Origins Meditation

Today, meditation is primarily practiced for personal development. But originally, meditation was a practice aimed, first and foremost, at understanding the world and the reality of life as a whole. Did you know that meditation was not invented by Buddhists, but existed in the Indus Valley 4,000 years ago? And that before being used as a relaxation tool, meditation was above all a path to deep wisdom?

Many meditative movements that were born thousands of years ago have become lost in the meanders of history. Let us explore here some of the great meditative currents still known today, and whose practice and study have been spreading in the Western world for some years now.

Meditation Has Deeper Roots Than You Think

Today, meditation is primarily practiced for personal development. But originally, meditation was a practice aimed, first and foremost, at understanding the world and the reality of life as a whole. Did you know that meditation was not invented by Buddhists, but existed in the Indus Valley 4,000 years ago? And that before being used as a relaxation tool, meditation was above all a path to deep wisdom?

Many meditative movements that were born thousands of years ago have become lost in the meanders of history. Let us explore here some of the great meditative currents still known today, and whose practice and study have been spreading in the Western world for some years now.

Taoism

tao

Taoism is one of the 3 great pillars of Chinese philosophy and appeared at least 2000 years before Christ. Tao means, among other translations, “road, path, way”. Taoism is therefore “the teaching of the way”. It is to Taoism that we owe the concepts of Yin and Yang. Among the foundations of Taoism, we find the search for harmony between the human being and the universe, the harmony of the heart and the mind, the communion with nature.

The Taoist aim is the attainment of wisdom. It is the first current to have left traces of the existence of meditation in history, well before Buddhism. Many meditative practices, such as Qi gong or Tai-Chi-Chuan, derive from Taoist writings, and therefore practices.

Hinduism

pexels-sonika-agarwal-9998331 (1)

Hinduism would have appeared in the valley of the Ganges, from 1500 to 2000 years before J.-C. The 4 pillars of Hinduism are:

  • Dharma: the right action, integrity
  • Artha : the right material comfort, participation in society
  • Kama : the search for the pleasure of the senses, source of creation
  • Moksha : the attainment of liberation from samsara, from the cycle of reincarnations

It is with the appearance of Hinduism that the fundamental writings of yoga appeared, called the Bhagavad-Gîtâ. It is from this book that the Yoga Sutras, also known as the yoga treatises, were written around the beginning of our era. The Yoga Sutras include texts on meditation techniques. The practices of yoga and meditation are intimately linked. It is from the practice of hatha yoga that the lotus position was born, which was practiced by the legendary Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. Before founding Buddhism, the Buddha was Hindu! This is one of the reasons why Hinduism and Buddhism have strongly influenced each other throughout history.

Buddhism

pexels-enric-cruz-lópez-9989588 (1)-min

The emergence of Buddhism dates back to the fourth century B.C. about 2500 years ago. As we have just seen, it does not coincide with the emergence of meditation, as many believe. Meditation was practiced long before the existence of the Buddha. However, Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Sakyamuni, developed the practice of meditation extensively after attaining enlightenment in the lotus posture, as evidenced by his countless round-bellied statues.

Upon attaining enlightenment, Buddha understood fundamental truths which he compiled into his teachings: the Dharma. The foundation of Buddhism is that life is made up of suffering. Yet, true happiness, deep, lasting, and built on a healthy and harmonious foundation, is attainable for all. Meditation, right action, and right attitude are the main ingredients of the Buddhist tradition. These teachings on the human condition and the means to liberate oneself from suffering were transmitted orally and through practice for four centuries before being transcribed into writing.

The common features of the 3 founding schools of meditation

In these three currents, we find common founding principles:

  • A path to follow that is larger than oneself
  • Discipline
  • The quest for wisdom
  • The right action and attitude
  • The search for balance and harmony between oneself, others, nature and the universe

Origins Of The Mindfulness Movement

The notion of mindfulness comes from the original teaching of Buddha. The translated Pali word in Sanskrit means to be alert. It arrived in the West through the teaching of the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and is transmitted today through different currents under the term of mindfulness meditation or full presence. Mindfulness consists in being present in what we do, to feel the body and the mind in the present moment. It allows us to see things without judgment, to know and discover the true nature of beings and things. It is seen as an inherent potentiality of each human being.

A secular meditation movement, it found its rise with the MBSR (Mindfulness Based-Stress Reduction) program developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the Massachusetts Hospital Center in 1979. Initially designed to reduce stress due to illness and chronic pain, this method contributes to improving the standard of living of many patients. It is known to the general public thanks to books by Thich Nhat Hanh, Christophe André, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thierry Janssen, David Servan-Schreiber, Mathieu Ricard, etc.

Understand The World You Live In

With the spreading mindfulness movement, we see the practice of meditation as a way to learn to feel ourselves. It is not a bad thing – in fact, it helps cure many mental illnesses and gives a powerful tool to deal with various hardships of life. But originally, meditation was used to gain knowledge about the reality of life and the world. It was not just a tool for self-help and personal development. Through meditative practice, one sought to grasp the great principles of the universe and of human existence, such as emptiness and impermanence.

