Samatha v. vipassana?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:07 am

Could you say in a nutshell how you see the essential difference between samatha and vipassana?
I've been thinking of it as the difference between samadhi and sati ( concentration v. mindfulness ), but after some reading around I'm not as clear as I thought I was. Thanks in anticipation. :smile:

P
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2846
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:17 am

I sput some quotes here:
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4631#p70910

Samatha is about developing calm and concentration and tends to use conceptual objects. Vipassana requires "ultimate" objects, such as sensations or feelings, in order to develop wisdom about anicca, dukkha, anata, etc.
As Chanmyay Sayadaw says in one of the links I gave:
... in Vipassana Meditation every object of meditation must be absolute reality, ultimate reality, paramattha. In Vipassana Meditation no concept can be the object of meditation. Concept cannot be the object of Vipassana Meditation because Vipassana meditators need to realize the specific characteristics and general characteristics of mental and physical phenomena which is absolute reality. ...

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10538
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:25 am

Greetings Porpoise,

To me, samatha is mental calm or tranquility, whereas vipassana is investigation into experience.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14726
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:32 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Porpoise,

To me, samatha is mental calm or tranquility, whereas vipassana is investigation into experience.

Metta,
Retro.

What kind of investigation?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19763
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:39 am

mikenz66 wrote:I sput some quotes here:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4631#p70910

Samatha is about developing calm and concentration and tends to use conceptual objects. Vipassana requires "ultimate" objects, such as sensations or feelings, in order to develop wisdom about anicca, dukkha, anata, etc.
As Chanmyay Sayadaw says in one of the links I gave:
... in Vipassana Meditation every object of meditation must be absolute reality, ultimate reality, paramattha. In Vipassana Meditation no concept can be the object of meditation. Concept cannot be the object of Vipassana Meditation because Vipassana meditators need to realize the specific characteristics and general characteristics of mental and physical phenomena which is absolute reality. ...

Mike


Thanks Mike, but I'm still not getting the distinction between conceptual and ultimate objects. Could you give some examples of conceptual objects? And can some objects be used for both samatha and vipassana, and if so what is the difference in approach?

P
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2846
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:40 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:What kind of investigation?

Investigation into the characteristics of, and relationship between different aspects of experience.

Or if you prefer, see (most of) the Mahasatipatthana Sutta. :D

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14726
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Goedert » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:06 am

Hello friend,

Actually samadhi and vipassana are Pali term (shamatha and vipayshana is the Sanskrit term).

Hope it helps your understanding.
User avatar
Goedert
 
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 9:24 pm
Location: SC, Brazil

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:57 am

porpoise wrote:Thanks Mike, but I'm still not getting the distinction between conceptual and ultimate objects. Could you give some examples of conceptual objects? And can some objects be used for both samatha and vipassana, and if so what is the difference in approach?

Conceptual objects you might use in samatha meditation would include metta, kasinas, and so on. These are created in the mind (in the case of kasinas one does start by looking at a coloured disk, but then it is visualised). Such objects can lead to a high degree of concentration, including jhana, because they are mind-created, and hence the mind can easily "stick" to them.

A "real" or "ultimate" object would include such things as sensations in the feet while walking, sensation of hardness, heat, and so on. Focussing on such objects does build up concentration, but since they are always changing, and are not under our control, they do not lead to such high levels of samatha. However, because they are changing, and not-self, careful study of them leads to insight (or so they say, not much insight here yet...).

Samatha and vipassana are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they support each other. It takes some insight into the hindrances and so on to build up samatha, and it takes some concentration to make vipassana possible. However some practises are more conducive to developing samatha, and some more conducive to vipassana.

The links I gave explain it much better than I can.

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10538
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:03 pm

Hi Goedert,
Goedert wrote:Actually samadhi and vipassana are Pali term (shamatha and vipayshana is the Sanskrit term).

Yes, Shamatha is Sanskrit. Samatha is the Pali version and has a very similar meaning to samadhi, though there are subtle differences.
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... tm#samatha

Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10538
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Brizzy » Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:34 pm

porpoise wrote:Could you say in a nutshell how you see the essential difference between samatha and vipassana?
I've been thinking of it as the difference between samadhi and sati ( concentration v. mindfulness ), but after some reading around I'm not as clear as I thought I was. Thanks in anticipation. :smile:

P


From what I understand samadhi was the phrase the Buddha used most frequently, instead of samatha. Maybe he used the word samadhi to indicate a union of samatha & vipassana.

:smile:
Brizzy
 

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:56 pm

Goedert wrote:Hello friend,

Actually samadhi and vipassana are Pali term (shamatha and vipayshana is the Sanskrit term).

Hope it helps your understanding.


