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  1. #11
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    However, I must say that meditation has to be right minded in order to function. Doing a specific action without right minded is mundane - it ends up being no different than talking to a person or eating breakfast or walking down the street. Prayer can be a meditation if it is right minded, but people can also rattle it off habitually in such a way that it ends up being not meditation.

    This^ was my first thought on the quote (in the op), that I’m not sure there’s a universal enough understanding of ‘meditate’ to give a definitive answer to whether it would put an end to violence. It’s kind of like saying lifting weights will make a body stronger and therefore prevent injury- but a layman picking up some weights and lifting them without a more thorough understanding of how muscles work together is likely to actually cause injury instead (by making select muscles stronger, thereby creating an imbalance and setting the weaker muscles up for a more severe injury). And while this is a wild oversimplification- this is how I perceive the kind of ‘meditation/prayer’ that leads to more violence…..that it creates stronger tunnel vision, rather than building mindfulness and making a person more aware of their conscious choices (and the effect those choices have on their external environment). Some religions actually require tunnel vision in some regards- a blind faith in something which actually imposes violence because it invalidates the experience of anyone outside that particular (and arbitrary) belief set, and having ‘faith’ requires they impose this violence without questioning whether or not it is ‘violence’ on another being; prayer, in this regard, is antithetical to the kind of ‘meditation’ which the Dalai Lama is referring.

    And at the op: I’m not sure I believe it would eliminate violence, but in the specific context in which the Dalai Lama means ‘meditate’ I do believe that it would significantly reduce violence. As he intends the meaning, essentially it’s becoming aware of the violence in oneself- noticing that which sets off the impulse to hurt or invalidate the experience of an other, and remaining mindful of putting compassion above that impulse. I do believe in the Buddhist precept that violence begets violence, and the best way to get rid of it is for people to become mindful of coping mechanisms they use to deal with it so that they don’t impulsively contribute violence in return when it crosses their path.
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  2. #12
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    You could define prayer as meditation, and lots of violence has been done by people who pray daily.
    Many types of meditation are the exact opposite of prayer. It empties the mind as opposed to filling it with pre-determined ideas that attempt to control what is outside our control (edit: or letting go to an infinite Being who can control outcomes. /edit) Meditation is more about letting go of control and accepting the impermanent nature of reality.

    Edit: Violence is also about attempting control what is outside our moral entitlement to control.
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  3. #13
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    Many types of meditation are the exact opposite of prayer. It empties the mind as opposed to filling it with pre-determined ideas that attempt to control what is outside our control (edit: or letting go to an infinite Being who can control outcomes. /edit) Meditation is more about letting go of control and accepting the impermanent nature of reality.

    Edit: Violence is also about attempting control what is outside our moral entitlement to control.
    Yep - it depends what you define as meditation. If you have a fairly loose definition, many kinds of prayer could be considered to be types of meditation - while other types of meditation can be the opposite, as you say. Some prayers are more "meditation-like" than others, of course.
    -end of thread-

  4. #14
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    That would certainly seem to be true.

    However, I must say that meditation has to be right minded in order to function. Doing a specific action without right minded is mundane - it ends up being no different than talking to a person or eating breakfast or walking down the street. Prayer can be a meditation if it is right minded, but people can also rattle it off habitually in such a way that it ends up being not meditation.
    I don't buy this. I don't know what meditation is if it must only be conducted when some undefined "right mindedness" is first achieved. I consider folding paper meditation for me. It gets me away from my thoughts and into contemplative action. I don't wait for the right state of mind before I begin the action of my meditation, I begin my action to achieve that meditative state of mind. I think if we require some state as a prerequisite, then no one is going to feel prepared enough to start a meditative action and its probably what keeps people from practicing or embracing those contemplative actions over expedient, prudent actions. If someone moving weights does that for them, I don't see why that can't be meditative. For me, putting this qualifier on it seems to rob it of being meditative or achievable.
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    You could define prayer as meditation, and lots of violence has been done by people who pray daily.
    What form of meditation was he talking about I wonder?

    To take up meditation at the age of 8 isn't an easy thing to do. One shouldn't be forced in to the habit of meditation lest it would be the same as praying.

    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Yes, but we´d all die of boredom before the age of 20.
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  6. #16
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    I took a formal Transcendental Meditation course in the 1970s (over a couple weekends), just out of curiosity. TM was big then, and taking such a course was a typical INFP thing to do. The TM itself was mainly about calming, balancing, and de-stressing. You focused on a sound (a mantra), or built a calming room to retreat to in your mind, or a guide (the teacher) talked you through some calming scene or technique, i.e., what’s called “guided imagery” today.

    It was a nice de-stressing tool, and I continued to use it for years in some form or another for that purpose. For example, I would use it to clear my head so that I could go to sleep at night.

    But there was nothing pro-violence or anti-violence about it. As far as I could tell, it was just a de-stressing exercise, and a lot of the specific techniques have since been incorporated into pop psychology (like the “guided imagery” technique).

    So I think it’s more a question of what one meditates “upon.” I suppose the instructor could mix it up with some religious guided imagery or tell you to focus specifically on religious symbols as you meditate. In fact my own course instructors promised higher levels of enlightenment if you took advanced courses with them. But actually they were kind of slimy in some ways, and I had already gotten what I wanted. I didn’t particularly want religious indoctrination. So I didn’t pursue it any further.

  7. #17
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    However, I must say that meditation has to be right minded in order to function.
    This argument is tautological. If you're right-minded you're not a violent person.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
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  8. #18
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    You could define prayer as meditation, and lots of violence has been done by people who pray daily.
    Religion or some religious person or people have wounded you deeply in the past.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I do think that if from as early as this children can learn and practice the sort of relaxation required it could influence many things, I think that meditative cultures or practices could influence adults if they were widespread too but I dont see it as a magic bullet for violence. I dont believe there are any magic bullets.

    Meditation in western traditions is different, there are prayer mantras but it is different and there are reading or scholarly meditation it is still different again and was generally the reserve of monastic scholars.

  10. #20
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    So I think it’s more a question of what one meditates “upon.”
    Yes. What I was trying to articulate in my previous post was that there’s a difference between the specific kind of meditation the Dalai Lama is referring to (which, as I understand it, is primarily to cultivate compassion and dissolve the mental constructs of ‘differences’ between ourselves and others that lead to indifference and apathy) and a probably more common notion of ‘meditation’ (which I guess could refer to anything under a bigger blanket of ‘slowing down to reflect on something’?). Under the more common notion of ‘meditation’, then I do not see the quote in the op as being especially true (and that sometimes it can even promote violence if those mental constructs of 'differences' only become stronger as a result). But if you take it in the context of the Dalai Lama having said it, then- according to his direction regarding meditation- I’d agree that it would significantly cut down on violence.
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