Buddhism is a unlike (most) other religions not believing in a god almighty, but more in becoming awakened and enlightened. Members want to reach this, following the way, the original Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) achieved it around 500 to 600 years before Christ. It is recommended for Buddhists, not to look for radical ways and solutions, but choose a middle way.

The day of Buddhists is focusing on Knowledge (cause and effect, for developing wisdom and compassion), Meditation (settling your mind and creating distance, for strengthening wisdom and compassion) and Behavior (avoiding harmful and destructive behavior, for getting a clear view and the highest state of wisdom, compassion and joy)

This Religion is based on four noble truths:

Truth 1: We are all suffering

Physical and mental pain, like a broken leg or a broken heart, are possible.

Secondly, are we also suffering in other situations, as we know that the state of luck will not last forever and is neither fully satisfying. We never know, what will happen next. On the one hand could we get used to the state of being lucky and stop being lucky. Either we want to reach more again or the state corrupts, it worsens. Even if we are happy sometimes, might anything more of what makes us happy, makes us feel worth, like eating too much ice cream.

The third type and base of suffering should be the uncontrollable and repeating reincarnation mixed with karmic behavior. This behavior is caused by impure behavior and attitudes, based on experiencing suffering. A cycle is developing, in which we stay, naturally.

Buddhism teaches: Life is shaped through Birth, Aging, Sickness and Death through suffering and sorrow.

Truth 2: The Origin of Suffering

This truth is about the true base of suffering, which is not karma and the resulting cycle itself.

Suffering is based on not knowing and ignorance. This is triggering the poisoned mind (Greet, Hate and Blindness [of bad situations, etc.]) and motivating to compulsive karmic behavior.

The Ignorance and not knowing means not knowing the cause and reaction of behavior and the ignorance of reality.

Truth 3: The opportunity to avoid suffering in the future

It is said that the three types of suffering can be avoided in future. There is an opportunity to break free of karma by becoming enlightened. Therefore, Greed, Anger and Delusion need to be avoided. Luck will arise.

Truth 4: The right Path to End Suffering

The fourth truth is the path of understanding, which leads to avoiding suffering. This includes the correct understanding of cause and effect, as well as of the reality.

For reaching the understanding, you need to go deep and understand, possibly jump over some hurdles to understand in your mind, how everything is related to each other. For reaching this, Buddhists developed several practices, as described further below.

The three poisons of your mind can be avoided through doing the practices of the noble eightfold path: correct Awareness, correct Intention, correct Speech, correct Action, correct Living, correct Exercise, correct Mindfulness, and correct Meditation.

Only with a broad understanding of relating situations and states, as well as a not poisoned mind, can you be enlightened and free of suffering.

Breaking the poisons of mind

Buddhists believe that all beings that are not enlightened are living in and reincarnating into an endless cycle of living in suffering and sorrow. Therefore, Practices have been developed to work on attitudes and behavior for reaching the right path.

These exercises include ethical behavior, cultivating virtues (with the five precept / Silas as basic rules for exercises), the practices of immersion, the development of compassion, and the all-embracing wisdom. The realization happens though different types of Meditation, as described below. These practices shall lead to enlightened lives and the state of nirvana (painlessness and luck).

Ethical behavior in Buddhism

Ethics in Buddhism are not defined as holy law or law in any kind, but free for interpretation of the Buddhist.

There are three areas of Ethics in Buddhism: Avoiding harmful and destructive behavior, Discipline and supporting others.

For avoiding harmful and destructive behavior, do you have to let go of Anger, Delusion and Greed. You need to live fully conscious – understanding cause and effect, as well as relations – to find the best way, not to harm or destruct you and other creatures. Therefore you have to go the middle way.

The section of discipline is about taking control of your life, as well as to avoid the inaction and other confusing states of mind, which stop us from reaching things in our lives. It is about being constructive and disciplined in education. Only an educated mind can can accomplish positive things in their life.

The third section is about supporting others. We are living with others in one society. Our luck is also depending on the luck of the whole society. Therefore, it is important to share all our good talents, capacities and skills for the success of the greater good. This is not only related to the now, but furthermore also for the future.

