Ānāpānasati (Pali; Sanskrit ānāpānasmṛti), meaning "mindfulness of breathing" ("sati" means mindfulness; "ānāpāna" refers to inhalation and exhalation[1]), is a form of Buddhist meditation originally taught by Gautama Buddha in several suttas including the Ānāpānasati Sutta.[2] (MN 118)

Ānāpānasati is now common to Tibetan, Zen, Tiantai and Theravada Buddhism as well as Western-based mindfulness programs. Simply defined, Anapanasati is to feel the sensations caused by the movements of the breath in the body as is practiced in the context of mindfulness meditation.

Origins in Buddhism

Anapanasati is a core meditation practice in Theravada, Tiantai and Chan traditions of Buddhism as well as a part of many mindfulness programs. In both ancient and modern times, anapanasati by itself is likely the most widely used Buddhist method for contemplating bodily phenomena.[3]

The Ānāpānasati Sutta specifically concerns mindfulness of inhalation and exhalation, as a part of paying attention to one's body in quietude, and recommends the practice of anapanasati meditation as a means of cultivating the Seven Factors of Enlightenment: sati (mindfulness), dhamma vicaya (analysis), viriya (persistence), which leads to pīti (rapture), then to passaddhi (serenity), which in turn leads to samadhi (concentration) and then to upekkhā (equanimity). Finally, the Buddha taught that, with these factors developed in this progression, the practice of anapanasati would lead to release (Pali: vimutti; Sanskrit mokṣa) from dukkha (suffering), in which one realizes nibbana.

The practice

Traditional sources

A traditional method given by the Buddha in the Anapanasati Sutta is to go into the forest and sit beneath a tree and then to simply watch the breath, if the breath is long, to notice that the breath is long, if the breath is short, to notice that the breath is short.[4][5]

While inhaling and exhaling, the meditator practises:

  • training the mind to be sensitive to one or more of: the entire body, rapture, pleasure, the mind itself, and mental processes
  • training the mind to be focused on one or more of: inconstancy, dispassion, cessation, and relinquishment
  • steadying, satisfying, or releasing the mind.

A popular non-canonical method used today, loosely based on Buddhaghosa's commentary the Visuddhimagga, follows four stages:

  1. repeatedly counting exhalations in cycles of 10
  2. repeatedly counting inhalations in cycles of 10
  3. focusing on the breath without counting
  4. focusing only on the spot where the breath enters and leaves the nostrils (i.e., the nostril and upper lip area).[6]

Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośakārikā also teaches the counting of breaths to 10 as does the dhyāna sutras translated into Chinese by An Shigao.[7] This is organized into a teaching called "the six aspects" or "the six means" which according to Florin Deleanu:

The practice starts with "counting" (ganana), which consists in counting breathing from one to ten. When this is accomplished without any counting failure (dosha), the practitioner advances to the second step, i.e., "pursuing" (anugama), which means intently following the inhalation as it enters the body and moves from the throat, through the heart, the navel, the kidneys, the thighs to the toes and then the reverse movement of the exhalation until it leaves the body. Next comes "concentration" (sthapana) which denotes focusing one's attention on some part of the body from the tip of the nose to the big toe. In the fourth step, called" observation" (upalaksana), the practitioner discerns that the air breathed in and out as well as form (rupa), mind (citta), and mental functions (caitta) ultimately consists of the four great elements. He thus analyzes all the five aggregates. Next follows "the turning away" (vivarta) which consists of changing the object of observation from the air breathed in and out to "the wholesome roots" of purity (kusalamula) and ultimately to "the highest mundane dharma". The last step is called "purification" (parisuddhi) and it marks entering the stage of "realization of the Way", which in Abhidharma literature denotes the stage of "the stream entry" (Sotāpanna) that will inevitably lead the adept to Nirvana in no more than seven lives.[7]

Anapanasati sutta

Anapanasati is described in detail in the Anapanasati Sutta:

Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'[8]

If it is pursued and well developed, it is said to bring great benefit: "This is how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit.[8]" As for the training, the Anapanasati sutta states:

On whatever occasion the monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world, on that occasion his mindfulness is steady & without lapse. When his mindfulness is steady & without lapse, then mindfulness as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.[8]

Modern sources

First, for the practice to be successful, one should dedicate the practice, and set out the goal of the meditation session.[9] One may decide to either practice anapanasati while seated or while walking, or to alternate seated and walking meditation.[10] Then one may concentrate on the breath going through one's nose: the pressure in the nostrils on each inhalation, and the feeling of the breath moving along the upper lip on each exhalation.[10] Other times practitioners are advised to attend to the breath at the tanden, a point slightly below the navel and beneath the surface of the body.[10] Practitioners may choose to count each inhalation, "1, 2, 3,..." and so on, up to 10, and then begin from 1 again. Alternatively people sometimes count the exhalation, "1, 2, 3,...," on both the inhalation and exhalation.[10] If the count is lost then one should start again from the beginning.

