Meditation

When one thinks of meditation, the practice of watching the breath often comes to mind. Although this is an important practice, there are actually many different types of Buddhist meditation.

Concentration Meditation

One of the most popular forms of Buddhist meditation, concentration practices help us become more focused. This is most often done by turning the attention toward the breath, letting thoughts and other sensations go. We can also practice concentration with sounds, other physical sensations, smells, etc. Deep concentration leads to the absorptions, or jhanas. It also helps us remain attentive during other meditative practices and in our daily lives.

Mindfulness Meditation

Another popular type of meditation is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is a broad term. In Buddhism, mindfulness does not simply mean being present. Mindfulness carries with it a quality of reflection or remembering. In mindfulness meditation, the awareness is open. We see what arises, investigate it, and notice its passing. There are many different ways to practice mindfulness.

Heart Practices

The Buddhist heart practices are ways to cultivate wholesome qualities of the heart. Traditionally, the heart practices include metta (loving-kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (appreciative joy), and upekkha (equanimity). These practices help us in our relationships with others as well as our responses to mental states.

Walking

Walking meditation is often slighted by meditators. When we think of meditation, we probably think of sitting in the lotus position with closed eyes. However, walking meditation is an important practice that the Buddha frequently recommended. It can help energize the body, can be done anywhere, and offers a way for us to bring our practice out into the world into our lives.

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