Some people consider Buddhism as an offshoot of Hinduism. That kind of statement does not do any justice to the thousands of years that the religion and the philosophy behind it has developed and evolved. The common origin however leads to some connections and common traditions.
Buddhism- In order to have a deeper understanding of Buddhism it is necessary to go back in time and learn the basics about the history and founding of one of the great religions of the world. It was founded in India in the 6th Century B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama, an Indian prince who became disillusioned with life. He tried doing severe renunciation as practiced by ascetics and hermits. That did not satisfy him. He tried meditating and after a certain period he was able to attain enlightenment. He started teaching others about this and he gained a huge following. Today Buddhism is one of the great religions of the world.
Meditation in Buddhism- As you can realize meditation is pretty important in Buddhism since it was the method by which the founder of the religion gained his own enlightenment, It is natural that it is going to mean a lot to Buddhist everywhere. Hindus believe that it meditation can be useful in freeing the spirit or our true self from its attachment to the physical body. It is used together with other practices such as Yoga in order to achieve this aim. Buddhists on the other hand places an even heavier emphasis on meditation. It is part of Buddha’s Eightfold Path and is necessary in understanding The Four Noble Truths. Their meditation techniques all aim to develop peace of mind, concentration, serenity, insight and to gain enlightenment. Over the centuries different schools have been developed in different lands when it comes to Buddhist meditation, but all of these techniques would fall under three categories:
Concentration Meditation- In this type of meditation a person has to concentrate on a certain object, sound or thing. He uses that object in order to train the mind. The practice is to take note of the thoughts and ideas as they arise on the mind and just let them pass.
Insight Meditation- As you progress in your practice of concentration meditation you can learn to observe your mind more and more. You must learn how to observe your mind as it works. By doing his you can gain more insight into your own being.
Compassion Meditation- In this form of meditation you learn to concentrate your feelings on certain persons and you try to gain more compassion for them. The way to do this is to think about a person that you love first and try to think of how you feel for them. Then think of someone that you neither love nor hate, someone towards which you have a neutral feeling. Finally think of someone hat you do not like and try to feel compassion and tenderness towards them.
These are the three main methods of meditation that you can use.