Questions on Samatha.
- Dear Sarah, Kevin, Alex and other friends,
I think that Kevin had important questions on samatha and these are
questions many people have. I like to go into them and give some
S: Kevin's discussion with KS and myself (#109607). Kevin had asked
why the Buddha ad mentioned jhana "hundreds or thousands" of times if
there was no need to talk about jhana. KS replied by asking whether
among those who became enlightened, were there more who did so by
just developing vipassana or those who developed vipassana and
samatha (to jhana levels). The answer is by vipassana alone.
N: Yes, there is a Text in S I, which Robert K also mentioned in his
forum. Also we know from the Susima sutta and from the Puggala
Pa~n~natti that also people who did not develop jhaana attained by
But apart from this, I find it a relief that there are no rules, that
it all depends on the individual's accumulations when or whether he
S: KS had previously mentioned that whilst developing vipassana,
there was no need for extra samatha and asked which was better -
samatha or vipassana. Kevin had suggested this implied "attachment to
vipassana or aversion for lower kusala" and that all kusala was good
and a support for wisdom. KS said that just samatha was not
understanding realities as not self, just knowing the difference
between kusala and akusala. If it were more, then those before the
Buddha could have attained the Path. We have to stress vipassana from
the beginning. And in terms of "what's better", think of suttas such
as the Anathapindika Sutta which stresses how much more valuable a
moment of anicca sanna, the understanding of the impermanence of
dhammas is, compared to sila, dana, metta and samatha of all kinds.
N: All perfections are needed, but each perfection has to be
developed together with right understanding of realities, otherwise
it is self, self, all the time. But I remember Kevin's words in
another post I found very refreshing, that he reminded people to
develop right understanding also when going to a retreat.
S: 9. Kevin's comments contd (2nd page of same post).
Kevin: ".. Then there can be kusala citta that wants to practice
samatha...." KS: "having more kusala in a day - the way to have more
samatha." What's the characteristic of sati? Anatta. There is no
understanding of anattaness of sati (when there's an idea of wanting
to practice samatha). Desire is lobha.
N: Some people misunderstand Kh Sujin's words and believe that she is
against samatha. We have to carefully consider what she means. She is
so concerned about it that people will practise samatha with an idea
of self, or with attachment.
She said in other context: "KH S: This moment, what can understanding
know? If there is no understanding, can there be practising or
She also said that samatha and vipassana are developed together, that
they should not be separated. I am listening to a Thai recording
about the four kinds of nutrition, and she speaks about the foulness
of the body when eating. When we see foulness, there will be less
clinging. Considering this will bring calm. But, as I see it, no
rule. It all depends on the citta from moment to moment.
S: 10. continuing. Anapanasati, practicing meditation, Vism
description, access concentration..... KS: "What for?" Do those who
develop samatha know about vitakka, vicara, piti, ekaggata and
upekkha from the beginning (not the names or theory)? One knows that
without vitakka about that particular object, it's impossible for
there to be more kusala factors of jhana. If there is no
understanding of vitakka to have that object more and more often by
seeing the benefit of that object to condition kusala at that moment.
Panna can condition more kusala by vitakka, touching the object.
N: Here it is stressed how difficult it is to know the jhaanafactors
of vitakka, etc. Not just their names.
S: Kevin's comment about (Vism) counting the breaths and so on. KS
stressed the importance of panna understanding moments of kusala and
akusala. Kevin's comment questioning whether those who "practiced
samatha" in the suttas only had kusala moments. KS said that it seems
like life is different for those developing samatha and that it's not
daily, developing gradually. It doesn't mean we can have samatha of
that degree in a short time. It depends on accumulations and takes a
long time, aeons, for samatha to develop to that degree.
N: Here we see Kh Sujin's concern about people who think that samatha
is easy. If one takes for jhaana what is not jhaana it is dangerous.
To conclude: I believe that it is essential to understand citta at
this moment and I appreciate it that Kh Sujin is reminding us of this
time and again. I like her dialogue with Alan:
S: Is there depression now?
S: Is there happiness now?
S: Does it last?
S: Does it belong to anyone or is it just a dhamma?
A:Just a dhamma.
S: Same for unhappiness, seeing, visible object - all dhammas. Not my
happiness, sadness or thinking that we're used to finding so important.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Hi Ken O.
--- In email@example.com, Ken O <ashkenn2k@...> wrote:
> KO: the three links I give you are all ancient commentaries. Look at the
> commentary translation and forget about the introduction or the preface, look
> below after the sutta ended, that is where the ancient commentary are being
Thank you, I will look those up!
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