31 May 2020
Adapted from Ajahn Sona’s talk
Written by Dd Lee Kok Cheng
Am I Meditating Correctly?
What is the relationship between the breath and especially in the Samādhi form and Vipassanā, contemplative practice? These days, mostly we will encounter many courses and schools exclusively promoting the Vipassanā practice. They use breath meditation and it’s exclusively directed away from the cultivation of a deep state of serenity known as Samādhi or Jhāna and passed it to Vipassanā. Vipassanā literally means to see things clearly as they really are. There is no disjunction between Samādhi that is serenity practice, deep joyful serenity and seeing clearly. Generally speaking though, if they want to follow this particular direction, they should spend more time cultivating Samādhi and not rush on.
Samādhi is something which has power in itself and it opens up the mind to its deeper possibilities. Parts of our mind are generally concealed from us because we are excessively active and we are skating on the surface of our consciousness. Notice what happens when we go and sit quietly by a lake for a few hours. We might start reflecting on our life. New ideas come to us. Maybe a tune comes up or an idea for a book. Why does it come up in a quiet place by the lake and not at other times? This is because the deeper mind wants to speak to us but we are talking all the time. We are too busy, noisy and distracted. So, the deeper mind waits for opportunity.
Samādhi gives the opportunity for the deepest wiser part of us to speak and to tell us the important things about the nature of reality. If we keep talking and distracting ourselves, we can’t hear our own wisdom. So, Samādhi is a very important clearing house to allow the presentation of profound truth that will actually affect our life. How many times have we read and heard the Buddhist diagnostic of reality; everything is impermanent, everything is selfless or soulless, and everything is unsatisfactory. We nod to hear these wise things but they do not transform us. This is because there is no Samādhi in us. The deeper mind hasn’t got a hold of it, turns it over and transforms by it. If we do not go through this process of making the mind work at a different state of consciousness, we will not see the clarity of truth; the Vipassanā is not going to arise.
This is basically what has been skipped too quickly in many schools. They must take more time to indulge in Samādhi. Samādhi is the reward; it is the reward of proper practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is not the end object. Mindfulness leads to Samādhi and Samādhi leads to wisdom; which is the other form of saying the Vipassanā or the arising of clear seeing inside. Samādhi is the fruit of the path and it is a profound enjoyment; if you attain it, congratulations. You are not normal anymore. This non normality is going to make you wise up and you will not fall for the illusion and delusion that normally people do; which makes ongoing tribulation and suffering of life. This is an important relationship of Samādhi and Vipassanā or delight of rupture serenity and seeing clearly.