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To: soc.religion.eastern
From: "tawit"
Subj: samadhi (0000.samadhi.t)
Date: unknown

Samadhi is a generic word meaning 'concentration'. Of course,
there are many level of samadhi. In Theravada Buddhism, higher
levels of samadhi can be cultivated thru meditation and there are
3 level of it: 

1. Kanikka Samadhi
2. Upajara Samadhi
3. Uppana Samadhi

[This is from the forest tradition. Other schools may have more
detail about the classification]

When one reach the 3rd level (which i think is similar to nirvakalpa
samadhi that Lorenzo F. attribute to Patanjali) one is said to go too
deep. This level of samadhi is useless for the mind to function and
investigate phenomena.  Forest buddhist monks in Thailand for example
teach that one must withdraw the mind to the second level so that the
mind can be used to investigate dhamma; this is where Vipassana
meditation is supposed to be stabilized. Pure samadhi in total stillness
(i.e., 3rd level) is like being dead alive; there is no merits at all
insofar as contemplative meditation is concerned but some said it is a
basis for attainment of supernatural powers which unfortunately is
attractive to most meditators and is very addictive. It should not be
too difficult to imagine that many meditators wrongly claim this state
as nirvana because it is a supreme bliss in itself (thus have i heard).

Even Vipassana Kammathana itself has many traps. The most dangerous is
what Thai forest monks call VipassanuKilesa. This is another form
of bliss which is as addictive as the psychic power.  Only those
who have practice wisdom/seeing before can let go of those happiness
and move on.

Other traps in meditation (especially the calmness-alone one) is
hallucination (in what is called in Thai as Nimit). These hallucinations
are mind-created and appear to be so real that many have become
insane (while others have become enlightened :-). 
This is another reason that AnapanaSati is preferred in
theravada buddhism -- it is said to be the least prone to hallucination
(because a form of wisdom/Sati is with it all the time), thus suitable
even for practicing alone far away from a master's supervision.

One mindset that most people have about Eastern religions and
Buddhism in particular is that enlightenment is attained only
thru meditation/samadhi. According to Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, this is not
true. In fact, the Tripitaka had recorded 5 methods for
enlightenment; meditation is but one of them: (these were scattered
through out. We should be thankful to BB to have collected them up
and present them in a systematic manner)

1. By contemplating dhamma
2. By teaching dhamma
3. By listening (reading) to dhamma
4. By reciting dhamma
5. By meditation

Whatever method one uses, it must be the same in the end; that is, there
must be complete factors of enlightenment (vitaka, Vicharana, Piti,
etc.). BB thus advise us to pay attention whenever we teach other
people (eg. posting :-) even though we ourselves know dhamma only to a
logical level. There are times when the mind is ripe (a fluke of sort)
and all the factors of enlightenemnt come together  at the moment we are
parroting our teaching (This kind of event is recorded in Tripitaka,
according to Buddhadasa). BB himself claimed that he practiced all 5
methods, the least of which is formal meditation, the most of which
is contemplation. (But when it comes to BB, the least sometimes means
he went out in a total seclusion for 4 months :-)

So, don't just give a total emphasis to meditation/samadhi alone.
Mundane logical thinking/reading/discussing (even reciting dhamma) all
contribute and play their parts. According to BB, even the Buddha
recited dhamma to himself when he was alone. A monk overheard a 
recitation and attained enlightenment   (that easy :-)


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