Meditation is a skilful practice by which one can develop mindfulness and awareness thereby leading to the discovery of the nature of mind. It is said that two mental qualities will arise from wholesome meditative practice: Tranquility (Shamatha) and Insight (Vipashyana). There is scientific evidence that meditation has a positive effect on both physical and mental health.
The master quells his thoughts.
He ends their wandering.
Seated in the cave of the heart,
He finds freedom.
– Buddha in the Dhammapada (Shambhala Pocketbook Edition)
What is Shamatha?
Shamatha is a mental tranquility gained through concentrating single-pointedly on mindfulness of breathing and so forth. Through the meditative development of mental tranquility, one can suppress disturbing emotions such as desire, anger and ignorance. It is an origin of all the meditative stabilizations (samadhi) and involves in untying all attachments.
What is Vipashyana?
Vipashyana is a mental quality which enables one to see, explore and discern formations. Through the meditative development of insight, the Vipashyana, one gains liberating wisdom. It promotes spiritual understanding and therefore, it is very indispensable in suppressing delusion.