Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby christopher::: » Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:55 pm

Hi everyone. As many of you know, i am still a newcomer to Theravadin Buddhism and terminology. Right now i'm trying to understand how samatha and upekkha differ from each other, what role they play in dhamma practice, and have some questions. Specifically, how important has it been for you to cultivate samatha and upekkha day-to-day? What techniques and methods have you used? Any thoughts on the benefits of tranquility and equanimity, the role they play as factors of awakening and the difficulties you've encountered, etc? Please feel free to share anything at all related to these two awakening factors...

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby Ben » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:06 am

Hi Chris

My samatha practice is anapana-sati: continuity of awareness of the touch of the breath. This form of meditation develops samadhi (concentration) and eventually jhana.
I develop equanimity through vipassanabhavana, more precisely: vedenanupassana (observation of sensation) by maintaining objective awareness of the anicca characteristic of whatever manifests.

I am no expert on Pali, but to me the difference is that samatha is "quietude of the heart" which I think relates to the dormancy of the hindrances when samatha culminates in jhana.

Equanimity is a state of sublime neutrality, or in the words of my teacher "mere observation". So, equanimity can be present when one is under the influence of hindrances or sankharas.
I hope that helps.
metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:27 am

Hi Chris,

As far as importance goes, samatha can lead to samadhi as Ben noted and is very important to the Path. Samma samadhi is Right Concentration or Right tranquility and primarily deals with samatha meditation. I remember hearing a talk by Bhante Gunaratana where he said that some people downplay the importance of samatha and jhana, but if they do so, they are not following the Noble Eightfold Path, because Samma samadhi is right there listed as number 8 on the Path. He jokingly said they are practicing "Noble Sevenfold Path." :tongue:

Equanimity is also very important. It keeps us at the balanced state of mind, free of anger, free of attachment and aversion. I can't think of a better state to be in.
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby christopher::: » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:29 am

Hi Ben and David. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your knowledge and details about your practice. It's very helpful.

Ben wrote:Hi Chris

My samatha practice is anapana-sati: continuity of awareness of the touch of the breath. This form of meditation develops samadhi (concentration) and eventually jhana.


In other words, by being aware of the breath throughout the day concentration and tranquility are both cultivated and deepened?

I develop equanimity through vipassanabhavana, more precisely: vedenanupassana (observation of sensation) by maintaining objective awareness of the anicca characteristic of whatever manifests.

I am no expert on Pali, but to me the difference is that samatha is "quietude of the heart" which I think relates to the dormancy of the hindrances when samatha culminates in jhana.

Equanimity is a state of sublime neutrality, or in the words of my teacher "mere observation". So, equanimity can be present when one is under the influence of hindrances or sankharas.
I hope that helps.


Thank you, Ben. So, equanimity (upekkha) is more related to undisturbed calm awareness and mindfulness then to a subjective "feeling" of peace, tranquility or calmness, which is closer to samatha?

David N. Snyder wrote:Hi Chris,

As far as importance goes, samatha can lead to samadhi as Ben noted and is very important to the Path. Samma samadhi is Right Concentration or Right tranquility and primarily deals with samatha meditation. I remember hearing a talk by Bhante Gunaratana where he said that some people downplay the importance of samatha and jhana, but if they do so, they are not following the Noble Eightfold Path, because Samma samadhi is right there listed as number 8 on the Path. He jokingly said they are practicing "Noble Sevenfold Path." :tongue:


Yeah, this is the part that i still have a little difficulty understanding. Samatha and samadhi seem to have a very close relationship, as do upekkha and samadhi, so i get confused. In my beginner's mind they sound like two ways stillness and calm can manifest in our experience.

Equanimity is also very important. It keeps us at the balanced state of mind, free of anger, free of attachment and aversion. I can't think of a better state to be in.


And we can say the same of samatha, can't we....... or not? :tongue:

BTW, i just re-listened to the Dhamma talk on Tranquility and the 7 Factors of Awakening by Joseph Goldstein that i had been referencing in other discussions, and think i may understand in part why I've been confused.

Unless i'm mistaken Goldstein didn't mention the word samatha once. Instead he uses the terms tranquility and calm as translations for passaddhi. As for how these two concepts relate i only have wikipedia's explanation, so far.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passaddhi

"Passaddhi is a Pali noun that has been translated as "calmness," "tranquillity," "repose" and "serenity." The associated verb is passambhati (to calm down, to be quiet). In Buddhism, passaddhi refers to tranquillity of the body, speech, thoughts and consciousness on the path to enlightenment. As part of cultivated mental factors, passaddhi is preceded by rapture (pīti) and precedes concentration (samādhi)."


