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Samādhi (Sanskrit: समाधि, Hindi pronunciation: [səˈmaːd̪ʱi]) in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and yogic schools is meditative absorption, attained by the practice of dhyāna. In samadhi the mind becomes still, one-pointed or concentrated while the person remains conscious.
- Sarbacker: samadhi is meditative absorption, attained by the practice of dhyāna.
- Diener, Erhard & Fischer-Schreiber: samadhi is a non-dualistic state of consciousness in which the consciousness of the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object.
- Shankman: 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.
Various interpretations for the term's etymology are possible:
- "sam" (together or integrated), "ā" (towards), and "dhā" (to get, to hold): "to acquire integration or wholeness, or truth" (samāpatti);
- "samā" (even) and "dhi" (intellect), a state of total equilibrium (samā) of a detached intellect ("dhi");
- "sam" (uniformly or fully) and "adhi" (to get established): a state wherein one establishes himself to the fullest extent in the Supreme consciousness.
Samādhi, or concentration of the mind, is the last of the eight elements of the Noble Eightfold Path.[web 1] The term refers here to the jhanas, levels af gradual deepening of meditation. The Pāli canon describes eight progressive states of jhāna: four meditations of form (rūpa jhāna), and four formless meditations (arūpa jhāna). A nineth form is Nirodha-Samāpatti.
The four rūpa jhāna may be an original contribution of the Buddha to the religious landscape of India. They formed an alternative to the painfull ascetic practices of the Jains. The arūpa jhāna were incorporated from non-Buddhist asectic traditons.
The rupa-jhanas are as follows:
- First Jhāna — In the first jhana there are: "directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity & attention"
- Second Jhāna — In the second jhana there are: "internal assurance, rapture, pleasure, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention"
- Third Jhāna — In the third jhana, there are: "equanimity-pleasure, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity & attention"
- Fourth Jhāna — In the fourth jhana there are: "a feeling of equanimity, neither pleasure nor pain; an unconcern due to serenity of awareness; unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity & attention".[web 3]
The arupa-jhanas are as follows:
- Dimension of Infinite Space - In this dimension the following qualities are "ferreted out":[web 3] "the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention".[web 3]
- Dimension of Infinite Consciousness - In this dimension the following quailities are "ferreted out":[web 3] "the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention".[web 3]
- Dimension of Nothingness - In this dimension the following qualities are "ferreted out":[web 3] "the perception of the dimension of nothingness, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention"
- Dimension of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception No qualities to be "ferreted out" are being mentioned for this dimension.[web 3]
The Buddha also rediscovered an attainment beyond the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, Nirodha-Samapatti, the "cessation of feelings and perceptions".[web 3] This is sometimes called the "ninth jhāna" in commentarial and scholarly literature.
Dhyana and insight
 The Buddhist tradition has incorporated two traditions regarding the use of jhana. There is a tradition that stresses attaining insight (bodhi, prajna, kensho) as the means to awakening and liberation. But it has also incorporated the yogic tradition, as reflected in the use of jhana, which is rejected in other sutras as not resulting in the final result of liberation. The problem was famously voiced in 1936 by Louis de La Vallee Poussin, in his text Musila et Narada: Le Chemin de Nirvana.[note 2]
Schmithausen, in his often-cited article On some Aspects of Descriptions or Theories of 'Liberating Insight' and 'Enlightenment' in Early Buddhism notes that the mention of the four noble truths as constituting "liberating insight", which is attained after mastering the Rupa Jhanas, is a later addition to texts such as Majjhima Nikaya 36. Schmithausen discerns three possible roads to liberation as described in the suttas, to which Vetter adds a fourth possibility:
- Mastering the four Rupa Jhanas, where-after "liberating insight" is attained;
- Mastering the four Rupa Jhanas and the four Arupa Jhanas, where-after "liberating insight" is attained;
- Liberating insight itself suffices;
- The four Rupa Jhanas themselves constituted the core liberating practice of early buddhism, c.q. the Buddha.
Patañjali's Yoga sutras
Samādhi is the main subject of the eight limb of the Yoga Sūtras called Samādhi-pada. Vyasa's Yogabhashya, the commentary to the Yogasutras, and Vacaspati Misra's subcommentary state directly that the samadhi techniques are directly borrowed from the Buddhists' Jhana, with the addition of the mystical and divine interpretations of mental absorption.> According to David Gordon White, the language of the Yoga Sutras is often closer to "Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit, the Sanskrit of the early Mahayana Buddhist scriptures, than to the classical Sanskrit of other Hindu scriptures."
According to Karel Werner,
Patanjali's system is unthinkable without Buddhism. As far as its terminology goes there is much in the Yoga Sutras that reminds us of Buddhist formulations from the Pāli Canon and even more so from the Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma and from Sautrāntika."
Robert Thurman writes that Patañjali was influenced by the success of the Buddhist monastic system to formulate his own matrix for the version of thought he considered orthodox. However, it is also to be noted that the Yoga Sutra, especially the fourth segment of Kaivalya Pada, contains several polemical verses critical of Buddhism, particularly the Vijñānavāda school of Vasubandhu.
- Samprajnata Samadhi conscious samadhi. The mind remains concentrated (ekagra) on the object of meditation, therefore the consciousness of the object of meditation persists. Mental modifications arise only in respect of this object of meditation.
This state is of four kinds:
- Savitarka: the citta is concentrated upon a gross object of meditation such as a flame of a lamp, the tip of the nose, or the image of a deity.
- Savichara: the citta is concentrated upon a subtle object of meditation, such as the tanmatras
- Sananda Samadhi: the citta is concentrated upon a still subtler object of meditation, like the senses.
