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Book: Teaching Awareness in the Buddhist Tradition

Chapter: 1. The Meditative Cultivation of Joy

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.44239


In what follows I explore the significance of joy (pīti/prīti) in the context of descriptions of early Buddhist meditation, based on a comparative study of the discourses found in the Pāli Nikāyas and their counterparts in the Chinese Āgamas. After a survey of selected passages in order to gain a general impression of the role of meditative joy, I explore in particular an apparent tendency to reduce the scheme of sixteen steps of mindfulness of breathing to its first tetrad, as a result of which the importance of the meditative cultivation of joy is no longer evident and the practice itself loses part of its potential to lead to a state of mind free of distraction.

Chapter Contributors

  • Bhikkhu Analayo ( - analayo) 'Center for Buddhist Studies, University of Hamburg'