第二依彼引生住心次第分三，一 正明引生住心次第，二 由六力成辦，三 具四種作意。 今初
2 The stages in which the mental states develop.
In this section there are three parts:
2.1 The actual stages in which the mental states develop
2.2 The process of achieving them with the six forces
2.3 How the four attentions are involved in this
2.1 The actual stages in which the mental states develop.
These are the nine mental states:
1. Mental placement: This entails thoroughly withdrawing your attention from all outside objects and directing it inwardly to the object of meditation. Maitreya's 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》 states: "After you have directed your attention to the object of meditation...."
2. Continuous placement: Your attention that was initially directed to the object of meditation does not stray elsewhere, but is continuously set upon the object of meditation. The 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》: "Its continuity is not distracted."
3. Patched placement: If your attention is drawn away by forgetfulness and distracted outward, you recognize this and again fix it upon the object of meditation. The 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》: "Swiftly recognizing distraction, it is patched up again."
4. Close placement: Kamalaśīla's first Stages of Meditation comments that with the previous mental state you recognize distraction and eliminate it; with this mental state you have eliminated distraction and with effort place your attention upon the object of meditation.
Ratnākaraśānti's 《Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom》 asserts that your attention, which is by nature expansive, is repeatedly drawn in and refined, establishing ever greater stability. This is in accord with the statement [from the 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》]: "The wise withdraw their attention inward to ever greater levels."
Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 explains that first mindfulness is applied, and your attention does not stray outside. As the force of mindfulness develops, forgetfulness does not create outward distraction.
5. Taming: Reflecting upon the advantages of concentration, you take delight in concentration. The 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》: "Then, because you see the advantages, your mind is tamed in concentration." The 《Śrāvaka Levels》 comments that if your mind is distracted by the signs of any of the five sensory objects of visual form and so on, of the three mental poisons [attachment, hostility, and ignorance], or of a man or a woman, you regard these ten signs as disadvantageous from the outset and do not let them scatter your mind.
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6. Pacification: Regarding distraction as a fault, you quell any dislike for concentration. The 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》: "Because you see the faults of distraction, you quell dislike for the meditation." The 《Śrāvaka Levels》 asserts that if your attention is disturbed by thoughts such as those concerning sensory object and by secondary afflictions such as obstructions involving attraction to the sensory, you regard these from the beginning as disadvantageous, and do not allow your attention to be drawn to your thoughts and secondary afflictions.
7. Complete pacification: This entails the fine Pacification of the occurrence of attachment, melancholy, lethargy, sleepiness, etc. The 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》: "As soon as attachment, melancholy, etc. arise, they are pacified." The 《Śrāvaka Levels》 says that if the thoughts and secondary afflictions mentioned earlier arise as a result of forgetfulness, you do not submit to all that appear, but eliminate them.
8. One-pointed attention: This entails exerting effort so that you engage the object of meditation effortlessly. The 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》: "Then one endowed with restraint and enthusiasm applies remedies for the obstacles to his or her mind and naturally achieves the ninth mental state." This is to be understood from the statement in the 《Śrāvaka Levels》: "By means of application you have no hindrance, and, since you continuously establish a flow of concentration, you make a single channel." Another term applied to the eighth mental state is "single channeling," the meaning of which is easily understood.
9. Balanced placement: According to Kamalaśīla's 《Stages of Meditation》, this refers to the equanimity that occurs when your mind becomes balanced; Ratnākaraśānti's Instructions for the 《Perfection of Wisdom》says this refers to spontaneous, natural attention and the attainment of independence as a result of familiarity with single channeling.
The 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》 states: "There is non-application due to familiarity with that." The 《Śrāvaka Levels》 says your mind is "concentrated,"
and the meaning of this is clearly stated in the same text:
As a consequence of dedication, familiarization, and frequent practice, you reach the path of both spontaneous and natural attention. With no application and with spontaneity, your mind enters into a flow of concentration that is without distraction. In this way it is concentrated.
The names of the nine mental states are in accord with the lines in Kamalaśīla's 《first Stages of Meditation》: "This path of meditative serenity is explained in the 《Perfection of Wisdom Sūtras》 and so on...."
2.2 The process of achieving them with the six forces
There are six forces: the force of hearing, the force of reflection, the force of mindfulness, the force of vigilance, the force of enthusiasm, and the force of thorough acquaintance.
The method of accomplishing the mental states with these forces is as follows:
1. With the force of hearing, you accomplish mental placemen. The reason for this is that due to following the instructions that you have merely heard from someone else about focusing on the object of meditation, at first you simply fix your attention upon the object. But this is not a case of familiarity due to your own repeated reflection.
2. With the force of reflection, you accomplish the mental state of continual placement; for, as a consequence of the practice of repeatedly reflecting on the continuation of the initial fixation of attention upon the object of meditation, for the first time you achieve the ability to maintain a little continuity.
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3. With the force of mindfulness, you accomplish the mental states of patched placement and of close placement; for, in the case of patched placement, when your attention is distracted away from the object of meditation, you are mindful of the previous object of meditation and your attention is drawn back in; and in the case of close placement, you generate the power of mindfulness from the beginning, and this prevents your attention from being distracted away from the object of meditation.
4. With the force of vigilance, you accomplish the mental states of taming and of pacification; for, with vigilance you recognize the faults of being scattered toward thoughts and the signs of the secondary afflictions, and by regarding them as faults, you do not let scattering toward these two occur.
5. With the force of enthusiasm, you accomplish the mental states of complete pacification and of one-pointed attention; for, by striving to eliminate even subtle thoughts and secondary afflictions, you do not submit to them; and by so doing, laxity, excitement, etc. are unable to interfere with your concentration, and you achieve continuous concentration.
6. With the force of acquaintance, you accomplish the mental state of balanced placement; for, with the force of great familiarity with the above, you develop effortless, natural concentration.
These accord exactly with the intended meaning of Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》; so, although there are alternative explanations, do not rely on them.
The achievement of the ninth mental state can be understood in terms of an analogy: In the case of those who are extremely familiar with reciting scriptures and so on, if the initial motivation to recite arises and they begin, even though their mind is occasionally distracted elsewhere, the recitation continues effortlessly, without interruption.
In a similar fashion, once your mind is settled with mindfulness fixed upon the object of meditation, even if you do not continually cultivate mindfulness and vigilance, your concentration is able to focus continually, for long periods of time, without being interrupted by scattering.
Since effort is not needed to maintain a continuous stream of mindfulness and vigilance, this is said to be without application, or effort.
For that to arise, in an earlier phase of practice you continually and energetically cultivate mindfulness and vigilance. During that phase, it is necessary to produce a concentration that can be sustained throughout long meditation sessions, without its being able to be disturbed by such hindrances as laxity and excitement. This is the eighth mental state.
This and the ninth state are similar in that they cannot be hindered by factors such as laxity and excitement that are incompatible with concentration.
However, in this eighth state, you must uninterruptedly cultivate mindfulness and vigilance, so it is said to be associated with application, or effort.
For this to arise, you must stop even subtle laxity, excitement, etc. as soon as they occur, without submitting to them; so the seventh mental state is necessary.
