Updated: Feb 19, 2021
Concentration is the foundation of wisdom and one of the Six Paramitas.
Inner focus and calm are essential for the in-depth understanding required for Buddhahood. Concentration makes the mind invulnerable to distraction. The fifth of the six paramitas (perfections) is concentration or mental stability.
It might not always seem evident, but we need concentration to accomplish even small tasks. If our emotions jump up and down, they prevent us from focusing on stability, mostly when our minds are filled with anxiety, worries, and fears.
With concentration, our minds are totally free from the extremes of mental wandering, flightiness due to disturbing emotions (precisely due to attraction to objects of desire), or mental dullness.
Meditation techniques to achieve far-reaching mental stability:
Shamatha – a stilled and settled state of mind, totally free of flightiness and dullness, experienced with an exhilarating, blissful sense of the fitness of body and mind that can stay focused in a positive state for as long as we want.
Vipassana is a meditative stabilization in which we can analyze the object. This is what you use when you meditate on subtle impermanence when you meditate on emptiness. We need that kind of analytical mind to understand reality.
Shamatha and vipassana as a joined pair – the union of calm abiding and unique insight. This third type of meditative stabilization is where you succeed in putting them together so that you can remain single-pointed and analyze at the same time.