Jamyang Salisbury Buddhist Study Group
Jamyang Salisbury Buddhist Study Group

                          Meditation 101


Welcome to Buddhist Meditation 101. This is an introductory course on basic Buddhist meditation techniques for complete beginners. It does not assume that those who come for this course know anything at all about meditation or about Buddhism. It does not assume that those who take this course are even interested in learning more about Buddhism. This course assumes simply that those who come are interested in learning something about meditation and that Buddhist meditation has appealed to them and has brought them to this course. 

This course is presented as a series of five sessions. Each session contains teachings and guided meditations. Each session includes handouts of meditation scripts and suggested questions for contemplation and discussion are also provided.

Overall, the following topics will be covered during this five-session course:

  • what is meditation?
  • meditation posture and arranging the body
  • purposes and benefits of meditation
  • different skills that are used in meditation and useful in daily life
  • the difference between meditation and simple relaxation
  • two main types of meditation – analytical and stabilizing
  • obstacles to meditation and their antidotes
  • setting up a meditation session
  • advice for establishing a long-term meditation practice
  • using the benefits of meditation in everyday living
  • meditation practice
    • breathing meditations: counting, nine-round
    • mindfulness meditations: scanning the body, bare attention, mind like the sky, mind like the ocean
    • visualization meditations: body of light, purification with light
    • analytical meditations: meditation on equanimity, transforming negative experiences into positive

Session 1:

  • Introduction
  • What is meditation
  • Meditation as familiarization
  • The purpose of meditation
  • How meditation is different from simple relaxation
  • Different skills useful in meditation: concentration and mindfulness
  • Meditation posture: seven-point meditation position
  • Scanning the body exercise
  • Concentration exercise: Counting the Breaths
  • Mindfulness exercise: Bare Attention

Session 2:

  • Review of concentration and mindfulness
  • Nature of the mind
  • Mind as like the sky or like the ocean
  • Inner causes of happiness and unhappiness
  • Meditation as providing chance for choice and responsibility
  • Nine-Round Breathing Meditation
  • Meditation: Mind Like the Sky
  • Meditation: Mind Like an Ocean

Session 3:

  • The importance of motivation
  • Two main types of meditation: analytical and stabilizing
  • Different objects of meditation; different modes of relating with meditational objects
  • Obstacles to meditation: laziness and forgetting the object. Antidotes to these.
  • Obstacles to meditation: mental excitement and dullness. Antidotes to these.
  • The five primary delusions and their antidotes. How to apply the antidotes.
  • Meditation: Transforming Negative Experiences into Positive

Session 4:

  • Setting up a meditation session in four parts: calming the mind, setting the motivation, the actual meditation, dedication
  • Setting up a conducive place to meditate at home
  • Using the benefits of meditation in everyday living
  • The characteristics and benefits of visualization meditation
  • Purification with Light Meditation

Session 5:

  • More about analytical meditation
  • Introduction to the disadvantages of the discriminating mind and the benefits of the mind of equanimity
  • How to meditate on equanimity
  • Advice for establishing a long-term meditation practice
  • Emphasis on benefits of meditation, remembering why one meditates
  • Body of Light Meditation
  • Equanimity Meditation
  • Course review and conclusion
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