02 January 2012

Contemplation: Clear Observation 6

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take this as your object of contemplation:

The practice of 'cessation' will enable ordinary men to cure themselves of their attachments to the world, and will enable the followers of the Hinayana to forsake their views, which derive from cowardice. The practice of 'clear observation' will cure the followers of the Hinayana of the fault of having narrow and inferior minds which bring forth no great compassion, and will free ordinary men from their failure to cultivate the capacity for goodness. For these reasons, both 'cessation' and 'clear observation' are complementary and inseparable. If the two are not practiced together, then one cannot enter the path to enlightenment.

The Awakening of Faith
, pp. 101-102

A note on terminology: here, "cessation" refers to shamatha or "calm abiding," and "clear observation" refers to vipashyana or "insight." Together, the two practices form Shi Kan meditation: "calming the mind, discerning the real." Second, in this context, "hinayana" refers simply to the mistake of taking up Buddhist practice for selfish reasons, such as an escape from one's problems, rather than the proper motivation of bodhicitta. This is not a polemic against any particular school of Buddhism, but a warning to those who aspire to the Mahayana to check their motivations.

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