Theory of Buddhist Meditation: From Early Buddhism to Early Mahāyāna

Lecturer Dr. Fa Qing
Monday 2-5pm

Course Description

A study of Buddhist meditation as an integral part of the Buddhist religious doctrine which is directed to mental purification and liberation. The study will involve Buddhist meditational practices in the Early Buddhism (Pāli Nikāya and Chinese Āgama), Theravāda, Sarvāstivāda and Early Mahāyāna, the therapeutic effects and psychological aspects of Buddhist meditation, and the higher reaches of mind in Jhanic experience and their relevance to Buddhist spiritual life.

Course Plan

  1. Introduction to the course and general survey of the Buddhist Meditation
  2. Meditation Instructions in Early Nikāyas and Agāmas I: Satipaṭṭhānasuttaṃ
  3. Meditation Instructions in Early Nikāyas and Agāmas II: Ānāpānasatisuttaṃ
  4. Outline of Meditation Theory in the Theravada Abhidharma
  5. Outline of Meditation Theory in the Sarvāstivāda
  6. The Sixteen-mode Mindfulness of Breathing
  7. The Six-stage mindfulness of breathing
  8. Reading Sarvāstivāda Meditation Texts I : Kumarajiva's Meditation Texts
  9. Reading Sarvāstivāda Meditation Texts II: Dharmatrāta-dhyāna sūtra
  10. Early Mahāyāna Meditation Texts
  11. Mahāyāna Meditation Texts
  12. Meditation texts in early Chinese Buddhist Schools
  13. Application of Meditation Theory in the Modern times
  14. Students Presentation
  15. Review


  1.  Presentation 10 %
  2.  Assignment 20 %
  3.  Term Paper 30
  4. Final Exam 40 %


Fa Qing. Theory of Buddhist Meditation: From Early Buddhism to Early Mahāyāna. IBC E-library: May, 2018.

Important References

  • M10 Satipaṭṭhānasuttaṃ;
  • M118 Ānāpānasatisuttaṃ.
  • Mindfulness: Traditions and Compassionate Applications. The International Association of Buddhist Universities Celebrating the Endeavors of a Decade 2007-2017. 6-8 May 2017, Mahachlalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Thailand. <>
  • Buddhaghosa. The Path of Purification: Visuddhimagga. tr. by Nyanamoli. 4th edition. Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 2010. PDF edition, 2011.
  • KL., Dhammajoti “The Sixteen-mode Mindfulness of Breathing.” Journal of Buddhist Studies ( 2008, Colombo), vol. VI. 251-288.
  • Willemen, Charles. Outlining the Way to Reflect. Mumbai: Somaiya Publications, 2012.
  • Nan, Huai-Chin. Tao and Longevity: Mind-Body Transformation. trans. by Wen Kuan Chu, Samuel Weiser, York Beach: Maine, 1984. <>