Many people are familiar with stabilizing meditation, where one concentrates on the breath and brings the mind to a level of concentration. This is what many people view as meditation, this is how many people are introduced into meditation. One other important type of meditation is “analytical meditation.” With analytical meditation, one brings the mind to a conclusion by supporting this conclusion with numerous reasonings and arguments until a clear conclusion arises in the mind. This is similar to how a lawyer might present numerous points about a case until a clear and irrefutable conclusion arises. One then uses analytic meditation to bring a certainty about important topics, such as understanding that one will definitely die, it is uncertain when one will die, and one’s spiritual practice will be the only useful thing at the time of death.
Why Use Analytical Meditation
According to Lama Tsongkhapa, the great 13th century saint, analytic meditation is necessary to constantly familiarize oneself with a way of thinking. Especially if one is familiarized with wrong views, then repeated analytical meditation is necessary to counteract this. He mentions:
Analytical meditation is necessary for meditations such as those on faith in the teacher; the great importance and difficulty in obtaining leisure and opportunity; death and impermanence; karma and its effects; the faults of cyclic existence; and the spirit of enlightenment. This is because these meditations need an awareness that is long lasting, very forceful, and capable of changing the mind. Without this, you will not be able to stop the forces that oppose these meditations, such as disrespect (The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (Volume 1), pg.112).
Combining Stabilizing Meditation and Analytical Meditation
In this video, Geshe Wangchen talks about stabilizing and analytic meditation, and how to combine them:
Additionally, this resource about teachings that Lati Rinpoche gave might help. Here is excerpt about combining these meditations:
As one meditates on those points serially, first one performs analytical meditation where one brings up all the reasons to establish each point and ascertain each point. At the end of each analytical meditation one switches to single-pointed or stabilized meditation on each point. The purpose of meditating on the points I mentioned is for one to be able to eliminate clinging to this life. One is so attached to this life and the things associated with this life which firmly binds one to samsara. One has to get rid of this clinging to just this lifetime and meditating on those points will help one with this