This paper asks you to comment on two traditional meditation exercises from the readings—one Buddhist and one Hindu—together with the commentaries of modern exponents of them. The first is exercise 7 from Transformation and Healing, pp. 43-45. The second is the Dharana exercise on p. 70 of Raja Yoga(in the paragraph beginning “After you have practised pratyahāra for a time,”) through the end of the chapter, p. 74, How do these exercises orient meditators’ awareness of their bodies, and in what ways are those orientations consistent with other teachings and practices in the book in which each exercise is found. What do any broad differences you see in the meditational approaches of the two books suggest about major metaphysical ideas and world views seen in Hindu and Buddhist traditions so far?
In your answer you should draw on other course readings and lecture notes as appropriate. Your own experience in meditation practice should help you in reflecting on the questions and formulating your answers, but be careful not to use it as an authority. Be sure to ground your answers in the textual sources themselves and on reasoned arguments based on them and on the secondary readings. Your essays will be graded according to the understanding they demonstrate of the meditation practices in their doctrinal, experiential, and socioreligious contexts; the clarity of their arguments; and the acuteness of their insights. All papers should be uploaded to the Blackboard site by the end of the day on Wednesday, March 1. They should be about 4 or 5 double-spaced pages long.