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A Brief History of Buddhist Absorption

Abstract

This article presents a historical overview of developments in the construct of meditative absorption in Buddhist texts, with a particular emphasis on the Theravāda tradition. From pre-Buddhist antecedents via the Buddha’s own mastery of absorption until modern times, different constructs of absorption have developed which show considerable variation in terms of their concentrative depth and subjective experience. For this reason, research on psychological dimensions of meditative absorption needs to be based on first ascertaining what kind of absorption is being investigated.

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Abbreviations

AN:

Aṅguttara-nikāya

CBETA:

Chinese Buddhist Electronic Text Association

DĀ:

Dīrgha-āgama (T 1)

DN:

Dīgha-nikāya

EĀ:

Ekottarika-āgama (T 125)

MĀ:

Madhyama-āgama (T 26)

MN:

Majjhima-nikāya

SĀ:

Saṃyukta-āgama (T 99)

2 :

Saṃyukta-āgama (T 100)

SN:

Saṃyutta-nikāya

T:

Taishō edition

Up:

Abhidharmakośopāyikā-ṭīkā

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Anālayo, B. A Brief History of Buddhist Absorption. Mindfulness 11, 571–586 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01268-7

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Keywords

  • Absorption
  • Concentration
  • dhyāna
  • Insight meditation
  • jhāna
  • Mahāsi Sayādaw
  • Right concentration
  • sutta-jhāna
  • vipassanā
  • vipassanā-jhāna
  • Visuddhimagga