Author Topic: Samadhi v. samatha?  (Read 5129 times)

Offline Dairy Lama

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Samadhi v. samatha?
« on: May 12, 2013, 02:13:46 am »
I'm still not clear on the relationship between samadhi ( "concentration" ) and samatha ( "tranquillity" ).
Your thoughts?
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Offline BlueSky

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Re: Samadhi v. samatha?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2013, 06:57:17 am »
If the meaning is concentration and tranquility (calm abiding), clearly there is a significant difference between them.

In tranquility, there is no effort while you are undistracted and clear.

In concentration, there is an effort.

In samantha meditation, concentration is only applied when needed. If it is not needed, we shouldn't apply, let the awareness take care itself.



Enlightenment is simply the clearing away of misunderstanding. When mistaken thinking is gone, liberation has happened. (Gampopa)


When we verbally indicate a thing as 'this' or 'that', our words, like rabbits's horns, are hollow names, mere fictive imputation upon what does not exist. (Longchenpa)

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: Samadhi v. samatha?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2013, 09:39:18 pm »
Samatha is focusing your mind on 1 object.  It is a method.  Keeping 1 object in mind and letting go of everything else.  This way, the mind is not pulled here and there by a million different things but stays with 1 thing only.  So you need to apply a bit of effort initially to do this.

Samadhi is not concentration (even though it's translated as such the world over), it is stillness.  It can be effortless.  For example, does empty space have to exert effort to make itself still?

Even if you try to use effort to make a rippling bowl of water still - you're going to agitate it even more.  You gotta allow it to settle.  Let go of trying to controlling it to try to make it still.  Allow it to be still of itself.

Offline ground

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Re: Samadhi v. samatha?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2013, 10:13:41 pm »
Samadhi has the characteristic of one-pointedness, but since it is the culmination of the practice of concentration it is an effortless one-pointed state.
Samatha is just transquility not necessarily with one-pointedness but often attained through practicing concentration (in the beginning) too.

Now one aspect of samadhi certainly is related to samatha, since there is tranquility and one aspect of samatha may be - but not necessarily is - related to samadhi since samatha may be maintained through continuing or intermittent concentration.

 :fu:

Offline former monk john

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Re: Samadhi v. samatha?
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2013, 03:29:04 am »
Optimus, are you sure you don't have the two definitions back the front.

It would seem they are just two totally different words that happen to sound alike, or at least look alike the way they are spelled in English.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 04:43:50 am by former monk john »
to me, the signs of a successful practice are happiness and a cessation of suffering, buddhism often gives me this; not all the answers.

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: Samadhi v. samatha?
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2013, 04:24:11 am »
Optimus, are you sure you don't have the two definitions back the front.

It would seem they are just two totally different words that happen to sound alike, or at least look alike the waqy they are spelled in English.

Yes, John.  I am sure.

Shila leads to samadhi, which then leads to Prajna.  Morality leads to a stillness which then leads to wisdom.  Shila, samadhi, prajna is the Noble Eightfold Path.

Now as for Shamatha/samatha - often translated as calm meditation or stabilizing meditation.  You concentrate your mind on 1 object, like the breath, a mantra.  This focusing on 1 object THEN leads you into the stillness of Samadhi (if you're skillful enough).

Sama samadhi or right samadhi is then defined as the 4 Jhanas where people are free from sense desires and the 5 Hindrances.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Samadhi v. samatha?
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2013, 06:57:30 am »
I came across the Samadhi Sutta, which interestingly discusses tranquillity and insight ( samatha and vipassana ).
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.094.than.html

There's another sutta which says that samatha and vipassana are paired qualities - samatha gets rid of passion, vipassana gets rid of delusion ( I'll see if I can find it ).  Note that samatha is a quality, not a method.
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Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Samadhi v. samatha?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2013, 08:32:46 am »
Shila, samadhi, prajna is the Noble Eightfold Path.

Yes, though in this context "samadhi" includes Right effort, Right mindfulness and Right concentration.
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Offline BlueSky

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Re: Samadhi v. samatha?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2013, 08:34:30 am »
Only in Buddhism Samantha and vipassana are one with different aspect.

For others, they only have Samantha or tranquility, and because of that they do not have the ability to get rid of the delusory concept of self. They do not have the ability to realize that actually there is no such thing as what they believe so and what they feel so. And they will reborn again due to their believe causing attachment to self.

Consequently, the maximum level they can reach is the peak of samsara, which is called the realm of Neither perception nor non-perception.

In Buddhism, that level is achieve when you reach Jhana 4. And this is also the level where Siddharta's teacher reached. He has 2 main teachers, and I forget whether one or both reached that level.

So, it shall be clear here that jhana doesn't have the wisdom comes from vipassana.

Although from Samantha you also can have wisdom, but that is simply worldly wisdom, not transcendal wisdom from Vipassana - called Wisdom of Emptiness

Theravada divided samsara into 31, while Mahayana into 33. However, the name of the last 4 peak realm of samsara is the same.


