What is meditation?

As the eighth step of the Eightfold Path, meditation is key to the practice of Buddhism. Essentially meditation refers to focused awareness. In general it takes two forms. Shamatha or calm-abiding meditation is intended to quiet the mind. On the other hand, vipashyana or contemplative meditation is seen as an analytical examination of the true nature of reality. Typically the Buddhist concept of meditation involves both forms. Also, it is an essential prerequisite that all tantric practitioners attain a certain level of accomplishment in both forms before receiving advanced instruction, which is known as empowerments.

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