There are many different types of meditation around. Many spiritual paths and many styles of meditation. All sincere meditation groups will have a common factor, silencing the mind and accessing something deeper within. One style is Buddhist meditation.
Lord Buddha was born around 2500 years ago in India. Known as Siddhartha before his illumination, the young prince renounced his wealth and family in pursuit of enlightenment. He was extremely austere initially. Barely eating, meditating for hours, even days on end. One day a musician floated by on a boat. “Don’t tune the string to tightly,” he explained. “It will break. Don’t have it to loose, or it won’t play a note.” The message struck Prince Siddhartha deeply and he realised it was relevant to his own pursuit of happiness and truth. If he was to achieve realisation he would have to take the middle path. A path, not as austere as he first thought but intense in aspiration nevertheless. He achieved nirvana under a Boddhi Tree after resolving not to leave the spot until he did.
Says Sri Chinmoy in prose. “Siddhartha did. He flew from his household life into the state of homelessness. The Supreme did. He placed Lord Buddha in the adoring heart of humanity, in the lap of universal Love. Temptation Siddhartha saw and shunned; austerity He felt and lived; the Middle Path He realised and offered. The Omnipotent did two things through Siddhartha. He revealed the ideal of perfection in a human being. He revealed His Enlightenment and Compassion in a divine being. Lord Buddha cast aside caste. The fallen learned from Him the value of self-respect. The unbending learned from Him the necessity of humility.”
Styles of Buddhist Meditation
There are many styles of Buddhist meditation. Some groups will focus on death and reincarnation. Some on the breath and the existence of truth within ourselves. Others on the many sutras that Buddhists follow. Buddhism is now found mostly outside India, in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, Cambodia, Myanmar and other places. Pictured below, the statue of Buddha at Kamakura in Japan is one of the most sacred Buddhist statues. Sri Chinmoy visited there many times.
“The disciples of the Lord Buddha progress steadily towards the perfect bliss of nirvana without going too far on one side or the other. The Buddha had a heart larger than the universe. He cried for the end of human suffering. His path was also very strict, but he did not want to impose undue sufferings on his followers through austerities.” Says Sri Chinmoy in his writings in Jainism: Give Life Take Not.
Ultimately Buddhists in meditation, try and reach Nirvana, an extremely high state of consciousness in their quest for enlightenment. Sri Chinmoy comments. “Hundreds of thousands of books have been written on Nirvana. We first come to hear about Nirvana from the Lord Buddha. It was he who offered to the world at large the conception of Nirvana. What is Nirvana? It is the extinction of desires, suffering, bondage, limitation and death. It is a very high state where transcendental Bliss reigns supreme. When one is in Nirvana, one’s cosmic play is done, and one no longer barters with time and deeds. On the strength of his aspiration the Golden Day dawns when the aspirant enters into the Nirvanic consciousness. He goes beyond the limits of time and space. You have to say that in Nirvana the Divine is enjoying its own self-amorous state. So Nirvana means the extinction of teeming earthly desires, sufferings and sorrows, and at the same time the Bliss and divine enjoyment of the highest trance.”
So Nirvana is a lofty goal of meditation perhaps a long way off for a lot of us! Firstly you have to learn the basics. Attaining inner peace, quietening the mind, the role of service in life, how to be happy, living more in the heart. The joy and happiness it gives you keeps you inspired for life and over time you make spiritual progress.
The Sri Chinmoy Centre offers free non-denominational meditation classes in Perth (NOR) north of the river and also offers free meditation classes (SOR) south of the river in a variety of locations. Visit our calendar to read about the latest free meditation classes and seminars or phone 61614156.