0

What I think of meditation is sitting with a good posture and concentrating on breathing and thinking about nothing. How does this help a person with anything? The only plus point that I can think of meditation is that, during the time you meditate, you forget all the distractions around you and become calm and stress free. Why do people talk about enlightenment?

I saw this definition of enlightenment on Google:

Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. (Kant, 1784)

Doesn't that imply "Enlightenment" equals "being disciplined, mature and independent"? How does meditation achieve this? Don't we become mature through experience and growth, disciplined through hard work and independent by accepting yourself?

Hence why do we meditate? Why do we say things like "enlightenment can be achieved through meditation" when it can be achieved without it?

  • 2
    To me it's unclear what kind of meditation your question is related to. Also, there are different understandings of what enlightenment means. Do you do any kind of meditation yet? For me, this question is too broad. – user13579 Jul 30 '18 at 11:01
  • 1
    too me I was just inferring the meditation that I used to do in my school yoga classes, where you sit crisscrossed put your the back of your hand on your legs and close your eyes and take deep breaths for some duration. – Roshan Jul 30 '18 at 14:44
0

Your quote (definition of "Enlightenment") isn't from a Buddhist source -- it's from an 18th century German philosopher (not Buddhist at all ... unrelated to Buddhism).

The English word "Enlightenment" has several meanings/usages which are unrelated to Buddhism -- When was the word enlightenment introduced into Theravada Buddhism? -- yet it has also been used as a translation of various/several different Buddhist terms, see for example:


You're sort of right (that meditation isn't essential), in that the Buddhist path is sometimes described as a Threefold Training, of which "virtue" (not meditation) is described the most fundamental.

I think some people say that meditation is primarily for monks rather than lay-people (Buddhism has a lot of other, not meditation-related, instruction for lay people).


As for meditation, it is sometimes described as being of two categories, i.e. meditation for calm or concentration (Samadhi), and meditation for insight (Vipassanā) -- and there's talk (different doctrines) about whether to practice one, or the other, or both together.

Two more things I'd modify slightly about the assertions you made:

  • Perhaps it (i.e. "maturity" and/or "Buddhism") is, but is perhaps not exactly, about "accepting yourself". Perhaps it's about changing your self too, or changing (or even "abandoning") your "view" of "self". Part of the Buddhist doctrine is (a.k.a. "non-self" or "without self") -- which may be difficult to explain (there are more than 100 questions about it on this site), but I found these to be helpful or understandable introductions to the topic:

  • I'm not sure (I doubt) whether it is about "concentrating on breathing and thinking about nothing". The form of meditation which you're referring to is probably what's called ānāpānasati, where ānapāna refers to breathing and sati refers to mindfulness, so perhaps not "without thinking" -- see Mindfulness of Breathing, Mindfulness with Breathing

    "Without thought" might possibly refer to some of the higher jhāna states (or forms of meditation) but that's an advanced topic.

1

Stop spreading non-sense. Both of you. Please refer to AN 10.1

“Sir, what is the purpose and benefit of skillful ethics?” “Ānanda, having no regrets is the purpose and benefit of skillful ethics.”

“But what’s the purpose and benefit of having no regrets?” “Joy is the purpose and benefit of having no regrets.”

“But what’s the purpose and benefit of joy?” “Rapture …”

“But what’s the purpose and benefit of rapture?” “Tranquility …”

“But what’s the purpose and benefit of tranquility?” “Bliss …”

“But what’s the purpose and benefit of bliss?” “Immersion …”

“But what’s the purpose and benefit of immersion?” “Truly knowing and seeing …”

“But what’s the purpose and benefit of truly knowing and seeing?” “Disillusionment and dispassion …”

“But what’s the purpose and benefit of disillusionment and dispassion?” “Knowledge and vision of freedom is the purpose and benefit of disillusionment and dispassion.

So, Ānanda, the purpose and benefit of skillful ethics is not having regrets. Joy is the purpose and benefit of not having regrets. Rapture is the purpose and benefit of joy. Tranquility is the purpose and benefit of rapture. Bliss is the purpose and benefit of tranquility. Immersion is the purpose and benefit of bliss. Truly knowing and seeing is the purpose and benefit of immersion. Disillusionment and dispassion is the purpose and benefit of truly knowing and seeing. Knowledge and vision of freedom is the purpose and benefit of disillusionment and dispassion. So, Ānanda, skillful ethics progressively lead up to the highest.”

@dhamma4life: Meditation is never forced concentration. Please refer to MN 118

I tell you, monks, that this — the in-&-out breath — is classed as a body among bodies, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

0

Enlightenment (attaining Nibbana) in a Buddhist context means the end of suffering. Saying that enlightenment is just about being matured could be the understatement of the century :)

There are mainly 2 types of meditations:

  • Samatha (tranquility): This type of meditation leads to calm, joy, concentration and magical powers.

  • Vipassana (insight): This type of meditation leads to wisdom and the end of suffering.

Buddhists do both Samatha and Vipassana meditations to achieve the results they bring about.

  • The 2 meditations you mentioned are actually not distinct. If the mind is joyous and without remorse it sees things as they are automatically (vipassana). Therefore, genuine vipassana happens when sila is developed and not solely via meditation. – Val Jul 31 '18 at 13:43
  • 1
    They are very distinct - Samatha is forced concentration in order to attain one pointedness, Vipassana is not. Vipassana trains Sati, Samatha doesn’t. – user13383 Jul 31 '18 at 18:12
  • @Val Vipassana does not happen with Sila. Sila is required for Vipassana meditation, but you can practice Sila your whole life without attaining any Vipassana knowledge. – Sankha Kulathantille Aug 1 '18 at 1:41

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.