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Meditation styles

Meditation styles

Religious and spiritual
There are literally hundreds of specific approaches to meditation.[62] Some meditative traditions, such as yoga or tantra, are common to several religions.[63]

Bahב'ם Faith
The Bahב'ם Faith teaches that meditation is necessary for spiritual growth, alongside obligatory prayer and fasting. `Abdu'l-Bahב is quoted as saying:
Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries to your mind. In that state man abstracts himself: in that state man withdraws himself from all outside objects; in that subjective mood he is immersed in the ocean of spiritual life and can unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves.[64]
Although the founder of the Faith, Bahב'u'llבh, never specified any particular forms of meditation, some Bahב'ם practices are meditative. One of these is the daily repetition of the Arabic phrase Allבhu Abhב (Arabic: الله ابهى‎) (God is Most Glorious) 95 times preceded by ablutions. Abhá has the same root as Bahá' (Arabic: بهاء "splendor" or "glory") which Bahá'ís consider to be the "Greatest Name of God".[65]
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Avatar universal
i like to meditate for religious and stress relief you try it it works wonders i am really not that stressed sence i started
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662085 tn?1331345560
Meditation is routed deep within all belief and in our selves. People often meditate without knowing. Deep meditation is something different in so many ways. The lighter forms practiced all the time are more deep thought and nothing more. Meditation is (lack of better word) mysterious in nature. It is deep thought and yet it is the letting go of thought. or perhaps the focus of thought. A Prayer is a form of meditation You often focus your mind to say a blessing and to reach the higher power. Much like when meditating you are trying to connect with the celestial energy to (in some views) rid yourself of self to truly be one with everything.  
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Avatar universal
Whew....lots to view/ponder here :-)))))
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Transcendental Meditation

Main article: Transcendental Meditation

The Transcendental Meditation or TM technique is a form of mantra meditation introduced in India in 1955 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1917–2008).[137]

Taught in a standardized, seven-step course over 4 days by certified teachers, it involves the silent use of a sound or mantra and is practiced for 15–20 minutes twice per day, while sitting comfortably with closed eyes.[138]

Many scientific studies have been done to demonstrate the beneficial effects of Transcendental Meditation, see this page for more information.

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Main article: Mindfulness (psychology)

Mindfulness has become a part of mainstream Western psychology.

Jon Kabat-Zinn has defined mindfulness as 'moment to moment non-judgmental awareness'.[76]

Several methods are used during time set aside specifically for mindfulness meditation, such as body scan techniques or letting thought arise and pass, and also during our daily lives, such as being aware of the taste and texture of the food that we eat.[135]

Scientifically demonstrated benefits of mindfulness practice include
an increase in the body's ability to heal
and a shift from a tendency to use the right prefrontal cortex to a tendency to use the left prefrontal cortex, associated with a trend away from depression and anxiety and towards happiness, relaxation, and emotional balance.[76]

Jacobson's Progressive Muscle Relaxation was developed by American physician Edmund Jacobson in the early 1920s.

In this practice one tenses and then relaxes muscle groups in a sequential pattern whilst concentrating on how they feel. The method has been seen to help people with many conditions especially extreme anxiety.[136]
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According to the NCAAM, a U.S. government entity within the National Institute of Health,

"Meditation may be practiced for many reasons, such as to increase calmness and physical relaxation, to improve psychological balance, to cope with illness, or to enhance overall health and well-being."

Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School conducted a series of clinical tests on meditators from various disciplines including Transcendental Meditation and Tibetan Buddhism.

In 1975, Benson published a book titled The Relaxation Response where he outlined his own version of meditation for relaxation.[131]

Autogenic training was developed by the German psychiatrist Johannes Schultz in 1932.
Schultz emphasized parallels to techniques in yoga and meditation; however, autogenic training is devoid of any mysticism.[citation needed]

Australian psychiatrist Dr Ainslie Meares published, in the 1960s, a book entitled Relief Without Drugs, in which he recommended several simple and secular relaxation techniques, based on Hindu practices, as a means to alleviate anxiety, stress and chronic physical pain.[citation needed]

The 1999 book The Calm Technique: Meditation Without Magic or Mysticism by Paul Wilson has a discussion and instruction in a form of secular meditation.

