Articles by alphabetic order
 Ā Ī Ñ Ś Ū Ö Ō
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0


From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

2’’ In particular, how to train in the last two perfections

(a) The benefits of cultivating serenity and insight

(b) How serenity and insight include all states of meditative concentration

(c) The nature of serenity and insight (d) Why it is necessary to cultivate both (e) How to be certain about their order The most venerable teachers have great compassion; I bow with respect at their feet. [468] 2’’ In particular, how to train in the last two perfections1

Training in the last two perfections, in particular, is the way to cultivate meditative serenity and insight because serenity and insight are included under the perfections of meditative stabilization and wisdom respectively. This section has six parts:

1. The benefits of cultivating serenity and insight

2. Showing that these two include all states of meditative concentration

3. The nature of serenity and insight 4.

Why it is necessary to cultivate both

5. How to be certain about their order 6. How to train in each (Chapters 2-26)

(a) The benefits of cultivating serenity and insight All of the mundane and supramundane good qualities of the Mah›y›na and Hınay›na are the result of serenity and insight. The

Sutra Unravelling the Intended Meaning (Sa˙dhi-nirmocana-sÒtra) says:

2 Maitreya, you should know that all mundane and supramundane virtuous qualities, whether of Ÿr›vakas, bodhisattvas, or tath›gatas, are the result of meditative serenity and insight. Qualm: Are not serenity and insight good qualities in the mindstream of someone who has reached them through meditation? [469] How is it possible for all good qualities to result from those two? Reply: As will be explained, actual serenity and insight are good qualities in

the mind-stream of someone who has attained them through meditation, so all the good qualities of the Mah›y›na and Hınay›na do not result from them. However, concentrations which at least involve one-pointedness on a virtuous object are classified with serenity; virtuous cognitions that distinguish an

ultimate or conventional object are classified with insight. This is what the sÒtra means in stating that all of the virtuous qualities of the three vehicles result from serenity and insight, so there is no contradiction. With that same purport, the SÒtra of Cultivating Faith in the Mah›y›na (Mah›y›na-

pras›da-prabh›van›-sÒtra) states:3 Child of good lineage, this list should inform you that faith in the Mah›y›na of the bodhisattvas—and indeed, everything resulting from the Mah›y›na—comes from accurately reflecting on facts and meanings with an undistracted mind. An undistracted mind is mental one-pointedness, the serenity aspect, while accurate reflection on facts and meanings refers to discerning wisdom, the insight aspect. Thus, you must achieve all good qualities of the two vehicles through both

(1) sustained analysis with discerning wisdom and

(2) one-pointed focus on the object of meditation.

You do not achieve them through one-sided practice of either analytical meditation or stabilizing meditation. Also, the SÒtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning states:4 Once people have cultivated insight And serenity, they are free From the bondage of dysfunctional tendencies And from the bondage of signs. Here, “dysfunctional tendencies” refers to latent propensities in your mind-stream which can produce increasing degrees of misconceptions; “signs” refers to ongoing attachments to erroneous objects, which foster those propensities. [470] Ratn›karaŸ›nti’s

Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajñ›p›ramitopadeŸa) says that insight eliminates the former, while serenity eliminates the latter.5 These are the benefits attributed to “serenity” and “insight,” but even when the terms serenity and insight are not used, there are similar statements about the benefits of meditative stabilization and wisdom. Realize that such statements describe the benefits of serenity and insight.

(b) How serenity and insight include all states of meditative concentration The branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits of a tree are limitless, yet the core point at which they all come together is the root. As in this example, serenity and insight are the sublime core at which gathers all that the Buddha says

about the limitless states of meditative concentration in Mah›y›na and Hınay›na. The SÒtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning states:6 Know that serenity and insight include all of the many aspects of the states of meditative concentration which I have taught for Ÿr›vakas, bodhisattvas and tath›gatas. Therefore, since those who are intent on attaining meditative concentration cannot comprehend a limitless number of distinct forms, they should know well and always

rely on the techniques for sustaining serenity and insight, the synthesis of all concentrations. KamalaŸıla’s third Stages of Meditation (Bh›van›-krama) says:7 Although the Bhagavan therein presented distinct bodhisattva concentrations beyond number or measure, serenity and insight cover all of them.

Therefore, we will discuss just that path which unites serenity and insight. And, as stated in KamalaŸıla’s second Stages of Meditation:8 Since those two include all states of meditative concentration, all yogis should at all times definitely rely upon serenity and insight. [471]

(c) The nature of serenity and insight As to the nature of serenity, it is as stated in the SÒtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning:9 While you dwell in solitude and properly direct your attention inward, you attend to just those topics upon which you have carefully reflected. Your attention is mentally engaged by continuously attending inwardly. The state of mind wherein you do this, and

stay this way often, and in which both physical and mental pliancy arise, is called “serenity.” This means that you take as an object of meditation any appropriate object, such as the five aggregates, having determined that it is a topic in the twelve branches of scripture.10 With undistracted mindfulness

and vigilance, you focus your attention on this object and fix it to the object continuously, so that your mind stabilizes of its own accord on the object of meditation. When you produce the delight and bliss of physical and mental pliancy, then your state of meditative concentration becomes serenity. This comes about through just sustaining your attention inwardly, without distraction from the object of meditation; it is not contingent upon understanding the

reality of the thing. As to the nature of insight, the same sÒtra says:11 After you have attained mental pliancy and physical pliancy, you stay therein and eliminate other mental aspects. You then regard inwardly and with discernment the mental image which is the domain of the meditative concentration on the

topics upon which you have reflected. With relation to the images that are the domain of such concentration, any differentiation of the meaning of these topics, or full differentiation, thorough examination, thorough analysis, forbearance, wish, differentiation of particulars, view, or thought is called “insight.” Thus is a bodhisattva skilled in insight. [472] It is said that the Chinese master Ha-shang (Hva-shang), having seen this sÒtra’s very clear and undeniable explanation that insight is discerning wisdom, exclaimed, “I don’t know how this can be a sÒtra!” and kicked it. He did this because the sÒtra’s

statement did not agree with his claim that since all conceptualization of any sort involves an apprehension of signs, you should dispense with discerning wisdom and meditate on the profound meaning by not bringing anything to mind. This approach has a great number of adherents.12 In that sÒtra passage,

“differentiation” means distinguishing the diversity of conventional phenomena; “full differentiation” means distinguishing their real [[[Wikipedia:Absolute (philosophy)|ultimate]]] nature. The noble Asaºga explains that “thorough examination” is when conceptual attention possessed of wisdom apprehends a sign; “thorough analysis” means proper examination. “Examination” means rough examination; “analysis” means detailed analysis. The apprehension of a sign does not here refer to a conception of true existence, but rather to

distinguishing the exact particulars of an object. Accordingly, there is both examination and analysis of both the real nature and the diversity of phenomena. In accord with the SÒtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning, the Cloud of Jewels SÒtra (Ratna-megha-sÒtra) also clearly states:13 Serenity is one-pointed attention; insight is proper discernment. Also, the venerable Maitreya says in the Ornament for the Mah›y›na SÒtras (Mah›y›na-sÒtr›la˙k›ra-

k›rik›):14 Know as the path of serenity Abbreviating the name of a phenomenon;15 Understand the path of insight To be analysis of its meanings. And,16 Based on a genuine stability, Through directing your attention to your mind And through differentiating phenomena, There is meditative serenity and insight. This states that stabilization of your mind on the basis of genuine concentration is serenity and the wisdom that differentiates phenomena is insight. [473] Since this comments to the same effect on what those sÒtras say, it is inappropriate to construe those sÒtra passages in some other sense. Also, Asaºga’s Bodhisattva Levels (Bodhisattva-bhÒmi) says:17 With your mind definitely directed at an object of meditation which is simply some inexpressible thing or its meaning, an attentive perception free from all elaboration and free from all mental distraction takes up any object of meditation. Then, “meditative serenityexists from the point at which internal concentration stabilizes and focuses your attention on a sign, and for as long as it maintains a single, extended flow and maintains concentration. What is insight? You bring to mind the signs of those very phenomena upon which

you have reflected, using the same attention with which you cultivated serenity. “Insight” is anything from the point of either differentiation, full differentiation, or full differentiation of phenomena, and for as long as skill and wisdom are operating extensively. This statement accords with those cited above. It gives commentary to the same effect as the sÒtra and the text of the Venerable One, so it confirms the certainty of the foregoing identification of serenity and insight. Also, the second Stages of Meditation says:18

