Serenity, Insight, and Lovingkindness

Credit for this story goes to Ajahn Brahm.

There are two people who decide to go for a hike up Meditation Mountain. One of them is named “Samatha” and the other one is named “Vipassana.” They take with them their dog “Metta” and their cat “Anapanasati.” Samatha is mainly interested in experiencing the quiet serenity of the woods and the beauty of the mountain. Vipassana is mainly interested in seeing all of the wildflowers and the trees and the animals and birds and the wonderful views, so she takes a pair of binoculars with her.

As they climb up the mountain, Samatha gets quieter and quieter, more calm, and more peaceful. Vipassana keeps looking through her binoculars, watching the birds and seeing the wildflowers and looking off into the distant valleys and mountain tops. Metta stays close to them, wagging his tail and leaping about. Anapanasati keeps running away, getting lost, and hiding. But she always finds her way back to them, only to disappear once more.

When they get to the top of the mountain, Samatha is enjoying his serenity. It is calm and peaceful and quiet and tranquil. But he also sees the same views as Vipassana. And Vipassana is seeing the wonderful views, but she also enjoys the deep serenity of the mountain. Metta is there with them as well, curled up, resting, and nuzzling alongside of them. But by the time they get to the top of the mountain, Anapanasati has disappeared. She has been lost entirely.

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