Concentration

Samādhi m. meditation; concentration of the mind; state of consciousness of meditation or contemplation.

Concentration is the most important, long faculty of the mind.

Concentration is a word derived from two Latin words, that is, ” with “, a prefix meaning “a”; and ” centrum “, which means “center” or “fixed central point”. The two words combined mean, literally, ” bring to a common point; focus “, etc. Therefore, the word “Concentration” literally means “the act or state of carrying a fixed point or focus”.

Mental concentration is a psychic process that is carried out through reasoning; it consists in centering voluntarily all the attention of the mind on an objective, object or activity that is being carried out or thinking about performing at that moment, leaving aside the whole series of events or other objects that may be able to interfere in its achievement or in your attention. Concentration is vital for study and work.

Concentration is especially important for the learning process. That is why we try by all means to enhance this capacity that is essential for the acquisition of new knowledge. On this aspect, educational psychology has made important observations and contributions; mental concentration is used in almost all individual sports (chess, tennis, gymnastics, etc.), where it helps the performer to focus on the actions that are being developed.

By borrowing an analogous illustration of physics, it is evident that the highest forms of energy, force or power are manifested by bringing all the force to a focus, center or common point, which directs to that point all the energy used, in instead of allowing it to dissipate over a larger area.

There are thousands of examples of this, such as the “burning lens,” which brings the sun’s rays to a common point or focus, greatly intensifying heat and light by raising the temperature to make an object burn.

Besides sports, other practices such as meditation are effective ways to improve mental concentration, as they stimulate the production of alpha waves, beta waves, theta waves and delta waves in the brain, which are related to relaxation, calmness, creativity, the increase of memory and the solution of problems.

Concentration ( samadhi ) is the tool that unleashes the higher mental capacities that enable the individual to see for himself and lead him to awakening.

The Sāmaññaphala Sutta, the Long Discourse of the Fruits of Contemplative Life, gives a detailed description of the attainment of the various higher capacities based on a progressive scale of concentration. In this translation we have reflected all of this clearly so that it can be easily understood.

Note that when we speak of ” Body Made by Mind ” we refer to the astral body, and the Iddhis refer to the ability of this body to travel, pass walls or walk on water, or touch the sun and the moon.

It is an important translation that has no waste:

Collection of Long Speeches
DN 2. The Fruits of Contemplative Life

Restriction of the faculties of the senses

“And how, great king, does the bhikkhu guard the doors of their sensory capacities?Here, great king, having seen a form with the eye, the bhikkhu does not cling to the sign or the details. Since, if he had to live without restrictions on his visual capacity, evil states, such as greed and pain, could assault him, practice restriction, protect his visual capacity and achieve the restriction on his visual ability. Having heard a sound with the ear … having smelled an odor with the nose … having tasted a taste with the tongue … having touched a tangible object with the body … having known a mental object with the mind, the bhikkhu does not cling to the symbol or the details. Since, if he lived without restraint on his mental capacity, the bad and unhealthy states such as greed and grief could assault him, practice moderation, protect his mental capacity and achieve the restriction on his mental capacity. Endowed with this noble limitation of the faculties of the senses, he experiences in himself immaculate happiness. In this way, great king, the bhikkhu keeps the doors of his sensory abilities.

Full awareness and lucid understanding

“And how, great king, is the bhikkhu conscious and has lucid understanding? Here, great king, when going and coming, the bhikkhu acts with lucid understanding.Looking forward and looking to the side, act with lucid understanding. By bending and stretching the limbs, act with lucid understanding. By using his robe and cloak and using his alms bowl, he acts with lucid understanding. When eating, drinking, chewing and tasting, act with lucid understanding. When defecating and urinating, act with lucid understanding. When you go, get up, sit down, lie down, wake up, talk and remain silent, act with lucid understanding. In this way, great king, the bhikkhu is endowed with full consciousness and lucid understanding.

Contentment

 

“And how, great king, is the bhikkhu happy? Here, great king, a bhikkhu is content with clothes to protect his body and food to support his belly; wherever he goes, he intends to take alone (the essentials) with him. Like a bird, wherever it goes, it flies with its wings as its only charge, in the same way that a bhikkhu is content with robes to protect his body and food to support his belly; wherever he goes, he intends to take alone (the essentials) with him. In this way, great king, the bhikkhu is happy.