Biofeedback has been used by many researchers since the 1950s in an effort to enter deeper states of mind.[132]

Acem Meditation has been developed in the Scandinavian countries since 1966. It is non-religious technique with no requirement for change of lifestyle or adaption to any system of belief.[citation needed]

Sound and light techniques of meditation are based on the results of studies with electroencephalography in long-term meditators

. Studies have demonstrated the presence of a frequency-following response to auditory and visual stimuli.

This EEG activity was termed "frequency-following response" because its period (cycles per second) corresponds to the fundamental frequency of the stimulus.

Stated plainly, if the stimulus is 5 Hz, the resulting measured EEG will show a 5 Hz frequency-following response using appropriate time-domain averaging protocols.[133][134]

This is the justification behind such inventions as the Dreamachine and binaural beats. Binaural beats and other audio techniques form the basis of the techniques at The Monroe Institute.
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Using beads

Many religions have their own prayer beads. Most prayer beads and Christian rosaries consist of pearls or beads linked together by a thread.

The Roman Catholic rosary is a string of beads containing five sets with ten small beads. Each set of ten is separated by another bead.
The Hindu japa mala has 108 beads, as well as those used in Jainism and Buddhist prayer beads.

Each bead is counted once as a person recites a mantra, or phrase, until the person has gone all the way around the mala, which is counted as 100, with an extra 8 there to compensate for misses.

The Muslim mishbaha has 99 beads.

Prayers and specific meditations of each religion are different and there are theological reasons for the number of beads.

Prayer beads may come in different colors, sizes and designs.

However, the central purpose, which is to pray repetitively and to meditate, is the same across all religions that use them as a prayer tool.[citation needed]

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Main article: Jiddu Krishnamurti

Jiddu Krishnamurti is a person who used the term "meditation" to mean something entirely different from the practice of any system or method to control the mind, or to consciously achieve a specific goal or state:

"Man, in order to escape his conflicts, has invented many forms of meditation. These have been based on desire, will, and the urge for achievement, and imply conflict and a struggle to arrive. This conscious, deliberate striving is always within the limits of a conditioned mind, and in this there is no freedom. All effort to meditate is the denial of meditation. Meditation is the ending of thought. It is only then that there is a different dimension which is beyond time."[citation needed]

For Krishnamurti, meditation was choiceless awareness in the present: "When you learn about yourself, watch yourself, watch the way you walk, how you eat, what you say, the gossip, the hate, the jealousy - if you are aware of all that in yourself, without any choice, that is part of meditation."[130
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Taoism includes a number of meditative and contemplative traditions, said to have their principles described in the
I Ching,
Tao Te Ching,
Chuang Tzu
and Tao Tsang
among other texts.

The multitude of schools relating to
, Internal alchemy
, Daoyin
and Zhan zhuang
is a large, diverse array of breath-training practices in aid of meditation with much influence on later Chinese Buddhism and with much influence on traditional Chinese medicine and the Chinese as well as some Japanese martial arts.

The Chinese martial art T'ai Chi Ch'uan is named after the well-known focus for Taoist and Neo-Confucian meditation, the T'ai Chi T'u, and is often referred to as “meditation in motion”.

"The Guanzi essay 'Neiye' ƒָ˜I (Inward training) is the oldest received writing on the subject of the cultivation of vapor and meditation techniques. The essay was probably composed at the Jixia Academy in Qi in the late fourth century B.C."[129]

Often Taoist Internal martial arts, especially Tai Chi Chuan are thought of as moving meditation. A common phrase being, "movement in stillness" referring to energetic movement in passive Qigong and seated Taoist meditation; with the converse being "stillness in movement", a state of mental calm and meditation in the tai chi form.

In a form of meditation using visualization, such as Chinese Qi Gong, the practitioner concentrates on flows of energy (Qi) in the body, starting in the abdomen and then circulating through the body, until dispersed.[60]
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Main article: Nām Japō

In Sikhism, the practices of simran and Nām Japō encourage quiet meditation.
This is focusing one's attention on the attributes of God.

