Nov 15, 2021
In this episode we look at Right Concentration, one part of the Noble Eightfold Path. In general, concentration in meditation is single-pointedness on the object of meditation. Like a laser, concentration eliminates distraction. When one attains a state of single-pointed concentration a unique feeling of tranquility accompanies it. Thus, there are two features of concentration: unbroken attentiveness on an object and a feeling of peace that arises with this absorption. When training in concentration, this feeling makes you very clearly aware that your consciousness has become more subtle. It is a beautiful experience, but generally it doesn’t happen every time you meditate. Enjoy it when it does!
Right Concentration is a particular kind of one-pointedness. A sommelier tasting fine wine, a sniper taking aim—both act with superior concentration, but theirs cannot be characterized as Right Concentration.Buddha used the term “Samadhi” to describe the type of concentration he taught. It is exclusively one-pointedness on virtuous objects with the intention to raise the mind to a higher, more pure state of awareness.
The ability to stay with a task without distraction improves study, work, sports, relationships…nearly everything. Buddha compared a mind untrained in concentration as like a fish taken out of water: it flaps about uncontrollably. Bhikku Bodhi said, “Such a distracted mind is also a deluded mind. Overwhelmed by worries and concerns, a constant prey to the defilements, it sees things only in fragments, distorted by the ripples of random thoughts. But the mind that has been trained in concentration, in contrast, can remain focused on its object without distraction. This freedom from distraction further induces a softness and serenity.”
Wisdom arises from [spiritual] practice;
Without practice it decays.
Knowing this two-way path for gain and loss,
Conduct yourself so that wisdom grows. (282)*
-Buddha, The Dhammapada
References and Links
Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)
Bodhi, Bhikku. The Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhist Publication Society, 1999, pp 86-90. BuddhaNet. http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/noble8path6.pdf