The abandonment of obstacles

 

“Endowed with this noble set of moral discipline, this noble moderation on sensory abilities, this noble consciousness and lucid understanding, and this noble satisfaction, resorts to an isolated dwelling: a forest, the foot of a tree, a mountain, a stream , a cave on the side of a hill, a place of cremation, a grove of the jungle, the open air, a pile of straw. After returning from his round of alms, after his meals, he sits down, crosses his legs, keeps his body erect and establishes full consciousness before him.

“Having abandoned avarice for the mundane, he remains with a mind free from greed; He purifies his mind of greed. Having abandoned animosity and hatred, lives with a peaceful mind, sympathizing with the welfare of all living beings; He purifies his mind of animosity and hatred. Having abandoned boredom and drowsiness, he remains slightly aware of full consciousness and lucid understanding; He purifies his mind of drowsiness and drowsiness. Having abandoned restlessness and worry, he lives comfortably within himself, with a peaceful mind; He purifies your mind of restlessness and worry. Having abandoned doubt, he lives as someone who has gone beyond doubt, without muddling about healthy states; He purifies your mind of doubt.

“Great king, suppose a man took a loan and applied it to his business, and his business was going to be successful, to be able to pay off his old debts and have enough money to support a wife. I would reflect on this, and as a result I would rejoice and experience joy. “

“Again, great king, suppose a man were sick, suffering, gravely ill, so that he could not enjoy his food and his strength would diminish. After some time he would recover from that illness and enjoy his food and regain his bodily strength. I would reflect on this, and as a result I would rejoice and experience joy. “

“Again, great king, let us suppose that a man is locked in a prison. After a while he would be released from prison, safe and secure, without losing his possessions. I would reflect on this, and as a result I would rejoice and experience joy. “

“Again, great king, suppose a man were a slave, without independence, subordinate to others, unable to go where he wants. After a time he would be freed from slavery and gain his independence; He would no longer be subordinate to others, but a free man capable of going wherever he wanted. I would reflect on this, and as a result I would rejoice and experience joy. “

“Once again, great king, let us suppose that a man with wealth and possessions was traveling on a desert road where food was scarce and there were many dangers.After a while, I would cross the desert and arrive safely to a town that is safe and free of danger. I would reflect on this, and as a result I would rejoice and experience joy. “

“In the same way, great king, when a bhikkhu sees that these five obstacles are not abandoned within himself, he considers that it is a debt, an illness, a confinement in prison, a bondage, a desert road, but when he sees that these five obstacles have been abandoned within himself, considers the freedom of debt, good health, release from prison, freedom from slavery, the place of security. “

“When he sees that these five obstacles have been abandoned within himself, joy arises. When he rejoices, pleasure arises. When your mind is full of pleasure, your body calms down; Calm in the body, experience happiness; Being happy, your mind is focused.

The First Jhāna

“Very withdrawn from the pleasures of the senses, isolated from the unhealthy states, he enters and remains in the first jhāna, which is assisted by a meditation in which all attention is applied and for a prolonged period without interruptions and is filled with rapture and the happiness that comes from isolation. He soaks, soaks, saturates and fills his body with this rapture and happiness born of seclusion, so that there is no part of his body that is not impregnated with this rapture and happiness.

“Great King, suppose that an expert bath attendant or his apprentice had to pour soap powder into a metal container, sprinkle it with water and knead it into a ball, so that the ball of powdered soap would be impregnated with moisture, covered by the humidity, impregnated with moisture inside and outside, but without dripping. In the same way, great king, the bhikkhu soaks, soaks, saturates and intoxicates his body with the rapture and happiness born of seclusion, so that there is no part of his body that is not burdened with this rapture and happiness. This, great king, is a visible fruit of seclusion more excellent and sublime than the previous ones.

The Second Jhāna

 

“Furthermore, the great king, with the fading of meditation in which all attention is applied for a prolonged period without interruptions, the bhikkhu enters and remains in the Second Jhāna, which is accompanied by a firm inner confidence and the unification of the mind, without meditation, and is full of rapture and happiness born of concentration. He soaks, soaks, saturates and fills his body with this rapture and happiness that are born of concentration, so that there is not a part of his whole body that is not charged with this rapture and happiness.

