The practice of calm abiding meditation serves as the cornerstone of Buddhist meditation techniques. Establishing a firm grounding in this fundamental practice is essential for achieving mental tranquility and clarity. Traditionally, practitioners dedicate months or even years to mastering calm abiding meditation, fully immersing themselves in its principles and experiencing its transformative effects before exploring other meditation methods.

However, calm abiding remains an integral component of all Buddhist meditation practices, persistently woven into the fabric of spiritual development. Regardless of one’s level of expertise, practitioners can always return to the practice of calm abiding, reaffirming its enduring significance in the journey towards inner peace and enlightenment.

Calm abiding practice is integral to cultivating awareness and mindfulness in Buddhist meditation. This foundational technique is aimed at training the mind to attain stillness, sharpen focus, and heighten alertness. Through consistent engagement in calm abiding, practitioners develop the essential mental qualities necessary for deeper levels of meditation and spiritual growth.

Calm Abiding Meditation Instructions

The practice of calm abiding is conducted through the five-pointed meditation posture, meticulously designed to facilitate deep concentration and mindfulness.

Consistency in practicing calm abiding with the same object enhances its effectiveness, fostering a deeper connection to the sacred and inspiring greater mindfulness. Throughout the practice, practitioners refrain from even minor movements, maintaining immobility to deepen their meditative experience. Despite any physical discomfort, practitioners remain steadfast in their focus, harnessing the power of natural breathing to complement their meditative journey.

Begin the practice by sitting in the five-pointed meditation posture:

  • the legs crossed,
  • the hands folded in the lap in meditation position with palms up and placed one on top of the other,
  • the spine straight but not rigid,
  • the head tilted down slightly to straighten the neck,
  • the eyes open.

The eyes should be relaxed, not too wide open and not too closed. The object of concentration should be placed so that the eyes can look straight ahead, neither up nor down. During the practice try not to move, not even to swallow or blink, while keeping the mind one-pointedly on the object. Even if tears should stream down your face, do not move. Let the breathing be natural.

Generally, for practice with an object, we use the Tibetan letter A as the object of concentration. It is good to use something connected to the sacred, as it serves to inspire you. Also, try to use the same object each time you practice.

If you wish to use the Tibetan A you can write it on a piece of paper about an inch square.

The difference between Samatha and Vipassana Meditation – click here to learn more 

Calm Abiding Meditation with Pema Chodron