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In both of these approaches, it is important to have a stable mind. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to cultivate a single-pointedness of mind as the foundation. Once this is developed, that faculty conjoins with powerful analysis, and you gain the ability to penetrate into the nature of reality. Having this ability, you are in a position to channel your mental energy and successfully develop and discipline your mind.

Crowd of over 3500 people awaiting HH Dalai Lama's teaching

Therefore , the union of Shamatha (single-pointedness of mind or calmly abiding) and Vipassana (penetrative insight) is very much interrelated.

This brief description is a picture of the basic methods common to the entire Buddhist path. Depending upon your motivation and ultimate objective, there are divisions of different yanas or vehicles. One could divide Buddhist teachings into three yanas: Sravakayana, Pratekabuddhayana and Bodhisattvayana. One could also divide the entire Buddhist path in terms of the practices of the three scopes: initial, middling, and great capacity. There are four principle types of people who embark on a spiritual path. Those who seek as their ultimate goal, the attainment of full enlightenment; those whose main priority is to gain liberation from samsaric bondage; those whose primary concern is to have a more positive rebirth; and those who only seek a happy future within this lifetime.

Many of us may feel that although our future lives may be important, but the conditions of the present life are more important. Most of our thoughts and actions are motivated by wanting to improve our present situation. This is a valid attitude. If we are able to live a happy and peaceful existence, then this will definitely contribute towards the betterment of our future life. On the other hand, if we always talk about it, but live an unproductive existence now, then one will be miserable and dissatisfied, let alone benefiting the future.


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