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meditation

Mantra meditation

Mantra meditation 

A mantra meditation is the repetition or repeated use of a phrase, sentence or saying. In this example we will use the divine Om Mana Padma Um mantra, a Buddhist chant still very much in use today, especially with Tibetans Buddhists. The Dharma Haven Society have a great article on the mantras history and usage.

This is the correct pronunciation of the mantra, although the repatriation is more important than pronunciation,

OM (ohm) MA (mah) NI (nee) PAD (pahd) ME (may) HUM (hum).

It is said the entire buddha’s teachings are within this mantra.

Now sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine, gently relax your shoulders and your neck muscles and softly close your eyes. Take a few long deep breaths and feel yourself relaxing.

On the inward breath repeat in your mind Om Mana on the out breath repeat Padma Hum, On the inward breath repeat in your mind Om Mana on the out breath repeat Padma Hum On the inward breath repeat in your mind Om Mana on the out breath repeat Padma Hum.

Try to carry out this exercise for 5 minutes minimum, the benefits are worth every second invested.

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meditation mindfulness

How to Practice Vipasana Meditation 

Vipasana Meditation

Vipasana meditation or more accurately translated from the ancient language of Pali as ‘insight’ or ‘ clearly seeing’ meditation has been in use for over 2500 years, rediscovered by Gotama Buddha somewhere around the year 586BC he would go on to teach Vipasana and Samatha as two powerful meditation techniques used in conjunction with each other as the path to enlightenment.

Samatha meditation produces a calming effect which will compose and steady the mind allowing for great periods of concentration.

Vipasana meditation, with a calming and concentrated mind, allows us to see and understand the deep interconnection between mind and body, material and mental phenomenon, experiencing first hand how we produce our own suffering, and allowing for spiritual and personal growth towards enlightenment. 

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Vipasana became popularised for the ordinary men and women in Burma by the late 1800’s due to the influential buddhist monk Ledi Sayadaw he would make the teachings of the Satipatthana Sutra easily available to all with simple to understand translations. The Ledi Sayadaw went on to teach many students who would become meditation masters in their own rights monks such as U Narada (1868-1955) Mahasi Sayadaw (1904-1982) Ajahn Mun (1870-1949) Ajahn Chah (1918-1992) Nyanaponika Thera (1901-1994) and S.N. Goenka (1924-2013) 

The work and teachings of the Mahasi Sayadaw saw mass popularity in the 1950’s from the west and further teachings from S.N. Goenka have firmly seated Vipasana meditation into western minds.

How do you practice Vipasana meditation?

As has already been said Vipasana works best with a calmed and concentrated mind and a firm foundation of Breathing Meditation should be established before moving on.

However like everything in today’s world we want things fast and instant, and this meditation can be done without any previous meditation foundation, it will be just a little tougher. 

My meditation training and background come from the Thai Forest linage passed on from Ajahn Mun down to Ajahn Chah and his predecessors. It is from this linage I have learnt and it is stressed that Samatha meditation is foremost to establishing concentration to reveal Vipasana’s true insights.

Vipasana meditation as described in the Satipatthana Sutra.

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The meditator should practice noting the object that arises in the mind the practitioner is reminded to be sharp with the noting as if hitting a ruler across your hand. Three times repeat to yourself sharply that which has taken the minds fancy.

Breathing in, note, Breathing in, Breathing in, Breathing in.

As you breath out the same sharp energy is repeated three times. Breathing out, Breathing out, Breathing out.

If and when the mind wanders the practitioner should note the distraction, if a sound, note, Hearing, Hearing, Hearing! then bring the focus back to the breath,

Breathing in, Breathing in, Breathing in.

If the mind wanders to body sensations the practitioner should note with sharp energy Feeling, Feeling, Feeling, then bring the attention back to the breath.

On every occasion of a distracting smell, note, Smell, Smell, Smell, then bring you attention back to the breath.

Whatever the minds turns toward note it with eagerness and sharp attention, if the mind starts to think, note, Thinking, Thinking, Thinking, then bring the attention back to the breath.

After time the meditator will see a distinct improvement in concentration with our minds wandering less, instead staying fixed onto the object with which it is directed.

At the same time the power of see only the two processes of the material and mental unfold which will give rise to the insight of impermanence (anatta) of suffering (dukkha) and the knowledge and understanding of non-self (anicca). The three marks of existence. 

Experiencing a Vipasana Meditation Retreat

During a Vipasana meditation retreat the practitioner is expected to practice 14-16 hours of this continuous noting of the minds experience. The effect of noting moment to moment events has an enlightening effect on our minds, not only do we see clearly that everything is impermanent consisting of a birth and death, The First Noble Truth, but the linear concept of time we are so familiar with starts to diminish leaving us to experience the true joy and happiness with being present.

Having spent many rains retreats in Vipasana meditation I know how hard this can seem and how challenging a prospect it can be to those who are about to attend a Vipasana course. As long as you put wholehearted effort into your practice and are always kind towards yourself you will progress and sometimes rapidly along the road to enlightenment.

Further notes

As with all meditation it always sounds way to easy and simple, if you have never tried meditation, it is one of the hardest but most rewarding things we can ever do. If you are having trouble with your meditation practice, don’t worry your not alone, please feel free to use my contact details listed for further help.

This simple technique of eagerly and sharply noting has the ability to reveal the entire makings of this known universe to you. I wish you luck.

