The difference between thinking and meditation is that in thinking generally we have no definite object or too many objects, but in meditation we think of a definite object chosen by our will; that is why meditation is a real constructive practice of thinking. It is by meditation that we develop our power of seeing the object as it is, otherwise we many see only the appearance of the object without knowing anything of its nature. That is why meditation is very necessary; it purifies the thoughts, otherwise they are mixed up with many things, especially with ignorance.
By thinking without purpose, our thoughts may lead us to dangers and troubles, but by meditating on a chosen object we gain benefit, we enlarge our intellect and develop our power of knowing or seeing things as they truly are.
If one wants to practice Buddhist meditation it means vipassana meditation, to see objects specially, not in the ordinary way but in the light of the three characteristics, anicca, dukkha and anatta – impermanence, suffering and being devoid of an ego or immortal soul. Vipassana means vi and passana. Passana means seeing, but vi has two meanings, visesana and vividha.
Visesana means specially, not in the ordinary conventional way where one does not go beyond appearance, beyond the surface. Instead of seeing a man, woman, cat, dog, one sees merely a composition of mind and matter. Vividha means differently, in the light of the three characteristics. When one sees that mind and matter are in a continuous state of change, of flowing, one sees the transiency; and anything changeable is not really desirable. That is suffering. Because there is no permanent, eternal thing in the world that we see, it means that in animate beings like human beings and animals there is no eternal principle in a body, no immortal soul. Seeing in this way is vipassana.
The mind itself is one of the specified objects for meditation. We should try to analyse our own mind, our own types of consciousness by watching, concentrating on our own thoughts – if they are evil, just to know it; if they are moral, just to know it. That knowledge is just the beginning, the first stage, but it will of itself help one to become free from evil states, because on knowing the nature of a state, if it is evil we shall not allow it, we shall try to avoid it, and therefore can thus gradually work towards its eradication. Meditation is thus mental training, and from a trained mind spring right thoughts, words and deeds.
This Article was taken from (“www.wbsysl.org”)