Buddhism has developed a range of meaningful rituals and practices, which enable the journey to awareness and enlightenment. When some practices are unique, others occur in various forms of the belief system. Meditation, however, belongs to the key Buddhist practice that has laid the foundation of most central traditions.
Buddhist meditation implies a form of mental concentration that focuses primarily on the daily phenomena of consciousness. This central Buddhist practice as distinguished from yoga meditation does not incorporate body contortions and hypnosis, nor does it unveil esoteric knowledge. Buddhist meditation deals exclusively with enlightenment and spiritual freedom. The practice and its techniques vary, depending on specific Buddhist traditions.
Buddhist meditation falls into two main types: vipassana and samatha (Sujiva 8). They are frequently combined or practiced one after the other. While the primary goal of samatha (tranquility) is to still the mind and cause concentration, vipassana, or insight, focuses on mindfulness. In contrast to concentration, this notion requires careful observation and comprehension of the object’s content. With the realization of the true nature, the mind transcends conceptual and conditioned realities, eventually, reaching absolute reality (Sujiva 10). Therefore, vipassana meditation is superior to samatha meditation, as it enables the understanding of the daily activities, or surrounding objects.
There exist three most common techniques to gain insight: mindful sitting, or walking and mindfulness of daily activities. During walking meditation one should focus on the myriad steps, realizing the fundamental truth of impermanence. By comparison, sitting mindfulness implies concentrating on the breath. Finally, after acquiring necessary skills, one can apply the practice of mindfulness to daily activities. Some experienced practitioners of Buddhism can meditate for three-four days. However, the most interesting case refers to the story of “Buddha Boy”, who meditated for ten months, not consuming food or water (Martino).
In overall, Buddhist meditation is a central practice, common in various forms of Buddhism. It differs from yoga meditation and focuses primarily on enlightenment. Buddhist meditation incorporates two main types: vipassana (insight) and samatha (tranquility). Vipassana is prior to samatha, enabling comprehension and mindfulness of daily activities.
Sujiva, Venerable. Essentials of Insight Meditation Practice: A Pragmatic Approach to Vipassana. Selangor: Buddhist Wisdom Centre, 2000. Print.
Martino, Joe. "Buddha Boy” Goes 10 Months Without Food Or Water." Collective Evolution. 7 Aug. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.