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What Is Samatha Meditation?

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  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2016
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Samatha meditation defines one form of Buddhist meditation based on the concept of tranquility and freeing the mind from all outside concerns and distractions. This form of meditation typically focuses on breathing to quiet the mind from random and intruding thoughts. Samatha meditation can be done as walking meditation, which is considered more difficult, or sitting meditation.

People practicing samatha meditation might choose one of 40 kammatthanas, or themes used in Buddhist meditation. They might focus on a sound, light, specific color, or a virtue, such as forgiveness. Some people select a Buddhist saying or concept while practicing samatha meditation.

This form of meditation requires daily sessions to quiet the mind and block distractions from intruding on the experience. Buddhists used meditation for thousands of years to achieve nirvana, an intense state of peace and well-being marked by the absence of negative emotions. They sought the true meaning of life to reach the highest level of nirvana.

Samatha meditation is based on the concept that material goods and the desire for them cause pain and suffering. If a person becomes enlightened, the desire for material wealth might disappear and life becomes pure. In addition to tranquility medication, another form, called vispassana, focuses on insight to achieve the same results.

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Four stages of meditation typically occur, which include detachment from distraction, concentration, joy, and equanimity of the mind under stress. Practitioners of meditation believe the mind can be retrained to focus on the present instead of the past and future. Living in the moment might create inner peace.

The benefits of daily samatha meditation might include overall happiness and better sleep habits. Some people gain a clearer understanding of how thoughts intrude on daily activities and influence mood. Meditation helps some people control pain and manage stress. It might make everyday activities more enjoyable because the mind learns to concentrate on the present.

Walking meditation usually involves a quiet place and solitary practice. A person concentrates on body movement to attain a sense of peace. Sitting meditation is the most common form of samatha meditation. In this form, a person focuses on each breath to block thoughts from the mind. The exercise might appear difficult at first, but becomes easier with repetition. It can be done alone or in a group.

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