The type of practice recommended in The Three Pillars of Zen is for one to count "1, 2, 3,..." on the inhalation for a while, then to eventually switch to counting on the exhalation, then eventually, once one has more consistent success in keeping track of the count, to begin to pay attention to the breath without counting. There are practitioners who count the breath all their lives as well.[11] Beginning students are often advised to keep a brief daily practice of around 10 or 15 minutes a day. Also, a teacher or guide of some sort is often considered to be essential in Buddhist practice, as well as the sangha, or community of Buddhists, for support.

When one becomes distracted from the breath, which happens to both beginning and adept practitioners, either by a thought or something else, then one simply returns their attention back to the breath. Philippe Goldin has said that important "learning" occurs at the moment when practitioners turn their attention back to the object of focus, the breath.[12]

Active breathing, passive breathing

Anapanasati is most commonly practiced with attention centered on the breath, without any effort to change the breathing.

In the throat singing prevalent amongst the Buddhist monks of Tibet and Mongolia[13] the long and slow outbreath during chanting is the core of the practice. The sound of the chant also serves to focus the mind in one-pointed concentration samadhi, while the sense of self dissolves as awareness becomes absorbed into a realm of pure sound.

In some Japanese Zen meditation, the emphasis is upon maintaining "strength in the abdominal area"[14] (dantian or "tanden") and slow deep breathing during the long outbreath, again to assist the attainment of a mental state of one-pointed concentration. There is also a "bamboo method," during which time one inhales and exhales in punctuated bits, as if running one's hand along the stalk of a bamboo tree.[11]

Alan Watts noted something more in watching the breath with regards to Zen Buddhism. Active or voluntary breathing ("I will breath in" etc) is clearly something the person is doing. Passive breathing (involuntary daily breathing) is something we imagine is being done, but not by us, it is something that just happens. In a watching-the-breath type of meditation we might experience both types. But suddenly it can dawn upon us that we are doing both: the involuntary breathing also seems to be something we are doing because we experience "being everything"- we are doing everything. And it can flip - both are just happening: the voluntary breathing also seems to be something that just happens, again because we are "being everything" - but now, everything is just happening. Thus we may see our very decisions to do things as just happening, just spontaneously arising - he asks "Do you decide to decide?". Be careful to note that Alan Watts points out that both things are true: we decide (and have free will) and (we don't) decisions just happen. This is the Zen perspective where we embrace this paradox. We might say that, this (or any) paradox exists only as a human thought and in this case, we cannot understand (think) how these opposites can exist together; yet in reality, that is not burdened by thought, this is our experience. Thus watching the breath is one way to experience these things.

Pranayama, or Yogic breath control, is very popular in traditional and modern forms of Yoga.

Scientifically demonstrated benefits

The practice of focusing one's attention changes the brain in ways to improve that ability over time; the brain grows in response to meditation.[15] Meditation can be thought of as mental training, similar to learning to ride a bike or play a piano.

Meditators experienced in focused attention meditation (anapanasati is a type of focused attention meditation) showed a decrease in habitual responding a 20-minute Stroop test, which, as suggested by Richard Davidson and colleagues, may illustrate a lessening of emotionally reactive and automatic responding behavior.[15] It has been scientifically demonstrated that ānāpānasati enhances connectivity in the brain.[16]


Formally, there are sixteen stages – or contemplations – of anapanasati. These are divided into four tetrads (i.e., sets or groups of four). The first four steps involve focusing the mind on breathing, which is the 'body-conditioner' (Pali: kāya-sankhāra). The second tetrad involves focusing on the feelings (vedanā), which are the 'mind-conditioner' (Pali: citta-sankhāra). The third tetrad involves focusing on the mind itself (Pali: citta), and the fourth on 'mental qualities' (Pali: dhamma). (Compare right mindfulness and satipatthana.)

Any anapanasati meditation session should progress through the stages in order, beginning at the first, whether the practitioner has performed all stages in a previous session or not.

