Khenpo’s Advice for a Shamatha Practitioner
Everyone has his or her own specific experience in meditation. Even if one could rest one’s mind in calmness for a very long time, though they may feel quite content, it is not a very high level of meditation. Without the wisdom of introspection into the nature of the mind, one can not eradicate the root of suffering, but just suppress it temporarily. So calm-abiding meditation only is not enough, and should be accompanied by the meditation of Vipassana.
I’ve been doing meditation for a very long time and have come to a point where I have a very important question regarding my meditation practice. I know this sounds a bit strange, but it has come to this point in my meditation where I feel very content with my awareness of my mind. Just now you were mentioning about how the mind can’t be found and that one needs to always observe one’s mind. I’ve actually come to a point where I just can’t find how I’m feeling anymore, because I am so calm and content compared to how I was before. I don’t know if I shall remain like this. Do I just keep meditating or just… It’s a very strange question, because I’ve been thinking about it for about a week and I’m not sure if you or anyone had this experience where you just reach a point at which you’re just always happy with however you’re feeling because it doesn’t matter to you.
I don’t think it is strange, actually this is very good. Because in meditation, it is normal for each of us to have different experiences. The practice of calming down the mind and abiding in that calmness is what we call Shamatha practice. However, only Shamatha practice is not enough. Some celestial beings can remain in this calm abiding state for kalpas and some animals can also abide in calmness for 3 months when they go into hibernation. Thus it is not a very high level of meditation. What we need is to realize the nature of our mind, and this is called Vipassana. Without the wisdom of Vipassana, we can’t eradicate the root of samsara. Now you are in the state of calm abiding, if you can take a step further to practice Vipassana, you will realize the nature of mind which is neither existent nor non-existent. It is an inconceivable state of realization. However, only with the support of relevant theories can you truly recognize it.