On September 6th, we reviewed the first three paragraphs and read the fourth of Putting This Practice Into Context from the Introduction. Note that I will not refer to page numbers because they will vary depending on which edition you are reading.
What are the differences between Insights (vipassanā) and insights (mundane)?
As you progress in your meditation practice you will likely have mundane insights and eventually Insights or vipassanā. I know the word mundane sounds boring in our everyday use of the word to mean ordinary or nothing special. The insights being referred to are the insights that are about your personal realm. Of course these are not boring or ordinary to you but within Buddhism, the realm of Awakening, and compared to the big Insights of vipassanā, they are ordinary. What is super important about them is as you have insights into your own personality, your relationships and as you begin to see more clearly within your own scale, your meditation practice will progress as the hindrances fall away. Culadasa makes the important point that the Insights of vipassanā are shattering to your commonly held beliefs. They change your worldview at a structural level.
Is Effortless Stable Attention the same as Samādhi?
The effortless stable attention that is one of the five characteristics of śamatha (the other four are powerful mindfulness, joy, tranquility and equanimity) is distinct from samādhi (concentration or stable attention). When you have effortlessly stable attention you are not doing anything to maintain it and you might ask, well… who is meditating? It is a very distinct state to be in and will be very clear to you. This usually begins to happen around stages six and seven.
This Thursday, September 13th, we will continue with the fifth paragraph in Putting This Practice Into Context from the Introduction.