"Focused attention is a form of mindfulness meditation where people are taught to attend to the breath and let go of distracting thoughts and emotions." according to the following: http://www.wakehealth.edu/News-Releases ... s_Pain.htm
There is very little more in the article about this kind of meditation, since it focuses on the effects of meditation on pain. Is it the same as or similar to samatha (meditative quiescence)? If not, why?
It is the same. We need to know the reason behind breathing. Why we use breathing? Actually it is just a technique to be in the present moment.
The breathing itself can be coupled with vipassana, by looking at its behavior. The breathing is changing, impermanent.
So, the object is actualy to bring us to the present moment and atthe same time we can also look at it's behavior, which this 'looking' raises insight.
Similar with pain. The different is pain becomes dominant when it appears.
Then it depends on us. If we are aware and mindful, that object give bring us to the present moment and stabilize our mind. At the same as well, the behavior of that object will give rise to insight (vipassana).