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Dhammapada: Verses and Stories

 Dhammapada Verse 141 Practices That Will Not Lead To Purity

141. Practices That Will Not Lead To Purity

Not going naked, nor matted hair, nor filth,
nor fasting, not sleeping on bare earth,
no penance on heels, nor sweat nor grime
can purify a mortal still overcome by doubt.

Explanation: A person seeking the purification of his soul may
practice the ritual of wandering about naked; or else he may wear turbans; he
may even smear his body with mud; he may even refrain from partaking of food as
an austerity to obtain purity; he may lie on bare earth; or else he may throw
dust all over his body. And again, some may practice a squatting posture. All
of these will not wash a person into spiritual purity if his wavering of mind
is not overcome.



Main article: Samādhi (Buddhism)

Samādhi, or concentration of the mind, is the 3rd division of the eightfold path
of the
Buddha’s threefold training: wisdom (pañña),
conduct (sīla),
Samādhi (Buddhism) (samādhi) - within which it is developed by samatha
meditation. Some Buddhist schools teach
of 40 different object
meditations, according to the Visuddhimagga,
an ancient
commentarial text. These objects include meditations on the breath
loving kindness (metta) and various
colours, earth, fire, etc.

Important components of Buddhist
meditation, frequently discussed by the Buddha, are the successively higher
meditative states known as the four
jhānas which in the language of the eight-fold path,
are “right concentration”. Right concentration has also been
characterised in the Maha-cattarisaka Sutta as concentration arising due
to the previous seven steps of the noble eightfold path.

Four developments of samādhi
are mentioned in the Pāli Canon:

  1. Jhāna
  2. Increased alertness
  3. Insight into the true nature of phenomena (knowledge
    and vision)
  4. Final liberation

Post-canonical Pāli
identifies three different types of

  1. momentary samādhi (khaikasamādhi)[21]
  2. access concentration (upacārasamādhi)
  3. fixed concentration (appaāsamādhi)

Not all types of samādhi are
recommended either. Those which focus and multiply the
five hindrances
are not suitable for development.

The Buddhist suttas also mention
that samādhi practitioners may develop supernormal powers (
abhijñā, also see 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.

The bliss of samādhi is not
the goal of Buddhism; but it remains an important tool in reaching the goal of
enlightenment. Samatha/samādhi meditation and vipassana/insight
meditation are the two wheels of the chariot of the noble eightfold path and
the Buddha strongly recommended developing them both.


Samadhi (Buddhism)

In Buddhism, samādhi
Pali / Sanskrit: समाधि)
is mental concentration or composing the mind.



  • 2 In the Theravada
    commentarial tradition
  • 3 Samādhi in Mahāyāna
  • 4 Intelligence
  • 5 See also
  • 6 Notes
  • 7 Bibliography
  • 8 External links
  • In
    the early Suttas

    In the Pāli canon
    of the
    tradition and the related
    Āgamas of other early Buddhist schools, samādhi is found in the following contexts:

    In Buddhism, samādhi is
    traditionally developed by contemplating one of
    40 different objects
    (mentioned in the Pali canon, explicitly enumerated in the
    such as
    mindfulness of breathing
    (anapanasati) and
    loving kindness (metta).

    Upon development of samādhi,
    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

    Table: Uses of samādhi
    (based on AN IV.41)

    In AN IV.41,[1]
    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 jhānas
    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
      and thoughts.
    4. the destruction of the taints - achieved through
      concentrative mindfulness of the rise and fall of the
      five aggregates.[3]

    The Buddhist suttas mention
    that samādhi practitioners may develop supernormal powers (
    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.

    Right concentration

    Jhāna-related factors.

    In the Buddhist noble eightfold path, the Buddha explains that
    right concentration (Pāli: sammā-samādhi; Skt.: samyak-samādhi)
    involves attainment of the successively higher meditative states known as the
    four jhānas.[4]

    In the Theravada commentarial tradition

    According to the Visuddhimagga, samādhi is the “proximate
    cause” to the obtainment of wisdom.[5]

    Indian Mahāyāna

    In the Indian Mahāyāna traditions samādhi is used in the earlier sense, but
    “there also appear in Mahayana literature references to a number of
    specific samadhi, each with a name and associated benefits, and a number of
    which are associated with specific sutras. . . one notes the appearance of
    lengthy lists of samadhi names, which one suspects have acquired their own aura
    of magical potency. Thus we can find samadhi-name lists, some of considerable
    length, in the Aksayavamatinirdeśa,
    Daśabhhūmīśvara, Ga
    and various Prajñāpāramitā texts. Section 21 of the Mahāvyutpatti
    records some 118 samādhi.[6]

    This is reflected in the Heart Sutra, a famous Mahāyāna discourse, in
    which Avalokiteśvara gives a teaching in the presence of the
    Buddha after the Buddha enters “the samādhi which expresses the dharma
    called Profound Illumination,” which provides the context for the

