Right concentration

Right concentration (in Pali: samadhi), the last element in the 8-fold path, is a non-grasping form of concentration, characterized by a relaxed body and a mind open to subtle experience.

Classically, right concentration refers to the four jhanas or four increasing levels of mental unification and stability.

From Bhikkhu Bodhi:
However, samadhi is only a particular kind of one-pointedness; it is not equivalent to one-pointedness in its entirety. A gourmet sitting down to a meal, an assassin about to slay his victim, a soldier on the battlefield — these all act with a concentrated mind, but their concentration cannot be characterized as samadhi. Samadhi is exclusively wholesome one-pointedness, the concentration in a wholesome state of mind. Even then its range is still narrower: it does not signify every form of wholesome concentration, but only the intensified concentration that results from a deliberate attempt to raise the mind to a higher, more purified level of awareness. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/waytoend.html

It takes a particular form of effort to develop right concentration; it comes more easily to some than others. It is also best to have a living, present teacher when attempting to cultivate these mental states.

Meanwhile, whatever we can do to settle our minds in the tumult of daily life will be helpful. While intense feelings, positive and negative, may seem compelling, they are rarely helpful in making wholesome choices. Rather, a few deep breaths, a thought for the longer view of the effects of our words and actions, along with remembering our best intentions – these will support a steady flow of decisions that favor the wholesome.

The factors of the eight-fold path are:

1. Right View (of the ownership of action)
2. Right Intention (renunciation, goodwill, harmlessness)
3. Right Speech (truthful, harmonious, gentle, meaningful)
4. Right Action (non-harming, non-taking, good conduct in sensual matters)
5. Right Livelihood (legal, peaceful, honest, non-harming)
6. Right Effort (abandon the unwholesome, cultivate the wholesome)
7. Right Mindfulness (body, feeling, mind-states, dhammas)
8. Right Concentration (the four jhanas)

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