According to Maitreya-natha’s Ornament of Mahayana Sutras (Mahayana-sutra-alamkara-karika in Sanskrit), we pass through nine stages in the development of shamatha, irrespective of the object of our meditation.

  • Resting the Mind—focusing the mind upon an object
  • Resting the Mind Longer—maintaining that continuity
  • Continuously Resettling the Mind—whenever one forgets the object and becomes distracted one resettles the mind
  • Fully Settling the Mind—by settling in that way, the mind becomes increasingly focused on the object
  • Taming the Mind—by thinking of the qualities of samadhi, one feels greater joy for meditation
  • Pacification of the Mind—then seeing the faults of distraction, one’s dislike for meditation is pacified
  • Complete Pacification of the Mind—then whenever the cause of distraction, such as the subsidiary disturbing emotions or sleepiness or mental unease occur, they are completely pacified
  • One-pointedness —then one attains some stability through applying the antidotes for distraction
  • Resting in Equanimity —finally one is able to rest the mind on its object quite naturally, without resorting to any antidotes

Shamatha is the specific degree of concentration necessary to generate insight into reality and thus lead to the destruction of the mind’s afflictions.

Reference: Rigpa Shedra Wiki

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