Destructive and harmful behavior will come back through karma. If you cause damages, e.g. also in nature now, will your reincarnation have to live with the changed environment, so does the whole current and future society.

The five (and more) Precepts (Buddhism, not Taoism)

The five precepts (Silas) are the rules for behavior. The compliance of these rules is initially based on trust. They are the result of understanding cause and effect (karma) and supports the freedom of the mind, which is needed for concentration as well as for a good understanding. The Silas support, reaching harmony in the environment.

In translation are there the following five precepts:

I undertake the training rule to…
… abstain from killing.
… abstain from what is not given (from steeling).
… avoid sexual misconduct.
… abstain from false speech.
… abstain from fermented drink that causes heedlessness (such as alcohol or other drugs)

In special events and holidays might Buddhists add four more rules:

I undertake the training rule to…
… abstain from eating at forbidden time (after lunch in the noon).
… abstain from dancing, singing, music and visiting any entertaining events.
… abstain from wearing jewelry, using cosmetics or fragrances.
… abstain from laying on high or opulent beds.

On some events are Buddhists even abstaining from all sexual behavior, which enlarges the third rule from above.

Some groups of Buddhists even abstain from accepting gold or any other instrument of payment.

Practicing Immersion

The Immersion is reached by Dhyana. Dhyana is a type of meditation and means in translation “state of ruminant immersion”. More details will follow below.

Development of Compassion

With the development of Compassion is Buddhism talking about developing it for all creatures. Compassion is a mind that is motivated by cherishing other living beings and wishes to release them from their suffering. Buddhists understand the compassion as the basic essence of spiritual life. It is the origin of the three jewels (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha).

The Triple Gem (three jewels)

The Buddha refers both to the historical Buddha and to the ideal of Buddhahood itself. This jewel stands for understanding the Buddha as your ultimate teacher and spiritual example, as well as for achieving the Enlightenment for the sake of all beings (Buddhahood).

Dharma means translated as most used translation as much as the “unmediated truth”. This Jewel is talking about the teachings of Buddha, as the realizations, he initially brought into words and communicated.

Sangha includes the teachings and experiences of others, who already practiced. It is about sharing this experience and the enlightenment. This Jewel is the spiritual community.

These three jewels – the Buddha, his original teachings brought to word and the spiritual community (also called Triple Gem)- are the most important components of Buddhism. Buddhists take refuge in them.

Prostration (Buddhism)

A gesture to show the show the reverence to the three jewels is called Prostration.

Therefore, you you put your thumbs on the palms of your hands and put the hands with its palms together. You set it on your head first, then on your mouth, then on your breast / heart. Afterwards, you either go on your knees and touch with your forehead the ground (partial prostration), or you lay your whole body on the ground (your hands do not build fists) and you stretch your hands over your head. Though, your fingers show in the air. One thumb is laying on the other one.

All-embracing wisdom

The all-embracing wisdom describes a wisdom that is covering all things and phenomenons on earth, as well as also in universe. In Buddhism should this state be reached by having body and mind in a state of balance, as well as to master the separation of subject and object within Samadhi.

Samadhi is an altered state of consciousness, different from being awake or sleeping. It is a state of high concentration, which can be achieved through meditation practices (see below). In this state of mind shall the thoughts be completely free.

Further important Basics

Kammaṭṭhāna

Kammaṭṭhāna means Place of Work. In Buddhist Meditation it is related to forty objects of meditation, which Meditation Masters advice to the Meditating person.

These objects are the elements (Earth, Wind / Air, Fire and Water), colors (blue/green, yellow, red, white), enclosedspace, or bright light, ten objects of repulsion, the Triple Gem, three virtues (morality, liberality, Attributes of Devas) and 24 others. If you are interested, feel free to ask in a center of Buddhism for Details.

The Four Immeasurable Qualities (Description)

As partly already mentioned above, Buddhism teaches that for achieving Happiness of one, the Happiness of the Environment is required, because everyone and everything in life are interdependent.

For achieving this, Buddhism defined four Immeasurable. Buddhists are also meditating on them. Click here to learn, how to Meditate for improving the 4 Immeasurable Qualities as your attitude.