    Likewise, the Samādhirāja Sūtra “declares its main theme
    to be a particular samādhi that is supposed to be the key to all elements in
    the path and to all the virtues and merits of buddhas and bodhisattvas. This
    state of mind, or spiritual practice, is called ‘the samādhi that is manifested
    as the sameness of the essential nature of all dharmas’ (sarva-dharma-svabhavā-samatā-vipañcita-samādhi).
    One may be tempted to assume that this refers to one particular form or state
    of contemplation; however, here the term ’samādhi’ is understood in its
    broadest signification. This samādhi is at the same time the cognitive
    experience of emptiness, the attainment of the attributes of buddhahood, and the
    performance of a variety of practices or daily activities of a
    bodhisattva—including service and adoration at the feet of all buddhas. The
    word samādhi is also used to mean the sūtra itself. Consequently, we can speak
    of an equation, sūtra = samādhi = śūnyatā, underlying the text. In this sense
    the title Samādhirāja expresses accurately the content of the


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    In Zen, the three
    trainings (or threefold learning) are presented in the Parable of the Lamp
    using the ancient form of a lamp made up of a dish of oil with a lighted wick.
    The table (or floor) is the body, the dish is the conscious mind, the oil is
    moral conduct (sīla), the wick is unperturbed contemplation (samādhi),
    and the flame is intuitive wisdom (prajñā). That which is a
    “lamp” does not exist without all of the parts present and
    functioning. If there is no oil then the wick is dry and the flame won’t stay
    lit. If there is no wick then there is nothing for the flame to be centered
    upon and anchored to. If there is no flame then it is not actually a lamp but
    just a bowl of oil with a piece of string in it. The wick does not become a
    true wick until it is lit, and the flame has no place to light until it has a
    wick.[citation needed]

    Because of this mutual identity of wick and flame, Huineng, the
    renowned Sixth Ancestor of Chinese Chan (Zen), taught in Chapter 4 of the Platform
    that samādhi and prajñā are not different:

    Learned Audience, in my system Samadhi and Prajna are fundamental. But do
    not be under the wrong impression that these two are independent of each other,
    for they are inseparably united and are not two entities. Samadhi is the
    quintessence of Prajna, while Prajna is the activity of Samadhi. At the very
    moment that we attain Prajna, Samadhi is therewith; and vice versa. If you
    understand this principle, you understand the equilibrium of Samadhi and
    Prajna. A disciple should not think that there is a distinction between
    ‘Samadhi begets Prajna’ and ‘Prajna begets Samadhi’. To hold such an opinion
    would imply that there are two characteristics in the Dharma.[8]

    In Zen, samādhi is the unified state of steady or unperturbed awareness. In
    Chapter 5 of the Platform Sutra, Huineng described the role of
    samādhi in meditation practice as follows:

    When we are free from attachment to all outer objects, the mind will be in
    peace. Our Essence of Mind is intrinsically pure, and the reason why we are
    perturbed is because we allow ourselves to be carried away by the circumstances
    we are in. He who is able to keep his mind unperturbed, irrespective of
    circumstances, has attained Samadhi. To be free from attachment to all outer
    objects is Dhyana, and to attain inner peace is Samadhi. When we are in a
    position to deal with Dhyana and to keep our inner mind in Samadhi, then we are
    said to have attained Dhyana and Samadhi.[9]


    According to B. Alan Wallace, samādhi is also viewed as
    serving as the basis for increasing intelligence.[10]
    Wallace also maintains that Buddhist psychology suggests that concentration may
    be a factor in the emergence of extraordinary intelligence.[11]


    Buddhism portal




    There`s more to meditation than just closing ones eyes and an
    understanding of this technique demands an understanding of our mental realm.
    The subtle state of mind, which is the ultimate stage of meditation, requires a
    tremendous amount of energy to reach. An absolute harmony between our gross
    physical realm, sensual realm and our life energy is the prerequisite of a
    meditative state of mind.

    Traditional perceptions of our mental make-up are uncommonly useful in
    understanding the workings of the mind. According to ayurveda and yoga, both the mind and the body
    are made up of the `Five Great Elements` (Panchabhutas) of earth (prithvi),
    water (jal), fire (agni or tej), air (vayu) and ether or space (akash).

    But in spite of such composition, they have absolutely opposite elemental
    structures. While the body is made up of the heavier elements of earth and
    water (the ayurvedic kapha or phlegmatic humoral type), it functions through
    the lighter elements of fire (pitta or heat humoral type) and air (vata or
    vital energy humor). The pitta, fire or heat of the body controls all digestive
    processes and the vata, air or vital energy lends its spark to the nervous

    The mind, meanwhile, is composed of air and ether (vata humor)—the lighter
    elements, which lend mobility and pervasiveness to the mind. And our mental
    functions proceed through the heavier elements of fire, water and earth
    (pitta—heat and kapha—phlegm). The element of fire lends reason and perception
    to the mind, while water and earth lends it emotion and physical
    identification. But our mental functions proceed through the heavier elements
    of fire, water and earth. While fire lends reason and perception to the mind,
    water and earth lends it emotion and physical identification respectively.

    Unlike the phlegmatic body, in substance our minds resemble ether—formless and
    all pervading. And in motion it resembles air—penetrating, constantly in flux,
    effervescent and unpredictable!

    The mind (mana) and the energy spirit (prana, chi or life force) have always had an affinity for
    each other, being merely the two sides of the same coin. Whatever the mind
    engages upon is soon infused with life energy, and conversely, whatever the soul
    hungers for instantly engages our attention. As a result, certain aspects of
    each are present in the other.

