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Shamata & Vipassana

Entering the spiritual dimension
Shamata and Vipassana in accordance with Tarab Tulku Rinpoche

In this summer-retreat we together will discuss and investigate shamata and vipassana, and the importance of the attainment of both for entering the spiritual dimension along the line of Tarab Rinpoche’s Unity in Duality teaching.

There are many different meditation practices leading towards attainment of shamata. We will introduce some, for instance using ‘colours’ and ‘element’ visualization meditation, enhancing one’s more subtle beingness, as presented in the Abbhidharmakosa by Vasubhandu – Nalanda Uni. Scholar. We will also use ‘sound’ and ‘nature of mind’ meditations for entering into deeper uniting experiencing, semi-shamata. And finally, on this basis, we will try to use subtle forces of the intellect for training semi-vipassana, deepening our insight and realization of our selves and reality.  

Tarab Tulku Rinpoche builds his training in meditation upon the tradition deriving from Nalanda University in North India, as outlined in the works specifically by Kamalashila c740-796) and further developed by Tibetan masters, for instance Tsongkhapa, originator of Gelug-tradition – Dalai Lamas’ School. In this tradition it is said very clearly that without the attainment of shamata and vipassana we have no gateway to enter into spiritual development; and the union of shamata and vipassana is the basis for developing any of the meditation stages.

Part and parcel of shamata is the use of the ‘mind-eyes’, i.e. an ‘energy-body’ like the dream-body, establishing of which visualization meditation is a genius method but not the only one.

Shamata is of the nature of meditative absorption (samadhi) and describes a row of unity states giving rise the increasingly deeper and stronger body and mind bliss experiencing, necessary for progressing on the spiritual path. In this process the conceptual and image realities decrease, for finally at the 3rd meditation stage leaving only ‘feeling mind’ union of subject – object, body – mind and matter – energy (potential field).

In the Karmalashila tradition, on the basis of one-pointed unity of subtle body, mind and subtle reality at different levels of existence, vipassana can be described as the meditative means, utilizing the refined conceptual  capacity of Jnana (Tib. sherab), furthering the realization, progressing towards “void-nature”, “nature of mind and phenomena”, “Rigpa nature” or “unity nature” - Shamata and Vipassana being the altering means on the path.