Được dạy bởi Sư Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu
Dịch Việt: Việt Hùng
Lời người dịch: Trong các bài Hỏi & Đáp như vậy, tôi sẽ chủ yếu dịch thoát ý, chứ không chặt chữ. Một mặt đây là việc tôi làm để có thể nghiền ngẫm phần trả lời của Sư Yuttadhammo. Một mặt, tôi chia sẻ lại đây, và hy vọng nó hữu ích cho các thiền sinh Vipassana tham khảo.
Bài pháp ngắn này nằm trong chương trình Monk Radio và được đăng tải trên Youtube vào ngày 16/07/2012. Phần English transcript ở cuối bài. Link Youtube của bài nói ở đây: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKFSgacZHdc
Mặc dù đã cố gắng tốt nhất trong khả năng của mình, tôi chắc chắn không thể ghi xuống được một cách chính xác 100% tất cả các từ ngữ, đặc biệt là các từ Pali mà Sư đề cập trong bài pháp. Tôi sẽ tiếp tục cập nhật bản ghi, bất cứ khi nào tôi thấy được những điểm còn thiếu sót.
Con xin thành kính đảnh lễ tạ ơn Sư Yuttadhammo về bài pháp thoại ngắn quí báu này. Con nguyện cho Sư được mọi thuận lợi và sức khoẻ trong hành trình tâm linh của Sư.
Các bạn có thể tìm hiểu thêm thông tin của Sư Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu và các lời dạy của Sư tại trang web: https://www.sirimangalo.org/.
English Transcript (quickly jotting down)
Question: How many meditation techniques did the Buddha teach?
Well, as I said, I think you can’t really put a number on them. Why I say this is because the Buddha had something called [in Pali], the knowledge of the faculties of beings, knowledge of which faculties were lacking and which faculties were present in the people that he taught. So he knew right away how to teach. One monk he taught him by having him hold the cloth up in the sun. And as he was holding the cloth up in the sun, it became dirty. And because of something that he had cultivated in a past life, he was able to become enlightened. So the techniques of meditation that the Buddha taught are, I would say, only limited by the number of people that he taught. When he would give a talk, he knew exactly how to to teach for that audience. Sometimes he would travel a long ways just to teach one person. Because he had seen that they were ready to hear the teacher and ready to realize the truth. So, that’s one thing that can be said.
Now in Theravada Buddhist tradition, we separate meditation into two types and it’s possible to suggest that the Buddha did as well, that the Buddha said there are two things that are of benefit and this is samatha and vipassana. So we therefore try to explain the Buddhist teachings and the many meditations that the Buddhist taught under these two headings. And samatha is the cultivation of tranquility, vipassana is the cultivation of insight. Because it seems quite clear and quite readily apparent that there are certain meditations that don’t directly lead to wisdom. Because they are focused on a concept. For instance, if you focus on the light, you know, there’s many of these traditional meditations where you focus on the white color or something and (I) did this video for kids, just to teach them the basics of how to focus on something. Uh, so we’ve had them focus on colors in this video. I don’t know if many kids actually watched it, but it’s out there. But this one can’t lead to wisdom. It can’t lead to insight. So we call this one samatha meditation. Because you can stare at white for as long as you want, there’s nothing about the way reality works in the contemplation of white. If you meditate on the Buddha or you meditate on God, um, for example, there’s nothing in those objects that will lead you to insight. The Buddha had us practice meditation or in some sense practice meditation on the Buddha to to recite to ourselves, [Talk in Pali] to recollect the Buddha’s virtues. And so this is samatha. Now, vipassana is the practice to see clearly. So you would take this meditation object, for example, this white disc, and you would begin to look at it differently. Once your mind became calm through the practice of tranquility, you would then begin to examine it simply as seeing as the Buddha said, [talking in Pali]. This monk asked for the most concise teaching, a concise practice. So none of this long practice of having to develop common tranquilly. Which the practice that is going to be the quickest to the shortest path to become enlightened? And so the Buddha gave him the shortest path and it is a very important sutta for this reason. Because it’s an answer to the question, what is the shortest path?