Satipaṭṭhāna Ānāpānasati Tetrads
1. Contemplation of the body 1. Breathing long (Knowing Breath) First Tetrad
  2. Breathing short (Knowing Breath)
  3. Experiencing the whole body
  4. Tranquillising the bodily activities
2. Contemplation of feelings 5. Experiencing rapture Second Tetrad
  6. Experiencing bliss
  7. Experiencing mental activities
  8. Tranquillising mental activities
3. Contemplation of the mind 9. Experiencing the mind Third Tetrad
  10. Gladdening the mind
  11. Centering the mind in samadhi
  12. Releasing the mind
4. Contemplation of Dhammas 13. Contemplating impermanence Fourth Tetrad
  14. Contemplating fading of lust
  15. Contemplating cessation
  16. Contemplating relinquishment

In the Theravada tradition

According to several teachers in Theravada Buddhism, anapanasati alone will lead to the removal of all one's defilements (kilesa) and eventually to enlightenment. According to Roger Bischof, the Ven. Webu Sayadaw said of anapanasati: "This is a shortcut to Nibbana, anyone can use it. It stands up to investigation and is in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha as conserved in the scriptures. It is the straight path to Nibbana."

Anapanasati can also be practised with other traditional meditation subjects including the four frames of reference[17] and mettā bhāvanā,[18] as is done in modern Theravadan Buddhism.

In the Chinese tradition

Buddhacinga Fotudeng
Buddhacinga, a monk who came to China and widely propagated ānāpānasmṛti methods.

In the second century, the Buddhist monk An Shigao came from Northwest India to China and became one of the first translators of Buddhist scriptures into Chinese. He translated a version of the Ānāpānasmṛti Sūtra between 148 and 170 CE. This version is a significantly longer text than what appears in the Ekottara Āgama, and is entitled, "The Great Ānāpānasmṛti Sūtra" (Ch. 大安般守意經) (Taishō Tripiṭaka 602).

At a later date, Buddhacinga, more commonly known as Fotudeng (佛圖澄) (231-349 CE), came from Central Asia to China in 310 and propagated Buddhism widely. He is said to have demonstrated many spiritual powers, and was able to convert the warlords in this region of China over to Buddhism.[19] He is well known for teaching methods of meditation, and especially ānāpānasmṛti. Fotudeng widely taught ānāpānasmṛti through methods of counting breaths, so as to temper to the breathing, simultaneously focusing the mind into a state of peaceful meditative concentration.[20] By teaching meditation methods as well as doctrine, Fotudeng popularized Buddhism quickly. According to Nan Huaijin, "Besides all its theoretical accounts of emptiness and existence, Buddhism also offered methods for genuine realization of spiritual powers and meditative concentration that could be relied upon. This is the reason that Buddhism began to develop so vigorously in China with Fotudeng."[20]

As more monks such as Kumārajīva, Dharmanandi, Gautama Saṃghadeva, and Buddhabhadra came to the East, translations of meditation texts did as well, which often taught various methods of ānāpānasmṛti that were being used in India. These became integrated in various Buddhist traditions, as well as into non-Buddhist traditions such as Daoism.

In the sixth century, the Tiantai school was formed, teaching the One Vehicle (Skt. Ekayāna), the vehicle of attaining Buddhahood, as the main principle, and three forms of śamatha-vipaśyanā correlated with the meditative perspectives of emptiness, provisional existence, and the mean, as the method of cultivating realization.[21] The Tiantai school places emphasis on ānāpānasmṛti in accordance with the principles of śamatha and vipaśyanā. In China, the Tiantai understanding of meditation has had the reputation of being the most systematic and comprehensive of all.[22] The founder of the Tiantai school, Zhiyi, wrote many commentaries and treatises on meditation. Of these texts, Zhiyi's Concise Śamatha-vipaśyanā (小止観 Xiǎo Zhǐguān), his Mahāśamatha Vipaśyanā (摩訶止観 Móhē Zhǐguān), and his Six Subtle Dharma Gates (六妙法門 Liù Miào Fǎmén) are the most widely read in China.[22] Zhiyi classifies breathing into four main categories: panting (喘 "chuǎn"), unhurried breathing (風 "fēng"), deep and quiet breathing (氣 "qì"), and stillness or rest (息 "xi"). Zhiyi holds that the first three kinds of breathing are incorrect, while the fourth is correct, and that the breathing should reach stillness and rest.[23] Venerable Hsuan Hua, who taught Chan and Pure Land Buddhism, also taught that the external breathing reaches a state of stillness in correct meditation:

A practitioner with sufficient skill does not breathe externally. That external breathing has stopped, but the internal breathing functions. With internal breathing there is no exhalation through the nose or mouth, but all pores on the body are breathing. A person who is breathing internally appears to be dead, but actually he has not died. He does not breathe externally, but the internal breathing has come alive.[24]

In the Indo-Tibetan tradition

In the Tibetan Buddhist lineage, ānāpānasmṛti is done to calm the mind in order to prepare one for various other practices.

