What do we mean by “analytical meditation”? When we hear “analysis” or “investigation” we might think that we evaluate objects to identify what is positive and should be adopted and what is negative and should be discarded. In the context of analytical meditation, however, something entirely different is meant by analysis.
In analytical meditation, we examine the relationship between how things actually are—their abiding or true nature—and our conceptual perception of their apparent reality. That is, we investigate the way in which things appear to us and how we cling to this appearance as genuine reality. We examine the question, Do we perceive how things actually are or is our perception mistaken, and if so, how is it mistaken?
As for “meditation,” we might think that it means coming to a state of complete quietness in which our minds become very peaceful. We might think a certain kind of tranquility, where nothing much is happening, is meditation. While the state of silence, peace, and tranquility is necessary to practice meditation, it is not sufficient in Buddhism. In the Buddhist tradition of meditation, merely resting is not really the point. The point is to develop our awareness, our insight.
The revered twelfth century Tibetan master and poet Milarepa taught, “Do not become attached to the calm pond of shamatha, but let the foliage of insight grow.” Peaceful tranquility is all very well, but we need to wake up from our sleep of delusion. That is where the practice of analytical meditation comes in.
~ Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen
Stay tuned for the first Self-paced Online Course on Analytical Meditation, which will be available soon!
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