Talk:Buddhist meditation

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Improvement Drive[edit]

Meditation is currently a nominee on WP:IDRIVE. If you would like to see this article improved vote for it on WP:IDRIVE.--Fenice 15:33, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, it does need a lot of work. First of all I suggest that the articles on samatha and vipassana be merged with this one. I know that one might argue that neither is exclusively Buddhist, and that there may be historical issues (see J. Bronkhorst, The Two Traditions of Meditation in Ancient India) as well as modern applications (MBSR; S.N. Goenka) that might warrant the separate articles. Still, I believe that as the terms (samatha & vipassana) are so strongly connected to the Buddhist tradition, those articles should be merged with this one, and then be further clarified here.--Mindzpore 17:06, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

For what it's worth, I made the following general changes (hopefully, "improvements"):
  • added Pali texts in a subsection (perhaps change to "from the Theravada tradition"??); I hope others will feel comfortable adding parallel sections regarding Mahayana and Vajrayana texts; and,
  • subsumed Kamalashila's information under a section for those who have developed cross-tradition categorizations; and, again, I hope others will feel comfortable adding alternate cross-tradition systems. (Part of the reason for my expanding the Kamalashila-specific section is that this article previously simply referenced Kamalashila's division of techniques into samatha and vipassana methods: I think this actually distorted Kamalashila's main contribution of identifying Five Basic Methods; and, perhaps more importantly, such a two-fold division is not particularly useful given that two of the most widely used meditation techniques — meditation on the breath and visualizations — are widely recognized to have both samatha and vipassana elements [despite Kamalashila's assertion otherwise about breath meditation being a samatha technique] — a general matter underlined by the cited Thanissaro (1997) article.)
Hope this helped,
Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 06:03, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
P.S. FWIW, I'm not adverse to someone completely deleting the section on Kamalashila. I can understand if someone assesses that an alternate approach — perhaps one simply rehashing the current "See also" section — would be more meaningful to a general WP reader. I feel strongly though that it is better to have the current, more complete representation of Kamalashila's guide than the prior unattributed, non-contextualized summary of his non-canonical samatha/vipassana bifurcation. Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 16:14, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Hi, nice article - I'm no expert but I thought it more likely to be "Supreme vehicle" (saijōjō) – the realization of buddha-nature as immanent in all beings (see shikantaza). not "Supreme vehicle" (saijōjō) – the realization of buddha-nature as imminent in all beings (see shikantaza). so I changed it —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:25, August 30, 2007 (UTC)

Excellent correction! Thanks! Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 15:45, 30 August 2007 (UTC)


It seems reasonable to separate it into sections either for the various schools (Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana) and then their subdivisions; and then the various schools in those countries. Alternatively one might structure it by areas/countries, and then for various schools in those areas, but that seems more complicated and not really necessary.

One may also want a section delineating the historical development. Or maybe better one main section dealing with the historical bit (development of meditation in the various schools until the encounter with the west in the 19th century). Then the development until the 1950ies, and finally what we have now.

(I’m running late for a meeting, but here are some) rough suggestions for possible topics:

• Earliest history and sources (maby including what other sramana groups practiced). • Expansion through central Asia. • History & development in the Theravadi countries. • History & development in the Mahayana countries. • History & development in the Vajrayana. • Modernity and encounter with the west. • Contemporary developments. --Mindzpore 17:44, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

These are maybe better suited to an article on History of Meditation in Buddhism. The current is too restricted to just eight methods of meditation, giving very little information on the actual practice. More info is needed.Greetings, Sacca 08:56, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

deleting newly inserted info re: recollections by IP address user[edit]

Today, the following lines were inserted as the very first lines of the section, "Types of Buddhist meditation" (which are the article's very first lines after the introduction):

The earliest and simplest forms of Buddhist meditation knowns as Anussati or recollections were found and emphasized in both Theravada and Mahayana schools. The first six recollections were mandatory for both beginner lay and monastic followers to master:
The other four could be learned by both as well, but it was particularly for the monastic order:

These lines are well-written and informative. I am grateful for the anonymous editor's desire to add his or her knowledge and skills to benefit others and happy to know of another's joyful engagement with the recollections. Personally, I suspect that if I were to meet these lines' author, I'd be deeply impressed by her or him.