For this to arise, you must recognize that the distraction of thoughts and the Secondary afflictions is a disadvantage, and you must have intense vigilance that monitors your attention so that it does not disperse to them. So the fifth and sixth mental states are necessary, for those two are accomplished with the strengthening of vigilance.
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Furthermore, for such mental states to arise, you must have mindfulness that swiftly recalls the object of meditation when you are distracted from it, and mindfulness that prevents distraction from the object of meditation from the very outset. So the third and fourth mental states are necessary, for you accomplish these two with those two kinds of mindfulness.
For this to arise, your attention must first of all be fixed upon the object of meditation, and you must have an undistracted continuity of this fixation. So the first two mental states arise before the others.
Therefore, in summary, first of all follow the personal instructions that you have heard, and correctly apply the method for setting your attention in a balanced fashion.
Then repeatedly reflect on the way of setting your attention, and as you are able to bring together a little continuity, sustain a continuous stream of attention.
Then if your mindfulness declines and you become distracted, swiftly draw your attention back in and quickly become mindful that you have forgotten the object of meditation. Then generate powerful mindfulness and bring forth the force of mindfulness that prevents distraction away from the object of meditation from the outset.
By accomplishing forceful mindfulness and by seeing the faults of laxity, excitement, etc., which distract the attention away from the object of meditation, develop intense vigilance to monitor your attention.
Then when you are distracted by even subtle forgetfulness, recognize this immediately and stop it short; and upon eliminating it, generate the power of effort to lengthen the flow of attention that is uninterrupted by hindrances.
Once that has arisen, you master familiarity by meditating with effort, and you accomplish the ninth mental state, in which your concentration becomes effortless.
Therefore, until yogis attain the ninth mental state, they must exert effort to apply their minds to concentration; but upon attaining the ninth mental state, even if they expend no effort for the purpose of settling the mind in meditative equipoise, their minds automatically become concentrated.
Even in the case that this ninth mental state is attained, if pliancy is not achieved, then—as will be explained later—if you are not even defined as attaining meditative serenity, how much less are you defined as achieving insight.
Nevertheless, there are those who assert that when you achieve such concentration that is adorned with bliss, clarity, and non-discursive awareness, you have brought forth a non-discursive, sublime wisdom that integrates meditative equipoise and the post-equipoise state.
Further, as will be discussed later on, there are a great many people who specifically confuse this ninth mental state described in Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 with the culmination of the stage of completion in highest yoga tantra.
2.3 How the four attentions are involved in this.
The 《Śrāvaka Levels》 states:
With respect to these nine mental states, know that there are four types of attention: (1) tight focus, (2) intermittent focus,
(3) uninterrupted focus, and (4) spontaneous focus.
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Now in the first two mental states of mental placement and correct mental placement [i.e., continuous placement], there is the attention of tight focus. In the next five mental states of withdrawn mental placement [i.e., patched placement], close placement, taming, pacification, and complete pacification, there is the attention of intermittent focus. In the eighth mental state of single channeling [i.e., one-pointed attention], there is the attention of uninterrupted focus. In the ninth state of concentrated awareness [i.e., balanced placement, there is the attention of effortless [i.e., spontaneous] focus.
During the first two mental states the attention must be strenously tight, so this is tight focus.
Then during the phases of the next five mental states there is interference by laxity and excitement and you are unable to maintain long meditation sessions; so this is intermittent focus.
Then since in the eighth mental state you are able to sustain long meditation sessions without interference by laxity and excitement, there is uninterrupted focus.
Then since in the ninth mental state there are no interruptions and no need for continuous exertion, you apply the attention of effortless focus.
Qualm: In this case, during the first two mental states there is interrupted focus, and during the intermediate five mental states there is a need for tight focus; so why does one not speak of the attention of interrupted focus for the first two, and of the attention of tight focus for the intermediate five mental states?
Reply: In the first two mental states there are occasions when your mind is and is not concentrated, with considerably longer periods in the latter state; whereas in the intermediate five states the duration of concentration is much longer, so the designation of "interruption to concentration" is used for the latter and not for the former.
Therefore, although those two sets of mental states are similar in terms of the presence of tight focus, they are dissimilar in terms of the presence and absence of interrupted focus; so the five mental states are not included in the attention of tight focus.
Thus, after you have established yourself in the preconditions explained earlier, you will achieve serenity if you cultivate continual joyous perseverance for accomplishing concentration.
But if after you practice this only a few times you discard the practice again, it is said that you will not accomplish serenity.
Thus Aryasūra's 《Compendium of the Perfections》 states:
With constant yoga
Strive to accomplish meditative stabilization.
If you repeatedly slack off,
Fire will not arise from friction.
Likewise, do not stop striving at the method of yoga,
Until you reach a special state.
由修成辦奢摩他量分三，一 顯示奢摩他成與未成之界限，二 顯示依奢摩他趣總道軌，三 顯示別趣世間道軌。
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3 The measure of successful cultivation of serenity
Here there are three sections:
3.1. A presentation of the dividing line between accomplishing and not accomplishing meditative serenity
3.2. A general presentation of the way to proceed along the path on the basis of meditative serenity
3.3. A specific presentation of the way to proceed along the mundane path.
初又分二，一 顯示正義，二 有作意相及斷疑。
A presentation of the dividing line between accomplishing and not accomplishing meditative serenity
This has two sections:
3.1.1 a presentation of the actual meaning and
3.1.2 the marks associated with attention, and the elimination of qualms.
3.1.1 a presentation of the actual meaning
Qualm: Once you have properly understood the means of cultivating concentration as explained previously and then sustained them in meditation, the nine mental states arise in sequence; and in the ninth state you are able to meditate for long sessions free of subtle laxity and excitement. Given that you have then achieved a concentration that becomes focused spontaneously without resorting to the effort of continual cultivation of mindfulness and vigilance, have you achieved meditative serenity or not?
Reply: I shall explain. In the achievement of this concentration there are those who do and those who do not achieve pliancy. So if pliancy is not achieved, this would be an approximation of meditative Serenity, but would not be genuine serenity. Thus it is called an attention that approximates meditative serenity.
This is clearly stated in the 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》:
Bhagavan, when bodhisattvas direct their attention inward and focus it upon their minds, what is this attention called for as long as physical pliancy and mental pliancy are not achieved? Maitreya, this is not meditative serenity. You should say that it is associated with an aspiration that approximates meditative serenity.
Maitreya's 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》 also states:
As a consequence of familiarity, there is non-application.
Then upon achieving great pliancy
Of the body and mind,
You are said to have attention.
In this instance, attention refers to meditative serenity, as will be explained below in a citation from Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》.
Furthermore, Kamalaśīla's 《second Stages of Meditation》states that you must achieve both pliancy and the freedom to stabilize on the object of meditation:
For you who have cultivated meditative serenity in this way, when your body and mind become pliant and you have mastery over your mind in directing it as you wish, at that time know that you have accomplished serenity.
Thus Kamalaśīla's 《first Stages of Meditation》 states:
When your attention is focused on the object of meditation for as long as you wish, without resort to an antidote, know that you have perfected serenity.
