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Buddhism and Jainism

Part of the book series: Encyclopedia of Indian Religions ((EIR))


Mental cultivation


Bhāvanā stands for mental cultivation in the sense of any practice or conduct that aims at cultivating the mind, not being restricted in meaning to a cultivation undertaken only mentally. The purpose of such mental cultivation is to promote the growth of the twin qualities of tranquility, samatha, and insight, vipassanā.


Bhāvanā, and the corresponding verb bhāveti, is one out of several terms used in early Buddhist texts to describe activities related to the development of the mind. A few additional examples for terminology that falls into the same sphere of meaning would be:

  • Anupassati, “to contemplate”

  • Anussarati, “to recollect”

  • Jhāyati, “to meditate”

  • Paccavekkhati, “to review”

  • Paṭisañcikkhati, “to reflect meditatively”

  • Pharitvā viharati, “to dwell having meditatively pervaded”

  • Samādhiyati, “to concentrate”

  • Samāpajjati, “to attain meditatively”

  • Sammasati, “to comprehend meditatively”

  • Upasampajja viharati, “to dwell having attained”


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Anālayo, B. (2017). Bhāvanā . In: Sarao, K.T.S., Long, J.D. (eds) Buddhism and Jainism. Encyclopedia of Indian Religions. Springer, Dordrecht.

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