BP Serbia Study Session 11: Meditation – Bhavana

Dear friends,

Please read Chapter VII of What the Buddha Taught.
This chapter again illustrates the differences between schools – Theravada, as presented in the book, and Mahayana/Vajrayana, as practiced in the Bodhi Paths and elsewhere.
Do you have any questions?

Those of you who read English comfortably might look at https://tricycle.org/magazine/vipassana-meditation/

I don’t think it’s necessary to translate it – it’s very similar to the chapter in the book. I’d especially like to call your attention to the readers’ comments – you’ll see that the readers are debating what, exactly, is meant by these terms, and that they are not able to come to a consensus.

Here’s an extract from a text you can sink your teeth into, if you dare!
From a talk given by Shamar Rinpoche in Los Angeles on October 4, 2002:

After practicing shamatha meditation where we’ve learned to develop the mind’s tranquility and stability, we then move into the second phase of meditation called vipashyana (Sanskrit) or insight meditation. This is a meditation practice in which we gain a profound insight into the true nature of mind. When we look into the mind we discover what is called primordial awareness. This primordial awareness is non-dualistic and it is only through insight meditation that we can access or recognize this non-dual mind. Without insight meditation we will always be caught up in dualistic clinging and the mind’s true nature – the wisdom or primordial awareness aspect – will remain obscured and we will not be able to access it at all.

Once we have seen into the nature of mind, then through further insight meditation we improve the quality of our experience of primordial awareness. With time, this becomes natural, something that will develop by itself. This is the point where there is spontaneous growth of our experience of primordial awareness. If the mind is agitated, however, we will not be able to see this primordial awareness. This is why it is important in the initial practice of meditation to cultivate mental calm, tranquility and stability.

This, then, is how one experiences through meditation the growth of primordial awareness in the mind. The method to develop this is the practice of insight meditation where we learn not to grasp at the reality or the fixed existence of external objects. Inwardly we recognize that the mind itself is not something that is dull or obscured, but is in fact the nature of clarity. When we encounter directly in our meditation the non-grasping at objects and the inner clarity of mind, these two work together to allow us to see the essence of mind.

We can only see the essence of mind if the mind is unobscured by thoughts. A thought arises through the contact or the relationship between the mind as subject and an object that is being related to by the mind. Thus, thought is necessarily a dualistic process. When the mind is in a state of dualistic clinging it will think. When, however, the mind knows its own essence and can recognize its true nature, then this is the experience of non-dualistic, primordial awareness. In fact, the mind at that point is seeing itself.

Have fun!

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