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In Buddhism, samādhi (Pali; Skt.; Chinese: 三昧地 or 三摩地 or 定, Tibetan: bstan ’dzin) is mental concentration or composing the mind.

In the Pali literature, samadhi is found in the following contexts:

Contents

Developing samadhi

In Buddhism, samadhi is traditionally developed by contemplating one of 40 different objects, such as mindfulness of breathing (anapanasati) and loving kindness (metta).

Upon development of samadhi, one's mind becomes purified of defilements, calm, tranquil, and luminous. Once the meditator achieves a strong and powerful concentration, his mind is ready to penetrate and see into the ultimate nature of reality, eventually obtaining release from all suffering.

In AN IV.41,[2] the Buddha identifies four types of concentration development, each with a different goal:

  1. a pleasant abiding in this current life - achieved through concentrative development of the four jhanas
  2. knowledge and the divine eye - achieved by concentration on light
  3. mindfulness and clear comprehension - achieved through concentrative mindfulness of the rise and fall of feelings, perceptions and thoughts.[3]
  4. the destruction of the taints - achieved through concentrative mindfulness of the rise and fall of the Five Aggregates.[4]

The Buddhist suttas mention that samadhi practitioners may develop supernormal powers (abhijna, cf. siddhis), and list several that the Buddha developed, but warn that these should not be allowed to distract the practitioner from the larger goal of complete freedom from suffering.

Samadhi is also viewed as serving as the basis for increasing intelligence.[5] According to B. Alan Wallace, Buddhist psychology suggests that concentration may be a factor in the emergence of extraordinary intelligence.[6]

Right concentration

In the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path, the Buddha explains that "Right Concentration" (Pali: sammā-samādhi; Skt.: samyak-samādhi) involves attainment of the successively higher meditative states known as the four jhanas.[7]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Buddhaghosa & Ñāṇamoli (1999), p. 437.
  2. ^ Nyanaponika & Bodhi, 1999, pp. 88-89.
  3. ^ These appear to refer to three of the five aggregates.
  4. ^ This is similar to the instructions for mindfulness of the aggregates in the Satipatthana Sutta.
  5. ^ B. Alan Wallace, The bridge of quiescence: experiencing Tibetan Buddhist meditation. Carus Publishing Company, 1998, page 81.
  6. ^ B. Alan Wallace, The bridge of quiescence: experiencing Tibetan Buddhist meditation. Carus Publishing Company, 1998, page 82.
  7. ^ Brasington, 1997; and, Thanissaro, 1997.

Bibliography

  • Brasington, Leigh (1997). Sharpening Manjushri's Sword: The Jhanas in Theravadan Buddhist Meditation. Retrieved 2007-10-04 from "Leigh Brasington's Web Site" at http://www.leighb.com/jhana2.htm.
  • Buddhaghosa, Bhadantācariya and Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli (trans.) (1999). The Path of Purification: Visuddhimagga. Seattle, WA: BPS Pariyatti Editions. ISBN 1-928706-00-2.

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