    Out of the two, the mind is the finer and more sophisticated version of the
    cruder life force or prana—it has a storehouse of its
    own energy and vitality. Some aspects of it naturally spills over, flooding the
    spirit with thought and intelligence (buddhi). But it is the vital force, which
    is inherently a conscious power, finding its expression in the mind, which is
    inherently the active force.

    Both prana and mana (mind) are vata (vital force) humoral types, composed of
    air and ether. But being composed more of the air element rather than the
    ether, the prana is more active and energetic—like the wind! On the other hand,
    since the degree of ether is more in the composition of the mind, its nature is receptive and passive—like the wide
    open spaces.

    Meditation, especially passive meditation, brings us face to face with our
    subconscious. Not unlike opening up a Pandora`s box full of mischief, if we are
    not ready to encounter our inner selves, it could end up being a disastrous
    experience instead of an enlightening one! And the most vulnerable seem to
    be-people with overwhelming anxiety, who are emotionally or psychologically
    disturbed, those who have problems accepting reality, people who suffer from
    acute paranoia and even those who develop delusions of grandeur from the
    altered states of consciousness that meditation tends to produce.

    To avoid such psychosis or simply getting lost in our thoughts and ending up
    confused and disturbed, it is necessary to begin meditation sessions with formal practice.
    Different schools of thought prescribe different methods of such preparation,
    but they all agree on the absolute necessity of concentration exercises preceding
    meditation. These preparation techniques are as varied as praying, chanting
    mantras, performing pranayama or even visualizing. Once the mind becomes
    trained for concentration, actual formless or mindfulness meditation can proceed, such as sitting in
    silence, practicing self-inquiry or performing devotional meditation.

    While Hinduism-based schools of thought insist on a proper sattvic (pure or
    ascetic) lifestyle as a primary condition to true meditation, Buddhist
    mindfulness meditation prescribes contemplation on the
    `Four Protections` and the `Nine Attributes` of the Buddha.

    A helpful tip to keep in mind would be that ultimately meditation is all about being at peace with oneself. It cannot perform miracles
    out of thin air. It does not solve problems magically. It`s simply a technique,
    which acquaints you with the person you really are. And having gained that
    timeless knowledge, it is you who will take that first step towards
    self-transformation. Remember always that the technique of meditation is nothing more than a tool in your

    Ways of harnessing the ever-changing, ever-shifting mind are as varied as the
    different techniques of meditation. But by and large, they all practice mental
    exercises, which aim at capturing the very nature of our minds. While the Buddhist
    Satipatthana Sutra advices the meditator to be mindful of: the body, feelings,
    the mind and mental objects—Patanjali`s Yoga
    Sutra talks about the three techniques of: dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation)
    and samadhi (absorption or enlightenment).

    Dharana, the sixth limb of the Yoga
    philosopher Patanjali`s Ashtanga Yoga, literally means `immovable concentration
    of the mind`. The essential idea is to hold the concentration or focus of
    attention in one direction. This is not the forced concentration of, for
    example, solving a difficult mathematics problem; rather dharana is a form of
    closer to the state of mind, which could be called receptive concentration.

    In practicing dharana, conditions are created for the mind to focus its
    attention in one direction instead of radiating out in a million different
    directions. Deep contemplation and reflection usually creates the right conditions,
    and the focus on a single chosen point becomes more intense. Concentrative
    meditative techniques encourage one particular activity of the mind, and the
    more intense it becomes the more the other preoccupation of the mind cease to

    The objective in dharana is to steady the mind by focusing its attention upon
    some stable entity. Before retracting his senses, on may practice focusing
    attention on a single inanimate object. After the mind becomes prepared for
    meditation, it is better able to focus efficiently on one subject or point of
    experience. Now if the yogi chooses to focus on the center (chakra) of inner
    energy flow, he/she can directly experience the physical and mental blocks and
    imbalances that remain in his or her system. This ability to concentrate
    depends on excellent psychological health and integration and is not an escape
    from reality, but rather a movement towards the perception of the true nature of the Self.

    Dhyana, the seventh limb of Ashtanga Yoga, means worship, or profound and
    abstract religious meditation. It is perfect contemplation. It involves
    concentration upon a point of focus with the intention of knowing the truth
    about it.

    During dhyana, combining clear insights into distinctions between objects and
    the subtle layers surrounding intuition further unifies the consciousness. We
    learn to differentiate between the mind of the perceiver, the means of
    perception, and the objects perceived—between words, their meanings and ideas,
    and even between all the levels of natural evolution. We realize that these are
    all fused in an undifferentiated continuum. One must apprehend both subject and
    object clearly in order to perceive their similarities. Thus dhyana is
    apprehension of real identity among apparent differences.

    During dharana, the mind becomes unidirectional, while during dhyana, it
    becomes ostensibly identified and engaged with the object of focus or
    attention. That is why, dharana must precede dhyana, since the mind needs
    focusing on a particular object before a connection can be made. If dharana is
    the contact, then dhyana is the connection.

    Obviously, to focus the attention to one point will not result in insight or
    realization. One must identify and become “one with” the object of
    contemplation, in order to know for certain the truth about it. In dharana the
    consciousness of the practitioner is fixed on one subject, but in dhyana it is
    in one flow.

