What is Meditation?
In essence, meditation is a technique of training our mind to be more peaceful, contented, kind, wise and happy. With practice and patience, through qualified meditation we can experience happy, joyous thoughts and feelings more and more of the time, regardless of what is happening in our life. We all have this potential within us, we just need to know how to access it; which is what learning meditation is all about. Click HERE to read more.
Why Would I Want to Meditate?
No matter how we view our life, we all want to be happy and free from suffering and unhappiness. Meditation gives us practical tools to achieve this by improving our understanding and control of our mind. Click HERE to read more.
Who's Meditation For?
It's for everyone. We all experience ups and downs, good times and bad. We all have the basic desire to be happy. Isn't that why we do much of what we do in our lives? To be happy and free from the things which make us unhappy.
Meditation isn't just for people experiencing problems in their life - anyone can gain real benefits for their mental and physical well-being by learning to meditate. It's an inner-science or technology and the results are extensively backed up by modern science.
What's The Difference Between Meditation and Mindfulness?
Originally taught by the Buddha, the idea of 'mindfulness' has become very popular these days. People who meditate use mindfulness (which is just one tool among many) as a means of keeping their attention focused on states of mind or ways of thinking that are conducive to feeling at peace . Mindfulness can be beneficial used on its own, but when used as part of the wider "toolkit" that Buddha taught people gain a clearer and more precise understanding of how to improve their inner wellbeing.
Is Meditation just Blanking Our Mind?
In preliminary meditation practice such as breathing meditation we ignore all thoughts and concentrate on the breathe in order to quieten and still our mind. From here we can go on to actual meditation where we use wise thinking to generate positive states of mind - which we then hold with concentration.
Is Meditation just 'Positive Thinking'?
We don't seek to put a positive 'gloss' on life. Many people comment on how honest the classes are about our minds and our lives. In meditation we learn how to deal with life as it is, not how would wish it was. The meditations we teach lead our mind into positive views and intentions. But to arrive at a positive state of mind we sometimes need to consider - with lightness and a little humour - some of the sufferings and uncomfortable facts of life we all have to face.
Whether you use meditation to deal with a particular problem in life or it becomes your way of life, anyone can benefit if they put a little effort into integrating the instructions into their life. You don't have to sit on cushion for hours each day "staring at your navel". Meditation is not mystical or magical, rather its practical, easily understood and accessible to everyone.
Have a read through the next few pages to gain a more in-depth understanding of how meditation can be of benefit to you. Starting HERE.
What's Modern About Meditation?
The meditation we teach at our classes comes originally from the Buddha and has been practised for over 2500 years. In that time the world has changed immeasurably but what hasn't changed is our search for happiness and contentment in life. Despite the benefits of living in the 21st century we still encounter difficulties, hardship, dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
All the classes taught in Kadampa Centres such as Ashoka Centre are based on the Modern Buddhism presented by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. This means that you don't have to be Buddhist to benefit from the classes as they are specifically designed to be accessible to modern people of all backgrounds. All you need is a mind, and the wish to improve it!
So, whether you are interested in simply learning ways of improving your life to make it easier and happier or if you have an interest in Buddhism and the path to enlightenment, it doesn't matter: our classes present the tools to find inner peace and happiness at whatever level of ability or interest we have.
These teachings are for anyone and everyone regardless of our background, other interests, what job we have, whether we are rich, poor, healthy or unhealthy, whether we have a religious faith or have no interest in religion. These remarkable gifts of the Buddha have been made accessible to modern people in many countries throughout the world by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and the Dharma Centres of the New Kadampa Tradition. To learn more click HERE.
Click HERE to read our page, "Why Meditate?", which gives a more in depth explanation.