Buddhist Meditation: Types of Meditation

Buddhist Meditation: Types of Meditation

Article by Joe Taloe

There is a variety of meditations that one can do. In the Western culture, the most popular meditation is a type of meditation that is similar to a chant meditation, but simpler. Basically it involves a repetition of a word. This has mislead many people into believing that this is the only way to meditate. Here’s a list of the different types of meditations available.

Chant meditation: Traditionally, monks would give thanks to their teachers as well try to gain insight from them through chants, which they would repeat over and over again. Other chants involve invoking a certain kind of feeling (often times love and compassion). You can create your own chant. This kind of meditation is great for changing a deep seated habit within yourself.

TM meditation: This is the most popular form of meditation in the West. Like chant meditation, it involves repetition, except in this case it is just one or two words. I have seen many different spins to this meditation. Some people use two words, others just one. You should do what is most comfortable for you. Experiment.

Sound meditation: You focus on a sound you hear. Many people choose to meditate to music (including me). Interestingly, it does not have to be relaxing music. Occasionally I will find it very easy to meditate to hard rock. Experiment, and see what works and when.

Body meditation: In this meditation, you focus on the sensations you feel. If you’re sitting down, you focus on how your butt feels on the chair. If you’re lying down, you can study how your body mass is spread across the bed.

Sight meditation: This form of meditation is great for beginners who wish to transition to inner-object meditation. You choose an object to look at and you focus on its shape, color, size. Keep that image in your mind. For example, Buddhists would choose a statue of Buddha to meditate on.

Inner-object meditation: This is when your object of focus is something that naturally occurs within your body, such as your breath or heartbeat. You study the occurrence as you would with any other meditation (you could say that TM and Chant is inner-object meditation).

Object-less meditation: This meditation is essential for increasing your self-awareness. The name of the meditation stands for what IT IS NOT. In this form of meditation, you pay attention to anything and everything to pops into your mind, and then let it go so another activity can take place.

That covers all the common ones. I have to mention that meditation can take any form. You can meditate on walking, and call it “walking meditation”. You can focus on playing your guitar, and call it the “guitar meditation”. It’s less important as to what your object of meditation is, than the process involved in the meditation. The process across these meditations is always the same.


Student of Buddhism and Mental Health Counseling at Columbia U.

Visit http://buddhistmeditationforbeginners.blogspot.com for more information.

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