Samadhi Cultivation Through the Prayer and Meditation Practice Found in Christianity, Islam and Judaism

If you read the Buddhist sutras, you'll find countless discussions centering on the various methods for attaining the samadhi realms of concentration, as well as detailed descriptions of these states.

The neat thing is, when you look closely at the writings of Christian, Islamic and Jewish saints, you'll also find an emphasis on samadhi as well, including descriptions of the same common techniques used to cultivate it. That's right - all the religions use similar techniques to cultivate samadhi since it's a nondenominational stage of spiritual attainment. It's just that organized religion doesn't bother to let you in on this fact.

Nonetheless, the prophets in the Bible only became prophets because they attained varying stages of samadhi, and the saints in the various religions of the world became saints for the same reason as well. It's all due to samadhi attainments, or to the higher achievement of getting the Tao.

If through prayer or other cultivation practices you can silence your mind, then you can attain the state of spiritual grace we call samadhi. But if you don't cultivate, then it'll always remain out of reach. Of course if you do attempt to cultivate samadhi-whether through a life of quieting prayer, meditation, or other forms of spiritual transformation-then it's also possible to achieve the siddhis or superpowers mentioned in Hinduism and Buddhism, the miracles of the Christian saints and Biblical prophets, the shamanic powers of shamans, or the "adornments" of Sufi Islam. They were only possible because of spiritual cultivation, and achieving some definite level of samadhi attainment.

Now Sufism has a variety of meditative practices for attaining samadhi, Judaism has Kabbalah practice for attaining samadhi, and Christianity has historically used a variety of techniques including vocal prayer (equivalent to mantra recitation), silent prayer (equivalent to emptiness meditation), Jesuit visualizations (similar to mandala visualization practice), and Augustinian methods of contemplation (equivalent to shamatha-vipashyana) to enable its adherents to enter into samadhi.

Rather than turn to an Eastern tradition, let's look at how Saint Augustine might explain the shamatha-vipashyana cessation-contemplation meditative technique found in a variety of the world's traditions:

Contemplation itself entails "recollection" and "introversion". Recollection is concentrating the mind, banishing all images, thoughts, and sense perceptions [this is cessation]. Having emptied the mind of all distractions, introversion can begin [this is contemplation]. Introversion concentrates the mind on its own deepest part in what is seen as the final step before the soul finds God: "The mind abstracts itself from all the bodily senses, as interrupting and confounding it with their din, in order to see in itself." So seeing, the soul arrives at God "in and above itself." -- The Meditative Mind, Daniel Goleman, pp. 57-58.

The terms "recollection" and "introversion" used by Christian mystics are the means for identifying the standard shamatha-vipashyana practice of Buddhism, also known as vipassana or cessation-contemplation practice, which entails gathering thoughts through concentration so as to shut off the busyness of the mind.

The result is a state of internal quiet we call mental solitude, one-pointedness or samadhi, and then a practitioner must look into or contemplate this quiet to develop their prajna wisdom. Prajna wisdom and samadhi are the two principles you must cultivate on the spiritual path.

This is the actual essence of shamatha-vipashyana, cessation-contemplation practice. But don't think that this is the only samadhi practice used in Christianity, for the practice of reciting the rosary is akin to the mantra practices of the East, and Saint Augustine's method of contemplating God as "the Light unchangeable" is no different than equivalent spiritual practices found in Buddhism and Hinduism and the Esoteric Schools.

All that's been changed are the words used to transmit these techniques.

The Cloud of Unknowing, a medieval Christian cultivation text, elucidates a number of cultivation exercises by which spiritual practitioners can learn to mentally empty themselves, and this is described in Christian parlance as "putting other thoughts away."

The Cloud of Unknowing calls these "special ways, tricks, private techniques, and spiritual devices" whereas they are our basic, standard cultivation methods common to all genuine spiritual schools. In other words, they are nondenominational spiritual techniques and they are used by all the various spiritual schools because they work … they enable you to achieve samadhi and ultimately realize the Tao. So if you hear one school saying it's higher than another, you can laugh because you now know the truth.

As an example of a samadhi cultivation technique the author of the Christian work, the Cloud of Unknowing, advises the aspirant to concentrate on a single syllable such as "God" or "One" just as we would find a Hindu concentrating on "Ohm" or "Brahman" in the East. He goes on to say,

Choose whichever one [word] you prefer, or if you like, chose another that suits your tastes, provided that it is of one syllable. And clasp this word tightly in your heart so that it never leaves it no matter what may happen. This word shall be your shield and your spear whether you ride in peace or in war. With this word you shall beat upon the cloud and the darkness, which are above you. With this word you shall strike down thoughts of every kind and drive them beneath the cloud of forgetting. -- The Relaxation Response, Herbert Benson, p. 114.