Two of the most important Mahāyāna philosophers, Asaṅga and Vasubandhu, in the Śrāvakabhūmi chapter of the Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra and the Abhidharma-kośa, respectively, make it clear that they consider ānāpānasmṛti a profound practice leading to vipaśyanā (in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha in the Sutra pitika).[25] However, as scholar Leah Zahler has demonstrated, "the practice traditions related to Vasubandhu's or Asaṅga's presentations of breath meditation were probably not transmitted to Tibet."[26] Asaṅga correlates the sixteen stages of ānāpānasmṛti with the four smṛtyupasthānas in the same way that the Ānāpānasmṛti Sutra does, but because he does not make this explicit the point was lost on later Tibetan commentators.[27]

As a result, the largest Tibetan lineage, the Gelug, came to view ānāpānasmṛti as a mere preparatory practice useful for settling the mind but nothing more.[28] Zahler writes:

The practice tradition suggested by the Treasury itself--and also by Asaṅga's Grounds of Hearers--is one in which mindfulness of breathing becomes a basis for inductive reasoning on such topics as the five aggregates; as a result of such inductive reasoning, the meditator progresses through the Hearer paths of preparation, seeing, and meditation. It seems at least possible that both Vasubandhu and Asaṅga presented their respective versions of such a method, analogous to but different from modern Theravāda insight meditation, and that Gelukpa scholars were unable to reconstruct it in the absence of a practice tradition because of the great difference between this type of inductive meditative reasoning based on observation and the types of meditative reasoning using consequences (thal 'gyur, prasaanga) or syllogisms (sbyor ba, prayoga) with which Gelukpas were familiar. Thus, although Gelukpa scholars give detailed interpretations of the systems of breath meditation set forth in Vasubandu's and Asaṅga's texts, they may not fully account for the higher stages of breath meditation set forth in those texts. . . it appears that neither the Gelukpa textbook writers nor modern scholars such as Lati Rinpoche and Gendun Lodro were in a position to conclude that the first moment of the fifth stage of Vasubandhu's system of breath meditation coincides with the attainment of special insight and that, therefore, the first four stages must be a method for cultivating special insight.[29]

Zahler continues,

[I]t appears . .that a meditative tradition consisting of analysis based on observation—inductive reasoning within meditation—was not transmitted to Tibet; what Gelukpa writers call analytical meditation is syllogistic reasoning within meditation. Thus, Jamyang Shaypa fails to recognize the possibility of an 'analytical meditation' based on observation, even when he cites passages on breath meditation from Vasubandhu's Treasury of Manifest Knowledge and, especially, Asaṅga's Grounds of Hearers that appear to describe it.[30]

Stephen Batchelor, who for years was monk in the Gelukpa lineage, experienced this firsthand. He writes, "such systematic practice of mindfulness was not preserved in the Tibetan traditions. The Gelugpa lamas know about such methods and can point to long descriptions of mindfulness in their Abhidharma works, but the living application of the practice has largely been lost. (Only in dzog-chen, with the idea of 'awareness' [rig pa] do we find something similar.) For many Tibetans the very term 'mindfulness' (sati in Pali, rendered in Tibetan by dran pa) has come to be understood almost exclusively as 'memory' or 'recollection.'"[31]

As Batchelor noted, however, in other traditions, particularly the Kagyu and Nyingma, mindfulness based on ānāpānasmṛti practice is considered to be quite profound means of calming the mind to prepare it for the higher practices of Dzogchen and Mahamudra. For the Kagyupa, in the context of mahāmudrā, ānāpānasmṛti is thought to be the ideal way for the meditator to transition into taking the mind itself as the object of meditation and generating vipaśyanā on that basis.[32] The prominent contemporary Kagyu/Nyingma master Chogyam Trungpa, echoing the Kagyu Mahāmudrā view, wrote, "your breathing is the closest you can come to a picture of your mind. It is the portrait of your mind in some sense. . .The traditional recommendation in the lineage of meditators that developed in the Kagyu-Nyingma tradition is based on the idea of mixing mind and breath."[33] The Gelukpa allow that it is possible to take the mind itself as the object of meditation, however, Zahler reports, the Gelukpa discourage it with "what seems to be thinly disguised sectarian polemics against the Nyingma Great Completeness [Dzogchen] and Kagyu Great Seal [mahāmudrā] meditations."[34]

