Noble Eightfold path
In the language of the Noble Eightfold Path, samyaksamÄdhi is “right concentration”. The primary means of cultivating samÄdhi is meditation. Almost all Buddhist schools agree that the Buddha taught two types of meditation, viz. samatha meditation (Sanskrit: Å›amatha) and vipassanÄ meditation (Sanskrit: vipaÅ›yanÄ). Upon development of samÄdhi, one’s mind becomes purified of defilement, calm, tranquil, and luminous.
Once the meditator achieves a strong and powerful concentration (jhÄna, Sanskrit à¤§à¥à¤¯à¤¾à¤¨ dhyÄna), his mind is ready to penetrate and gain insight (vipassanÄ) 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 (jhÄna) 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 vipassanÄ meditation can reveal how the mind was disturbed to start with, which is what leads to jÃ±Äna (PÄli Ã±Äá¹‡a knowledge), prajÃ±Ä (PÄli paÃ±Ã±Ä pure understanding) and thus can lead to nirvÄá¹‡a (PÄli nibbÄna). When one is in jÃ±Äna, it is nibbÄna, albeit only temporary because in these states, all defilements are suppressed. Only prajÃ±Ä or vipassana eradicates the defilements completely. Jhanas are also resting states which arahants abide in order to rest.