Glen Svensson, 22 May 2020
Session 15: Merging mind with space (releasing)
On our last session, we focus on the practice of merging the mind with space, this time with an alternation between sharpening the attention and release.
Meditation starts at 10:55
Glen describes the story of the Buddha on how he discovered that access to the first jhana is the basis for vipashana practice, which then leads to enlightenment. This does not mean that one should solely practice shamatha first and only later practice vipashana. Without vipashana, your shamatha practice will probably be filled with many obstacles. The accomplishment of shamatha also develops paranormal abilities and extrasensory perceptions. One can even remember past lives with the accomplishment of shamatha.
The arya paths of all three vehicles (shravaka, pratyekabuddha, and bodhisattva) are obtained upon the dependence of shamatha. There are two types of practicioners, the arya and the ordinary practitioner. The arya is the person who has had a direct realization of emptiness. If a shravaka or a pratyekabuddha have a direct realization of emptiness, they are what is called “stream enterers.” A stream enterer can then develop into a “once returner” and then a “non returner.” Finally, upon achieving nirvana, you become an arhat. If somebody on the bodhisattva path has a direct realization of emptiness, they are an arya bodhisattva. In short, the achievement of shamatha is necessary to proceed on any path towards liberation.
Glen then speaks briefly about which shamatha method we should use for our practice. In general, for the first four stages, mindfulness of breathing is best. Then, settling the mind and then awareness of awareness are practiced. However, the best shamatha method is the one that best works for you.
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