Buddhist meditation question?

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I have grown interest into meditation recently, and I see that almost all articles discuss to focus on breathing “and become aware of it.”
what does this mean?
At first I thought that it meant to think about the breathing, but then I also realized that the purpose of meditation is to rid the mind of all thoughts.
Please clarify.
Thanks

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David

Is chanting a form of meditation or is it positive thinking?
Nichiren Daishonin teaches: “A mind now clouded by the illusions of the innate darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror, but when polished, it is sure to become like a clear mirror, reflecting the essential nature of phenomena and the true aspect of reality. Arouse deep faith, and diligently polish your mirror day and night. How should you polish it? Only by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 4).
This passage expresses the main difference between chanting and meditation or positive thinking. Although meditation and positive thinking are valuable for many people, these practices are centered on the mind – calming it and training it – and cannot express the fundamental element of our lives, the highest condition of our lives.
Meditate or chant untill you feel satisfied. We chant.

P'ang

There are, of course, many different styles of meditation and each has its own objective.
To generalize, Buddhist meditation focuses on clarity rather than purity.
Purity, which can be characterized by an intense state of concentration, lack of thinking, or steady feelings of bliss, can certainly be produced by various meditation techniques.
But these states are not the point of Buddhist meditation. In fact, Buddhist meditation does not seek to produce any particular mental state.
Instead, Buddhist meditation seeks to create *awareness* and *clarity* about whatever mental state has appeared in any given moment.
When we become clear about our mind (and its impulses, intentions, thoughts, concepts, feelings, and perceptions), then we can behave in ways that reduce suffering for ourselves as well as other people.
And that’s the point of Buddhist meditation: to end the suffering that afflicts all beings.
Many Buddhist meditation techniques (such as Zen meditation) use the breath as a way of becoming aware and clear about the mind. Most commonly, these techniques involve counting the breath.
This video provides a great introduction to Zen meditation, including the breathing technique and also how to work with the inevitable thoughts, feelings, and other states that arise in the mind during meditation.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csyCrcpDs58&feature=channel_page
If you have specific questions or concerns, please feel welcome to email me.
Best wishes in your practice!

Sati

The purpose of meditation is not to rid the mind of thoughts. Meditation is a tool to help one become aware of the present moment, mindful to what is right now, without attachment nor aversion. One learns to use the breath as an anchor. It is always available.
To be aware of breathing is to become aware of inhalation, exhalation, and their effects on the body and mind. The only way to become truly aware of the breath is to practice it.
The above video that P’ang suggests is one of the best videos on zen meditation.
The following link provides a free online meditation course that is excellent for beginning meditators.
http://www.audiodharma.org/talks-intromed.html

Sujay

Paying attention to breathing helps to quiet the mind. But why do we want to quiet the mind? What is it that we are trying to understand or find through meditation. Meditation is only a tool to help remove obstacles to knowing the one who is asking the question, who is the observer of the question and answer, who is timelessly silent, eternal and at peace. Small but steady steps. You are already that which you are, there is only one thing important, find out what you are NOT (concepts, mind and body) and what you are timelessly will be apparent in its fullness.

ʎəʌəəʍ ʎəʌəəd ʎəʌəəls

I did the mindfulness of the breath meditations for ages. The idea behind it is that the attention is supposed to enter into the central channel which is the subtle form of the parasympathetic nervous channel which controls the breathing, heartbeat etc.. The central channel is also the place where the attention enters into the present moment according to the yoga sutras.
Unfortunately i never managed to achieve this through watching the breath and everyone used to tell me that it ‘takes years to master’. I did find a technique called sahaja yoga that does allow the attention to come into this channel and the mind to enter into the present. It actually worked for me.
If you want to try it you can go to http://www.freemeditation.ca/

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