'tranquillity and insight', are
identical with concentration (samādhi, q.v.; s. prec.) and wisdom (paññā,
q.v.), and form the two branches of mental development (bhāvanā, q.v.).
(1) 'Tranquillity' is all unperturbed, peaceful and lucid
state of mind attained by strong mental concentration. Though as a distinct way
of practice (s. samatha-yānika), it aims at the attainment of the
meditative absorptions (jhāna, q.v.), a high degree of tranquil
concentration (though not necessarily that of the absorptions) is indispensable
for insight too. Tranquillity frees the mind from impurities and inner
obstacles, and gives it greater penetrative strength.
''What now is the power of tranquillity (samatha-bala)? It
is the one-pointedness and non-distraction of the mind due to freedom from
desire (renunciation) ... to freedom from ill-will ... to the perception of
light (s. aloka-saññā) ... to non-distraction ... to the defilling of
phenomena ... to knowledge, gladness, the 8 attainments, the 10 kasinas, the 10
recollections, the 9 cemetery contemplations, the 32 kinds of
respiration-mindfulness ... the one-pointedness and non-distraction of the mind
of one contemplating abandonment (relinquishment) while inhaling and exhaling
"The power of tranquillity consists of the freedom from
perturbation; in the 1st absorption, from the 5 hindrances (nīvarana,
(q.v.); in the 2nd absorption, from thought-conception and discursive thinking;
... in the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception it consists of the
freedom from perturbation by the perception of the sphere of nothingness (s.
anupubbanirodha), which is no longer agitated and irritated by defilements
associated with restlessness, nor by the groups of existence" (Pts.M. 1. p.
(2) 'Insight' (s. vipassanā) is the penetrative
understanding by direct meditative experience of the impermanency,
unsatisfactoriness and impersonality of all material and mental phenomena of
existence. It is insight that leads to entrance into the supermundance states of
holiness and to final liberation.
''What now is the power of insight? It is the contemplation
of impermanency (aniccānupassanā), of misery (dukkhanupassanā),
impersonality' (anattānupassanā), of aversion (nibbidanupassanā),
detachment (virāganupassanā), extinction (nirodha), ahandonment (patinissagga),
with regard to corporcality, feeling, perception, mental constructions and
consciousness.... That in contemplating the impermanency one is no more agitated
by the idea of clinging ... no more by ignorance and the defilements associated
therewith and no more by the groups of existence: this is called the power of
insight" (Pts.M. p. 97).
"Two things are conducive to knowledge: tranquillity and
insight. If tranquillity is developed, what profit does it bring? The mind is
developed. If the mind is developed, what profit does it bring? All lust is
"If insight is developed, what profit does it bring?
Wisdom is developed. If wisdom is developed, what profit does it bring? All
ignorance is abandoned" (A. II, 2.7).
There is a method of meditative practice where, in
alternating sequence, tranquillity-meditation and insight-meditation are
developed. It is called 'tranquillity and insight joined in pairs' (samatha-vipassanāyuganaddha),
the coupling or yoking of tranquillity and insight. He who undertakes it, first
enters into the 1st absorption. After rising from it, he contemplates the mental
phenomena that were present in it (feeling, perception, etc.) as impermanent,
painful and no-self, and thus he develops insight. Thereupon he enters into the
2nd absorption; and after rising from it, he again considers its constituent
phenomena as impermanent, etc. In this way, he passes from one absorption to the
next, until at last, during a moment of insight, the intuitive knowledge of the
path (of Stream-entry, etc.) flashes forth - See A. IV, 170; A.IX, 36; Pts: