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Samatha and Vipassana question - Dhamma Wheel

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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eternityinmind
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Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby eternityinmind » Tue May 29, 2012 8:33 pm

:namaste: I am a little bit confused about the difference between samatha and vipassana meditation. How the two relate to each other? Can and should I combine them? How exactly? Any tips appreciated. :)
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Om muni muni mahamuni shakyamuniye svaha!

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reflection
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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby reflection » Tue May 29, 2012 9:19 pm


hermitwin
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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby hermitwin » Wed May 30, 2012 5:47 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzSFB3PO6Js

this shd answer your question. cheers.

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed May 30, 2012 6:48 am

Samatha meditation is concentration meditation, where the mind is focused on a single object, usually the breath, until a unity of focus has been established. This is sometimes called Jhana.

Vipassana meditation is insight meditation, where the mind is directed to experienced phenomena such as thoughts or sensations in order to see them clearly as impermanent, dissatisfying, and non-self.

In some traditions, such as the Goenka or Mahasi traditions, "dry" vipassana, where there is very little pure concentration meditation, is supported. However, in practice, a great amount of concentration is developed through insight.

In others, like Buddhadasa or Ajahn Chah, essentially do not separate them at all and say that the cultivation of concentration and Jhana leads to insight.

It all depends on what tradition you're interested in. I would personally recommend taking a while to focus on developing concentration through annapanna, or breath awareness. Try and find the point where you most distinctly feel the in and out breath, and then establish your mind on that point like a gatekeeper; don't follow the breath in or out, just note when it hits that one spot and when it doesn't. When your mind wanders, bring it back. Try and "know the breath," understanding directly the length, duration, intensity, etc. that each in and out breath has. Don't think about it analytically, saying, "That was a short breath, I bet the next one will be longer!" Just know it directly. That might sound weird, but you'll soon grow to see the difference between knowing at the experiential level and just thinking. Try and examine each breath to see it as impermanent and out of your control. Try and keep focused and calm your mind, but when other thoughts invade, just note how impermanent and uncontrollable they are as well. Do that for a while, establishing concentration and mindfulness until you begin to become more and more fixed on the breath at that one single point of entry.

In the suttas, the Buddha never says, "Do samatha" or "Do vipassana." He just says "Go meditate." In truth, you can't have samatha (concentration) without vipassana (insight), or vice versa. Like a bird with an injured wing, having only one side developed will hamper you. Instead, they should develop together. So don't worry too much about whether or not you're doing samatha or vipassana; the important thing is to sit and be mindful!

But I'm no meditation master! Other people will have other ideas. This is just what I would say off the cuff. Good luck and welcome to the Sangha!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


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eternityinmind
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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby eternityinmind » Wed May 30, 2012 7:13 am

: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:
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Om muni muni mahamuni shakyamuniye svaha!

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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby Cittasanto » Wed May 30, 2012 7:23 am

If you doo a search (found in the top bar to the right) for the key words there is plenty of threads on the topic which may help you.


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: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby DarwidHalim » Wed May 30, 2012 9:22 am

Basically, you can do it in 2 different ways:

1. Master your samantha first until you reach Jhana 4.
Afterwards, you use that super stability of mind to look into the nature of your mind, the nature of your body, the nature of your perception, the nature of feelings, the nature of phenomena (like tree, river, mountain, sky, whatever you like).

2. You use Vipassana to build up samantha.
In this approach, you need a very good understanding of emptiness, minimum from conceptual point of view. You really need a solid conceptual understanding. You need it, because in your journey of meditation, you will face a lot of problems with thoughts. In order to deal with the thoughts, you need to know what is the nature of the thoughts. This knowledge comes mainly from the teaching of emptiness. If you don't have this knowledge, for sure you will be knocked down by the thoughts in the sense that the thoughts will carry you away and you will be fully conditioned by them. Your meditation will fail.

If you follow Anapanasati sutta, you will follow approach No. 1. You will start with breathing. You will build up a solid background of samantha. In the last part, you will build up your Vipassana.