- Sasmita: the citta is concentrated upon the ego-substance with which the self is generally identified.
- Asamprajnata Samadhi, also called Nirvikalpa Samadhi[web 4] and Nirbija Samadhi.[web 4][note 3] According to Swami Sivananda, "All the seeds or impressions are burnt by the fire of knowledge [...] all the Samskaras and Vasanas which bring on rebirths are totally fried up. All Vrittis or mental modifications that arise form the mind-lake come under restraint. The five afflictions, viz., Avidya (ignorance), Asmita (egoism), Raga-dvesha (love and hatred) and Abhinivesha (clinging to life) are destroyed and the bonds of Karma are annihilated [...] It gives Moksha (deliverance form the wheel of births and deaths). With the advent of the knowledge of the Self, ignorance vanishes. With the disappearance of the root-cause, viz., ignorance, egoism, etc., also disappear."[web 4]
Dharana, dhyana and samadhi
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. Patanjali 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.
Sahaja samadhi is a state in which a silent level within the subject is maintained along with (simultaneously with) the full use of the human faculties.
It is a continues state throughout daily activity. This state seems inherently more complex than samadhi, since it involves several aspects of life, namely external activity, internal quietude, and the relation between them. It also seems to be a more advanced state, since it comes after the mastering of samadhi.[note 4]
Sahaja is one of the four keywords of the Nath sampradaya along with Svecchachara, Sama, and Samarasa. Sahaja meditation and worship was prevalent in Tantric traditions common to Hinduism and Buddhism in Bengal as early as the 8th–9th centuries.
- "Remember in meditation the Almighty Lord, every moment and every instant; meditate on God in the celestial peace of Samadhi." (p 508)[clarification needed]
- “I am attached to God in celestial Samadhi.” (p 865)[clarification needed]
- “The most worthy Samadhi is to keep the consciousness stable and focused on Him.” (p 932)[clarification needed]
The term Samadhi refers to a state of mind rather than a physical position of the body. 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)[clarification needed]
- “Night and day, they ravish and enjoy the Lord within their hearts; they are intuitively absorbed in Samadhi. ||2||” (p 1259)[clarification needed].
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)[clarification needed]
- Sarbacker 2012, p. 13.
- Dictionary.com (links directly to samadhi definition)
- Diener, Erhard & Fischer-Schreiber Ingrid 1991.
- Shankman 2008.
- Bronkhorst 1993.
- Steven Sutcliffe, Religion: Empirical Studies. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2004, page 135.
- Chandima Wijebandara, Early Buddhism, Its Religious and Intellectual Milieu. Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies, University of Kelaniya, 1993, page 22.
- Gombrich 1997.
- Vetter 1988.
- bronkhorst 1993.
- Bronkhorst 1993, p. 133-134.
- Schmithausen 1981.
- Vetter 1988, p. xxi-xxii.
- Vetter & 1988 xxi-xxxvii.
- David 1914.
- White 2014, p. 10.
- Werner 1994, p. 27.
- Thurman 1984, p. 34.
- Farquhar 1920, p. 132.
- Jones & Ryan 2006, p. 377.
- I.K. Taimni, The Science of Yoga: The Yoga-Sutras of Patanjali in Sanskrit , ISBN 978-81-7059-211-2
- Forman 1999, p. 6.
- Bronkhorst, Johannes (1993), The Two Traditions Of Meditation In Ancient India, Motilal Banarsidass Publ.
- Buddhaghosa; Bhikkhu Nanamoli (1999), The Path of Purification: Visuddhimagga, Buddhist Publication Society, ISBN 1-928706-00-2
- David, John (1914), The Yoga System of Patanjali with commentary Yogabhashya attributed to Veda Vyasa and Tattva Vaicharadi by Vacaspati Misra, Harvard University Press
- Diener, Michael S.; Erhard, Franz-Karl; Fischer-Schreiber, Ingrid (1991), The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen, Shambhala, ISBN 0-87773-520-4
- Farquhar, John Nicol (1920), An outline of the religious literature of India, Oxford University Press
- Forman, Robert K.C. (1999), Mysticism, Mind, Consciousness, SUNY Press
- Gombrich, Richard F. (1997), How Buddhism Began, Munshiram Manoharlal
- Jones, Constance; Ryan, James D. (2006), Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Infobase Publishing
- Sarbacker, Stuart Ray (2012), Samadhi: The Numinous and Cessative in Indo-Tibetan Yoga, SUNY Press
- Schmithausen, Lambert (1981), On some Aspects of Descriptions or Theories of 'Liberating Insight' and 'Enlightenment' in Early Buddhism". In: Studien zum Jainismus und Buddhismus (Gedenkschrift für Ludwig Alsdorf), hrsg. von Klaus Bruhn und Albrecht Wezler, Wiesbaden 1981, 199-250
- Shankman, Richard (2008), The Experience of Samadhi - an in depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation, Shambala publications
- Thurman, Robert (1984), The Central Philosophy of Tibet, Princeton University Press
- Vetter, Tilmann (1988), The Ideas and Meditative Practices of Early Buddhism, BRILL
- Werner, Karel (1994), The Yogi and the Mystic, Routledge
- White, David Gordon (2014), The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: A Biography, Princeton University Press
- accesstoinsight, Right Concentration, samma samadhi
- T. W. Rhys Davis (n.d.). 'Introduction to the Subha Sutta'. Source: Metta.lk (accessed: Thursday December 24, 2009)
- as stated by Buddha Gotama in the Anuppada Sutta, MN#111
- Sri Swami Sivananda, Raja Yoga Samadhi