vipassana vs samatha (yes I still don't get it)

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P O V, modified 11 Years ago.

vipassana vs samatha (yes I still don't get it)

Posts: 196 Join Date: 8/16/10 Recent Posts
Holy hell this vipassana vs samatha situation has left me more confused than when I realized existence doesn't exist... wait what? Seriously though, if someone with more knowledge than me can let me know if the following statements are true of false then maybe I can wrap my head around it.

1: You're unable to get further than the Dark Night stage when doing insight practice on the cushion. Luckily in daily life the vipassana stages doesn't apply, so long as you can let your cushion-problems be cushion-problems.

2: Technically you can reach the higher stages of vipassana jhana without even knowing what meditation and insight practice is, just by having a naturally curiosity about your mind and existence.

3: You can go "all the way" (although probably not as efficient) with just using a single simple technique such as noting. This is because as you progress up the stages of insight you will naturally also reach (at least) the first samatha jhana just from the concentration needed to do advanced insight.
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Florian Weps, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: vipassana vs samatha (yes I still don't get it)

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
P O V:
Holy hell this vipassana vs samatha situation has left me more confused than when I realized existence doesn't exist... wait what? Seriously though, if someone with more knowledge than me can let me know if the following statements are true of false then maybe I can wrap my head around it.


Hm. If you enjoy Buddhist lists, maybe picking apart the noble eightfold path factors and sorting them into the traditional "sila, samadhi, panna" categories (the latter two being, broadly, samatha and vipassana) will give you a framework. Or have a look at the five spiritual faculties, about the significance of each of these, as concentration and wisdom both figure in there.

Or maybe the diving analogy will be useful: samatha is about how long you can hold your breath, vipassana about how deep you can dive. Noting technique would then be the equivalent of taking ever deeper plunges of short duration; more samatha-esque approaches won't take you to down so fast, but give you more time down there before you have to re-surface. Either way, progress is about the depth.

P O V:
1: You're unable to get further than the Dark Night stage when doing insight practice on the cushion. Luckily in daily life the vipassana stages doesn't apply, so long as you can let your cushion-problems be cushion-problems.


Yes, if you're able to leave cushion-problems at the cushion. This varies with the individual, but the vipassana ├▒ana which is at the "cutting edge" of your practice tends to color your daily life in some way. Don't be afraid of the Dark Night, but don't walk blindly into it, either.

P O V:
2: Technically you can reach the higher stages of vipassana jhana without even knowing what meditation and insight practice is, just by having a naturally curiosity about your mind and existence.


For the A&P and subsequent dark night, yes, definitely. Happened to me, in fact, and many others; odds are, it happened to you if you're searching the internet for sites like the DhO.

P O V:
3: You can go "all the way" (although probably not as efficient) with just using a single simple technique such as noting. This is because as you progress up the stages of insight you will naturally also reach (at least) the first samatha jhana just from the concentration needed to do advanced insight.


Yes! Don't underestimate "simple" noting technique. I'm a huge fan - I used it to get out of the first Dark Night and to Stream Entry.

Cheers,
Florian
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P O V, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: vipassana vs samatha (yes I still don't get it)

Posts: 196 Join Date: 8/16/10 Recent Posts
Thank you so much for that answer. I haven't really been good enough at researching but I'm getting there. It's great to have a site like this where you get direct feedback from like-minded others. I really like analogies since it can be so difficult to convey cognitive concepts. Your holding-the-breath analogy makes it clearer to me and it adds to the understanding I have gotten so far. I'm brand new to these maps and models so bear with me, and again, thanks!

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