Sikhs believe that there are 10 'gates' to the body; 'gates' is another word for 'chakras' or energy centres.

The top most energy level is called the tenth gate or dasam dwar.

When one reaches this stage through continuous practice meditation becomes a habit that continues whilst walking, talking, eating, awake and even sleeping.

There is a distinct taste or flavour when a meditator reaches this lofty stage of meditation, as one experiences absolute peace and tranquility inside and outside the body.

Followers of the Sikh religion also believe that love comes through meditation on the lord's name since meditation only conjures up positive emotions in oneself which are portrayed through our actions.

The first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak Dev Ji preached the equality of all humankind and stressed the importance of living a householder's life instead of wandering around jungles meditating, the latter of which being a popular practice at the time.

The Guru preached that we can obtain liberation from life and death by living a totally normal family life and by spreading love amongst every human being regardless of religion
In the Sikh religion, kirtan, otherwise known as singing the hymns of God is seen as one of the most beneficial ways of aiding meditation, and it too in some ways is believed to be a meditation of one kind.
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New Age
Main article: New Age

New Age meditations are often influenced by Eastern philosophy, mysticism, Yoga, Hinduism and Buddhism, yet may contain some degree of Western influence

. In the West, meditation found its mainstream roots through the social revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, when many of the youth of the day rebelled against traditional belief systems as a reaction against what some perceived as the failure of Christianity to provide spiritual and ethical guidance.[123]

New Age meditation as practiced by the early hippies is regarded for its techniques of blanking out the mind and releasing oneself from conscious thinking. This is often aided by repetitive chanting of a mantra, or focusing on an object.[124]

Many New Age groups combine yoga with meditation where the control of mind and breathing is said to be the highest yoga.[125][126]

In Zen Yoga Aaron Hoopes talks of meditation as being an avenue to touching the spiritual nature that exists within each of us.
   "At its core, meditation is about touching the spiritual essence that exists within us all.
Experiencing the joy of this essence has been called enlightenment, nirvana, or even rebirth, and reflects a deep understanding within us.
The spiritual essence is not something that we create through meditation. It is already there, deep within, behind all the barriers, patiently waiting for us to recognize it.

One does not have to be religious or even interested in religion to find value in it.
Becoming more aware of your self and realizing your spiritual nature is something that transcends religion. Anyone who has explored meditation knows that it is simply a path that leads to a new, more expansive way of seeing the world around us.[127]

Among the meditation techniques identified as "New Age" are
Sahaja Yoga
, Transcendental Meditation,
Natural Stress Relief,
Transmission Meditation,
and Theta Healing.[128]
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Main article: Jewish meditation

This section needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2010)

There is evidence that Judaism has had meditative practices that go back thousands of years.[122]

For instance, in the Torah, the patriarch Isaac is described as going "לשוח" (lasuach) in the field—a term understood by all commentators as some type of meditative practice (Genesis 24:63), probably prayer.

Similarly, there are indications throughout the Tanach (the Hebrew Bible) that meditation was central to the prophets.[122]

In the Old Testament, there are two Hebrew words for meditation
: hāgג (Hebrew: הגה‎), which means to sigh or murmur, but also to meditate,
and sîḥâ (Hebrew: שיחה‎), which means to muse, or rehearse in one's mind.

The Jewish mystical tradition, Kabbalah, is inherently a meditative field of study.

The Talmud refers to the advantage of the scholar over the prophet, as his understanding takes on intellectual, conceptual form, that deepens mental grasp, and can be communicated to others.

The advantage of the prophet over the scholar is in the transcendence of their intuitive vision. The ideal illumination is achieved when the insights of mystical revelation are brought into conceptual structures.

For example, Isaac Luria revealed new doctrines of Kabbalah in the 16th Century, that revolutionised and reordered its teachings into a new system. However, he did not write down his teachings, which were recounted and interpreted instead by his close circle of disciples. After a mystical encounter, called in Kabbalistic tradition an "elevation of the soul" into the spiritual realms, Isaac Luria said that it would take 70 years to explain all that he had experienced.

