Buddhism is a way of spiritual development. Buddhist traditions like meditation are means of changing oneself for developing the attributes of awareness, kindness, magnanimity and wisdom. The path of Buddhism ultimately ends in enlightenment or Buddhahood. Problems associated with modern lifestyle like stress, depression and disillusionment can be overcome by meditation.
Thailand hosts some famous Buddhist religious sites which are visited by both local and global tourists. These pilgrimage sites are held in high regard by the visitors.
Buddhist Pilgrimage Tour
Thailand has several renowned places famous for their value as Buddhist pilgrimage centres. Foremost among Buddhist pilgrimage cities are Sukhothai and Ayutthaya. Emerald Buddha Temple, known as Wat Phra Kaew in Thai language, is one of the most visited places in Thailand. Wat Phrathat Doi is another popular Buddhist temple, located around 15km from Chiang Mai city. Phra Pathom Chedi, located in the town Nakhon Pathom, is the highest stupa in the world.
Buddhism makes meditation integral to the eight-fold path to enlightenment. There are two main branches in Buddhist way of meditation: samatha (concentration) and vipassana (insight), which stresses mindfulness.
The mantra is very simple for one cannot have mindfulness without concentration. Some techniques of samatha meditation are even older than Buddhism. Others developed after the time of the Buddha.
Mantra meditation, which asks to repeat a few words over and over, is also practised by many. Adherents of this technique chant 'Buddh' as they inhale, and 'dho' as they exhale.
The objective of chanting is really to get the mind focused. Kasinas is also widely taught technique, where meditators try to concentrate on an object outside themselves, such as the flame of a candle, or a crystal ball. Some people find this way of meditation easier than the previous one.
Vipassana meditation trains oneself to be aware of the body's action. It keeps check on the rise and fall of chest as one inhales and exhales. It also observes the movement of feet and legs as one walks, as well as one's feelings and thoughts, and finally, the state of mind. Walking, sitting and lying meditation are few types of vipassana techniques. Concentration of an untrained mind can be shattered by even slightest distraction.
A plethora of meditation programmes are available in Thailand. Several retreat centers, most of them located in the provinces, run intensive courses on variety of meditation styles. One can adopt a programme in accordance with one's needs. Specialists help the would be meditators to sort out their problems and adopt the right type of meditation programme.