0

In discourses given to monks in AN11.1, AN11.2 and AN11.3, the Buddha gave very similar messages on the purpose and benefit of virtue (sila) and how it leads to knowledge and vision of release.

I quote the Thanissaro translation of AN11.1:

“Thus in this way, Ananda, skillful virtues (sīlā) have freedom from remorse as their purpose, freedom from remorse as their reward. Freedom from remorse (avippaṭisāro) has joy as its purpose, joy as its reward. Joy (pāmojjaṃ) has rapture as its purpose, rapture as its reward. Rapture (pīti) has serenity as its purpose, serenity as its reward. Serenity (passaddhi) has pleasure as its purpose, pleasure as its reward. Pleasure (sukhaṃ) has concentration as its purpose, concentration as its reward. Concentration (samādhi) has knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its purpose, knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its reward. Knowledge & vision of things as they actually are (yathābhūtañāṇadassanaṃ) has disenchantment as its purpose, disenchantment as its reward. Disenchantment (nibbidā) has dispassion as its purpose, dispassion as its reward. Dispassion (virāgo) has knowledge & vision of release as its purpose, knowledge & vision of release (vimuttiñāṇadassana) as its reward.

According to the Yuganaddha Sutta (AN4.170) spoken by Ananda, insight can be developed before concentration, or concentration can be developed before insight, or both can be developed in tandem.

However, in the AN11.1-3 suttas spoken by the Buddha, the chain of causes starts with virtues (sila), and passes through rapture (piti), pleasure (sukham), concentration (samadhi), then goes to "knowledge and vision of things as they actually are" (yathābhūtañāṇadassanaṃ).

To my understanding, "knowledge and vision of things as they actually are" is the goal of vipassana (insight), right?

So, I take it that AN 11.1-3 implies the following sequence:

  • Every person (monk or lay person) should start with the cultivation of virtues (sila) - the starting point for virtue according to other suttas is the five precepts
  • Virtues (sila) eventually leads one to rapture (sila), pleasure (sukham) and concentration (samadhi), which is the goal of samatha (tranquility) meditation.
  • Samatha (tranquility) meditation then leads on to vipassana (insight) meditation
  • Vipassana (insight) meditation results in the "knowledge and vision of things as they actually are"

So, is my interpretation correct that the correct sequential order of practice is first sila, followed by samatha, followed by vipassana?

On the other hand, MN 149 does say:

Thus for him, having thus developed the noble eightfold path, the four frames of reference go to the culmination of their development. The four right exertions... the four bases of power... the five faculties... the five strengths... the seven factors for Awakening go to the culmination of their development. [And] for him these two qualities occur in tandem: tranquility & insight.

So, which is the right interpretation?

  • The one in AN 4.170 stating that insight before tranquility or tranquility before insight or tranquility in tandem with insight, are all good.
  • The one in MN 149 stating that tranquility and insight happens in tandem
  • The one in AN 11.1-3 stating clearly that virtues should come before tranquility, and tranquility should come before insight?
  • Samadhi (concentration) is not samatha (tranquility). The whole question uses terminology wrongly. I voted to close the question. The question merely creates confusion for impressionable people who are blinded by the impression of scholarship in the question. – Dhammadhatu May 29 '18 at 2:19
3

As I explained in "Is samatha meditation more suited to lay people than vipassana?", the factors of "being good", "feeling good", "calming down", "understanding", and "liberation" are designed to support each other.

In Mahayana, it is generally understood that the exact path depends on the student's propensity.

People of intellectual type are better suited for "understanding"-first paths.

Simple people caught up in the drama of life, are better suited for "calming down"-first paths.

For most people in between these theoretical extremes, there is a mixture of "understanding" and "calming down" developed in tandem, with slightly more accent on one or the other, depending on exact situation.

For people of extremely brilliant intuition, there's the fourth path of cutting through directly to suchness. Again in real life these "extremely bright" students do not exist. There is usually some combination of study and practice required to remove all doubts.

