Samatha

Samatha is a type of Buddhist meditation. This is a concentrative form of Mediation. Samatha comprises of concentration practices designed to enhance sustained voluntary attention, and culminating in an attention that can be sustained effortlessly for hours on end. Samatha is single-pointed consciousness. Practice of “Samatha” steadies, composes, unifies and concentrates the mind.

Samatha is an ancient Pali language word which means “peacefulness” or "calm abiding". It originated from a Sanskrit word “Shamatha”. The first part “Shama” refer to “peace” or “pacification” of mind and the second part “tha” means “to abide or remain”. So Samatha means “Lasting Peace”.

Samatha is about single-pointed focus. The concentration is done on a particular object or idea. In traditional Buddhism there are forty (40) objects of meditation. The first 10 called “Kasina” in Pali language which means “a whole” are the things that one can behold directly, and they are: 1) Earth, 2) Water, 3) Fire, 4) Air, 5) Blue, Green, 6) Yellow, 7) Red, 8) White, 9) Enclosed space, and 10) Bright light.

The next 10 are objects of repulsion called “Asubha” in Pali, and they are: 1) Swollen corpse, 2) Discolored bluish corpse, 3) Festering corpse, 4) Fissured corpse, 5) Gnawed corpse, 6) Dismembered corpse, 7) Scattered corpse, 8) Bleeding corpse, 9) Worm-eaten corpse, and 10) Skeleton.

The next 10 are recollections called “Anussati” in Pali. First three recollections are of the virtues of the Three jewels: 1) Buddha, 2) Dharma, and 3) Sangha. Next three recollections of the virtues of 4) Morality (“Sila” in Pali), 5) Liberality (“Caga” in Pali), and 6) The wholesome attributes of Devas. Remaining four recollections are of the: 7) Body, 8) Death, 9) Breath, and 10) Peace.

The last 10 comprises of 4 stations of Brahma: 1) Unconditional kindness, 2) Compassion, 3) Sympathetic joy over other’s success, and 4) Even-mindedness or equanimity. The next four are 4 formless states: 5) Infinite space, 6) Infinite consciousness, 7) Infinite nothingness, 8) Neither perception nor non-perception. Ninth is of perception of disgust of food and the last one is analysis of the four elements: Earth, Water, Fire and Air.

“Mindfulness of breathing” is thought to be the ideal or one of the best way for the meditator to transition into taking the mind itself as the object of meditation and generating insight and wisdom on that basis.

Samatha Meditation develops tranquility, a prerequisite for any form of advanced form of Meditation. Samatha is a very straight-forward simple meditation where what needs to be done is very clear. Samatha is a meditation for calmness which preludes or rather leads to more insightful meditations such as “Vipassana”. Through Samatha, one is able to overcome the major hindrances or obstacles to concentration such as anger, hatred, desires, laziness, sluggishness, restlessness, worry, doubt, skepticism or indecisiveness. Samatha strives to develop a full consciousness of all about you and within you, bringing self to full awakening.

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