“Great King, suppose there was a deep lake whose waters sprouted from below. It would have no entry for water from the east, west, north or south, nor would it be filled from time to time with rains; however, a stream of cold water, flowing from the lake, would soak, soak, saturate, and flood the entire lake, so that there would be no part of that entire lake that was not flooded with cold water. In the same way, great king, the bhikkhu soaks, soaks, saturates and fills his body with rapture and happiness born of concentration, so that there is no part of his body that is not burdened with this rapture and happiness . This too, great king, is a visible fruit of the seclusion more excellent and sublime than the previous ones.

The Third Jhāna

“Besides, great king, with the fading of rapture, the bhikkhu remains in equanimity, conscious and with lucid understanding, and experiences bliss in the body. Thus it enters and remains in the Third Jhāna, of which the nobles declare: “Remain happily with equanimity and lucid understanding.” Soak, soak, saturate and fill your body with this happiness free of rapture, so that there is no part of your whole body that is not impregnated with this happiness.

“Great king, suppose that in a lotus pond there were blue, white or red lotuses that were born in the water, grow in the water and never rise above the water, but flower immersed in the water. From their tips to their roots, they would be soaked, soaked, saturated and sprinkled with cold water, so that there would be no part of those lotuses that were not sprayed with fresh water. In the same way, great king, the bhikkhu soaks, soaks, saturates and fills his body with happiness free of rapture, so that there is no part of his body that is not bathed in this happiness.This too, great king, is a visible fruit of the seclusion more excellent and sublime than the previous ones.

The Fourth Jhāna

“In addition, great king, with the abandonment of pleasure and pain, and with the previous disappearance of pleasure and pain, the bhikkhu enters and remains in the Fourth Jhāna, which is neither pleasant nor painful and contains lucid understanding purified by equanimity . He stays with his body bathed in a refined and brilliant mind, so that there is not a part of his whole body that is not impregnated by a refined and brilliant mind.

“Great King, suppose a man should be sitting covered head down with a white cloth, so that there is no part of his entire body that is not impregnated by the white cloth. In the same way, great king, the bhikkhu feels his body bathed by a refined and brilliant mind, so that there is no part of his body that is not filled with a refined and brilliant mind. This too, great king, is a visible fruit of the seclusion more excellent and sublime than the previous ones.

Intuitive Knowledge

“When his mind is thus concentrated, refined and brilliant, perfect, free from defects, malleable, easily manageable, stable and reaches imperturbability, he directs it and inclines it towards knowledge and clairvoyance. He understands: “This is my body, which has a material form, composed of the four primary elements, originated by my father and my mother, made of rice and porridge, impermanent, subject to rubbing and pressing, to the dissolution and dispersion.And this is my conscience, supported by him and linked to him. “

“Great king, let us suppose that there was a beautiful gem of pure water beryl, eight facets, well cut, clear, limpid, impeccable, endowed with all the excellent qualities.And through it, a blue, yellow, red, white or brown thread would run. A man with good eyesight, taking it in his hand, would reflect it this way: “This is a beautiful gem of pure water beryl, eight facets, well cut, clear, limpid, without defects, endowed with all the excellent qualities. And running through it there is a blue, yellow, red, white or brown thread. In the same way, great king, when his mind is thus concentrated, refined and brilliant … the bhikkhu directs it and inclines it towards knowledge and clairvoyance and he understands thus: ‘This is my body, having material form … and this is my conscience, supported by him and linked to him. This, too, great king, is a visible fruit of the more excellent and sublime seclusion than the previous ones. “

Body Knowledge Made by the Mind

“When your mind is thus concentrated, refined and bright, without blemish, free from defects, malleable, manageable, stable and attains imperturbability, it directs and inclines you to create a body created by the mind. From his body, he creates another body with material form, made by the mind, complete in all its parts, which does not lack faculties. “

“Great king, suppose a man took a cane out of its sheath. I would think: ” This is the rod; This is the pod. The cane is one thing, the other pod, but the cane has been extracted from the pod . “ Or suppose a man drew a sword from its scabbard. I would think: ” This is the sword; this is the scabbard The sword is one thing, the scabbard is another, but the sword has been extracted from the scabbard . “Or suppose a man were to take a snake out of its scabbard. I would think: ” This is the serpent; This is the mute. The serpent is one thing, the other mute, but the serpent has been taken out of it . “ In the same way, great king, when his mind is concentrated, refined and brilliant … The bhikkhu directs and inclines her to create a body made by the mind. From his body, he creates another body with material form, made by the mind, complete in all its parts, which does not lack faculties. This too, great king, is a visible fruit of the seclusion more excellent and sublime than the previous ones “.

