A History of Meditation
Article by Jane Michael
There is limited knowledge concerning the history of meditation, but some researchers think that meditation could have been discovered when people sat at campsite fires thousands of years ago and looked at the flames. This theory goes well with the known fact that staring at a candle flame can induce one type of meditation. As time passed different forms of it were developed. Books from India called tantras speak of this type of prayer as far back as five thousand years ago. Archaeologists discovered a statue of a yogi in the Indus Valley Civilization and this shows that meditation in the practice of yoga could be as ancient as the first Indian civilization.
Buddha was a big advocate of meditation. He became established as a teacher about 500 B.C. His ideas were stretched into various Asian countries and in other places people created different forms of meditation based on his teachings. In Islam the Sufi tradition of meditation was purported and the leaders (Sufis) think that when Mohamed began Islam that is when meditation started with that religion. Meditation is part of Christianity, Jainism, Judaism, and aboriginal religions.
Zen Buddhism is a philosophy that advocates meditating to discover the meaning of life. Zen came from Buddhism and it has spawned Taoism, Confucianism, and Indian spiritualism. Taoism basically means the way. It began as a philosophy but ended up as a religion. Taoist meditation concentrates on stopping outward sensory information from coming into your mind. It utilizes breathing techniques. It has ideas that are like those of Hindu and Buddhist kinds of meditative thought. But it isn