Spiny Norman wrote:
Sylvester wrote:Samatha has a fairly uniform meaning associated with the stilling of the defilements, but vipassanā and its verbs vipassati and pajānāti seem to have 3 slightly different ranges.
So can vipassana be viewed both as a quality and as an activity?
Might your question be related to the issue of how much effort/intention underlies the vipassanā
is definitely a quality. As a substantive noun, it describes something going on. Whether that process is sustained by effort or intention, I suppose we'll need to look at the context.
In the first sense of bare (but unclouded) observation, such as in the mindfulness of breathing, I think you will agree that initially, something needs to be done to bring the breath into one's awareness. Sometimes, effort is needed to sustain one's attention there. But, what happens when you realise that you've been staying with the breath for hours, with no apparent effort?
MN 111 is another example of the first sense of bare observation (although I prefer the interpretation that places its anupadadhammavipassanaṃ vipassati
as pertaining to the knowledge common to all 9 attainments - see viewtopic.php?f=44&t=15480#p222658
. If I interpret MN 111 as having the sense of vipassati
(Ven T's "ferrets"), it looks like heavy-duty "activity" going on. I don't favour that discursive interpretation, given DN 9's injunction against thoughts and intentions within a jhana, PLUS the fact that vavattheti
is just perception at work - see earlier link.Vipassanā
in the 2nd sense, ie understanding the rise and fall in accordance with idappaccayatā
, will IMO need to be directed and sustained by some modicum of effort. I think the effort will be directed towards remembering, whether one remember's one's experience of Stream-Entry or one remembers the teaching. But like mindfulness of breathing, might it not be possible for the activity to be self-sustaining and effortless over time?
I personally believe that this 2nd sense of vipassanā
is integrated to that of wisdom (paññā
), particularly in the context of the discrimination of states (dhammavicaya
) : AN 2.30 - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
. Take a look at SN 46.3 -
So tathā sato viharanto taṃ dhammaṃ paññāya pavicinati pavicarati parivīmaṃsamāpajjati. Yasmiṃ samaye, bhikkhave, bhikkhu tathā sato viharanto taṃ dhammaṃ paññāya pavicinati pavicarati parivīmaṃsamāpajjati, dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgo tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhuno āraddho hoti; dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgaṃ tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhu bhāveti; dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgo tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhuno bhāvanāpāripūriṃ gacchati.
Dwelling thus mindfully, he discrimates that Dhamma with wisdom, examines it, makes an investigation of it. Whenever, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwelling thus mindfully discriminates that Dhamma with wisdom, examines it, makes an investigation of it, on that occassion the enlightenment factor of discrimination of states is aroused by the bhikkhu; on that occassion the bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of discrimination of states; on that occassion the enlightenment factor of discrimination of states comes to fulfilment by development in the bhikkhu.
Here you have a very discursive sense of vipassanā
, as it is directed towards understanding a defilement. On the other hand, we have another interesting sutta concerning discrimination of states, ie SN 47.10 that seems less discursive - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .olen.html
. Do you notice how the identification of the problem (using discrimination of states, methinks) seems so effortless?
If you really want a good essay on vipassanā
, look no further than Ven Analayo's piece here - http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... asping.pdf
, chapter 7. There is little doubt from his survey that one of the primary functions of vipassanā
is to assist one to deal with the defilements. Little wonder that this is paired so often with samatha
As for the 3rd sense of vipassanā
, ie as a sutta pericope describing the moment of Stream-Entry, I'll let you know if it ever happens to me.