The Stages Of Meditation
The Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
Excerpted from the transcript of "Tranquility And Insight Meditation" (Texas 1992)
Part 5 of 5 | 1, 2, 3 , 4, 5

The sequence of practice is that one begins with tranquillity; on the basis of that tranquillity, one generates insight; and then finally one unifies or combines them.  What is meant by the united or unified practice of tranquillity and insight is that while the mind is allowed to remain at rest or abide in the tranquillity, one is not without either (whichever one is appropriate for the practice one is pursuing) of the two types of discrimination: full discrimination or utterly full discrimination.  This process is present in a variety of techniques and approaches.  For example, if one is meditating by directing one's attention to the details of a statue of the Buddha, then while this is tranquillity meditation, it also includes the aspect of insight, in that the discrimination of the particular detail on which the mind is being one-pointedly focused is the faculty of full discrimination (one of the two types of insight practice).  If one is meditating on topics such as the investigation of the aggregates, of the elements and of the fields of sense perception, then an investigation of each of these is at the same time a practice of tranquillity (as the one mind is one-pointedly directed to its object), and a practice of insight (as the mind is engaged in the act of full discrimination). 

If one is meditating on emptiness, the one-pointed abiding of the mind on a chosen object becomes inseparable from that object, which in this case is emptiness.  It is excellent tranquillity.  Since meditation on emptiness itself is the utmost form of utterly full discrimination, the second of the two aspects of tranquillity, then this is an authentic unification of tranquillity and insight.  In any case, whatever approach is used, it is of great importance that this sequence of tranquillity, then insight, and then the unification of the two, be followed. 


That completes a brief explanation of tranquillity and insight.  To sum up, every form of meditation, from the meditation on impermanence of the sravakayana up to the meditation on deities, on clear light, and channels, winds and drops of the vajrayana--all of this is tranquillity meditation.  All of the meditation from the determination of the egolessness of persons in the sravakayana all the way up to the completion stage in the vajrayana all consist of the prajna which realizes the lack of true existence, and is all lhatong or insight.  Hence there is no form of practice or teaching on practice that is anything other than tranquillity and/or insight.  Therefore it is extremely important, since these practices are all there is, to practice them.  If one engages in these practices, then one will certainly acquire their respective results, which are, in order, to pacify and weaken mental affliction, and to eradicate mental affliction.

Part 5 of 5 | 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 | Talk Index

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