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Samatha-Vipassana: Tranquillity and Insight, Hand-in-Hand

Approach to Samatha-Vipassana by Dynamic Concentration-Atiyoga

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Open Heart, described elsewhere on Dho and OH website, has a particular practice for awakening called a 2-part Formula, and post-awakening practice called Open Heart Yoga.

The post-awakening practice is described in the What's Next?-book, and now it has been added a new chapter entitled, "
CHAPTER 3: Shamatha Experiment". 

The new chapter can be read and downloaded here as a separate pdf-file.

I thought that the accounts described in this new added chapter would be worthwhile to understand in relation to comparing the different approaches to meditation, such as noting practices described in MCTB, anapanasati and also OH practices.

From an insight perspective, the main practice that is responsible for insight (called by the name bhumi opening in Open Heart) is Dynamic Concentration combined with Atiyoga. 

I think that we may look at this practice using Samatha-Vipassana framework. 

Dynamic Concentration corresponds to the Samatha aspect, and Atiyoga corresponds to the Vipassana aspect.  Unlike standard Samatha, however, Dynamic Concentration involves use of a momentary and explosive action (such as shouting).  After application of this explosive concentration, an effortless wakefulness of the natural state is revealed, and recognition of this state is Atiyoga, and this is the Vipassana part of the formula.

In Open Heart Yoga, a period of doing Dynamic Concentration is alternated with a period of effortless state that is Atiyoga, and this is how both of Samatha and Vipassana is practiced in tandem in a single session.

On the other hand, in noting practice, labeling of phenomena arising in experience, which involves intention, is a (momentary) concentration exercise, and is part of Samatha aspect in the Samatha-Vipassana framework.   Noting of phenomena is continuously applied until the Equanimity stage is reached, where effort is abandoned, and if the phenomena is inquired into in the spaciousness of EQ, its emptiness is revealed, resulting in direct insight or Vipassana.

Thus, it seems that it is possible to start the comparison of what appear to be very different meditation approaches such as the Dynamic Concentration-Atiyoga of OH and noting practie of Mahasi, by looking at them in terms of a common perspective of Samatha-Vipassana, and looking at the variation in the methods as a manifestation of the difference in the length, the intensity and the frequency by which the phase of Samatha is alternated with the phase of Vipassana.

I find that using a simple common framework to understand different meditation approaches helpful in sorting out their commonality and differences, as is done here.

To help with the context of this comparison, I also find the following video explanation by my teacher very helpful.

Great Difference between Mindfulness and Awareness approaches

RE: Approach to Samatha-Vipassana by Dynamic Concentration-Atiyoga
6/18/19 11:12 PM as a reply to Yuki Saka.
Following is a guided meditation by my teacher for the kind of Dynamic Concentration (or Semdzin)-Atiyoga approach that I mentioned in the previous post.

Semdzin: Natural State Teachings

I've meditated in the way above, and found the experience to be quite different from, say, noting practice or anapanasati.  It is quite easy to do, as the instruction is to just to apply the Semdzin (shouting "Phet" mantra or chating "A" a couple of times, you can shout silently if you are concerned about your neighbors), and then just drop the effort and tuning in, allowing for natural clarity or wakefulness to manifest without doing anything.

What I found is that after applying Semdzin, body is felt more alive and also clear.  Of course, thinking and other distraction come back eventually to cloud the experience, but then we can apply it again and cutting through to the clarity. 

Compared to usual calm abiding meditation, I could meditate longer in this way because it is much more engaging, even akin to physical exercises.  It seems to be a very good antidote to dullness and sleepiness that we so often encounter with calm abiding meditation.

What is your experience of this?  I would like to hear of your experience of trying it out and see how it changes/not change your meditation experience.