" Most treatises on Meditation and Yoga so far published
in the Occident are chiefly expository, in a philosophical or
historical way, rather than practical. But here, within these
covers, we have, at last, a treatise which presents the
essential technique and methods of meditation in its
Buddhistic form so dearly and simply that any person of
average intelligence desirous of practising such meditation
can do so without difficulty, without danger, and without
recourse to a guru. In Hindu and other systems of
meditation and Yoga, on the contrary, particularly where
certain breathing-exercises are prescribed, a guru is not
only necessary to teach and to direct, but also to safeguard
In commending this unique contribution to the advancement
of learning made by Miss G. Constant Lounsbery, President
of Les Amis du Bouddhisme, Paris, I can do no better than to
employ as my text the words of the Enlightened One, the
Master of Meditation, the Buddha Gotama: "Without
Knowledge there is no Meditation; without Meditation there
is no Knowledge; and he who hath both Knowledge and
Meditation is near to Reality."
Most treatises on Meditation and Yoga so far published in the Occident are chiefly expository, in a philosophical or historical way, rather than practical. But here,
within these covers, we have, at last, a treatise which presents the essential technique and methods of meditation
in its Buddhistic form so dearly and simply that any person of average intelligence desirous of practising such
meditation can do so without difficulty, without danger,
and without recourse to a guru. In Hindu and other
systems of meditation and Yoga, on the contrary, particularly where certain breathing-exercises are prescribed, a
guru is not only necessary to teach and to direct, but also
to safeguard the yogin.
In commending this unique contribution to the advancement of learning made by Miss G. Constant
Lounsbery, President of Les Amis du Bouddhisme, Paris,
Ican do no better than to employ as my text the words of
the Enlightened One, the Master of Meditation, the Buddha Gotama: "Without Knowledge there is no Meditation; without Meditation there is no Knowledge; and he
who hath both Knowledge and Meditation is near to Reality."
In order to comprehend the significance of these
words of the Buddha, it is necessary, first of all, to take
into account some of the more outstanding views concerning man and the Universe which are in large measure peculiar to Buddhism.
Firstly, Buddhism, unlike the three Semitic faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, teaches that the sorrow of
the world, being the direct karmic outcome of man’s own
actions, can be overcome only by man himself and not
through the intervention of a Su-preme Deity. In other
words, man, having made himself and his worldly environment precisely what they are, must himself remake
and then transcend them, by treading the Path of the
Higher Evolution, which has been trodden and demarcated by those, like the Buddhas, who have gone ahead
and become the Guides of Humanity.
Secondly, Buddhism emphasizes that the realization
of Truth is incomparably more important than belief in
Truth; that religious faith and devotion, being merely the
first steps on the Path, are of themselves not enough, that
if Truth is to be realized, there must be Right Belief, Right
Intentions, Right Speech, Right Actions, Right Means of
Livelihood, Right Endeavouring, Right Mindfulness,
Thirdly, Buddhism distinguishes a higher or supra-
mundane Wisdom, which differs fundamentally from
Dogmatic Theology, And it is in virtue of having arrived
at this Wisdom, or Right Knowledge, that the devotee transcends the lowly human state of existence and attains
Emancipation from Sorrow and Complete Enlightenment.
According to Bhikkhu Parawahera Vajiraaana There,
of the Theravadin school, the Buddha realized Reality,
attained Final Release (known in Pali as Nibbana. and in,
Sanskrit as Nirvana), by means of Right Meditation; and
by Right Meditation there is produced that purity and
mastery of mind which lead to inner illumination.
