I am re-reading The Mind Illuminated again in order to reinvigorate my practice for the new year. I really needed to hear this passage again and actually listened to it about ten times in a row to really get it:
"Awakening from our habitual way of perceiving things. how we understand things requires a profound shift in our intuitive understanding of the nature of reality. Awakening is a cognitive event. the culminating insight in a series of very special insights called vipassana. This climax of the progress of insight only occurs when the mind is in a unique mental state called samatha. Samatha and vippassana are both generated by stable attention (samadi) and mindfulness (sati). Although it is possible to cultivate either samatha or vipassana independently of one another, both are necessary for awakening.
Samatha has five characteristics:
"The complete state of samatha results from working with stable attention and mindfulness until joy emerges. Joy then gradually matures into tranquility, and equanimity arises out of that tranquility. A mind in samatha is the ideal instrument for achieving insight."
These are the definitions provided by John Yates:
This was a great reminder of the steps necessary to progress to awakening. I have been focused on samadhi for a couple years now and less focused on sati. I will adjust my practice to cultivate samatha by combining sati and samadhi.
Eric is a traveller, hacker, and experimenter who is currently researching how to become a happier, calmer, and more compassionate human being.