The 《second Stages of Meditation》 clearly indicates that the above citation also refers to the presence of pliancy.
Furthermore, the equanimity explained in Maitreya's 《Separation of the Middle from the Extremes》 among the eight antidotes has the same meaning as the ninth mental state referred to here. It states that this alone does not suffice and you need pliancy as well.
Ratnākaraśānti's 《Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom》 very clearly states:
The bodhisattvas, dwelling alone in solitary places, direct their attention to their intended object. Freeing themselves of mental conversation, they frequently direct their attention to the mental image. Until physical and mental pliancy arise, this is an attention that approximates serenity; but when they do arise, it is serenity.
All these citations also establish the meaning of the 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》.
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Question: Well then, which of the nine levels incorporates the concentration in which pliancy has not yet arisen?
Reply. This concentration is included in the level of the desire realm. This is because it is included in one of the nine levels of the three realms, and it is not at or above access to the first meditative stabilization.
To achieve this access, it is certainly necessary to achieve serenity.
Although there is such concentration without pliancy in the level of the desire realm, it is a concentration that is a level without meditative equipoise. The reason why it is not presented as a level of equipoise is that it is not accomplished with lack of regret, supreme delight and bliss, and with pliancy.
This is stated in Asanga's 《Levels of Yogic Deeds》:
Why is it that this concentration alone is called the level of meditative equipoise, and one-pointedness of the desire realm is not? Here is the reason: this concentration is accomplished with lack of regret, supreme delight, pliancy, and bliss. The concentration which functions in the desire realm is not like the concentration that does not function there, but it is not the case that in the desire realm there is no concentration on a correct phenomenon.
Thus, without having achieved pliancy, even when mindfulness is not continually maintained, your mind can automatically become non-discursive, and you can integrate this with all activities of moving, walking, lying down, and sitting. This approximation of concentration is called a one-pointed mind of the desire realm, but understand that it is not fit to be presented as genuine meditative serenity.
Question: Well then, what are the means of achieving pliancy, and upon achieving it, how does it lead to serenity?
Reply: Pliancy is to be understood in accordance with the explanation in Asanga's 《Compendium of Knowledge》:
What is pliancy? It is a serviceability of the body and mind due to the cessation of the continuum of physical and mental dysfunctions, and it has the function of dispelling all obstructions
Physical and mental dysfunctions are the unfitness of your body and mind for being employed to cultivate virtue at will.
Their remedies, physical and mental pliancy, entail great serviceability in terms of applying your body and mind to wholesome actions, for you are free of dysfunctions of both the body and the mind.
Moreover, physical dysfunction, which is included in the category of afflictions, interferes with your delight in eliminating afflictions.
When you try to eliminate your afflictions, your body becomes unserviceable with a sense of heaviness and so on. Once you are free of this, your body becomes buoyant and light; this is a serviceable body.
Likewise, mental dysfunction, which is included in the category of afflictions, interferes with your delight in eliminating afflictions.
When you try to eliminate your afflictions, you cannot experience pleasure in focusing on a virtuous object. Once you are free of this, your mind focuses on the object of meditation without resistance. This is a serviceable mind.
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Thus the master Sthiramati states [in 《Explanation of the "Thirty Stanzas"》: 「The serviceability of the body is that from which lightness and buoyancy arise in your physical actions.
The serviceability of the mind is the cause of the cheerfulness and lightness of the mind in engaging in perfect attention.
If you are endowed with this transformed quality that arises from your mind, you focus on the object of meditation without resistance. Therefore, this is called the serviceability of the mind.」
In short, due to the unserviceability of the body and mind, even when you want to strive to eliminate afflictions, you do so arduously and with distaste, like someone unable to engage in work. When pliancy is achieved, this tendency stops, and your body and mind become very easy to employ.
Such complete physical and mental serviceability arises to a slight degree from the time that you start to cultivate concentration. This gradually increases until it finally turns into pliancy and one-pointed meditative serenity.
At first this is difficult to recognize due to its subtlety, but later on it becomes easy to recognize. Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 states:
At the very beginning when you begin the correct training, the occurrence of mental and physical pliancy and mental and physical serviceability is subtle and difficult to discern.
As that one-pointed mind and mental and physical pliancy increase, in the manner of a chain reaction, they lead to a one-pointed mind and mental and physical pliancy that are obvious and easy to discern.
The portent of the occurrence of easily discernible, perfected pliancy is this: persons who are striving to cultivate concentration experience a sense of heaviness and numbness of the brain, but it is not an unpleasant heaviness. As soon as this occurs, they are freed of the mental dysfunction that obstructs their delight in eliminating afflictions, and mental pliancy, which is the remedy for this dysfunction, arises for the first time.
The 《Śrāvaka Levels》 states:
The portent of the proximate occurrence of obvious, easily discernible one-pointedness of mind and mental and physical pliancy is a sensation of the brain becoming heavy; but this is not a harmful characteristic. As soon as this happens, you eliminate the mental dysfunction that belongs to the category of afflictions and that obstructs your delight in eliminating afflictions; and the mental serviceability and mental pliancy which are the remedy for this dysfunction arise.
Then due to the power of the arising of the pliancy that makes your mind serviceable, an energy that is a cause for physical pliancy courses through your body. Once this energy has pervasively coursed throughout the parts of your body, you are freed of physical dysfunction, and physical pliancy, which is the remedy for physical dysfunction, arises.
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Once this saturates the entire body, there is an experience of being as if filled with the power of this serviceable energy.
The 《Śrāvaka Levels》 states: Due to its [spliancy's] occurrence, energy-wind—included among the great elements—that is conducive to the arising of physical pliancy courses through the body. When it flows, you are freed of the physical dysfunction that belongs to the category of afflictions and that obstructs your delight in eliminating afflictions; and physical pliancy, the remedy for this affliction, saturates the entire body, so that it seems as if you are filled with this energy.
Now, physical pliancy is a very pleasant sensation within the body, not a mental process.
As the master Sthiramati states, citing sūtra: If a distinctive physical sensation is qualified by delight, recognize this to be physical pliancy. If your mind is delighted, your body becomes pliant.
Thus, when physical pliancy initially occurs, due to the power of energy there arises a great sense of well-being in your body, and on this basis there also arises in your mind a most exceptional experience of that pleasure.
Thereafter, the force of this initial occurrence of pliancy gradually subsides, but this is not a case of pliancy becoming exhausted.
Rather, this pliancy is coarse and excessively agitates your mind; so with its disappearance, there occurs a pliancy, tenuous like a shadow, that is compatible with steady concentration.
Once the rapturous delight of your mind has disappeared, your mind stabilizes firmly upon the object of meditation, and you achieve meditative serenity, which is free of the turbulence caused by great delight.
The 《Śrāvaka Levels》 states: When this first arises, you experience delight, a great sense of bliss, attention to unsurpassed delight, and manifest delight. Following this, the force of pliancy that first arose slowly becomes very refined, and your body becomes endowed with shadow-like pliancy. You eliminate delight, your mind becomes stabilized with meditative serenity, and you focus on the object of meditation with exceptional serenity.