In the Pali Canon, Buddhist Meditation is called
Bhavana; and this is the term to describe it which is most
popular in the Theravadin, or Southern school. Of
Bhavarnta., which implies systematic training of the mind,
there are two stages: namely, Samadhi-Bhavana (which is
preliminary), and Vipassana-Bhavansa, In the former, the
meditator attains mental fixity, or one-pomtedness of
mind; is unaffected by the stimuli born of sensuous objects; and enjoys internal quiescence. In the latter, he
attains intuitive vision of Reality. It is by these two meth-
ods that one arrives at Right Understanding and Right
As Miss Lounsbery’s treatise on Buddhist meditation
sets forth, there are forty objects for use in practising
Bhavana; when adequate progress has been made, there is
no longer dependence upon external objects in arriving
at mental concentration, and the meditation becames
wholly subjective. Then, the mind having become thor-
oughly purified and dis-. ciplined and all sensuousness
having been transcended, there dawn the Four Ecstatic
States, which Buddhism calls the Four Jhanas.
The Four Jhanas correspond to four stages progressively reached as a result of success in the practice of
Samadhi-Bhavana. In the fourth or highest stage, one ex-
periences transcendental blissful and complete tranquil-
lity of body and mind. In that condition one is able to
exercise the Five Abhiririas, which are profound intellec-
tual attainments synonymous with the Siddhi of the Yogins.
These are classified as (1) miraculous (or supernormal)
accomplishments (or powers), (2) divine vision (or clairvoyance), (3) divine hearing (or clairaudienee), (4)
memory of previous births, and (5) insight into the men-
tal processes, or thoughts, of others.
The growth of interest in Buddhism must be obvious
to any keen observer of the trend of thought
The Orient is taking stock of the treasures of the Teaching and clearing it of those racial superstitions which have
obscured the Essential Ideas of the doctrine. These racial
or local superstitions are the result of the triumphal march
of Buddhism across Asia through Ceylon, Burma, Siam,
China, Japan, and Tibet. But the survival, through the centuries, of the Teaching seems to be due to the fact that it
imposes no dogma.
The true Buddhist is a free thinker, a pioneer in search
of truth, a compassionate, tolerant pioneer who seeks to
disarm the one enemy: Ignorance. He is self-dependent,
his own free intelligence must lead him toward his recompense —Supreme Knowledge and Insight, which is the
fruit of meditation. For it is only through meditation that
the Dhamma (the Doctrine) is understood thoroughly.
Free spiritual research is the one great adventure for
all who are discouraged by the failure of materialism and
the burden of imposed dogmas.
Many excellent books upon Buddhism arc available,
but the simple instructions that are given in the East by
Guru to Chela, teaching him the necessary physical and
mental approach to meditation (according to Buddhist
tradition), are difficult to come upon.
A method of mind-training is necessary, and this
method must be adapted to the mentality of modern men;
moreover, it must avoid the pitfalls and dangers of certain Occult practices.
When experience has been gained, the student will
no longer need to follow preliminary instructions and
practice-plans; he will be able to practise the purely Buddhist meditations that are given in the latter part of the
Profound gratitude is tendered to all the Bhikkhus,
and lay authorities upon meditation, who, in Ceylon and
in Europe, have graciously offered advice and instruction.
The writings of the Bhikkhus Nyanatiloka Thero,
Narada Thero, Parawahera Vajiranana Thero, and
Bhikkhu Silacara are frequently quoted in these pages.
The Samana Mahinda, a hermit meditating in the forests of Ceylon ("a forest-dweller"), contributed the plan
of the Meditation upon Peace, especially de signed for
Special thanks are due to Dr. Casslus Pereira for his
practical instructions included in the chapter on Concentration, and also for his explanation of the Meditation upon
Breath Anapana Sati).
I have availed myself of Dr. B. E. Fernando's study of
the Four Fundamentals of Attentiveness. The Hon. Secretary of Les Amis du Bouddhisme, Mme M. La Fuente, has
been of the greatest help in compiling this boob and in
controlling the numerous quotations and references.
Several of the most important subjects of meditation,
scattered here and there through the Pali Suttas, have been
included in Part II. It is hoped that the explanations in the
text will permit any serious student to understand the
practice of concentration.
Meditation, the highest and the most important step
upon the Path, must be practised very seriously; it was
never meant for intellectual delectation. Its benefits are
manifold —" One becomes that which one meditates."
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Language & Literature (443)
Sacred Sites (101)
Tantric Buddhism (87)
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