Another example taken from Islam shows a clear description of this same technique of mantra repetition, which is called "dhikr" in the Sufi tradition:

Let the worshipper reduce his heart to a state in which the existence of anything and its non-existence are the same to him. Then let him sit alone in some corner, limiting his religious duties to what is absolutely necessary, and not occupying himself either with reciting the Koran or considering its meaning or with books of religious traditions or with anything of the sort. And let him see to it that nothing save God most High enters his mind. Then, as he sits in solitude, let him not cease saying continuously with his tongue, "Allah, Allah," keeping his thought on it. At last he will reach a state when the motion of his tongue will cease, and it will seem as though the word flowed from it. Let him persevere in this until all trace of motion is removed from his tongue, and he finds his heart persevering in the thought. Let him still persevere until the form of the word, its letters and shape, is removed from his heart, and there remains the idea alone, as though clinging to his heart, inseparable from it. So far, all is dependent on his will and choice; but to bring the mercy of God does not stand in his will or choice. He has now laid himself bare to the breathings of that mercy, and nothing remains but to wait what God will open to him, as God has done after this manner to prophets and saints. If he follows the above course, he may be sure that the light of the Real will shine out in his heart. -- The Relaxation Response, Herbert Benson, pp. 131-132.

In the Greek tradition of Byzantine spirituality, we can find rudimentary instructions on anapana (the cultivation practice of following the breath) combined with mantra repetition, which are practiced in order to reach the samadhi realms. For instance, the Philokalia contains instructions for reciting the Prayer of the Heart as follows:

You know, brother, how we breathe, we breathe the air in and out. On this is based the life of the body and on this depends its warmth. So, sitting down in your cell, collect your mind, lead it into the path of the breath along which the air enters in, constrain it to enter the heart altogether with inhaled air, and keep it there. Keep it there, but do not leave it silent and idle, instead give it the following prayer: "Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me." Let this be its constant occupation, never to be abandoned. For this work, by keeping the mind free from dreaming, renders it unassailable to suggestions of the enemy and leads it to Divine desire and love. -- The Relaxation Response, Herbert Benson, p. 123.

Make no mistake-such exercises for attaining samadhi are commonly found in all the world's religions because they are the very heart of the path to true spiritual development. Furthermore, most of these exercises are based on the same cultivation techniques, which is why the path to God should be considered nondenominational.

Religions simply tend to wrap various skillful or unskillful dogmas and cultural pertinents around this true spiritual path in order to preserve it, but these wrappings also tend to obscure it. Nonetheless, all the genuine religions and genuine cultivation schools recognize both the existence and importance of samadhi spiritual attainments, and so most all major religions teach various spiritual practices for attaining the samadhi realms of meditative absorption.

Even Judaism recognizes the importance of the "annihilation of thought" in spiritual practice to attain emptiness, although the goal is framed in terms of dissolving the ego in "ayin" or "nothingness," which is the Jewish term for emptiness:

One must think of oneself as ayin and forget oneself totally. … Then one can transcend time, rising to the world of thought, where all is equal: life and death, ocean and dry land. … Such is not the case when one is attached to the material nature of this world. … If one thinks of oneself as something (yesh) … then God cannot clothe Himself in him, for He is infinite, and no vessel can contain him, unless one thinks of oneself as ayin. -- Maggid Devarav le-Ya'agov, Dov Baer, ed. Rivka Schatz Uffenheimer, (Magnes Press, Jerusalem: Israel, 1976), p. 186.

In the cultivation practice of contemplating the Kabbalah, Azriel of Gerona and his older contemporary, Ezra of Gerona, even recognized the highest sefirah of the Kabbalah as "the annihilation of thought" (afisat ha-mahashavah). The Kabbalah is the major means for Jewish samadhi cultivation, which is achieved through the contemplation of the sefirot:

The sefirot are stages of contemplative ascent; each one serves as an object and focus of mystical search. In tracing the reality of each sefirah, the mystic uncovers layers of being within herself and throughout the cosmos. This is the knowledge that the kabbalist strives for, supernal wisdom. However, there is a higher level, a deeper realm, beyond this step-by-step approach. At the ultimate stage, the kabbalist no longer differentiates one thing from another. Conceptual thought, with all its distinctions and connections, dissolves. -- The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism, Daniel Matt, (Castle Books, Edison: New Jersey, 1997), p. 180.


