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Monday, August 14, 2017
The two kinds of Buddhist meditation
Ananda, Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
There are two approaches into states of meditation, serenity and insight or what Buddhism calls samatha (Sanskrit samadhi) and vipassana.
Serenity is a full-body immersive state that temporarily purifies and transforms the personality through bliss and deep relaxation.
Insight (vipassana) is more systematic; it analyzes experience into its component parts, usually the Five Aggregates or groups of clinging to the illusion of ego or a separate self (separate from the impersonal factors on which the illusion depends).
While some amount of mindfulness is necessary for serenity, the aim of serenity is to purify the heart/mind by ALLOWING natural meditative states to blossom.
These meditative states are called "zens" (Japanese), "jhanas" (Pali), or "dhyanas" (Sanskrit).
The aim of insight-meditation is permanent transformation brought about by penetrating the Four Noble Truths, directly seeing the rise and fall of all phenomena and thereby letting go rather than incessantly clinging to the unreal.
The rub is, there is no insight without the calm purification brought about by serenity, and getting into profoundly serene states takes some mindfulness.
But what about clinging? How will that impact my serenity and my ability to gain insight?
We are already practicing "mindfulness" without realizing it. When we realize it, we can increase and sharpen our practice.