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Myanmar’s Meditation Methods

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Photo - Phyo Thiha

The practice of meditation is helpful for making your mind calm and peaceful. In Myanmar today, meditation is thriving among not only the old but also the young.

According to Buddhism, the basic principle of meditation is to accept what exists and comes into existence as it actually is. There are nine well-known ways of practising meditation including methods of Mogok, Mahasi, Ledi and Theingu, of which Mogok and Mahasi are the most popular. A common phrase to hear from the much-respected Sayadaws of Mahasi and Mogok meditation are: “This is not a sermon we give you. We are forwarding teachings of the Buddha to you.”

The Mahasi method is based on breath and the sensation of the rising and falling of the chest and abdomen caused by the intake of air.

The Mogok meditation method focuses on the feeling of incoming and outgoing breath. Most people who practice meditation prefer the latter.

There are two kinds of religious meditation: Vipassana and Samahta. Both have 40 subjects of meditation each. If you take one of them, it is considered an act of leading towards enlightenment as well as the renunciation of desire in order to attain nirvana.

Samahta is to focus on one thing to attain tranquility. For example, when you suffer discomfort or pain in your body while meditating or if it is difficult to slow the mind and avoid thought, participants are encouraged not to focus on them but instead on the incoming and outgoing breath.

Samahta is to control the focus and concentration of the mind.  There are no levels in Samahta meditation.
Vipassana, on the other hand, is a way to focus on all things and feelings happening during breathing in and out, as well as on the deep interconnection between mind and body.

Today, more and more international visitors are seen practicing at meditation centers around the country. They often make their beginnings in meditation through Buddhist missionaries abroad. When they are visiting Myanmar, they choose to spend time learning the Myanmar Buddhist methods of meditation.

Those who correctly practice meditation experience both mental and physical benefits. It makes the mind calm and peaceful and can relieve worries and anxiety as well as beating stress and sadness. It is said that those who regularly practice meditation can more easily deal with difficulties and adversities we may face in life.

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Theingi Htun is a journalist who worked for two years at Yangon Times Journal and Flower News. She also worked for two years at Democracy Today News as Senior Journalist. She wrote many articles about culture, the travel sector and lifestyle stories too. Now she is working at My Magical Myanmar as a travel writer and social media executive."

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