Nonetheless, I am undoing these newly added lines for the following reasons:

  1. no citation to back up the claim that the recollections are "the earliest" forms of Buddhist meditation
  2. dubious claim that they are the "the simpliest forms" of Buddhist meditation
  3. no citation(s) to back up the claims about monastic/lay differences (which frankly does sound plausible, but it is far from common knowledge and thus deserves a citation)
  4. perhaps most importantly, this article is highly hierarchical and the recollections are already mentioned in the section Buddhaghosa's forty meditation subjects; thus, the information provided is elaborated upon disproportionately to similar information in the article, inserted in an inappropriate place and is redundant.

Per WP standards, I ask that these concerns be addressed here before an attempt is made to reinsert the information. I'd be happy to discuss alternatives (e.g., possibly putting the above information in a sidebar and/or adding the information, with citations, to the Anussati article).

I hope my basis seems rational and actions reasonable, whether or not one initially agrees with them. With metta, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 02:40, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Second iteration[edit]

Today User:New22 (who appears to be the same editor who made the above-identified problemmatic edit — based on writing style, word preference (e.g., "earliest"), obsessive focus (Anussati), place of insertion, etc.) added the following text in the same location:

In the earliest records of the Buddhist canon, the Pali canon mentions Buddha talking about atleast 10 basic meditations known as "recollections" or anussatis. The first six of these recollections are used by all schools of Buddhism -- Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana.
The Buddha has prescribed the path for the spiritual development through the continuous practice of Anusmrti (Recollection). [1]

The reference is to: Bimalendra Kumar, ANUSMRITI IN THERAVADA AND MAHAYANA TEXTS, Buddhist Himalaya VOLUME XI 1999-2005(COMBINEDISSUE)

The associated Edit Summary states: "The article makes it sound as if there is nothing in common with all schools of Buddhism. This is wrong."

There are many reasons for why this newly inserted material is an improvement over the former version including:

  1. An anonymous IP address was not used
  2. A citation is used to back up the claim
  3. Dubious claims that the anussati are the "earliest" or "simplest forms" is not included

I applaud these improvements. In addition, the Edit Summary's rationale, if earnest, provides a basis for better resolving User:New22's most fundamental concern.

However, still problems exist. First from the above list, the fourth concern (previously identified as "perhaps most important") continues to be unaddressed:

4. perhaps most importantly, this article is highly hierarchical and the recollections are already mentioned in the section Buddhaghosa's forty meditation subjects; thus, the information provided is elaborated upon disproportionately to similar information in the article, inserted in an inappropriate place and is redundant.

In addition, there is another basic problem: The cited article does not provide the support needed. In particular:

  1. The cited article does identify anussati as it is represented in a few Theravada and Mahayana texts, but it does not claim that this practice is common to "all schools of Buddhism". Personally, the majority of Buddhist practitioners I know do not pursue anussati as identified in the canon and, in fact, most Western Buddhists seem to have little understanding of what this practice entails. Thus, to assert such in this article is clear POV.
  2. Even if this practice were common to all Buddhist schools, it does not mean that it is a significant practice. Thus, again, the emphasis that this re-insertion gives the practice is not merited.
  3. If you actually read the identified article, it seems to say that anussati practice is two different things in Theravada and Mahayana (Vajrayana?) traditions, thus providing, if anything, a refutation of the notion that anussati practice is universal.

Another minor problem with this newly inserted text is that it talks about "at least ten basic meditations known as 'recollections'...." In terms of the referenced canon and the article cited, there are not "at least" but "at most" ten recollections. Such an error throws into question the initial editor's knowledge about this practice. (FWIW, just to emphasize that I have nothing against anussati practices, I have found them valuable in my own practice and, as a result, contributed significantly to the existing WP anussati article).

I would be interest in addressing the Edit Summary issue, if sincere. Also, I hope User:New22 responds here — I feel I have given far more thought and time in providing a reasonable basis for reconsidering his/her edits than he/she has taken in simply inserting them. Regrettably, I have to go now and thus cannot elaborate further (or even review what I have written). However, if these concerns are not addressed here in the next day or two, the new edit will again be reverted for these reasons.

With metta, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 14:29, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

I just left a prompt at User_talk:New22 asking that she/he respond here. - Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 20:55, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
It's been three days and there's been no response. Thus, based on the above unaddressed concerns, the identified text will be removed presently. If anyone would like to undo or otherwise modify this reversion, please discuss here first. Thank you, Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 13:03, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Dearest Larry[edit]

I appreciate your work and your sincerity, but any article should generally go from the basics to the later schools. You begin with a sentence implying there is no commonality in Buddhist meditation. Something COMPLETELY WRONG and factually incorrect.

