Meditation: Gaining Familiarity with the Nature of Mind

(1) Shamatha meditation – calming the mind

Tranquility meditation. Its aspects are mindfulness (recollection of the object of meditation) and alertness (continuity of mindfulness). Shama means “calm,” and tha is “abiding”: so shamatha means “calm abiding.” It is thus called since distraction towards objects such as form and so on has been calmed, and the mind abides one-pointedly in whichever samadhi one is practicing.

(2) Vipashyana meditation – insight meditation

Meditation which develops insight into the nature of reality. Vipashyana is practiced on the basis of shamatha meditation. In the word vi (shesha) pashyanā, vishesha means “special” or “superior,” and pashyana means “seeing” or “observing”: so vi(shesha)pashyana means “superior seeing.” It is thus called since one sees “the superior”—that is, the nature of phenomena—with the eye of wisdom.

(3) Dzogchen meditation – understanding the innermost nature of mind

“The Great Perfection”. The tradition of meditation emphasizing the mind’s primordial purity and the methods for realizing it. This meditation is the pinnacle practice within the Nyingma lineage. It is taught to be the most advanced of all forms of meditation practice. In Tibet, these teachings were widely spread by Padmasambhava, and they encompass the present instructions on dying and the cycle of the six bardos.

(4) Bardo of meditation

The interval in which one’s mind is resting in a state of meditative absorption, or samadhi.

(5) Creation stage

This is the first of the two major types of meditation in the Vajrayana (the second being the completion stage), which focuses on the visualization of meditational deities in order to become familiar with and realize the union of appearance and emptiness.

(6) Completion stage

This is the second of the two major types of meditation in the Vajrayana (the first being the creation stage), which consists of gradually refining nadi, prana, and bindu, and culminates in the increasingly nonreferential meditations of Mahamudra and Dzogchen. Through such practices, one becomes familiar with and realizes the union of clarity and emptiness, bliss and emptiness, and awareness and emptiness.

(7) Deity yoga

Meditation practice involving the visualization of deities; a skillful method for connecting with the wisdoms embodied by deities.

(8) Mahamudra

“Great Seal”. A tradition of profound methods of meditation based on direct realization of the mind’s true nature. This is the highest meditation practice within the Kagyu, Sakya, and Geluk lineages of Tibetan Buddhism.

(9) Samadhi

A state of undistracted meditative absorption or meditative concentration. The definition of samadhi is “a one-pointed mind concerning objects to be examined.”

Source: Ponlop, Dzogchen. Mind Beyond Death. Shambhala Publications. Kindle Edition.