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What is Meditation?

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What Is Meditation?

"Meditation--above all, seated meditation--has always been one of the foundational practices of Buddhism. Sakyamuni Buddha realized supreme enlightenment while seated in meditation beneath the bodhi tree. When he set out to establish the teachings and convey this enlightenment to others, he organized the Buddhist path according to the three basic disciplines of purity in the observance of the precepts, or moral restraints (Sanksrit, sila); meditative concentration, or samadhi; and wisdom, or prajna. The two factors of concentration and wisdom are developed primarily through formal meditation practice, with moral restraint as a preparatory basis."


 "The aim of meditation is to develop the mind through three basic stages: first, to collect the scattered and confused mind and to focus it to a concentrated mind with few thoughts; next, to purify and further concentrate this simple mind into a highly unified and one-pointed mind; finally, to pass from the unified, or one-pointed, mind, to no-mind. For successful Buddhist practice, one must learn to find perfect quietude and concentration while in the midst of activity, as well as activity in the midst of quietude. Proper integration of the body and mind are instrumental to this process."



"One useful model for understanding meditation is to think of it as a holistic discipline that seeks to bring about the integration of body, breath and mind. With the harmonizing and progressive calming of these three factors, body, breath, and mind become completely interfused, as though they are one. When this total concentration of body, breath, and mind becomes truly one-pointed, samadhi, or 'meditative absorption', is at hand. Wisdom, or prajna, develops in response to samadhi." 


(all the above passages taken from Venerable Master Sheng Yen, Hoofprint of the Ox, with Dan Stevenson)



Throughout his writings and talks on meditation, Ven. Master Sheng Yen has continually stressed the importance of having the correct views regarding the aim and methods of this profound spiritual practice. Maintaining a solid view of meditation's purpose allows practitioners to fully benefit from the entire process of meditation, while learning how to seamlessly integrate this beautiful practice into their daily interactions. Once the principles of meditation are learned, practitioners can flexibly establish a routine of regular meditation practice based on their unique schedules, needs and circumstances.


Chan practice stresses the unique role and process of meditation as a means of establishing direct awareness of mind and its innate wisdom. While sitting meditation can be done both in an individual and group setting, DDMBA Ontario welcomes and strongly encourages practitioners to join in a regular group meditation practice, which is being held in our 1027 McNicoll Avenue location every Sunday (except for the 2nd Sunday of each month) from 10 am - 12 pm, as well as every Thursday evening (7 pm - 9 pm) at Multifaith Centre, Main Activity Room.


Through gentle, guided meditation in a group setting, practitioners learn the foundations of uniting body, breath and mind, particularly through relaxation practice and moving meditation practice. Furthermore, the collective practice of meditation allows practitioners to benefit others with their practice, as well as share their experiences and understanding of meditation with like-minded, caring practitioners. We welcome everyone to come and see for themselves the meaning and benefits of meditation practice, and what it can do.


 Benefits of Meditation

 Among the many benefits of consistent practice of meditation, the following health benefits are possible for those who engage in a meditation practice regularly (Source: Master Sheng-Yen “The Effects of Chan Meditation”):


·        Increased patience


·        Strengthening of willpower


·        Enhancement of the power of thought


·        Refinement of personality


·        Rapid calming of the mind


·        Mood stabilization


·        Increased interest and efficiency in activity


·        Improved physical health/wellness



Among the many psychological benefits of meditation are:


·        Reduction of anxiety,


·        Enhanced sense of well-being,


·        Increased empathy


·        Greater sense of self-actualization.


·        Greater awareness of thought patterns and negative habits


To find out more from Venerable Master Sheng Yen about the function of meditation, click on the video below: