The most venerable teachers have great compassion; I bow with respect at their feet.
2 In particular, how to train in the last two perfections.
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.
此中分六一 修習止觀之勝利，二 顯示此二攝一切定，三 止觀自性，四 理須雙修，五 次第決定，六 各別學法。
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 ?
(a) The benefits of cultivating serenity and insight
All of the mundane and supramundane good qualities of the Mahāyāna and Hinayāna are the result of serenity and insight.
The 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》 says: Maitreya, you should know that all mundane and Supramundan virtuous qualities, whether of Śrāvakas, bodhisattvas, or tathagatas, 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? 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 Mahāyāna and Hinayāna 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 sūtra means in stating that all of the virtuous qualities of the three vehicles result from serenity and insight, so there is no contradiction.
- p.336 -
With that same purport, the 《Sūtra of Cultivating Faith in the Mahāyāna》 states: Child of good lineage, this list should inform you that faith in the Mahāyāna of the bodhisattvas—and indeed, everything resulting from the Mahāyāna—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 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》 states:
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 errone. ous objects, which foster those propensities. Ratnākaraśānti's 《Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom》 says that insight eliminates the former, while serenity eliminates the latter.
These are the benefits attributed to "serenity" and "insight," but even when the terms serenity and insight are not used there 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 Mahāyāna and Hinayāna.
The 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》 states: Know that serenity and insight include all of the many aspects of the states of meditative concentration which I have taught for Śrāvakas, bodhisattvas and tathāgatas. 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.
Kamalaśīla's 《third Stages of Meditation》 says: 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 Kamalaśīla's 《second Stages of Meditation》:
Since those two include all states of meditative concentration, all yogis should at all times definitely rely upon serenity and insight.
- p.337 -
(c) The nature of serenity and insight
As to the nature of serenity, it is as stated in the 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》： 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. 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 sūtra says: 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.
It is said that the Chinese master Ha-shang (Hva-shang), having seen this sūtra's very clear and undeniable explanation that insight is discerning wisdom, exclaimed, "I don't know how this can be a sūtra！" and kicked it.
He did this because the sūtra'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.
- p.338 -
In that sūtra passage, "differentiation" means distinguishing the diversity of conventional phenomena; "full differentiation" means distinguishing their real [ultimate] nature. The noble Asanga 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 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》, the 《Cloud of Jewels Sūtra》 also clearly states: Serenity is one-pointed attention; insight is proper discernment.
Also, the venerable Maitreya says in the 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》:
Know as the path of serenity
Abbreviating the name of a phenomenon;
Understand the path of insight
To be analysis of its meanings.
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.
Since this comments to the same effect on what those sūtras say, it is inappropriate to construe those sūtra passages in some other sense.
Also, Asanga's 《Bodhisattva Levels》 says:
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 serenity" exists 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.
It gives commentary to the same effect as the sūtra 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:
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, Ratnākaraśānti's 《Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom》 says:
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. 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.
- p.339 -
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 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》:
"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."
Asanga's 《Compendium of Knowledge》states that "the limits of existence" refers to both the diversity and real nature of phenomena, so serenity and insight each take both ultimates and conventionalities as objects of meditation, just as Ratnākaraśānti 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 (zhignas) is your mind quieting (zhi) movement toward external objects, and then abiding (gnas) on an internal object of meditation; insight (lhag mthong) is superior (lhagpa), 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, the texts of Asanga, and Kamalaśīla'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.
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.
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. 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.
- p.340 -
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. 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 meaning, you will clearly see reality if you have both th 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.
Kamalaśīla's second 《Stages of Meditation》 says: 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 Nirvana Sūtra》says: Śrāvakas do not see the lineage of the tathâgatas because their concentration is greater than their wisdom; bodhisattvas see it, but unclearly, because their wisdom is greater than their concentration. The tathâgatas see everything because they have serenity and insight in equal measure.
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.
- p.341 -
《 Lamp Sūtra 》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 Sūtra》 states: When your mind is in meditative equipoise, you will understand reality just as it is.
Kamalaśīla's 《first Stages of Meditation》 says:
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 Santideva's 《Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds》 says:
The person whose mind is distracted Lives between the fangs of the afflictions.
And: 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.
- p.342 -
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 it you release it, it will proceed as you wish to limitless virtuous objects, just like water drawn into smoothly flowing irrigation ditches.
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 Kamalaśīla's 《second Stages of Meditation》 says: Cultivating just serenity alone does not get rid of a practitioner's obscurations; it only suppresses the affections for a while. Unless you have the light of wisdom, you do not destroy dormant tendencies.
For this reason the 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》 says: Meditative stabilization suppresses afflictions; wisdom destroys dormant tendencies.
Also, the 《King of Concentrations Sūtra》 says:
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.
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 nirvana;
There is no peace through any other means.
Also, the 《Scriptural Collection of the Bodhisattvas》 says:
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 Tathâgata 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-kuta Collection》 says:
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.
- p.343 -
And the 《Sūtra of Cultivating Faith in the Mahāyāna》 says:
Child of good lineage, if you did not have wisdom, I would not say that you had faith in the Mahāyāna of bodhisattvas, nor would I say you knew the real nature in the Mahāyāna.
(e) How to be certain about their order
Santideva's Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds says:
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.
Qualm: Kamalaśīla's 《first Stages of Meditation》 says, "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 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 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》, 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. 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.
- p.344 -
Why? If you thus first seek an understanding of self lessness, 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 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 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》 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.
Asanga's 《Bodhisattva Levels》 (cited earlier) and his 《Śrāvaka Levels》 indicate that insight is cultivated on the basis of meditative serenity.
Also, Bhavaviveka's 《Heart of the Middle Way》 , Santideva's 《Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds》, Kamalaśīla's 《three Stages of Meditation》, Jnānakirti, and Ratnākaraśānti 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: Asanga's Compendium of Knowledge states, "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.
Also, once you have perceptual knowledge of the four truths, you can establish on that basis the serenity of the actual first meditative stabilization and the higher meditative stabilizations.
For Asanga's Levels of Yogic Deeds says: 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.
- p.345 -
In general, for the sake of comprehensive terminology, the nine mental states are called meditative serenity and the fourfold analysis is called insight. However, you must apply the terms "actual serenity" and "actual insight"—as will be explained—after the generation of pliancy.
第六各別學法分三，一 學奢摩他法。二 學毘缽舍那法。三 學雙運法。
f. How to train in each
(i) How to train in meditative serenity
(ii) How to train in insight.
(iii) How to unite them.
初又分三，一 修止資糧，二 依止資糧修奢摩他，三 修已成就奢摩他量。
How to train in meditative serenity has three parts:
1 Relying on the preconditions for meditative serenity.
2 How to cultivate serenity on that basis.
3 The measure of successful cultivation of serenity.
Relying on the preconditions for meditative serenity:
At the outset, the yogi should rely on the preconditions for serenity, which make it possible to achieve serenity quickly and comfortably. There are six:
一住隨順處，住具五德之處，一 易於獲得，謂無大劬勞得衣食等。二 處所賢善，謂無猛獸等凶惡眾生，及無怨等之所居住。三 地土賢善，謂非引生疾病之地。四 伴友賢善，謂具良友戒見相同。五 具善妙相，謂日無多人夜靜聲寂。
(1) Dwelling in an appropriate area. The area should have five attributes:
(a) easy access, so that necessities such as food and clothing may be readily obtained;
(b) being a good place to live, where there are no wild beasts such as predators, no enemies, etc.
(c) being on a good piece of ground, in that it does not breed sickness;
(d) offering good companionship insofar as your companions are ethically disciplined and likeminded; and
(e) being well-situated inasmuch as there are not many people about in the day and little noise at night.
Maitreya's 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》 states:
「The intelligent practice in a place
Which is accessible, is a good place to live,
Offers good ground and good Companions,
And has the requisites for comfortable yogic practice.」
(2) Having little desire. You do not strongly crave more or better robes, etc.
