The practice of Bhavana is rooted on a correct understanding of the nature of the human being. As a matter of fact, a thorough understanding and appreciation of the human species, referred to in Buddhism as manussa is central to the Teaching of the Buddha. The term manussa means a being that possesses a mind, that is, a mana or mano, which can be developed to its highest potential. Interestingly, the term manussa has also been used colloquially in a number of languages such as in Sanskrit, Bahasa Indonesian and Malay to refer to human beings. Also, it appears more than a mere coincidence that the English Language coinage, “Man”, which is used to collectively refer to human beings, is phonetically proximate to the term mana. It is true that animals and other living creatures too have a mind. However, the human mind is the most evolved in comparison to that of other living beings.
The preceding few articles had outlined how the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of an expectant mother and her unborn baby are promoted by strengthening her sraddha and reciting or listening to parittas. Yet another important practice in the Teaching of the Buddha in respect to Gabbhaparihara or holistic motherhood is the practice of bhavana. In context of the practice and practical application of Buddhism in daily life, bhavana can be taken to mean the development of a wholesome mental self-culture. In common parlance, bhavana refers to a structured and systematic graduated training programme for cultivating the mind so that it is removed of kilesa or mental defilements or unwholesome thoughts. This is achieved by developing one-pointedness of the mind through meditation practice that generates an inner calmness and tranquillity in oneself.