The approach to meditation has changed over the centuries. As our modern western societies have evolved, they have placed the “I”, the ego, at the center of everything. So much so that today, most of the so-called meditative techniques only reinforce the ego, instead of putting it back in its rightful place, in harmony with the rest of the universe. This is why Yogilab proposes to teach you to meditate according to the original teachings of the Buddha by offering free Vipassana retreats every month. It is through this path that you can truly find balance, true inner peace and move forward in accordance with your true nature.

Origins of meditation

Today, meditation is primarily practiced for personal development. But originally, meditation was a practice aimed, first and foremost, at understanding the world and the reality of life as a whole. Did you know that meditation was not invented by Buddhists, but existed in the Indus Valley 4,000 years ago? And that before being used as a relaxation tool, meditation was above all a path to deep wisdom?

Many meditative movements that were born thousands of years ago have become lost in the meanders of history. Let us explore here some of the great meditative currents still known today, and whose practice and study have been spreading in the Western world for some years now.

Meditation has deeper roots than you think

We have archaeological traces, especially in the Indus valley where we see people sitting in the lotus pose. Moreover, in the history of the Buddha, it is said that he did not invent meditation, but practiced with two Indian masters. This also suggests that there is an earlier origin of this practice.

This discipline can be found in Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Jewish and Arab medicine. It designates everything that concerns the effects of the mind on the body, one of the principles at the basis of meditation.

The founding philosophies of meditation

Taoism

Taoism is one of the 3 great pillars of Chinese philosophy and appeared at least 2000 years before Christ. Tao means, among other translations, “road, path, way”. Taoism is therefore “the teaching of the way”. It is to Taoism that we owe the concepts of Yin and Yang. Among the foundations of Taoism, we find the search for harmony between the human being and the universe, the harmony of the heart and the mind, the communion with nature.

The Taoist aim is the attainment of wisdom. It is the first current to have left traces of the existence of meditation in history, well before Buddhism. Many meditative practices, such as Qi gong or Tai-Chi-Chuan, derive from Taoist writings, and therefore practices.

Hinduism

Hinduism would have appeared in the valley of the Ganges, from 1500 to 2000 years before J.-C. The 4 pillars of Hinduism are:

  • Dharma: the right action, integrity
  • Artha : the right material comfort, participation in society
  • Kama : the search for the pleasure of the senses, source of creation
  • Moksha : the attainment of liberation from samsara, from the cycle of reincarnations

It is with the appearance of Hinduism that the fundamental writings of yoga appeared, called the Bhagavad-Gîtâ. It is from this book that the Yoga Sutras, also known as the yoga treatises, were written around the beginning of our era. The Yoga Sutras include texts on meditation techniques.

The practices of yoga and meditation are intimately linked. It is from the practice of hatha yoga that the lotus position was born, which was practiced by the legendary Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. Before founding Buddhism, the Buddha was Hindu! This is one of the reasons why Hinduism and Buddhism have strongly influenced each other throughout history.

Buddhism

The emergence of Buddhism dates back to the fourth century B.C. about 2500 years ago. As we have just seen, it does not coincide with the emergence of meditation, as many believe. Meditation was practiced long before the existence of the Buddha. However, Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Sakyamuni, developed the practice of meditation extensively after attaining enlightenment in the lotus posture, as evidenced by his countless round-bellied statues.

Upon attaining enlightenment, Buddha understood fundamental truths which he compiled into his teachings: the Dharma. The foundation of Buddhism is that life is made up of suffering. Yet, true happiness, deep, lasting, and built on a healthy and harmonious foundation, is attainable for all.

Meditation, right action, and right attitude are the main ingredients of the Buddhist tradition. These teachings on the human condition and the means to liberate oneself from suffering were transmitted orally and through practice for four centuries before being transcribed into writing.

The common features of the 3 founding schools of meditation

In these three currents, we find common founding principles:

  • A path to follow that is larger than oneself
  • Discipline
  • The quest for wisdom
  • The right action and attitude
  • The search for balance and harmony between oneself, others, nature and the universe

Origins of the mindfulness movement

The notion of mindfulness comes from the original teaching of Buddha. The translated Pali word in Sanskrit means to be alert. It arrived in the West through the teaching of the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and is transmitted today through different currents under the term of mindfulness meditation or full presence. Mindfulness consists in being present in what we do, to feel the body and the mind in the present moment. It allows us to see things without judgment, to know and discover the true nature of beings and things. It is seen as an inherent potentiality of each human being.

A secular meditation movement, it found its rise with the MBSR (Mindfulness Based-Stress Reduction) program developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the Massachusetts Hospital Center in 1979. Initially designed to reduce stress due to illness and chronic pain, this method contributes to improving the standard of living of many patients. It is known to the general public thanks to books by Thich Nhat Hanh, Christophe André, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thierry Janssen, David Servan-Schreiber, Mathieu Ricard, etc.

The approach to meditation has changed over the centuries. As our modern western societies have evolved, they have placed the “I”, the ego, at the center of everything. So much so that today, most of the so-called meditative techniques only reinforce the ego, instead of putting it back in its rightful place, in harmony with the rest of the universe. This is why Yogilab proposes to teach you to meditate according to the original teachings of the Buddha by offering free Vipassana retreats every month. It is through this path that you can truly find balance, true inner peace and move forward in accordance with your true nature.

pexels-cottonbro-5386372 (1)

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