I too find concentration
to be a poor translation for samadhi
. My meditation teacher, Sayadaw U Tejaniya, prefers stability
or stability of mind
. In terms of meaning, I think it’s really good as it makes sense in terms of practice—much better than concentration
. However, I wasn’t satisfied. I set out to find the best translation, and here’s the result:Samādhi
is the noun for the verb samādhiyati
is the passive form for the active verb samādahati
“together” + ādahati
“put, place”. So, it means “put together” or “place together”. The English word compose
shares a strikingly similar origin: com
“together” + ponere
“put, place”. (Source: http://www.myetymology.com/english/composure.html
) In modern usage, both words can also mean “to still or calm down the mind”.Composed
also share strikingly similar meaning as samāhita
(participle of samādahati
), which means “settled, composed, collected”. Both denotes a mental state that is not scattered, not “all over the place” (so to speak), but gathered, collected, composed.
Extrapolating from that, the noun samādhi
should rightly mean “composure, collectedness”.It is probably the best English equivalent of samādhi
I’m in the midst of writing an article (which is becoming a booklet) on this among other things related to samādhi. I’m pleasantly surprise to find this discussion on the very topic that set me off on a research spree! Shall share the work with you all when I’m done with it.
I'll be away from 20 April. Be well!