In the Pañcakrama tantric tradition ascribed to (the Vajrayana) Nagarjuna, ānāpānasmṛti counting breaths is said to be sufficient to provoke an experience of vipaśyanā (although it occurs in the context of "formal tantric practice of the completion stage in highest yogatantra").[35][36]


  1. ^ "Ānāpāna". The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary. Digital Dictionaries of South Asia, University of Chicago.
  2. ^ In the Pali canon, the instructions for anapanasati are presented as either one tetrad (four instructions) or four tetrads (16 instructions). The most famous exposition of four tetrads – after which Theravada countries have a national holiday (see uposatha) – is the Anapanasati Sutta, found in the Majjhima Nikaya sutta 118 (for instance, see Thanissaro, 2006). Other discourses which describe the full four tetrads can be found in the Samyutta Nikaya's Anapana-samyutta (Ch. 54), such as SN 54.6 (Thanissaro, 2006a), SN 54.8 (Thanissaro, 2006b) and SN 54.13 (Thanissaro, 1995a). The one-tetrad exposition of anapanasati is found, for instance, in the Kayagata-sati Sutta (MN 119; Thanissaro, 1997), the Maha-satipatthana Sutta (DN 22; Thanissaro, 2000) and the Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10; Thanissaro, 1995b).
  3. ^ Anālayo 2003, p. 125.
  4. ^ Majjhima Nikaya, Sutta No. 118, Section No. 2, translated from the Pali
  5. ^ Satipatthana Sutta
  6. ^ Kamalashila (2004). Meditation: The Buddhist Way of Tranquillity and Insight. Birmingham: Windhorse Publications; 2r.e. edition. ISBN 1-899579-05-2.. Regarding this list's items, the use of counting methods is not found in the Pali Canon and is attributed to the Buddhaghosa in his Visuddhimagga. According to the Visuddhimagga, counting (Pali: gaṇanā) is a preliminary technique, sensitizing one to the breath's arising and ceasing, to be abandoned once one has consistent mindful connection (anubandhā) with in- and out-breaths (Vsm VIII, 195-196). Sustained breath-counting can be soporific or cause thought proliferation (see, e.g., Anālayo, 2006, p. 133, n. 68).
  7. ^ a b Deleanu, Florin; Mindfulness of Breathing in the Dhyāna Sūtras. Transactions of the International Conference of Orientalists in Japan (TICOJ) 37, 1992, 42-57.
  8. ^ a b c this is cited from Anapanasati sutta translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu(2006)
  9. ^ John Dunne talks on Buddhist phenomenology from the Indo-Tibetan textual point of view at "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-20. Retrieved 2016-02-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ a b c d The Three Pillars of Zen (New York: Anchor Books, 2000) ISBN 0-385-26093-8
  11. ^ a b "Zen Training: Methods and Philosophy" by Katsuki Sekida
  12. ^ Philippe Goldin in Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation
  13. ^ "The One Voice Chord". Archived from the original on 2007-01-17. Retrieved 2007-01-19.
  14. ^ "Tanden: Source of Spiritual Strength". Archived from the original on 2012-01-12. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
  15. ^ a b Lutz, A; Slagter, HA; Dunne, JD; Davidson, RJ (April 2008). "Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation". Trends Cogn. Sci. (Regul. Ed.). 12 (4): 163–9. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2008.01.005. PMC 2693206. PMID 18329323.
  16. ^ Luders, Eileen; Clark, Kristi; Narr, Katherine L.; Toga, Arthur W. (2011). "Enhanced brain connectivity in long-term meditation practitioners". NeuroImage. 57 (4): 1308–1316. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.05.075. PMC 3176828. PMID 21664467.
  17. ^ In regards to practicing anapanasati in tandem with other frames of reference (satipatthana), Thanissaro (2000) writes:
    At first glance, the four frames of reference for satipatthana practice sound like four different meditation exercises, but MN 118 [the Anapanasati Sutta] makes clear that they can all center on a single practice: keeping the breath in mind. When the mind is with the breath, all four frames of reference are right there. The difference lies simply in the subtlety of one's focus.... [A]s a meditator get more skilled in staying with the breath, the practice of satipatthana gives greater sensitivity in peeling away ever more subtle layers of participation in the present moment until nothing is left standing in the way of total release.
  18. ^ According to Kamalashila (2004), one practices anapanasati with mettā bhāvanā in order to prevent withdrawal from the world and the loss of compassion.
  19. ^ Nan, Huai-Chin. Basic Buddhism: Exploring Buddhism and Zen. 1997. pp. 80-81
  20. ^ a b Nan, Huai-Chin. Basic Buddhism: Exploring Buddhism and Zen. 1997. p. 81
  21. ^ Nan, Huai-Chin. Basic Buddhism: Exploring Buddhism and Zen. 1997. p. 91
  22. ^ a b Luk, Charles. The Secrets of Chinese Meditation. 1964. p. 110
  23. ^ Luk, Charles. The Secrets of Chinese Meditation. 1964. p. 125
  24. ^ Hsuan Hua. The Chan Handbook. 2004. p. 44
  25. ^ Study and Practice of Meditation: Tibetan Interpretations of the Concentrations and Formless Absorptions by Leah Zahler. Snow Lion Publications: 2009 pg 107-108)
  26. ^ Study and Practice of Meditation: Tibetan Interpretations of the Concentrations and Formless Absorptions by Leah Zahler. Snow Lion Publications: 2009 pg 108)
  27. ^ Zahler 119-126
  28. ^ Zahler 108
  29. ^ Zahler 108, 113
  30. ^ Zahler 306
  31. ^ The Faith to Doubt: Glimpses of Buddhist Uncertainty. by Stephen Batchelor. Parallax Press Berkeley: 1990 pg 8
  32. ^ Pointing Out the Great Way: The Stages of Meditation in the Mahamudra tradition by Dan Brown. Wisdom Publications: 2006 pg 221-34
  33. ^ The Path is the Goal, in The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa, Vol Two. Shambhala Publications. pgs 49, 51
  34. ^ (Zahler 131-2)
  35. ^ Brown 2006, p. 221.
  36. ^ Mathes (2013), p. 378.


