Comprehensive List of Practices and Meditation Styles

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Re: Comprehensive List of Meditation Styles

Postby Roland » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:17 pm

What about deity practices? There are so many and there are different variations according to different traditions and lineages.
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Re: Comprehensive List of Meditation Styles

Postby Madhyama Pratipada » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:22 pm

Tara wrote:
Madhyama Pratipada wrote:A friend and I are seeking to compile a comprehensive list of Buddhist meditation styles across traditions.


Hi Madhyama Pratipada

Apologies for butting in but I was wondering if the list you are compiling has a specific purpose more than say for personal interest ...
Madhyama Pratipada wrote:Forgive me for enjoying list-making so much. :)
... or the joy attained in list making. :)

If there is a specific purpose it may be helpful or of benefit for the reader to know what that purpose is.

:oops: ....... :focus:


As a meditation enthusiast and avid list maker, the task of compiling a comprehensive list of meditation styles is of great interest to me. :smile:

At HamsterWheel, we're in the process of designing a new feature where participants can log their meditation practice using a visually informative chart. For ease of use, participants will be able to choose from an existing list of various styles of meditation and related activities, allowing them to log their practice simply with a few clicks of the mouse. We want the available options to be as thorough and inclusive as possible, as the charting feature will be open to participants from all traditions. Hence our reason for inquiring about the various styles of meditation practiced within the different schools of Buddhism.

Not only that, but it's a project I've been thinking about conducting for a while now due to a personal interest in all things meditation and research-oriented.
sarvopalambhopaśamah prapañcopaśamah śivah
na kimcitkasyacitkaścid dharmo buddhena deśitah

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Re: Comprehensive List of Meditation Styles

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:07 pm

Roland wrote:What about deity practices? There are so many and there are different variations according to different traditions and lineages.


They usually follow the same steps. There are only a few varieties and maybe a couple of exceptions.

Consult books like Jamgon Kongrul's "The Treasury Of Knowledge" (especially The Elements Of Tantric Practice, but also Systems Of Buddhist Tantra and Esoteric Instructions); Jeffrey Hopkins: Tantric Techniques; Daniel Cozort: Highest Yoga Tantra; Dharmachakra Translation Comittee: Deity, Mantra, and Wisdom; etc. if you are more interested.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Comprehensive List of Meditation Styles

Postby plwk » Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:22 pm

If this is of any use...
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Re: Comprehensive List of Meditation Styles

Postby kirtu » Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:29 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Well, I must say you have quite a task ahead of you. At the retreat seminar I went to this year we learnt around twenty different techniques for shine (calm abiding) meditation.


In one Pali sutta at least 50 different objects of meditation are taught, in other about 20. This was for calming meditation (shine) - the object depended on the personality of the person and their predominant klesha.

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Re: Comprehensive List of Meditation Styles

Postby kirtu » Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:47 pm

Madhyama Pratipada wrote:Meditation for the purpose of this list refers to formal practice, particularly within the categories of shamatha and vipashyanā. A few examples from the present Mahayana list of meditation styles are included below:

Zazen
Shikantaza
Kōan
Huatou
Kinhin
Sādhanā
Visualization
Tantra
Tonglen
Dzogchen
Mahāmudrā
Ngöndro


For the most part all meditation can be classified as shamata or vipashyana or both. Some meditation is all three with the emphasis changing as the practitioner develops or changes their practice (Zen meditation is typically like this over time although many people coming from an exclusively Tibetan background misunderstand Zen or be shamata only or sometimes vipashyana only).

Meditation can also be classified as analytic or non-analytic. So immediately a beginning taxonomy can be developed using shamata, vipashyana, analytic and non-analytic as top member classifications from which all other meditation can be derived. This may prove useful if you include the degree to which a classification is true as a link (in other words, this kind of classification in inherently fuzzy). Zen meditation, for example, is not analytic, at least as taught in most schools - except if something comes up and then you do begin to analyse that analytically.

You will need to include "energy" meditation to cover Taoist and some Vedic techniques and this is arguable for some Mahayana schools (and maybe some Theravadin techniques as well). You can also include meditation (or ritual) to acquire siddhi and whether the meditation practice itself can lead to various levels of enlightenment and in how much time (this will vary from school POV to school POV).

But these can be used to get you started.

Kirt
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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
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Re: Comprehensive List of Meditation Styles

Postby Madhyama Pratipada » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:06 pm

To help clarify, let me rephrase the original question.

What would you call the practice (or set of practices) you do when you set aside time to practice?

