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H.Saddhatissa, in his presentation of Buddhism, outlines methods for the practice of meditation which parallel Eliade's description of Yoga techniques. The preliminary instructions that Saddhatissa presents for meditation include a quiet environment and a comfortable position. One should choose a suitable place, which will have few distractions and therefore help one concentrate. He suggests a sitting posture, not necessarily a lotus, cross-legged, position, but a position that one finds comfortable.
Saddhatissa proceeds from these preparations to categorize two types of Buddhist meditation-samatha, the development of calm and concentration, and vispassana, the development of insight. In samatha the meditator concentrates on a fixed object, either external or internal. Anapanasati, one of the foremost practices of samatha, was used by the Buddha on the night of his enlightenment. It is the practice of in-breathing and out-breathing. Focusing his attention at the tip of his nostrils, the meditator quietly "watches" the breath flowing in and out past the tip of the nostril. It is recommended that he count breaths, not going past ten, and repeating the count to aid his concentration.
Ashvagosha, an eminent Buddhist of the first century A.D., formulated and expounded the teachings of the Mahayana school, a more elaborate and developed form of the original doctrines of Buddhism. Ashvagosha's book The Awakening of Faith instructs the reader how to practice the Mahayana faith. The practice consists of five stages, the fifth being the "stage of preventing vain thoughts, and the practice of divine wisdom or judgments." These two concepts are to be gradually activated at the same time. The practice of checking vain thoughts is accomplished through a quiet environment, a proper posture, and a passive attitude. According to him, " if the mind wanders far away, it must be brought back into its proper state. One should know that the proper state is that of the soul alone without anything outside of it." Eventually the practitioner will perfect this practice and the mind will be at rest, from which one will proceed to reach the "peace of the Eternal."
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