Loving Kindness

Loving Kindness describes the love a mother has for its newborn child. It is unconditional and infinite. This love should not only be applied to the people close to you, but to everyone, everyone in your society. If everyone would feel and act like this, well, the world would be different.

Buddhists are meditating to increase this area and fight the anger.

Compassion

Compassion is the wish of every being that has feelings, to be free of suffering. Everyone is feeling and living it naturally. When you see a good friend laughing, you feel good as well. If you see him crying, you start feeling sad for him.

Buddhists want to bring this compassion further, not only for those people or animals you like, but to every creature in this world. If everyone lives with this compassion, what would the world look like?

Also for increasing the level of Compassion – and encountering Cruelty – are Buddhists Meditating.

Appreciative Joy

The Appreciative Joy is about Appreciating the Joy that the Compassion brings with it. This is about being happy for the success of others, not only of your inner circle or friends, but for every feeling being.

The joy and happiness of anyone makes those who appreciate the joy happy as well.

Buddhists are also Meditating for this section, which eliminates jealousy and makes people less self-centered.

Equanimity

Equanimity, or also Equability describes the attitude to understand all beings as equal, no matter what their status or relationship to you is. It can be compared to the feeling a mother has, when her grown-up daughter settles down with the family. She still love her limitless, and feels compassion as well as Appreciative Joy for her, but She also sees her daughter more equal now.

Especially a society which appears to be overall the strongest should lead by example and respect every feeling being, life and nature.

Even for increasing the Equability are Buddhists Meditating. This shall counter leeching and aversion.

Practices available in Buddhism

Please note: You should immediately stop any of the exercises descried or linked below or anywhere else on Coachiendo, if you feel any kind of pain or other state of potential damage. In these cases, please contact a physician as soon as possible.

In this section you find a short description of General Buddhist Meditation types. Those you can easily do on yourself, also have a detailed page linked. For further details, also feel free to contact a Buddhist center or association.

Basics: How to Sit on the floor during Meditation

During Meditation practices are Buddhists often sitting, either on the ground or on a pillow for meditation. Also staying, walking or laying are possible.

There are generally five different types of sitting defined. Do not do too much too fast. If you feel pain in one position please stop directly. If you have doubts about this, please directly contact a physician. Take care of your health and take step by step with patience.

You can find a detailed manual for the positions here.

Tailor Seat (Sukhasana)

This position requires to cross the legs. The feet are laying on the thighs of the other leg.

Please click here for a detailed description.

Casual Sitting (Muktasana)

The Casual Sitting position is often a position for beginners. Also sitting might cause an injury. This is why it is preferable, if you take a step back, instead of wanting too much.

In this positions are the points hips – Thigh, as well as thigh – lower leg bent as well but the legs are not crossing.

You can find more details here.

Half Lotus Position (Ardha Padmasana)

Half Lotus position is a continuation of the Casual Sitting Position. The update is that the right foot is laying – with the sole looking to the top – on the thigh of the left leg. The left foot is still laying freely.

For more details, please click here.

Lotus Position (Padmasana)

The Lotus Position is the completion of this sitting position. Do not worry, if you cannot yet do it, or if challenges with knees and / or hips do not allow to do join this positions. The other positions work as well.

In the completion is now also the left foot moving on the thigh (of the right leg), with the sole looking to the top. ndo.com/meditation-positions-buddhist-meditation/#Sitting_on_the_Heels_Vajrasana”>Explore details, click here.

Basics: Alternative positions for Meditating

Laying

You can also meditate laying. This position is especially recommended when you want to relax.If you tend to fall asleep, laying, please choose a different position.

Find out more, click here.

Standing

Also short time meditations standing are possible. This position is of risk for people who cannot stand (long) or have a low blood pressure.

Click here for details.

Walking

Yes, you can even meditate, walking short distances back and forth.

Click here for more information.

Theravada Buddhist meditation practices

Theravada means “the doctrine of the elders”. It is a type of Buddhism that is speaking Pali. It is the most common Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar (Burma).