For example, I practice zazen, shikantaza, kinhin, satipatthana-vipassana, anapanasati, and metta bhavana.
sarvopalambhopaśamah prapañcopaśamah śivah
na kimcitkasyacitkaścid dharmo buddhena deśitah

MMK 25.24

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Re: Comprehensive List of Meditation Styles

Postby dharmagoat » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:15 pm

In my rather uneven Buddhist career, I have practiced the following:

Ānāpānasati
Mettā bhāvanā
Zazen
Shikantaza
Kinhin
Tonglen
Chenrezig pūjā
Ngöndro (Taking refuge, Prostrations)
Mahāmudrā aspiration prayer
Various other prayers and chants
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Re: Comprehensive List of Meditation Styles

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:13 pm

It seems to me you are not looking for a list of Buddhist meditations but rather all sorts of religious activities done in Buddhism. And that actually includes the entirety of Buddhism, like taking refuge, prostrations, reading, contemplating and listening to teachings, chanting, observing precepts, various rituals, freeing animals, and so on. Meditation is only a smaller part of those activities, and it is different from reciting texts, saying prayers, performing rituals, thinking about teachings, etc. Meditation is about actively calming (shamatha) and understanding (vipashyana) the mind with the purpose of attaining liberation. While for instance copying a sutra is a merit making activity, in itself it doesn't lead to seeing clearly the true nature of mind, and it doesn't even bring about any level of absorption, thus it is not a meditative practice, although it is certainly a Buddhist religious activity.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Comprehensive List of Meditation Styles

Postby Madhyama Pratipada » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:24 pm

We are looking for a list of meditation styles AND "other activities," as explained in the OP:

Madhyama Pratipada wrote:In addition to meditation styles, we're interested in other activities people consider part of their formal practice, including but not limited to activities practiced on retreat. We also intend to run a survey/poll about the most widely used forms of meditation in the near future.

So this inquiry consists of two main questions:

1. What are the various forms of meditation that are practiced in Buddhism - whether specific to a certain school or universal to all schools?

2. What other activities (apart from meditation) are typical of your practice and/or retreat settings?


Many have already expressed how the boundary is not so clear. I would consider both to be important. Hence our reason for asking about both and combining the two questions above into the single question:

Madhyama Pratipada wrote:What would you call the practice (or set of practices) you do when you set aside time to practice?
sarvopalambhopaśamah prapañcopaśamah śivah
na kimcitkasyacitkaścid dharmo buddhena deśitah

MMK 25.24

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Re: Comprehensive List of Meditation Styles

Postby kirtu » Sat Aug 03, 2013 3:40 am

Astus wrote:While for instance copying a sutra is a merit making activity, in itself it doesn't lead to seeing clearly the true nature of mind, and it doesn't even bring about any level of absorption, thus it is not a meditative practice, although it is certainly a Buddhist religious activity.


It can be a form of contemplation and it can certainly create a level of absorption, specifically as an object of focus and thus can be a meditative activity (and that in fact is claimed for it in several Japanese schools including the Jodo Shinshu [they don't quite call it meditative but come close]- I don't know about other East Asian schools).

Kirt
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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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Re: Comprehensive List of Practices and Meditation Styles

Postby zerwe » Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:20 am

Has anyone listed Mahasati (awareness with movement) meditation?
Shaun :anjali:
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Re: Comprehensive List of Practices and Meditation Styles

Postby dharmagoat » Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:33 am

zerwe wrote:Has anyone listed Mahasati (awareness with movement) meditation?
Shaun :anjali:

Thanks Shaun. Duly noted :smile:
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Re: Comprehensive List of Practices and Meditation Styles

Postby Roland » Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:56 pm

Chod?
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Re: Comprehensive List of Practices and Meditation Styles

Postby dharmagoat » Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:52 pm

Here is a first draft of the master list.

I have included at the bottom activities that are not related to the Dharma but occur in a retreat setting, reflecting the purpose for which this particular version of the list is intended.

Also, it is very likely that the various Vajrayana practices are still not adequately represented, as my knowledge of them is shaky at best.

