Meditation history

The History of Meditation, relaxing, peace in mind - Mental Professionals, Dietikon, Zürich
The History of Meditation

Within Indian and East Asian religions, the term "meditation" is used for any state of concentration or depression.


In Hinduism, it is especially yoga that represents a systematic meditative technique. Based on body control and breathing exercises, a gradual punching of thought processes and the emptying of the mind for all conscious content is achieved so that the soul can achieve its original freedom. This happens when the person is in a state of trance.

Within most of the direction of Buddhism to meditation as a prerequisite for reaching awakening (Bodhi). But, meditation can take very different forms:

  • In the Theravada school it consists in a systematic, observational observation of the body, its functions and feelings, and everything that moves in mind; This leads to a meditative self-perception of the basic truths of Buddhism.
  • In Mahayana, meditation can also consist of holding on to a vision of a heavenly Buddha, a paradise, or it may be an inner, visual creation of a particular Buddha or symbolic charts called Mandala.

Meditation is the overall term for the methods Buddha gave his students. Meditation is a tool used to experience and transform knowledge from intellect to action. Meditation is also a room where you can exercise your mind without being disturbed by external impressions.


Both within Tibetan Buddhism and in China and Japan (Zen Buddhism) there are directions that in everyday activities see a meditation form that can lead to immediate awakening.


A number of religious and philosophical directions in ancient times used meditation, such as Platonism (view of the ideas), Neoplatonism (recognition of "the one" as the origin of all things) or Stoisism (considering the cosmos as a sensible and harmonious whole).

In Western Christian (Catholic) tradition, it is common to distinguish between meditation and contemplation. Meditation is a preparatory, thoughtful approach to contemplation, the direct, intuitive pursuit of God. The participatory view of Christ's suffering is a central form of meditation in Catholic tradition.

In the Orthodox churches meditation plays a central role in monastic life, in an unbroken tradition of the first Egyptian "desert fathers" in the early centuries. Systematic application of the "Jesus Prayer" ("Lord Jesus, Pardon Me") combined with Specific breathing exercises are characteristic of how meditation is practiced, especially in the Greek Orthodox monasteries at Athos, Greece.

Also in Judaism and Islam there are rich meditation traditions, especially in Sufism.


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