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Buddhist Meditation (2) Bhavana

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Uploaded on Apr 15, 2008

Bhavana, the Pali term for cultivation, refers to the development of wholesome mental states and of wisdom. Dealing with difficulties when beginning to meditate. (Sorry for the background noise.)
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There's not really a word for 'meditation' in the Pali language as such. The word that we use is 'Bhavana', which means 'cultivation'. And I think it's an important point, because if we don't really understand the way that meditation is integrated into the general spiritual cultivation, which includes our relationship to the material world, the relationship to the people around us, then it can fail to fulfill the characteristics needed for it to be Buddhist meditation. So Buddhist meditation consists of techniques, methods of developing or cultivating wholesome mental states and abandoning unwholesome mental states in order to provide the foundation for the development of wisdom.

So ultimately wisdom cultivation is the goal, because the Buddha taught us that whereas peaceful, sublime mental states can suppress, more successfully suppress, and for long periods, unwholesome mental states, it's only the faculty of wisdom that can totally uproot them. Now, before that kind of foundation of clarity, peace, inner integrity can be sustained sufficiently for this wisdom faculty to do its work, then the cultivation of our life in the world, as they say, relationship both to the material and to the social world is very important. Firstly, to create a sense of security and harmony in the social world. And secondly, so that we are not troubled by sorts of remorse and guilt of our actions and speech.

This becomes very clear when we start to meditate, because certain kinds of behaviour and ways of speaking which generally when we might not seem particularly blameworthy or just the way that everyone acts and speaks. When you start to meditate, you become pretty much more sensitive to the quality of actions and the mind can be considerably disturbed by things we've done or nor done, the things we've said or not said. And it's, again, worth while remembering that if you're trying to meditate and you're having difficulties, and you probably will to begin with, at least, then the problems that are rising, are not enemies, are not signs that you are hopeless, but they are teaching you about particular imbalances, or often lack of clear understanding of the most intelligent way to conduct your life in society.

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