Does that sound about right?

It gets more complicated with their description of samatha, which they describe initially as a form of meditation, not as the factor of tranquility itself.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samatha

"Samatha (Pāli), śamatha (Sanskrit; also orthographically romanized to shamatha) "calm abiding," comprises a suite, type or style of Buddhist meditation or concentration practices designed to enhance sustained voluntary attention, and culminates in an attention that can be sustained effortlessly and for hours on end. Samatha is a subset of the broader family of samadhi ("concentration") meditation practices."


But then after that (if you read further on) there comes references where samatha is described as "calm abiding" which sounds like a synonym for tranquility, so... it's a bit confusing...

Hopefully clarity will emerge as i investigate (and cultivate) these factors further...

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby Ben » Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:16 am

Hi Christopher

There might be some confusion because anapanasati can be used to develop samatha or vipassana, depending on what you are doing.
When I use anapanasati to develop samadhi (or samatha), I do so by maintaining continuous (unbroken) awareness of the touch of the breath. I've never used it in the way that I think you are suggesting. I tend to reserve it for retreats where I can practice it undisturbed for hours and days at a time. Concentration develops as one maintains awareness of the touch sensation for longer and longer periods in a secluded environment. And I'm sure you're aware of the formulae the Buddha states for people intent on attaining jhana...
There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore. Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.
(Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)
-- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


During vedananupassana, I extend objective "mere awareness" to whatever phenomena I am experiencing. By continuing to extend objective awareness to whatever I am experiencing, I am developing my equanimity. Similar to someone who works out at the gym exercising their muscles, tones up and grows those muscles.
Bhikkhu Bodhi in A comprehenisive manual of the Abhidhamma defines equanimity as
Equanimity has the characteristic of being felt as neutral, the function of neither intensifiying nor withering associated states, manifestation as peacefulness, and its proximate cause is consciousness without zest
-- p 116


The tranquility of samatha relates to the quiescence of the hindrances and the arising of the first jhana 'factors' or cetasikas: initial application, sustained application, decision, energy, zest and desire. mentioned above. Having said that, equanimity becmes a cetasika of the fifth jhana.
Kind regards


Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby christopher::: » Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:04 am

Hi Ben. Thanks for your detailed response.

I've never done an extended retreat and doubt that the opportunity will present itself for years to come. But many years back i used to do about 2 hours of mindfulness exercises and meditation, every morning, as compared to only 20 minutes of meditation, daily, now, and mindfulness practiced irregularly.

During that time period (1987~93) i experienced a very deep sense of calm, relaxation and equanimity, with a definite reduction in anxiety and desires. Yesterday, listening to the Goldstein audio (linked) he described "body scan" exercises similar to what i had done for years, so today i've started to do them again.

At that time (87~93) i was not following the dharma, specifically. Peace and calm were my goals, so i'm interested in trying to get back to where "i wuz" and then continue forward, in the manner Buddha has shown and suggested.

Thus, these questions.

:smile:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby Ben » Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:55 am

No problem Christopher.
Don't be too enthusiastic about recapturing or replicating what you had in the past.
Just practice - and be equanimous with whatever manifests.
And by the way...
Your questions were very welcome!
metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby christopher::: » Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:38 am

Ben wrote:No problem Christopher.
Don't be too enthusiastic about recapturing or replicating what you had in the past.
Just practice - and be equanimous with whatever manifests.
And by the way...
Your questions were very welcome!
metta

Ben


Thanks Ben. Well, of course, too much "enthusiasm" would be counter-productive.

:tongue:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby Brizzy » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:29 am

christopher::: wrote:Hi everyone. As many of you know, i am still a newcomer to Theravadin Buddhism and terminology. Right now i'm trying to understand how samatha and upekkha differ from each other, what role they play in dhamma practice, and have some questions. Specifically, how important has it been for you to cultivate samatha and upekkha day-to-day? What techniques and methods have you used? Any thoughts on the benefits of tranquility and equanimity, the role they play as factors of awakening and the difficulties you've encountered, etc? Please feel free to share anything at all related to these two awakening factors...

