The Result of Shamatha and Vipashyana

Seven : The Result of Shamatha and Vipashyana

The result of accomplishing shamatha is that mind becomes completely pure, that all the gross disturbing emotions are subdued and purified. The result of accomplishing vipashyana is that wisdom becomes completely pure. This means that basic ignorance is purified and removed, and disturbing emotions are also removed.

Another way to express the results of these two practices is by the removal of the two kinds of bondage or veils. One veil is to be trapped by concepts or neuroses. The other is to be trapped by ignorance or illusion, and therefore continuing to be reborn in samsara. Shamatha releases the veil of concepts and vipashyana liberates from the veil of ignorance. Another result is that shamatha removes attachment to phenomena. It overcomes hopes, doubts and worries. We hope to get what we want, but when we don’t get it, we worry. This comes from desire and attachment. The result of shamatha is that even if you try to achieve something, you never need to hope, doubt or worry, because attachment and desire have been overcome.

When you achieve true shamatha, there is also all the extraordinary play. From shamatha you achieve clairvoyance. You can see past lives and know the minds of others. But advanced meditators discourage us from playing with that, because there is a great risk of becoming attached to shamatha, and then our problems will increase. But if someone is strong enough, they can control it without attachment.

Devadatta was a cousin of the Buddha, and he was very wicked. He wanted to compete with Buddha, so he went to an advanced student of Buddha, an Arhat named Kashyapa, to learn shamatha. Arhats have the fault that they cannot use their powers except while they actually meditate. In his post meditation he could not see Devadatta’s negative motivation. So he thought, “Before this man was very evil. Now he wants to learn meditation. I should teach him properly, so he may change.” So he taught him shamatha, and Devadatta learned it very well. He achieved a powerful level of shamatha, and then used his powers against Buddha. First he deceived the king of that area, and then split the sangha into two, taking the old king on his side. Then he encouraged the young prince to revolt against his father, and with his monks he attacked Buddha. He did all this because he was jealous of Buddha, and he used powers accomplished through shamatha. That is why teachers encourage their students to do shamatha for liberation, but then discourage them from going too far. Special disciples such as Bodhisattvas with pure motivation will not misuse these powers.

The result of vipashyana is quite straightforward.
It is liberation and enlightenment.