“Shamatha and Vipashyana for Those with Many Responsibilities and Work in Daily Life”
Excerpt from Day 3
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
September 6, 2020
[01:39:55:55 – 1:44 in Tibetan]
Question: Good morning, Your Holiness. My question is, when we have too many responsibilities and too much work going on in daily life, how can we find peace of mind? Thank you so much.
HHDL: Every day, whether in order to acquire food or acquiring education, even if you don’t study, human society will not progress. It will rather be harmful. Be that as it may, rise up early in the morning. If your work starts at 8:00 or 9:00, in the morning, for example, before going to work, take an hour or a half hour or so. Normally, we spend most of our time focusing on our five physical senses, like watching television and napping. So for this hour or half hour, withdraw your awareness from the five physical senses, and to the best of your ability, rest your awareness on your mind itself. This single-pointed way of placing the mind is called śamatha. That’s primary. Do not follow after the five senses, but try to rest in the nature of your mind. When you rest solely in the mind, there’s just a sense of the sheer luminosity and cognizance of awareness. Remain a long as you can in the experience of sheer luminosity and cognizance. That is the cultivation of śamatha. On the basis of having some experience of resting single-pointedly, the power of the sheer luminosity and cognizance of the mind will grow stronger. To the extent that this occurs, then vipaśyanā, a kind of analytical meditation involving investigation will arise.
In the Indian spiritual traditions over the past 3,000 years, there are accounts of meditations of śamatha and vipaśyanā meditations. The Buddhadharma developed them further. In all Buddhist countries, there is a lot of reciting, but we should devote more time to meditation in addition to such gatherings. In the monastic colleges, when monks practice deity yoga and come to the point of taking the dying process onto the path of the dharmakāya, I encourage them not to continue with their recitations, but rather to meditate. I’ve expressed this opinion in the past. For the most part, in monasteries monks do recitations, but in their own rooms, it’s very important for them to get up early in the morning and meditate single-pointedly .
Upholders of the Pāli tradition have excellent practice of the vinaya. Previously, there was a monk in Thailand who meditated a great deal. In the Pāli tradition also, you have a very good system of Vinaya practice. There was a Thai bhikkhu who used to meditate a lot, and among the Tibetan sangha there are some who can meditate single-pointedly for two or three hours. This doesn’t happen all of a sudden, but with effort and familiarization. The union of analytical and placement meditation is very important.