The general principle here is that the coarsest / biggest / most obvious obstacles should be removed first. I think it was Thrangu Rinpoche who went as far as to say that we should work on them one at a time, completely focusing on the worst mental/emotional/behavioral issue until it's resolved, before moving on to next.

1

The question has so many errors in it that it is difficult to know where to start how to answer.

First, there is no evidence the Buddha spoke every sutta, particularly in the dodgy Anguttara Nikaya. Therefore, it is wrong to think the Buddha gave all of these messages.

Second, samatha is not samadhi. Samatha is a fruit of samadhi, just as vipassana is a fruit of a samadhi. Therefore, AN 4.170 does not say insight can be developed before concentration (samadhi). AN 4.170 is not about samadhi (concentration).

Third, samadhi must always occur before samatha; just as samadhi must also occur before vipassana (yathābhūtañāṇadassanaṃ). However, when samadhi is right, the occurring of vipassana will often occur simultaneously. Therefore, it is incorrect to say the dhammas in AN 11.1 are developed separately. These dhammas occur automatically following from eachother.

Fourth, AN 11.1-3 do not say every person (monk or lay person) should start with the "cultivation" of virtues (sila). The Noble Eightfold Path says the practitioner starts with Right View and when Right View is established the virtues will automatically be established. Why does virtue need to be "cultivated"? How is non-killing cultivated? How is not taking drugs cultivated? Is not taking drugs "cultivated" by reducing daily drug intake from 10 drugs, to 8 drugs, to 6 drugs, to 4 drugs, to 2 drugs, to 0 drugs? These virtues are not "cultivated". As soon as there is non-killing, non-stealing, non-sexing, non-lying and non-drugging the virtue is immediate.

Fifth, the interpretation is not correct that the correct sequential order of practice is first sila, followed by samatha, followed by vipassana because samatha is not concentration (samadhi). In the Anapanasati Sutta, the phrase: "He trains himself" is continuously used. The means, with every in-breath & with every out-breath, the practitioner trains themselves in sila, samadhi & panna. This training occurs simultaneously because when the mind has samadhi, the mind has sila and the mind has wisdom. When the mind has wisdom, the mind has sila and the mind has samadhi. The forerunner is wisdom, as said in MN 117. Without wisdom, morality cannot be established. Therefore, the practise of sila cannot occur first. This is why the Noble Eightfold Path does not start with sila (morality).

Sixth, when virtues (sila) lead to rapture (piti) and pleasure (sukham), this rapture & happiness do not refer to factors of jhana. It is merely the joy the mind has in knowing clearly it is living morally in the right way in not harming onself & others.

Seventh, concentration (samadhi) is not the goal of samatha (tranquility) meditation. There is no such thing as samatha (tranquility) meditation. The meditation is called "samadhi bhavana" and samatha (tranquility) is a goal of samadhi meditation.

Eighth, samatha (tranquility) meditation does not lead on to vipassana (insight) meditation. Samatha is unrelated to vipassana because both samatha & vipassana are fruits/results of concentration (samadhi).

Ninth, MN 149 says:

Thus for him, having thus developed the noble eightfold path, the four frames of reference go to the culmination of their development. The four right exertions... the four bases of power... the five faculties... the five strengths... the seven factors for Awakening go to the culmination of their development. [And] for him these two qualities occur in tandem: tranquility & insight.

MN 149 says from right view comes right morality comes right concentration comes tranquility and insight. MN 149 does not contradict the dodgy suttas in the Anguttara Nikaya because samadhi is not samatha and samatha is not samadhi.

0

Samatha leading is for taṇhācarita, vipassanā leading is for diṭṭhicarita.

The tandem-bhāvanā is balava-vipassanā (pahāna-pariññā) and above, the proper-bhāvanā before that is depend on the purification of steps, like I described in the link above. Because if 2 base-purified-steps (sīla&samatha) are not pure enough, 5 head-purified-steps can't be tandem with samatha-purified-steps.

