Theravada Buddhist Walking Meditation

Definition - What does Theravada Buddhist Walking Meditation mean?

Theravada Buddhist walking meditation is a walking meditation that is a vital part of spiritual practice and training in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. It's used to build concentration and focus so it requires a particularly elaborate mental process and effort when compared with other forms of walking meditations. The practitioner walks backwards and forwards along a path which is 30 to 40 feet long, maintaining a specific and changing focus for their attention throughout.

Theravada Buddhist walking meditation is also considered beneficial for those who are new to meditation because the change in direction at the end of the path gives a regular natural reminder to check whether the mind has drifted and refocus.

Yogapedia explains Theravada Buddhist Walking Meditation

Some of the key guidelines of Theravada Buddhist walking meditation are:

  • Practice barefoot or wearing soft shoes
  • Keep the gaze down or eyelids half closed
  • Focus attention on the sensations in the feet
  • With every step, notice the change in feelings in the feet
  • At the beginning, middle and end of the path, ask the question: “Where is my mind?” and bring it back to the soles of the feet
  • Stay with a pace which keeps greatest connection to mindfulness in the feet

Although it's a walking meditation, practitioners who feel their minds dropping into a deeper state of tranquility may stand still or sit to meditate at any point.

Theravada Buddhist meditation is considered particularly beneficial because it trains the mind to be present and focused during purposeful activity, not just when sitting quietly. With practice, its principles may be incorporated into daily life and more informal walking activities.

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