Samatha and Vipassana question

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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mikenz66
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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:00 am

hermitwin wrote:I did not say that Mahasi rejects samadhi.
But, I have been there, you are certainly not encouraged to dwell in samadhi.
Ultimately, which tradition is better?
That is up to the individual.
What is the best way to explain to a newbie the difference?

Sorry, perhaps I misunderstood. I took from your posts that were arguing that the Mahasi teachers did not teach samadhi and vipassana together. Clearly this is not the case, since it is clearly stated by Mahasi Sayadaw and others that samadhi is essntial (as in the quote I gave above). However, as you say, the Mahasi teachers (and the other teachers that you mention) do point out that samadhi is not the ultimate goal of the practice.

Chanmayay Sayadaw (a student of Mahasi Sayadaw) certainly does not dismiss jhana. Here he speaks of the practicality of various approaches for different circumstances:
http://buddhanet.net/imol/vipcours.htm
http://buddhanet.net/vmed_1.htm
So Vipassana meditation is of two types: The first, Vipassana meditation, insight meditation is preceded by Samatha meditation. The second is the pure Vipassana meditation or insight meditation not preceded by Samatha meditation. The first type of Vipassana meditation or Insight Meditation is practised by those who have ample time to devote to their meditation. They have to spend maybe three or four months on Samatha meditation. And when they are satisfied with their attainment of jhana concentration they proceed with Vipassana meditation.

Pure Vipassana meditation is practised by those who haven't enough time to devote to their meditation like yourselves, because you do not have three or four months or six months or a year for your meditation. So you can spend about ten days on your meditation. For such meditators pure Vipassana meditation is suitable. That's why we have to conduct a ten days Vipassana meditation retreat. Actually ten days meditation is not enough. The period is too short a time for a meditator to succeed in any noticeable experience in his meditation. But there are some who have some experience in Vipassana meditation who when their meditation experience becomes major can attain the higher stages of insight knowledge of the body-mind processes of their true nature. Although you can spend just ten days on your meditation, if you strive to attain the deep concentration with a strenuous effort without much interval or break in the course of your meditation for the whole day, then you are able to have some new experience of meditation. So the point is to practise intensively and strenuously as much as you can.


:anjali:
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rosiernain
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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby rosiernain » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:35 am

I'm surprised that you associate insight with samatha and tranquility with vipassana; it seems more likely to be the opposite : samatha nourishing tranquility and vipassana nourishing insight , doesn't it ?
see Shinzen : http://here-and-now.org/wwwArticles/stray.html
may be it was a lapsus from you ?

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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:40 am

Welcome rosiernain

I guess you are referring to the statement back here: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=12614#p191061
LonesomeYogurt wrote:
eternityinmind wrote::namaste: Well,when i meditate I usually count the breath from 1 to 10,paying attention to the motion of the lower abdomen (the hara) and the posture of my body,trying to keep my spine straight.It's basically zazen I think.Is that classified as samatha meditation? Thanks for all the answers! :twothumbsup:

Zazen is samatha, yes. It's far more of a Mahayana technique, but that tranquility in great for turning towards insight in Theravada. My recommendation would be to start moving that attention from the hara to other sensations in the body, or perhaps to your thoughts. Just as you mindfully examine the hara, try mindfully examining all other experiences for a bit. But don't stop trying to get samatha going; it's important!

I think you may be misunderstanding the statement. I believe that it is saying that some samatha is useful to be able to do vipassana.

:anjali:
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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby rosiernain » Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:47 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
RatherSkeptic wrote:The only difference seems to be that in Samatha, you never really leave your primary object of meditation, while in Vipassana, you always select the distractions as the new meditation objects until they disappear. So actually, according to Gunaratana, the difference is just about how much concentration you're putting into the distractions.

Or isn't it?

Yeah, basically haha. In samatha, you keep focus on the object of meditation ceaselessly until you can never leave it or you experience "one-pointedness." Vipassana is more active and mobile, where you direct concentration to different things as they arise. If you're trying to reach Jhana, you might feel a scratch on your back and move to it, but you just say "not breath" and go back immediately once you realize you've left. In vipassana, you examine that feeling mindfully and with equanimity.

In reality, those who do vipassana develop a huge amount of tranquility, and those who do samatha develop a huge amount of insight. The division is more conceptual than actual.


I'm surprised that you associate vipassana with tranquility and samatha with insight ; I imagine that it is a lapsus, isn't it ?

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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby Billymac29 » Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:55 pm

rosiernain wrote:
LonesomeYogurt wrote:
RatherSkeptic wrote:The only difference seems to be that in Samatha, you never really leave your primary object of meditation, while in Vipassana, you always select the distractions as the new meditation objects until they disappear. So actually, according to Gunaratana, the difference is just about how much concentration you're putting into the distractions.

Or isn't it?

Yeah, basically haha. In samatha, you keep focus on the object of meditation ceaselessly until you can never leave it or you experience "one-pointedness." Vipassana is more active and mobile, where you direct concentration to different things as they arise. If you're trying to reach Jhana, you might feel a scratch on your back and move to it, but you just say "not breath" and go back immediately once you realize you've left. In vipassana, you examine that feeling mindfully and with equanimity.

In reality, those who do vipassana develop a huge amount of tranquility, and those who do samatha develop a huge amount of insight. The division is more conceptual than actual.



I'm surprised that you associate vipassana with tranquility and samatha with insight ; I imagine that it is a lapsus, isn't it ?



Samatha and vipassana "meditation techniques" are both yoked together. With vipassana there is samatha. With samatha there is also vipassana. However samatha and vipassana are outcomes of meditation, not methods.
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"


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