    The final step in Ashtanga Yoga
    is the attainment of samadhi. When we succeed in becoming so absorbed in
    something that our mind becomes completely one with it, we are in a state of
    samadhi. Samadhi means “to bring together, to merge”. In samadhi our
    personal identities completely disappear. At the moment of samadhi none of that
    exists anymore. We become one with the Divine Entity.

    During samadhi, we realize what it is to be an identity without differences,
    and how a liberated soul enjoys a pure awareness of this pure identity. The
    conscious mind drops back into that unconscious oblivion from which it first
    emerged. The final stage terminates at the instant the soul is freed. The
    absolute and eternal freedom of an isolated soul is beyond all stages and
    beyond all time and place. Once freed, it does not return to bondage.

    The perfection of samadhi embraces and glorifies all aspects of the self by
    subjecting them to the light of understanding. The person capable of samadhi
    retains his/her individuality and person, but is free of the emotional
    attachment to it.


    Meditation has not only been used as an important therapy for psychological and
    nervous disorders, from simple insomnia to severe emotional disturbances, but
    lately physicians have also prescribed it for curing various physical ailments
    as well. It is useful in chronic and debilitating diseases like allergies or
    arthritis, in which stress or hypersensitivity of the nervous
    system are involved. Regular meditation practices have also been known to
    help in dealing with pain and a number of painful diseases, whether
    chronic or acute. The act of meditation comes in useful because it helps
    the mind to detach itself from all material and physical attachments—and that
    is the ultimate cure for all diseases or at least the way to transcend them
    when we cannot avoid them.

    Research has found meditation, especially Transcendental Meditation, to be
    extremely successful in treating physiological problems. Research on
    Transcendental Meditation has been conducted at more than 200
    universities, hospitals, and research institutions in 27 countries. As a
    result, more than 500 research and review papers have been written covering a
    wide variety of physiological, psychological, and sociological effects.

    Transcendental Meditation allows mental activity to settle
    down in a natural way while alertness is maintained and enhanced. Following Transcendental
    Meditation, individuals have reported feeling refreshed physically as well as
    mentally. The mind has become calmer and more alert, thinking clearer, and
    energy levels have increased. Those with busy schedules have noted that
    Transcendental Meditation brings increased efficiency in
    activity; time is used more effectively. When mental and physical well being
    are enhanced, personal relationships also improve, a commonly reported and
    valued benefit of Transcendental Meditation.

    Physiological research has shown that Transcendental Meditation gives rise to a state of deep rest
    characterized by marked reductions in metabolic activity, increased orderliness
    and integration of brain functioning, increased cerebral blood flow and
    features directly opposite to the physiological and biochemical effects of
    stress. Taken together, these studies clearly distinguish the physiology of
    Transcendental Meditation from sleep or simple relaxation.

    A review of research on behavioral therapy for hypertension concluded that
    Transcendental Meditation provides an optimal non-clinical
    treatment and preventive program for high blood pressure because the technique:

    • produces rapid, clinically significant blood pressure reductions;
    • is distinctly more effective than other meditation and relaxation procedures;
    • is continued by a high proportion of subjects (in contrast to lower
    continuation rates for relaxation techniques and the frequent problem of poor
    compliance with anti-hypertensive drugs);
    • has documented acceptability and effectiveness in a wide range of
    • is effective in reducing high blood pressure both when used as sole treatment
    and when used in concert with medication;
    • reduces high blood pressure in `real life` environments outside the clinic;
    • is free from harmful side-effects or adverse reactions;
    • reduces other cardiovascular risk factors and improves health in a general way.

    However, all forms of meditation are not good for everyone, any more
    than all foods or herbs are. For this reason both yoga
    and ayurveda recommends a proper lifestyle and an
    integral approach to meditation that considers both our different
    faculties as well as our individual nature.

    People in the West are more familiar with prayer than meditation. Prayer is a
    general term and many types of it exist, but the term usually refers to an
    active form of meditation in which we project an
    intention—calling on God to help us or our loved ones in some way.
    Both ayurveda and yoga
    use prayer (prarthana) along with mantra and meditation. Generally mantra is
    energized prayer, a prayer or yogic wish directed by special sound patterns or
    vibrations of the cosmic Word. Meditation is a silent or contemplative form
    of prayer in which there may not be any movement of thought or intention.

    Devotional meditation is an intensely personal matter and
    is usually conditioned by one`s religious background. Other than worshipping
    personal gods and deities who appeal to a particular person`s consciousness,
    another important form of devotional worship is-the worship of planetary
    deities and cosmic powers behind the forces of time and karma.

    The use of affirmations goes along with prayer and meditation. Affirmations can
    be employed to emphasize our relationship with the divine or our own inner healing powers. People suffering from negative
    thoughts about themselves, are often trapped in self-doubt. Affirmations can be
    very strengthening in such conditions.

    Yet affirmations should lead to action and not substitute for it. To do
    anything in life requires a belief that one can do it and
    a positive intention to make the effort. In such cases one cannot use the
    affirmation as an excuse for inaction.

    Visualization goes along with prayer and meditation. One may visualize healed
    and improved conditions that one wishes to achieve. One can also direct healing energy to those who are sicker or to
    the parts of ones own body that need improvement. Such visualizations usually
    employ certain colors and mantras to be directed along with the breath.
    Visualizations can also be of deities or beautiful natural scenes to clear the
    mental field.