Hasidism also recognizes the importance of cultivating samadhi, for it explains the existence of thoughts and emptiness (or cessation) as follows, "When one attains the level of gazing at ayin, one's intellect is annihilated. … Afterwards, when one returns to the intellect, it is filled with emanation."

Hence this is the real and genuine path of Jewish practice, which is no different in objective than Christianity or Islam or Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism and so forth. In Judaism, the practice of contemplation is to help you pass beyond the discursive thought of Torah study, whose only purpose is to lead one to that state. But unfortunately the majority of those studying Torah have lost sight of this foundational principle, which is why Judaism has lost its line of samadhi masters.

That's one of the reasons why the line of Old Testament prophets died out. They lost of the transmission of direct samadhi and wisdom teachings.

Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are therefore no strangers to this emphasis on cultivating samadhi, but it's just that you sometimes have to dig deep amidst the orthodoxy to find these particular teachings.

It's not that samadhi teachings are absent, it's just that they don't openly appear in a form that's easy to recognize. This obscurity is something that's come about due to both the age of these traditions, a string of institutional involvements and their corruptions, as well as the lack of accomplished cultivators in these traditions who have themselves achieved mastery of the samadhi realms.

Without having achieved mastery, it is rare to find anyone championing these particular practices and their attainments. And yet when religions do not encourage their members onwards to samadhi attainments, you must ask whether they are they really serving their purpose in leaving out this core of the spiritual path? Does salvation really only come about because of membership in an institution? Is it right when we are told we can only find salvation or liberation in the Church or as the member of some "select" group?

Think about this most carefully to determine what's logical and using your knowledge of human nature, think about this to determine what pronouncements that have come done to us have been for social and political purposes.

Sometimes the instructions on meditation in religions have been clothed in beautiful words of worship that mask their true character and intent. Sometimes they have been buried under countless centuries of religious dust and misinterpretation, or have simply suffered from the neglect that results when dogma and ceremonies are pushed to the forefront of spiritual practice.

In other words, genuine spiritual practices and pure traditions tend to become diluted and atrophy over time due to all sorts of reasons, including political meddling and the need at the top for hierarchical control of those below.

Thus the teachings on how to generate samadhi realms of concentration--which really bring people to the doorway of spiritual liberation--have tended to fall into neglect over time. The way to Tao is not based on rules and ceremonies, but people revert to these things and forget that self-realization is based on the transparency of formless awareness.

When the teachings on samadhi are bypassed in various religions, then it's very bad for the religion itself. The end result is that due to the lack of instructions, it's then very rare for any individuals within these traditions, despite their ardent aspirations, to reach any level of genuine spiritual attainment.

When there is a lack of access to self-realization methods, of course the result will be a lack of individuals with attainment. And due to this lack of familiarity and subsequent lack of accomplishment, it's therefore very rare to have individuals with any samadhi accomplishments appear to guide a flock of spiritual aspirants. However, it is relatively easy for almost anyone to lecture on religious matters while lacking samadhi accomplishments, so this is the type of instruction that has naturally come to pass for "spiritual guidance."

Such is the natural history of organized religion, and you simply have to recognize that this is the way things are.

Most institutions start out with clearly defined purposes and intents, but as any organization or institution grows old, its original purpose gradually evolves into the objective of self-preservation rather than the continuation of its original goals. The institutions become self-interested rather than remain of primary service to their original impulse. Therefore it's hard to find teachings on samadhi in organized religion as these teachings will, in effect, result in a spiritual liberation that will free people from needing the organization itself. If that would result in a transfer of political power or status, a decline in the numbers of adherents, or even a potential loss of money flows, then you can understand why these teachings would be opposed to all ends.

Of course that's a nice little bit of dialogue, but a simpler reasons is that people don't have the samadhi attainments, people don't understand them, so people ignore them and pretend they don't exist. Yet this is the true spiritual path-the true path is not going to Church, the temple or mosque but in achieving liberation through your own individual, independent efforts to get to the root source of your mind and all matter.

The new readings, the new vocabularies, the new sophistications that are brought in to a religion over time--if not interjected by an enlightened sage--usually constitute a deadening of the cultivation path and true spiritual experience into a purely mental experience or intellectual realization. And over time, people begin to prefer this dead conceptual route to the hard work of genuine spiritual practice, and they think that it's the right way.