Once such things happen, "You are said to have attention", you achieve serenity and you are included among the ranks of "those who have achieved attention." For, by achieving serenity which is included in the access to the first stabilization, you achieve the smallest type of attention on the level of meditative equipoise.
This accords with the statement in the 《Śrāvaka Levels》: Thereafter, the novice yogi is endowed with attention and is included in the ranks of those who are called "attentive." Why? Because this person has achieved the Small type of attention on the level of meditative equipoise that first experiences the form realm. Therefore, this person is called "attentive."
The level of meditative equipoise is a synonym for the level of the two higher realms [the form and formless realms].
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3.1.2 the marks associated with attention, and the elimination of qualms.
(a) the marks associated with attention
These are the marks and signs to be known by yourself and others as "the criteria for having achieved attention." You who have achieved such attention have these marks:
1. The achievement in small measure of these four: your mind belongs to the level of form, physical pliancy, mental pliancy, and one-pointedness of mind.
2. The ability to purify afflictions either by means of the path bearing the aspects of calmness and coarseness, or the path bearing the aspects of the truths.
3. Once your mind is established inwardly, meditative equipoise and physical and mental pliancy arise ever so swiftly.
4. For the most part, the five obstructions, such as sensual desire, do not occur.
5. When you rise from meditative equipoise, you still possess physical and mental pliancy to some extent.
Thus the 《Śrāvaka Levels》 says:
These are the marks of a novice who is endowed with attention: You achieve the small degree of a mind that experiences the form realm, physical pliancy, mental pliancy, and the small degree of one-pointedness of mind. You have the opportunity and ability to practice with objects of meditation that purify afflictions. Your mind-stream becomes smooth, and you are enveloped by meditative serenity.
When your mind is perfectly drawn inward, settled and focused, mental and physical pliancy occur ever so swiftly; you are not afflicted by physical dysfunction, and for the most part the obstructions do not operate.
Even when you rise from meditation and move about, you still have a certain degree of physical and mental pliancy. Recognize such experiences to be purified characteristics and signs of possessing attention.
After you have achieved attention bearing such characteristics, it is very easy for the path of serenity to be thoroughly purified as follows:
After you have achieved equipoise in meditative serenity in which your mind is one-pointed, you are swiftly able to induce physical and mental pliancy so that pliancy increases. Commensurate with the increase of pliancy, one-pointed serenity increases, so that they mutually enhance each other.
The 《Śrāvaka Levels》:
「Just as your physical and mental pliancy increase, so does your mental one-pointedness upon the object of meditation increase; and just as your mental one-pointedness increases, so does your physical and mental pliancy increase. These two phenomena—mental one-pointedness and pliancy—are based upon each other and are dependent upon each other.」
In summary, when your mind is serviceable, energy and mind focus as one, so the energy becomes serviceable.
At that time, an extraordinary physical pliancy occurs,
and when this happens, exceptional concentration arises in your mind.
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This, in turn, brings forth an exceptionally serviceable energy. Therefore, the process of physical and mental pliancy is as explained above.
(b) The elimination of qualms is as follows.
Qualm: Accordingly, it is said of the non-discursive ninth mental state that even without continual effort at mindfulness and vigilance, your mind becomes concentrated. Moreover, you are endowed with an intensity of clarity that prevents even subtle laxity.
And, as in the earlier presentation of physical pliancy, there is concentration that yields outstanding well-being in your body and mind and mind due to the power of serviceable energy.
As explained in the above section on the marks associated with attention, for the most part there is no movement of the secondary afflictions of sensual desire and so on; and even when you rise from meditative equipoise, you have the quality of not being parted from pliancy.
In terms of the five paths, where does this occur?
Reply: In the past as well as the present there have been a great number of people who assert that when such concentration arises it is generally to be placed on the Mahãyãna path.
Specifically, they they assert this as a contemplation in which the characteristics of the completion stage of the highest yoga tantra are perfected.
They draw this conclusion upon noting the occurrence of a great experience of bliss in the body and mind, based on a feeling as if one's entire body were filled with ecstasy due to the energy corresponding to the arising of pliancy, as well the attributes of non-discursive awareness and great clarity.
However, when this is analyzed on the basis of the classic texts of the venerable Maitreya, the noble Asanga, and so on, and the authoritative texts, such as the Mādhyamaka 《Stages of Meditation》, that clearly set forth the stages of concentration, it is not possible to place this kind of concentration even on the Hinayāna path, let alone the Mahāyāna.
For the 《Śrāvaka Levels》 states that even the mundane paths which look to the aspects of calmness and coarseness for accomplishing the actual first stabilization are accomplished on the basis of this concentration.
Therefore, non-Buddhist sages, who, by means of mundane paths, free themselves from attachment to the level of Nothingness and lower levels, must proceed to higher paths on the basis of this concentration. So this is a concentration common to both non-Buddhists and Buddhists.
Furthermore, if this concentration is imbued with the view that correctly knows selflessness and with the attitude of the determination to be free which properly ascertains the faults of the whole of cyclic existence, is repelled by the cycle of existence, and diligently strives for liberation, it turns into the path to liberation.
If it is imbued with the precious spirit of enlightenment, it turns into the Mahāyāna path.
For example, if the generosity of giving a single morsel of food to an animal and observing even one type of ethical discipline are imbued with these attitudes, they turn into the collection of merit on the paths to liberation and omniscience respectively.
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Nevertheless, in the case of this question you do not investigate whether it becomes a path of liberation and omniscience in terms of its being imbued with other paths; rather you investigate which very nature of the concentration itself.
Although there are inconsistencies between the Mādhyamaka and Cittamatrin ways of establishing the object of the view of insight, in general there are no inconsistencies in their identifications of serenity and insight or in the way they develop knowledge of these in their mind-streams.
Therefore, the noble Asanga states in his 《Bodhisattva Levels》, 《Compendium of Determinations》, 《Compendium of Knowledge》, and 《Sravaka Levels》 that within the context of the individual practices of serenity and insight, when serenity is accomplished, it is accomplished through the stages of the nine mental states.
Moreover, since this is elaborately set forth in the 《Śrāvaka Levels》, these nine concentrations are not asserted as the means for accomplishing insight
—in those treatises insight is explained separately from the nine mental states, and the means of accomplishing it are also explained separately in Asafiga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》.
Similarly, the Mādhyamaka's 《Stages of Meditation》 texts and Ratnākaraśānti's 《Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom》 also separately discuss the path of serenity consisting of nine mental states and the path of insight.
There are also no discrepancies between the statements in the teachings of Maitreya and the commentaries by Asanga, so all the great trailblazers are of one mind in this regard.
Qualm: Although bliss and clarity are present in the concentration which is explained in the 《Śrāvaka Levels》, it is mere serenity since there is no profound non-discursiveness awareness. But if non-discursive awareness is present, it becomes concentration on emptiness.
Reply: By "concentration on emptiness" are you referring to investigating the meaning of "profound" in the phrase "profound non-discursive awareness" by using your discerning wisdom to establish this definitively in theory and then focusing on this without discursiveness? Or are you referring simply to settling in non-discursive awareness and not analyzing anything?