    “As a man wishes in his heart, so is he.” We create our karma and
    ourselves through our intentions at a deep level. Motivation or will is the
    main mental action behind the creation of our beings, the deep-seated
    conditionings behind the mind and heart.

    While yoga cultivates the will for self-realization,
    ayurveda cultivates the will of healing. A
    statement of intentions should precede whatever action one decides to
    undertake: “I intend to do the following action (in the following manner
    for a specific period of time) in order to produce the following result.”

    The path to self-transformation is like a plan or a strategy. No action is done
    without the seeking of some sort of result. This result
    depends upon the intention behind the action, not simply the superficiality of
    what we do. Higher or spiritual actions seek a result that is not ego-bound,
    like the development of consciousness and the alleviation of suffering for all
    beings. Lower actions reflect ego desires—to get what we want; to accomplish,
    achieve or gain for ourselves in some way or another. Spiritual motivations
    direct us within and help liberate the soul. Ego-based motivations direct us
    without and bind us further to the external world.

    Self transformational motivation or will implies not only developing our own
    will but also allying our will with the forces that can help it achieve its
    aim. Therefore it involves a seeking of help, blessings or guidance. Such
    motivations are generally projected as various affirmations and vows during
    meditational practices.

    There are many meditation techniques. Some of the techniques
    are quite simple and can be picked up with a little practice. Others require
    training by an experienced instructor. It is important to note that because of
    the effects of meditation on repressed memories and the
    resulting psychological impact, a first time meditator may go through some
    discomfort initially; hence it is always a good idea to be under the care of a
    qualified practitioner as one starts to meditate.

    In Christian spiritual training, meditation means thinking with concentration
    about some topic. In the Eastern sense, meditation may be viewed as the opposite of
    thinking about a topic. Here the objective is to become detached from thoughts
    and images and opening up silent gaps between them. The result is a quietening
    of our mind and is sometimes called relaxation response. In Christian mystical
    practice, this practice is called `contemplation`.

    But whatever the technique of meditation, the following aspects are generally
    common to all of them:

    The best environment for the practice of meditation is a quiet place with minimum
    distractions. It sometimes helps to set up a meditating room with special
    pictures, icons, holy books or even burning incense sticks and soothing music in order to infuse the atmosphere with
    spiritual energy. It is best to sit in a well ventilated room, which receives
    natural light.

    The best attitude to follow while practicing meditation is that of a receptive observer.
    Try to observe either the mind or the immediate physical environment, without
    thinking anything in particular. Watch the mind slowly empty itself out.

    Assuming a certain posture has been central to many meditation techniques. Classic postures,
    integral to Hatha Yoga, are given in the Yoga
    Sutras of Patanjali, which codify ancient yogic healing practices. Other postures appear in
    the Kum Nye holistic healing system of Tibet, in Islamic prayer,
    and in Gurdjieff movements. Posture is considered very important in Zen
    Buddhist practice as well.

    A major characteristic of prescribed meditation postures in many traditions is that
    the spine is kept straight. This is true in Hindu and Buddhist yogas, in the
    Christian attitude of kneeling prayer, in the Egyptian sitting position, and in
    the Taoist standing meditation of “embracing the
    pillar.” People with misalignments may feel uncomfortable in the beginning
    when assuming these postures. The spine is put back into a structurally sound
    line, and the weight of the body distributed around it in a balanced pattern in
    which gravity, not muscular tension, is the primary influence. It is possible,
    although it has not been conclusively proven that this postural realignment
    affects the state of mind.

    In the East, the cross-legged postures, with head and back in vertical line,
    are considered ideal for meditation. In the classic the Lotus posture, when the
    legs are crossed with the feet on the thighs, right feeling of poised sitting
    for meditation is imparted. These postures are
    difficult and even painful at first for those who are not familiar with them.
    For such inexperienced individuals, two other traditional Eastern postures—half
    lotus posture and the Burmese posture—are usually much easier to follow. For
    those who prefer to meditate while sitting on a chair, there is the Egyptian

    In Hindu meditative techniques, the object the attention dwells on is often a
    mantra, usually a Sanskrit word or syllable. Usually the meditator repeats an
    affirmation to increase positive spiritual energies. Alternately prayers or are
    often said for calming the mind. Various short rituals are also prescribed before meditation,
    such as making offerings of fragrant oils (for earth elements), holy water
    (element of water), lamps (fire), incense (air) and flowers or garlands
    (ether). These rituals help in cleansing the psychic energy
    and preparing the mind for meditation.

    In Buddhism, the focus of attention is often the meditator`s own breathing, a
    luminous sphere or a translucent Buddha Statue. Some traditional Buddhist
    meditations follow forty concentration devices or meditation subjects for tranquilizing the mind
    as prescribed by the Buddha These are the ten recollections (anussati), ten
    meditations on impurities (asubha) , ten complete objects (kasina), four
    immaterial absorption (arupajhana), four divine abiding (brahmavihara), one
    perception (ahare patikulasanna) or contemplation of the impurity of material
    food, and one defining contemplation (vavatthana) on the Four Elements (earth,
    water, fire, and air).

    Whether one performs mantra meditation or Buddhist breath meditations, they both fulfill all the
    elements required for meditating for relaxation.

    It is always recommended that meditation be practiced daily, twice a day for
    best results. Beginners are recommended to meditate for about half an hour
    daily. Later when one gets used to the practice, one hour is ideal.