The work I cited clearly indicates that the anusatis were common to all the schools (they are even in Tibetan).

The question is Buddhism is about the Buddha, and only later about different schools. Buddhaghosha is not Buddha, but a mere disciple. There are plenty of Buddhist texts with Buddha emphasizing the Anusatis as being a major component. In Buddhism, the Anusatis are basic and should be mentioned in beginning. It's the most basic teachings and meditations. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:25, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

One could probably argue that breath meditation is more "basic" than Anussati practices and more widely practiced. Breath meditation's widespread nature is alluded to in an endnote in this article. But I do not know about Pure Land Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism and other important schools. Do they practice breath meditation? Do they practice Anussati as described in the Pali Canon? Do you know? Can you provide citations?
Without clear scholarship, it's inappropriate to state that something is a fact. Nonetheless, I am more than willing to try to fashion with you a balanced statement indicating that some forms of meditation are common to all major "branches" (not all denominations).
Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 16:53, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
I just made the following change to try to accommodate your stated concerns while also attempting to maintain a non-POV, balanced, hierarchical approach in this article. I changed:
There are many types and forms of meditation used in the various schools of Buddhism.
While there are some meditative practices — such as breath meditation and recollections (anussati) — that are widely used across Buddhist schools, there is also significant sectarian diversity.
Better? (I'm not crazy about the word "sectarian" and welcome a discussion of how to wordsmith, if appropriate.) Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 17:09, 12 October 2007 (UTC)
Feeling compelled to imbue accuracy into the new statement, I just wordsmithed it to:
While there are some meditative practices — such as breath meditation and various recollections (anussati) — that are used across Buddhist schools, there is also significant sectarian diversity.
The reasons being:
  1. As stated before, the article that was previously cited seems to indicate that Theravada and Tibetan recollections are actually different; thus, "various" has been added to modify "recollections."
  2. As stated before, simply because practices are acknowledged in the literature of various branches of Buddhism, it does not mean that the practice is actually widely known or used; thus deleted "widely" from "widely used."
Larry Rosenfeld (talk) 17:23, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Is meditation real?[edit]

Does this stuff actually work? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:01, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

What are you referring to specifically? Mitsube (talk) 00:14, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

I enter a meditative state where I see blue colors, about once a day for an hour. It feels blissful, gives me more intense dreams, and so forth.

There also studies done by scientists these days, studying the effects of meditation on the brain. If you would like to learn more then look up names like Matthieu Ricard and Richard Davidson, and scientific articles like, for one, 'Neural correlates of attentional expertise in long-term meditation practitioners' --makeswell 19:04, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, this talk page is for discussing improvement of the article, not a discussion forum. /ninly(talk) 22:13, 24 February 2011 (UTC)


Thoroughly misleading. Gives the impression that most of Buddhaghosa's 40 subjects don't appear in the Pali Canon. In fact all but 2 of them do. Peter jackson (talk) 17:06, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

I haven't heard all but 2. I found a source for all but 6: [1]. Mitsube (talk) 17:46, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
She does mention a list of 38 in a Jataka tale. Mitsube (talk) 17:50, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Jataka tales aren't generally canonical. The canonical jataka book is almost entirely verse.
I can't remember all the details, but the main lists occur as follows.
  • 8 kasinas: Sangiti &/or Dasuttara in Digha; also in Anguttara; the other 2 kasinas are the non-canonical ones
  • 10 asubhas: Dhammasangani
  • 10 anussatis: Anguttara
  • 4 brahmaviharas: passim
  • 4 arupas: passim

Peter jackson (talk) 12:19, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

I see Sarah Shaw actually says all of them are canonical (pages 68, 90). This may be a matter of interpretation, but I think the commentaries themselves admit somewhere (can't remember where) that 2 aren't. Peter jackson (talk) 17:41, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Western Buddhist Orders[edit]

The sources for this section appear to be entirely based on a book written by a member of this group. [2] This is an obvious case of COI (Conflict of Interest)[3] I would like to nominate this section for deletion unless there is a mention of FWBO meditation technique in third party sources. As I understand it, the group has its own publishing house.Vapour (talk) 13:27, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

importance of 'view' rather than 'category'[edit]

[...deleted, deleted, deleted...] alright so i edited the original Zen entry, "five styles of zen in my view" which had originally caught my eye and pissed me off, edited it for discrimination and a self-centered worldview....

