Meditation and Buddhism: East vs. West Perspectives

Meditation and Buddhism

According to the Buddha’s life story, meditation played an important role in his own enlightenment. According to the life story of previous Buddha’s meditation keyed them, too, in on the secrets to human existence. In Indian religion after the Buddha’s time, nearly every Godly, saintly, or even priestly figure that was worth spending any words whatsoever on utilized meditation to achieve their spiritual and personal goals.

Gentlemen Buddhists

As the quiet spirituality of the East grew up within the shadow of colonialism and the loud West, meditation was adapted and became a new piece of a growing intellectual puzzle for rational gentlemen in the West. These gentlemen believed meditation and Buddhism, as rooted in the deeply introspective Indian religions, could somehow unlock the mysterious powers of the universe which were, of course, hidden inside the human body.

Gradually, meditation took on new meaning for Western practitioners. First, it was an act of pious intellectualism that yielded quantitative results in reflections about the natural world. Next, it was the work of flying superhumans who could save the world from itself. Lastly, around the turn of the 21st century, meditation in the West began to return to its roots in the East. The masters of old India became the masters of meditation in the new world and beyond.

Buddhist Meditation as Legitimate

Such a cyclical return to origins for meditation is evidence for a world that is rapidly becoming smaller. There are less and less undiscovered places and there are less and less undiscovered ideas. Rather, the naturalists and the adventurers of the 18th and 19th centuries have become the quasi-intellectual suburbanites of the 20th and 21st centuries. With the newfound ability to gently but quickly squeeze the insight out of any idea, new or old, the West has recently discovered, again, that the best advice for meditation comes from the old masters, like the Buddha.

Still, meditation and Buddhism in the Western, modern world have stimulated a new definition of meditation as not something spiritual or religions, but rather the work of a constantly churning and compulsively curious mind which encounters moments of silence. Buddhism is now one of the world’s most adaptable religions–however true that might or might not be in reality–and meditation is its vehicle. Meditation as a tool to calm oneself is now an authorized method prescribed by psychologists and monks alike.

Meditation and Buddhism

Meditation as a method for reaching deep introspective conclusions about life, the self, family, sex, violence, marriage, and everything else is now perfectly legitimate because Buddhism has redefined itself, and its meditative methods, as compatible with science.

Mutual Charm, East and West

But how are meditation and Buddhism viewed in the countries which first gained access to these gems of the ancient world? India, for one, no longer has Buddhism. Meditation has survived in other forms, mostly in Hindu and Jain philosophical traditions. In the Himalayan regions, meditation survives in what might be called mixed forms of Buddhism, namely Tantric and Bon traditions. In Southeast Asia, monks in monasteries and lay people outside of monasteries use meditation to achieve higher understandings of existence. In Central Asia, Buddhism barely exists in places like Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile, in China, Korea, and Japan, meditation took on very lively forms which persist until this day, mostly in Zen and Chan Buddhist schools. The difference between these modern Eastern forms of meditation versus the modern Western forms of meditation? Tradition. Both Eastern countries and Western countries seek the same goals from meditation in Buddhism but Eastern countries tend to rely more on learning meditation from traditional masters that keep records detailing their lineages from hundreds of years back, some even going as far back as Before the Common Era (2,000+ years).

In the West, such lineages do not matter as much. Rather, it is the teaching itself that matters and the results that it may bring. In both worlds, the goal is the same. The charm is that as the West discovers meditation from the East in its traditional fashion, part of the East slowly seeps into the unseeing West’s culture and heritage.

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Whole Brain Synchronization

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Boost 7 Brain Chemicals

With monumental health implications, meditation has been proven to naturally boost many of your body’s chemicals: GABA, Endorphins, Serotonin, & more, while lowering the stress hormone Cortisol. The benefits are staggering.

Subconscious Mind Power

The power of your subconscious & unconscious mind are incredible. Here, we show you the vast benefits waiting under the surface, and how meditation is the best way to dive in, explore, and harness your deep mind. See detailed chart.

Immunity & Disease

When it comes to what the human body “can” and “can’t” do, a revolution is well underway. From extending life, to conquering “unconquerable” diseases, to rewriting genetic code, meditation’s latest scientific findings are incredible. Become superhuman.

Relieve Anxiety

Why is meditation such a powerful anxiety reliever? From building neurotransmitters, to quieting mind chatter, to cooling the amygdala, this highly in-depth article discusses why anxiety is no match against meditation.

Overcome Depression

Known as the world’s happiest people, scientists love studying meditators’ magnificent brains. From transforming psychology, to fully rewiring thought, to massively upgrading physiology, here we discuss why meditation dominates depression.

Sleep & Insomnia

Even if you get the recommended eight hours each night, you may not be sleeping deeply enough to fully recharge your battery. Here, we discuss why so many of us have insomnia, and why meditation is the best solution to sleeping like a log.

Conquer Addiction

Why don’t meditators have addictions? From urge surfing, to masterfully dealing with stress, to uprooting deep seated emotions, to giving us a natural high, to unplugging naturally, here we discuss why meditation eradicates addiction.

Longevity, Life Extension

Not only do meditators often look decades younger than their actual age, but they also live much longer lives. Here, we take a look at the most fascinating age defying studies making news headlines, and how meditation freezes father time.

Weight Loss

Why are meditators so often slim & trim? It’s because the weight loss benefits of meditation are nothing short of incredible. Here, from a variety of angles, we discuss how meditation can propel anyone to their ideal body.

Brain Power, Memory, Focus

Did you know that your brain power, intelligence, and memory can be dramatically upgraded, no matter who you are? Here, we discuss why scientists keep studying the marvelous meditating brain, and how you too can tap these awesome benefits.

141 Meditation Benefits

Looking for a different meditation benefit? No problem. Here, we have compiled more than 141 benefits of meditation, with links to detailed articles. No stone went unturned.

Frequently Asked Questions

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