    Hindu methods of meditation prescribes about a quarter of an
    hour for performing pranayama, the same for mantras and the same for silent or
    devotional meditation. What is emphasized is the regularity of practice at all



    Meditation is an intensely
    personal and spiritual experience. The desired purpose of each meditation technique is to channel normal
    waking consciousness into a more positive direction by totally transforming
    one`s state of mind. To meditate is to turn inwards, to concentrate on the
    inner self.

    The entire process of meditation usually entails the three stages of
    concentration, meditation and enlightenment or absorption. The meditator
    starts off by concentrating on a certain point. Once attention gets engaged,
    concentration turns into meditation. And through continuous meditation, the
    meditator merges with the object of concentration, which might either be the
    present moment or the Divine Entity.

    In some branches of Indian philosopohy, direct perception from the inner self
    (mana) together with perception that is filtered through the five senses
    (pancha indriya) form a part of their valid epistemology (pratyaksha jnana).
    And this self-realization or self-awareness (as popularized by Paramahansa Yogananda), is nothing but the
    knowledge of the “pure being”—the Self.

    Humanity is increasingly turning towards various meditative techniques in order
    to cope with the increasing stress of modern-day lifestyles. Unable to
    locate stability in the outside world, people have directed their gaze inwards
    in a bid to attain peace of mind. Modern psychotherapists have
    begun to discover various therapeutic benefits of meditation practices. The state of relaxation
    and the altered state of consciousness—both induced by meditation—are
    especially effective in psychotherapy.

    But more than anything else, meditation is being used as a personal growth device these days—for inculcating
    a more positive attitude towards life at large.

    Meditation is not necessarily a religious practice, but because of its
    spiritual element it forms an integral part of most religions. And even though
    the basic objective of most meditation styles remain the same and are
    performed in a state of inner and outer stillness, they all vary according to
    the specific religious framework within which they are placed. Preparation,
    posture, length of period of meditation, particular verbal or visual
    elements—all contribute to the various forms of meditation. Some of the more
    popular methods are, Transcendental Meditation, yoga
    nidra, vipassana and mindfulness meditation.



    In Sikhism
    the word is used to refer to an action that one uses to remember and fix one’s
    mind and soul on Waheguru.

    The Sri Guru Granth Sahib informs “Remember in
    meditation the Almighty Lord, every moment and every instant; meditate on God
    in the celestial peace of Samadhi.” (p 508). So to meditate and remember
    the Almighty at all times in one’s mind takes the person into a state of Samadhi.
    Also “I am attached to God in celestial Samadhi.” (p 865) tells us that by
    carrying out the correct practices, the mind reaches a higher plane of
    awareness or Samadhi. The Sikh Scriptures advises the Sikh to keep the mind
    aware and the consciousness focused on the Lord at all times thus: “The most
    worthy Samadhi is to keep the consciousness stable and focused on Him.” (p 932)

    The term Samadhi refers to a state of mind rather than a
    physical position of the body. Although, it has to said that you can sit in
    mediation and also be in a state of Samadhi. The Scriptures explain: “I am
    absorbed in celestial Samadhi, lovingly attached to the Lord forever. I live by
    singing the Glorious Praises of the Lord” (p 1232) and also “Night and day,
    they ravish and enjoy the Lord within their hearts; they are intuitively
    absorbed in Samadhi. ||2||” (p 1259). Further, the Sikh Gurus
    inform their followers: “Some remain absorbed in Samadhi, their minds fixed
    lovingly on the One Lord; they reflect only on the Word of the Shabad.” (p503)


    Samadhi (Sanskrit: समाधि) in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and yogic schools is a higher level of concentrated meditation, or dhyāna.
    In the yoga tradition, it is the eighth and final limb identified in the
    Yoga Sūtras


    It has been described as a
    non-dualistic state of consciousness in which the consciousness of the
    experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object,
    and in which the mind becomes still, one-pointed or concentrated
    while the person remains conscious. In Buddhism, it can also refer to an
    abiding in which mind becomes very still but does not merge with the object of
    attention, and is thus able to observe and gain insight into the changing flow
    of experience.

    In Hinduism, samādhi can also
    refer to
    videha mukti or the complete absorption of the individual consciousness
    in the self at the time of death - usually referred to as



  • 3 Buddhism
  • 4 Sikhism
  • 5 Analogous concepts
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links
  • Nomenclature, orthography and etymology

    Samadhi (समाधि samādhi,
    Hindi pronunciation: [səˈmaːd̪ʱi])
    is the state of consciousness induced by complete meditation. The term’s etymology
    involves “sam” (together or integrated), “ā
    (towards), and “dhā” (to get, to hold). Thus the result might
    be seen to be “to acquire integration or wholeness, or truth” (samāpatti).
    Another possible etymological analysis of “samādhi” is “samā
    (even) and “dhi” (intellect), a state of total equilibrium
    (”samā“) of a detached intellect (”dhi“).

