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I've seen in a lot of discussions that there are two kinds of meditation methods with different but complementary goals: meditation for establishing tranquility (samatha) and meditation for establishing insight or clear vision (vipassana).

But in a few places, some authors and practitioners say that both are not different styles, but two quatities and aspects that are developed during Samma Samadhi (Right Inmersion), and that in the Pali Canon there are no mentions of those two aspects being reached through different methods.

So, what do the Pali Canon tell us about this? Are these two different methods, or just two different aspects that are eventually developed hand-in-hand?

Thanks in advance for your time, wisdom and patience.

Kind regards!

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Actually, there are four ways of developing immersion, not just two...

The best summary I have found in the suttas is from DN33, which mentions four kinds of immersion:

Four ways of developing immersion further. There is a way of developing immersion further that leads to blissful meditation in the present life. There is a way of developing immersion further that leads to gaining knowledge and vision. There is a way of developing immersion further that leads to mindfulness and awareness. There is a way of developing immersion further that leads to the ending of defilements.

And what is the way of developing immersion further that leads to blissful meditation in the present life? It’s when a mendicant, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption … second absorption … fourth absorption. This is the way of developing immersion further that leads to blissful meditation in the present life.

And what is the way of developing immersion further that leads to gaining knowledge and vision? A mendicant focuses on the perception of light, concentrating on the perception of day regardless of whether it is night or day. And so, with an open and unenveloped heart, they develop a mind that’s full of radiance. This is the way of developing immersion further that leads to gaining knowledge and vision.

And what is the way of developing immersion further that leads to mindfulness and awareness? A mendicant knows feelings as they arise, as they remain, and as they go away. They know perceptions as they arise, as they remain, and as they go away. They know thoughts as they arise, as they remain, and as they go away. This is the way of developing immersion further that leads to mindfulness and awareness.

And what is the way of developing immersion further that leads to the ending of defilements? A mendicant meditates observing rise and fall in the five grasping aggregates. ‘Such is form, such is the origin of form, such is the ending of form. Such are feelings … perceptions … choices … consciousness, such is the origin of consciousness, such is the ending of consciousness.’ This is the way of developing immersion further that leads to the ending of defilements.

All of the above immersions have their purpose. Understanding each of these has helped me a lot in my own practice. They all support each other and it is quite helpful to be mindful of what type of immersion one is practicing at any given moment.

If you'd like to explore any of these in more detail, you may find it helpful to use https://voice.suttacentral.net . For example, one can learn about concentration on the perception of day.

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    Thanks, OyaMist! I don't understand the second kind of inmersion. What does it mean to "concentrating on the perception of day"? Where can I get more information about this? Kind regards! – Brian Díaz Flores May 20 at 15:55
  • Edited answer to include link – OyaMist May 20 at 16:10
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Yes, but not as seperat for the taught purpose:

"These two qualities have a share in clear knowing. Which two? Tranquillity (samatha) & insight (vipassana)... A Share in Clear Knowing

(Not given for trade, exchange, stacks or entertainment but to come out of this wheel)

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AN 4.94 is a good sutta to study, to see the relationship from an EBT perspective between samadhi, samatha, vipassana. http://lucid24.org/an/an04/an04-0094/toc-addon/index.html

And another important sutta, SN 46.2 samatha is a nutriment of samadhi, not equivalent to samadhi, as later Theravada tends to treat it.
http://lucid24.org/sn/sn46/sn46-002/toc-addon/index.html

In the EBT, the 4 jhanas have samatha and vipassana built in to each jhana, working hand in hand closely together. They are not separate mutually exclusive qualities that one develops in separate stages, as later Theravada has devolved into. The most clear example of this, look at the standard 3rd jhana formula, with the sati and sampjano explicity contained within it, and then look at AN 4.41 what S&S does. It's doing exactly what modern Theravada calls "vipassana" type of mental examination. http://lucid24.org/an/an04/an04-0041/toc-addon/index.html

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