The Knowledge of Supernormal Power Modes (Iddhis)

“When your mind is thus concentrated, refined and bright, without stain, free from defects, malleable, manageable, stable and attains imperturbability, it directs you towards the supernormal mode of power. Exercise the various modes of supernormal power: having been one, it becomes many and having been many, it becomes one; appears and disappears; it goes unhindered through walls, walls and mountains as through space; he dives in and out of the earth as if it were water;walks on water without sinking as if it were land; sitting cross-legged, he travels through space like a winged bird; with his hand he touches and caresses the sun and the moon, so strong and powerful; It exercises dominion over the body to the world of Brahma.

“Great King, suppose that an expert potter or his apprentice makes and makes ready-made clay with any kind of vessel he may desire. Or suppose that a skilled ivory worker or his apprentice had to make and make with ivory well prepared any type of ivory work that he could want. Or suppose that an expert goldsmith or his apprentice had to make and make with gold well prepared any type of work in gold that could be desired. In the same way, great king, when his mind is thus concentrated, refined and brilliant … the bhikkhu directs him and inclines him towards the modes of supernormal power and exerts the various modes of supernormal power. This too, great king, is a visible fruit of the seclusion more excellent and sublime than the previous ones “.

The Knowledge of the Divine Ear

“When your mind is thus concentrated, refined and bright, without blemish, free from defects, malleable, manageable, stable and attains imperturbability, it directs and inclines you towards the element of the Divine Ear. With the element of the Divine Ear, which is more refined and surpasses the human, it listens to the two types of sound, the divine and the human, the distant and the near.

“Great King, suppose a man traveling on a road would listen to the sounds of kettledrums, drums, horns, cymbals, and tomes, and think, ” This is the sound of timpani, this is the sound of drums, this is the sound of horns, cymbals and tomes “ . In the same way, great king, when your mind is thus concentrated, refined and brilliant … the bhikkhu directs it and inclines it towards the element of the Divine Ear. With the element of the Divine Ear, which is more refined and surpasses the human, it listens to the two types of sound, the divine and the human, the distant and the near. This too, great king, is a visible fruit of the seclusion more excellent and sublime than the previous ones.

Knowledge that encompasses the minds of others

“When your mind is thus concentrated, refined and bright, without blemish, free of defects, malleable, manageable, stable and attains imperturbability, it directs and inclines you to the Knowledge of Embracing the Minds (of others). Understand the minds of other beings and people, having embraced them with their own mind.He understands a mind with lust as a mind with lust and a mind without lust as a mind without lust; it comprises a mind with hatred as a mind with hatred and a mind without hatred as a mind without hatred; understands a mind with illusion as a mind with illusion and a mind without illusion as a mind without illusion;understands a contracted mind as a contracted mind and a distracted mind as a distracted mind; understands an exalted mind as an exalted mind and a moderate mind as a moderate mind; understands a surpassable mind as a surpassable mind and an insurmountable mind as an insurmountable mind; understands a concentrated mind as a concentrated mind and a scattered mind as a scattered mind; he understands a liberated mind as a liberated mind and a non-liberated mind as an unreleased mind.

“Great king, suppose that a young man or woman, fond of ornaments, inspecting his own facial reflection in a pure bright mirror or in a container of clear water, would know, if there were a mole,” I have a mole “and if there was no mole, ” I have no mole .” In the same way, great king, when his mind is thus concentrated, refined and brilliant … the bhikkhu directs it and inclines it to the Knowledge of Embracing the Minds (of others). Understand the minds of other beings and people, having embraced them with their own mind. This too, great king, is a visible fruit of the seclusion more excellent and sublime than the previous ones.

The Knowledge of Remembering Past Lives

“When your mind is thus concentrated, refined and bright, without blemish, free from defects, malleable, manageable, stable and attains imperturbability, it directs and inclines you to the Knowledge of Remembering Past Lives. Remember his many past lives, that is, one birth, two births, three, four or five births; ten, twenty, thirty, forty or fifty births; one hundred births, one thousand births, one hundred thousand births; many aeons of global contraction, many aeons of world expansion, many eons of contraction and worldwide expansion (remembering): “There it had that name, belonged to such a clan, it had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life span. Having died in that condition, I reappeared in that other one. There he also had a name like that, he belonged to such a clan, he had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life span. Having died from that state, I was reborn here. “ Therefore, he remembers his numerous past lives in their modes and details.

