Concentrating the Mind to Remove Hindrances
Within Traditional Buddhist Spiritual Traditions, it is taught that the Buddha taught "forty concentration" skills for meditation; for calming the mind. They are the ten recollections (Anussati), ten meditations on impurities (Asubha), ten complete objects (Kasiõa), four immaterial absorptions (Aråpajhàna), four divine abidings (Brahmavihàra), one perception (âhàre patikålasaññà) or contemplation of the impurity of material food, and one defining contemplation (Vavatthàna) on the Four Elements (Earth, Water, Fire, and Air).
The Ten Anussati or recollections are:
(1) Buddhà-nussati or recollection of the virtues of the Buddha
(2) Dhammà-nussati or recollection of the virtues of the Dhamma
(3) Sanghà-nussati or recollection of the virtues of the Sangha
(4) Sãlà-nussati or recollection of the duties of morality
(5) Càgà-nussati or recollection of generosity
(6) Devatà-nussati or recollection of celestial beings
(7) Mara-õassati or recollection of death
(8) Kàya-gatàsati or mindfulness of the body
(9) ânàpànasati or mindfulness of breathing
(10) Upasamà-nussati or recollection of Nibbàna or peace.
The ten impurities or kinds of foulness (Asubha) are:
(1) The bloated
(2) The livid
(3) The festering
(4) The cut-up
(5) The gnawed
(6) The scattered
(7) The hacked and scattered
(8) The bleeding
(9) The worm-infested
(10) A skeleton
The ten Kasiõa or complete objects are:
(5) Space (âkàsa)
(6) Light (âloka-kasiõa)
(7-10) the four colors or Vaõõa-kasiõa (blue, yellow, red, and white)
The four divine abodes or Brahmavihàra are loving kindness (Mettà), compassion (Karuõà), sympathetic joy (Mudità), and equanimity (Upekkhà).
A student of Buddhist Meditation teachings can select any one or combination of these forty meditation subjects, according to ones own character. For example, Kasiõa concentration is very suitable for those with sensual desire, restlessness of mind, or inclination toward anger, hatred or ill will.
For those whose habits areintellectual thought, devotion or delusion, mindfulness of breathing (ânàpànasati) and recollection of Buddhas virtues (Buddhà-nussati) are most suitable.
- The forty are listed in the Visuddhi-magga. Some teachers maintain that only 38 were specified by the historical Buddha and that two were added later. If you would like a copy of this work, its a nice large ebook written through the Theravada Council ~ email me at Taozahnchi@gmail.com
- This short journal entry is based on teachings from Theravada; which uses original Pali terms and concepts of Traditional Buddhism. They are shared teachings even in Mahayana with minor differences and dialects. All the credit goes to my teachers and Mentors for allowing me access to their Notebooks and personal teachings.
Zen is for Everyone by Su Lao Shr (Michael Saso)
The Essential of Buddhist Meditation by Bhikshu Dharmamitra (book I)
The Six Dharma Gates to the Sublime by Bhikshu Dharmamitra (book II)
The Sweet Dews of Chan by Ajari Chen Kuan