(3) Being content. You are always content to have even the poorest robes, etc.
(4) Completely giving up many activities. You give up base activities such as buying and selling; you also abandon excessive socializing with householders and renunciates, as well as pursuits such as medicine and astrology.
(5) Pure ethical discipline. You do not violate precepts, doing deeds that are wrong by naturę or wrong by prohibition, either in the case of vows of individual liberation or in the case of bodhisattva vows. If you do violate them through carelessness, you restore them promptly with regret in accordance with the teaching.
(6) Completely getting rid of thoughts of desire, etc.
In the case of desires, contemplate their disadvantages in this lifetime, such as their leading to being killed or imprisoned, as well their disadvantages for the future, such as their leading to rebirth in miserable realms. Alternatively, eliminate all thoughts of desire and such by meditating with the thought that "Everything in cyclic existence, pleasant or unpleasant, is ephemeral and impermanent. Since it is certain that I will shortly be separated from all of these things, why should I crave them?"
I have explained these points according to the purport of Kamalaśīla's 《second Stages of Meditation》; you should learn more about them from Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》.
- p.346 -
These six topics cover the key causes and conditions for newly developing good concentration, for maintaining an existing concentration without deterioration, and for heightening your concentration.
In particular, the most important ones are good ethical discipline, seeing desires as disadvantageous, and dwelling in an appropriate area.
Geshe Drom-dòn-ba said: We think that the fault lies only in our personal instructions. As we then seek only personal instructions, we are unable to attain concentration. This is the result of not abiding under its conditions.
The term "conditions" refers to the six explained above. Moreover, the first four perfections serve as preconditions for the fifth, meditative stabilization.
Kamalaśīla's 《first Stages of Meditation》 states: You quickly accomplish serenity when you disregard the desire for possessions and such, keep good ethical discipline, have a disposition to readily tolerate suffering, and joyously persevere. That being the case, sources such as the 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》 teach that generosity and the other perfections are causes of the successively higher perfections.
Atisha's 《Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment》 states:
When you lack the elements of serenity,
Even if you meditate assiduously,
You will not achieve concentration
Even in thousands of years.
Therefore, it is very important for those who sincerely wish to achieve the concentrations of serenity and insight to work on the elements or preconditions for serenity, such as the thirteen which are set forth in Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》.
第二依止資糧修奢摩他分二，一 加行，二 正行。
2 How to cultivate serenity on that basis. This has two parts:
2.2 Actual practice.
Practice the six preparatory teachings explained above and especially cultivate the spirit of enlightenment for a long time; also, in support of that you should do the meditative practices that are shared with persons of small and medium capacities.
第二正行分二，一 身何威儀而修，二 正釋修習之次第。
2.2 Actual practice. This has two parts:
2.2.1 meditative posture and
2.2.2 the meditative process itself.
2.2.1 Meditative posture.
Kamalaśīla's 《second and third Stages of Meditation》s say that you should take up an eight-point posture on a very soft and comfortable seat:
(1) Cross your legs in the manner of the venerable Vairocana, using either the full-lotus posture or the half-lotus posture as appropriate.
(2) Your eyes should be neither wide open nor too far closed, and they should be fixed on the tip of your nose.
(3) Sit with your awareness directed inward, keeping your body straight without leaning too far back or being bent too far forward.
(4) Keep your shoulders straight and even.
(5) Do not raise or lower your head nor turn it to one side; set it so that your nose and navel are aligned.
(6) Set your teeth and lips in their usual, natural positions.
(7) Draw your tongue up close to your upper teeth.
- p.347 -
(8) Your inhalation and exhalation should not be noisy, forced, or uneven; let it flow effortlessly, ever so gently, without any sense that you are moving it here or there.
Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 gives five reasons for sitting as the Buddha taught, cross-legged on a seat, stool, or grass mat:
(1) This posture in which the body is pulled together well is conducive to the arising of pliancy, so you will develop pliancy very quickly.
