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The Practice of Bhaavanaa (Meditation) for the Beginner

Currently many people talk about different methods of Bhaavanaa (meditation) and follow various methods. Among these methods, Buddhist bhaavanaa takes a special place. 2540 years ago the Buddha, the noblest of all beings, emphasized the importance of bhaavanaa in his teachings. Many people found deliverance from “suffering” by following it. Hence, all Buddhist methods of bhaavanaa are known for positive results. Even though these methods were formulated two and half thousand years ago, they are appropriate for today’s world because the nature of the human mind, then, does not differ much from now. Scientific knowledge and the environment around us may change daily. However, there is hardly any change in the nature of the human mind. Craving, hatred, and delusion have remained components of the human mind since time immemorial.

In this publication, there are a few methods of easy to follow Buddhistbhaavanaa, through which positive results can be achieved. If one follows them methodically, one may find relief irrespective of geographical, cultural and social boundaries. It has to be remembered that relief from suffering is some thing that can be realized only by practicing rather than reading.

The Bhaavanaa of reflection on death should not be understood as something unpleasant in life that is not worthy of thought. The awareness of inevitable death is more realistic than considering it an ugly theme. As it helps one to understand the value of humanity through the control of mind and character, one should not be afraid of understanding the reality of life.

Identifying self

When one identifies one’s own “self” one is able to find a suitable method of Bhaavanaa and achieve positive results. Like a pathologist who studies the root of a disease, the Buddhist teaching shows the ideal method of Bhaavanaa for the individual. Talking to an experienced master, one is able not only to recognize the type of self by gaining in-depth knowledge through the Dhamma but also to define the type of self for selecting the method of bhaavanaa.

There are six different types of mind explained in the Dhamma. They are:

Mind dispoised to lust - Rager charita
Mind disposed to hatred - Dosa charita
Mind disposed to delusion - Moha charita
Mind disposed to faith - Suddha charita
Mind disposed to intellect - Buddhi charita
Mind disposed to agitation - Vitakka charita

According to Buddha’s Teachings every human being carries certain traits from each of above types except those who have achieved arahantship (sainthood). However, the traits of any one type may become dominant in an individual. Therefore, one has to select the method of bhaavanaa according to the dominat type of traits.

In a positive environment with instruction from the right teacher, one is able to commence on the path of bhaavanaa and experience the serenity and calmness both mentally and physically.

This enables one to function to the optimum, maintain posture and associate with others within any environment while experiencing the true nature of life. Many people are burdened with the question “why should I do bhaavanaa”? The following advantages of  bhaavanaa may provide the answer to this particular question.

  1. If one is a busy person, one is able to find physical and mental relaxation.
  2. If one is bereaved with sadness, one is able to find physical and mental relaxation and relief.
  3. If one’s life is confused and problems are piling up, one is able to find physical and mental relaxation, relief, energy and courage.
  4. If one lacks confidence, bhaavanaa enables one to develop self-confidence and lead a successful life.
  5. If  one lives under constant fear and doubt, bhaavanaa enables one to get rid of  fear and doubt.
  6. If one is unable to satisfy oneself with what one has, bhaavanaa teaches one to achieve satisfaction with what one has and value what one has.
  7. If one has shattered dreams, bhaavanaa enables one to realize the impermanent nature of things and how to achieve success through courage and determination.
  8. I one has wealthy, bhaavanaa helps one to realize the true nature of wealth and use it for the benefit of oneself and others.
  9. If one is poor, bhaavanaa helps one to feel happy with what one has and to embark on the right path of life to achieve success.
  10. If one is young, bhaavanaa helps one to learn how to control one’s mind and not carried away by sense desires.
  11. If one is elder, one is able to spend the golden years with happiness through  bhaavanaa.
  12. If one cannot control anger, bhaavanaa teaches one to gain control of it and to get rid of jealousy while transforming one to be a person with patience, calmness and contentment.
  13. If one think that one is controlled by the mind, bhaavanaa will help one to gain control of the mind.
  14. If one is addicted to wrongful sex, alcohol and drugs, bhaavanaa will help one to recover from addictions and abuse.
  15. If one has mental or cardiovascular illness or nightmares, bhaavanaa helps one to get rid of those problems.
  16. If one is intelligent, bhaavanaa  helps one to acquire wisdom and begins to realize by experience that the world  is quite different to what one sees superficially.

It is important to have favorable environment for bhaavanaa both internally and externally to achieve progress. As the initial step of bhaavanaa, one has to prepare ones mind by establishing certain virtues. It gives self confidence to the participant who feels strength and energy through the purity of mind, body and word. The preservation of the purity of mind, body and word is achieved by keeping eight virtues that are known as “agievaashtaka sila”. It means the virtues of a noble life.

  1. Refrain from killing.
  2. Refrain from taking that which is not given.
  3. Refrain from wrongful sex.
  4. Refrain from telling lies.
  5. Refrain from useless chat such as gossip.
  6. Refrain from harsh words.
  7. Refrain from getting into meaningless conversation.
  8. Refrain from wrongful way of life.
When one observes the above virtue, one’s mind achieves a high degree of purity and begins to feel the joy. That is the most favourable state to commencebhaavanaa.