Buddhist meditation is a collection of proven methods for achieving a stable, happy mind. The historical Buddha himself achieved complete enlightenment by meditating, and Buddhists have been practising meditations given or inspired by him ever since.
There are lots of different ways to meditate. Buddhist meditation has the ultimate goal of realising the nature of mind – what is looking through our eyes and listening through our ears right now. To achieve this, most meditations start with a short period of calming the mind, usually by following the breath. When the mind is calm, we can use this focus to engage with the object of concentration.
Meditating regularly can bring many physical and mental benefits, some of which are starting to be investigated by science. But Buddhist meditation in particular goes far beyond concepts that are fashionable now in busy cities like London such as stress relief. Buddhist meditation has the power to liberate us from all confusion about ourselves and the world. To learn how to get started meditating in London, see the page about Buddhist meditation for beginners.
The results that we get from meditation depend on the authenticity and power of the practice itself, as well as our own diligence in actually applying it. After all, even the best medicine doesn’t do much good if it stays in our pocket! Diamond Way meditation methods come from the Karma Kagyu tradition, which traces an unbroken lineage back to the time of the Buddha, 2,500 years ago. These methods have been helping practitioners to achieve the goal of Buddhism since that time. For example, the Four Foundational Practices that we use were collected together in their current form by the 9th Karmapa, a realised Buddhist master in the 16th century, and the individual meditations are even older.
One special meditation method, which is especially treasured by the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, is identification with the teacher (Sanskrit: guru yoga). When we meditate on an enlightened teacher, we remember that the teacher has realized the nature of mind. The outer form of the teacher thus represents to us the enlightened mind itself. If we did not also possess these enlightened qualities, doing a meditation like this would not have much effect. But we do. Enlightenment is beyond all limits, meaning it must be always and everywhere. All beings, including ourselves, are Buddhas who simply haven’t realized it yet.