What is Special about Buddhist Meditation?

Submitted by Matt Papa on August 17, 2012

Meditation means training the mind, and it is present in some form or the other in almost all religions of the world. In fact, even Christianity places a lot of importance on meditation, something that many people do not realize. What is different about Buddhist meditation though is that Buddhists have refined meditation to such an extent that they are considered one of the most advanced in meditation techniques.


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What is special about Buddhist meditation?

In this article we will discuss briefly everything about Buddhist meditation.

How is Buddhist meditation performed?

In Buddhist meditation, you sit in a comfortable position, with the lotus position being the most favored (where you sit on a slightly raised platform with the feet up on the knees of the other leg).

This position keeps your spine straight, while still not putting too much strain on your back. You focus your eyes downward and slightly in front of you or keep them closed as you begin the meditation.

There can be Buddhist mindfulness meditation where you try to keep your mind empty or concentration meditation where you concentrate on some object in particular. Keeping your concentration on one particular object or keeping the mind empty is one of the most difficult things to do, and for beginners it is recommended that they try to focus on chants or music. While this may not be useful in mindfulness meditation where the objective is not to hold any thought at all, chants are very useful in concentration meditation.

There are a number of techniques that Buddhists use to help them meditate, and they are guided by the purpose of the technique.

Although Buddhist priests wear traditional clothing there is no specific Buddhist meditation clothing that you need to wear. Just wear something comfortable and loose.

What are the different techniques of Buddhist meditation?

Basically, there is only one kind of meditation, but there are a number of techniques that can be followed as set out below:

  • The relaxation of thought
  • Analysis of the frames of reference
  • Analysis of mental faculties
  • The smile of the cloth
  • The arrow
  • The ship

Each of these are only different techniques and should not be confused with actual meditation as such.

The objective of meditation in Buddhism is very unique in that they do not place much importance on anything. You attain enlightenment through awareness and not though any special thought or idea that you get when you meditate. As they put it, “If you have any great thoughts or powerful emotions, fine, write them down. Then, get back to breathing. The breathing is enlightenment.”

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