Overview of Meditation
There are several types of meditation.
- Analytical meditation (in which we validate the points of the teachings using reasons, scriptural quotations, and by applying them to our own life)
- Single-pointed meditation (in which we focus single-pointedly on what has been previously discerned by analysis)
- Glance meditation
Before doing analytical meditation on the topics of the Gradual Path, we need an overall idea of the entire path.
- In other words, we need to know the structure of the path, its outline, its main headings, the order of the meditations, the connections between them, etc.
- When we know the structure of the Gradual Path clearly, we feel confident that, as we go through the meditations one by one, we'll be able to develop the realizations.
- This is the purpose of glance meditation.
- We can do a glance meditation on the path each day, in order to leave an imprint of the entire path on our mindstream. In time, we'll have a thick layer of imprints and seeds for realizing the whole path.
Glance meditation is thinking briefly and succinctly about all the points of a particular meditation in their proper order.
- Example: We review that the meditation on precious human life has three major divisions: identifying it, seeing its value, and recognizing its rarity and difficulty to receive.
- The first part, in turn, has the ten freedoms (1, 2, 3, etc.) and the ten fortunes (1, 2, 3, etc.), etc.
- We continue through the pieces of the other two major divisions.
- Then we go on to the next topic, impermanence and death, and do the same thing, until we have recollected the essential points of all the meditations of the Gradual Path.
- Glance meditation plants seeds of the various realizations on our mindstream.
- It's too brief and concise to gain certainty on the points.
- It does help us to remember the points and to understand how they fit together and gradually develop in our mind.
- If we're new to the Gradual Path with all its individual points, it is helpful to meditate on them in a summarized form with glance meditation.
- Then we can gradually go into it more extensively with analytical meditation.
- Analogy: It's like painting a picture: first we sketch it out, then gradually fill in the details.
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