After you have quelled the distraction of external objects, you rest in a delighted and pliant mind which naturally and continuously engages an internal object of meditation. This is called meditative serenity. While you remain in serenity, any analysis of that very object is called insight. Also, Ratn›karaŸ›nti’s Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom says:19 With regard to that, serenity’s object of meditation is a non-discursive image of

something which is either a case of the diversity of phenomena or which represents the real nature. [474] Insight’s object of meditation is a discursive image of something which is a case of the diversity of phenomena or which represents the real nature. This states that meditative serenity is non-discursive stabilization on something among either the diversity or the real nature of phenomena, and that insight is analysis of either of those two objects. This is also the intended meaning of a passage in the SÒtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning:20 “O Bhagavan, how many objects does serenity have?”

The Buddha replied, “One, namely, a non-discursive image.” “How many objects does insight have?” “Just one, a discursive image.” “How many objects of both are there?” “Two, namely, the limits of existence and achievement of your purpose.” Asaºga’s Compendium of Knowledge (Abhidharma-samuccaya) states that “the limits of existence” refers to both the diversity and real nature of phenomena,21 so serenity and insight each take both ultimates and conventionalities as objects of meditation, just as Ratn›karaŸ›nti explained above. Thus, meditative serenity and insight are not differentiated in terms of their respective objects of meditation, for there is meditative serenity that knows emptiness and there is insight which does not know emptiness. Also, meditative serenity (zhi gnas) is your mind quieting (zhi) movement toward external objects, and then abiding (gnas) on an internal object of meditation; insight (lhag mthong) is superior (lhag pa), i.e., special, seeing (mthong). Some claim that a mind resting in a non-discursive state without vivid intensity is serenity, while such a mind with vivid intensity is insight. This is not correct because it contradicts the definitions of serenity and insight that are established at length in sources such as the words of the Conqueror, the treatises of the Regent,22 the texts

of Asaºga, and KamalaŸıla’s Stages of Meditation. These texts say that meditative serenity is attention concentrated one-pointedly on an object of meditation, while insight is wisdom that properly distinguishes the meaning of an object of knowledge. [475] In particular, the presence or absence of vivid intensity of mind in a non-conceptual consciousness indicates whether the concentration is lax; it is utterly incorrect to claim that it indicates

the difference between serenity and insight. This is because in all concentrations of meditative serenity you definitely must clear away laxity, and because all concentrations free from laxity are invariably limpid states of mind.23 Thus, identify concentration and wisdom that focus on the real nature according to whether your mind knows as its object either of the two selflessnesses.24 Do not identify them according to whether your mind rests in a non-

discursive, clear, and blissful state, because there are countless states of concentration which are blissful, clear, and non-discursive, yet which do not orient your mind toward the reality of objects, their lack of self. Even without finding the view that knows the way things are, any totally non-discursive mind can be adequate to induce bliss and clarity. Even without understanding emptiness by establishing it in perception, nothing at all prevents you from

developing non-discursive concentration. If you keep your mind that way for a long time, you cause the wind-energies to become serviceable. Once this occurs, nothing precludes the arising of bliss, as it is the nature of such serviceability to create mental and physical delight and bliss. Once bliss has arisen, then there will be mental clarity by virtue of the quality of clarity in the feelings of delight and bliss. For this reason, there is not a single

authentic source to prove that all blissful, clear, non-discursive concentrations know reality. Therefore, since bliss, clarity, and non-discursiveness are present in concentrations that know emptiness, yet very often occur in concentrations that are not directed toward emptiness, you have to differentiate these two.

(d) Why it is necessary to cultivate both Why is it insufficient to cultivate either serenity or insight alone?

Why is it necessary to cultivate both? I will explain.