Primary sources

Further reading

  • Mindfulness with Breathing by Buddhadāsa Bhikkhu. Wisdom Publications, Boston, 1996. ISBN 0-86171-111-4.
  • Breath by Breath by Larry Rosenberg. Shambhala Classics, Boston, 1998. ISBN 1-59030-136-6.
  • Tranquillity and Insight by Amadeo Sole-Leris. Shambhala, 1986. ISBN 0-87773-385-6.
  • "The Anapanasati Sutta / A Practical Guide to Mindfulness of Breathing and Tranquil Wisdom Meditation" by Bhante Vimalaramsi. Yin Shun Foundation, January 1999; First edition (1999). ASIN: B00183T9XW

External links


The Abhidharmadīpa or Lamp of Abhidharma is an Abhidharma text thought to have been authored by Vasumitra as a response to Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośakārikā.

The text consists of verse and prose commentary. It currently survives as an incomplete collection of Sanskrit fragments. However, the text is valuable insofar as it confirms the identity of Vasubandhu as author of the Abhidharmakośakārikā.

Anapanasati Sutta

The Ānāpānasati Sutta (Pāli) or Ānāpānasmṛti Sūtra (Sanskrit), "Breath-Mindfulness Discourse," Majjhima Nikaya 118, is a discourse that details the Buddha's instruction on using awareness of the breath (anapana) as an initial focus for meditation.

The sutta includes sixteen steps of practice, and groups them into four tetrads, associating them with the four satipatthanas (placings of mindfulness). According to American scholar monk, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, this sutta contains the most detailed meditation instructions in the Pali Canon.

Breathing (disambiguation)

Breathing is the process that moves air in and out of the lungs or oxygen through other breathing organs.

Breathing may also refer to:

One of two Greek diacritics:

Rough breathing, which represents h

Smooth breathing, which represents the absence of h

Breathing, aeration of wine, as by use of a decanter

Breathing, as a technique for meditation

Anapanasati, Buddhist breathing meditation

Pranayama, Yoga breathing meditation

Breathing (lens), an effect in some photographic lenses

Breathing (noise reduction), an unwanted audible artifact of some noise reduction systems

Breathing (memorial sculpture), a 2008 memorial sculpture in London

Breathing (film), a 2011 Austrian art-house film

Buddhism in Venezuela

Buddhism in Venezuela is practiced by over 52,000 people (roughly 0.2% of the population). The Buddhist community is made up mainly of Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans.

Most identify with the Mahayana tradition, reflecting the religious heritage of their emigrant countries.

However, in the mid-1990s Keun-Tshen Goba (né Ezequiel Hernandez Urdaneta), together with Jigme Rinzen, founded a meditation center using the Shambhala Training method.

