Meditation Discussion Forum

Vipassana Meditation Forum => Meditation, Practice And The Path => Topic started by: n1kgqh on October 30, 2008, 10:08:11 PM

Title: Transcendental vs. Mindfulness
Post by: n1kgqh on October 30, 2008, 10:08:11 PM
From what I have heard mindfulness is the more effective form of meditation in comparison to the transcendental meditation. But i'm not to clear on what the difference between the two are. From what I have been taught and have been practicing for the passed month and a half was to focus on the sensations of the breath and the body, I also have been practicing metta bhavana, which I think is a very helpful technique.  Transcendental focuses on a mantra. It seems to me that they both teach you to focus on one thing so then they both should bring about the same benefits right?
Title: Re: Transcendental vs. Mindfulness
Post by: Flipasso on October 30, 2008, 11:37:32 PM
from what I've learned there's a big difference between TM and Vipassana (or mindfulness).
TM is a mantra meditation, mantra meditation falls under the buddhist category of Samatha practices.
Vipassana is the oposite pole (or complementary pole) of  Samatha when it comes to meditation.
In Samatha the point is to calm the mind until it reaches a special state called Jhana. - TM falls under this category and it's aim is to attain Jhana or, as they call it Transcendental Consciousness.
In Vipassana, after a bit of calming is done, the point is to observe the nature of the mind and of reality itself, with the aim of finally understanding the buddhist truths and the 3 signs of existence (anica, dukkha, anatta).

I practice Vipassana solely with the aim of understanding the workings of the mind, but as I go on practicing the buddhist views appear more clear to me...

EDIT - Metta Bhavana also falls under Samatha and it also has the emotional benefit of transforming your emotions, which a regular mantra meditation doesn't...
Sorry for sounding so biased, but It gets me mad that some people charge loads of cash for something that's just like (or worse than) what you can get elsewhere for free....
Title: Re: Transcendental vs. Mindfulness
Post by: n1kgqh on October 31, 2008, 12:36:06 AM
Wow thanks I think I understand it not a little clearer. The Transcendental meditation is basically what i've been practicing for quite some time, but for some reason my resources told me it was mindfulness meditation. When actually mindfulness meditation is the insight meditation, or the more advanced form of meditation correct? Transcendetal is used to calm the mind and become more aware, concentrated, and less distracted (all of which will help with my anxiety). I think after practicing Shamatha for a little while i'll move on to Vipassana meditation. From what I can tell Shamatha meditation is being content with one point of focus and really focusing on that one thing. Whereas in Vipassana everything that enters your mind is a point of focus. I'm going to continue with the SHamatha and metta for now then. I took an online course, it was 75bucks, but because of the fact that I paid for my course, it gave me a little more motivation to go on with it a little more strictly.
Title: Re: Transcendental vs. Mindfulness
Post by: Matthew on October 31, 2008, 08:31:29 AM
TM is a form of Shamatha or calming meditation based on "mantra" or repetition of word/sound patterns. There are problems associated with mantra meditations: They do work at calming the mind - but the transition from using mantra for Shamatha to Vipassana is harder. There is a great danger that the calming effects are through the sedative and hypnotic effects of mantra recitation. This acts like a lid clamping down on the mind and stopping thought: The opposite of true Shamatha practices.

This is why the transition from mantra based Shamatha to Vipassana can be hard: as soon as you turn off the mantra the mind has the lid removed and starts doing it's whacky-pull-you-off-the-path tricks again, like thinking about what's for supper or how much that IDIOT across the street annoys you when he parks eight cars outside his house..

In contrast the Therevadan and other Buddhist and non-Buddhist schools techniques that use breath as the focus for Shamatha meditation are less likely to become hypnotic and work both to increase awareness and stability of mind from day one - as they include an element of vipassana from the start. Meditation on the breath - especially if the focus is on the rising and falling of the belly - rejoins body and mind. One is working with the mind and awareness of thoughts from day one with these methods of Shamatha.

One-pointed mind, Satori, Samadhi and the Jhana states are not the culmination of true Shamatha practice but are fruits. These states can deepen Samadhi and therefore improve the quality of Vipassana practice. However, as one practices Shamatha in this style it naturally becomes more and more infused with/transforms into Vipassana practice.

The TM movement is a typical organised new age movement with money flowing around it and all the other problems associated with organisation and structure. I do not trust them or their teachings. They famously conducted an experiment some years ago when they secretly hired some thousands of hotel rooms in Chicago and installed TM meditators in them meditating on peace for the whole weekend.

They claimed it was a great success as the street crime rate fell that weekend by a statistically significant number. They forgot to figure in the fact that no tourists could book a room for that weekend and the street muggers had no prey - as all the people they should have been mugging had been forced to put their trips on hold as there were no hotel rooms available.

Shamatha is not exactly "being content with one point of focus". Shamatha meditation is a method to calm the mind enough to achieve "one point of focus" or Samadhi. Shamatha uses one object of meditation to achieve this calm focussed mind. This focussed mind is the mind that is then employed in Vipassana to gain true insight. To do this you have to move through the Jhana or bliss states and then let go of them. They are a taste of your true nature but they are not your true nature.

In the Dhamma,

Title: Re: Transcendental vs. Mindfulness
Post by: Flipasso on October 31, 2008, 04:03:28 PM
When actually mindfulness meditation is the insight meditation, or the more advanced form of meditation correct?
Mindfulness is the quality of mind you work on during Insight (or Vipassana) Meditation. There are other kinds of meditation that can be called Mindfulness.
People who have more faith on mindfulness will say that mindfulness is the advanced form of meditation, but that's a matter of opinion.
Title: Re: Transcendental vs. Mindfulness
Post by: Matthew on November 01, 2008, 03:44:27 AM
These meditations are like your right and left hand. They work together, it's fallacy to call any better or worse - they are differing tools offering different fruits but you need both fruits for the recipe to work.

In the Dhamma,