Theravada Buddhists are practicing the following Meditations:

Anapanasati (Preliminary)

Anapanasati is about reaching Mindfulness by breathing. This meditation is about feeling the sensations caused by the movements of the breath in the body, like the sensations in your belly, but also your breast, including your chest.

This practice was already taught by the first Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, and written down several books (Suttas), such as also the Anapanasati Sutta.

The primary purpose of this meditation is to quietening the mind. It is a first step (or preliminary meditation, before Buddhists, before proceeding with physical (body) and mental (mind) aspects.

Practitioners are e.g. sitting in a park, under a tree, in one of the positions described above and focus either on the breath itself, or on the motions of the body while breathing.

Click here to learn, how to meditate Anapanasati.

Buddhanussati (Preliminary)

Buddhanussati is a practice of preliminary Meditation that works with memory.

The qualities of Buddha – which are the reason for the enlightenment – are being memorized. This enables you to permanently imagine, how things should be one, as taught by Buddha. It will make you more and more realize his ways as your ways, until you will follow them as well. This may bring you to the state of enlightenment.

This Preliminary Meditation is not focusing on clearing your mind from thoughts (compare Kasina (visual), or Anapanasati (feeling)), But from reprogramming your behavior by continuously repeating the behavior and teachings of the Buddha, from the initial Buddha, over all following Buddhas. Considering the teachings described above, might this lead to more peaceful and supportive societies and as a result a less suffering life – considering everyone would act as described by Buddha.

Please contact an Buddhist association or Buddhist center for more information.

Dhammakaya

Vijja Dhammakaya means as much as “Higher Knowledge of the boddy of Dhamma”. “Dhamma” is the “cosmic law and order”. The Dhammakaya Meditation is focusing on the center of the body. It may lead to higher levels of concentration, with the target to get a more comprehensive understanding of things.

This meditation contains elements of two other types of Meditation: Samatha (focusing on Concentration / right concentration) and Vipassana (focusing on perception / right wisdom). It is combining important parts of these, as well as of the preliminary meditations Kasina, Buddhanussati and Anapanasati.This is an important mix of Concentration and Wisdom.

Combined, the Dhammakaya meditation is a very powerful type of meditation, which increasingly strengthens your level of Concentration and increases your Wisdom. It is following the eightfold path (see also above). The Wisdom gained shall be of the noble fourth truth.

Follow up here, to learn, how to experience Dhammakaya Meditation.

Kasina (Preliminary)

Kasina Meditation works with Visualization. Visualized are being objects. You prepare or find an object that you study and analyze for a while.

The object you decide to study should be something where you feel good with, something you feel connected to.

By focusing on this object shall you be able to clear your mind of not needed thoughts. When you are more the visual type of person, is this the best way to enter into further Meditation of Body and Mind.

Click here to learn more about Kasina.

Mahasati

Mahasati Meditation has the target to generate a Self-Awareness, using the body. This is different to most other Meditations: It includes movement of the body. It is even focusing on the Movements.

Being aware of each movement shall not only increase the Self-Awareness, but also the Attention and Insights about it. You may apply this Meditation even to enhance your personal posture and to understand the moving of others.

Click here to learn more about generating Self-Awareness with Mahasati, the moving Meditation.

Samatha

Samatha means “calm”. This Meditation aims in training your inner strength , as well as freeing you from stress. It shall support your wisdom and clarity.

Practicing this Meditation regularly, will make your mind more calm. You will develop clarity. This means that you will have less confusing thoughts, which allows you to understand your environment more clearly. You may feel happier and more free and as a result, also become kinder to the people and other species surrounding you.

In the teachings of Buddha, Samatha and Vipassana are the messengers, who deliver the message of Nibbana (which means Nirvana).

There are different around 40 versions of Samatha Meditation existing. The easiest to learn shall be “Mindfulness of breathing”, which is a Meditation practice, focusing on your breath.

Read more about this simple Meditation for Clarity of Your Mind.

Satipatthana

Satipatthana is targeting the increase of Mindfulness. Mindfulness can be experienced in your body, in feelings and sensations, the mind and consciousness, but even the Dhamma (Cosmic Law and Order).

