A puzzled man asked the Buddha: I have heard that some monks meditate with expectations, others meditate with no expectations, and yet others are indifferent to the result. What is the best?
What kind of meditation did the Buddha teach?
Truthfully speaking, no one clearly knows; however, we have a few good hints about the nature of the practice he might have taught from some of the Buddhist scriptures. From the above scripture, it is clear Buddha felt that unless one was using a correct method, one could not expect to gain Nirvana—the fully awakened state of absolute freedom and enlightenment.
If you develop insight, what benefit will it bring? You will find wisdom. And the point of developing wisdom is that it brings you freedom from the blindness of ignorance.
A mind held bound by unconsidered impulse and ignorance can never develop true understanding. But by way of tranquility and insight the mind will find freedom.~ Anguttara Nikaya
Since Buddha explained that only the right method would bring the fruit, it would be valuable to explore whether Samatha meditation, as it’s understood and practiced today, is the right method to bring tranquility to the mind. The term Samatha actually means calmness or tranquility: an integrated state where the mind is not in any way excited or active. It is directly related to the term Samadhi, the state in which the mind is completely settled and unwavering and is effortlessly held in a fully concentrated state.What creates this tranquil state of mind? In its fully developed state, tranquility is produced by the unbounded peace, freedom and wakefulness that are experienced in the unconditioned, infinite state of Nirvana. It is the total freedom and absolute happiness of Nirvana that automatically and spontaneously absorbs and concentrates the mind.
Meditate, and in your wisdom realize Nirvana, the highest happiness. ~ Dhammapada
He answered in the following way:
In this above quote, it is vital to note that Mindfulness should be present even when one is sleeping. In other words, the process of sleep should be able to be witnessed or observed as it is naturally occurring.
Through which sense organ should I cultivate? You ask. Don’t be nervous. It is the very organ of the ear which Gwan Yin Bodhisattva used that is best for you.
Gwan Yin Bodhisattva perfected his cultivation through the organ of the ear, and Ananda will follow him in cultivating the same method. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of former times have left us such a wonderful Dharma-door that we should also follow the method of cultivating the organ of the ear to perfect penetration. This is the easiest method.
Ananda, and everyone in the great assembly, Turn around your mechanism for hearing. Return the hearing to hear your own nature The nature will become the supreme Way. That is what perfect penetration really means. That is the gateway entered by Buddhas as many as dust motes. That is the one path leading to Nirvana. Tathagatas of the past perfected this method. Bodhisattvas now merge with this total brightness. People of the future who study and practice Will also rely on this Dharma. ~ Shurangama Sutra
‘There’s no need for you to give up’, said the Buddha. ‘You should not abandon your search for liberation just because you seem to yourself to be thick witted. You can drop all philosophy you’ve been given and repeat a mantra instead—one that I will now give you’. ~ Majjhima Nikaya
It’s like filling a bowl with oil seeds and pressing them or milking a cow by pulling the udder or filling a jar with cream and churning it. It’s the right method. ~ Majjhima Nikaya
By Dr. Evan Finkelstein on http://www.elephantjournal.com/
Dr. Evan Finkelstein is professor
of Comparative Religion and Maharishi Vedic Science at Maharishi University of
Management. He has written many papers that identify the common ground inherent
in many of the ancient wisdom traditions, and teaches courses on the universal
principles inherent in Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Judaism,
Christianity, and Islam.