It's also worth bearing in mind that meditation doesn't necessarily mean sitting meditation. Different teachers and groups have different attitudes, but once when I was having problems sitting, a Korean Zen teacher told me to do walking meditation instead, and it helped.
That was a wonderful link. I had been having problems meditating yet after reading that, I think I had possibly the most powerful meditation to date. Even though it has "solved" nothing. I was so mindful it was amazing.
Hello seeking, "Can you practise Buddhism without meditating", I believe meditating in Buddhism is one of the essential 'table legs' of the Buddhist religion. A full commitment in your life would mean: socialising with other followers; believing in Buddhist philosophy; learning Buddhist scripture; and the practice of meditating. If any of the table legs are not of equal length, it will be unstable.
The good news is that I believe there are a variety of methods of meditating which includes meditation through movement (Zen Buddhism and also the yang form of Tai Chi ) as well as sitting, standing and chanting.
In a comment made earlier someone has suggested that Nichiren Buddhism is a form of devotional practice. They linked it as being similar with the practice of devotion to a Buddhist deity named Amida Buddha. Yet this is incorrect. Nichiren Buddhism does not adress any form of deity. Nichiren Buddhism chants the name of the Lotus Sutra and the name of the Lotus Sutra (Sad Dharma Pundarika Sutra(s) / Myoho Renge Kyo(j)) is the name designating the entire breath and scope of the Buddha's life of inner wisdom that is in perfect accordance with the law of true reality. This is known as the perfect fusion of subjective wisdom and objective truth. From the standpoint of the highest principle or "Great Vehicle Wisdom" the Buddha in the Lotus Sutra expounds through four approaches, direct exposition, simili and parable, past life relationships and observation of ones own mind, the principle of the true aspect of all phenomena. Therefore the title of the Lotus Sutra is the name which designates the total breath and scope of the Buddha's wisdom directly. In other words Nichiren clarifies that the name of the Lotus Sutra is actually the most essential verbal expression of Buddha wisdom. It is the fruit of Buddha's practice and wisdom and therefore the essential principle for contemplation. In this respect chanting the name Nam Myoho Renge Kyo encompasses all three modes of learning, wisdom, meditation and action. It is the teaching which all humans, deities and all beings seek to master to attain Buddha's enlightenment. When we recite Nam Myoho Renge Kyo all the Buddhist gods join in attendance. They take part in a ceremony of equals. There is no distinction among enlightened beings.
Whether one believes that [silent] meditation is necessary in order to practice Buddhism or not depeneds on their own understanding of Buddhism. Buddhism has been around for over 2400 years. It has played a huge historical role in the development of Asian nation states such as India, China, Korea, Japan, Thailand and many others. Like the origin of all religions the original purpose of Buddhism is to liberate the conscience of mankind from the confinements of a repressive existence. However Buddhism is different from all other religions in that its basis and belief system derives from analysis and reason regarding the true nature of reality. In other words Buddhism begins with an analysis of human behavior and the precipitatiing causes and conditions which prompt the various modes of human behavior. In this regard Buddhism begins and ends with the premise that all conditions of life that people find themselves in have precipitating causes some that are integral and inherent in life itself such as birth, old age sickness and death and others which are caused by environmental and social factors. In the final analysis Buddhism is based on the principle that a goiod cause leads to a good effect and a bad cause leads to a bad effect. When we consider the philosophy of Buddhism from this standpoint it appears that the basic premise of Buddhism is basic common sense. Indeed Buddhism does derive from basic common sense. Much like scientific inquiry it is based on the law of cause and effect. In this regard the Buddha taught that all of the sufferings of mankind derive from actions taken in a state of ignorance. Therefore the antidote to all suffering, according to Buddhism is to take fresh actions beginning right now from the standpoint of wisdom.
Buddhist philosophy teaches that there are three forms of activity for learning Buddhism. The first is to listen to (or study) the Buddha's teachings of wisdom. The second is to deeply contemplate and reflect on the Buddha's teachings and take them to mind. The third is to base one's actions in accordance with Buddha's wisdom.
Over the last several thousand years BUddhist communities throughout the world have devised various approaches to developing Buddha wisdom in their own lives. All of these approaches seek to address the three types of learning mentioned above.
