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History of Meditation
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History of Meditation

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Meditation’s history is closely related to religious context inside which it is practiced. During the ancient times Civilization made use of rhythmic, repetitive chants and offerings to soothe the Gods. The authors have stated the hypothesis which the outgrowth of potential for focused attention which is an element of different meditation methods might have resulted in various states of biological evolution. Meditation is also related to Rishaba in Jainism which dates back to 500 B.C. During the period of 500 to 600 B.C., Buddhists in India and Chinese Taoists started developing new mediation techniques.

The Philo of Alexandria has mentioned certain type of spiritual exercises which involve concentration and attention during 20 B.C. and during third century techniques for meditation were developed by Plotinus.

The Pali Canon that dates back to First century BCE believes Buddhist meditation to be a method to reach salvation. When Buddhism was becoming popular in China, Vimalakirti Sutra that dates back to 100 CE will include different meditation passages which points clearly to Zen. The Silk Road transmission of Buddhism will introduce mediation to various countries and during 653; they opened the 1st mediation hall in Japan. When people returned from China during 1227, the instructions of Dogen were written for Zazen. The Islamic practice of Dhikr involves the practice of repeating ninety nine names of God since eighth or ninth century.

By twelfth century, the practice of Sufism had included very good techniques for mediation and the followers try to use various breathing controls and tried to repeat the holy words. The Interactions with Sufis or Indians might have created the Eastern Christian approach towards hesychasm, but there is no proof for it yet. Between Tenth and Fourteenth Centuries, hesychasm was created especially on Mount Athos in Greece which includes the repeat of Jesus Prayer.

Western Christian meditation is contradictory with recent approaches and doesn’t involve inclusion of any action or phrase and does not need any particular posture. The Western Christian meditation has pursued from sixth century Bible practice which is read among Benedictine monks known as Lectio Divina which is also called Divine reading. The 4 steps as a ladder were considered by monk Guigo II during twelfth century with Latin terms oratio, meditation, contemplation and lectio (i.e, pray, ponder, contemplate and read). Western Christian mediation was further enhanced by saints like Teresa of Avila and Ignatius of Loyola during the sixteenth century.

During the eighteen century, the Buddhism in West was considered a particular matter for intellectuals. It was discussed by Schopenhauer a philosopher and Volaire requested for acceptance towards Buddhists. During 1927, the 1st English translation for the Tibetan Book of Dead got released. The secular type of mediation got introduced during the 1950s in India which were considered westernized mode of Hindu meditation techniques and they got introduced in Europe and United states during the 1960s.

Instead of focusing towards spiritual growth, secular meditation will focus on self improvement, relaxation and stress reduction. Both secular and spiritual forms of mediation have become scientific analysis subjects. The research towards meditation started during the year 1931 and with increase in scientific research drastically at the time of 1970s and 1980s. Since the starting of 70s, there were plenty of studies towards meditation in English which has got reported everywhere. But after sixty years of research, there is no proper explanation for the mechanism behind mediation.

BRC

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