If you have found this interesting, helpful or indeed fascinating then please share with you friends and family because after all

SHARING IN CARING

Many Kind Regards

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loving kindness meditation

Loving kindness Meditation

loving kindness

In an all too busy world it is easy to overlook loving kindness and it’s benefits. Life today seems to be harder than ever before, our society seems to offer everything we could possible desire yet it is a fact that there are more and more of us struggling with difficult and upsetting emotional states. Depression, anxiety and mental health are this century’s biggest challenges. The practice of loving kindness is just an inherited quality but loving kindness can be learnt and taught and that is what we are about to discover.Loving kindness, meditation, spirituality, spiritual, Metta, positivity, happiness, mindfulness, compassion

Loving kindness infographic

Loving kindness is compassion, happiness, and unconditional love, it isn’t anger or hatred, greed or despair, loving kindness as described by the sacred Buddhist text is the first of the four sublime states, the others are compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity. Wikipedia quotes loving kindness, or Metta, as “the cultivation of benevolence” and the Oxford English Dictionary states loving kindness as “tenderness and consideration towards others”.

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What is loving kindness in Buddhism?

Loving kindness or Metta Bhavana meditation has been used by the Buddhists for over 2500 years, developed to build the characteristics of compassion, equanimity, happiness, joy and wellbeing. The only way to know, is to practice. It is a practice not just for loving kindness to oneself but should be directed out towards every living being, to our greatest loves and to those we may be having difficulty with. Metta Bhavana practiced regularly helps to build our concentration rapidly in meditation practice, enabling us to progress much quicker along the path. The four sublime states that practicing Metta Bhavana ring are called the Brahmavihara and they are compassion, loving kindness, altruistic joy and equanimity.

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Lao Tzu quote

Loving kindness meditation benefits

The health benefits of the practice of loving kindness and Metta meditation, have been studied in great number from western scientists in the last 30 years and all can agree that stress levels reduce, depression can be eliminated, anger subsides, a sense of calming and wellbeing arise, blood pressure lowers, gives you a sense of satisfaction and of belonging and will Increases happiness and compassion. There are many other positive side effects with no negative reactions or problems. The mental health benefits are equally impressive, nut this is not some quick fix pill to take this still takes time and practice. So how do we practice

How do you practice Loving kindness?

There are a few methods and ways to practice loving kindness, the method I describe below I find works wonderfully for me. It is one of visualisation, I was a Buddhist monk in Northern Thailand and after many years of meditation practice and guidance I find this is the most suitable way for my western mind. This method however is just one of the three ways to practice which will achieve loving kindness in the heart. Reflecting and auditory are the other two methods used to create the feeling of loving kindness. Reflect on the positive qualities of yourself or a loved one will ensure loving kindness to flourish with in the heart. Using a mantra is the auditory approach and an example could simple be the words loving kindness.

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Love quote Herman Hesse

The First thing we need to do is find the love from within ourselves. Now I understand that may sound a little scary to some. Visualisation is a great way to achieve love inside, we all have something we love, something that will bring that feeling back when you start to think deeply enough about it. For me this is my adopted stray dog Marley and the crazy fun things he gets up to. If your still finding difficulty thinking of something that your really love this much, then try hitting this link 7 wonders of life, it will help you find something wonderful in your life to feel that loving kindness and to help with the practice. Now that we have our object of focus, it time to relax.

Find a comfortable place somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Now sitting in a comfortable position with a straight spine, gently relax your shoulder and neck muscles and slowly close your eyes. Take a few long deep breaths and feel yourself relaxing. Let’s start by calmly watch your breathing, don’t disturb your breathing, just let it be natural. Breathing in, be aware your breathing, breathing out, be aware your breathing out. Count one. This is a great link to learn how to practice Breath Meditation. Relax and do this for s count of ten.

Now bring your object of love to the forefront of your mind and begin to feel the love you have. really start to explore that feeling, the feeling of love. Don’t worry if you feel a little resistance at first, be kind to yourself and be patient. Try to find where the feeling is coming from, do you notice how the feeling grows the more you explore it. Again don’t panic if you feel resistance to this, it is all ok, it just means a little more patience and kindness towards yourself is needed. Now feel that love start to consume you, feel it’s warmth, is your smile hurting you cheeks yet. If you are having trouble visualising, please still use loving kindness with yourself, this is not going to be easy for some. Tell yourself it’s ok we can have another go later, always be patient and kind towards yourself and even that is practicing loving kindness.

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Meditating monk

Once we have the feeling of love flowing within ourselves, it’s time to send out our love to others. We now use a mantra with our loving kindness, to truly send out our positive vibration to the chosen person. First we start with ourselves. Repeat this ten times to yourself, or out loud that’s entirely up to you.

May I be happy 

May I be free from metal suffering and distress

May I be free of physical pain and suffering

May I be peaceful and at ease

Now we are going to give that love from our heart, that loving kindness to someone dear to us, this could be a spouse, child or a loved friend. Again repeat ten times.

May (insert name) be happy

May (insert name) be free from suffering and distress 

May (insert name) be free of physical pain and suffering 

May (insert name) be peaceful and at ease 

If you find your mind wanders or you notice your loving kindness looses it ferocity, at this point always be kind and patient with yourself, slowly return to the original object of focus, take a few deep breaths and start again. once you have established the feeling again in your heart, continue with the mantra.