(2) Sitting in this way makes it possible to maintain the posture for a long time; the posture does not lead to physical exhaustion.
(3) This posture is not common to non-Buddhists and our opponents.
(4) When others see you sitting in this posture, they are inspired.
(5) The Buddha and his disciples used this posture and bestowed it upon us.
Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》says that, in light of these reasons, you should sit cross-legged. It also says that you keep your body straight so that lethargy and sleepiness will not occur.
Thus, at the outset you have to meet these eight points of physical conduct, particularly the calming of breathing just as I have described above.
2.2.2 The meditative process.
Broadly speaking, the "stages of the path" tradition indicates that you achieve serenity by means of the eight antidotes which eliminate the five faults listed in Maitreya's Separation of the Middle from the Extremes.
Personal instructions passed down from Geshe Lak-sor-wa explain that in addition to that you have to achieve serenity through the six powers, the four types of attention, and the nine mental states which Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 explains.
The scholar Yön-den-drak says: The methods of the nine mental states are included in the four attentions, and the six faults and the eight applications which are their antidotes are the method [for achieving] all concentrations. This is agreed upon in all teachings about the techniques formed meditative stabilization—including those in most sūtras, Maitreya's 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》 and 《Separation of the Middle from the Extremes》, Asanga's texts on the levels, and Kamalasila's 《three Stages of Meditation》.
Those who first have the preconditions for concentration will definitely attain concentration if they use these methods to work at it.
Nowadays, supposedly profound oral traditions on meditative stabilization lack even the names of these techniques. These texts do not indicate that you will achieve concentration without the preconditions for concentration and these techniques, even if you work at it for a long time.
This is stated in his text on the stages of the path; it speaks of reaching pure certainty about how the classic texts present the way to achieve concentration.
- p.348 -
In that regard, since the general way of teaching the stages of the paths of the three vehicles is demonstrated at length in the noble Asanga's five texts on the levels, the texts that teach these practices are very extensive. Among these five, one text gives a detailed explanation, while the others do not.
Asanga's 《Compendium of Determinations》 says that his 《Śrāvaka Levels》 should be used to understand serenity and insight, so it is the 《Śrāvaka Levels》that is most extensive.
Also, the venerable Maitreya discusses the methods of the nine mental states and the eight antidotes in his 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》 and 《Separation of the Middle from the Extremes》. Following them, such learned Indian masters as Haribhadra, Kamalaśīla, and Ratnākaraśānti wrote much about the process of achieving concentration.
On the general sense of concentration the tantras are very consistent with the explanations in these classic texts, except that they use different objects of meditation, such as divine bodies, drops, and syllables.
In particular, texts in the sūtra class provide very extensive discussions of problems—such as the five faults of concentration—and ways of clearing them away. However, those who know how to practice on the basis of those texts alone are as rare as stars in the daytime.
Those who impose on those texts the stains of their defective understanding derive only a superficial comprehension and maintain that the instructions that reveal the quintessential meaning lie elsewhere.
When the time comes for them to put into practice the process of achieving concentration which these texts explain, they do not even research how to do it.
The personal instructions of this treatise stress only the practices from the beginning to the end which are derived from the classic texts. Therefore, herein I will explain the methods used to achieve concentration drawing on the classic texts.
此又分二，一 引生無過三摩地法，二 依彼引生住心次第。
This explanation of the meditative process has two sections:
1. How to develop flawless concentration
2. The stages in which the mental states are thereby developed
初又分三，一 繫心所緣先如何修，二 住所緣時應如何修，三 住所緣後應如何修。
1 How to develop flawless concentration.
This has three parts:
1.1. What to do prior to focusing the attention on an object of meditation？
1.2. What to do while focusing on an object of meditation ？
1.3. What to do after you focus on an object of meditation ？
1.1. What to do prior to focusing the attention on an object of meditation？
If you cannot stop the laziness of being disinclined to cultivate concentration and of enjoying things that are not conducive to it, from the outset you will not gain entry into concentration; even if you do attain it once, you will be unable to sustain it, so it will quickly deteriorate. Therefore, it is most crucial to stop laziness in the beginning.
