The dhyanas are followed by four further spiritual exercises, the samapattis ("attainments"). They are described as:
1.consciousness of infinity of space;
2.consciousness of the infinity of cognition;
3.concern with the unreality of things (nihility);
4.consciousness of unreality as the object of thought.
The stages of Buddhist meditation show many similarities with Hindu meditation (see Yoga), reflecting a common tradition in ancient India. The Buddhists, however, describe the culminating trancelike state as transient; final Nirvana requires the insight of wisdom. The exercises that are meant to develop wisdom involve meditation on the true nature of reality or the conditioned and unconditioned dharmas (elements) that make up all phenomena.
Meditation, though important in all schools of Buddhism, has developed characteristic variations within different traditions. In China and Japan the practice of dhyana (meditation) assumed sufficient importance to develop into a school of its own (Ch'an and Zen;), in which meditation is the most essential feature of the school.