Meditation: A Brief Introduction
Meditation is a practice that transcends religion and culture as well as epistemological and ontological stance. In short, the practice goes beyond any label that you wish to ascribe to yourself and others. People who do not practice meditation have varying preconceived ideas as to what meditation actually is. Some people believe that proficiency in meditation can only be achieved by going to live in a forest in Thailand, or a cave in the Himalayas. Other people believe that meditation can only be practiced whilst sitting in the lotus position on the floor. In this section, we shall do our best to dispel popular myths about meditation and convey, in simple and uncomplicated terms, the multifaceted meditative processes.
Meditation has been described as:
- The process of becoming aware of and of training the mind.
- Personal and transpersonal development through introspection.
- The discovery and experience of non-self, impermanence, the empty nature of phenomena.
- The capacity to sit in stillness and enjoy being alive.
- The profound yet simple practice of letting go.
Variation in the way meditation is described is indicative of the individuality of the meditative journey. However, whilst meditation is an individual process, one underlying principle is that meditation is extremely hard work. As with all endeavours, we have to practice diligently if we want to experience positive results. Indeed, should you decide to take up this practice, it will probably be the hardest journey you have ever undertaken. We look forward to making that journey with you and hope that this blog can be a source of inspiration and support.
Yours in Dharma
Ven. Edo Shonin and Ven. William Van Gordon
Bodhi, B. (1994). The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society.
Buddha. (500 BCE/1986). Dhammapada: A Practical Guide to Living. (Buddharakkhita, Trans.) Bangalore: Maha Bodhi Society.
Dalai Lama. (2001). Stages of Meditation: Training the Mind for Wisdom. London: Rider.
Huang Po. (1982). The Zen Teaching of Huang Po: On the Transmission of the Mind. (Blofeld, J., Trans.) New York: Grove Press.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full Catastrophe Living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain and illness. New York: Delacourt.
Santideva. (1997). A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life. (V. A. Wallace, & A. B. Wallace, Trans.) New York: Snow Lion Publications.
Shonin, E., Van Gordon, W., & Griffiths, M. D. (2012). The health benefits of mindfulness-based interventions for children and adolescents. Education and Health, 30, 94-97.
Shonin, E., Van Gordon W., & Griffiths M. D. (2013). Meditation for the treatment of addictive behaviours: Sending out an SOS. Addiction Today, March, 18-19.
Sogyal Rinpoche. (1998). The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. London: Rider.