All posts tagged Buddhism

Hindu, Buddhist and Daoist Meditation

Cultural histories

meditation histories coverLarge waves of global interest in meditation over the last half century have all focused on techniques stemming from Hinduism, Buddhism and Daoism. This collection of essays explores selected topics from the historical traditions underlying such practices. It ventures far beyond the well-known Hindu repetition of sounds, Buddhist attention to breath and body, and Daoist movement of limbs and bodily energies. A picture emerges of meditative traditions that are much richer and more diverse than our modern viewpoint typically acknowledges. Many of the practices are also shown to be of greater current relevance than commonly recognized. Read more…

Is meditation selfish?

The question is good, but the answers provided by Zoë Pollock on The Dish aren’t all that informative. First, they seem to equate meditation with Buddhism, which is less than half the story. Second, they don’t really talk so much about meditation as about Buddhist philosophy. And, disappointingly for an otherwise interesting blog, it doesn’t even do that very well.

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Meditation or self-indoctrination?

Paul HarrisonIn a scholarly paper on Mahayana Buddhism, the famous buddhologist Paul Harrison reflects on the nature of Buddhist meditation. He argues that such meditation is much more scripture-based than often assumed. Bringing his argument one step further, one could ask to what extent meditation is open and inclusive, as is often claimed by modern Buddhists, and to what extent it is merely a suggestive way of inducing an “experience” of preconceived “truths”.

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Monks and nuns have got it!

Last week I visited the Dharma Drum Buddhist College in Taiwan to give two academic talks on the history of meditation. The audience, however, turned out to be much more interested in hearing about Acem Meditation. Many of them were monks and nuns (though also quite a few laypeople) with a lot of meditative training behind them. In significant respects, their forms of meditation are very different from Acem’s, but still their abundant experience made them a very interesting group to talk to.

So what is it that makes them different from an ordinary group of people with an interest in meditation?

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