However Buddhism is different from all other religions in that its basis and belief system derives from analysis and reason regarding the true nature of reality.
The Brahma sūtras, also known as Vedānta Sūtras, constitute the Nyāya prasthāna, the logical starting point of the Vedānta philosophy (Nyāya = logic/order). No study of Vedānta is considered complete without a close examination of the Prasthāna Traya (Prasthanatrayi), the texts that stand as the three starting points. The Brahma Sutras are attributed to Badarayana.
While the Upanishads (Śruti prasthāna, the starting point of revelation) and the Bhagavad-Gītā (Smriti prasthāna, the starting point of remembered tradition) are the basic source texts of Vedānta, it is in the Brahma sūtras that the teachings of Vedānta are set forth in a systematic and logical order.
Siddhartha Gautama himself studied Vedanta, before he realised the Perfect Wisdom of Nirvana. In fact, he was so impressed with this noble Wisdom of the Brahmins, that he imported it into the Eightfold Noble Path as Jhana Meditation, aka as Samatha Meditation, which takes Non-Dual Samadhi as its Fruit.
The Dualistic Wisdom of the Theravada is grounded in the Intuitve Realisation of 'Discriminating Awareness' The discrimination is between those volitions which lead to Dukkha and those volitions which lead to Sukkha:
Dhammapada Verse 1 Cakkhupalatthera Vatthu
Manopubbangama dhamma manosettha manomaya manasa ce padutthena bhasati va karoti va tato nam dukkhamanveti cakkamva vahato padam.
Verse 1: All mental phenomena have mind as their forerunner; they have mind as their chief; they are mind-made. If one speaks or acts with an evil mind, 'dukkha' 3 follows him just as the wheel follows the hoofprint of the ox that draws the cart.
Dhammapada Verse 2 Matthakundali Vatthu
Manopubbangama dhamma manosettha manomaya manasa ce pasannena bhasati va karoti va tato nam sukha1 manveti chayava anapayini.
Verse 2: All mental phenomena have mind as their forerunner; they have mind as their chief; they are mind-made. If one speaks or acts with a pure mind, happiness (sukha) follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.
This kind of discrimination is also taught in Brahmanism, along with Analytical Logic.
"Can I practice Buddhism if I don't meditate?" Hi. I know that's an odd question. Allow me to explain. Personally, I try to make life into a kind of living meditation. However, I don't do the "classic" techniques of meditation very well: sitting still and breathing, chanting, humming, etc. In fact, I get bored out of my mind very quickly doing that. So, I can work at the first 7 steps of the 8 fold path pretty well, but the 8th step is not only beyond me; it is beyond any interest of mine. I like Buddhism as a philosophy for life, but (for me) meditation will just have to naturally result from the first 7 steps. So, can I even practice Buddhism as a religion? I like the social aspects of religion; I also like having rituals that express truths which language cannot fully convey, etc. Yet, it seems that meditation is the main activity at Buddhist gatherings. Maybe I am mistaken? But, it seems that meditation is to Buddhists what prayer / praise / worship are to Christians. It can be pretty lonely as a solitary Buddhist, but what is there to *do* together as a group for Buddhists except meditate ? I get the feeling that I haven't framed the question quite right, but I hope you get the gist and can reply. Thank you. singed, Seeking
To answer your questionj, meditation is among the primary methods of Buddhist practice in the past But given the profundity of Buddha's wisdom and the historical development and application of Buddhist philosophy through the savific activities of great Bodhisattvas applying Buddha's wisdom of means and methods to evolving Buddhist countries and societies, today there is the practice of chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is the title and theme of the 28 chapter Lotus Sutra. The Lotus Sutra itself is a sacred Buddhist text that encompasses the wisdom of all Buddhas. With the practice of chanting Nam Myoho Renge kyo, because it is based on the wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, the highest teaching of the Buddha, the string of words itself encompassess the universal wisdom of all Buddhas. The founder of this form of Buddhist practice goes by the name Nichiren. In one of his famous writings Nichiren states,
"If you wish to free yourself from the sufferings of birth and death you have endured since time without beginning and to attain without fail unsurpassed enlightenment in this lifetime, you must perceive the mystic truth that is originally inherent in all living beings. This truth is Myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting Myoho-renge-kyo will therefore enable you to grasp the mystic truth innate in all life. The Lotus Sutra is the king of sutras, true and correct in both word and principle. Its words are the ultimate reality, and this reality is the Mystic Law (myoho). It is called the Mystic Law because it reveals the principle of the mutually inclusive relationship of a single moment of life and all phenomena. That is why this sutra is the wisdom of all Buddhas." WND V1 pg 3
The Foundation of Buddhist wisdom is the Four Noble Truths.