As Kabbalah evolved its teachings took on successively greater conceptual form and philosophical system. Nonetheless, as is implied by the name of Kabbalah, which means "to receive", its exponents see that for the student to understand its teachings requires a spiritual intuitive reception that illuminates and personalises the intellectual structures
Corresponding to the learning of Kabbalah are its traditional meditative practices, as for the Kabbalist,
the ultimate purpose of its study is to understand and cleave to the Divine.

Classic methods include the mental visualisation of the supernal realms the soul navigates through to achieve certain ends.

One of the most well known types of meditation in early Jewish mysticism was the work of the Merkabah, from the root /R-K-B/ meaning "chariot" (of God).

In modern Jewish practice one of the best known meditative practices is called "hitbodedut" (התבודדות, alternatively transliterated as "hisbodedus"),
and is explained in Kabbalistic, Hasidic, and Mussar writings, especially the Hasidic method of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav.

The word derives from the Hebrew word "boded" (בודד), meaning the state of being alone.

Another Hasidic system is the Habad method of "hisbonenus", related to the Sephirah of "Binah", Hebrew for understanding. This practice is the analytical reflective process of making oneself understand a mystical concept well, that follows and internalises its study in Hasidic writings.
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Main article: Jain meditation

Meditation has been one of the core spiritual practices undertaken by the Jains since the era of first Tirthankar Lord Rishabha.[112]

All the twenty four Tirthankars have practiced deep meditation and attained enlightenment.[113]

They are all shown in meditative postures in the images or idols. Lord Mahaveer practiced deep meditation for twelve years and attained enlightenment.[112]

The Acaranga Sutra dating to 500 BC, addresses the meditation system of Jainism in detail[19].

Jain Acharya Bhadrabahu of 4th century BC practiced deep Mahaprana meditation for 12 years[114].

Acharya Kundakunda of 1st century BCE, opened new dimensions of meditation in Jain tradition through his books Samayasara, Pravachansar, etc[115].

Jain meditation and spiritual practices system was referred to as salvation-path.
It has three important parts, Right perception and faith, Right knowledge and Right conduct, which are also known as Three Jewels.[116]

Meditation in Jainism aims at realizing the self, attaining salvation, take the soul to complete freedom.[117]

It aims to reach and to remain in the pure state of soul which is believed to be pure conscious, beyond any attachment or aversion. The practitioner strives to be just a knower-seer (Gyata-Drashta). Jain meditation can be broadly categorized to Dharmya Dhyana and Shukla Dhyana.

There exists a number of meditation techniques such as pindāstha-dhyāna, padāstha-dhyāna, rūpāstha-dhyāna, rūpātita-dhyāna, savīrya-dhyāna, etc. In padāstha dhyāna one focuses on Mantra.[118]

A Mantra could be either a combination of core letters or words on deity or themes. There is a rich tradition of Mantra in Jainism. All Jain followers irrespective of their sect, whether Digambara or Svetambara practice Mantra.

Mantra chanting is an important part of daily lives of Jain monks and followers.

Mantra chanting can be done either loudly or silently in mind

. Yogasana and Pranayama has been an important practice undertaken since ages.
Pranayama – breathing exercises – are performed to strengthen the ten Pranas or vital energy.[119]

Yogasana and Pranayama balances the functioning of neuro-endocrine system of body and helps in achieving good physical, mental and emotional health.[120]

Contemplation is a very old and important meditation technique. The practitioner meditates deeply on subtle facts.

In agnya vichāya, one contemplates on seven facts -
life and non-life, the inflow, bondage, stoppage and removal of karmas, and the final accomplishment of liberation.

In apaya vichāya, one contemplates on the incorrect insights one indulges into and that eventually develops right insight.

In vipaka vichāya, one reflects on the eight causes or basic types of karma.
In sansathan vichāya, when one thinks about the vastness of the universe and the loneliness of the soul.[118]

Acharya Mahapragya formulated Preksha Meditation in 1970s and presented a well organised system of meditation. It is an important milestone in the history of Jain meditation system.

