9 stages of Samatha Practice, Shamatha Meditation Thangka Print
Original Size of Thangka ( 16 x 24 inches )
This pictorial depiction portrayed on a Samatha thangka painting is the nine progressive stages of mental development which are obtained through the "Six powers of Study, Contemplation, Memory, Comprehension, Diligence, and Perfection. There is a burning flame on a side, representing the degree of effort required to develop both the mindful recollection and the understandings. These flames gradually diminish in each progressive stage.
Portrayed here, is the monk, holding a hooked goad and a lasso, which represent the clear understanding and the mindful recollection. The elephant represents the mind and its black color, the mental dullness. The monkey is the distraction or mental agitation. It is also black in color. This is why Samatha meditation is incredibly profound.