Gaṇanā is the technique of breath counting in Buddhist meditation. It focuses on drawing mental attention to breathing by counting numerically inhalation and exhalation. It is part of the six stages of anapanasati described by Vasubandhu and Zhiyi, composed by counting breath (ganana), following the motions of the air flow (anugama), stilling thought in the body, observing the elements of air (upalakshana), transformation of the mind focused on the air (vivarthana) and entering the path of vision (parisuddhi). Those stages are increasingly subtle and lead to control of mind, producing samadhi in order to achieve vipassana.
Buddhists pursue meditation as part of the path toward liberation from defilements (kleshas) and clinging and craving (upādāna), also called awakening, which results in the attainment of Nirvana, and includes a variety of meditation techniques such as:
- asubha bhavana ("reflections on repulsiveness")
- reflection on pratityasamutpada (dependent origination)
- sati (mindfulness) and anussati (recollections), including anapanasati (breath meditation)
- dhyana (developing an alert and luminous mind)
- the Brahma-viharas (loving-kindness and compassion)
These techniques aim to develop equanimity .
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely bringing one's attention in the present moment without evaluation, a skill one develops through meditation or other training.
Mindfulness derives from sati, a significant element of Buddhist traditions, and is based on Zen, Vipassanā, and Tibetan meditation techniques.
Though definitions and techniques of mindfulness are wide-ranging, Buddhist traditions explain what constitutes mindfulness such as how past, present and future moments arise and cease as momentary sense impressions and .