In the first case I also assert such a practice to be concentration on emptiness. If you assert likewise, there is a distinction between those who have and those who do not have an understanding of the view of the way things are. Those individuals who have the view and sustain a nondiscursive awareness upon settling in this view are practicing the profound concentration on emptiness.
The meditation of those who lack an understanding of this view and meditate by not thinking about anything is not profound meditation on emptiness.
It is valid to claim this distinction. Do not declare that all types of meditation in which you do not think about anything are meditative stabilization on the objectless, or on the signless, or on emptiness.
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Qualm: Regardless of whether or not you have the view that comprehends emptiness, all meditation in which your mind is focused on not thinking about anything and on not analyzing anything is concentration on emptiness.
Reply: In that case you would be forced to assert that even the concentrations along the way to meditative serenity, mentioned previously in passages from Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 are concentrations on emptiness. For in those, too, when settled in concentration—apart from a few occasions of monitoring and so on when the strength of mindfulness and vigilance has decreased—you sustain the meditation without the slightest discursive thought of "this is this" or "this is not this."
Therefore, the 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》 says that the concentrations for achieving serenity attend to an image that is without discursive thought.
Furthermore, within the context of serenity and insight, Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 refers to serenity in this way:
At that time, this [concentration] attends to an image without discursive thought, and it exclusively focuses mindfulness one-pointedly upon the object. It does not examine it, nor classify it, for investigate it, nor ponder it, nor analyze it.
And the same text States:
when you achieve the mind of serenity in this way, signs, thoughts, or secondary afflictions may appear, manifest, or become the object, because of forgetfulness or the fault of lack of habituation. Do not fall immediately under the influence of the faults that you have previously observed; neither recall them nor pay attention to them. In this way, because you are neither being mindful of this object nor attending to it, it dissolves; and when it is dispelled, you will settle in the absence of the appearance of these obstructions.
This is stated in a passage concerning the practice of meditative serenity alone. In passages concerning the practice of serenity, the authoritative treatises speak only of meditation that is focused without analytical activity. So, to knowledgeable people the contention that all meditation without any discursive thought at all constitutes the practice of meditation on emptiness is laughable. In particular, this citation from Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 also perfectly refutes the assertion that all references to meditation with no mindfulness or attention is meditation on emptiness.
Furthermore, Kamalaśīla's 《first Stages of Meditation》 says:
The nature of serenity is nothing more than a one-pointed mind. This is the general characteristic of all meditative serenity.
Ratnākaraśānti's Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom also states: "Focusing on the mind which is perceiving various things, reject mental conversation and cultivate serenity." Mental conversation is the discursive thought, "This is this."
Moreover, after earlier citing numerous sūtras and treatises by the great trailblazers, including the discussion in the 《Cloud of Jewels Sūtra》 concerning serenity as mental one-pointedness, I have already explained numerous times that serenity entails no discursive thought whatsoever.
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Therefore, there is a non-discursive awareness that meditates on emptiness as well as a non-discursive awareness that lacks even the slightest cognition of emptiness. So do not regard every occurrence bliss, clarity, and non-discursive awareness as meditation on emptiness.
These comments disclose only a portion of this subject; so strive diligently and understand the ways of accomplishing serenity and insight as elucidated by Maitreya, Asanga, and so on.
you fail to do so, you will mistake certain concentration that are focused non-discursively—but without even reaching serinity for the insight which cuts the root of cyclic existence.
And, after you have arrogantly held this to be an awareness without a truly existent object, as time goes by you will certainly deceive yourself and others.
The treatises of authoritative scholars and adepts assert that when you newly practice Serenity, you exclusively focus your attention non-discursively in stabilizing meditation; and when you first practice insight, you meditate by means of analysis with discerning wisdom.
Once you hold that all thought consists of grasping to true existence and discard it altogether, your understanding is turned directly away from the authoritative treatises, and you do not reach an errorless view of selflessness.
Nevertheless, the notion that the absence of thought constitutes meditation on the profound object of insight is simply the unadulterated system of the Chinese master Ha-shang. Take a careful look at Kamalaśīla's three 《Stages of Meditation》, and you will understand.
3.2 A general presentation of the way to proceed along the path on the basis of meditative serenity
Question: Should you simply sustain a non-discursive awareness characterized by clarity, non-discursiveness, etc., by achieving attention entailing non-discursive concentration as explained previously?
Reply: Producing such concentration in your mind-stream is for the purpose of generating insight that overcomes afflictions.
Hence, if you do not generate insight on the basis of this concentration, you will be unable to eliminate even the afflictions of the desire realm, no matter how much you grow accustomed to that concentration. In that case, what need is there even to mention eliminating all afflictions? Therefore, cultivate insight.
Furthermore, there are two kinds of insight: the insight proceeding by the mundane path, which eliminates manifest afflictions, and the insight proceeding by the supramundane path, which eradicates the seed of afflictions. There is no means of proceeding on a higher Path other than these two.
Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》 states：
「Thus, the yogi who has achieved attention and has entered the small delight of elimination of afflictions has two ways to progress, and no others. What are these two? They are the mundane and the supramundane.」
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Therefore, one who has achieved meditative serenity, or attention, may cultivate either the insight of the mundane path or the insight that proceeds by the supramundane path. Whichever you wish to cultivate, you must frequently cultivate the serenity achieved previously;
and when you practice in this way, pliancy and mental one-pointedness greatly increase, and serenity also becomes much more stable.
Moreover, you become knowledgeable about the signs of serenity and insight, and thereafter you strive at whichever of the two paths you want.
The 《Śrāvaka Levels》: In regard to this, the novice yogis who are endowed with attention reflect, "I shall proceed by either the mundane or the supramundane path," and they frequently apply themselves to this attention. Commensurate with how much they pass the days and nights in frequent practice, their pliancy and mental one-pointedness increase, expand, and are broadened.
When their attention becomes firm, stable, and solid, when it engages pure objects at will, and when if is imbued with the signs associated with serenity and insight, at that time they strive at their practice along the mundane path or the supramundane path, whichever they wish to follow.
Mundane insight consists of meditation bearing the aspects of calmness and coarseness, in which you observe the coarseness of the lower levels and the calmness of the higher levels.
Supramundane insight, as stated in the 《Śrāvaka Levels》, consists of meditation which observes the sixteen aspects of the four noble truths, including impermanence, and so on. Principally you cultivate the view which is the knowledge of the selflessness of the person.
Question: What kind of person achieves the attention of serenity explained previously and does not proceed by the supramundane path in that lifetime, but proceeds by the mundane path?
Reply: The 《Śrāvaka Levels》 states: What persons proceed in this life solely by the mundane path and not by the supramundane path？
There are the following four types of persons:
(1) all those who are not Buddhists;
(2) those who adhere to this [Buddhist] teaching but, while they have practiced serenity well, are of dull faculties;
(3) similarly, those who are of sharp faculties, but whose roots of virtue have not matured; and
(4) bodhisattvas who wish to achieve enlightenment in the future, but not in this life.
