Technology and apps for Buddhist meditation: useful in modern life — especially with between 500 million and 1.6 billion Buddhists worldwide

There are between 500 million and 1.6 Billion Buddhists worldwide — depending on which study you cite — an impressive percentage of the population. Many are business people, medical professionals, office workers and others who use technology on a daily basis to achieve their goals more quickly efficiently. Time is definitely a commodity in the 21st century, and technology can be used for more than material pursuits; in fact, it can be used to meditate more efficiently. If you are a Buddhist who is also hard-pressed for time, these technologies may help you on your individual path.

Feature by Sally Keys

 

Meditation in nature is important to many of us. When busy lives get in the way, there is a VR alternative.

 

Spire for Better Breathing

The Buddha taught a pranayama called anapanasati yoga, which involved watching the breath and letting all kinds of thoughts and emotions enter our mind without allowing these thoughts and emotions to get us into an anxious state. A gadget called Spire does a similar thing, measuring your breathing patterns and letting you know when you are showing signs of stress. During moments when your ‘fight or flight’ response kicks in, it offers meditation sessions so you can stop yourself from falling into a state of anxiety or panic. The gadget is an excellent reminder of the importance of disconnecting from the outer world and heading within once in a while.

A review of Spire on YouTube:

Buddhify: An App for Modern Day Buddhists

Wireless headphones, connected to a meditation app, can help us fit medtiation into our busy lives.

Buddhify is an app that was named the ‘best meditation app to ease anxiety’ by Buzzfeed. Buddhist practise states that we need to be in a calm state to connect with our thoughts and feelings, yet if you work for various hours outside the home then rush back to attend to your family, you can find it hard to set aside some ‘quiet time’ for meditation.

Buddhify makes it easy to take advantage of a break as short as four minutes for a calming meditation session. During your next lunch break, you can simply find a peaceful spot in a park or green area,connect your wireless headphones to your smartphone, and commence on one of many guided meditations, choosing between different programs such as ‘Just Meditation’, ‘Stress and Difficult Emotion’, or ‘Work Break’.

The Buddhify app is contextual and can help guide meditation, customized by different activities.

 

Virtual Reality Headsets

The Buddha left the palace and ultimately sat to practice meditation close to nature, beneath a tree. His followers also gave up their homes to live and practice his philosophy in the majesty of the Great Outdoors.

These days, most of us spend around 90% of our time indoors. This means we are missing out on the natural stress-busting effects of Mother Nature.

Buddha and all the sages stressed the importance of alone time — in a natural environement. Even if you can’t get away to a handy “meditation cave” a closed door and an escape into virtual reality could help achieve a similar feeling.

Virtual Reality headsets like the Oculus Go are making it a whole lot easier to reach a deep state of introspection by instantly transporting meditators to beautiful

Using a VR headset with a meditation app can help simulate meditation in nature.

natural environments such as lush forests, azure seascapes, and rolling mountain ranges. The headset connects up to apps like Guided Meditation VR, which guide you through a meditation session that can last just a few minutes (which is ideal if you are having a very busy day at work).

We have mentioned just three technological advances that can be used to improve meditation, but there are a host of additional technologies and apps you can use to your advantage. From VR-led meditation programs right through to meditation-inspired music, biofeedback, and neurofeedback, technology is making it easier to find your inner peace even if you have just a few minutes a day. Being a fervent Buddhist does not mean that you shouldn’t evolve with the times; quite the contrary. If technology exists that can help you further your aims, why not embrace it with zeal?

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Sally Keys

Author | Buddha Weekly

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