I like what Joseph said on this matter, for he wrote, 'I think it was Oscar Wilde who said, "An American, if he was given a chance to choose between going to heaven and hearing a lecture about heaven, he'd go to the lecture."'

It's unfortunate that many religions, because of their particular organizational structure, have historically discouraged the spiritual independence that individual samadhi attainments would bring, and thus tried to quell the open dissemination of such methods and the spiritual achievements they can engender. In their fear, religions tended to persecute any individuals who could possibly become free of the need for the mother organization, for they were considered a threat to the organization.

Only by maintaining its own superiority and position of power could any organization survive to maintain its dominant position in society. That's why the samadhi teachings are usually promulgated only in traditions having many independent spiritual centers, each of which stresses this goal and the importance of individual responsibility and striving on the path.

As to the traditions with a centralized leadership structure which lacks samadhi attainments itself, you'll often find these spiritual matters de-emphasized or even persecuted. Definitely they will be ignored. "We're fine already," people think, "or we already have everything in our tradition."

Sorry, it just ain't so.

Now even in those religions which suppressed the path of cultivation attainments--in that genuine cultivation practitioners had to go underground or clothe the discussion of their attainments in the disguised vernacular of the era's controlling powers--you'll always find various methods for attaining samadhi as well as descriptions of the various stages of the spiritual path.

After all, the stages and gong-fu outcomes of the path are largely nondenominational, and so they usually appear in one form or another in the various spiritual traditions despite any suppression because they are naturally bound to occur.

As an example, the following passage taken from Christianity's John of St. Thomas could be read literally as is, or it could also be taken as a description of the kundalini phenomenon clothed in the religious attire of the day. As to how you should interpret such things, it is all a matter of your own wisdom:

'Fire', he says (quoting St. Bernard), 'goes forth from Him, and yet He Himself is the fire'. With this difference, however, the fire which precedes Him brings pain but does not torment, nor does it vex. It moves, but it does not accomplish the work. It is sent in advance only to arouse, to prepare and to recall to mind what the soul is by itself [since it manifests through the solitude of emptiness meditation] so that it may appreciate what it will be by the grace of God. The fire which is God Himself [the kundalini phenomenon] consumes, but does not cause suffering. It burns pleasantly and cauterizes with joy [remember that the first dhyana border attainments include joy], for it is a very devastating ember which attacks vices, [when you reach this stage and start cleansing your mai in a substantial way, your behavior starts to change to a more virtuous state] … Hence souls understand that the Lord is present in the power by which they are transformed, and in the love by which they are inflamed.

Here's another description of kundalini regarding the Catholic saint Philip Neri, who often felt the heat throughout his entire body:

(I)t sometimes extended over his whole body, and for all his age, thinness and spare diet, in the coldest days of winter it was necessary, even in the midst of the night, to open the windows, to cool the bed, to fan him while in bed, and in various ways to moderate the great heat. Sometimes it burned his throat, and in all his medicines something cooling was generally mixed to relieve him. Cardinal Crescenzi said that sometimes when he touched his hand, it burned as if the saint was suffering from a raging fever. … Even in winter he almost always had his clothes open from the girdle upwards, and sometimes when they told him to fasten them lest he should do himself some injury, he used to say he really could not because of the excessive heat he felt. One day, at Rome, when a great quantity of snow had fallen, he was walking in the streets with his cassock unbuttoned; and when some of his penitents who were with him were hardly able to endure the cold, he laughed at them and said it was a shame for young men to feel cold when old men did not. --God and the Evolving Universe, James Redfield, Michael Murphy and Slyvia Timbers, (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York, 2002), pp. 111-112.

Here's a description of a definite samadhi attainment from Christianity's Saint Teresa, who called this stages of mystical experience the "orison of union" ("union mystica"):

In the orison of union, the soul is fully awake as regards God [in samadhi the mind retains complete and open wakeful awareness], but wholly asleep as regards things of this world and in respect of herself. During the short time the union lasts [due to lower attainments, she couldn't make her samadhi continuous], she is as it were deprived of every feeling, and even if she would, she could not think of any single thing. Thus she needs to employ no artifice to arrest the use of her understanding [the sixth consciousness is settled]: it remains so stricken with inactivity that she neither knows what she loves, nor in what manner she loves, nor what she wills. In short, she is utterly dead to the things of the world and lives solely in God. … I do not even know whether in this state she has enough life left to breathe [a state of breath cessation]. It seems to me she has not; or at least if she does breathe, she is unaware of it. Her intellect would fain understand something of what is going on within her, but it has so little force now that it can act in no way whatsoever.