:anjali:


Hi Christopher

Upekkha reaches its peak in the fourth jhana. Upekkha is first attained in the first jhana, tranquility is a means to getting there. Some people talk about equanimity when sitting as if you can impose it on what is observed. Equanimity is a deep and profound experience and cannot be magically introduced into your meditation. Like all things it is dependently arisen. The seven factors of enlightenment is the process by which equanimity is reached, any other type of "equanimity" would be pure moonshine or indifference or sheer willpower - equanimity does not/cannot be forced.

I love reading/listening to Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Bhante Vimalaramsi and Bhante Dhammavuddho - most of my "heretical" views are from these great teachers. :anjali:

Brizzy :smile:
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby christopher::: » Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:24 am

Hi Brizzy. Thank you for your insights and suggestions. I just found this from Bhante Vimalaramsi, some thought provoking ideas here about samadhi...

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby PeterB » Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:30 am

What a useful thread...good questions, good answers..Sadhu..

:anjali:
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby christopher::: » Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:46 pm

Indeed, i'm very grateful for everyone's input here. The inter-relationship of various teachings of the dhamma are gradually becoming clearer...

David wrote earlier:


As far as importance goes, samatha can lead to samadhi as Ben noted and is very important to the Path. Samma samadhi is Right Concentration or Right tranquility and primarily deals with samatha meditation. I remember hearing a talk by Bhante Gunaratana where he said that some people downplay the importance of samatha and jhana, but if they do so, they are not following the Noble Eightfold Path, because Samma samadhi is right there listed as number 8 on the Path. He jokingly said they are practicing "Noble Sevenfold Path." :tongue:


I just found this dhamma talk from Ajahn Chah. Will print out and read, asap...

Sammā Samādhi - Detachment Within Activity

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby christopher::: » Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:07 am

Just came across this today. Simple, clear, direct....
Wonderful..!

:smile:


Maggasacca Pabba (Section on the Noble Truth of the Path leading to the cessation of Dukkha)

And what, bhikkhus, is the Noble Truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha?

It is the Noble Eightfold Path, namely, Right View (Samma-ditthi), Right Thought (Samma-sankappa), Right Speech (Samma-vaca), Right Action (Samma-kammanta), Right Livelihood (Samma-ajiva), Right Effort (Samma-vayama), Right Mindfulness (Samma-sati), and Right Concentration (Samma-samadhi).

And what, bhikkhus, is Right View? The understanding of dukkha; the understanding of the cause of dukkha; the understanding of the cessation of dukkha; the understanding of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha. This, bhikkhus, is called Right View.

And what, bhikkhus, is Right Thought? Thoughts directed to liberation from sensuality; thoughts free from ill-will; and thoughts free from cruelty. This, bhikkhus, is called Right Thought.

And what, bhikkhus, is Right Speech? Abstaining from lying, from tale-bearing,note106 from abusive speech, and from vain and unbeneficial talk. This, bhikkhus, is called Right Speech.

And what, bhikkhus, is Right Action? Abstaining from killing living beings,and from wrongful indulgence in sense pleasures. This, bhikkhus, is called Right Action.

And what, bhikkhus, is Right Livelihood? Here (in this teaching), bhikkhus, the noble disciple completely abstains from a wrong way of livelihood and makes his living by a right means of livelihood. This, bhikkhus, is called Right Livelihood.

And what, bhikkhus, is Right Effort? Here (in this teaching), bhikkhus, a bhikkhu generates an intention, makes effort, rouses energy, applies his mind, and strives ardently to prevent the arising of evil, unwholesome states of mind that have not yet arisen. He generates an intention, makes effort, rouses energy, applies his mind, and strives ardently to abandon evil, unwholesome states of mind that have arisen. He generates an intention, makes effort, rouses energy, applies his mind, and strives ardently to attain wholesome states of mind that have not yet arisen. He generates an intention, makes effort, rouses energy, applies his mind, and strives ardently to maintain the wholesome states of mind that have arisen, to prevent their lapsing, to increase them, to cause them to grow, and to completely develop them. This, bhikkhus, is called Right Effort.

And what, bhikkhus, is Right Mindfulness? Here (in this teaching), bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the body as just the body with diligence, clear understanding, and mindfulness, thus keeping away covetousness and mental pain in the world; he dwells perceiving again and again feelings as just feelings with diligence, clear understanding and mindfulness, thus keeping away covetousness and mental pain in the world, he dwells perceiving again and again the mind as just the mind with diligence, clear understanding, and mindfulness, thus keeping away covetousness and mental pain in the world; he dwells perceiving again and again dhammas as just dhammas with diligence, clear understanding and mindfulness, thus keeping away covetousness and mental pain in the world. This, bhikkhus, is called Right Mindfulness.