“Great King, suppose a man went from his own village to another village, then from that village to another village, and then from that village he would return to his own village, thinking to himself:” I went from my own village to that village . There I stopped like that, I sat down in such a way, I spoke in such a way, and I remained silent in such a way. From that town I went to another town. There I also stopped that way, I sat in that way, I talked that way, and I remained silent that way. From that town I returned to my own town. “ In the same way, great king, when his mind is thus concentrated, refined and brilliant … the bhikkhu directs him to the knowledge of remembering past lives, and he remembers his numerous pasts. Live in its modes and its details.This too, great king, is a visible fruit of seclusion, more excellent and sublime than the previous ones.

The Knowledge of the Divine Eye

“When your mind is thus concentrated, refined and bright, without blemish, free from defects, malleable, manageable, stable and attains imperturbability, it directs and inclines you to the Knowledge of the Disappearance and Reappearance of Beings. With the divine eye, which is more refined and surpasses the human, sees beings that die and are reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and understands how beings behave according to their kamma, therefore : ” These beings who were endowed with bad behavior of body, speech and mind, who rejected the nobles, held wrong opinions and undertook actions ruled by erroneous opinions: with the rupture of the body, after death, they have reappeared in the plane of the misery, the bad destinies, the inferior kingdoms, in the hell. But these beings, who were endowed with good body behavior, talk and mind, who did not reject the nobles, held correct opinions and undertook actions governed by correct opinions, with the rupture of the body, after death, have reappeared. in the good destinies, in the celestial world “. Thus, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, sees beings that pass and reappear: inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and understands how beings are doing well or badly according to their kamma

“Great king, suppose that in a central square there was a building with an upper terrace, and a man with a good view standing there to see people entering a house, leaving it, walking through the streets and sitting in the square central. He thought to himself: ” Those people are entering the house, they are leaving them, they are walking through the streets and those who are sitting in the central square .” In the same way, great king, when his mind is thus concentrated, refined and brilliant … the bhikkhu directs it and inclines it towards the Knowledge of the Disappearance and Reappearance of the Beings. With the divine eye, which is more refined and surpasses the human, sees the beings that die and are reborn and understands how the beings behave according to their kamma. This too, great king, is a visible fruit of the seclusion more excellent and sublime than the previous ones.

The Knowledge of the Destruction of the Corruptions

“When your mind is thus concentrated, refined and bright, without blemish, free of defects, malleable, manageable, stable and attains imperturbability, it directs and inclines you to the Knowledge of the destruction of Corruptions. He understands what it really is like: ‘This is suffering .  He understands what it really is: ‘This is the origin of suffering ‘. He understands what it really is: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ . He understands what it really is: ‘This is the path that leads to the cessation of suffering ‘. He understands what it really is: “These are the corruptions .  He understands what it really is: ” This is the origin of the corruptions “, He really understands: ” This is the cessation of the corruptions “. He understands what he really is: ” This is the way that leads to the cessation of corruption .”

“Knowing and seeing like this, your mind is freed from the corruption of sensual desire, the corruption of existence and the corruption of ignorance. When it is released, knowledge emerges: ” I am liberated .” He understands: ” Destroyed is the birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done was done, there is nothing beyond this .”

“Great King, suppose that in a mountain gorge there was a lake with clear water, limpid and without spot. A man with a good view, standing on the shore, saw oyster shells, sand and pebbles, and schools of fish moving and staying still. He would think to himself: ” This is a lake with clear, limpid and immaculate water, and within it there are oyster shells, sand and pebbles, and schools of fish that move and stay still.”

“In the same way, great king, when your mind is thus concentrated, pure and brilliant … The bhikkhu directs it and inclines it to the Knowledge of the Destruction of Corruptions. He understands what he really is: ” This is suffering ” … He understands: ” Destroyed is birth, holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is nothing beyond this .” This too, great king. It is a visible fruit of seclusion more excellent and sublime than the previous ones. And, great king, there is no other fruit of reclusion higher or more sublime than this. “

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