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12/04/07
Noble Eightfold path-Mental Development-Right Concentration
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Posted by: site admin @ 6:54 am

Noble Eightfold path

Mental Development

Right ConcentrationThe eight-spoked Dharmacakra. The eight spokes represent the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism.

Samādhi/Bhāvanā (Meditative cultivation)

In the language of the Noble Eightfold Path, samyaksamādhi is “right concentration”. The primary means of cultivating samādhi is meditation. Almost all Buddhist schools agree that the Buddha taught two types of meditation, viz. samatha meditation (Sanskrit: Å›amatha) and vipassanā meditation (Sanskrit: vipaÅ›yanā). Upon development of samādhi, one’s mind becomes purified of defilement, calm, tranquil, and luminous.

Once the meditator achieves a strong and powerful concentration (jhāna, Sanskrit ध्यान dhyāna), his mind is ready to penetrate and gain insight (vipassanā) into the ultimate nature of reality, eventually obtaining release from all suffering. The cultivation of mindfulness is essential to mental concentration, which is needed to achieve insight.

Samatha Meditation starts from being mindful of an object or idea, which is expanded to one’s body, mind and entire surroundings, leading to a state of total concentration and tranquility (jhāna) There are many variations in the style of meditation, from sitting cross-legged or kneeling to chanting or walking. The most common method of meditation is to concentrate on one’s breath, because this practice can lead to both samatha and vipassana.

In Buddhist practice, it is said that while samatha meditation can calm the mind, only vipassanā meditation can reveal how the mind was disturbed to start with, which is what leads to jñāna (Pāli ñāṇa knowledge), prajñā (Pāli paññā pure understanding) and thus can lead to nirvāṇa (Pāli nibbāna). When one is in jñāna, it is nibbāna, albeit only temporary because in these states, all defilements are suppressed. Only prajñā or vipassana eradicates the defilements completely. Jhanas are also resting states which arahants abide in order to rest.

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