Please keep in mind that I am giving my own take on things. I encourage others to develop their own understanding. As I have suggested many times, different teachers and traditions use Buddhist terms in unique ways. There are also lots of different translations of terms.

One item that has come to my attention is the use of the terms samatha 止 {shi} and vipassana {kan 観}. The consensus is that Samatha means calm abiding; while vipassana is usually translated as insight. In the Suttas, both are used to mean complimentary mental states developed through meditation. Thus, either Right Absorption 正禅{shozen} or Right Mindfulness 正念 {shonen} could be used to develop both calm abiding and insight.

It looks like, gradually, calm abiding {samatha} and insight {vipassana} have come to be viewed as two different kinds of meditation. My perception is that the development of fixed {appana}, one pointed {ekagatta / ekagrarta}, and absorption {jhana / dhyana} concentration {samadhi} came to be identified with calm abiding {samatha}. Meanwhile, it appears that the development of mindfulness {sati / smrti} or alert concentration came to be associated with insight {vipassana}. This tendency to turn words expressing both shared and distinct meanings into synonyms is rather pervasive in Buddhism.

Absorption and mindfulness are 2/3 of the second training, or cultivation; variously called spiritual development {citta bhavana}, higher mentality {adhicitta}, or the training of concentration {samadhi 定}. The third is exertion or effort {vayama / vyayama}. Collectively, these three could be associated Calm Abiding {samatha}; while vipassana could be associated with the third training of discernment {panna / prajna 慧}.

That stated, I am pretty much retaining this technical mistake for now. I do think that the fixed concentration is more conducive to calm abiding; while mindful concentration is more conducive to insight. However, I also think, eventually, samatha and vipassana will cease to be viewed as two different kinds of meditation. Instead, I suspect they will come to be correctly viewed as complimentary mental states that are achieved through all three methods of cultivation listed in the Eight-fold Path; Proper Exertion, Proper Mindfulness, and Proper Absorption.

Another thing; in the past, I held the view that view that the meditative absorptions, fixed concentration, or calm abiding {not to mention the four fold restraint} could be skipped; that only mindfulness leading to insight is needed. As of right now, I think that was a mistake. Buddhism offers a smorgasbord of useful practices. Buddhists should feel free to pick them up or put them down depending on one’s needs. The more important thing is clarity of purpose.

As a faith or devotional practice; I do not venerate any Buddha other than Shakyamuni. The core of my practice is chanting Namu Myoho Renge Kyo; using Nichiren’s Gohonzon as a meditative visualization. I also use the mantras of various mythical Bodhisattvas to cultivate specific merits when I see the need. In addition, I use some silent merit cultivations. Moreover, I practice a rudimentary form of the four frames of mindfulness, and am learning to sit in meditative absorption. For me, right now, these practices integrate the three aspects of the training of meditation; proper exertion, proper mindfulness, and proper absorption.