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Theravada Meditation

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Part of the article on Theravada Buddhism
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Theravada Buddhism
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Countries

Sri Lanka
Cambodia • Laos
Burma • Thailand

Text

Pali Canon
Commentaries
Subcommentaries

History

Pre-sectarian Buddhism
Early schools • Sthavira
Asoka • Third Council
Vibhajjavada
Mahinda • Sanghamitta
Dipavamsa • Mahavamsa
Buddhaghosa

Doctrine

Saṃsāra • Nibbāṇa
Middle Way
Noble Eightfold Path
Four Noble Truths
Enlightenment Stages
Precepts • Three Jewels





Meditation (Pali: Bhavana) means the positive reinforcement of one's mind. Broadly categorized into Samatha and Vipassana, Meditation is the key tool implemented in attaining jhana. Samatha literally means "to make skillful", and has other renderings also, among which are "tranquilizing, calming", "visualizing", and "achieving". Vipassana means "insight", or "abstract understanding". In this context, Samatha Meditation makes a person skillful in concentration of mind. Once the mind is sufficiently concentrated, Vipassana allows one to see through the veil of ignorance.

In the Pali Canon discourses, the Buddha frequently instructs his disciples to practice samadhi (concentration) in order to establish and develop jhana (full concentration). Jhana is the instrument used by the Buddha himself to penetrate the true nature of phenomena (through investigation and direct experience) and to reach Enlightenment.[1] Right Concentration (samma-samadhi) is one of the elements in the Noble Eightfold Path. Samadhi can be developed from mindfulness with breathing (anapanasati), from visual objects (kasina), and repetition of phrases. The traditional list contains 40 objects of meditation (kammaṭṭhāna) to be used for Samatha Meditation. Every object has a specific goal; for example, meditation on the parts of the body (kayanupassana or kayagathasathi) will result in a lessening of attachment to our own bodies and those of others, resulting in a reduction of sensual desires. Mettā (loving kindness) generates the feelings of goodwill and happiness toward ourselves and other beings; metta practice serves as an antidote to ill-will, wrath and fear.


  1. "A Sketch of the Buddha's Life". Access to Insight. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/buddha.html. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 

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