New year's Resolutions tips and ideas

New year's Resolutions tips and ideas

Meditation styles: Nām Japō, Dhyāna in Hinduism, Dhyāna in Buddhism, Dhyāna in Jainism

Written By: admin - Jan• 27•10
Introduction to the meditation styles: Nām Japō, Dhyāna in Hinduism, Dhyāna in Buddhism, Dhyāna in Jainism.

Nām Japō
Nām Japō is performed by singing Hymns from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib or of the various Names of God, specially the chanting of the word Waheguru, which means Wonderful Lord. Singing of hymns generally is also referred to a ‘Nām Jap’, sometimes also called ‘Nām Simran’. Naam Japo or Naam Japna – Is the remembrance of God by repeating and focusing the mind on His name. The names given to God primarily refer to the attributes of the Almighty and His various qualities. The guideline in the Rehit Mariyada of Guru Gobind Singh demands that the Sikh engages in Naam Simran as part of his or her everyday routine.

Nām Japō is a main pillar of Sikhism and is the term used to refer to this very important activity in the everyday life of a Sikh — the singing, quiet meditation, listening of sacred text or sacred words. Critical importance is given to the meditation in the Guru Granth Sahib.

This concept is also permeated in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib as the way in which humans can conquer ego, greed, attachment, anger and lust, together commonly called the Five Evils or Five Thieves and to bring peace and tranquility into ones mind. The Sikhs practice both the quiet individual recitation of Naam in ones mind. This is commonly called Naam Simran while the loud and communal recitation of Naam is called Naam Jaap. However, this is not a strict definition of these phases.

Dhyāna in Hinduism
In Hinduism, dhyana is considered to be an instrument to gain self knowledge, separating maya from reality to help attain the ultimate goal of moksha. Depictions of Hindu yogis performing dhyāna are found in ancient texts and in statues and frescoes of ancient India temples. Dhyana in Raja Yoga is also found in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Practiced together with Dharana and Samādhi it constitutes the Samyama.

When the mind has been trained to remain fixed on a certain internal or external location, there comes to it the power of flowing in an unbroken current, as it were, towards that point. This state is called dhyana. When one has so intensified the power of dhyana as to be able to reject the external part of perception and remain meditating only on the internal part, the meaning, that state is called Samadhi.


Dhyāna in Buddhism
Dhyāna in Buddhism is described in the Pali Canon, as the eight progressive states of absorption meditation or jhāna. Four are considered to be meditations of form (rupa jhana) and four are formless meditations (arupa jhana). The first four jhānas are said by the Buddha to be conducive to a pleasant abiding and freedom from suffering (DN 22). The jhānas are states of meditation where the mind is free from the five hindrances (craving, aversion, sloth, agitation, doubt) and (from the second jhāna onwards) incapable of discursive thinking. The deeper jhānas can last for many hours. When a meditator emerges from jhāna, his or her mind is empowered and able to penetrate into the deepest truths of existence.

There are four deeper states of meditative absorption called the immaterial attainments. Sometimes these are also referred to as the “formless” jhānas, or arupajhana (distinguished from the first four jhānas, rupajhana). In the Buddhist canonical texts, the word jhāna is never explicitly used to denote them, but they are always mentioned in sequence after the first four jhānas. The enlightenment of complete dwelling in emptiness is reached when the eighth jhana is transcended.

Jhānas are normally described according to the nature of the mental factors which are present in these states

   1. Movement of the mind onto the object, Vitakka (Sanskrit: Vitarka)
   2. Retention of the mind on the object, Vicāra
   3. Joy, Pīti (Sanskrit: Prīti)
   4. Happiness, Sukha
   5. Equanimity, Upekkhā (Sanskrit: Upekṣā)
   6. One-pointedness, Ekaggatā (Sanskrit: Ekāgratā)

The four progressive states of Jhāna are:
   1. First Jhāna (Vitakka, Vicāra, Pīti, Sukha, Ekaggatā): The five hindrances have completely disappeared and intense unified bliss remains. Only the subtlest of mental movement remains, perceivable in its absence by those who have entered the second jhāna. The ability to form unwholesome intentions ceases.
   2. Second Jhāna (Pīti, Sukha, Ekaggatā): All mental movement utterly ceases. There is only bliss. The ability to form wholesome intentions ceases as well.
   3. Third Jhāna (Sukha, Ekaggatā): One-half of bliss (joy) disappears.
   4. Fourth Jhāna (Upekkhā, Ekaggatā): The other half of bliss (happiness) disappears, leading to a state with neither pleasure nor pain, which the Buddha said is actually a subtle form of happiness (more sublime than pīti and sukha). The Buddha described the jhānas as “the footsteps of the tathāgata”. The breath is said to cease temporarily in this state.

