Vipassana Meditation: A Great Source of Wisdom

This samadhi is one that is stable in the sense that it remains separate from phenomena. It allows us to see the true characteristics of body and mind, of mental and physical phenomena (rupa-nama). We may see the body is not us but is just matter, or the working of elements, or just processes of sensory input andinterpretation.

In the second type of samadhi, the mind is the stable and
unattached watcher or knower. The kind of samadhi where the knower arises is
essential for seeing the truth, seeing the three Characteristics.

The knower is the colloquial term for concentration of the characteristic examination variety. It is the place from where we can practice Vipassana. In a few moments, I will describe how we can practice so that the knower can arise.


The reason why the mind runs around looking for this and that is because it is incessantly looking for happiness. Our decision to listen to or to read this Dhamma talk is because we are looking for happiness.

After we finish listening or reading, we may look for something tasty to eat to once again in pursuit of happiness. Then after we eat and feel full, we think we will be happier if we take a rest.

The mind and body are runningaround looking for objects to bring happiness constantly. However, if the mind is happy withthe object it is involved with already, then it will not go off looking for something else.

This first type of Samadhi, object-examination is accomplished during calmness meditation, otherwise known as Samatha Meditation. Even using the mind itself as the object of meditation can bring us into this type of Samadhi.

This is the secret to proper Samatha meditation. This ishow we can stop the busy mind and have a restful time of peace.Samatha has an important purpose. We need it to rest the mind so it can have power and fortitude.

If we don’t practice Samatha and achieve the first kind of samadhi, our Vipassana practice will be greatly hindered. We won’t have the fortitude and momentum to keep up the practice.

Those of us that watch the mind well will see that the mind cannot walk the path of wisdom all the time. It will need to rest. The mind will move into Samatha automatically at times, staying still in one place. 

In fact, it does this even more often than Vipassana. Wisdom comes upjust for a short while at a time, and then the mind becomes still again. A word of warning to those that. prefer to watchthe mind: make sure you keep up Samatha practice as well. It is essential in order to keep the mind fresh and powerful enough to walk the path of wisdom well. Those without the first kind of samadhi will have trouble doing Vipassana for longer periods.

Wisdom may arise briefly and then the mind will go off on a thinking tangent. Those that are too attached to Samatha should be careful too. The mind may be resting well for a while but then go off into dazes or dream states.

For both kinds of samadhi, the principles are quite easy. In the first kind, choose an object inthe body or mind that we are happy with. Whenthe mind is happy, it will stay concentrated and have no need to look for happiness eelsewhere. In the second kind, we watch a meditation object and notice whenever the mind goes away from or towards it instead of just knowing it.

To properly practice Vipassana meditation, we need to learn about and practice the first kind of Samadhi.
It is called object-examination or Aramma-n’upanijjhana.