Yogasana and Pranayama, meditation, contemplation, Mantra, therapy are its integral parts.[121]

Numerous Preksha meditation centers came into existence around the world and numerous meditations camps are being organized to impart training in it.
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Meditation in the Sufi traditions is largely based on a spectrum of mystical exercises, varying from one lineage to another.

Such techniques, particularly the more audacious, can be, and often have been down the ages, a source of controversy among scholars.

One broad group of ulema, followers of the great Al-Ghazzali, for example, have in general been open to such techniques and forms of devotion, while another such group, those who concur with the Ibn Taymiya, reject and generally condemn such procedures as species of bid'ah (Arabic: بدعة) or mere innovation.

Numerous Sufi traditions place emphasis upon a meditative procedure similar in its cognitive aspect to one of the two principal approaches to be found in the Buddhist traditions:

that of the concentration technique, involving high-intensity and sharply focused introspection.

In the Oveyssi-Shahmaghsoudi Sufi order, for example, this is particularly evident, where muraqaba takes the form of tamarkoz, the latter being a Persian term that means concentration.
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Main articles: Muraqaba and Dhikr

A Muslim is obliged to pray at least five times a day: once before sunrise, at noon, in the afternoon, after sunset, and once at night.

During prayer a Muslim focuses and meditates on God by reciting the Qur'an and engaging in dhikr to reaffirm and strengthen the bond between Creator and creation, with the purpose of guiding the soul to truth.[citation needed]

Such meditation is intended to help maintain a feeling of spiritual peace, in the face of whatever challenges work, social or family life may present.

The five daily acts of peaceful prayer are to serve as a template and inspiration for conduct during the rest of the day, transforming it, ideally, into one single and sustained meditation: even sleep is to be regarded as but another phase of that sustained meditation.[107]

Meditative quiescence is said to have a quality of healing, and—in contemporary terminology—enhancing creativity.[108]

The Islamic prophet Muhammad spent sustained periods in contemplation and meditation. It was during one such period that Muhammad began to receive the revelations of the Qur'an.[109][110]

Following are the styles, or schools, of meditation in the Muslim traditions:

Tafakkur or tadabbur,

literally means reflection upon the universe: this is considered to permit access to a form of cognitive and emotional development that can emanate only from the higher level, i.e. from God.

The sensation of receiving divine inspiration awakens and liberates both heart and intellect, permitting such inner growth that the apparently mundane actually takes on the quality of the infinite. Muslim teachings embrace life as a test of one's submission to God.[111]
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See also: Dhyana in Hinduism and Yoga

The earliest clear references to meditation in Hindu literature are in the middle Upanishads and the Mahabharata, which includes the Bhagavad Gita.[102][103]

According to Gavin Flood, the earlier Brihadaranyaka Upanishad refers to meditation when it states that "having becoming calm and concentrated, one perceives the self (ātman) within oneself".[104]

The practices of Yoga help one to control the mind and senses so the ego can be transcended and the true self (atman) experienced, leading to moksha or liberation
Yoga practice includes
ethical discipline (Yamas),
physical postures (Asanas),
breath control (Pranayama),
withdrawal from the senses (Pratyahara),
one-pointedness of mind (Dharana)
, meditation (Dhyana),
and eventually Samadhi,

which is often described as the union of the Self (Atman) with the omnipresent , and is the ultimate goal of all Hindu Yogis.

Meditation in Hinduism is not confined to any school or sect and has expanded beyond Hinduism to the West.[104]

Today there is a new branch of Yoga which combines Christian practices with Yogic postures known popularly as Christian Yoga.[105]

The influential modern proponent of Hinduism who first introduced Eastern philosophy to the West in the late 19th century, Swami Vivekananda, describes meditation as follows:

Meditation has been laid stress upon by all religions. The meditative state of mind is declared by the Yogis to be the highest state in which the mind exists. When the mind is studying the external object, it gets identified with it, loses itself. To use the simile of the old Indian philosopher: the soul of man is like a piece of crystal, but it takes the colour of whatever is near it. Whatever the soul touches ... it has to take its colour. That is the difficulty. That constitutes the bondage.[106]
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Catholic use of non-Christian methods

Main articles: Aspects of Christian meditation and A Christian reflection on the New Age

In the 20th century, Christian methods of meditation have been distinguished from and contrasted with so-called "cosmic styles" of Eastern meditation.[93][94]

A 1989 document generally known as Aspects of Christian meditation set forth the position of the Roman Catholic Holy See with respect to the differences between Christian and Eastern styles of meditation.

