” (Pali) or “bhāvanā” (Sanskrit) refers to the practice of mental cultivation or development. Meaning of word Bhavana gives meaning of development or constant practice for development. So what we develop through meditation or bhavana is the Development of Mind. And that is the main aim of Meditation, to develop our mind.
2. Yoga: Currently the word Yoga may mean different to different people like asanas, pranayam etc. But Buddha used this word from Pali to describe the way of wisdom or path towards wisdom. Yoga means the binding towards the wisdom. And we achieve this wisdom through Meditation or Bhavana. Hence the bond between man and wisdom is called meditation. Through meditation the bond between man and wisdom develops.
What is wisdom?
Buddha said wisdom is the ability to realize the reality of one’s life, our own life. If we can realize what is going on inside our life, we develop wisdom. Through wisdom we can see at ourselves or and the people around us or the situations in our life, in a more balanced way. Rather than flowing into the emotions, we can see towards our own emotions by detaching ourselves from it. And to develop this level of Wisdom, Meditation or Bhavana is the way.
Wisdom helps you for the liberation, which is the ultimate goal of Buddhism. The liberation can be from sufferings from rebirth or even from death. Sufferings gives us pain, and Buddha shows us path to get freedom from these sufferings. To attain this liberation one must achieve wisdom. And to have wisdom we need Meditation.
Types of Meditation
There are Main two types of bhavana practices in Buddhism, one is samatha (calming meditation), vipassana (insight meditation). Apart from these two the other forms are metta (loving-kindness meditation), karuna (compassion meditation), and bodhicitta (mind of enlightenment meditation). Each of these practices involves different techniques and approaches, but they all share the common goal of cultivating wholesome mental states and transforming the mind towards greater clarity, wisdom, and inner peace.
Through Meditation we can cultivate wholesome qualities such as concentration, mindfulness, loving-kindness, compassion, and wisdom. Bhavana or Meditation is a foundational practice in Buddhism and is considered essential for developing insight into the nature of reality and achieving liberation from suffering.
We should add meditation practice in our daily routine to achieve peace and ultimate wisdom in life to get freedom from sufferings.