In that regard, all non-Buddhist yogis who have achieved the meditative serenity explained earlier do not use discerning wisdom to sustain an analysis of the selflessness of the person, for they are not drawn to selflessness. Therefore, they either sustain non-discursive meditative serenity alone, or they cultivate just the insight bearing the aspects of calmness and coarseness. In this way, they proceed solely by the mundane path.
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If you are a practitioner of this teaching, a Buddhist, but have dull faculties and have previously been deeply habituated to the stabilizing meditation of serenity alone, you will not be interested in meditation which investigates the meaning of selflessness with discerning wisdom. Or, even if you are interested, due to an inability to understand the meaning of selflessness, you will proceed in this life solely by the mundane path. This is because you either sustain the stability of serenity alone, or you cultivate just the insight bearing the aspects of calmness and coarseness.
Even if you are a Buddhist of sharp faculties who has comprehended the meaning of selflessness, if your roots of virtue for perceptually knowing the truth have not matured, in this life you will still be unable to generate the supramundane, undefiled, noble path. In this case, it is said that you will "proceed by the mundane path alone," but not that you are unable to cultivate insight focused on selflessness.
Consider bodhisattvas who are bound to one more birth before buddhahood and who during their next lifetime, their final rebirth in cyclic existence, will produce in their mind-streams the four paths, beginning with the path of preparation. While they are still bound to one more birth, they are unable to generate the noble path. So it is said that in this lifetime they "proceed by the mundane path," but not that they fail to know the meaning of selflessness.
Vasubandhu's 《Treasury of Knowledge》 states:
For Our Teacher and the rhinoceros-like pratyekabuddhas
All paths, from preparation to enlightenment,
Are on the one last meditative stabilization.
Prior to that are the aids to liberation [the path of accumulation].
This accords with the way of achieving buddhahood taught in the Hinayāna treatises, but it is not the Mahāyāna interpretation of the noble master Asanga.
Therefore, non-Buddhists who eliminate manifest afflictions by meditating on the path bearing the aspects of calmness and coarseness, as well as Buddhists who radically eliminate afflictions by meditating on the meaning of selflessness, must first of all achieve the concentration of meditative serenity explained earlier. So the serenity explained above is needed by non-Buddhist and Buddhist yogis as the basis for eliminating afflictions.
Furthermore, yogis of either the Mahāyāna or the Hinayāna must also achieve this concentration; and even among the Mahāyāna practitioners, all yogis of both the mantra and perfection vehicles must also achieve meditative serenity. So this serenity is extremely important as the basis for proceeding along the paths of all yogis.
Moreover, the serenity explained in the tantric texts contains certain differences in methods for generating concentration and in objects of meditation, such as focusing on a divine form, on hand implements of the chosen deity, or on syllables. But apart from those, they are entirely alike in terms of the need to eliminate the five faults of concentration, including laziness and so on; in terms of the means of cultivating their antidotes, such as mindfulness and vigilance, and so on;
and in terms of the achievement of the nine mental states and the ensuing occurrence of pliancy, etc. so this concentration is very widespread.
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With this in mind, the 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》 states that all Mahāyāna and Hinayāna concentrations are included within the concentrations of serenity and insight. Thus, you who wish to be skilled in concentration should become skilled in serenity and insight.
Although there are many purposes for developing this concentration (the attention of serenity), the chief purpose is for the sake of developing the knowledge of insight.
Moreover, in terms of insight there are two kinds: (1) that which bears the aspects of calmness and coarseness, which eliminates only manifest afflictions, and which is common to Buddhists and non-Buddhists; and (2) that which is common to Buddhists, both Mahāyāna practitioners and Hinayāna practitioners; that is, insight bearing the aspect of the reality of selflessness, which utterly eliminates the seeds of the afflictions. This last is a unique quality of Buddhists.
The former is a luxury, not something indispensable; while the latter is an indispensable element. So those aspiring for freedom should produce the insight that comprehends the reality of selflessness.
Furthermore, even if you do not achieve the higher meditative stabilizations of the form realm or the meditative absorptions of the formless realm, but do achieve the serenity explained previously, which is included in the level of access to the first meditative stabilization, then you can achieve liberation—freedom from all the fetters of cyclic existence—by cultivating insight based on that serenity.
By means of mundane insight developed on the basis of the serenity explained earlier, you can achieve the "mind of the Peak of Cyclic Existence," which has eliminated all of the manifest affictions of the formless level of nothingness and below. But if you do not know the reality of selflessness and meditate upon it, you will not be liberated from cyclic existence.
Thus, Mātrceta's "Praise that Falls Short," [the first chapter of his] 《Praise in Honor of One Worthy of Honor》 says:
Those opposed to your teaching
Are blinded by delusion.
Even after Venturing to the peak of cyclic existence, Suffering occurs again, and cyclic existence is maintained.
Those who follow your teaching—
Even if they do not achieve actual meditative stabilization—
Turn away from cyclic existence,
While under the steady gaze of the eyes of Māra.
Therefore, the meditative serenity that serves as the basis for the insight that achieves the noble paths of all stream-enterers and once-returners is the serenity explained earlier, which is included in the access to the first meditative stabilization.
Similarly, know that all arhats who simultaneously eliminate the afflictions become arhats by cultivating insight on the basis of the meditative serenity explained earlier. If you do not first establish in your mind-stream the concentration of serenity explained previously, it is not possible for the actual knowledge of insight which is focused on either the real nature or the diversity of all phenomena to arise. This will be discussed later on.
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Therefore, while yogis in the highest yoga tantra tradition may not develop the insight bearing the aspects of calmness and coarseness which focuses on the diversity of all phenomena, or the serenity generated by this insight, they must develop serenity.
Moreover, the point at which serenity first arises, in terms of the stage of generation and the stage of completion, is during the first of these two.
In Summary, you must first develop serenity and then on this basis you may proceed on a graduated path up to the Peak of Cyclic Existence by means of insight bearing the aspects of calmness and coarseness; or you may proceed along the five paths of liberation or omniscience by means of insight bearing the aspect of the reality of selflessness. This constitutes the general seal of the Conqueror's teachings,
so no yogi can depart from it. The preceding is a general presentation of the way to proceed from high to higher paths on the basis of meditative serenity.
第三顯示別趣世間道軌分二，一 顯往粗靜相道先須獲得正奢摩他，二 依奢摩他離欲之理。
3.3. A specific presentation of the way to proceed along the mundane path.
Here there are two sections:
3.3.1 the need to achieve meditative serenity before proceeding on the path bearing the aspects of calmness and coarseness, and
3.3.2 on the basis of meditative serenity, the way to freedom from attachment to the desire realm.
3.3.1 the need to achieve meditative serenity before proceeding on the path bearing the aspects of calmness and coarseness
One who cultivates the path bearing the aspects of calmness and coarseness by way of discernment of characteristics must first achieve the meditative Serenity explained earlier,
for the 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》 says:
Upon increasing this concentration,
And by increasing it further,
The yogi achieves actual meditative stabilization.
This states that one who has achieved the previously explained ninth mental state, together with pliancy, increases this concentration and there by achieves actual meditative stabilization.
