At the risk of making myself a pariah so soon after joining this forum... I tend to agree with this comment. In fact the more I read the Suttas and the Visuddhimagga, the less I am able to defend the modern samatha/vipassana false dichotomy. I do not read "two types" of meditation in the Buddhadhamma, and the only way that I can read two types of meditation is to rely on the interpretations of people who do believe in two types of meditation. But then, I also believe that meditation is for those who have already put great effort into cultivating sila so I don't expect to make friends with these opinionsrobertk wrote:Vipassana is the culmination of profound insight into the nature of phenomena- it can only be known by the very wise, is subtle and even the moments of genuine satipatthan that preceed vipassana can only be experienced during a Buddha sasana.
To reply to the opening post.
The Buddha never taught vipassana as a technique, but sadly ,and I think contributing to the decline of the sasana , in recent times there are groups who have co-opted the word to mean some type of focusing on an object/objects. It is quite easy to fool people as if they quote the satipatthana sutta (which includes countless number of objects) then it is assumed the technique is 'vipassana'. However I believe little can be done to help anyone who thinks they are 'doing' vipassana, the attachment runs too deep usually.
Interestingly, Johannes Bronkhorst's "The Two Traditions of Meditation in Ancient India" is an interesting (if highly speculative) foray into the meditative teachings of early Buddhism. Bronkhorsts posits a theory (just a theory!) that the original meditative teachings of the Buddha were the 9 stages (8 jhanas + attainment) which I actually find to be eminently plausible with regard to my reading of "one" meditation.
As for modern vipassana methods I think that anything that is characterised as the highway to enlightenment has to prove its record as some stage or another. As I understand it the modern vipassana methods have been very popular in Asia and the West for approaching something like a century. So I ask the statisticians: have we had a massive increase in the rate of enlightenment? Or is the case that we have to, as the Buddha entreated us, abandon avarice and egoism and simply do the hard work necessary to curtail future births.
With unlimited love,