Samatha Meditation | Forty Kammatthāna
Each person must choose an object based on their character. Each subject has it’s own object for developing mental absorption.
In the Theravada tradition, Samatha translates as calmness and refers to the concentrated, unshaken, undefiled and peaceful state of mind. This form of meditation boasts an extensive history, most notably, it was being practised and taught by ascetics before the Buddha.
There are two types of meditation as taught by the Buddha. They are Samatha a serene technique, and then there’s vipassana that leads to insight. Samatha meditation (Vijja Dhammakaya) aims to quieten the mind to achieve a profound sense of calm or one-pointedness by focusing one’s attention on a single object. As the mind becomes increasingly calmer various stages of happiness called Jhana arise free from any mental hindrances that lead to greater insight and wisdom. By attaining a state of deep mental absorption through the removal of mental impediment that creates a foundation for the development of foresight.
Light dispels darkness. Wisdom dispels ignorance.
They collated the various subjects the Buddha taught into a group recognised as the forty kammatthāna. In Buddhism, kammatthāna refers to a ‘place of work’ whereby the meditator undertakes the work of meditation.
The forty kammatthāna fall into seven categories: (1) ten kasina (2) ten versions of loathsomeness (3) ten recollections (4) four sublime abidings (5) four formless realms (6) one perception of repugnant food (7) an analysis of the four elements. Master Boonmanuch surmised that the forty kammatthāna approached the same issues differently — one level of concentration varied, the other behavioural patterns.
These seven categories allow access to the jhanas, although it is possible to attain insight. Jhana is the altered states of consciousness produced from periods of intense concentration. By achieving different levels of jhana, the practitioner increases the likelihood of being re-born to a heavenly plane of existence.