Moreover, from the time of the ninth mental state up until you achieve the attention [of the discernment of characteristics], you are said to attain a "beginner at attention [first attainment of serenity]."
Once you have achieved the attention of the discernment of characteristics, and you cultivate it out of a desire to purify afflictions, you are said to attain a "beginner at purifying afflictions." So one who cultivates the discernment of characteristics first achieves attention [serenity].
The 《Śrāvaka Levels》states:
A "beginner at attention" is a beginner while not attaining attention with respect to one-pointedness [on the aspects of calmness and coarseness] and until reaching one-pointedness. A "beginner at purifying afflictions" occurs after attaining this attention and begins with the attainment of the attention of the discernment of characteristics—an attention which desires to purify the mind from the afflictions and is a familiarization with this practice.
Also at the beginning of the fourth section it is said that you cultivate the mundane and supramundane paths of detachment after you have achieved attention [serenity].
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This very extensive explanation in the 《Śrāvaka Levels》 of the process of eliminating afflictions by first accomplishing the serenity explained above and then achieving mundane and supramundane insight does not clearly appear in other treatises on knowledge.
Former scholars who were learned in the earlier higher and lower texts on knowledge also have not clearly articulated this process of eliminating afflictions on the basis of first accomplishing one-pointed serenity.
Therefore, if you have not understood well this explanation in the 《Śrāvaka Levels》, you might have the following mistaken idea: The lowest stage on the path of the meditative stabilizations of the form realm and the meditative absorptions of the formless realm is the access to the first stabilization. And the first of the six types of attention explained with respect to this is the discernment of characteristics.
Therefore, the discernment of characteristics is a state of mind at the beginning of the access. It is very incorrect to hold such a view, for these reasons:
(1) without achieving serenity you have no way to produce access to the first meditative stabilization; (2) if you do not achieve this access you will not achieve serenity; and
(3) since discernment of characteristics consists of analytical meditation, by cultivating it you will not be able to newly accomplish the serenity that you have not achieved earlier.
According to the quotation from the 《Levels of Yogic Deeds》 cited earlier: there is no pliancy in one-pointedness within the desire realm; and the 《Sūtra Unravelling the Intended Meaning》 and so on state that if you do not achieve pliancy, you will not accomplish serenity.
Thus, if you do not achieve the first access state, you will not achieve serenity.
Therefore, the first of the six types of attention of the first access State [the six causal attentions in the list of seven attentions mentioned below] is the entrance to cultivating the insight included in the access state, but it is not right at the beginning of the first access state, for it must be preceded by the serenity that is included in the access state.
All states of concentration prior to the achievement of the concentrations included in the first access state are solely mental one-pointedness in the desire realm.
So if you adhere to the explanations in the classic texts, there are very few who achieve even serenity, let alone insight.
3.3.2 on the basis of meditative serenity, the way to freedom from attachment to the desire realm
Once you have become familiar with just the meditative serenity explained earlier, which bear the many attributes of clarity, nondiscursive awareness, etc., if you do not cultivate either of the two kinds of insight, you will not be able to suspend even the manifest afflictions of the desire realm. In that case, what need is there to mention eliminating the seeds of afflictions and cognitive obscurations? Therefore, if you wish to achieve the first stabilization, which is free of attachment to the desire realm, cultivate insight on the basis of that serenity.
Qualm: Well, why does this not contradict the earlier statement that if you become accustomed to serenity alone, you will suppress manifest afflictions?
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Reply: There is no problem, for the earlier explanation subsumed mundane insight under the category of meditative serenity; but this explanation refers to the serenity that is included in the first access state and that precedes both types of insight.
Moreover, with respect to the insight that accomplishes freedom from attachment, there are the two ways of freeing yourself, one by means of insight bearing the aspect of the truths and the other by the insight that bears the aspects of calmness and coarseness. This present discussion is a presentation of the way to accomplish freedom from attachment by way of the latter of these two paths.
With regard to this, the persons who cultivate it are both non-Buddhists, who utterly lack the view of selflessness, and followers of this teaching [Buddhists] who have the view of selflessness.
The type of path they cultivate in order to eliminate the afflictions accords with the teachings of the 《Śrāvaka Levels》:
For the sake of freedom from the desire realm, diligent yogis use the seven types of attention and subsequently achieve their freedom. The seven types of attention are: the attention of (1) the discernment of characteristics, (2) arisal from belief, (3) isolation, (4) delight or withdrawal, (5) analysis, (6) final application, and (7) the result of final application.
Among those, the final one is the attention at the time of entering the actual state of meditative stabilization upon being freed from attachment to the desire realm; so this is what is to be accomplished, while the former six are what accomplishes it.
Question: If in this case you are not eliminating the afflictions through meditation on the meaning of selflessness, then what kind of thing are you establishing and then meditating on to eliminate the afflictions?
Reply: Although other manifest afflictions of the desire realm are eliminated with this path bearing the aspects of calmness and coarseness, the phrase "to free yourself from attachment to the desire realm" refers chiefly to eliminating attachment by way of its antidote. Moreover, attachment refers here to the yearning for and attachment to the five sensory objects of the desire realm. The antidote to this is to regard sensory objects as disadvantageous in a multitude of ways.
By thus adhering to the opposite of the mode of apprehension of attachment and then accustoming yourself to it, you become free from attachment to the desire realm.
Furthermore, you may have the firm certainty of the discernment of characteristics, an unmistaken discernment of the faults of the desire realm and the good qualities of the first meditative stabilization. Nevertheless, if you have not already accomplished serenity, you will not be able to eliminate afflictions no matter how familiar you become with distinguishing between those faults and good qualities.
Moreover, even if you have achieved serenity, if you do not analyze with discernment, however much you cultivate serenity, you will not be able to eliminate afflictions.
Thus, you must eliminate them by way of cultivating both serenity and insight. This is the procedure for every elimination of afflictions.
In that case, the seven types of attention are described as follows:
1. The knowledge of characteristics [the discernment of characteristics] in which one distinguishes between the faults and advantages of the lower and higher levels entails the integration of study and reflection by means of mental states arisen from study on some occasions and those arisen from reflection on other occasions.
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2. By familiarizing yourself in this way, you will exclusively believe in the objects of calmness and coarseness by way of meditation that transcends study and reflection; and this is the attention arisen from belief.
In this regard the 《Śrāvaka Levels》 states, "Focusing on that very sign [coarseness and calmness], you cultivate serenity and insight";
and even in the passage concerning the sixth attention there is reference to cultivating serenity and insight.
The passage on the first attention speaks of focusing on the six elements, including the meaning, and in other passages this focusing is frequently referred to as insight. Hence, even though this does no entail cultivating the view of selflessness, it is insight.
Thus, in the context of these types of attention you eliminate afflictions after you have meditated by way of both serenity and insight. Here is how you cultivate the two: you cultivate insight by repeatedly analyzing the distinct objects of calmness and coarseness, and at the conclusion of this analysis you cultivate serenity by one-pointedly focusing on these objects of calmness and coarseness.