“Sati” can be translated as “remember the Dhammas”. This is related to being able to understand the true nature of natural phenomenons. The second part “Patthana” means as much as “close”, “firm”, or “setting up”. Combined can it be interpreted as “close awareness of the object of observation”, or “steadfast mindfulness.

This Meditation opens the door for being more aware and paying closer attention to each moment of your life, away from side thoughts or technology.

Click here to learn, how to cultivate Your Mind with Satipatthana.

The Four Immeasurable Qualities (Meditation)

The Four Immeasurable Qualities are four attitudes one should have and follow to end suffering and thus increase happiness. The attitudes are called Loving-Kindness, Compassion, Appreciative Joy and Equability. They should be the attitude against every feeling being. Click here to learn more about the four Immeasurable.

This Meditation targets in increasing the Level of the attitude within each meditating person and as result, create happiness inside them, inside you and improve your environment.

You want to be happier and make the world a better place? Learn here, how to Meditate for this.

Vipassana

Vipassana uses mindfulness of breathing, thoughts, sensations and actions, to get insights in the true nature of reality. The meditation focuses on giving insights and therefore, increasing wisdom.

The word “Vipassana” consists of twi words. “Vi” has different meanings, the most fitting is “through”. “Passana” means “seeing”. Combined, Vipassana means seeing through, understanding the reality.

This Meditation was developed, as Buddha discovered that understanding the true nature of things – considering a mind and understanding of peacefulness and cooperation – can erase suffering. The challenge are many confused minds that confuse other minds again. This is why the five to nine or even ten Precepts are so incredibly important as well. In the teachings of Buddha, Samatha and Vipassana are the messengers, who deliver the message of Nibbana (which means Nirvana).

Explore, how to practice Vipassana. You may do it the whole day.

Vajrayana Buddhism meditation practices

Vajrayana Buddhism is more working with symbols, esoteric knowledge and tantric practices. You can find this type of Buddhism mostly in Tibet and Japan.

Varjayana Buddhists practice the following Meditations:

Chöd

Chöd Meditation in general has the target to help you to overcome the cause (or root) of every destructive emotions. It shall support you to release all kind of suffering, starting with illness, being karmic obstacles or hold-backs, as well as spiritual growth. It is kind of Healing Code.

The translation of the Tibetan word “Chöd” is “to cut through”, or also “to go beyond” and is related to obstacles, negativity, and self delusion, as already described above. It cultivates fearlessness, certainty, and unrelenting compassion.

There are different versions practices. Some are also considering the Four Immeasurable Qualities. All include small drums that sound by turning the hand, Tibetan verses and a bell. Others also include a horn.

As you see, this Meditation type is a bit more challenging, feel free to contact a Tibetan Buddhist Center. Alternatively with the focus on Self-Healing, you can also try Self-Healing with QiGong.

Dzogchen

Dzogchen means “Great Perfection”. It is a Tibetan Meditation and targets in recognizing our true nature. It understands the primordial nature already as perfect itself, before suffering grew. This meditation targets in realizing the Buddha Essence (Tathāgatagarbha), which is naturaly available in every feeling being and in nature itself. This is a way to find back to it.

This Meditation includes repeating the Namo Buddhaya, a Mantra as Homage to Buddha. It is like Meditating for a world without suffering, a world in peace. This Mantra will be repeated singing. Other included objects are often a hand drum and a gong.

For more information about Great Perfection as of Buddhism (Dzogchen) and hoow to achieve it click here.

Mahamudra

Mahamudra means “Great Symbol”.

Ngondro

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Phowa

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The Four Immeasurables, Metta

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Tantra techniques

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Tonglen

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Zen Buddhist meditation practices:

Zen Buddhism is following a down to earth approach. It is considering the questions of the here and now. Everything that goes beyond what we can experience, cannot be answered through our limited conditions. This type of Buddhism, you can find in China, Vietnam, Korea and Japan.

Zen Buddhists experience the following Meditations:

Hua Tou

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Koan

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Shikantaza

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Suizen

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Zazen

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Other practices in Buddhism

Chanting and Mantra

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Mindfulness

Mindfulness – awareness in the present moment Mindfulness (psychology) – Western applications of Buddhist ideas

Satipatthana

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