When you attain pliancy in which your mind and body are full of delight and bliss, you will stop laziness inasmuch as you will be able to cultivate virtue all day and night without weariness.
To develop this pliancy, you must be able to have continuous enthusiasm for the concentration that causes pliancy.
To develop this enthusiasm, you need a continuous, intense yearning that is intent on concentration. As a cause for this yearning you need steadfast confidence in and fascination with the good qualities of concentration.
So to start with, cultivate again and again a confidence that is aware of the good qualities of concentration.
- p.349 -
When you see this process in practice, you will understand this most vital point with the clearest sense of certainty.
Maitreya's 《Separation of the Middle from the Extremes》 states:
The basis and what is based upon it
Are the cause and its result.
Here, the "basis" is yearning, which is the basis of endeavor; "what is based upon it" is the endeavor or enthusiasm. The cause of yearning is confident faith in the good qualities of concentration. The result of endeavor is pliancy.
In this context, the good qualities of concentration areas follows: When you reach serenity, your mind is filled with delight and your body filled with bliss, so you are happy in this lifetime.
Also, since you have attained physical and mental pliancy, you can turn your attention to any virtuous object of meditation you choose. Since you have quelled uncontrolled distraction toward the wrong sort of objects, you are not constantly involved in wrongdoing and any virtue you do is very powerful.
Based on serenity, you can achieve good qualities such as the superknowledges and supernormal powers. In particular, it is on the basis of serenity that you develop the knowledge of insight that knows the real nature, whereby you can quickly cut the root of cyclic existence.
If you reflect on any of these good qualities, you will become aware of, and meditate upon, things that strengthen your inclination to cultivate concentration. When this inclination arises, you will be continually prompted from within to cultivate concentration, so it will be easy to attain concentration. Also, since you will cultivate it repeatedly even after attaining it, you will be unlikely to lose it.
第二住所緣時應如何修分二，一 明心住之所緣，二 心於所緣如何安住。
1.2. What to do while focusing on an object of meditation ？
This section has two parts:
1.2.1. Identifying the object of meditation upon which your attention is set.
1.2.2. How to focus your mind on the object of meditation.
初又分二，一 總建立所緣，二 明此處之所緣。
1.2.1. Identifying the object of meditation upon which your attention is set.
This has two parts:
220.127.116.11. A general presentation of objects of meditation
18.104.22.168. Identifying objects of meditation for this context
初又分三，一 正明所緣，二 顯示何等補特伽羅應緣何境，三 顯示所緣異門。
22.214.171.124. A general presentation of objects of meditation.
This has three sections:
126.96.36.199.1. The objects of meditation themselves
188.8.131.52.2. Who should meditate on which objects
184.108.40.206.3. Synonyms of the object of meditation
220.127.116.11.1. The objects of meditation themselves
The Bhagavan stated that yogis have four types of objects of meditation, these being: (a) universal objects of meditation, (b) objects of meditation for purifying your behavior, (c) objects of meditation for expertise, and (d) objects of meditation for purifying afflictions.
(a) Universal objects of meditation.
Universal objects of meditation are of four types: (1) discursive images, (2) non-discursive images, (3) the limits of existence, and (4) achievement of your purpose.
The two types of images (discursive and non-discursive) are posited in terms of the observer: the first is the object of insight, and the second is the object of meditative serenity.
The image is not the actual specifically characterized object upon which your mind is focused, but rather the appearance of that object's aspect to your mind.
When you carry out analysis while observing an object, then the image is discursive since analytical thinking is present.
When you stabilize your mind without analysis while observing an object, the image is said to be non-discursive since analytical thinking is absent.
- p.350 -
As for these images, what objects of meditation are they images of? They are the images, or aspects, of the five objects of meditation for purifying behavior, the five objects of meditation for expertise, and two objects of meditation for purifying afflictions.
