Conducted by Āyasmā Aggacitta, the Samatha & Vipassanā Sutta Study with Meditation Workshop was held in 9 locations in Malaysia and Singapore between March – July 2014, and attended by more than 500 people. The purpose of these pages is to provide an opportunity for those who could not attend the live course, and a review for those who attended.
In recent years, samatha and vipassanā meditations have become very widespread. Many teachers from different traditions have been making exclusive claims and giving their own interpretations of what samatha and vipassanā are and how to practise them. As some of these interpretations and practices appear to be contradictory, this state of affairs can be a cause of bewilderment among yogis who are not so knowledgeable, because they are unable to decide which is right or wrong.
This Workshop hopes to address these issues—with particular reference to our Pāli suttas — both theoretically and, to some extent, practically in an interactive way. It is divided into four parts:
Part 1 surveys popular notions of samatha and vipassanā so that a comprehensive list can be compiled after group discussion;
Part 2 establishes—through critical study and discussion—the hierarchy of doctrinal authority needed to assess the credibility and authenticity of these notions;
Part 3 explores the relevant scriptural references in theory and practice (through guided and personal meditation sessions); and finally
Part 4 utilises the findings of Parts 2 and 3 in order to evaluate the comprehensive list of current views and practices compiled in Part 1.
Throughout the workshop, participants are urged to maintain an open-minded spirit of true enquiry while critically scrutinising the scriptural references and meditation techniques presented here.
The format consists of discussion and presentation by the participants, followed by Āyasmā Aggacitta’s explanation. There are also Q&A sessions whenever appropriate. Sutta study is made practical through guided meditation exercises in between discussion topics. One of the most important take-backs for the participants is a proper methodology to assess, according to the hierarchy of doctrinal authority, the credibility and reliability of what anyone claims to be the Buddha’s teachings.
This section of the website provides a navigational structure for the videos of the workshop. It contains links to the YouTube videos in the same sequence as the workshop.
The video recording is mainly from the last workshop held at Subang Jaya Buddhist Association, Selangor in June – July 2014, with relevant clips from that held at Sāsanārakkha Buddhist Sanctuary, Taiping in April 2014
There is a menu at the top of every page. Click Samatha & Vipassanā to go to the overview of that course. Hover over the menu item and a pop up shows Days 1 to 4. Select to go to the respective day’s program. On the pop up, there is also How to Use, which contains instructions for individuals and groups to get the most from the course, and links to materials which can be downloaded.