Meaning of Bhāvanā - Buddhism, Philosophy, and Khmer Literature


Buddhism, Philosophy, and Khmer Literature

The teachings of the Buddha are aimed solely at liberating sentient beings from suffering. The Basic Teachings of Buddha which are core to Buddhism are: The Three Universal Truths; The Four Noble Truths; and The Noble Eightfold Path.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Meaning of Bhāvanā

          Bhāvanā is a Pālì word which is generally known as meditation. Meditation is a translation of Bhāvanā in English terminology, by accurately translating the entire meaning is not easy. There are two main kinds of meditation: serenity meditation – Samatha Bhāvanā and Insight meditation- Vipassanā Bhāvanā.
          Ancient teachers have explained the meaning of the Bhāvanā as “to lessen defilements such as greed, hared, conceit  ... etc., to develop quality of good mental states such as faith, loving-kindness, compassion  ... etc.” in other way of interpreting, Bhāvanā means to cultivate and practice wholesome states that are thirty seven kinds of enlightenment factors (Bodhipakkhìya).
          Bhāvanā (Meditation) is performed by the mind. People sometimes do not understand that “meditation is a pure mental action”, so they think keeping one single bodily posture is practicing meditation such as sitting, standing, keeping silence…etc. Meditation can be practiced in all activities.
          Although it is said that meditation is a pure mental action, it should be understood that the two functions of meditation are mind (citta) and sense objects (Ārammaäa). Objects are recognized by the mind. Whenever there is mind or consciousness, there is always one sense objects, which is something for the mind to recognize.
          Some people do not know the functions of mind and sense objects, so they look for the specific objects which they regard as meditation objects. This may be true to a certain extent for serenity meditation but no suitable for Insight meditation. Without development of good and right mental state, paying attention only to sense objects is not Insight meditation. Those who practice Insight meditation should clearly know the nature of mind and the nature of sense object. Only then it will be beneficial in practicing Insight meditation.

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