chapter  3
Theories Regarding Nirvana
Pages 11

In line with the above it should be noted that the Suttas of Theravada Buddhism make little mention of meditating upon Nirvana. This strongly contrasts with the Hindu practice of meditating upon Brahma and similar meditations in other schools of mysticism. Buddhist meditation is of two major sorts. One is tranquillity or samatha in which the practitioner concentrates upon a clay or colour disk, a flame, the thought of equanimity, one's own quiet breathing or any one of several similar things, all for the sake of stilling the mind. 1 More important than samatha are the insight meditations or vipassana, which are based on the development of full awareness of one's actions, thoughts, feelings and emotions. 2

The one exception to the preceding paragraph concerns the peace meditation. In the early Pali writings Nirvana is often termed 'the peaceful', and peace is considered to be one feature of Nirvana. Peace is also listed among the forty prescribed meditation subjects, and it is thus inferred that meditating upon peace is meditating upon an attribute of Nirvana. This meditation, however, is but one of forty, and meditation instructors would assign it only to selected students. According to the Visuddhimagga, it can be of full benefit only to persons who have already glimpsed Nirvana.3