Meditation has been around for many years and is practiced by many people and many religions, with Buddhism being the major religion for meditation. Buddhist meditation is an essential part of their lives as a goal towards the realization of Nibbana. Nibbana is considered as the ultimate goal in Buddhism. It’s not a physical thing that one can see or feel. To reach the realization of Nibbana, one has reached the end of craving and suffering. Nibbana is considered the ultimate bliss and total liberation for all suffering-a total rebirth of the mind and soul.
Living the good life and being the best person they can be in not enough. Although being a good person and doing good things will make the person happy and fulfilled, it will not bring the total enlightenment they need. It is only through Buddhist meditation that they can reach the realization of Nibbana, which is the goal of every Buddhist. The Buddhist learns in explicit details the techniques of Buddhist meditation through the Buddhist scriptures. Although it’s important to understand the concept of meditation, it’s more vital that the individual learn the actual practice. Two different methods of Buddhist meditation are used in the religion. These two methods are ‘samatha’ and ‘vipassana’.
Samatha means calm or tranquility, which is what the individual is striving to achieve. The beginning stages of samatha have to do with concentration of the mind as one-pointedness. Many different subjects that can be used such as water, light from a candle among many others. A very popular and widely used technique is anapanasati, which is mindfulness of breathing. The body and mind both gain their calmness from concentrating on the breath. Samatha is more than just concentration; however, they need to get rid of the five vices of anxiety, sensual wish, ill will, sloth and doubt. When this goal is reached through this form of Buddhist meditation, great happiness is gained but they still cannot reach Nibbana. This is where vipassana is necessary.
Vipassana is an entirely different approach of Buddhist meditation than samatha. This method rather than concentrating on other things is based on seeing things as they are without any aversions or attractions. Each thing that we do we need to acknowledge. If you are dusting the wall, you need to take note in your mind that you are dusting the wall. This first stage of vipassana is called bare awareness. Bare awareness goes with an insight of our inner lives. This method of Buddhist meditation is used with breathing meditation and can take one to the realization of Nibbana. Many use a combination of vipassana and samatha.