AN11.1

AN11.1 is for person who already practiced sīla [purified virtual;sīlavisuddhi], so your qoute is just a part, not whole process line.

Every person (monk or lay person) should start with the cultivation of virtues (sila) - the starting point for virtue according to other suttas is the five precepts

Every person should start with the proper step of them. It depends on personal ability, not lay or monk, like I described here.

The step example:

kītāgirisutta:

"Monks, I do not say that the attainment of gnosis is all at once. Rather, the attainment of gnosis is after respectively training, respectively action, respectively practice. And how is there the attainment of gnosis after respectively training, respectively action, respectively practice?

  1. There is the case where, when conviction has arisen, one visits [a teacher].
  2. Having visited, one request to be his attendant (see vinaya mahāvagga mahākhandhaka, and CH. III TAKING A MEDITATION SUBJECT of Visuddhimagga)
  3. Having been attendant, one listen carefully.
  4. Having listened carefully, one hears the Dhamma.
  5. Having heard the Dhamma, one memorizes it (dhatā=sutadharo).
  6. Having remembered by memorizing, one ponders the meaning of the teachings.
  7. Having pondered the meaning, one comes to an agreement through pondering the teachings.
  8. There being an agreement through pondering the teachings, wish-to-do arises.
  9. When wishing-to-do has arisen, one exerts.
  10. When one exerted (an effort), one meditates insight.
  11. Having meditated insight, one dedicates his life.
  12. Having dedicated his life, one realizes with the mind (discernment's body) the ultimate truth and, having penetrated, enlightened, it with discernment, sees it.

"Now, monks, there hasn't been that conviction, there hasn't been that visiting, there hasn't been that attending ... that listening carefully ... that hearing of the Dhamma ... that memorizing ... that penetration of the meaning of the teachings ... that agreement through pondering the teachings ... that wishing-to-do ... that effort ... that meditating insight ... that dedicating his life. You have lost the way, monks. You have gone the wrong way, monks. How far have you strayed, foolish men (moghapurisa), from this Dhamma & Discipline!

Above sequence appear in most tipitaka content:

1st-2nd are the 1st-2nd poems of Sutta. Khu. khuddakapāṭhe maṅgalasuttaṃ (the 1st of every maṅgala), anwsering to Brahmā Sahampati (the 1st time buddha decided to teach), VN Mahāvagga Mahākhandhaka (the 1st door to be a monk), Visuddhimagga Kammaṭṭhānaggahaṇaniddeso kammaṭṭhānadāyakavaṇṇanā, Sutta. Aṅ. (4): aṭṭhaka puṇṇiyasutta, etc.

3rd-7th are the 3rd poems of Sutta. Khu. khuddakapāṭhe maṅgalasuttaṃ, the qualification of nissayamuccaka-bhikkhu in VN Mahāvagga Mahākhandhaka, 1st Mātikā of Sutta. Khu. Paṭisambhidāmaggo, the study system in Visuddhimagga Kammaṭṭhānaggahaṇaniddeso kammaṭṭhānadāyakavaṇṇanā and Khandhaniddeso uggahaparipucchāvasena ñāṇaparicayaṃ katvā, etc.

8th and the others are training steps, adhisīla adhicitta adhipaññā. The sequence is follow to MN rathavinītasutta, Sutta. Khu. Paṭisambhidāmaggo, and Visuddhimagga, etc. Every person should start with the proper step of them. It depends on personal ability, not lay or monk, like I described here.

For Yuganaddha Sutta (AN4.170) is the same as I described here, except just dhammuddhacca which is vipassanūpakilesa in Visuddhimagga Maggāmaggañāṇadassanavisuddhiniddesa.

Samatha leading is for taṇhācarita, vipassanā leading is for diṭṭhicarita.

The tandem-bhāvanā is balava-vipassanā (pahāna-pariññā) and above, the proper-bhāvanā before that is depend on the purification of steps, like I described in the link above. Because if 2 base-purified-steps (sīla&samatha) are not pure enough, 5 head-purified-steps can't be tandem with samatha-purified-steps.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.