There are Buddhist centers in Caracas, Maracay, Mérida, Puerto Ordáz, San Felipe, and Valencia.

Buddhist meditation

Buddhist meditation is the practice of meditation in Buddhism. The closest words for meditation in the classical languages of Buddhism are bhāvanā ("mental development") and jhāna/dhyāna (mental training resulting in a calm and luminous mind).Buddhists pursue meditation as part of the path toward liberation, awakening and Nirvana, and includes a variety of meditation techniques, most notably asubha bhavana ("reflections on repulsiveness"); reflection on pratityasamutpada (dependent origination); sati (mindfulness) and anussati (recollections), including anapanasati (breath meditation); dhyana (developing an alert and luminous mind); and the Brahma-viharas (loving-kindness and compassion). These techniques aim to develop equanimity and sati (mindfulness); samadhi (concentration) c.q. samatha (tranquility) and vipassanā (insight); and are also said to lead to abhijñā (supramundane powers). These meditation techniques are preceded by and combined with practices which aid this development, such as moral restraint and right effort to develop wholesome states of mind.

While these techniques are used across Buddhist schools, there is also significant diversity. In the Theravada tradition, reflecting developments in early Buddhism, meditation techniques are classified as either samatha (calming the mind) and vipassana (gaining insight). Chinese and Japanese Buddhism preserved a wide range of meditation techniques, which go back to early Buddhism, most notably Sarvastivada. In Tibetan Buddhism, deity yoga includes visualisations, which precede the realization of sunyata ("emptiness").

Dhamma vicaya

In Buddhism, dhamma vicaya (Pali; Sanskrit: dharma-) has been variously translated as the "analysis of qualities," "discrimination of dhammas," "discrimination of states," "investigation of doctrine,"

and "searching the Truth." This concept implies applying discernment to body-mind phenomena in order to apply right effort, giving way to entry into the first jhana.


In Buddhism, kammaṭṭhāna is a Pali word (Sanskrit: karmasthana) which literally means the place of work. Its original meaning was someone's occupation (farming, trading, cattle-tending, etc.). It has several distinct but related usages, all having to do with Buddhist meditation.

List of Buddhas

This is a list of historical, contemporary, and legendary figures which at least one school of Buddhism considers to be a Buddha and which have an article on Wikipedia:




Amitābha, principal Buddha of Pure Land Buddhism




Dīpankara Buddha

Five Tathagatas

Gautama Buddha


Kassapa Buddha

Koṇāgamana Buddha



Nichiren Daishonin, Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law (Nikko Lineage)

Padumuttara Buddha




Sumedha Buddha


Tonpa Shenrab

Vairocana, embodiment of the Dharmakaya



Yeshe Tsogyal

List of suttas

Suttas from the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon.

List of Digha Nikaya suttas

List of Majjhima Nikaya suttas

List of Samyutta Nikaya suttas

List of Anguttara Nikaya suttas

List of Khuddaka Nikaya suttas


Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training. Mindfulness is derived from sati, a significant element of Buddhist traditions, and based on Zen, Vipassanā, and Tibetan meditation techniques. Individuals who have contributed to the popularity of mindfulness in the modern Western context include Thích Nhất Hạnh (1926– ), Herbert Benson (1935– ), Jon Kabat-Zinn (1944– ), and Richard J. Davidson (1951– ). Mindfulness is very similar to what was earlier known as Gestalt therapy.

Clinical psychology and psychiatry since the 1970s have developed a number of therapeutic applications based on mindfulness for helping people experiencing a variety of psychological conditions. Mindfulness practice has been employed to reduce symptoms of depression, to reduce stress, anxiety, and in the treatment of drug addiction. Programs based on Kabat-Zinn's and similar models have been adopted in schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans' centers, and other environments, and mindfulness programs have been applied for additional outcomes such as for healthy aging, weight management, athletic performance, helping children with special needs, and as an intervention during the perinatal period.

Clinical studies have documented both physical- and mental-health benefits of mindfulness in different patient categories as well as in healthy adults and children. Research studies have consistently shown a positive relationship between trait mindfulness and psychological health. The practice of mindfulness appears to provide therapeutic benefits to people with psychiatric disorders, including to those with psychosis. Studies also indicate that rumination and worry contribute to the onset of a variety of mental disorders, and that mindfulness-based interventions significantly reduce both rumination and worry. Further, the practice of mindfulness may be a preventive strategy to halt the development of mental-health problems.The necessity for more high-quality research in this field has also been identified – such as the need for more randomized controlled studies, for providing more methodological details in reported studies and for the use of larger sample sizes.