    Rhys Davis[4]
    holds that the first attested usage of the term samādhi in Sanskrit
    literature was in the Maitri Upanishad.[5]


    Samādhi is the main subject of the first part of the Yoga Sūtras
    called Samādhi-pada.
    Vyāsa, a major figure in Hinduism and one of the traditional
    authors of the
    Mahābharata, says in his commentary on verse 1.1 of the Yoga Sūtras
    that “yoga is samādhi.”
    This is generally interpreted to mean that samādhi is a state of
    complete control (samadhana) over the functions and distractions of

    Samādhi is described in different
    ways within Hinduism such as the state of being aware of one’s existence
    without thinking, in a state of undifferentiated “beingness” or as an
    altered state of consciousness that is characterized by bliss (
    ānanda) and joy (sukha). Nisargadatta Maharaj describes the state in the following manner:

    When you say you sit for meditation,
    the first thing to be done is understand that it is not this body
    identification that is sitting for meditation, but this knowledge ‘I am’, this
    consciousness, which is sitting in meditation and is meditating on itself. When
    this is finally understood, then it becomes easy. When this consciousness, this
    conscious presence, merges in itself, the state of ‘Samadhi’ ensues. It is the
    conceptual feeling that I exist that disappears and merges into the beingness
    itself. So this conscious presence also gets merged into that knowledge, that
    beingness – that is ‘Samadhi’.


    The initial experience of it is
    enlightenment and it is the beginning of the process of meditating to attain
    self-realization (tapas). “There is a difference between the
    enlightenment of samādhi and self-realization. When a person achieves
    enlightenment, that person starts doing tapas to realize the self.”

    According to Patañjali[9]
    samādhi has three different categories:

    1. Savikalpa
      - This is an interface of trans meditation[
      ] and higher awareness state, asamprajñata. The
      state is so named because mind retains its consciousness, which is why in savikalpa
      one can experience guessing (vitarka), thought (vicāra),
      bliss (ānanda) and self-awareness (asmita).
      kalpa” means “imagination”. Vikalpa (an
      etymological derivation of which could be ‘
      विशेषः कल्पः विकल्पः।‘) connotes imagination. Patañjali in the Yoga Sūtras
      defines “vikalpa” saying: ‘
      शब्द-ज्ञानानुपाति वस्तु-शून्यो-विकल्पः।‘. “Sa” is a prefix which means
      “with”. So “savikalpa” means “with vikalpa
      or “with imagination”.
      Ramana Maharshi
      defines “savikalpa samādhi” as, “holding on to
      reality with effort”.
    2. Asamprajñata
      is a step forward from savikalpa. According to Patañjali,
      asamprajñata is a higher awareness state with absence of gross
    3. Nirvikalpa
      or sanjeevan - This is the highest transcendent state of
      consciousness. In this state there is no longer mind, duality, a
      subject-object relationship or experience.
      Upon entering
      nirvikalpa samādhi, the differences we saw before have faded and we can
      see everything as one. In this condition nothing but pure awareness
      remains and nothing detracts from wholeness and perfection.

    Entering samādhi initially
    takes great willpower and maintaining it takes even more will. The beginning
    stages of samādhi (laya and savikalpa samādhi) are only
    temporary. By “effort” it is not meant that the mind has to work
    more. Instead, it means work to control the mind and release the self. Note
    that normal levels of meditation (mostly the lower levels) can be held
    automatically, as in “being in the state of meditation” rather than
    overtly “meditating.”[
    ] The ability to obtain positive results from meditation is
    much more difficult than simply meditating.[
    ] It is recommended to find a qualified spiritual master (guru or yogi) who can teach a meditator about the workings of the mind.
    As one self-realized yogi explained, “You can meditate but after some time
    you will get stuck at some point. That is the time you need a guru. Otherwise,
    without a Guru, there is no chance.”

    Samādhi is the only stable unchanging reality; all else is
    ever-changing and does not bring everlasting peace or happiness.

    Staying in nirvikalpa samādhi
    is effortless but even from this condition one must eventually return to
    ego-consciousness. Otherwise this highest level of samādhi leads to nirvā
    a, which means total unity, the logical end of individual
    identity and also death of the body. However, it is entirely possible to stay
    in nirvikalpa samādhi and yet be fully functional in this world. This
    condition is known as sahājā nirvikalpa samādhi or sahājā samādhi.
    According to
    Ramana Maharshi, “Remaining in the primal, pure natural state without
    effort is sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi“.


    The Vaishnava
    Bhakti Schools
    of Yoga define samādhi
    as “complete absorption into the object of one’s love (Krishna).”
    Rather than thinking of “nothing,” true samādhi is said to be
    achieved only when one has pure, unmotivated love of God. Thus samādhi
    can be entered into through meditation on the personal form of God. Even while
    performing daily activities a practitioner can strive for full samādhi.

    “Anyone who is thinking of
    Krishna always within himself, he is first-class yogi.” If you want
    perfection in yoga system, don’t be satisfied only by practicing a course of
    asana. You have to go further. Actually, the perfection of yoga system means
    when you are in samadhi, always thinking of the Visnu form of the Lord within
    your heart, without being disturbed… Controlling all the senses and the mind.
    You have to control the mind, control the senses, and concentrate everything on
    the form of Vishnu.
    That is called perfection of yoga” - A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

    “Meditation means to absorb
    your mind in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is meditation, real
    meditation. In all the standard scriptures and in yoga practice formula, the
    whole aim is to concentrate one’s mind in the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
    That is called samadhi, samadhi, ecstasy. So that ecstasy is immediately
    brought by this chanting process. You begin chanting and hear
    for the few seconds or few minutes: you immediately become on the platform of
    ecstasy.” - A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada[15]