[476] If you light an oil-lamp for the purpose of viewing a picture in the middle of the night, you will see the depictions very clearly if the lamp is both very bright and undisturbed by wind. If the lamp is not bright, or is bright but flickering in the wind, then you will

not see the images clearly. Likewise, when looking for the profound meaning, you will clearly see reality if you have both the wisdom that unerringly discerns the meaning of reality and an unmoving attention that stays as you wish on the object of meditation. However, if you do not have wisdom that knows

how things are—even if you have a non-discursive concentration in which your mind is stable and does not scatter to other objects—then you lack the eyes which see reality. Hence, it will be impossible to know how things are no matter how much you develop your concentration. And even with a perspective that understands reality—selflessness—if you lack a firm concentration that stays one-pointedly on its object, then it will be impossible to clearly see the

meaning of the way things are because you will be disturbed by the winds of uncontrollably fluctuating discursive thought. This is why you need both serenity and insight. KamalaŸıla’s second Stages of Meditation says:25 With bare insight that lacks serenity, the yogi’s mind is distracted by objects; like an oil-lamp in the wind, it will not be stable. For this reason, what sublime wisdom sees will not be very clear. As this is so, rely equally on both.

Therefore, the Great Final Nirv›˚a SÒtra (Mah›-parinirv›˚a-sÒtra) says: ⁄r›vakas do not see the lineage of the tath›gatas because their concentration is greater than their wisdom; bodhisattvas see it, but unclearly, because their wisdom is greater than their concentration. The tath›gatas see everything because they have serenity and insight in equal measure. [477] With the power of serenity, your mind—like a lamp placed where there is no wind—will be

unmoved by the winds of discursive thought. With insight, others cannot divert you since you have abandoned the infinite entanglements of bad views. As the Moon Lamp SÒtra (Candra-pradıpa-sÒtra) says: The power of meditative serenity makes your mind steady; insight makes it like a mountain. So, the mark of meditative serenity is that your attention stays right where it is placed without distraction from the object of meditation. The mark of insight is that

you know the reality of selflessness and eliminate bad views such as the view of self; your mind is like a mountain in that it cannot be shaken by opponents. Therefore, you should distinguish these two marks. Before you achieve meditative serenity, you may use discerning wisdom to analyze the meaning of selflessness, but your mind is extremely unsteady, like a lamp in the wind, so your concept of

selflessness is unclear. On the other hand, if you analyze when you have achieved serenity, you avoid the fault of extreme unsteadiness, so your concept of selflessness will be clear. Thus, the mental state of insight has a quality of steadiness which derives from non-discursive meditative serenity and a quality of knowing how things exist which does not derive from meditative serenity. For example, a lamp’s ability to illumine forms derives from the wick

and the preceding moments of flame; it does not derive from such things as the screen that protects it from the wind. However, the stability of the steady flame of the lamp does derive from this screen. Thus, if you engage in analysis with a wisdom possessed of the meditative equipoise of serenity—a state undisturbed by laxity or excitement— then you will understand the meaning of reality. With this in mind, the Compendium of the Teachings SÒtra (Dharma-

sa˙gıtisÒtra) states:26 When your mind is in meditative equipoise, you will understand reality just as it is. KamalaŸıla’s first Stages of Meditation says:27 [478] Because your mind moves like a river, it does not rest without the foundation of meditative serenity; a mind that is not in meditative equipoise cannot understand reality just as it is. Also, the Bhagavan says, “With meditative equipoise, you know reality just as it is.” When you achieve serenity, you not only stop the fault of movement in the wisdom consciousness that properly analyzes selflessness, you also stop the fault of distraction

from the object of meditation whenever you use discerning wisdom to conduct analytical meditation on topics such as impermanence, karma and its effects, the faults of cyclic existence, love, compassion, or the practice of the spirit of enlightenment. No matter what your object of meditation, you engage it

without distraction, so that any virtue you cultivate is much more powerful. On the other hand, before you reach serenity, you weaken all of your virtuous deeds by frequent distraction to other objects. As ⁄›ntideva’s Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds (Bodhisattva-cary›vat›ra) says:28 The person whose mind is distracted Lives between the fangs of the afflictions. And:29 The One Who Knows Reality has said that Prayers, austerities, and such—

