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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Samadhi?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Samadhi

Absorption in Essence

The next factor which is needed is the capacity to be absorbed in something, to be totally absorbed with whatever you're doing, in whatever state happens to be there. You become so one-pointed in your experience that you become completely involved in it, and so involved that you are dissolved in it. This is a certain kind of relationship to experience, a certain capacity, a certain freedom from the personality. The personality usually maintains a kind of separateness from experience. It is afraid of completely dissolving, of becoming one with experience. When you completely experience essence, there isn't an explicit experience; you are so absorbed in it that there is nothing but the essence. When you are working on making a table you are so absorbed in it that you, the tools, and the table are all one thing. There is no mind making a distinction or separation in the experience. You can be absorbed in an action, an emotion, a thought, a sensation, or an essential aspect. The Hindus call this state samadhi, complete absorption. In this state the personality is allowing itself to die, to dissolve, to become totally immersed, totally merged with whatever happens to be the experience.


This longing, this personal and intimate yearning for the desireless state, is the longing for the essential aspect of samadhi. As it pushes forward to consciousness, it not only exposes the issues, it also brings to consciousness the awareness of the lack of peace and the quietness of mind of the state of non-desiring. This awareness of deficiency, this hole in the being, this lack of the complete peace of mind of the desireless state of samadhi, makes the person long for this essential aspect, even if he doesn't know that there is such an aspect. What a teacher essence is! It exposes the issues, makes us look at them as dystonic, makes us feel the lack of the essential aspect, makes us long for the aspect. Now the teaching about desire becomes our personal concern. It is no more only Buddha's concern, it is now our own personal concern; and it is such a burning issue for us, such a burning question that it makes us ache and long for an answer, a solution. We cannot rest. The nearness of essence does not let us rest until we find the answer, until we come to the solution.

Samadhi - Being the Presence or the Awareness or the Emptiness that We are Experiencing

In our work, it’s important that we learn about the various aspects and their issues. It’s important that we learn about the various dimensions and realize them. We need to know and have some experience, some taste, of what realization is so that we can be what we experience, so that we can abide in whatever quality or dimension we are experiencing. This can be what is called a samadhi experience, being the presence or the awareness or the emptiness that we are experiencing. I don’t mean that you as an individual become that, but that your awareness, your beingness, shifts from being the individual to being that. That is the experience of realization, and it is very important that we have the experience of realization and have it in the various aspects and dimensions of our work.

The Movement from "Obsidian" to "Diamond" Samadhi

In our teaching, this particular maturation of practice is an important reason why we emphasize the nondoing meditation at various stages of the path. In the Diamond Approach, we begin with a concentration meditation and, at some point, we transition to the nondoing practice. We learn concentration by focusing on the Kath point, known as the Hara or Tan-t’ien in other traditions. As concentration is established, we let go of that focus and simply let ourselves be. This is the beginning of nondoing. When we let go and simply be, if the concentration has been sufficiently established, then there is stillness and clarity, and we naturally are that stillness and clarity. This stage of nondoing, in which we are simply still and clear, I call “obsidian samadhi.” When the stillness and clarity of nondoing are spontaneously joined by the dynamic unfoldment of revelation, discernment, and insight, then nondoing has moved to the condition of diamond samadhi. Now, nondoing includes insight and the understanding of what is arising. There is clear, precise insight, but it is still samadhi in the sense that we are still being the condition of true nature. It is the condition of realization, not only with clarity but also with clear understanding and clear insight. And the condition of realization can be of various degrees and kinds of realization. It can be boundless or not; it can be different kinds of boundlessness; it can be different forms of presence or emptiness or various combinations of the two.

The Very State of Desirelessness Itself

As the desireless aspect of essence begins to emerge, it infuses our consciousness. The understanding of our suffering and our conflicts around desire coincides with the emerging of essence in consciousness. The intuitive understanding about desire dissolves the related sector of the personality. And as this part of the personality is burned away in the knowledge emanating from the essential aspect, the essence is then free to emerge. Now we are not only infused by the desireless state of samadhi, we are the very state of desirelessness itself. The essential aspect becomes the consciousness, becomes our being and our presence. We now know what it is to be without desires because we are not only desireless, but we are desirelessness itself. We are now the essential aspect of samadhi, desireless, peaceful, rested, expanded and deep. No movement of desire. No movement of attachment. No holding to anything. No human teacher can perform such service to a student. He can embody and manifest the desireless state, but essence allows us to taste desirelessness, fills us with the very substance and consciousness of the desireless state of samadhi. It manifests in us in the form of this aspect. It manifests this aspect in us as ourselves, as our very being. Now we truly know, because now we are what we know. We do not have to look at any teacher. We have the perfect teacher in our very own being.

Total Repose in Presence

Because the aspect of basic knowing implies a complete identity of knowing and being, the experience of it is of deep abiding, total settling in oneself, complete repose in one's presence. Any agitation, any movement away from oneself, will tend to disconnect us from it. It is complete inner rest, what is referred to in Sanskrit as sahaj samadhi. There is no agitation in the field of consciousness. There is total repose in presence, by being the presence so completely that we only know that we know through experiencing ourselves as a field of knowing.

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