Achieving Shamatha

by Dr Alexander Berzin

The Six Powers

 

We gain the nine stages of settling the mind by relying on six powers:

 

1. We gain the first stage by relying on the power of listening to the instructions.

 

2. We gain the second stage by relying on the power of thinking about the instructions.

 

3. We gain the third and fourth stages by relying on the power of mindfulness.

 

4. We gain the fifth and sixth stages by relying on the power of alertness.

 

5. We gain the seventh and eighth stages by relying on the power of joyful perseverance.

 

6. We gain the ninth stage by relying on the power of complete familiarity.

The Four Types of Attention

 

In the process of progressing through the nine stages of settling the mind, we use four types of attention, which are four ways of taking the object of focus to mind:

 

1. During the first two stages, we use painstaking attention, with which we use great control and force to take the object of focus to mind.

 

2. During the third through the seventh stages, we use restoring attention, with which we repeatedly bring our focus back to the object or repair our focus if there is some fault.

 

3. During the eighth stage, we use uninterrupted attention, with which we can focus on the object without interruption.

 

4. During the ninth stage, we use spontaneous attention, with which we can maintain our focus on the object effortlessly.

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© Bodhicitta 2017