Yes, it certainly does. :smile:

P
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2846
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:59 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Or if you prefer, see (most of) the Mahasatipatthana Sutta. :D


So would you say satipatthana is the basis for vipassana?

P
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2846
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:01 pm

Brizzy wrote:
porpoise wrote:Could you say in a nutshell how you see the essential difference between samatha and vipassana?
I've been thinking of it as the difference between samadhi and sati ( concentration v. mindfulness ), but after some reading around I'm not as clear as I thought I was. Thanks in anticipation. :smile:

P


From what I understand samadhi was the phrase the Buddha used most frequently, instead of samatha. Maybe he used the word samadhi to indicate a union of samatha & vipassana.

:smile:


I'm not sure - I thought samadhi was primarily about concentrating the mind and refining consciousness as a foundation for vipassana?

P
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2846
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:51 pm

Sati leads to samadhi, in both samatha and vipassana (that is samatha and vipassana as method, not result).

In vipassana (as method) however the samadhi leads to insight (panna). This is sammasamadhi.

Strictly speaking vipassana can be only said to start when the tilakkhana begins to manifest (vipassana as result). Anything below that may simply be leading to samatha samadhi, whatever the external technique used.

with metta

RYB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Brizzy » Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:44 am

rowyourboat wrote:Sati leads to samadhi, in both samatha and vipassana (that is samatha and vipassana as method, not result).

In vipassana (as method) however the samadhi leads to insight (panna). This is sammasamadhi.

Strictly speaking vipassana can be only said to start when the tilakkhana begins to manifest (vipassana as result). Anything below that may simply be leading to samatha samadhi, whatever the external technique used.

with metta

RYB


:thinking:

Is vipassana a method?

Samatha Samadhi, is not something I have heard of. Is Samadhi, samatha imbued with vipassana?

:smile:
Brizzy
 

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby smokey » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:21 pm

I would say Samatha Meditation leads to Tranquility and Calm and prepares the mind for Vipassana Meditation. Vipassana Meditation leads to Insight into the Nature of Reality.
User avatar
smokey
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:01 pm
Location: Budaševo, Croatia

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:35 pm

Samadhi is unification of mind or concentration of mind. One pointed concentration leads to samatha (tranquility) samadhi (ie unfication of mind through a calming, focusing process). However a more aware mind state, often using multiple objects that arise and pass away also gives rise to what has been called vipassana samadhi. But these are later classifications which have some roots in the suttas (samadhi sutta).
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:29 am

rowyourboat wrote:Samadhi is unification of mind or concentration of mind. One pointed concentration leads to samatha (tranquility) samadhi (ie unfication of mind through a calming, focusing process). However a more aware mind state, often using multiple objects that arise and pass away also gives rise to what has been called vipassana samadhi. But these are later classifications which have some roots in the suttas (samadhi sutta).


Thanks, some useful comments. Where would you say that mindfulness / satipatthana fits in to this classification?

P
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2846
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:02 pm

Mindfulness and the description of the objects of mindfulness (ie- Satipatthana) is a precursor to both samatha and vipassana states of mind. It falls into either camp simply by how the mindfulness is wielded. If the mindfulness is relatively unthinking and concentrated, focused on one object then it is more on the samatha side of the spectrum. However if it is more intelligent, more 'switched on', focused more on seeing characteristics of phenomena rather than the caught up with the content of phenomena in an unthinking way, then it is more towards the vipassana end of the spectrum.

I think the objects of satipatthana give rise to both- that is how Right Mindfulness can lead to Right concentration (which often defined as the four jhanas) as well as insight (Right widom of the arahanth).

This sutta gives us clues about the noble eightfold path givgin rise to samatha and vipasana.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

with metta
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Samatha v. vipassana?

Postby Jack » Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:10 pm

>Samatha is about developing calm and concentration and tends to use conceptual objects. Vipassana requires "ultimate" objects, such as sensations or feelings, in order to develop wisdom about anicca, dukkha, anata, etc.
As Chanmyay Sayadaw says in one of the links I gave:
... in Vipassana Meditation every object of meditation must be absolute reality, ultimate reality, paramattha. In Vipassana Meditation no concept can be the object of meditation. Concept cannot be the object of Vipassana Meditation because Vipassana meditators need to realize the specific characteristics and general characteristics of mental and physical phenomena which is absolute reality. ...

Mike[/quote]

Thanks Mike, but I'm still not getting the distinction between conceptual and ultimate objects. Could you give some examples of conceptual objects? And can some objects be used for both samatha and vipassana, and if so what is the difference in approach?<
=======================================
Mental contents are one of the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness. During vipassana meditation mental content such as a thought/word/concept might arise and pass away. I think this is the same as, for example, a body sensation or feeling arising and passing away. How is it different? Why do you consider one an ultimate and the other not?

jaxk
Jack
 
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:54 pm

Next

Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests