The Factors Leading to Enlightenment - Samatha vs Vipassana



The development of samatha and the development of vipassana are different with different objectives and they are also different as to the degree of panna that develops them. In samatha, maha-kusala citta accompanied by panna meditates on specific subjects so that calm can be obtained and the citta is firmly concentrated on the meditation subject. In vipassana ultimate realities (paramattha dhammas) are the objects of panna. These are the nama dhammas and rupa dhammas that arise and appear and then fall away. Mahakusala citta accompanied by panna can begin to notice and investigate one reality at a time, over and over again. In that way it can gradually be realised that dhammas are not a being, person or self. The result of the development of samatha is rebirth in one of the brahma-planes. The result of the development of vipassana is panna that knows realities as they are and eradicates defilements. The lokuttara maggacitta has nibbana as object and eradicates defilements in accordance with the stage of enlightenment that has been attained. When the stage of the arahat is attained all defilements are eradicated completely by the magga-citta; that means the end to the cycle of birth and death, no more rebirth.

The person who develops vipassana should be truthful with regard to himself. He should realise that he still has all kinds of defilements and he should not erroneously believe that lobha has to be eradicated first of all; this would be impossible. Someone who is still an ordinary person cannot pass over stages of development of understanding and become an arahat immediately. First of all, the clinging to “personality view” (sakkaya-ditthi), by which one takes realities for a “whole,” for self, being or person, should be completely eradicated. After that other defilements can be eradicated stage by stage. If someone does not know that while he is seeing there is no self, being or person, how could he eradicate defilements such as attachment or aversion? It is the same with regard to the other doorways. So long as there is personality view, defilements cannot be eradicated.


Topic 237



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