The main difference between Practice No. 1 and 2, is:
In practice no. 1, if you have thought or you are captured by thought, you will refocus back into the breathing. There is shifting here. You do a change here.

But, in practice No. 2, you do not do that. Practice No. 2 is without any object. You do not have any focus at all. You are just aware. If thought comes, you slowly look into its nature. If no thought, you also just slowly look into its nature. No acceptance, and no rejection. Just look. Not looking like ignorant people not knowing what is going on. But, look with awareness nakedly. You don't do any changing here.

Within Theravada umbrella, I do not know where you can find information or sutta about the meditation No. 2. I think probably it is not available.

By the way, vipassana and samantha cannot be separated like that. When you have samantha, you will have vipassana. But, they are also not same.
Samantha is for stability.
Vipassana is for insight - knowing perfectly the nature of what is going on.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby Nyana » Wed May 30, 2012 9:54 am


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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed May 30, 2012 8:05 pm

Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


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Sekha
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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby Sekha » Thu May 31, 2012 12:03 pm

There is a short sutta about the distinct aims of samatha and vipassana in the Duka Nipata:

http://www.buddha-vacana.org/sutta/angu ... 2-032.html

basically, samatha uproots raga (and dosa) while vipassana uproots avijja
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

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eternityinmind
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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby eternityinmind » Thu May 31, 2012 7:22 pm

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Om muni muni mahamuni shakyamuniye svaha!

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu May 31, 2012 10:00 pm

Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


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eternityinmind
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Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:38 pm

Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby eternityinmind » Fri Jun 01, 2012 5:37 am

http://8tracks.com/eternityinmind

Om muni muni mahamuni shakyamuniye svaha!

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:57 am

Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond by Ajahn Brahm is all about Jhana practice, as is Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English by Gunaratana. Both are great resources for deeper meditation states.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


RatherSkeptic
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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby RatherSkeptic » Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:14 pm

You mentioned just Mindfulness in Plain English, which I read too. I'd like too say that I'm also a bit confused about the difference between Samatha and Vipassana.

So I've read Gunaratanas book about Vipassana, and the one about Samatha. However, I struggle to find the actual difference - not the difference of the purpose, but about the method, because in both meditation styles, Bhante seems to describe quite the same:

1. Focus on your meditation object
2. Distractions will arise
3. Swift your mind to that distraction until you recognise it ceasing,
4. Then return to your object of meditation

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?

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:15 pm

Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


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eternityinmind
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Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:38 pm

Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby eternityinmind » Fri Jun 01, 2012 5:34 pm

http://8tracks.com/eternityinmind

Om muni muni mahamuni shakyamuniye svaha!

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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:55 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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black hole
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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby black hole » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:23 pm

Samatha leads first to a state of mental calm and peaceful mind leads to a feeling of bliss, physically and mentally, which is growing by deepening samatha. It can also be accompanied by visions: color, waves, bright spots or circles of light, or different sensations. After this stage of bliss and visions, we feel a clarity of mind, sometimes great clarity. Equanimity allows then obtaining deeper concentration.
I think some practitioners get the certainty that this is an important experience, a "view" but I do not agree because it is tied to reality in different consciousness. The fact is that there is a source of confusion that can lead to a wrong view and we can fall back in fine in a system attachment / repulsion. The certainty of being in sight lead to disregard any other experience, to push the thoughts, feelings, sensations, mental formations as if they were unsuitable, so it's a kind of aversion.
On second thought, we got there at the very begining of vipassana : w got the necessary discernment. But we refuse to enter: we fall into the attachment / aversion. At the same time and to have lived it, I think it's a negative experience that brings many because aversion or attachment consciously experienced are an indication that one is at the very beginning of a new ability to distinguish what appears and to accept or decline it. This is a sign that we must regroup to place our mind in preparation for vipassana. There is a subtle balance between samatha and vipassana.
At this point, we realize that the conclusions - early - on clearly felt during samatha were wrong: it is not emptiness. Sin of pride ... This is not the nature of mind that we approached. The water surface was only a little calmer and we can begin to see what's at the bottom.
Everything is naturally perfect just as it is

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Re: Samatha and Vipassana question

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:44 pm

"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama


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