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Vocabulary (Anapana, Vipassana, Samatha)

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Hello everyone. I am fairly new to "professional layman" meditation (TMI around stage 3, 10-day Goenka retreat) and have a question regarding vocabulary:

On the one hand I got so far that in meditation two qualities can be developed, or techniques are divided into two types: Samatha (calming and concentration) and Vipassana (insight). On the other hand there are specific techniques, where e.g. breath focus is a technique to develop Samatha and body scanning is a technique to develop Vipassana.

Now, in the Goenka retreat, the first three days are spent doing the technique of Anapana to concentrate the mind and from there on the technique of Vipassana is used to develop insight.

So, is there a "technique of Vipassana" and a "quality of Vipassana" as opposed to the "technique of Anapana" and the "quality of Samatha"? Or Does Goenkas "main technique"™ have another name that they did not mention or I missed?

Is there a table of techniques and which quality they belong to?

RE: Vocabulary (Anapana, Vipassana, Samatha)
Answer
9/18/17 12:30 AM as a reply to David Starflower.
In very simple terms, any technique that involves noticing the Three Characteristics of impermanence, suffering and not-self is vipassana.

Any technique that emphases specific mental qualities, suppression of the hindrances, stillness, tranquility, bliss, equanimity, formlessness, as well as specific sensate experiences, such as visualizations or mantras or powers or whatever, etc. is samatha.

It is not a question of which objects are used, but what one does with those objects and what is cultivated.

For example, if you took the breath to be a smooth, beautiful, tranquilizing object that you devoted all your attention to in order to attain jhanic states (blissful, rapturous, peaceful, etc.), that is samatha.

If you instead noticied every single rapid sensation that made up the breath arise and vanish as well as tuned into any subtle dualities, sense of control vs naturalness, suffering, tension, etc. around the way the breath was perceived, as well as the rapid oscillation of those transient sensations with many other sensations, mental impressions, the sensations that make up investigation and effort, and all of that with a high degree of precision that cared not a bit whether or not that produced bliss or tranquility, that is vipassana.

There are techniques that contain a mix of those elements, and those are typically called samatha-vipassana, or shamatha-vipashyana if you want to get all Tibetan about it, and it becomes a matter of the degree of the incorporation of those elements and how skillfully both can be cultivated simultaneously.

So, in Goenka-ji's school, they use the breath for samatha, generating concentration, and they use body scanning as the object when doing vipassana.

You can actually use nearly any object for samatha and can definitely use any object for vipassana. Some samatha objects will limit how deep you can go into jhana. No object limits the depths to which you can go in vipassana, as all sensations equally demonstrate the true nature of all phenomena, that being the Three Characteristics.

Helpful?

Daniel

RE: Vocabulary (Anapana, Vipassana, Samatha)
Answer
9/18/17 1:21 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Which samatha objects limit how deep you can go, and which do not?

Really helpful answer - thank you OP for asking. Tagged on out of curiosity, hope that's alright. This is my first post - I usually lurk, and this question/answer came at a conveniant/coincidental time.

Cheers~

RE: Vocabulary (Anapana, Vipassana, Samatha)
Answer
9/18/17 2:54 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
That indeed was very helpful. Thank you.

I too would be interested in how objects can limit samath. I assume the breath does not limit, as so many use it?!

RE: Vocabulary (Anapana, Vipassana, Samatha)
Answer
9/18/17 3:07 AM as a reply to David Starflower.
The list of objects that limit samatha jhanas are found on p 375-376 of this text and other places:

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/printguna.pdf

RE: Vocabulary (Anapana, Vipassana, Samatha)
Answer
9/18/17 3:25 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Also see Path to Deliverance page 75 or so and some other pages.
https://store.pariyatti.org/Buddhas-Path-to-Deliverance-The--PDF-eBook_p_2561.html

RE: Vocabulary (Anapana, Vipassana, Samatha)
Answer
9/18/17 3:39 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Actually, both of those are books well-deserving of being read in their entirety a few times if one is interested in Buddhist practice and the origins of these techniques and some of their fine points.

RE: Vocabulary (Anapana, Vipassana, Samatha)
Answer
9/19/17 10:30 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thank you so much for these shareable resources emoticon