The Five Hindrances Meditation

The Gojōshin-kan, also known as The Five Meditations for Stopping the Mind or The Five Meditations for Mental Stability, constitute a set of traditional Indian meditation techniques taught by Chih-i, the Founder of Chinese T’ian T’ai Buddhism.

These practices are a way of calming the mind, eliminating delusion and overcoming the Five Hindrances of Lust, Anger, Laziness, Anxiety and Doubt, that hinder citta-bhāvanā.

The first is Fujō-kan. This is a meditation on the vileness of the body, known as a-śubhā-smrti in Sanskrit. It overcomes the mental hindrance of lust and sensual arousal, not only for sexual pleasures but for pleasures of all the senses – like the pleasure of fine food and drink, or fine clothes. The result of this meditation is to sever one’s attachment to sensual pleasures.

The second is Jihi-kan. This is a meditation on loving kindness and compassion, known as maitrī-bhāvana in Sanskrit or mettā-bhāvanā in Pali. This meditation overcomes the mental hindrance of anger, enmity and animosity. The result of this meditation is to become compassionate and drop the ego-mind.

The third is In’nen-kan. This is a meditation on dependant origination, known as idaṃ pratyayatā-pratītya-samutpāda-smṛti in Sanskrit. This meditation overcomes the mental hindrance of restlessness and anxiety. The result of this meditation is to eliminate ignorance and gain wisdom.

The fourth is Kai bunbetsu-kan. This is a meditation on the Dharma, on the correct discernment of the phenomenal world. Also known as Nembutsu-kan, which means to be mindful of the Buddha. This meditation overcomes the mental hindrance of doubt and mistrust. The result of this meditation is to gain insight in to the non-self of all phenomena.

The fifth is Susoku-kan. This is a meditation on the breath, known as ānāpāna-smṛti in Sanskrit. It calms the mind and removes the mental hindrance of laziness and drowsiness. This meditation leads to single-pointed concentration, that is samādhi.