佛學講座 - 佛學問答(English) - What, in Buddhism, does Chan-ding denote?
What, in Buddhism, does Chan-ding denote?

 

Chan-ding—the Chinese transliteration for meditation—denotes

dhyana and samadhi respectively. In all, meditation is cultivating

and concentrating peace and quiet in mind and practicing calm and

tranquility. Named jing-lu, quiet thought, according to the Faxiang sect

and zhi-guan, putting to rest the abstract mind and contemplation,

according to the Tiantai sect, both terms together ably deliver the

cherished signification of meditation. For meditation pertains to both

control of mind as one and abstract contemplation. Emotions settling

down, systemic thinking continues in the faculty of mind. Methods

of thinking and contemplation are many. Counting breathings is

one of them.

Contemplation in counting breathings—anapanasmrti in Sanskrit—is

the exercise of one-mind, one-thought attention to the exhaling-cuminhaling

function. For attention in mind and cognition is intrinsically

interrelated to breathing. A meditator, spiritual powers congealed

and thought calmed whilst fully charged in the undertaking, becomes

concentrated amidst spontaneous breathing, at peace body and mind,

stable and joyful.

Sitting meditation existed as an age-old practice since ancient times

among Eastern nations as a technique with which to balance and treat

body and mind, like the Buddhist samadhi, Taoist pill-and-cauldron

exhaling-cum-inhaling, Hindu contemplation yoga, contemporary

transcendental meditation, or even all forms of hypnosis.

Sitting meditation is a practical exercise studied and investigated in

depth, resulting in some conclusive information as below: the power

of sitting meditation is capable of reducing heartbeat, controlling

brainwaves, impacting blood pressure, slowing down metabolism,

relaxing body and mind, alleviating anxiety and stress, minimizing

thinking whilst sharpening comprehension.