Monday, January 2, 2017

Does samadhi mean "concentration"? No

Amber Larson, Pat Macpherson, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly; Wiki edit

Before successful insight meditation (vipassana) is possible, there must be right-samādhi. What is samādhi?
The common and misleading English translation of this Sanskrit/Pali term is "concentration," as in striving or straining to limit the mind's attention on one object.

But it actually means to the clearness and heightened alertness of mind that effortlessly appears through sustained practice of absorption (jhana or dhyana).
  • In the Mahāyāna Buddhism of Japan, jhana is translated as zen, in India dhyana, in China chan (short for chánnà), in Tibet bsam gta, in Vietnam thien, and in Korea it is seon. Although it means "absorption," the original translation of the term was "meditation" (and bhavana meant development, cultivation, lit. "bringing into being").
Dude, I am all Zen'ed out. Look at my tat.
The term samadhi derives from the root sam-a-dha, which means "to collect" or "bring together." It is "unification of mind." In early Buddhist texts, it is also associated and often considered a synonym of the term samatha (serenity, tranquility, calm abiding).

In the sutras, it is defined as "one-pointedness of mind" (cittass'ekaggatā) [but because this is what it becomes when it collects not because it is what one does to make it such] (Ven. Henepola Gunaratana, The Jhanas in Theravada Buddhist Meditation, Bhavana Society, West Virginia, 1995).

According to the commentaries, Ven. Buddhagosa defines samadhi as "the centering of consciousness and consciousness-concomitants [cetasikas] evenly and rightly on a single object...

Samadhi is the state in virtue of which consciousness and its concomitants remain evenly and rightly on a single object, undistracted and unscattered" (The Path of Purification, 84-85; pp.85). More

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