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Developing Concentration or Insight First?

I am torn between 2 schools of thought and I tend to bounce back and forth with my meditation as a consequence trying to build insight then concentration. Buddha espoused developing concentration first (Samadhi), the rational being of course, to develop very deep and sustained concentration, then working on insight. Naturally this worked well for him.

Mahasi and Dan like the insight approach and I find this appealing and usually I'm able to hit several nanas. When I practice concentration, I get into maybe the 1st or 2nd Jhana, but feel I get better result with Vipassana.

In MCTB, Dan talks about hitting insight then developing concentration after hitting a path, what is everyone else's experience?

RE: Developing Concentration or Insight First?
6/23/11 4:00 PM as a reply to James E P.
Hi James!

If you hadn't achieved the 1st jhana yet, I would have suggested doing that first (it make me just enjoy meditation that much more), but since you already have:

I asked the same exact thing on a different forum a little while ago, and they suggested developing both at the same time, e.g. one in the morning, the other at night, or even both in the same moment.

After doing both at the same time for a little while, I found that I tend to prefer one over the other, depending on my mood. For some reason, now that I'm in the thick of insight meditation, the jhanas just feel plain unpleasant to me (and just the opposite was true when I was primarily doing concentration meditation), so I don't purposefully seek them out, but if they naturally come up during meditation, I just note them and don't suppress them or anything. On the other hand, when I was in the thick of what I believe was the "Fear" stage of the Dark Night, I CLUNG to the concentration states to alleviate my fear and they really helped get me through it, like a security blanket or training wheels.

If, for whatever reason, you want to attain the rest of the jhanas first before continuing with insight, that's fine too, imo; it won't take much time at all--perhaps even just a week or something, so don't think you're gonna have to spend a year doing just that.

My own plan is what Daniel recommends--to work on concentration between "paths"--since I don't feel particularly jhana-clingy at the moment. So basically, I guess my suggestion is do what you feel like doing. ;)

Hope that helps! emoticon

RE: Developing Concentration or Insight First?
6/23/11 3:30 PM as a reply to Morgan Taylor.
Thanks for the insight, I tend to get great results from meditation, but concentration is more hit and miss, I will attempt to divide my time a bit.

RE: Developing Concentration or Insight First?
6/24/11 11:15 PM as a reply to James E P.
There's a PDF doc called "Mindfulness in Plain English" by Ganaratana free on the net.

If you scroll to chapter 14, there is quite a good discussion on this very topic, and a bit different to what you might read elsewhere. Worth it.

RE: Developing Concentration or Insight First?
6/25/11 1:16 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
Read it, as well as a few others, but would be great to re-read, will give it a look, thanks CCC.