To practice and achieve shamatha, we need to gather six conditions conducive for it:
1. A conducive place.
2. Little attachment – to people, friends and loved ones, food, clothing, our own bodies, affection, comfort, praise, blame, sleep, and so on.
3. Contentment with the food, clothing, weather conditions, and so on that we have.
4. Being rid of the busy work of having many distracting activities, such as carrying out business and other worldly affairs, gardening, elaborate cooking, chatting with fellow practitioners, speaking on the telephone, writing letters or email, and so on.
5. Pure ethical self-discipline.
6. Being rid of obsessive prejudiced thoughts about what we usually consider desirable to do, such as watching television or videos, looking at the Internet, listening to music, reading novels, reading about astrology, medicine, and so on.
In Filigree for the Mahayana Sutras, Maitreya gives the five qualities of the first of the above six conducive conditions (a conducive place):
1. Easy availability of food and water.
2. An excellent spiritual situation, having been approved and sanctified by our own spiritual mentor or by previous masters who have meditated there.
3. An excellent geographic situation, being secluded, quiet, distant from people who upset us, with a pleasant long-distance view of nature, no sound of running water or the ocean to mesmerize us, and a good climate.
4. The excellent company of friends similarly engaged and either living nearby or practicing with us.
5. The items required for a happy bonding (Skt. yoga) with the practice, namely having the full teachings and instructions for the practice and having thought about and understood them beforehand so that we are free of questions and doubts.