And the Buddha said [talking in Pali] that trained yourself so that seeing will just be seeing, hearing will just be hearing, smelling will just be tasting, feeling will just be feeling, thinking will just be thinking. And when you do this, there will be no basically there will be no self. You will not have any attachment to any of these things. You will not find yourself in any of these things. And when you do that, you will, uh, your mind will become free. And so simply by practicing that in that way, Bahía was able to become enlightened, sitting there, prostrating himself there at the Buddha’s feet or standing there with the Buddha, listening to the Buddha teach.
Now, this is the practice of Vipassana. When you begin to look at things as they are, rather than trying to cultivate some specific state or some specific concentration, you begin to look at even the states of concentration. So the next question these women had or the one woman had is the question that I always get from people who are practicing on their own, who don’t have and who haven’t cultivated meditation to over the long term with the teacher. They will ask… They will explain that they after some time, they get to a state of of of nothingness where there is nothing. So they’ll be practicing whatever meditation they were practicing for some time. And then suddenly they enter into a state where there is nothing and there is no breathing, if they were watching the breath. Or you know, Buddha, if they were thinking of the Buddha. There would just be nothing. And so they don’t know what to do at that point.
And this is where the practice of vipassana kicks in. This is where you begin to look at even the state of, in this case, peace or calm or tranquility might lose capacity and begin to examine that state. Because you’ll see that actually it is also a contrived state. You say to yourself, ‘calm, calm’ or ‘quiet, quiet’. And you’ll get a grasp of this feeling and you’ll pick up this subtle liking and the subtle attachment to it and the subtle, um, encouragement that exists in the mind that leads you to fall into this state again and again. And you begin to see that these are also impermanent, unsatisfying and uncontrollable. They don’t last forever. They don’t really bring you, um, true and lasting peace and happiness.
And so you’re able to give them up. And, of course, as a result, give up anything else that might be an even less pleasant and less comfortable. So these are the two types of meditation. The first one is for the practice of bringing calm. The second one is for the practice of bringing about insight. And you might say that basically the Buddha taught these two practices. For people who had time, he would teach them to practice samatha of the first and then give them insight. For people who didn’t have time, he would teach them what you might call samatha and vipassana together. So the the the way I like to explain it, let’s use a graphic here. There’s two qualities in mind. One is a concentration or focus and the other is wisdom or insight. And you need them both, you know, samatha and vipassana, you need them both. Some people will practice samatha first and their concentration comes to a peak, without any insight, without any knowledge whatsoever. Their mind is focused, but they don’t really have a clue about reality. And then they start to develop wisdom until it comes up and joins together. And when it joins together, that’s the moment where you enter into Nibbana. Now, another way, and one that most teachers nowadays will encourage of their students is to develop both together. So at the same time that you’re developing calm, that you’re focusing on an object is we have people sit and do meditation, for example, watching the rising and falling of the stomach or other people watch the nose or so, to focus on reality as well, but to develop to do it in a concentrated way as well. So at the same time as you’re developing insight, you’re also developing concentration. And so they still come together and you still need both of them and they still lead you to into Nibbana. But they come up together. There’s a third way. And the Buddha taught is where you practice to see things clearly first without any concentration. So this might be where you’re studying and when you’re thinking a lot, when you’re examining reality, but you don’t have much concentration and then you start to quiet your mind down afterwards. So first vipassana and then samatha. There’s one sutta when Buddha taught about these differences, the different ways of becoming enlightened. And this is where a lot of the controversy in Buddhism comes from. Because everyone wants to say that no, no, only this way is right or only that way is right. But the point being that there are these two aspects of meditation practice and observation suggests that they can be developed individually but eventually have to balance out and come together in order to lead one to enlightenment. So I think (this is) one answer on how many meditation techniques, you can say how many types of meditation or aspects of the meditation practice are there? There’s two aspects.