Even if practiced for a long time— Are pointless if done with a distracted mind. Thus, the aim of attaining a concentration in which your mind is non-discursively stabilized on a single object without distraction is to have mental serviceability—the ability to willfully direct your attention to virtuous

objects of meditation. If you fix your attention on a single object of meditation, you can keep it there, but if you release it, it will proceed as you wish to limitless virtuous objects, just like water drawn into smoothly flowing irrigation ditches. [479] Therefore, after you have achieved meditative

serenity, you must sustain in meditation objects and attitudes that stop limitless faults and bring together limitless virtues, such as wisdom consciousnesses focusing on the real nature and the diversity of phenomena, generosity, the attitude of restraint, patience, joyous perseverance, faith,

and disenchantment with cyclic existence. Realize that continuously stabilizing your mind by fixing it on a single object of meditation yields no great advantages in the practice of virtue, for those who do this fail to appreciate the purpose of achieving serenity. Thus, if you reject analytical meditation

with discerning wisdom both in the deeds section of the perfections and in the view section of the perfections, your cultivation of one-pointed concentration will be very weak. The technique for producing forceful and longlasting certainty about the meaning of selflessness is sustained analysis

with discerning wisdom. Without such insight into the real nature, no matter how long you cultivate serenity, you can only suppress manifest afflictions; you cannot eradicate their seeds. Therefore, do not cultivate only serenity; you need to cultivate insight as well because, as KamalaŸıla’s second Stages of Meditation says:30 Cultivating just serenity alone does not get rid of a practitioner’s obscurations; it only suppresses the afflictions for a while. Unless you have the light of wisdom, you do not destroy dormant tendencies. For this reason the SÒtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning says:31 Meditative

stabilization suppresses afflictions; wisdom destroys dormant tendencies. Also, the King of Concentrations SÒtra (Sam›dhi-r›ja-sÒtra) says:32 Although worldly persons cultivate concentration They do not destroy the notion of self. Their afflictions return and disturb them, As they did Udraka, who cultivated concentration in this way.33

If you analytically discern the lack of self in phenomena And if you cultivate that analysis in meditation, This will cause the result, attainment of nirv›˚a; [480] There is no peace through any other means. Also, the Scriptural Collection of the Bodhisattvas (Bodhisattva-pi˛aka) says:34 Those who are

unlearned in the contents of the Scriptural Collection of the Bodhisattvas, unlearned in the discipline of the noble teaching, and who derive a sense of sufficiency from mere concentration fall by virtue of their pride into an inflated sense of themselves. They will not escape from birth, aging, sickness, death, sorrow, lamentation, suffering, unhappiness, or perturbation; they will not escape from the six realms of cyclic existence; they will not escape from the aggregation of suffering. With that in mind, the Tath›gata said, “Learning from others what is appropriate, you will escape aging and death.” As

this is so, those who seek completely pure sublime wisdom from which every obscuration has been eliminated should cultivate wisdom while they remain in serenity. On this point, the Ratna-kÒ˛a Collection (Ratna-ku˛a-grantha) says:35 Keeping ethical discipline, you will attain concentration; Attaining

concentration, you cultivate wisdom; With wisdom you attain pure, sublime wisdom; As your sublime wisdom is pure, your ethical discipline is perfect. And the SÒtra of Cultivating Faith in the Mah›y›na says:36 Child of good lineage, if you did not have wisdom, I would not say that you had faith in the

Mah›y›na of bodhisattvas, nor would I say you knew the real nature in the Mah›y›na. (e) How to be certain about their order ⁄›ntideva’s Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds says:37 Insight possessed of serenity Destroys the afflictions. Knowing this, Seek serenity at the outset. According to this statement,

you first achieve meditative serenity and then cultivate insight on that basis. [481] Qualm: KamalaŸıla’s first Stages of Meditation says,38 “Its object of meditation is indeterminate,” meaning that the object of meditation of meditative serenity is indeterminate. As explained above,

the object of meditation of serenity may be either reality itself or a conventional phenomenon possessed of reality. If you first understand the meaning of selflessness, and then meditate while focusing on this, it should be enough to simultaneously produce both the serenity of an undistracted mind and insight

focused on emptiness. Why, then, is it said that you first seek serenity and then cultivate insight? Reply: The way in which serenity precedes insight is as follows. You do not need to have serenity already in order to develop an understanding of the view that knows that there is no self, for we see that

