A person intent on serious practice of Buddhism is not content with mere intellectual understanding of the teaching and will wish to experience and realize the teaching. This can only be done by practising awareness and meditation, which goes beyond intellectual analysis and understanding.
Bhavana, the Pali word for developing the heart is translated as meditation but has a much wider meaning than spending some time in formal concentration. Practicing awareness means extending awareness so that all actions, thoughts and words are performed with increasing concentration/absorption and consciousness. It applies to bodily actions, feelings, mental states and activities and to the teaching.
Meditation involves the formal training of the mind, concentration and the development of insight. It is generally accepted that some personal guidance is needed in meditation. The aim is to empty and transform the mind/heart and to
develop awareness, energy and tranquillity leading to realizing the truth or Nibbana.
Peter Della Santina
Meditation: The Heart of Buddhism
The Basic Method of Meditation
The Four Foundations of Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness With Breathing: Getting Started
Essential Advice on Meditation
Bibliography, Links, Resources
What is missing in focusing total attention to one single object all the time is wisdom. Your total attention should be coupled with wise attention.
Anapana Sati: Meditation on Breathing
Ven. Mahathera Nauyane Ariyadhamma).
Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation
See Ashoka's online course Zen Meditation: Entering the Path, for an in-depth introduction to the Zen meditation.
See Ashoka's online course Turning the Mind Into an Ally for an in-depth introduction to taming the mind withShamatha meditation.
With right mindfulness comes the awareness of ones true nature and the ability to deal with the feelings and movements of the mind peacefully with detachment and right understanding.
The Basics of Buddhist Meditation
Dr. C. George Boeree
Buddhism began by encouraging its practitioners to engage in smrti (sati) or mindfulness, that is, developing a full consciousness of all about you and within you -- whether seated in a special posture, or simply going about one’s life. This is the kind of meditation that Buddha himself engaged in under the bodhi tree, and is referred to in the seventh step of the eightfold path.
How to do Mindfulness Meditation
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
What Does It Mean to Be Mindful?
Venerable Henepola Gunaratana
Excerpt from Mindfulness in Plain English
The Satipatthana Vipassana Meditation
A Basic Buddhist Mindfulness Exercise
Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw
The Miracle of Mindfulness
Thich Naht Hanh
A moment of Mindfulness: A 10 minute mindfulness practice >>>
The Five Mindfulness Trainings
These trainings were offered by the Buddha for lay practitioners. The version presented here was developed by Thich Nhat Hanh to support and encourage our mindfulness practice in modern times.
The Brahma-Viharas & the four immeasurables
The four immeasurables, known also by the Sanskrit Brahma Viharas, are found throughout Buddhist traditions. They are summed up in this meditation/prayer:
May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
May all sentient beings never be separated from bliss without suffering,
May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.
The Buddha taught these to his son Rahula:
Rahula, practice loving kindness to overcome anger. Loving kindness has the capacity to bring happiness to others without demanding anything in return.
Practice compassion to overcome cruelty. Compassion has the capacity to remove the suffering of others without expecting anything in return.
Practice sympathetic joy to overcome hatred. Sympathetic joy arises when one rejoices over the happiness of others and wishes others well-being and success.
Practice non-attachment to overcome prejudice. Non-attachment is the way of looking at all things openly and equally. This is because that is. Myself and others are not separate. Do not reject one thing only to chase after another.
I call these the four immeasurables. Practice them and you will become a refreshing source of vitality and happiness for others.
From Thich Nhat Hahn's Old Path White Clouds"
The Four Sublime States – Contemplations on Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity
The Four Immeasurable States
The Practice of the Four Immeasurables" Awakening a Kind Heart
Ven Sangye Khadro
The Four Immeasurables
Ven. Thubten Chodron
See the Ashoka online course Liberating the Heart: The Brahma Viharas taught by Sharon Salzberg
Metta / loving-kindness
Lovingkindness, or metta as it is known in Pali, is a universal, unselfish and all-embracing love that protects, supports and heals both oneself and others. Metta is one of the four immeasurables.
Meditation on Loving-Kindness (Metta)
Universal Loving Kindness
Reflecting on kindness
The Practice of Loving-Kindness (Metta) As Taught by the Buddha in the Pali Canon
Ñanamoli Thera (compilation and translation)
Facets of Metta
The Power of Metta
Guided Lovingkindness Meditation
This guided meditation for cultivating the power of metta, taught by Sharon Salzberg, begins by directing positive sentiments towards oneself and progresses to radiate this well-wishing outward towards specific people and finally to all beings everywhere, without limit. From Dharma Stream.
You will find that "mindfulness" is often used synonymously with meditation. Mindfulness usually refers to the practice of intentional awareness of one's thoughts and actions in the present moment, non-judgmentally. Mindfulness is applied to both bodily actions and the mind's own thoughts and feelings.
In Buddhism, the second kind of mindfulness is considered a prerequisite for developing insight and wisdom. Right Mindfulness is the seventh path from the Noble Eightfold Path, which is in its turn the fourth of the Four Noble Truths.
Right mindfulness is also known as Right Meditation. There are many, many forms of mindfulness and meditation. One example of mindfulness is to mentally give a verbal label to each in breath and out breath during sitting meditation. However, mindfulness does not have to be constrained to a formal meditation session. Mindfulness is an activity that can be done at any time; it does not require sitting, or even focusing on the breath, but rather is done by bringing the mind to focus on what is happening in the present moment, while simply noticing the mind's usual "commentary". One can be mindful of the sensations in one's feet while walking, of the sound of the wind in the trees, or the feeling of soapy water while doing dishes. One can also be mindful of the mind's commentary.