And what, bhikkhus, is Right Concentration? Here (in this teaching), bhikkhus, a bhikkhu being detached from sensual desire and unwholesome states attains and dwells in the first jhana which has vitakka and vicara; and rapture (piti) and sukha born of detachment (from the hindrances). With the subsiding of vitakka and vicara, a bhikkhu attains and dwells in the second jhana, with internal tranquility and one-pointedness of mind, without vitakka and vicara, but with rapture and sukha born of concentration. Being without rapture, a bhikkhu dwells in equanimity with mindfulness and clear understanding, and experiences sukha in mind and body. He attains and dwells in the third jhana; that which causes a person who attains it to be praised by the Noble Ones as one who has equanimity and mindfulness, one who abides in sukha. By becoming detached from both sukha and dukkha and by the previous cessation of gladness and mental pain, a bhikkhu attains and dwells in the fourth jhana, a state of pure mindfulness born of equanimity. This, bhikkhus, is called Right Concentration.

This, bhikkhus, is called the Noble Truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha.

Thus he dwells perceiving again and again dhammas as just dhammas (not mine, not I, not self, but just as phenomena) in himself; or he dwells perceiving again and again dhammas as just dhammas in others; or he dwells perceiving again and again dhammas as just dhammas in both himself and in others. He dwells perceiving again and again the cause and the actual appearing of dhammas; or he dwells perceiving again and again the cause and the actual dissolution of dhammas; or he dwells perceiving again and again both the actual appearing and dissolution of dhammas with their causes.

To summarize, he is firmly mindful of the fact that only dhammas exist (not a soul, a self or I). That mindfulness is just for gaining insight (vipassana) and mindfulness progressively. Being detached from craving and wrong views he dwells without clinging to anything in the world. Thus, bhikkhus, in this way a bhikkhu dwells perceiving again and again the Four Noble Truths as just the Four Noble Truths.

Indeed, bhikkhus, whosoever practises these four satipatthanas in this manner for seven years, one of two results is to be expected in him: Arahatship in this very existence, or if there yet be any trace of clinging, the state of an Anagami.note115

Let alone seven years, bhikkhus, whosoever practises these four satipatthanas in this manner for six years, five years, four years, three years, two years, or one year.

Let alone one year, bhikkhus, whosoever practises these four satipatthanas in this manner for seven months, one of two results is to be expected in him: Arahatship in this very existence, or if there yet be any trace of clinging, the state of an Anagami.

Let alone seven months, bhikkhus, whosoever practises these four satipatthanas in this manner for six months, five months, four months, three months, two months, one month, or half a month.

Let alone half a month, bhikkhus, whosoever practises these four satipatthanas in this manner for seven days, one of two results is to be expected in him: Arahatship in this very existence or if there yet be any trace of clinging, the state of an Anagami.

This is what I meant when I said: "Bhikkhus, this is the one and the only way for the purification (of the minds) of beings, for overcoming sorrow and lamentation, for the cessation of physical and mental pain, for attainment of the Noble Paths, and for the realization of Nibbana. That only way is the four satipatthanas".

This is what the Bhagava said. Delighted, the bhikkhus rejoice at the Bhagava's words.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!


Source: Mahasatipatthana Sutta: Section on Path to the Cessation of Dukkha
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:38 am

that it DN 22, there are threads dedicated to MN 10 here, which omits the detailed breakdown.
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby christopher::: » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:38 am

Manapa wrote:that it DN 22, there are threads dedicated to MN 10 here, which omits the detailed breakdown.


Thanks for the info, Manapa.

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby christopher::: » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:51 am

Very nice description here from Ajahn Chah on the interplay of vitakka and vicāra. I've been experimenting with the approach since yesterday and it's working nicely...

:heart:

Mostly when we start to practice we want to attain, to achieve, to know and to see, but we don't yet know what it is we're going to achieve or know. There was once a disciple of mine whose practice was plagued with confusion and doubts. But he kept practicing, and I kept instructing him, till he began to find some peace. But when he eventually became a bit calm he got caught up in his doubts again, saying, ''What do I do next?'' There! The confusion arises again. He says he wants peace but when he gets it, he doesn't want it, he asks what he should do next!

