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Samadhi A Non-Distracted Mind
Samadhi A Non-Distracted Mind. Samadhi, the quality of mind of non-distraction is developed through Shamatha-Vipassana meditation.
“Over there are the roots of trees; over there, empty dwellings. Practice concentration and absorption. Don’t be heedless. Don’t later fall into regret. This is my message to you.” (Samyutta Nikaya 35.145)
The following is an excerpt from The Truth of Happiness (p. 124 par. 4 to p. 130 par. 2):
Due to a belief and attachment to an ego-personality a distracted mind will constantly seek experiences that bring sense-pleasures and constantly avoid that which diminishes pleasure or brings stress and unhappiness. Non-Self or the ego-personality craves constant sensory stimulation. Often even momentary interruption to sensory stimulation brings an unsettled quality of mind known as boredom. Much of time is spent in activity simply to avoid boredom.
This need for constant stimulation is the distraction of dukkha. The Buddha understood that the continual reestablishment of the ego-personality maintains stress and unhappiness. The preoccupation with dukkha prevents lasting peace and happiness.
The Buddha considered carefully how he could teach this understanding. He taught the Four Noble Truths as the way to develop understanding.
The purpose of the Eightfold Path is to put aside the distraction of dukkha and develop Samadhi, a non-distracted quality of mind.
The Buddha taught Samadhi in numerous Suttas, always describing the result of Samadhi. What is clear in all these teachings is the quality of mind the Buddha describes. These are qualities of an awakened mind fully present moment-by-moment in the phenomenal world.
From the Anguttara Nikaya 5.27 the Buddha teaches:
“Wise & mindful, you should develop immeasurable concentration. When, wise & mindful, one has developed immeasurable concentration, five realizations arise right within oneself. Which five?
“The realization arises within oneself that ‘This concentration is blissful in the present and will result in bliss in the future.’
The realization arises within oneself that ‘This concentration is noble & not connected with the baits of the flesh.’
The realization arises within oneself that ‘This concentration is not obtained by base people.’
The realization arises within oneself that ‘This concentration is peaceful, exquisite, the acquiring of serenity, the attainment of unity, not kept in place by the fabrications of forceful restraint.’
“The realization arises within oneself that ‘I enter into this concentration mindfully, and mindfully I emerge from it.’
“Wise & mindful, you should develop immeasurable concentration. When, wise & mindful, one has developed immeasurable concentration, these five realizations arise within oneself.”
Mindfulness, as it relates to an awakened mind, is described here. One enters into Samadhi with mindfulness AND emerges from Samadhi with mindfulness. This means that deep concentration is developed with Right Mindfulness and that Right Mindfulness remains during the day-to-day mundane activities of life.
This last answers the question of what becomes of the ego-personality upon awakening. The ego-personality, or Non-Self, is let go of, often called unbinding. A now fully-awakened human being remains mindful moment-by-moment, free of the distraction of dukkha.
In the Anguttara Nikaya 4.41, in response to a question by Punnaka regarding how to arrive “at the far shore” of awakening the Buddha again spoke of developing a non-distracted quality of mind:
“Friends, these are the four developments of concentration. Which four? There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in the here & now.
There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision.
There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness.
There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of stress and unhappiness.
“And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in the here & now? One remains ‘Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding in the here & now.”
Here again the Buddha is describing the quality of an awakened mind, a mind settled in equanimity abiding with mindfulness in the present moment. By putting aside the cause of the distraction of dukkha one remains at peace in the present moment.
In the Samyutta Nikaya 22.5 the Buddha teaches those assembled:
“Friends, Develop concentration. A concentrated mind discerns in line with what has come into being. And what does he discern in line with what has come into being? The origination & disappearance of feeling, the origination & disappearance of perception, origination & disappearance of fabrications, the origination & disappearance of consciousness.
In short the origination & disappearance of the ego-personality.”
Insight is recognizing conditioned thinking and the impermanence of all things including thoughts. Being mindful of the breath brings tranquility which allows for recognition of distraction and discursive thinking. Mindfulness is the ability to dispassionately hold in mind the present moment, to hold Right View and to remain in a non-distracted mind state.
Establishing and maintaining shamatha-vipassana meditation within the framework of the Eightfold Path will develop lasting happiness and peace.
Shamatha-Vipassana meditation is a simple method with profound and transformative results. It is a method that anyone can integrate into their lives. Within the framework of The Eightfold Path shamatha-vipassana meditation will develop the insight necessary to put aside all delusional and discursive thinking.
The Eightfold Path is the framework for putting aside the distractions caused by desire. It is the distraction and confusion arising from clinging that perpetuates dukkha and blocks awakening.
This simple though profound practice of developing heightened wisdom, heightened virtue and heightened concentration is the most precious teaching of the worlds most insightful thinker.
“And this, monks, is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of dukkha: precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right meditation.” The Buddha
The wisdom of the Eightfold Path, beginning with Right View and Right Intention, supported by virtuous behavior, develops heightened Samadhi. A non-distracted mind is a mind at peace. A mind at peace, free of the constant need to maintain an ego-personality abides in lasting happiness.
Right Meditation is informed and supported by the other seven factors of the Eightfold Path. Samadhi is the quality of mindfulness that rests in the understanding of the Four Noble Truths.
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My Dhamma articles and talks are based on the Buddha's teachings (suttas) as preserved in the Sutta Pitaka, the second book of the Pali Canon. I have relied primarily on Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s excellent and insightful translation of the Pali generously made freely available at his website Dhammatalks.org, as well as the works of Acharya Buddharakkhita, Nyanaponika Thera, John Ireland, Maurice Walsh, Hellmuth Hecker, and Sister Khema, among others, as preserved at Access To Insight.
Also, I have found Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations from Wisdom Publications Pali Canon Anthologies to be most informative and an excellent resource.
I have made edits to the suttas from these sources for further clarity, to modernize language, to minimize repetition, and maintain contextual relevance to Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths.
Becoming-Buddha.com and Dhamma articles and recordings by John Haspel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.