What Is Samadhi?: Complete Absorption of the Self in Buddhism

Samadhi is described as being in an intense state of concentration. In Hindu yoga, it is considered the final stage where the practitioner reaches divine oneness. In Buddhism, the root word translates to “to bring together”. This refers to the single pointed concentration required to achieve Samadhi.

The Many Levels of Samadhi

For centuries, Buddhists have recorded many levels of Samadhi. Some are very subtle while others are more obvious. Some masters refer to three realms when discussing Samadhi. These include the realms of desire, realm of form and realm of no form.

When an athlete becomes absorbed in winning a competition, they can achieve Samadhi that would fall into the realm of desire. Samadhi of the form realm would be focused on the present with no attachment. Those in this state would still possess a sense of self. Once that sense of self is absorbed, then Samadhi in the realm of no form is reached.

Meditation & the Dhyanas

There are four basic Dhyanas which are associated with Samadhi. These are translated to mean contemplation or meditation. The first is direct thought which fills the meditator with rapture. This opens up the second Dhyana. As the rapture experience fades, the third Dhyana appears as a sense of deep calm, satisfaction and alertness. The fourth basic Dhyana remains as pure awareness.

Achieving Samadhi & Enlightenment

Those who attempt to make their own way to Samadhi may find many challenges. Some may think they have achieved deep meditation when they are still far from enlightenment. An experienced teacher is recommended for those who are trying to reach Samadhi. Some Buddhists traditions claim that Samadhi is the same as enlightenment, however it is better described as the door that leads to it.