Passaddhi is a Pali noun (Sanskrit: prasrabhi, Tibetan: ཤིན་ཏུ་སྦྱང་བ་,Tibetan Wylie: shin tu sbyang ba) that has been translated as "calmness," "tranquillity," "repose" and "serenity." The associated verb is passambhati (to calm down, to be quiet).In Buddhism, passaddhi refers to tranquillity of the body, speech, thoughts and consciousness on the path to enlightenment. As part of cultivated mental factors, passaddhi is preceded by rapture (pīti) and precedes concentration (samādhi).

Passaddhi is identified as a wholesome factor in the following canonical contexts:

the seven factors of enlightenment (sambojjhangas)

meditative absorptions (jhanani)

transcendental dependent arising (lokuttara-paticcasamuppada)


Samatha (Pāli) or śamatha (Sanskrit: शमथ; Chinese: 止 zhǐ) is a quality of mind which is developed (bhāvanā भावना) in tandem with vipassana (insight) by calming the mind (citta चित्त) and its 'formations' (saṅkhāra संस्कार). This is done by practicing single-pointed meditation, most commonly through mindfulness of breathing. Samatha is common to many Buddhist traditions.

Sati (Buddhism)

Sati (from Pali: सति; Sanskrit: स्मृति smṛti) is mindfulness or awareness, a spiritual or psychological faculty (indriya) that forms an essential part of Buddhist practice. It is the first factor of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment. "Correct" or "right" mindfulness (Pali: sammā-sati, Sanskrit samyak-smṛti) is the seventh element of the Noble Eightfold Path.


Satipaṭṭhāna is the establishment or arousing of mindfulness, as part of the Buddhist practices leading to detachment and liberation.

Traditionally, mindfulness is thought to be applied to four domains, "constantly watching sensory experience in order to prevent the arising of cravings which would power future experience into rebirths," namely mindfulness of the body, feelings/sensations, mind/consciousness, and dhammās.The modern Theravadan Buddhism and the Vipassana or Insight Meditation Movement promote satipatthana as key techniques for achieving mindfulness, promoting "mindfulness" as meaning careful attention instead of the recollection of the dhamma.

Satipatthana Sutta

The Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 10: The Discourse on the Establishing of Mindfulness), and the subsequently created Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta (Digha Nikaya 22: The Great Discourse on the Establishing of Mindfulness), are two of the most celebrated and widely studied discourses in the Pāli Canon of Theravada Buddhism, acting as the foundation for contemporary vipassana meditational practice. These suttas (discourses) stress the practice of sati (mindfulness) "for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the extinguishing of suffering and grief, for walking on the path of truth, for the realization of nibbāna."


The Uposatha (Sanskrit: Upavasatha) is a Buddhist day of observance, in existence from the Buddha's time (600 BCE), and still being kept today in Buddhist countries. The Buddha taught that the Uposatha day is for "the cleansing of the defiled mind," resulting in inner calm and joy. On this day, both lay and ordained members of the sangha intensify their practice, deepen their knowledge and express communal commitment through millennia-old acts of lay-monastic reciprocity. On these days, the lay followers make a conscious effort to keep the Five Precepts or (as the tradition suggests) the eight precepts. It is a day for practicing the Buddha's teachings and meditation.


Vipassanā (Pāli) or vipaśyanā (Sanskrit), "insight," is prajñā "insight into the true nature of reality", defined as anicca "impermanence", dukkha "suffering, unsatisfactoriness", anattā "non-self", the three marks of existence in the Theravada tradition, and as śūnyatā "emptiness" and Buddha-nature in the Mahayana traditions.

Meditation practice in the Theravada tradition ended in the 10th century, but was reintroduced in Toungoo and Konbaung Burma in the 18th century, based on contemporary readings of the Satipaṭṭhāna sutta, the Visuddhimagga, and other texts. A new tradition developed in the 19th and 20th century, centering on bare insight in conjunction with samatha. It became of central importance in the 20th century Vipassanā movement as developed by Ledi Sayadaw and U Vimala and popularised by Mahasi Sayadaw, V. R. Dhiravamsa, and S. N. Goenka.In modern Theravada, the combination or disjunction of vipassanā and samatha is a matter of dispute. While the Pali sutras hardly mention vipassanā, describing it as a mental quality alongside with samatha which develop in tandem and lead to liberation, the Abhidhamma Pitaka and the commentaries describe samatha and vipassanā as two separate meditation techniques. The Vipassanā movement favours vipassanā over samatha, but critics point out that both are necessary elements of the Buddhist training.

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