Saturday, April 9, 2011


As part of our weekly offerings of the six perfections presented in Shantideva's 'A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life' we present to you our fifth wallpaper in the series for your computer desktop or iPhone.

On the path of a Bodhisattva, one should practice what are called the six perfections of: Giving, Ethics, Patience, Perseverance, Concentration and Wisdom.

This week we present the perfection - Concentration.

This perfection is the enlightened quality of concentration, meditation, contemplation, samadhi, mindfulness and mental stability.

The Tibetan word for concentration meditation is "zhi nay." Nay means to "dwell" or "stay" and zhi means "in peace." In a practical sense, zhi nay means to live peacefully without busyness and is often translated as "calm abiding."

Buddhism teaches that there are two types of Concentration:

Analytical Concentration and
Meditative Concentration.
The two 'enemies' of Concentration are busyness or wildness and sleepiness or torpor.

To strengthen our practice, it is necessary to develop one pointed concentration of the mind. For this we first need to understand the disadvantages of being distracted. Lack of concentration keeps us from keeping our minds focussed on the object of meditation. The mind follows any thoughts that arise and then it is all too easy for negative emotions to grow. Any positive actions we do will not realise their full effect. Distraction is therefore a major defect and it is very important to counteract it by developing mental calm.

In brief, meditation is a way of training and transforming the mind and this it certainly does. For our purposes, the main thing is to develop the one-pointed concentration of mental calm and to meditate on bodhichitta (the wish to attain complete enlightenment in order to be of benefit to all sentient beings). For concentration to become clear, we need the right conditions, namely, freedom from outer distractions. The ideal is to meditate in a secluded place that is conductive to physical and mental serenity.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

His Holiness has said that mental calmness on its own is not uniquely special as negative emotions are allayed, but not entirely eliminated. One-pointed concentration is very important in fully developing the power of positive actions and it is crucial for our practice of clear insight.

What an opportunity we have to be in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he offers us his Teaching on this vast subject. His Holiness is delighted to have you at his Teachings regardless of your belief, faith or tradition. These are Public Teachings available to us all.

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