The Eightfold Noble Path is the Fourth Noble Truth.
The Path is in Three Categories. It is a Manual for Daily Life, as much as it is a Profound Dhamma.
The Eightfold Noble Path is in Three Categories:
Meditation comprises Right Effort Right Speech Right Action.
Wisdom refers to a specific kind of intuitive knowledge. It is not the kind of knowledge that can be derived from logical analysis of a subject. It arises directly from Bhavana, Buddhist Mental Development.
Insight arises from spiritual discipline and meditation.
The mind has to be silenced. the inner voice has to be quelled. In silence does the non-discursive wisdom arise.
The foundation of Buddhist practice is to be develop in Morality. This is essential. Without it, one cannot progress to the next Category of Meditation: Morality + Mediation = Wisdom (Insight).
According to the Eightfold Noble Path, the
Category of Morality is Right Speech Right Action Right Livelihood. But, this is the mere wording of the Insight into Morality which is required to progress to the Meditation: Discriminating Awareness of Volition. Volition is Kamma. In a simple nutshell: there is unwholesome kamma which leads to Dukkha and there is wholesome Kamma which leads to Sukha.
Dukkha is a Concept, Sukha is a Reality, a Dhamma. Dukkha takes its fruit in Death and Rebirth. Sukha takes its fruit in Deathlessness, Arahantship and the Realisation of Nirodha, Extinction of Dukkha. Nirodha is the Third Noble Truth.
Dukkha is translated as 'Suffering' but is closer to Pollution, impurity. Sukha is translated as happiness.
This Discriminating Awareness of Volition is the Goal of Sila (Practise of Morality). It opens the [Mental] Door to Meditation, and leads directly into the The Sixth Mental development of the Eightfold Noble Path; which c9onsist of eight Mental Developments which may be undertaken as Eight Training Rules for Daily Living.
Samma Vayama is Right Effort. In a simple nutshell: Right Effort is the effort to avoid evil and unwholesome things on Three Plane of Human Existence:
The skilful means for achieving this Bhavana, Mental Development is achieved thorough Sati, the Development of Mindfulness, a Specific Discriminating Awareness of Volition.
Beyond this simple classification of Effort in a moral context, the actual development of Right Effort is in Four Categories, aka The Four Right Efforts (Padhana):
1 The Effort to Avoid Unwholesome Volition 2 The Effort to Overcome Unwholesome Volition
3 The Effort to Develop Wholesome Volition 4 The Effort to Maintain wholesome states.
Summary: The Effort to Avoid Dukha; the Effort to Develop and Maintain Sukha
A person's activities in the Verbal, Bodily and Mental Planes of human existence are determined by kamma. One has to accept one's kamma. There is no escape from it. But, salvation is possible because one can change one's kamma by learning to accept it, by learning to work with it, by learning to purge it, by learning to attenuate it.
Lhana Mediation was imprted from Bramanism. vipassana mediation is the unique discovery of the unique Sammasambuddha, Self-Enlightened Teaching Buddha.
Initially one is governed by the senses. Through the practice of the Eightfold Noble Path, one gradually becomes Free of the Senses and learns how to Direct them.
One of the adverse effects of Bhavana is the powerful reaction that one experiences with the arising of unwholesome mental states. This is actually an auspicious sign and a positive development. Unwholesome cankers are 'Rising, Dwelling, Falling, and Passing Away, moment-by-moment.