[url=http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sagga/loka.html]http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sagga/loka.html]
[url]http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sagga/loka.html]http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sagga/loka.html]http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sagga/loka.html]
[url]http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sagga/loka.html

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« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 08:52:23 am by BlueSky »
Enlightenment is simply the clearing away of misunderstanding. When mistaken thinking is gone, liberation has happened. (Gampopa)


When we verbally indicate a thing as 'this' or 'that', our words, like rabbits's horns, are hollow names, mere fictive imputation upon what does not exist. (Longchenpa)

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: Samadhi v. samatha?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2013, 04:31:34 pm »
I came across the Samadhi Sutta, which interestingly discusses tranquillity and insight ( samatha and vipassana ).
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.094.than.html


Good find, Spiny.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Samadhi v. samatha?
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2013, 03:34:22 am »
Only in Buddhism Samantha and vipassana are one with different aspect.

Yes, and they are described as paired qualities in some suttas, which suggests they are 2 sides of the same coin.  But is the coin samadhi?
It does seem that samadhi has a number of different meanings dependent on context.  In the 3-fold path ( sila, samadhi, panna ), it seems to mean Buddhist practice generally though excluding the precepts, so maybe "mental development"?
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Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: Samadhi v. samatha?
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2013, 05:53:12 am »
How is it that if the mind is calm (samatha) then insight (vipassana) is developed?

Imagine there is a piece of paper with writing on it and it's being waved around in the air.  You can't see what has been written on it.

But if you put the paper down - then it is still - and then you can read what is on it and understand the meaning behind the words.

In the same way, if the mind is calm and still, then clarity of insight is also fostered.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Samadhi v. samatha?
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2013, 06:50:55 am »
In the same way, if the mind is calm and still, then clarity of insight is also fostered.


Yes, that's a common way of looking at it, but this sutta seems to suggest an alternative view:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.170.than.html
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Offline BlueSky

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Re: Samadhi v. samatha?
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2013, 07:55:58 am »
Actually, it is not right to say mental development.

The reason is all you are looking for is already there, only you don't know it. When you talk about awareness, you cannot develop awareness.

How are you going to develop awareness? It is already there with you every second.

When we talk about Samantha, we are actually talking about the ability not to be distracted.
And
When we talk about vipassana, we are talking about reality based on correct perspective.

Ignorant people do not have correct perspective of reality.

Someone who thinks or believe, there is a moon in the water cannot be said have correct reality perspective.

And someone who fail to see the emptiness of substance or self in everything cannot be said to have correct reality perspective as well.

Normally, when we just realize emptiness (nonduality), the wisdom is still very weak, in the sense that our habit of delusion always comes and takes over as if you again see there is moon in the water.

But this is just old habit.

And to be always in the state of nonduality, without any sway, is called Samantha.

Actually, when you realize nonduality, at that instant Samantha and vipassana are also present.

Because without wisdom, it is impossible for you to be in the nonduality state.

And when you are in nonduality state, there is actually nothing can obstruct you or cause you to obstruct.

But, because of very very strong habit, you can somehow lost that nonduality (emptiness) state. Actually you never lost it, but your perspective change to the old habit again.

Like the water moon, whether your perspective is right or wrong, the fact of water moon always has no moon.

Similarly, although your perspective about reality again has self perspective due to your strong habit, the reality of selflessness cannot change.

Anyway, there is nothing to be develop. If you want to say, it is simply familiarization.

This is actually the real meaning of meditation.

Meditation is simply familiarization.

But of course, you must have a right perspective to be familiar with, which is not an easy task die to strong habit.
Enlightenment is simply the clearing away of misunderstanding. When mistaken thinking is gone, liberation has happened. (Gampopa)


When we verbally indicate a thing as 'this' or 'that', our words, like rabbits's horns, are hollow names, mere fictive imputation upon what does not exist. (Longchenpa)

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Samadhi v. samatha?
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2013, 02:43:41 am »
There's another sutta which says that samatha and vipassana are paired qualities - samatha gets rid of passion, vipassana gets rid of delusion ( I'll see if I can find it ). 

Here it is, Anguttara Nikaya 2:2.9:

Tranquillity and Insight
Two things, O monks, partake of supreme knowledge. What two? Tranquillity and insight.
If tranquillity is developed, what benefit does it bring? The mind becomes developed. And
what is the benefit of a developed mind? All lust is abandoned.
If insight is developed, what benefit does it bring? Wisdom becomes developed. And what is
the benefit of developed wisdom? All ignorance is abandoned.
A mind defiled by lust is not freed; and wisdom defiled by ignorance cannot develop. Thus,
monks, through the fading away of lust there is liberation of mind; and through the fading away
of ignorance there is liberation by wisdom.
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

 


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