Introduction to Shamata Meditation

A Teaching by Geshe Dakpa Topgyal

Shamata meditation is mind-training. In meditation the focus is redirected to a single point. In meditation, two distinct qualities of mind are gained: mental clarity and mental stability.

In our ordinary mind we conceptualize. The moment we apply concepts to an object, we pollute it. When we conceptualize, we over-estimate or under-estimate. Then delusions arise. Our peace of mind is disturbed.

We can’t solve this problem just with intellectual understanding. Meditation helps us to understand how the ordinary mind mistakenly engages with objects, how it fabricates or decorates. Meditation helps us to walk a little farther beyond our perceptions. Meditation resolves internal questions that haunt us and cannot be solved by our intellect or a third party.

Ultimately, mediation takes us to an understanding that is boundless, bringing us joy.

Initially in meditation, we train the mind to accept a thought-free state, then we learn to stay in that state for longer periods of time without conceptualizing.

Meditation eliminates duality. There are four types of duality: seeing the perceived object and the perceiver as separate, applying a generic image of an object to the object and two that will be discussed later when emptiness is addressed.

However, understanding that the object and perceiver are one is not the ultimate goal of meditation. The ultimate goal is to hold the object in the mind without interference of normal conceptual thoughts. When normal thoughts fall away we can see the object as it really is.

Notes from a teaching by Geshe Dakpa Topgyal in Columbia, South Carolina, January 6, 2001.