‘As the Buddhist tradition evolved, relations between the two basic types of meditation were worked out in considerable detail. Calming meditation came to be regarded as a necessary condition for advancement in inshght meditation, because it gathers the mind out of distraction, teaches it the power of concentration and focus, and enables the mind to forgo the pleasurable distractions in which the rest of us are frequently engaged. Similarly, insight meditation came to be regarded as a prerequisite for advancement in calming meditation, since only in reflection on the dharma does the rationale for the pursuit of enlightenment become cogent and clear. In insight meditation, the Buddhist worldview is articulated and cultivated to the point that it becomes a part of the mental makeup of the practitioner.’ (The Six Perfections)
A paragraph like this reminds me that, at Zen Center, there was not a lot of emphasis placed on this kind of analysis of different types of meditation – there is just shikantaza, sitting without ‘gaining ideas,’ as Suzuki Roshi would say. Perhaps if I had asked my teachers about it more in my early days, I might have heard more about these distinctions.