Buddhist meditation refers to the meditative practices associated with the religion and philosophy of Buddhism. Buddhist meditation techniques have become increasingly popular in the wider world, with many non-Buddhists taking them up for a variety of reasons. Buddhists pursue meditation as part of the path toward Enlightenment and Nirvana. This means that by continually meditating, Buddhists can discover the path to a better life in everything they do. To accomplish this, they must follow foundational teachings like the four foundations of mindfulness and the four noble truths. After reading this article, you will know more about Buddhist meditation.
What are the four foundations for mindfulness?
In Buddhist texts, the Buddha identifies four foundations for mindfulness: the body, feelings, mind states and mental objects. He further enumerates the following objects as bases for the meditative development of mindfulness that encourages us to be aware of the process our mind goes through. They are:
1. Contemplation of the body: This involves breathing, postures, clear comprehending, reflections on repulsiveness of the body, reflections on material elements and cemetery contemplations.
2. Contemplation of feeling: This involves pleasant, unpleasant or neutral feelings
3. Contemplation of the state of mind
4. Contemplation of the phenomena; This involves hindrances, aggregates, factors of enlightenment and the four noble truths.
These foundations of mindfulness collectively help us to still the mind and return to our true nature. By constantly being aware of our thoughts, feelings and surroundings without attaching our perceptions to it; we become mindful. Now that we know about the four foundations of mindfulness, let’s explore what the four noble truths are.
What are the four noble truths?
The four noble truths are an important principle in Buddhism, classically taught by the Buddha in the S?tra. In their simplest form; the four noble truths are:
- Suffering exists
- Suffering arises from attachment to desires
- Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
- Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path
They can further be briefly explained as follows;
1. What is suffering: birth, aging, illness, death is all suffering. Sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are also suffering too. Union with what is displeasing is also suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering.
2. What is the origin of suffering: The origin is when we crave for sensual pleasures, for existence, extermination and other desires and lust.
3. What is Cessation of Suffering: This means fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, non-reliance on the different cravings.
4. What is the Path that leads to the Cessation of Suffering: This means having the right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. This is also referred to as the eight fold path. Once you understand and practice the four noble truths, you will find Buddhist meditation easy to do.
Buddhist meditation is an important practice for people all over the world. Even non-Buddhists practice it because of the benefits to the mind, body and spirit. The four foundations of mindfulness and the four noble truths helps one to fully understand the concepts behind why this meditation practice is very beneficial. You can use what you’ve read to have a better Buddhist meditation experience from now on.