clarifying meditation and adjusting routines

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Post Reply
User avatar
no mike
Posts: 206
Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:16 pm
Location: human realm

clarifying meditation and adjusting routines

Post by no mike »

Is walking meditation primarily a tool for developing insight (as opposed to developing samatha)?

I am planning on using seated meditation specifically for the development of a foundation of samatha (using mindfulness of breathing), while using walking meditation time with a related but different goal of developing insight meditation/Vipassana. Does this make sense, to split purposes between sitting and walking meditations, and using separate contemplative subjects? Now that I seem to be past monkey-mind and able to hold onto subjects longer, my goal is to stop jumping around with different techniques and to clarify my practice.

Also, any technical references on using "buddho" for walking meditation would be appreciated.

I found this article to be very helpful in understanding the difference between Samatha and Insight meditation:

"One Tool Among Many: The Place of Vipassana in Buddhist Practice", by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 8 March 2011, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... etool.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.

Thanks :)
Thisperson
Posts: 401
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 4:36 pm

Re: clarifying meditation and adjusting routines

Post by Thisperson »

no mike wrote:Is walking meditation primarily a tool for developing insight (as opposed to developing samatha)?

I am planning on using seated meditation specifically for the development of a foundation of samatha (using mindfulness of breathing), while using walking meditation time with a related but different goal of developing insight meditation/Vipassana. Does this make sense, to split purposes between sitting and walking meditations, and using separate contemplative subjects? Now that I seem to be past monkey-mind and able to hold onto subjects longer, my goal is to stop jumping around with different techniques and to clarify my practice.

Also, any technical references on using "buddho" for walking meditation would be appreciated.

I found this article to be very helpful in understanding the difference between Samatha and Insight meditation:

"One Tool Among Many: The Place of Vipassana in Buddhist Practice", by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 8 March 2011, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... etool.html

Thanks :)
I'm not sure that you have understood Thanissaro Bhikkhu's article. Calm and insight work together in tandem, so ultimately any type of meditation that you are trying to do should involve elements of both samatha (calming of the mind in the present) and vipassana (insight). I use walking meditation to cultivate stillness of mind. Through stillness of mind, the fertile conditions for insight arise. The sitting method is used in the same way. Calm the mind, let insight arise.

With the calm that arises around samatha we can take a clear and honest look at the aggregates (vipassana) in the terms of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and not-self. We can see if craving in regards to the aggregates is truly stressful, as the Buddha proclaimed. We can use the many techniques that the Buddha prescribed (which Thanissaro Bhikkhu reminds us of):
Applying appropriate attention to these aggregates means viewing them in terms of their drawbacks, as "inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self" (SN 22.122). A list of questions, distinctive to the Buddha, aids in this approach: "Is this aggregate constant or inconstant?" "And is anything inconstant easeful or stressful?" "And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?" (SN 22.59). These questions are applied to every instance of the five aggregates, whether "past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle, common or sublime, far or near." In other words, the meditator asks these questions of all experiences in the cosmos of the six sense media.
Vipassana can be seen as the ability to look at things honestly and clearly. It works best when teamed with samatha:
So, to answer the question with which we began: Vipassana is not a meditation technique. It's a quality of mind — the ability to see events clearly in the present moment. Although mindfulness is helpful in fostering vipassana, it's not enough for developing vipassana to the point of total release. Other techniques and approaches are needed as well. In particular, vipassana needs to be teamed with samatha — the ability to settle the mind comfortably in the present — so as to master the attainment of strong states of absorption, or jhana. Based on this mastery, samatha and vipassana are then applied to a skillful program of questioning, called appropriate attention, directed at all experience: exploring events not in terms of me/not me, or being/not being, but in terms of the four noble truths. The meditator pursues this program until it leads to a fivefold understanding of all events: in terms of their arising, their passing away, their drawbacks, their allure, and the escape from them. Only then can the mind taste release.
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: clarifying meditation and adjusting routines

Post by daverupa »

One simple way to think about it is like this: wanderers back in ancient India included a lot of samatha as they theorized and speculated, but until the Buddha came along to teach the Dhamma there wasn't any Buddhist vipassana going on, only miscellaneous Wanderer & Brahmin "vipassanas".

The Buddha brought the Dhamma and taught others how to apply it to their samatha practices. But it's two sides of one coin; this vipassana can sort of occur ahead of samatha practices as one studies the Dhamma and so forth, and samatha can occur ahead of vipassana (as every Wanderer before the Buddha had been doing), but they work in tandem.

These two together are samadhi; there were many sorts back in the day, and many styles came to be developed over time such that today there's a bunch of samadhi on offer throughout the world. The trick is to yoke one's samadhi to the Dhamma via Right View, which makes it sammasamadhi.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
Post Reply