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The aim of this article is threefold: It attempts to 1) identify the characteristics of East Asian forms of meditation, as compared to meditation in other parts of the Eurasian continent; 2) test the usefulness of a definition of meditation as a self-administered technique for inner transformation; and 3) test the usefulness of a classification of meditation techniques based on generic features of the meditation object, in particular location (external vs. internal), agency (spontaneous vs. produced), and faculty (cognitive vs. sensory). While the variation among East Asian forms of meditation is considerable, they (along with Indic forms) are often more technical and less consistently devotional than their Western counterparts, and less often sound-based than their Indic counterparts. In a number of ways, both the definition and classification system suggested turn out to be helpful in the analysis of East Asian forms of meditation. Keywords: meditation, mental attitude, meditation object, body, breathing, subtle body, visualisation, direct contemplation, keyword meditation, devotion

Large waves of global interest in meditation over the last half century have all focused on techniques stemming from Hinduism, Buddhism and Daoism. This collection of essays explores selected topics from the historical traditions underlying such practices. The book ventures far beyond the well-known Hindu repetition of sounds, Buddhist attention to breath and body, and Daoist movement of limbs and bodily energies. A picture emerges of meditative traditions that are much richer and more diverse than our modern viewpoint typically acknowledges. Many of the practices are also shown to be of greater cultural relevance than commonly recognized. (Publishers description)