even those who lack serenity develop this view. Nor do you need to have serenity already in order to experience mental transformation in regard to the view, for nothing precludes mental transformation being brought on by the practice of repeated analysis with discerning wisdom, even in the absence of

serenity. If you claim that the absence of serenity precludes mental transformation in regard to the view, then the very same reasoning forces you to the extremely absurd conclusion that serenity is required even to experience mental transformation when meditating on impermanence, the faults of cyclic existence, or the spirit of enlightenment. So, why is serenity required for insight? According to the SÒtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning,39 as long as

the practice of discrimination and special discrimination with discerning wisdom cannot generate physical and mental pliancy, it constitutes a type of attention which approximates insight; when it generates pliancy, then it is insight. Thus, if you have not attained serenity, then no matter how much analytical meditation you do with discerning wisdom, in the end you will not be able generate the delight and bliss of physical and mental pliancy. Once

you have attained meditative serenity, then even the analytical meditation of discerning wisdom will culminate in pliancy. [482] Hence, insight requires meditative serenity as a cause. This will be explained below. Discerning wisdom becomes insight when, without focusing on a single object, it can generate

pliancy through the power of analysis. So generating pliancy by setting your attention on a single object of meditation—even if the object is emptiness—is nothing more than a way to achieve serenity; that alone does not count as attaining insight. Why? If you thus first seek an understanding of selflessness,

analyzing its meaning again and again, it will be impossible to achieve serenity on the basis of this analysis since you have not previously achieved serenity. If you do stabilizing meditation

without analysis, you will achieve serenity on that basis. However, as there is no way to sustain insight except by sustaining serenity, you have to seek insight later. Hence, this does not fall outside the pattern in which, having previously sought serenity, you cultivate insight based on it. Accordingly, the way insight develops is that discerning analytical meditation generates pliancy. If this were not so, there would not be the slightest good reason to

seek serenity first and then cultivate insight based on it. Failing to do these meditations in this order is quite inappropriate because the SÒtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning40 states in a passage cited above that you cultivate insight on the basis of having attained serenity. Also, the order of

meditative stabilization and wisdom among the six perfections— of which it is said that “the latter develop based on the former”— as well as the sequence in which training in higher wisdom is based on training in higher concentration are in agreement with the sequence in which, having previously cultivated serenity, you later cultivate insight. Asaºga’s Bodhisattva Levels (cited earlier)41 and his ⁄r›vaka Levels (⁄r›vaka-bhÒmi) indicate that insight is

cultivated on the basis of meditative serenity. [483] Also, Bh›vaviveka’s Heart of the Middle Way (Madhyamaka-h¸daya), ⁄›ntideva’s Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds, KamalaŸıla’s three Stages of Meditation, Jñ›nakırti,42 and RatnakaraŸ›nti all state that you cultivate insight after previously seeking

serenity. Some Indian masters claim that, without seeking serenity separately, you generate insight from the outset through analysis by discerning wisdom. Since this view contradicts the texts of the great trailblazers, the wise deem it to be untrustworthy. This is the sequence in which you newly develop serenity and insight for the first time; later the sequence is indefinite, as you may cultivate serenity after previously cultivating insight. Qualm:

Asaºga’s Compendium of Knowledge states,43 “Some attain insight, but do not attain serenity; they strive for serenity on the basis of insight.” How do you account for this? Reply: This means that they have not attained the serenity of the actual first meditative stabilization, or beyond; it does not preclude their having attained the serenity which is included in the access to the first meditative stabilization.44 Also, once you have perceptual knowledge of the

truths, you can establish on that basis the serenity of the actual first meditative stabilization and the higher meditative stabilizations. For Asaºga’s Levels of Yogic Deeds (Yogacary›-bhÒmi) says:45

Moreover, you can accurately know the reality of the truths from suffering to path, without having attained the first meditative stabilization, etc. As soon as this knowledge of the truths occurs, you stabilize your mind and do not analyze phenomena. Based on this higher wisdom, you pursue the practice of

higher states of consciousness. In general, for the sake of comprehensive terminology, the nine mental states46 are called meditative serenity and the fourfold analysis47 is called insight. However, you must apply the terms “actual serenity” and “actual insight”—as will be explained—after the generation of pliancy.