    Bhava Samadhi is a state of
    ecstatic consciousness that can sometimes be a seemingly spontaneous
    experience, but is recognized generally to be the culmination of long periods
    of devotional practices.[16]
    Shivabalayogi explained that bhava samādhi awakens spiritual awareness,
    brings about healing, and deepens meditation.[17]bhava
    ” denotes an advanced spiritual state in which the emotions of
    the mind are channelled into one-pointed concentration and the practitioner
    experiences devotional ecstasy. Bhava
    has been experienced by notable figures in Indian spiritual
    history, including Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and some of his
    disciples, Chaitanya
    Mahaprabhu and his chief disciple Nityananda, Mirabai and
    numerous saints in the bhakti tradition.[18]

    Leaving the body

    See also: Sallekhana

    Yogis are said to attain the final liberation or videha
    after leaving their bodies at the time of death. It is at this
    time that the soul knows a complete and unbroken union with the divine, and,
    being free from the limitations of the body, merges effortlessly into the
    transcendent Self. Mahāsamādhi (literally great samādhi) is a
    term often used for this final absorption into the Self at death.


    Anandamayi Ma Samadhi Mandir, Kankhal, Haridwar

    Samādhi mandir is also the Hindi name for a
    temple commemorating the dead (similar to a mausoleum),
    which may or may not contain the body of the deceased. Samādhi sites are
    often built in this way to honour people regarded as saints or gurus in Hindu religious
    traditions, wherein such souls are said to have passed into mahā-samādhi,
    (or were already in) samādhi at the time of death.

    I.K. Taimni

    I. K. Taimni, in The Science of
    Taimni’s commentary on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, provides a lucid and precise
    understanding of samadhi. In simple terms, Taimni defines samadhi as
    “knowing by becoming”. Samadhi, as pointed out above, is the eighth
    arm of Patanjali’s Ashtanga (eight limbed) yoga. The last three of the eight
    limbs are called Antaranga, or Internal yoga, meaning they occur solely in the
    mind of the yogin. The three limbs are: dharana, dhyana and samadhi. Together,
    the three are collectively called samyama. Dharana, dhyana and samadhi are sometimes
    translated as concentration, contemplation, and meditation, respectively. These
    translations do not shed any light on the nature of dharana, dhyana and
    samadhi. Dharana, dhyana and samadhi are altered states of consciousness and
    have no direct counter-part in normal waking experience, according to Taimni’s
    explanation of them.

    According to Taimni, dharana, dhyana and samadhi form a graded series.

    Dharana. In dharana, the mind
    learns to focus on a single object of thought. The object of focus is called a
    pratyaya. In dharana, the yogi learns to prevent other thoughts from intruding
    on focusing awareness on the pratyaya.

    Dhyana. Over time and with
    practice, the yogin learns to sustain awareness of only the pratyaya, thereby
    dharana transforms into dhyana. In dhyana, the yogin comes to realize the
    triplicity of perceiver (the yogin), perceived (the pratyaya) and the act of
    perceiving. The new element added to the practice of dhyana, that distinguish
    it from dharana is the yogin learns to minimize the perceiver element of this
    triplicity. In this fashion, dhyana is the gradual minimization of the
    perceiver, or the fusion of the observer with the observed (the pratyaya).

    Samadhi. When the yogin can: (1)
    sustain focus on the pratyaya for an extended period of time, and (2) minimize
    his or her self-consciousness during the practice, then dhyana transforms into
    samadhi. In this fashion then, the yogin becomes fused with the pratyaya.
    Patnajali compares this to placing a transparent jewel on a colored surface: the
    jewel takes on the color of the surface. Similarly, in samadhi, the
    consciousness of the yogin fuses with the object of thought, the pratyaya. The
    pratyaya is like the colored surface, and the yogin’s consciousness is like the
    transparent jewel.

    Samadhi can be compared to normal thought as a laser beam can be compared to
    normal light. Normal light is diffuse. A laser beam is highly concentrated
    light. The laser beam contains power that normal light does not. Similarly,
    samadhi is the mind in its most concentrated state. The mind in samadhi possess
    power than a normal mind does not. This power is used by the yogin to reveal
    the essence of the pratyaya. This essence is called the artha of the pratyaya.
    The release of the artha of the pratyaya is similar to cracking open the shell
    of a seed to discover the essential elements of the seed, the genetic material,
    protected by the shell.

    Once perfected, samadhi is the main tool used by a yogin to penetrate into
    the deeper layers of consciousness and seek the center of the yogin’s
    consciousness. Upon finding this center, the final act is using a variant form
    of samadhi, called dharma mega samadhi, to penetrate the center of
    consciousness and emerge through this center into Kaivalya. Kaivalya is the
    term used by Patanjali to designate the state of Absolute consciousness free
    from all fetters and limitations.

    Thus it can be seen that, according to Taimni’s interpretation of the Yoga
    Sutras, samadhi is the main tool the yogin uses to achieve the end goal of
    yoga, the joining of the individual self with the Universal Absolute.

    Analogous concepts

    According to the book “God Speaks” by Meher Baba,
    the Sufi words fana-fillah
    and baqa-billah are analogous to nirvikalpa samādhi and sahajā samādhi


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