The limits of existence are posited with reference to the observed object. There are two: The limits of existence for the diversity of phenomena, which are expressed in the statement, "Just this is all there is; there is nothing more"; and the limits of existence for the real nature, expressed in the statement, "This alone is how things exist; they do not exist in any other way."
In the case of the diversity of phenomena, this means that the five aggregates include all composite phenomena; the eighteen constituents and twelve sources include all phenomena; and the four truths include everything there is to know; there is nothing else beyond this.
In the case of the nature, this means that reason establishes the truth or reality of those objects of meditation.
Achievement of purpose is posited in terms of the result with either serenity or insight you direct your attention to the image of those objects of meditation. Then you stabilize on them, become accustomed to them, and, by virtue of repeated practice you become free from your dysfunctional tendencies, undergoing a fundamental transformation.
(b) Objects of meditation for purifying your behavior
Objects of meditation for purifying behavior are objects that purify behavior in which attachment or the like [hatred, delusion, pride, or discursiveness] is predominant. There are five such objects of meditation. Respectively they are: (1) ugliness, (2) love, (3) dependent-arising, (4) differentiation of constituents, and (5) inhalation and exhalation.
(1) Of these, the objects of meditation on ugliness consist of the thirty-six uglinesses pertaining to the body, such as head and body hair, and external uglinesses such as a corpse's turning blue.
When an aspect of impurity and ugliness arises in your mind, you keep your attention on it.
(2) Love involves focusing on friends, enemies, and persons toward whom you have neutral feelings, and having an attitude—at the level of meditative equipoise—of providing them with help and happiness.
Keeping your attention on these objects of meditation with a loving attitude is called "meditation on love"; love refers both to the subjective attitude and to the object.
(3) Regarding the object of meditation dependent-arising: All there is in the past, the present, and the future is dependent-arising in which effects that are mere phenomenal factors simply arise based on mere phenomenal factors. Apart from these, there is no performer of actions or experiencer of their effects. You focus your attention on them and hold it there.
(4) As for the object of meditation on the differentiation of the constituents: You differentiate the factors of the six constituents—earth, water, fire, air, space, and consciousness. You focus your attention on them and hold it there.
(5) Regarding the object of meditation on inhalation and exhalation: You focus your attention without distraction by counting and watching the breath move in and out.
(c) Objects of meditation for expertise.
There are also five objects of meditation for expertise, namely expertise in (1) the aggregates, (2) the constituents, (3) the sources, (4) dependent-arising, and (5) what is and is not possible.
- p.351 -
(1) The aggregates are the five aggregates of form and the others [feeling, discrimination, compositional factors, and consciousness]. Expertise in these is knowing that, apart from these aggregates, the self and what pertains to the self do not exist.
(2) The constituents are the eye and the others of the eighteen constituents. Expertise in them is knowing the causal conditions by which those constituents arise from their own seeds.
(3) The sources are the eye and the others of the twelve sources. Expertise in these is knowing that the six internal sources are the dominant conditions for the six consciousnesses, that the six external sources are the object-conditions, and that the mind which has just ceased is the immediately preceding condition.
(4) Dependent-arising is the twelve factors. Expertise in them is knowing that they are impermanent, suffering, and devoid of self.
(5) What is and is not possible refers to such things as it being possible for a pleasant fruition to arise from a virtuous action, but not possible for a pleasant fruition to arise from a non-virtuous action. Expertise in this is knowing that things are this way.
This is a particular case of expertise in dependent-arising; the difference is that you understand diverse causes.
When you use these as objects of meditation for cultivating serenity, you keep your attention on just one of the perspectives in which the aggregates, etc. may be known.
(d) objects of meditation for purifying afflictions.
Purifying afflictions means either merely reducing the strength of the seeds of the afflictions or else utterly eradicating the seeds.
In the former case, the objects of meditation are the comparative coarseness of each lower stage and comparative calmness of each higher stage, proceeding from the level of the desire realm up to the level of Nothingness.
In the latter case, the objects of meditation are impermanence and the other of the sixteen aspects of the four noble truths. When you use these as objects of meditation for cultivating serenity, you do not analyze, but instead keep your attention on any one cognition of an aspect of those objects that appears to it.