Another example of the nondenominationality of the samadhi experience are the spiritual attainments of Saint John of the Cross. He called the dhyana attainments a "union of love" attained through a method of "dark contemplation" wherein you wrest your personal thoughts and feelings from the soul, separating yourself from them so that you've banished mental discrimination.

Sound familiar?

In Saint John of the Cross's teachings, you therefore become "dark" in the sense that you had to give up clinging to your normal discrimination thinking and realize emptiness. That's the spiritual desert of aloneness mentioned in Christian dialogue. You also became "dark" because you had to give up your typical egotistical attachments.

The Cloud of Unknowing also talks of various methods for entering samadhi that are framed, as to be expected, in traditional Christian attire. "Think of nothing but God himself so that nothing will work in your mind or in your will but only God himself. You must then do whatever will help you to forget all the beings [external forms] whom God has created, and all their works":

See to it that there is nothing at work in your mind or will but only God. Try to suppress all knowledge and feeling of anything less than God, and trample it down deep under the cloud of forgetting. You must understand that in this business you are to forget not only all other things than yourself (and their doings-and your own!) but to forget also yourself, and even the things you have done for the sake of God. -- The Cloud of Unknowing and Other Works, Clifton Wolters, (Penguin Books, London, 1978), p. 110.

This, too, is our standard form of emptiness meditation practice although the description is phrased in religious attire. In the Cloud of Unknowing you are also told to "surrender yourself to God, so that you do not admit even a single selfish thought which is your own."

It was therefore through such means of cultivation practice, or through other Christian methods such as continuous "vocal prayer" (equivalent to Hindu mantra or japa practice), the visualization practices recommended by Saint Ignatius (similar to Tibetan visualization methods), or the "prayer of quiet" and "sleep of the faculties" methods recommended by Teresa of Avila, that most Christian saints learned how to enter samadhi.

Certainly when we examine the Christian tradition of the Desert Fathers, and the spiritual exercises practiced by many of the monastics, we find the same conclusions.

These are the standard techniques of spiritual cultivation regardless of the religious tradition one follows. From these examples it's also easy to prove that the basic methods of spiritual cultivation are commonly shared across all the world's various traditions because they all follow the same common principles of practice. For instance, in following these techniques of spiritual practice, Saint John of the Cross was able to describe his own spiritual experiences as follows:

We receive this mystical knowledge of God clothed in none of the kinds of images, in none of the sensible representations, which our mind makes use of in other circumstances [the samadhi experience is beyond the ideational, discriminative consciousness]. Accordingly in this knowledge, since the senses and the imagination are not employed, we get neither form nor impression, nor can we give any account or furnish any likeness, although the mysterious and sweet-tasting wisdom comes home so clearly to the inmost parts of our soul [one withdraws from their thoughts and senses, but still has the inner experience of samadhi]. Fancy a man seeing a certain kind of thing for the first time in his life. He can understand it, use and enjoy it, but he cannot apply a name to it, nor communicate any idea of it, even though all the while it be a mere thing of sense. How much greater will be his powerlessness when it goes beyond the senses! This is the peculiarity of the divine language. The more infused, intimate, spiritual, and supersensible it is, the more does it exceed the senses, both inner and outer, and impose silence upon them. … The soul then feels as if placed in a vast and profound solitude, to which no created thing has access, in an immense and boundless desert, [a] desert the more delicious the more solitary it is.

All these passages call to mind the fact that the more cultivation attainments you master yourself, the easier it'll be for you to quickly identify any hidden spiritual principles and cultivation techniques which are embedded in various religious scriptures and ceremonies and traditions.

It would be impossible for me to reveal these things in detail for all the world's religions, so the effort is left to you to discover these things for yourself as regards your own tradition. Furthermore, it's also up to you to bring this information out into the open for your peers.

That open dissemination of information you create is your own way to accumulate the merit of the spiritual path. It's a way for everyone to have the ability to access spiritual samadhi attainments within the blessings of their own religion, for this sectarian sanctioning is sometimes quite important for people who aren't wise enough for independent thinking or action in these areas.

All the methods of spiritual cultivation can be understood and safely practiced within the framework of all world religions-without the need of special approval or sanctions--or outside of any frameworks at all.