Contemplation of Colored Discs (Kasina Bhāvanā)
Contemplation of Foulness (Asubha Bhāvanā)
Recollection of the Buddha (Buddhānussati)
Recollection of the Dhamma (Dhammānussati)
Recollection of the Sangha (Sanghānussati)
Recollection of Virtue (Sīlānussati)
Recollection of Generosity (Cāgānussati)
Recollection of the Devas (Devatānussati)
Reflection on Nibbāna (Upasamānussati)
Reflection on Death (Maranānussati)
Mindfulness of Breathing (Ānāpānasati)
Contemplation of Loving Kindness (Mettā Bhāvanā)
Contemplation of Compassion (Karunā Bhāvanā)
Contemplation of Sympathetic Joy (Muditā Bhāvanā)
Contemplation of Equanimity (Upekkhā Bhāvanā)
Reflection on the Formless Jhānas (Arūpa-jhāna)
Reflection on Loathesomeness of Food (Āhāre-paṭikūla-saññā)
Analysis of the Four Elements (Catu-dhātu-vavatthāna)
Other Cultivation of Tranquility (Samatha/Śamatha/Shiné)
Mindfulness of the Body (Kāyagatāsati)
Mindfulness of Feelings (Vedanāsati)
Mindfulness of Mental Activity (Cittasati)
Mindfulness of Dhammā Subjects (Dhammāsati)
Other Insight Meditation (Vipassanā/Vipaśyanā/Lhaktong)
Mindful Eating (Ōryōki)
Mindful Working (Samu)
Mindful Walking (Kinhin)
Other Mindful Activity
Zazen
Shikantaza, Silent Illumination
Kōan, Huatou
Nembutsu/Niànfó
Giving and Receiving (Tonglen)
Mind Training (Lojong)
Refuge, Prostrations
Vajrasattva Purification
Maṇḍala Offering
Guru Yoga
Deity Yoga
Death Yoga
Phowa
Other Yoga Practice
Gaṇacakra/Tsok
Chöd
Other Tantric Practice
Dzogchen
Mahāmudrā
Other Meditation
Sutta/Sūtra Recitation
Vow Recitation
Prayer Recitation
Pūjā Recitation
Other Recitation
Opening|Closing Ceremony
Other Ceremony
Lecture, Class, Dharma Talk (Teisho)
Instruction
Interview (Sanzen, Dokusan)
Study, Reading
Online Chat
Tea, Beverages
Light Meal, Supper
Main Meal (Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner)
Clean-up, Tidying, Chores (Soji)
Work
Walking, Exercise
Hatha Yoga, Calisthenics, Stretching
Qigong, Taichi
Rest Period, Leisure Time
Preparation Time, Bathroom Break
Sleep
Other Activity
May all beings be happy
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Re: Comprehensive List of Practices and Meditation Styles

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:34 pm

I am not at all confident that our list properly represents all Buddhist practices and rely on others (particularly Vajrayanists) to point out where it might be inadequate.

If no feedback is received, I can conclude one of three things: 1) There is nothing to improve and the list can be considered a reliable resource, 2) The list is so flawed that no-one even knows where to start critiquing it, or 3) No-one cares.
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Re: Comprehensive List of Practices and Meditation Styles

Postby Ramon1920 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:26 am

The idea of this is that you want to post instructions online for all these activities or create a venue for random people online to give instructions on these things as advice and support?
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Re: Comprehensive List of Practices and Meditation Styles

Postby Madhyama Pratipada » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:46 am

Ramon1920 wrote:The idea of this is that you want to post instructions online for all these activities or create a venue for random people online to give instructions on these things as advice and support?


That's not the idea.

The purpose is to provide a list of meditation styles and other activities to help with logging one's practice online.

For instance, today I sat down for meditation four times (so far) of 30 minutes duration each, two of which were shikantaza, one of which was vipassana, and one of which was a combination of anapanasati and satipatthana. So I could therefore choose those practices from the list and log my practice in a chart.

Others might be partaking in various Vajrayana or Pureland practices while I or other members are partaking in Zen or Theravada practices, so they could choose their respective practices from the list as well. The list is there as a set of options to choose from, so the participant can quickly document their daily practice.

This is a logging feature, not a teaching feature.
sarvopalambhopaśamah prapañcopaśamah śivah
na kimcitkasyacitkaścid dharmo buddhena deśitah

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Re: Comprehensive List of Practices and Meditation Styles

Postby Ramon1920 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:06 am

My guess is that the logs would be public because people can use a notebook privately.
So the purpose is to inform other people of how much you're meditating?
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Re: Comprehensive List of Practices and Meditation Styles

Postby dharmagoat » Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:11 am

Ramon1920 wrote:My guess is that the logs would be public because people can use a notebook privately.
So the purpose is to inform other people of how much you're meditating?

If you want. I can't see why you would want to though.

Some people just like to meditate together as a group.
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