So in this practice we must do everything with detachment. How are we to detach? We detach by seeing things clearly. Know the characteristics of the body and mind as they are. We meditate in order to find peace, but in doing so we see that which is not peaceful. This is because movement is the nature of the mind.

When practicing samādhi we fix our attention on the in and out-breaths at the nose tip or the upper lip. This ''lifting'' the mind to fix it is called vitakka, or ''lifting up.'' When we have thus ''lifted'' the mind and are fixed on an object, this is called vicāra, the contemplation of the breath at the nose tip. This quality of vicāra will naturally mingle with other mental sensations, and we may think that our mind is not still, that it won't calm down, but actually this is simply the workings of vicāra as it mingles with those sensations. Now if this goes too far in the wrong direction, our mind will lose its collectedness, so then we must set up the mind afresh, lifting it up to the object of concentration with vitakka. As soon as we have thus established our attention vicāra takes over, mingling with the various mental sensations.

Now when we see this happening, our lack of understanding may lead us to wonder: ''Why has my mind wandered? I wanted it to be still, why isn't it still?'' This is practicing with attachment.

Actually the mind is simply following its nature, but we go and add on to that activity by wanting the mind to be still and thinking, ''Why isn't it still?'' Aversion arises and so we add that on to everything else, increasing our doubts, increasing our suffering and increasing our confusion. So if there is vicāra, reflecting on the various happenings within the mind in this way, we should wisely consider... ''Ah, the mind is simply like this.'' There, that's the one who knows talking, telling you to see things as they are. The mind is simply like this. We let it go at that and the mind becomes peaceful. When it's no longer centered we bring up vitakka once more, and shortly there is calm again. Vitakka and vicāra work together like this. We use vicāra to contemplate the various sensations which arise. When vicāra becomes gradually more scattered we once again ''lift'' our attention with vitakka.

The important thing here is that our practice at this point must be done with detachment. Seeing the process of vicāra interacting with the mental sensations we may think that the mind is confused and become averse to this process. This is the cause right here. We aren't happy simply because we want the mind to be still. This is the cause - wrong view. If we correct our view just a little, seeing this activity as simply the nature of mind, just this is enough to subdue the confusion. This is called letting go.

Now, if we don't attach, if we practice with ''letting go''... detachment within activity and activity within detachment... if we learn to practice like this, then vicāra will naturally tend to have less to work with. If our mind ceases to be disturbed, then vicāra will incline to contemplating Dhamma, because if we don't contemplate Dhamma the mind returns to distraction.

So there is vitakka then vicāra, vitakka then vicāra, vitakka then vicāra and so on, until vicāra becomes gradually more subtle. At first vicāra goes all over the place. When we understand this as simply the natural activity of the mind, it won't bother us unless we attach to it. It's like flowing water. If we get obsessed with it, asking ''Why does it flow?'' then naturally we suffer. If we understand that the water simply flows because that's its nature then there's no suffering. Vicāra is like this. There is vitakka, then vicāra, interacting with mental sensations. We can take these sensations as our object of meditation, calming the mind by noting those sensations."

~Ajahn Chah
Sammā Samādhi - Detachment Within Activity




:thumbsup:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby PeterB » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:31 am

Chris, you wont like this, but that kind of practice goes infinately better with hands-on instruction. The likelihood of " practise-drift" is very high without it.
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby christopher::: » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:20 pm

PeterB wrote:Chris, you wont like this, but that kind of practice goes infinitely better with hands-on instruction. The likelihood of " practise-drift" is very high without it.


Thanks for your advice Peter, very good advice. Today i discovered that there may infact be some assistance available in my city. I will look into it.

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby christopher::: » Sun May 02, 2010 5:30 am

Just returned from a morning session with a Sri Lankan monk/scholar staying here in our city. He led us through a metta meditation, anapana-sati and walking meditation. He spoke mostly in Japanese but it was still great. Having Ben's insights (sent by PM) & Ajahn Chah's instructions to work with on my own ahead of time was very helpful.

It was great to make contact. Thank you Ben, and also Peter (for the nudge).

:bow:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

Postby Ben » Sun May 02, 2010 5:38 am

It was a pleasure Christopher! And I am very happy for you with regards to your morning session with Bhante today!
with mudita

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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