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Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully - Dhamma Wheel

Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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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
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

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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

"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

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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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)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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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
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

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

"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 Brizzy » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:29 am


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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)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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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

"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:
"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.


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: Cultivating Samatha & Upekkha Successfully

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

"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 28, 2010 12:51 am

"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

"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
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..


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