so basically just two sections: one as "views on meditation" where views refers to the whole: 'i've experienced this before so now i'm telling you about it, and since we're both human, here is kinda what it's like to be a human: so here's my advice' which is the basis of meditation practices (or most any practice on that note) so one category just as "views on meditation" which has to be sensitive to other people's points of view on a wikipedia article, not only is that lack of sensitivity very offensive and going to turn a lot of people away from wikipedia, it is also completely against the spirit of buddhism, completely the opposite of something like interdependence: further it is simply a very small, very biased view. granted, all views are biased, but we should at least through our eyes see that somebody else has eyes as well, so to speak. i mean did we not have racism for the past darn 200 years in America?

hopefully the point is well-received/understood. then i mean i feel like 'views' is a better word than 'types' because views includes that whole life as a series of events leading one to see something in a particular light by relating it to their past experiences... which is what a type is: that sum relation. so perhaps a section like, "Views on Meditation" instead of "Types of Meditation", where 'views' expresses that experience already summed up... in the writing that came before 'views'. i am going to change that now if everybody's cool then let's keep it that way.Makeswell (talk) 19:36, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Great start![edit]

Great start!

I do think that we should extend this page. It should include other common Buddhist meditation methods, visualisation meditation for example. Also there should be mention of non-conceptual vipashanna. Then these terms should be related to their Tibetan counterparts. Also should we include a section about Mahamudra and Dzogzen meditations, etc. Maybe we should relate the meditation practices to the different schools of Buddhism (Theravada, Mahayanna and Vajrayanna), maybe even list them under these headings. What do you think? 23:12, 21 November 2005 (UTC) R.Sok

good bit that was excerpted placed here for safekeeping and future use[edit]

this is a good bit from the Meditation page, but it didn't exactly fit with the flow of the Buddhist section at the time I am editing it. Therefore I am placing it here for safekeeping in the hope that it will one day be used somewhere on wikipedia... All Buddhist traditions recognize that the path to Enlightenment entails three types of training: virtue (sīla); concentration (dhyāna); and, wisdom (paññā).[2] Thus, meditative process alone is but one aspect of the path to Enlightenment.[3] makeswell (talk) 18:01, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

also, same with this... Monks may regularly train in meditation for 10 or 12 hours a day. The Dalai Lama spends 2 hours a day meditating every morning, but says that he is not very serious of a practitioner. For many lay practitioners, 2 hours a day is too much, and 10 or 15 minutes might be fine.

this is not about meditation... One particularly influential school of Buddhist meditation in the 20th century was the Thai Forest Tradition which included such notable practitioners of meditation as Ajahn Thate, Ajahn Maha Bua and the Ajahn Chah.[4] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Makeswell (talkcontribs) 00:47, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Say what?[edit]

This new page is so confusing. The old layout from 2007 was so much easier to understand. Do you Buddhist meditation "experts" ever think that laymen are trying to understand and research about this and you people have thoroughly confused them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:59, 3 February 2012 (UTC)


This is where it went wrong: diff. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 08:03, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

Supramundane powers[edit]

I can find references for "siddhis" - but I've never heard of "iddhis". I'm going to find out! Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 14:10, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Iddhi is a Pali term -- ṛddhi is the Sanskrit term. These are the terms originally used in Buddhism for supernormal powers. In the later period of Buddhism, they were called siddhi, probably under the influence of trends in Hinduism. The use of iddhi in Theravada Buddhism is fairly common, whereas Tibetan Buddhists use the word siddhi, and Mahayana Buddhists in the Far East usually translate the term as "spiritual power", "spiritual penetration", or something like that. Tengu800 08:26, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 09:33, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

Science on the benefits of meditation[edit]

Should we add a section on the science on the benefits of meditation?

There are a lot of studies linked in this breezy concise list of 20+ benefits

  2. ^ For instance, from the Pali Canon, see MN 44 (Thanissaro, 1998a) and AN 3:88 (Thanissaro, 1998b). In Mahayana tradition, the Lotus Sutra lists the Six Perfections (paramita) which echoes the threefold training with the inclusion of virtue (śīla), concentration (samadhi) and wisdom (prajñā). Also, these are the three categories of The Eightfold Path.
  3. ^ Dharmacarini Manishini, Western Buddhist Review. Accessed at
  4. ^ Tiyavanich K. Forest Recollections: Wandering Monks in Twentieth-Century Thailand. University of Hawaii Press, 1997.