Home Teachings Articles and talks How important is Samadhi in Buddhism — by Bhikkhu Siri Dhamma

How important is Samadhi in Buddhism — by Bhikkhu Siri Dhamma



Meditation in the Buddha Dhamma is for attaining the four stages of realization by which greed, hatred and delusion are completely abandoned. Tranquility (Samatha) and insight into actuality (Vipassana) are essential for suchi realization. The Buddha says, “Two things partake of knowledge, that is, tranquility and insight; When Tranquility is developed, the mind is developed and lust is abandoned; the mind defile with lust is not liberated; When there is defilement through ingnorance; right understanding is not developed; liberation of mind comes to be through the un taining of it from lust; and there is the liberation of right understanding when the mind is unstained of ignorance.”(Anguttara Nikaya).

Samatha is a sine quo non for the development of right understanding of the supramundane states, Samadhi being one of the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path. Under no circumstances can it be dispensed with. And Samma Samadhi of the Path is defined in the Suttas as Jhana. Samadhi is cittavisuddi the purity of mind comes into being through the elimination of hindrances. (Nivarana).

Samma ditthi as the first Path factor can never arise separate from Samma Samadhi. From the passage cited above and from what follows it is clear that, the belief that Samadhi can be bypassed in the journey to Arahantship is clearly against the teaching of the Suttas, since the Noble Path cannot be completed without the Samadhikkhandha.
When the Buddha urges His disciples to action, He says that those who follow the path and practice clear concentrative calm (Jhana) are released from suffering (Patipanna pomokkanti jhayino marabandhana).

Further it is said, “If a monk should wish ‘Let me be dear to my fellow disciples, well-pleasing in their eyes, let me stand high in their esteem, then let him practice in their fullness the precepts of good, give himself to the quietening of his own mind, resist not the on-coming of ecstasy, aim at possession of insight, devote himself o the solitary life.” Again, “Him I call a Brahmin who practices clear concentrative thought (Jhayim brumi brahmannm”) “Develop concentration, O Bhikkhus, the Bhikku who has gained concentration sees things as they really are (Samadhim Bhikkhave bhavetha, samahito Bhikkhu yathabhutam pajanati) “There is no possibility of abandoning the fetters without completing Samma samadhim (Samma samadhim aparipuretva samyojanani pajahissatiti n’ etam thanam vijjati).

Thus, it is obvious that Samadhi and Panna (wisdom) are absolutely necessary for Path attainment, and so it is said, “There is no clear concentrative thought in one who lacks wisdom, no wisdom in one who lacks clear concentrative thought; but he in whom there are clear concentrative thought and wisdom is truly near Nibbana.

Natthi Jhanam apannaesa panna n’ atthii ajjhayato Yamhi Jhanam ca panna ca sa ve nibbanasantike.

Jhana is not a state of auto-hypnosis, where no memory remains after emergence, nor is it unconsciousness. It is only in a state of clear consciousness that mental purification can be reached, for the meditator must have clear ideas of the object of meditation. Jhana is an exercise of clear and intense unification of the mind, that is, with an unremitting mindfulness at the time and clear recollection afterwards.

The Buddha himself says that the mind of him who suffers is not concentrated (dukkhino cittam na samadhiyati).

This means that Samadhi is first gained only with the arising of joy (piti) and the other factors as pointed out in the following passage: “To him who comprehends the truth and the law, gladness is born; with that joy arises; owing to joy his body becomes tranquil; and in the comfort he feels with his tranquil body, his mind becomes concentrated. (Tassa atthapatisamvedino dhamma patisamvedino pamujjam jayati, pamuditassa piti jayati, pitimanassa kayo passambhati, passaddhakayo sukham vedeti, sukhino cittam samadhyai).

The Buddha has also said” I shall teach you purity and the road to purity. What is purity? The destruction of lust, hate and delusion. What is the road to purity? Tranquility (samatha) is called the road to purity. Again He has said, “I shall teach you purity and the road to purity. What is purity? The destruction of lust, hate and delusion. What is the road to purity? Insight (Vipassana) is called the road to purity.”

It is clear that there is no way of evading the cultivation of these two aspects of mental development. Every one has to master them in order to free the mind of the defilements of lust, hate and ignorance. Samadhi bhavana occupies a place of great importance in the Buddhist life. The Samatha trained mind is better equipped for critical examination of results.

What is done in the way of meditation now will make our work easier in the future, and will bring about a peace, a calm and a restfulness of spirit in the vortex of worldly activity.

Source: maithri.com

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