6

I am a student and follow Buddhist ideas. Can Buddhist practices increase my capabilities to be a better student? More discipline? Clearer mind? What practices would be of the most benefit to achieve my academic goals?


Related questions (involve increasing focus/ attention, productivity/ efficiency/ time management)

Additionally, what studies have been done for the more general "spillover" type benefits such as greater well being and confidence?

  • Welcome to Buddhism.SE! Your question is very broad and difficult to answer in its current form, so I've put it on hold. If you can narrow it down so that it can have a good answer, then it can easily be reopened. – Hrafn Nov 30 '14 at 9:16
  • I think above is based on Ten percent of brain myth – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Dec 5 '14 at 10:59
  • Buddhism is partly about happiness. If one is happy, truly happy, wouldn't they perform better on all levels--such as with academics? Furthermore, related questions (increasing focus/ attention, productivity/ efficiency/ time management) will help answer the overall question. – adamaero Sep 11 '16 at 14:36
4

You didn't mention whether you are a University student or a high school student. I'm going to assume you are in University for this answer.

Since you follow Buddhist ideas, you are likely familiar with the 5 precepts which are voluntarily taken by lay people who wish to follow the Buddha's teachings and who recognize that living in a manner that is harmless to others is needed as a first step. By taking the 5 precepts, a University student would be avoiding some of the worst problems that plague University populations many of which are related to alcohol and drug use and the regrettable behaviors that can follow. Here's a recent example of highly intelligent students ruining their reputations and educational opportunity by engaging in Wrong Livelihood. The practice of sīla can serve a student well and preserve educational opportunity.

The benefits to a student of practicing mindfulness are many and are briefly outlined here from the Brown University Student Health Services page. An excerpt:

Several studies with college students suggest that the practice of mindfulness leads to decreases in stress and anxiety, improvements in concentration and attention, and increases in self-awareness and overall emotional well-being. Professor Willoughby Britton, a clinical psychologist at Brown, has studied the effects of mindfulness meditation on Brown students and has found that meditation decreases anxiety.

Here's enough data to make your head spin from the American Mindfulness Research Association, much of it new and with mixed results. As is often said said regarding following Buddhist teachings and practices, try it for yourself. See if you see beneficial changes in yourself. When you see it for yourself; you'll know. :)

1

Can Buddhist practices increase my capabilities to be a better student?

Absolutely: increased calm and alertness, improved memory and health, reduced daydreaming — how could it not help?

Yoga too.

What practices would be of the most benefit to achieve my academic goals?

Sitting meditation

There are two main ways (that I know of) to do it:

  • One is counting breaths. My mind is extremely active so that method wouldn't have worked well for me.

  • What I used to do (for many years and hope to return to — it's much like the gym in that regard, I've found) is to watch your mind, your being itself; for example: "now I'm feeling the heat from sunlight through the window, now I'm having an argument do-over from the real one yesterday, now I'm feeling awesome because I quickly came out of fantasy daydream to recall I'm sitting doing this practice, now I'm remembering...".

Sending and receiving

There is a Tibetan practice you and anyone, Buddhist or not (same as sitting meditation) can do — it's called "sending and receiving": you breath in all the world's pain and other crap, hold it a sec to transform it, and breath it back as joy, health, and so on (this is an outline — instructions are good to do it right but they aren't complicated).

  • Can you identify any specific "Buddhist practices" that are helpful, or that are "of the most benefit"? – ChrisW Apr 26 '15 at 12:04
  • sitting meditation. there are two main ways (that I know of) to do it. one is counting breaths (vipassana I believe). my mind is extremely active so that method wouldn't have worked well for me. I used (for many years and hope to return to....its much like the gym in that regard, I've found) is to watch your mind, your being itself. for example: now I'm feeling the heat from sunlight thru the window, now I'm having an argument do-over from the real one yesterday, now I'm feeling awesome because I quickly came out of fantasy daydream to recall I'm sitting doing this practice, now I'm rememberin – iquanyin Jun 18 '15 at 0:58
  • man, my keyboard is acting up. sorry. also, there is a Tibetan practice you and anyone, Buddhist or not (same as sitting meditation)/can do. it's called sending and receiving. you breath in all the world's pain and other crap, hold it a sec to transform it, and breath it back as joy, health, and so on. this is an outline. instructions are good to do it right but they aren't complicated. – iquanyin Jun 18 '15 at 1:00
  • Thanks for clarifying! I edited the comments into the answer (and added some formatting). If you click on the little 'edit' link you'll see how I applied some formatting to the text ... the techniques for this simple formatting as described on this help page. The most important formatting is ordinary punctuation, and using empty lines to separate text into paragraphs. Other useful formatting is for hyperlinks and/or blockquotes (if you want to reference some other text). – ChrisW Jun 18 '15 at 12:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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