Kamalaśīla's 《second Stages of Meditation》 states that objects of meditation are three. (1) After you have brought together everything that all twelve branches of scripture say about determining, setting into, and having settled into reality, you stabilize your mind upon it.
(2) You observe the aggregates, etc., which include phenomena to some extent. (3) You stabilize your mind on the physical form of the Buddha, which you have seen and heard about.
How do you stabilize your mind on things such gates? When you understand how all composition be included within the five aggregates, you mentally collect them, gradually, into these five aggregates.
Then you observe them and keep your attention on them. Just as discerning wisdom when you cultivate differentiation, so when you cultivate collectedness you develop concentration wherein your attentionis brought together on the object of meditation without moving toward other objects. This is a personal instruction of the knowledge tradition.
- p.352 -
Likewise, when you understand how all phenomena can be included within the constituents and sources, you mentally collect them into these categories and keep your attention on this.
Among these four types of objects of meditation, objects of meditation for purifying behavior, as explained, facilitate the stopping of attachment and such in those whose behavior is dominated by attachment and such. They are special objects of meditation because you may readily attain concentration based upon them.
Object of meditation for expertise are conducive to the development of the insight that knows emptiness inasmuch as they refute a personal self that is not included among those phenomena. Therefore, they are excellent objects of meditation for cultivating serenity.
Objects of meditation for dispelling afflictions serve as general antidotes to the afflictions, so they have great significance.
The universal objects of meditation are not distinct from the aforementioned three. Therefore, since you must achieve concentration using as object of meditative serenity that has a particular purpose, who achieve concentration using things like pebbles and twigs for objects of meditation are clearly ignorant of the teachings on objects of concentration.
There are those who suppose that if you focus on an object of meditation and keep your attention on it, this is an apprehension of signs. They claim that meditation on emptiness means just stabilizing your mind without any basis, without focusing on any object of meditation.
This is a total misunderstanding of how to meditate on emptiness.
If you have no consciousness at that time, then neither will you have a concentration that cultivates emptiness.
On the other hand, if you have consciousness, then you are conscious of something, so you have to accept that there is an object of consciousness in terms of which consciousness is posited. If there is an object of consciousness, then precisely that is the object of meditation of that mind, because "object," "object of meditation," and "object of consciousness" have the same meaning.
In that case, they would have to accept that even their method of concentration would apprehend signs. Thus, their approach is not correct.
Furthermore, whether something constitutes meditation on emptiness is determined by whether it is meditation founded upon the view that knows the way things are; it is not determined by whether there is any conceptualization vis-à-vis the object. This will be demonstrated at length below.
Even those who claim to stabilize their minds without an object of meditation must think first, "I will keep my attention such that it does not stray toward any object whatsoever," and then keep their attention in that way.
After they have focused like that on the mind itself as an object of meditation, they must be certain to fix on this object without straying in any way. Thus, their own experience contradicts their claim that they have no object of meditation.
In this way, the classic texts on achieving concentration explain that there are many objects of meditation. The purposes of these meditative bases for stabilizing your mind are as explained above, so you should gain expertise in them.
Kamalaśīla's 《Stages of Meditation》 explains that the object of meditation of serenity is indeterminate, and Atisha's 《Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment》 says, "[It is] whatever object or objects of meditation that are appropriate."
These statements mean that you are not required to stick with one particular object of meditation; they do not show how to define the range of existing objects of meditation.
- p.353 -
18.104.22.168.2 Who should meditate on which objects
As there are various kinds of people, from those with a preponderance of attachment to those with a preponderance of discursiveness, Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 cites an answer to a question of Revata:
"Revata, if attachment uniquely dominates the behavior of a monkyogi, a practitioner of yoga, then he focuses his mind on the object of meditation of ugliness.
If hatred dominates his behavior, he meditates on love; if ignorance dominates his behavior, then he meditates on the dependent-arising of this condition; if pride dominates his behavior, he focuses his mind on the differentiation of the constituents."