The scriptures state that one should not seek to attain ever higher jhanas but master one first, then move on to the next. “Mastery of jhana” involves being able to enter a jhana at will, stay as long as one likes, leave at will and experience each of the jhana factors as required. They also seem to suggest that lower jhana factors may manifest themselves in higher jhanas, if the jhanas have not been properly developed. The Buddha is seen to advise his disciples to concentrate and steady the jhana further.

In Chan, meditation has a leading role. According to tradition, Bodhidharma brought his lineage school of a line of dhyāna masters from India to China. After a somewhat disappointing interview with an Emperor in the south of China, Bodhidharma went into the north and resided in relative obscurity at the Shaolin Temple until several disciples found him. As it became more and more independent, popular and politically influential, the lineage school that was attributed to Bodhidharma became known as the Chan school in China and was transplanted to Korea as Seon, to Japan as Zen, and to Vietnam as Thiền.

Arguably the most influential figure in Chinese Chan is Huineng who, beginning with Bodhidharma, is considered the sixth in line of the founders of the school of Chan Buddhism. Huineng is credited with firmly establishing Chan Buddhism as an independent Buddhist school in China. In the Platform Sutra, Huineng is reported to have said: “Learned Audience, what is sitting for meditation? In our School, to sit means to gain absolute freedom and to be mentally unperturbed in all outward circumstances, be they good or otherwise. To meditate means to realize inwardly the imperturbability of the Essence of Mind. Learned Audience, what are Dhyana and Samadhi? Dhyana means to be free from attachment to all outer objects, and Samadhi means to attain inner peace. If we are attached to outer objects, our inner mind will be perturbed. When we are free from attachment to all outer objects, the mind will be in peace. Our Essence of Mind is intrinsically pure, and the reason why we are perturbed is because we allow ourselves to be carried away by the circumstances we are in. He who is able to keep his mind unperturbed, irrespective of circumstances, has attained Samadhi. To be free from attachment to all outer objects is Dhyana, and to attain inner peace is Samadhi. When we are in a position to deal with Dhyana and to keep our inner mind in Samadhi, then we are said to have attained Dhyana and Samadhi. The Bodhisattva Sila Sutra says, “Our Essence of Mind is intrinsically pure.” Learned Audience, let us realize this for ourselves at all times. Let us train ourselves, practice it by ourselves, and attain Buddhahood by our own effort”.

Overall, in Mahayana traditions, dhyana – called samadhi – is very important. Dhyāna is the fifth of six pāramitās (perfections). It is usually translated as “concentration,” “meditation,” or “meditative stability.” In China, the word dhyana was originally transliterated as chan-na (禅那; Mandarin: chánnà), and was eventually shortened to just chan (禅) by common usage.

Dhyana together with the second and sixth paramitas are also known as the three essential studies, or threefold training, of Buddhism: moral precepts (sila), meditation (dhyana or samadhi), and wisdom (prajna). In Mahayana Buddhism no one can be said to be accomplished in Buddhism who has not successfully trained in all three studies.

When Buddhism was brought to China, the Buddhist masters tended to become more focused or primarily adept in one of the three studies. Vinaya masters were those who specialized in the monastic rules of discipline and the moral precepts (sila). Dharma masters were those who specialized in the wisdom teachings of the Sutras and Buddhist treatises (shastras). Dhyana or Chan masters were those who specialized in meditation practice and states of samadhi. Monks would often begin their training under one kind of master, such as a Vinaya master, and then transfer to another master, such as a Dharma master or a Dhyana master, to further their training and studies. At that time there was no separate school known as Chan.



 Dhyāna in Jainism
Dhyāna in Jainism is called Samayika, meaning being in the moment of continuous real-time. This act of being conscious of the continual renewal of the universe in general and one’s own renewal of the individual living being (Jiva) in particular is the critical first step in the journey towards identification with one’s true nature, called the Atman. It is also a method by which one can develop an attitude of harmony and respect towards other humans and Mother Nature.

One begins by achieving a balance in time. By being fully aware, alert and conscious of the constantly moving present, one will experience their true nature, Atman.

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