Meditation is a practice where an individual trains attention and awareness to get clearer and calmer state.:228–29:180:415:107 Scholars have found meditation difficult to define. The practices vary both between traditions and within them.
It is a common practice in many religions including Buddhism, Christianity (sometimes), Taoism, Hinduism (where Yoga is important) and other religions. Meditation has now become a modern trend, showing many health benefits. The initial origin of meditation is from the Vedic times of India.
In Buddhism, three things are very important: being a good person, making the mind stronger, and understanding (Insight or Wisdom) about why people are in pain (Dukkha). For Buddhists, meditation is used to calm the mind so that the mind can better see the cause of pain. Buddhists believe that this type of seeing can end pain.
Most types of Buddhist meditation focus on something. The most popular things to focus on include breath, metta or Loving-Kindness towards all, other recollections, situational mindfulness and religious images and sounds.
Christians sometimes meditate by thinking about small parts of the Bible, or by saying the words of a prayer to themselves over and over. Meditation is an expression of Christian prayer. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church is specified that by means of meditation "The mind seeks to understand the why and how of the Christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking"; also it is pointed out that "meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ".
Meditation is principally made on the Sacred Scriptures with the Gospels, liturgical texts, writings of the spiritual fathers, and meditative devotions.
Meditation is a significant part of the devotion of the Rosary; "by virtue of its meditative character, with the tranquil succession of Hail Marys, the Rosary has a peaceful effect on those who pray it, disposing them to receive and experience in their innermost depths, and to spread around them, that true peace which is the special gift of the Risen Lord (cf. Jn 14:27; 20.21)."
Meditation has a long tradition in Hinduism. It comes in many different styles. Here is a short list:
Meditation in Hinduism is used for different reasons. Some of the reasons are:
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- In Buddhism, these three things together are called the "threefold training." In the words of 2,000-year-old Buddhist books, these three things are called sīla, citta (or samādhi) and paññā. See, for example, Thanissaro (1998a) and Thanissaro (1998b).
- See, for instance, Thanissaro (1998c).
- Kabat-Zinn (1990); and, Linehan (1993), p. 1.
- See, for example, Kamalashila (2003).
- "Catechism of the Catholic Church - Expressions of prayer". www.vatican.va.
- "Rosarium Virginis Mariae on the Most Holy Rosary (October 16, 2002) - John Paul II". w2.vatican.va.
- Sauber, Jeff (2009). Everybody's Meditation Book. Jeff Sauber. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-578-03336-5.
- Kabat-Zinn, Jon (1991). Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. Delta. ISBN 978-0-385-30312-5.
- Kamalashila (1996). Meditation: The Buddhist Way of Tranquillity and Insight. Windhorse Publications. ISBN 978-1-899579-05-1.
- Linehan, Marsha (1993). Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. Guilford Publications. ISBN 978-0-89862-034-4.
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1998a). Sikkha Sutta: Trainings (1) (AN 3.88). Retrieved 2007-11-10 from "Access to Insight" at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.088.than.html.
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1998b). Sikkha Sutta: Trainings (2) (AN 3.89). Retrieved 2007-11-10 from "Access to Insight" at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.089.than.html.
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1998c). Kimsuka Sutta: The Riddle Tree (SN 35.204). Retrieved 2007-11-10 from "Access to Insight" at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.204.than.html.