Samadhi Triathlon

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The Samadhi Triathlon is a mult-sport event and idea created by Dhamma Wiki founder Dr. David N. Snyder. The idea was created and published in year 2012.

Samādhi (Sanskrit: समाधि) in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and yogic schools is a higher level of concentrated meditation, or dhyana, which transcends the realms of body and mind, and where the senses and desires become silent. Samadhi, being the ultimate stage of Yoga, symptomatically represents itself as the transcendental state, wherein even consciousness of the yogi might get detached from the body. According to Bhargava Dictionary Samadhi is the exercise of austerity of a Yogi whereby he acquires the power of suspending the connection between the body and soul as long as he likes. In the Ashtanga Yoga tradition, it is the eighth and final limb identified in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. In Buddhism samadhi refers to the very important eighth part of the Noble Eightfold Path of Right Concentration which is cultivated for higher meditative states including the Jhanas and ultimately to full awakening and Nirvana.

A triathlon is 3 events or sports in a multi-sport competition, typically meant to test athletes in some kind of overall ability in endurance, strength, or some other traits in sports and fitness. For example, the Ironman Triathlon tests athletes in endurance over swimming, cycling, and running. The decathlon in the Olympics tests athletes over mostly strength events of track and field.

The three events

Chess – The ultimate concentration, requiring concentration with cognition

Pistol shooting – Another ultimate concentration sport, requiring top concentration with virtually no thinking, steady hand, body, and mind to hit the target

Golf – Another ultimate concentration sport, requiring top concentration with physical skills

The above 3 all require the utmost concentration and require the mental skills of cognition (chess), concentration with physical skills (golf), and concentration with a complete tranquil steady body and mind (pistol shooting). In other words, all require utmost concentration:

  • Concentration with thinking (chess)
  • Concentration without thinking (pistol shooting)
  • Concentration with physical skills (golf)


Chess – 6 games of D-Chess against a chess computer at ‘intermediate level’ (approx. 1500 elo rating) and 25 minutes per game time control; where the pieces in the back rows are displaced so that an athlete cannot memorize opening moves or common moves of the computer program. Points are determined as follows:

Number of wins (draws count as half) times 300 (maximum score 1800)

Pistol shooting – 25 meter pistol shooting, maximum score 600. Points are the shooting score times 3. (maximum score 1800)

Golf – 18 holes and then compare total score over 18 holes to the course par for professionals:

Par = 1200 points

For each stoke over par, subtract 10 points

For each stroke under add 100 points

(maximum score would be about 1800 with a final score that is 6 under par)

Add up all the points in the 3 events and that is your score in the Samadhi Triathlon. Scores are comparable from one competition venue to another since participants are competing against themselves with the use of the chess computer, target range, and going by golf course standards of what is normally par.

Top athletes would probably score around 3,000 + points in all 3 events combined.

A great advantage to this Samadhi Triathlon is that all events have specific scores that can be compared across competitions, allowing for World Records to be set. This is because the events are not pitted with one athlete against another as in fencing or other sports which cannot be compared across different years or competitions when the athletes change. The chess event is against a computer program not against other athletes, so there is a set score or performance there that can be measured. And even the golf event which might use a different golf course can still be compared against a performance at a different venue since the points are based on how well the athlete does compared to the course par (average for a professional).


Training for the Samadhi Triathlon includes participating in the 3 sports above of chess, pistol shooting, and golf. Cross training sports and activities include aerobic sports and also meditation. Aerobic sports are helpful by creating a more fit and healthy body. A fit body works well with a fit mind and vice versa. An aerobically fit body has a lower resting heart rate which is important in all 3 events of the Samadhi Triathlon. Some pistol athletes in the Olympics take nearly a minute to make a shot, resting and calming their body and mind as they slowly pull the trigger, aiming at the target. Meditation is also useful for taming the mind for these concentration events.

The egalitarian nature of Samadhi Triathlon

Very few sports allow people of all sizes and body types to compete at a world-class level. Even fewer allow different age groups and genders to compete together at the world-class level. For example, in basketball there is a definite advantage to being very tall and short people would mostly be wasting their time attempting to perform at the world-class level. In weight lifting, short people have the advantage because they have shorter limbs and less distance to raise the weight over their heads. In swimming, those with very long arm wingspans perform well. The former communist countries knew this very well and trained their elementary school children to perform in a sport that matched their body types and that is why they performed very well at the events of the Olympics.

In chess there are people of all body types and all ages. Arthur Dake (U.S.) was still a grandmaster at the age of 90. Magnus Carlsen (Norway) became a grandmaster at the age of 13. There is no advantage to any body type or even between male and female. Since the game is primarily mental, these distinctions do not matter in chess. It only helps that one be in good physical shape for the mind-body and for relaxation and an efficient heart, but the definition of what is good physical shape can vary based on your own specific body type. Judit Polgar (Hungary) regularly played against the top men in chess rather than the women's events and won several tournaments against an all male field. She participated in a World Chess Championship tournament making it to the quarterfinals. She lost by only one point to a player who went on to win that championship, thus, potentially missing the World Championship title by only one point. Similarly, in pistol and golf competitions, there are people performing at world class levels regardless of body type, regardless of being tall, average or short and in some instances women have defeated men in pistol and golf sporting events.

See also