The document, issued as a letter to all Roman Catholic Bishops, stresses the differences between Christian and Eastern meditative approaches. It warns of dangers in attempting to mix Christian meditation with Eastern approaches since that could be both confusing and misleading, and may result in the loss of the essential Christocentric nature of Christian meditation.[95][96][97]

The letter warned that euphoric states obtained through Eastern meditation should not be confused with prayer or assumed to be signs of the presence of God, and cautioned that meditation, which should be a flight from the self, should not degenerate into a form of self-absorption.[98

In 2003, in a 90-page booklet A Christian reflection on the New Age the Vatican announced that the "Church avoids any concept that is close to those of the New Age".[99][100][101]
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Main article: Christian meditation

A strong believer in Christian meditation, Saint Padre Pio stated: "Through the study of books one seeks God; by meditation one finds him".[78]

Christian traditions have various meditative practices. These include traditions such as Lectio Divina, rosary meditations, and Eucharistic Adoration in Catholicism, or the Hesychast tradition in Eastern Orthodoxy, and the saying of the Jesus Prayer.

Some Western Christian meditative practices rely upon the repetition of a single word or short phrase, such as those derived from the 13th century English text, The Cloud of Unknowing.[79][80]

In many methods of Christian contemplative practice, "meditation" is the middle level in a broad three stage characterization of prayer: it involves more reflection than first level vocal prayer, and is more structured than the multiple layers of contemplation in Christianity.[81]

Saints such as Thomas Aquinas and Teresa of Avila have emphasized the importance of meditation in Christianity.[82][83][84]

While Protestants view salvation in terms of faith and grace alone (i.e. sola fide and sola gratia) both Western and Eastern Christians see a role for meditation on the path to salvation and redemption.[85]

Apostle Paul stated in Romans 9:16 that salvation only comes from "God that hath mercy".[86]

The path to salvation in Christian meditation is not one of give and take, and the aim meditation is to bring joy to the heart of God. The initiative in Christian salvation is with God, and one does not meditate or love God to gain his favor.[87]

Some mystics in both the Western and Eastern churches have associated feelings of ecstasy with meditation, e.g. St. Teresa of Avila's legendary meditative ecstasy and the Eastern Orthodox approach to theosis via Hesychasm.[88][89]

However, St. Augustine failed to achieve meditative ecstasy via the teachings of Plotinus[90]

and St. Gregory of Sinai, one of the originators of Hesychasm, stated that the goal of Christian meditation is "seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit, beyond the minor phenomenon of ecstasy".[91]

According to E. P. Clowney it is the search for wisdom, not ecstasy that marks the path of Christian meditation, a wisdom sought in the "Christ of Scripture and the Scripture of Christ".[92]
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Minfulness Meditation

Mindfulness practices have become a part of mainstream psychology over the past thirty years[76]

; see the mindfulness section on this page and the main article, Mindfulness (psychology), for more information.

It has been proposed that the meditative traditions of Buddhism, influenced the development of some aspects of Christian contemplative faith (Buddhism and Christianity).[77]

Buddhist meditation predated the recorded birth of Jesus by 500 years and were present in Asia Minor and Alexandria during Jesus' life.[77]
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Theravada Buddhism emphasizes the meditative development of mindfulness (sati)
and concentration (samadhi).[75].

Traditional popular meditation subjects in Theravada include the breath (anapana) and loving-kindness (mettā).
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In Zen Buddhism there are three most commonly practiced forms of meditation; these are:
koan practices - the inner contemplation of a koan, the burning, straining effort to answer what may seem to be undefinable to the logical intellect,

shikantaza - just sitting (see also the non-dual section above),

and anapanasati - watching the breath.