If one learns the action of watching them in silence, without attachment, they will become extinct. In addition, one also purposely develops good thoughts, good volitions. Over a period of time, one becomes calmer and happier (Sukha). One begins to lead a wholesome life, regardless of what everyone else is doing:
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or, being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two imposters just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breath a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run - Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
Discriminating Awareness of Volition in the Two Moral Categories of Right and Wrong, leads ot a correct realisation of the Two Paths:
Magga Eightfold Noble Path
Miccha Magga the Wrong Eightfold Noble Path.
For protection against failure in this Bhavana, one may recite the Bojjhanga Sutta:
These Seven Dhammas are the Factors of Enlightenment, which eradicate all the suffering of the creatures who are transmigrating in the universal flux, and which suppress the army of Death.
Having realised these seven dhammas the creatures had attained the Immortality, the Fearlessness, Birthless, decay-less and sickless stage; they be came transcendental and liberated from three existences.
Oh thou! Let us recite this doctrine of Factors of Enlightenment;
Endowed with such and other qualifications altogether with innumerable qualities, this is a medicinal spell.
The factors of enlightenment are Mindfulness, Investigation of the Dhamma and also Effort, Rapture, Tranquility, and other factors of enlightenment.
The factor of Concentration, and Equanimity. All these seven are well expounded by the Allseer; cultivated and amplified repeatedly by the Sage—
In order to discern profoundly, to realise the wisdom, and to attain Nibbana;
By this asseveration of this truth, may you be happy forever.
At one time, the Lord saw Venerable Moggallana and Venerable Kassapa suffering and sick, and he expounded the Seven Factors of Enlightenment.
The two Elders also were delighted thereat; and at that very moment were liberated from the sickness.
By this asseveration of Truth, may you be happy forever.
Once even the King of Dhamma the Buddha himself was, afflicted by sickness, then the Elder Cunda was requested to recite that very doctrine with due reference.
Having delighted the Lord rose up thereupon from that sickness.
By this asseveration of Truth, may you be happy forever.
Just as the defilements, annihilated by Magga-conscious, can arise again no more, in like manner these ailments were eradicated from the three Great Sages.
By this asseveration of Truth, may you be happy forever.
...and finally, can a person Buddhism without Meditation?
Meditation is a Category of the Eightfold Noble Path, Samatha Meditation leads to Samadhi.
Theravada Buddhism is the world's oldest School of Dhamma. It has been preserved by the Ariya Sangha for 2500 years in pristine condition, Buddhavacana, with nothing added or subtracted. Teaching today is taken directly from the Dhamma approved by the Sixth Buddhist Council, comprised only of Enlightened Arahants.
Whilst other Schools of Buddhism do practice Mantra Japa, these methods are not taught in Theravada Buddhism, which has only one founder, The Buddha; one Teacher, the Buddha.
After the demise of the Buddha, his instruction was to See the Dhamma as the Teacher:
He who sees the Dhamma sees me;
With regard to the other Schools of Buddhism, we wish them well, and do study their Dharmas.
What is meditation? Do we know why we meditate? If we understand what meditation is then there is no imitation or there is no meditation, we do what we do because it is the natural thing to do. Is meditation control? Controlling our mind or is it attention to our thoughts? I feel any attempt to control the mind, is a mind that does not see or understand so it imitates. I feel also there should be no effort to still the mind or there shouldn’t be any effort to reach a goal. I feel it should be natural without effort because you see the truth of it and to have a goal like enlightenment just further divides the mind. I am this and I want to be that so there is division in the mind, with division there is conflict. I feel deep down any effort to change just makes a person even more superficial, any effort to change just builds upon the “me”. So what does one do or do you do anything? I am no Buddha but I see enough to realize any effort to change just furthers divides me. Of course I say that but I watch my thoughts and I see the mind is making every attempt to find relief, to find security, which deepens the “me”. I think the problem is the “me” who see it, that “me” thinks it is different from what it is seeing, so there is still division.
IN relation to the correct practice of Buddhism in this latter age of Buddha Dharma, the seed and flower of Buddhist philosophy is found in the establishment of the Three Great Laws as revealed by Nichiren. These are the Dharma Law (true object) the Practice of Reciting its name (the subject) and the place where these are manifested (the true environment). All three are taught in the Great Vehicle Lotus Sutra.