First of all, what is the meaning of meditation? The word meditation is an English word, an English term. We can also talk about Buddhist meditation. The Buddha did not use the word meditation, but two specific words to describe meditation: bhavana and yoga.
Let’s get into the first word: bhavana. What do we mean by bhavana? The meaning of the word bhavana is development, constant practice, constant development of something. What do we develop through meditation? What do we develop through bhavana? We develop our mind! All the practices of developing our mind are included. Meditation was used by people for a long, long time. It is called meditation or bhava.
Let’s get into the second word: yoga. The word yoga can mean different things depending on the person. Normally, when we hear the word yoga, it comes to our mind as a set of asanas, pranayama. Many rituals and practices. In Buddhism, the Buddha did not focus on such things because there was a big background of yoga and yogic background in the Buddha’s time. The Buddha always used this word to describe the way of wisdom. The word yoga means binding, binding towards wisdom.
The bond between man and wisdom is called meditation. Through meditation, the bond between wisdom and man will be developed. Those are the two terms that were used by the Supreme Buddha. We can read in Dhammapada: Yogā ve jāyatī bhūri, through meditation the wisdom will be born, ayogā bhūrisaṅkhayo through non meditation or if you do not meditate, your wisdom will decrease. That shows us that meditation is the way of developing wisdom.
What is wisdom? The Buddha said wisdom is the ability to realize the reality of one’s life, our own life. If we can realize what’s going on inside this life, what is happening in this life, then we have that ability known as wisdom. To develop wisdom, we practice meditation. Why do we need wisdom? Wisdom will help us to reach liberation. That is the ultimate goal of Buddha’s way of teachings. The liberation from sufferings, liberation from rebirth and liberation from death. To attain that state, what do we need? We need wisdom! Because through wisdom, we realize the reality of this life. To have wisdom, we should meditate. That is why we do meditation. It’s a simple practice, but yet sometimes people make it complex.
By practicing meditation may we all have the opportunity to attain the peacefulness and the calmness within our mind. May we all have the opportunity to attain the ultimate happiness in our life.