A key point to realize about the spiritual path is this: most every religion believes it's the greatest and highest. Each claims it possesses the unique key to salvation and the foremost religious truth. The Jews raise Moses on high, Moslems raise Mohammed, Christians raise Jesus and so on it goes. However, no single religion has all the pieces of the truth. Truth means nondistortion. Truth stands for what is real, but nothing is real except the ultimate source from which everything originates.

All religions are therefore just expedient means used to help lead you forward to realizing this source, and the effective methods they use are all just expediently created methods of spiritual refinement.

While it is true, as Constructionists would claim, that language and culture shape the ordinary religious experience, nevertheless there is indeed a definite nonsectarian spiritual path of spiritual attainment underneath the surface culturally mediated or constructed experience. The stages of this path do correspond to a universal topology of the spiritual trail and this general path can lead to different outcomes dependent solely upon how far you travel this path.

Furthermore, there are different spiritual practices for this path that can help you overturn any attachments to the mediated or constructed quality of human experience so that you can experientially find the ultimate root source underlying all of these experiences. The purpose of religion is to preserve and disseminate that path and ultimately help you climb it.

People have different mentalities and need to be reached in different ways, so different teachings need to be created for them and have been created for them so that they can understand and be lead to what is beyond the corporeal form and world. That is why all religions generally accept that God is formless and not a person, but the Bible (Torah) uses attributory phrases like "under His feet" (Exodus 31:18), "written with the finger of God" (Exodus 31:18), "the hand of the Lord" (Exodus 9:3), "the eyes of the Lord" (Genesis 38:7), "the ears of the Lord" (Numbers 11:1) and so forth simply to match with people's level of understanding.

Spiritual texts commonly speak in terms that people can understand because only a communicative understanding can lead them to the transcendental. You've got to start somewhere and when trying to connect with the masses, you have to dumb things down to the lowest common denominator. Otherwise you wouldn't have an audience. Sorry to tell you, but that's just the way it is.

If a particular spiritual path doesn't offer to guide us to our fundamental source, then I'm also sorry to say that you mustn't consider it a tradition belonging to the ranks of the highest. It's a tradition that, if at all and at best, can only encompass a stage of Wisdom and Merit Accumulation, if that. If you follow that tradition, you can gain a little merit and hope to be reborn in a better life or in a minor heaven until your stock of merit runs out.

Let's not talk about the high and low, however, because you must also recognize that all the genuine religions of the world only offer piecemeal teachings of the spiritual cultivation path because there is so much to offer. Most haven't organized the information they possess as clearly as they can because, once again, very few spiritual adherents of organized religion ever end up mastering these various stages of spiritual experience.

This is only to be expected, for while all individuals are spiritually equivalent by virtue of sharing in the same original nature-in being the body of that fundamental essence--from a practical aspect there are definite differences in individual mentalities and potentials because of past conditionings and preferences.

The fact that differences do exist-such that there are the fast and slow or smart and stupid--must be addressed through a wide availability of different spiritual paths.

A variety of spiritual paths have been established by the sages in recognition of different cultural streams, as well as the varied needs of peoples in different times and places. Unfortunately, while some paths are very complete, some leave out the specifics of certain levels of attainment, and some focus in specialization on a particular level of attainment only.

The fact is, people today must come to recognize that there are various graduations of attainment connected to the overall spiritual path, and that the paths themselves are all creations of skillful means lacking an absolute nature. Thus, some spiritual teachers and teachings are indeed higher or lower than others in the world. In fact, there have been teachings and teachers at all levels of the spiritual ladder. Nevertheless, the one well recognized spiritual rule is that aspirants must climb the ladder all the way to the top and fully live out of that level of attainment.

So in conclusion, there are all sorts of cultivation paths and methods available in the world because no one path appeals to everyone or is suited to everyone, and no single method works in taming all minds. Therefore all sorts of paths and practices have been created. Even so, the practices used in Judaism, Christianity, and Islamic meditation are no different than those used in Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, yoga and Confucianism when we get to cultivating the actual realms of spiritual standing.

Hope that helps in setting clear the fact that THE ADEPTS OF WESTERN RELIGIONS DO CULTIVATE SAMADHI, and use similar spiritual cultivation methods to those found in the East. While ordinary people don't realize this, why would you expect otherwise?

If you want to find out even more, then check out my course, The Various Stages of the Spiritual Experience, which goes into this in detail.

 



 



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