Right concentration (sammà samàdhi) is the seventh step on the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Middle Path and is an essential component of successful meditation. It is defined in the scriptures as ‘any unification of the mind’ (Majjhima Nikaya 1. 301) and is sometimes also called ‘one-pointedness of mind’ (ekodibhàva). The advantages of concentration are many. The attention is fixed on an object for a sustained period allowing us to come to know it better and thus it has a role to play in wisdom. When we have developed concentration we can turn our attention to whatever we like, rather than having it constantly flitting from one thing to another as is usually the case. The ability to do this can minimise useless daydreaming, worry and unwanted intrusive thoughts thus give us a degree of peace and calm. In Buddhist meditation concentration is usually developed by practicing Mindfulness of Breathing (Majjhima Nikaya 3. 82).
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