Satori, or a flash of sudden awareness of the universe as unified, is a central component of Zen practice.
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In Compassion meditation one develops a strong desire to help others, and thus transforms their own mind into a more compassionate way of being (even at baseline), which in turn transforms how they view and interact with others, especially when others are suffering (as shown by an increased amount of brain activation when exposed to emotional sounds of others)[73].

The generation of compassion for others is recognized in science as self-induced high-amplitude gamma synchrony.[74] Also see Metta and The Four Immeasurables.
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Main article: Buddhist meditation

The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this life. For it is only through meditation that you can undertake the journey to discover your true nature, and so find the stability and confidence you will need to live, and die, well. Meditation is the road to enlightenment. -Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying[66]

The historical Buddha Siddhartha Gautama is said to have achieved enlightenment while meditating under a Bodhi tree, after which The Buddha returned to the world where he founded the monastic way of life and taught the dharma, or truth, in order to liberate all living beings. Monks live a life of poverty, chastity, prayer, and meditation. The daily routine of a monastery differs from place to place, as does the sort of meditation practiced there. There are literally hundreds of specific Buddhist meditative methods.[67]

Buddhist meditation is fundamentally concerned with two themes: transforming the mind, and using it to explore itself and other phenomena.[68]

The traditional goal of Buddhists is, as a part of The Noble Eightfold Path, reaching enlightenment, which means liberation from the bonds of delusion and suffering. Meditation is also practiced for health benefits, which have been observed using the scientific method.

Anapanasati, or watching the breath, has been practiced since the time of The Buddha, and is still practiced in Zen, Tibetan, and Theravadan Buddhism, as well as a part of multiple secular mindfulness programs in Western medicine. In this type of meditation one simply turns the attention to each breath. This type of meditation has been shown to improve the ability to sustain one's attention to a particular stimuli as well as improving executive functioning and slowing the natural aging process of the brain.

A traditional Buddhist idea is the characterization of meditation as shamatha, which means calm abiding, and as vipassana, which means insight.

There are eight stages of jhana, or meditative states, the last four of which are called the four, 'formless meditations'.

In The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, Gampopa wrote of ten stages, or bhumis, which one gradually passes through on the path to enlightenment.

Of the first stage it is written, "Generally, bodhisattvas of the ten bhumis have the same realization while in meditative absorption. If explained particularly, differences occur during in the post-meditative state. At the first bhumi, one realizes the meaning of entering into the all-pervading Dharmadatu. Through that, one achieves the sameness of oneself and others."[69]

The four formless states of jhana are referred to in the preceding quote from Gampopa as realizing, "the meaning of entering into the all-pervading Dharmadatu," and in the proceeding paragraph as the realization of Dzogchen, and of Mahamudra, and in Hinduism as the union of the Atman (Self) with the formless and omnipresent Brahman.

Also see Mysticism for more on the cross-cultural phenomenon of entering into union with the formless omnipresent

. For more information on Buddhist nondualism see, The Heart Sutra, The Diamond Sutra, Prajnaparamita, Anatta and Mindfulness (psychology), and especially Nondualism and Œūnyatā.

Meditation in Tibetan Buddhism grew up as an integral part of religious life, alongside other practices like mantra recitation, study of sacred literature, hand mudras, prostrations, and so forth.

All Tibetan schools share the preliminary practice of Ngondro. From there one begins either with Dzogchen in the Nyingma school or with Mahamudra in the Kagyu. There is a fairly wide consensus among lamas of both the Nyingma and Sarma schools that the end state of dzogchen and mahamudra are the same,[70]

that is, to awaken to the sky-like nature of mind, the primordial, pure, nondual state, and then to abide in this state until complete and precious Enlightenment is attained.[66][71]

In Tonglen, which has a home in Tibetan Buddhism, one takes on the suffering of others on the in-breath and radiates total happiness and well-being to others on the out-breath.
Tummo practitioners will generate enough body heat so that others have seen them, whilst fully submerged beneath icy lakes, cause steam to rise from the surface of the water.[72]
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