The second and first types of attention in such meditation are the antidote of disillusionment.
3. When on the basis of familiarizing yourself with the alternating cultivation of serenity and insight in that way, you give rise to the antidote to the great afflictions of the desire realm, this is called isolated attention.
4. Further, the attention of delight or withdrawal is when you are able to eliminate middling afflictions by means of the alternating cultivation of serenity and insight.
5. Then, when you see that the desire realm's afflictions that obstruct your endeavors in virtue are not activated either while abiding in concentration or when you have risen from it, do not have the coarse thought, "Now I have eliminated the afflictions."
Rather, analyze, "Is the attachment of sensual attraction not being activated while I am not freed of it? Or, is it not activated after I have been freed from it?" Then in order to test this, watch attachment arise when you focus on a very beautiful object of attachment. Thereafter your interest in meditation for the sake of eliminating this attachment is analytical attention. This gets rid of the conceit of thinking that you have eliminated that which has not been eliminated.
6. Then again you both analytically discriminate the objects of calmness and coarseness as before and focus one-pointedly at the conclusion of the analysis. The attention of final application is when by meditating in this way you give rise to the antidote to the small afflictions of the desire realm.
The third, fourth and sixth types of attention are antidotes that eliminate afflictions.
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7. Thus, when you have eliminated the small afflictions, you have overcome all the manifest afflictions of the desire realm, and for the time being they are not activated in the slightest degree. But you have not completely destroyed the seeds of those afflictions. By this means you are freed from attachment to states up to Nothingness, but since you are unable to stop even the manifest afflictions of the Peak of Cyclic Existence, you cannot transcend the cycle of existence.
However, on the basis of meditative stabilization you also achieve the five kinds of superknowledge, but I shall not discuss them due to fear of verbosity. Since this is elaborated upon in Asanga's 《Śrāvaka Levels》, look there.
Nowadays there is no one who uses these methods to accomplish the actual meditative stabilizations and so on, so there is no one to lead you astray Nevertheless, if you generate an understanding that is not confined to a mere general verbal description of them, it is very helpful for avoiding the pitfalls of concentrations other than these.
Such concentrations of the four meditative stabilizations of the form realm and the four meditative absorptions of the formless realm, as well as the five kinds of superknowledge, are shared with non-Buddhists. So, even if you achieve such extraordinary concentrations, not only will you not be liberated from the cycle of existence by these alone, they even bind you to the cycle of existence. Therefore, seek discerning insight and the view of selflessness, and do not be satisfied with serenity alone.
Even if you lack extensive knowledge of the means of accomplishing the actual first stabilization and so on, you should certainly look carefully into the heart of the following discussions and come to know at least something of the teachings themselves, free of your own fabrications:
(1) the discussion given above concerning the nine ways of focusing your mind, set forth in the previously cited Mādhyamaka Stages of Meditation, that are the means of accomplishing the aforementioned "serenity" or "attention" that comes from the profound 《Perfection of Wisdom sutras》, etc.;
(2) their intended meaning as expounded in Maitreya's 《Ornament for the Mahāyāna Sūtras》;
(3) the noble Asanga's summary discussions of them in his 《Bodhisattva Levels》, 《Compendium of Knowledge》, and 《Compendium of Determinations》, and extensive explanation of them in his 《Śrāvaka Levels》 in accordance with the indication in his 《Compendium of Bases》 that both serenity and insight are discussed in the 《Śrāvaka Levels》;
(4) the discussions of their meaning in the 《Mādhyamaka Stages of Meditation》 and Ratnākaraśānti's 《Instructions for the Perfection of Wisdom》;
and also (5) the way to accomplish serenity through the eight antidotes and the ways to eliminate the five faults, in Maitreya's 《Separation of the Middle from the Extremes》.
Some practitioners of meditative stabilization are not even familiar with the mere names of the meditations. Some become familiar with just the words when they study the classics, but they do not properly understand the meaning. When they then get around to practice they see no need for those treatises, discard them as being of no account, and sustain their meditation.
Consequently, when they achieve a state of concentration that is fit to be included in the category of serenity, they maintain that it is concentration on emptiness, which is an indication that they have not discerned the point of the practice with careful understanding.
When they achieve merely the ninth mental state, which is a concentration commonto both Buddhists and non-Buddhists, they claim to have experienced the completion stage of highest yoga tantra with its complete characteristics. Many of these persons, after they have mingled meditative equipoise with the post-meditation state, mistakenly assert that this experience is uninterrupted, non-discursive wisdom.
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When you gain proper certainty concerning the previous explanations, you will not be deceived by the mere designation of such enticing terms as meditation on the objectless, the signless, and the definitive meaning.
By knowing the extent of the meanings of these concentrations, you will recognize what are and are not deviations from the path. Therefore, become skilled in the stages of accomplishing concentration taught in those authoritative treatises.
經及廣釋論善說修定軌， 因文簡直故狹慧未能解， 反謂此經論無無分別教，
不於有處求無處求謂得， 尚且未能辨內外定差別， 况能善分辨小乘及大乘，
顯教與密教三摩地差別， 見此故顯說大論修定法。 久習大論友莫捨自珍寶，
而取他假石願識寶自有， 佛見除汝學別無教授義， 讚聞住林樂願觀察彼義，
無分別止道修法與修量， 未得善了解劬勞修定師， 尚須依智者如實知修法，
否則暫休息於教損害小， 慈尊無著論所說修止法， 為聖教久住故今略解釋，
Here I say:
Profound are the descriptions of the stages for achieving concentration
Well taught in the sūtras and the great commentaries.
Those of little intelligence do not precisely comprehend them,
Projecting the faults of their own minds upon others.
Thinking, "There are no instructions there for sustaining nondiscursive awareness,"
They do not look for them in texts that have them,
And they think they have found them
After diligently seeking them where they do not exist.
Such people fail to distinguish between
Even the concentrations of Buddhists and non-Buddhists.
What need, then, is there to mention
Their precisely distinguishing the differences
Between concentrations of the Mahāyāna and Hinayāna
And of the Vajrayāna and Pāramitāyāna!
Seeing this situation, I have explained in simple words
The way to sustain concentration as taught in the classics.
O friends who have trained for many years in the classics,
Donot discard your precious gem
In favor of others' costume jewelry,
But recognize you have something of great value!
There is nothing apart from the meaning of the instructions
In the treatises you have studied. Knowing this,
The Master of the Sages said, "There is bliss in the forest
For those of great learning." Analyze these words.
May even those meditators who place their hopes in sheer determination,
Though they have not first acquired a proper discernment
Of how to practice and the measure of success
For the path of a fully non-discursive, focused serenity,
Come to know precisely the way to sustain
Meditation in reliance on the learned.
Otherwise, there is less harm if they take for awhile
A refreshing break from the teachings of the Conqueror.
This explanation of the way to achieve serenity
Using the treatises of Maitreya and Asanga
Is for the sake of preserving for a long time
The teachings of the Conqueror.
Among the stages of the path of a person of great capacity, this concludes the explanation of how those who are training in the deeds of bodhisattvas train in serenity, which is meditative stabilization.
- p.398 -