And: If discursiveness uniquely dominates his behavior, then he focuses his mind on an awareness of the exhalation and inhalation of the breath. In this way, he focuses his mind on an appropriate object of meditation.
Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 also states: In this regard, persons whose behavior is dominated by attachment, hatred, ignorance, pride, or discursiveness should, for a while at the outset, just purify those behaviors by contemplating objects of meditation for purifying behavior. After this they will see the stability of their minds, and they will ascertain only their objects of meditation. So they should definitely persevere at using their objects of meditation.
Thus, you certainly should work with these objects of meditation. If you are a person whose behavior is balanced, or one whose afflictions are slight, then it suffices to keep your attention on whichever of the aforementioned objects of meditation you like; it is not necessary to have a particular one.
Asańga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 states: Those whose behavior is balanced should work at whichever object they like so as to attain just mental stability; this is not for the purpose of purifying behavior. Understand that the same applies to those with slight afflictions.
Being dominated by desire—or another of those five afflictions means that in a previous life you were fully involved in that affliction, became accustomed to it, and expressed it frequently, so that now even if there is a minor object of desire—or another of the five—that affliction arises in a strong and long-lasting form.
Balanced behavior means that you were not fully involved in desire and the others in your previous lives, you did not become accustomed to them, and you did not express them frequently. Still, you have not recognized that they are faults and you have not suppressed them, so while desire and such are not predominant or of great duration, it is not as though they do not occur.
Having slight afflictions means that you were not fully involved and soon in desire—or another of those five—in your previous lives, and you do see their disadvantages, etc. Therefore, with respect to objects of desire and such that are major, many, or intense, your desire and such arise slowly, while for moderate or minor objects, these afflictions do not arise at all.
Also, when desire or another of those five afflictions is predominant, you take a longtime to realize stability; with balanced behavior, you do not take an excessively longtime; with minor afflictions, you do so very quickly.
- p.354 -
An answer to a question of Revata [as cited in the 《Śrāvaka Levels》] also explains who works on objects of meditation for expertise:
Revata, if a monk-yogi, a practitioner of yoga,
is confused about the characteristic nature of all composite things, or confused about the thing called person, self, living being, life, that which is reborn, or the nourisher, he should focus his mind on the objects of meditation for expertise in the aggregates.
If he is confused about causes, he should focus on the objects of meditation for expertise in the constituents.
If he is confused about conditions, he should focus on the objects of meditation for expertise in the sources.
If he is confused about impermanence, suffering, and selflessness, he should focus on the objects of meditation for expertise in dependent-arising, and on what is and is not possible.
As this states, you mainly use these five objects of meditation to stop confusion.
Which persons should focus their minds on objects of meditation for dispelling afflictions is also stated in the same sūtra [Answering the questions of Revata]:
If you wish to be free from the attachment of the desire realm, focus your mind on the coarseness of the desire realm and the calmness of the form realm; if you wish to be free from the attachment of the form realm, focus your mind on the coarseness of the form realm and the calmness of the formless realm. If you wish to become disenchanted with all of the perishing aggregates, and wish to be free from them, then focus your mind on the truth of suffering, the truth of origins, the truth of cessation, and the truth of the path.
You can use these objects of meditation both for analytical meditation with insight and for stabilizing meditation with serenity, so they are not exclusively objects of meditation for serenity.
Still, since some serve as objects of meditation for newly achieving serenity and others are used for special purposes after attaining serenity, I have explained them here in the section on the objects of meditation of serenity.
22.214.171.124.3. Synonyms of the object of meditation
There are synonyms for the images or mental appearances of these objects of meditation explained above, these "points upon which the attention is kept, " or "meditative bases for concentration," as stated in Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》:
Also, that image is called "image" ; it also is called "sign of concentration," "object in the domain of concentration," "technique of concentration," "door to concentration," "basis of attention." "body of internal conceptualization," and "appearing image." Know these as synonyms of the image which accords with the object that is known.
- p.355 -