Japa Meditation: Beginner Classes

Japa meditation is a meditative repetition of mantras or a divine name. This practice is used in many religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. This article will talk about this ancient meditative practice.

Origin of the term

The Sanskrit word japa comes from the root jap, which means "pronounce in a low voice, repeat to oneself, mutter." Specialists claim that this term appears in Vedic literature, for example, in the Aitrei Brahman (Rigveda) and Shatapate Brahman (Yajurveda). Literally, the term "japa" means mumbling or pronouncing passages of scripture or the names of deities.

japa meditation for beginners

Traditionally, long singing of a verse or mantra is counted with the help of rosary called japa-mala. A similar word appears in Book 12 of the Mahabharata, where the pronunciation of prayers is described as a form of religious sacrifice. The concept of japa is also found in early Buddhist texts and is very common in Tibetan Buddhist literature.

The essence of practice

Meditation involves focusing the mind on a specific goal, object or thought with the blocking of interfering external stimuli. Meditation and peace of mind can be achieved in many ways. One of them is to mentally chant or chant mantras to relieve stress and tension. This method is also known as japa meditation.

japa school of meditation

This type of meditation involves repeating a mantra, which in most cases consists of Sanskrit letters that are designed to cause a certain response within a person. The vibrations of such mantras are extremely effective for transforming a person’s consciousness and thoughts. This practice helps to focus one’s strength in order to achieve a sense of calm within oneself.

A mantra can also be any word that evokes a sense of calm, inspiration and even respect. Such words may be the names of various spiritual deities.

Mantra pronunciation methods

There are usually two ways that people use japa meditation. The first method is audible meditation, also known as vaihari japa, which involves repeating the mantra in a whisper or out loud to be heard.

The second way is silent or psychic meditation, which is also known as manasika japa. It is considered an extremely powerful method, as it includes the full focus of the mind. Therefore, this level of concentration, as a rule, prevents any external influence.

How to practice this type of meditation

A few rules for doing japa meditation:

  • cross your legs on a rug or on the ground;
  • repeat the selected mantra using the rosary of 108 beads;
  • try to concentrate and not be distracted by external stimuli.

These are general guidelines for doing japa meditation for beginners. The mental state of a person is gradually improving thanks to this ancient meditative practice. This, according to practitioners, is the best way to relieve stress and tension. When the practice is carried out correctly, it makes our personality more harmonious and satisfied, changing our consciousness.

Srila Prabhupada Japa Meditation

Srila Prabhupada was one of the founders of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, also known as an Indian spiritual teacher, philosopher, and researcher. His mantras and chants are often used for meditation.

japa school of meditation

Srila Prabhupada's japa meditation consists in hearing and chanting the mantras recited by this spiritual master. You should quietly turn on this entry and repeat. No need to try to repeat in the same manner and speed. Your pronunciation will be individual. Srila Prabhupada's voice in japa meditation will help you with this. This is a fairly popular method for conducting meditation practice.

Purpose of meditation

The purpose of the meditation can vary greatly depending on the mantra used and the practitioner's religious philosophy. In both Buddhist and Hindu traditions, mantras can be passed on to students from the guru after some form of initiation. The approved goal may be to achieve the state of moksha, nirvana, bhakti or simple personal communication with divine power, like prayer. Many gurus and other spiritual teachers, as well as other religious leaders, especially Hindus and Buddhists, teach that they give different names for the same transformed state of consciousness. However, to achieve these states, special mantras are used that are intended for spiritual growth and self-realization.

japa practice

After prolonged use of the mantra, which is designed to promote self-realization or intimacy with divine power, a person can achieve the state of ajapajapama (enlightenment). To achieve the state of ajapajapama, the mantra is repeated to oneself in the mind. Similar states are achieved by supporters of other basic religious traditions. However, they use prayers that exist in their religious traditions.

Using rosary

In some types of japa, repetitions are counted using bead rosaries called japa-mala. For meditation and prayer, many different types of materials are used. The number of beads in japa mal is usually 108.

japa meditation shrila

People often wear such rosaries around their necks, although some practitioners prefer to wear them in a bead bag to keep them clean. Various scriptures say that when mantras are not read, the rosary should be stored in a closed, clean place, after bowing to them. The rosary for singing mantras is a sacred item.

Positive properties of meditation

Japa meditation reduces stress and calms the mind. The combination of deep breathing, sacred sound and slow rhythm has synergistic and soothing properties. This practice relaxes a person to trigger certain trance states. Japa meditation is the simplest and most effective method for activating specific brain states:

  • alpha (focus and training);
  • theta (creativity and intuition);
  • delta (healing and tranquility).

This type of meditation is very useful for the work of the heart. Advanced yogis are known to slow their heart rate to incredible rates. Scientific studies of meditations have shown that they lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as the risk of heart disease and stroke. Meditation has a strong and profound effect on the heart muscle.

japa meditation

Meditation improves concentration and focus. The technique of meditation is simple, but practice is difficult due to the need for focus and concentration. Just like exercise for muscles makes them stronger, meditation also strengthens your mind. Japa is the best meditation for the mind, because it uses several focus points: breathing, mantra, as well as the touch and movement of the beads of beads.

Meditation reduces negative thoughts and improves mood. Studies show that the vast majority of our thoughts are negative. Worst of all, the repetition of negative mental patterns in our minds strengthens them and also strengthens feelings of sadness, anger, grief and loneliness. The repetition of mantras in meditation, which consist of positive and sacred Sanskrit syllables, reduces the number of negative thoughts and creates new positive patterns in our minds.

The pronunciation of the mantras increases the energy of shakti (divine energy) and endurance. A lengthy practice of japa meditation produces a deep inner strength and firmness of character that may surprise you. Mantras activate the energy of shakti. Only through the repetition of these powerful mantras can this energy increase over time so that it can be used.

Scientific research

Studies by many scientists have shown that this type of meditation cultivates positive emotions. Scientific research also claims that meditators have a higher level of compassion and empathy than people who do not practice meditation. Surprisingly, areas of the brain associated with positive emotions showed an increase in gray matter density in just 8 weeks of meditation practice.

meditation training

Today, there are a large number of japa meditation schools for learning. The great thing about this meditation is that you can do it anywhere and anytime - at home, in the workplace, or even driving a car.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/A12015/

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