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The union of samatha (tranquility meditation) and vipasyana (insight meditation) is the unique Buddhist path to deliverance. This dissertation explores various schemes of samatha developed in distinct meditation systems, so as to analyze the different degrees of sam adhi which affect the power of insight in eradication of defilements. The nature of dhyana/jhana is explained quite different in the canonical and commentarial materials of Buddhist schools. How a meditator practices mindfulness of breathing is based on how a meditator interprets what the dhyana/jh ana is. This dissertation provides various possible explanations for the diverse dispositions of meditators in meditation practice. In insight meditation, when consciousness acts with skillful mental qualities, one is able to penetrate the true nature of all physical and mental phenomena; in the cycle of rebirth, consciousness links the present existence and the next. The different roles of consciousness in rebirth, and deliverance are investigated. This dissertation is mainly based on the Chinese Canon to examine key issues in meditation practice, revolving around the significance of tranquility meditation and insight meditation.

The Less Dust, the More Trust presents the story of the author’s participation in the Shamatha Project, addressing Buddhism, shamatha mindfulness practices (concentration-calm), and meditation-research. With diary excerpts, dream log, and audio transcripts she gives the reader a feel for her personal experiences. The current research outcomes of this unique ongoing project are reported, focusing on the effects of the various practices in attention and emotion regulation, and on health. They include groundbreaking findings of effects down to the chromosome level. The practice ‘Settling the mind in its natural state’ invites wonder: what is this natural state? Each chapter includes a guided meditation. The book is structured in a way that it can provide the reader with various threads. It can be read as an overview of the Shamatha Project, meditation and science. Additionally, it can be read as an exploration into Buddhist studies, with a focus on psychological and scientific understanding of meditation. Most importantly: the book can support a personal journey for the reader in practicing shamatha meditations, and experiencing increasing well-being.
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