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Home > Types of Meditation > Buddhist Meditation: Samatha and Vipassana
Buddhist Meditation: Samatha and Vipassana

VipassanaThe meditation used in the practise of Buddhism is called Buddhist Meditation. It uses any method of enlightenment as its ultimate aim. Buddhists identify meditation with mental development.

Buddhist meditation is broadly divided in to
1. Samatha (tranquility meditations) &
2. Vipassana (insight meditations) meditation.

1. Samatha meditation calms the mind and develops one-pointed concentration and positive emotions.

The samatha meditation includes anapana (mindfulness of breathing, or mindfulness of the in-breath and out-breath) and the four brahma-viras (sublime abodes) of which metta bhavana (development of loving kindness) is the most often practised one. 

2. Vipassana meditation builds on the calmness, focus, and positive emotion generated in Samatha meditation, and helps to develop an awareness of the impermanence, interconnectedness, and the contingent nature of our experience.

The vipassana meditations include contemplation on impermanence, the six element practise, and contemplation on conditionality.

Samatha meditations usually precede and prepare for vipassana meditations.

Each of the five methods is an antedote to one of the five mental poisons.

Meditation type Method Counteracts  Develops
(tranquility meditations)
Anapana (mindfulnes of breathing) Distraction Concentration
metta bhavana Hatred and sentimental attachment Loving and kindness
karuna bhavana Cruelty, sentimental pity and horrified anxiety Compassion
mudita bhavana Resentment, envy and vicarious enjoyment Sympathetic joy
upekkha bhavana Fixed indifference and apathetic neutrality Equanimity
(insight meditations)
contemplation on impermanence
Inner peace and freedom
six element practice Conceit Clarity regarding nature of self
Contemplation on conditionality Ignorance Wisdom and compassion

Every form of meditation uses some object on which we direct our attention. We can use the sensations of the breath, our emotional connection with ourselves and others, the physical sensations of the body, sounds, visualized images, etc.

Meditation has been shown to have many medical and psychological benefits, including promoting a sense of wellbeing, boosting the immune system, promoting the development of cortical matter in the brain, and slowing aging.

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