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Mindfulness-based meditation interventions have become increasingly popular in contemporary psychology. Other closely related meditation practices include loving-kindness meditation (LKM) and compassion meditation (CM), exercises oriented toward enhancing unconditional, positive emotional states of kindness and compassion. This article provides a review of the background, the techniques, and the empirical contemporary literature of LKM and CM. The literature suggests that LKM and CM are associated with an increase in positive affect and a decrease in negative affect. Preliminary findings from neuroendocrine studies indicate that CM may reduce stress-induced subjective distress and immune response. Neuroimaging studies suggest that LKM and CM may enhance activation of brain areas that are involved in emotional processing and empathy. Finally, preliminary intervention studies support application of these strategies in clinical populations. It is concluded that, when combined with empirically supported treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, LKM and CM may provide potentially useful strategies for targeting a variety of different psychological problems that involve interpersonal processes, such as depression, social anxiety, marital conflict, anger, and coping with the strains of long-term caregiving. Highlights ► We review the literature on loving-kindness and compassion meditation. ► Neuroendocrine studies suggest that compassion meditation reduces subjective distress and immune response to stress. ► Neuroimaging studies suggest that both meditation practices enhance activation of emotion centers of the brain. ► Preliminary intervention studies support the application of these strategies in clinical populations. ► We conclude that these techniques are effective for treating social anxiety, marital conflict, anger, and strains of long-term caregiving.
This article discusses how loving-kindness can be used to treat traumatized refugees and minority groups, focusing on examples from our treatment, culturally adapted cognitive-behavioral therapy (CA-CBT). To show how we integrate loving-kindness with other mindfulness interventions and why loving-kindness should be an effective therapeutic technique, we present a typology of mindfulness states and the Nodal Network Model (NNM) of Affect and Affect Regulation. We argue that mindfulness techniques such as loving-kindness are therapeutic for refugees and minority populations because of their potential for increasing emotional flexibility, decreasing rumination, serving as emotional regulation techniques, and forming part of a new adaptive processing mode centered on psychological flexibility. We present a case to illustrate the clinical use of loving-kindness within the context of CA-CBT.
Buddhist scholar and teacher Bhikkhu Anālayo explores the practice of mindfulness of breathing in the sixteen steps of the Ānāpānasati Sutta. This is an authoritative, practice-orientated elucidation of a foundational Buddhist text, useful to meditators whatever their tradition or background. In the first six chapters Anālayo presents practical instructions comparable to his Satipatthāna Meditation: A Practice Guide. The remaining chapters contain his translations of extracts from the early Chinese canon. With his accompanying commentary, these help the practitioner appreciate the early Buddhist perspective on the breath and the practice of mindfulness of breathing. Anālayo presents his understanding of these early teachings, arising from his own meditation practice and teaching experience. His aim is to inspire all practitioners to use what he has found helpful to build their own practice and become self-reliant. The book is accompanied with freely downloadable audio files offering guided and progressive meditation instructions from the author.
As mindfulness is increasingly embraced in the contemporary world as a practice that brings peace and self-awareness, Bhikkhu Anālayo casts fresh light on the earliest sources of mindfulness in the Buddhist tradition.The Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta is well known as the main source for Buddhist teachings on mindfulness and its place in the Buddhist path. Ten years after Anālayo’s acclaimed study of the Sutta, his current work, Perspectives on Satipaṭṭhāna, brings a new dimension to our understanding by comparing the Pali text with versions that have survived in Chinese. Anālayo also draws on the presentation of mindfulness in a number of other discourses as they survive in Chinese and Tibetan translations as well as in Pali. The result is a wide-ranging exploration of what mindfulness meant in early Buddhism. Informed by Anālayo’s outstanding scholarship, depth of understanding and experience as a practitioner, this book sheds fresh light on material that is central to our understanding of Buddhist practice, bringing us as close as we can come to the mindfulness teachings of the Buddha himself.
<p>From Introduction: The present work, which is the combined outcome of my Ph.D. research at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka and my own practical experienceas a meditating monk, attempts a detailed exploration of the significance and the practice of the mindfulness meditation according to its exposition in the 'Satopatthana Sutta', and placed within its early buddhist canonical and philosophical context.</p>