About Samādhi

There is a wikipedia page about samādhi, which states: “Samādhi (Pali and Sanskrit: समाधि), in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and yogic schools, is a state of meditative consciousness.”

This idea is common across various South Asian philosophical schools, and the article shows it has different meanings in each tradition. Let’s focus on how it is used in the context of the philosophy of Yoga.

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, samādhi is defined in sutra 3.3: “Its only purpose is the singular radiance that reveals one’s nature (or essences in general) and nothing else—on the way to this goal comes about the liberating state of absorption (samādhi).”

This definition echoes 1.3, where the result of a successful Yoga practice results in abiding in our essence as seers. What is our essence? It is what remains when we are free from samskaras (latent impressions 2.15) and kleshas (afflictions 2.3). The argument is made that kaivalya (autonomy) different from samādhi, because kaivalya is a direct consequence of a specific type of samādhi: dharmameghasamādhi (4.29).

Samādhi comes up a lot in the Yoga Sutra. Out of the 4 chapter, the first chapter is entitled the chapter on samādhi. This chapter lays out what Yoga is and how it reveals the true self – which is consistent with the definition of samādhi in 3.3 above. Also Samādhi is also a key part of the implementation of the practice of Yoga, as it is the 8th limb of the ashtanga system (2.29), and a key part of the method of samyama (3.4) outlined at the beginning of chapter 3 (the book on Powers). Further, there is a connection between samādhi and ishvara, in that it is by devoting ourselves to the ideal of sovereignty that we get samādhi (2.45).

Last, Dr Ranaganathan in his book Yoga – Anticolonial Philosophy defines samādhi as “conclusion or roundup” (p.87). This conclusion turns up in many different guises throughout the Yoga Sutra:

  • As result of what happens when we apply the discipline to control our thoughts, arriving at the logical conclusion of an argument (1.2)
  • The final limb of the 8 limbs (2.29)
  • The last method for the technique of samyama after concentration and meditation have been applied (3.4)
  • As the result of our devotion to ishvara (2.45)

This view somewhat differs with a more common view of samādhi where it is seen as a special state of consciousness, profound stillness and insight, where all distinctions and duality dissolve, and the practitioner experiences unity with the object of meditation, leading to a sense of oneness with the universe (this is from ChatGPT).

By thinking of samādhi as a conclusion, and an understanding of who we really are (namely not our vrttis 1.2 thoughts/fluctuations), it becomes more approachable, less mystical and the idea can be put to use in our daily Yoga practice (2.1).

Helping with War

From Mitchell:


Someone close to me with direct and extended family in the Ukraine has created this sharable file to make it easier to navigate and donate to reliable support organizations. They would appreciate any help we have to offer:

If you have questions, please reach out to Olga at: 


cell: 617-997-7596

Please contact Olga directly if you’d like her to collect via post or Venmo, prior to her forwarding. 

Thanks & love, Mitchell ❤️ “

Jennifer and Joe

Our yoga friend Jennifer Jeanne Kim, married to our friend Joseph Byong Kim (both used to practice Ashtanga daily at YiY), is in need of community support due to a medical crisis. There is a Caring Bridge site set up where you can find updates on the situation for her and Joe, and practical ways to support them (go to the “Planner” page, scroll through calendar to see current needs). You can also send messages of support to them on the site.

Here are the links:

Planner page:

Thanks to Amy W. for the information.

Coming together to remember Dainuri

From the Kannon Do Zen Center, tonight Wednesday September 29 at 7:55pm:

We will be holding an event to remember our sangha member Dainuri Rott who passed away at the beginning of this month. We invite everyone who knew Dainuri to join us in sharing stories and memories of him and our times together in practice.

The event will begin at 7:55pm after the Zazen meditation which starts at 7:10pm.

Zoom link:

Friday Discussion: “The Body Keeps the Score”

I think you will find this podcast interesting (hat tip Karen L):

Money quote:

“The core argument of the book is that traumatic experiences — everything from sexual assault and incest to emotional and physical abuse — become embedded in the older, more primal parts of our brain that don’t have access to conscious awareness. And that means two things simultaneously. First, that trauma lodges in the body. We carry a physical imprint of our psychic wounds. The body keeps the score. But — and I found this more revelatory — the mind hides the score. It obscures the memories, or convinces us our victimization was our fault, or covers the event in shame so we don’t discuss it.”

Dainuri’s Remembrance and Celebration of Life

DAINURI PAUL ROTT November 1, 1948 – September 1, 2021

Join Family, Friends and Sangha on Zoom

A Gathering of Remembrance and Celebration of Life Saturday, September 11, 2021
7 am Pacific Time

Zen Heart Sangha is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting: 09

Meeting ID: 844 6408 0476 Passcode: 108108

Apologies for the late notice

Friday Discussion: Post Lineage Yoga

Interesting podcast with Theo Wildcroft:

Which addresses the following issues:

  • A definition of post lineage yoga
  • How post-lineage yoga works
  • What a crisis of authority in our yoga communities looks like
  • Three pillars of authority
  • Moving away from standardization in yoga
  • The question of accountability
  • The importance of maintaining connections outside of the yoga community
  • Mistaking lineage for heritage
  • Cultural appropriation and post-lineage yoga
  • Why separating the teacher from the teachings might not make sense
  • Recognizing the potential for healing and harm in our teaching and practice

Friday Discussion: Vaccines and Ahimsa

An article was published in the Yoga Journal last month (July 2021) entitled:

Getting Vaxxed Was My Act of Ahimsa

Protecting myself against COVID-19 was my way of showing love for the people in my community.

It is worth a read as an example of a practical application of yoga philosophy. Also it created quite a stir, as it seems that there is a strong anti-vaxx contigent amongst the yoga community.

Here is a follow up podcast interviewing the author, Wolf Terry

Also here is Matthew Remski’s analysis of the backlash