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Breath as the Object of Jhana - Dhamma Wheel

Breath as the Object of Jhana

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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convivium
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Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby convivium » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:57 am

Hello,
I'm looking for descriptions of how the perception of breath arises in line with each particular jhana. How does perception of the breath become a steady enough object to go beyond access concentration? What does this look like in first, second, third, and fourth jhanas. Does the perception of breath go away in the arupa jhanas? In the fourth jhana?
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php

santa100
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby santa100 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:20 pm


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convivium
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby convivium » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:41 pm

so what does, for example, "speech has ceased" mean? it sounds like it's supposing a verbal mantra, but that seems like an unjustified interpretation.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:56 pm

Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


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daverupa
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby daverupa » Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:03 pm

I'm not so sure about the statement that, in third jhana, piti ceases.

The jhana pericope has

pītiyā ca virāgā

which is indifference to piti, not the cessation of piti. That Sutta spends most of its time connecting jhana progression with formless progression, which for various reasons I take to be a sign of relative lateness.

I think the breath isn't properly an object of meditation (depending on what this means, of course); I don't think it disappears a la formless attainments, at any rate - jhana is altogether different than the formless stuff which made the rounds during and after the Buddha's life, as far as I can tell.

santa100
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby santa100 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:51 pm


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convivium
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby convivium » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:06 pm

So, I take it there are controversies in the interpretation of this first passage posted by Santa, not to mention in the other passages that map the jhanas. Should this worry me?
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php

santa100
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby santa100 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:16 pm


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daverupa
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby daverupa » Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:17 pm


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convivium
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby convivium » Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:20 pm

Thanks again; any other clarifications or suggestions are warmly appreciated.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php

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mikenz66
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:14 am


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Ben
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby Ben » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:38 am

I second Mike and Dave's good advice.
There's nothing to be of concern or worry to you.
Just be aware that there are differing interpretations when it comes to the wording within in the suttas. In my opinion, its best to practice according to the teachings of a respected monastic or lay teacher in whom you and many others have confidence. Differing teachings will have their own internal consistency. Also, under the instruction of a teacher or guide, you should have access to graduated guidance that is appropriate for the meditative experiences you've had/having.
All the best,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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convivium
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby convivium » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:32 am

You seem suggest to becoming a relativist about interpretation. My initial intuition was critically examining the texts, in depth, to arrive at the most justified interpretations. This still seems reasonable, provided that "the texts" to which i am referring, namely the suttas, are not commentarial to begin with. But I gather that most scholars would argue that the majority of suttas are, in a sense, commentarial.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php

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Ben
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby Ben » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:48 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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convivium
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby convivium » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:41 am

Many traditions claim that they have the one true lineage, technique, or teaching passed down from 300BC. So naturally, in hearing this, one instills faith in a particular teacher/tradition. But then one notices that many explicitly mutually inconsistent teachers/lineages/traditions make this same sort of claim. Then one loses some amount of faith in following a particular teacher/lineage/tradition, at least on this basis. But when one consults history and finds that there is no tangible way the Suttas could have remained in their form presented in the first great council or initial codification, to provide some objective basis. Then, what one is left with is considering a variety of sources and synthesizing what seems most skillful, applicable, and compatible to the relatively common ends of all traditions and undeniable components of the Buddha's teaching, e.g. samadhi and discernment. So finding genuine faith in a teacher or community who still claims to have the one true lineage passed down from the buddha seems problematic. I might do this on the basis that the particular technologies of a given teacher/tradition/lineage are known to be particularly effective to actualizing those undeniable teachings of the Buddha. But many traditions/teachers/lineages also make this explicitly mutually inconsistent claim they alone are the most effective to this ends. It seems problematic for a system to be internally consistent, but mutually inconsistent (in the way i have described) with other systems that claim to 'affect' the same thing (or even worse something different which is the 'true thing') in the best or most direct way. I've come to see that meditation teachings are all essentially the same (except certain vajrayana or mantra based systems)...
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php

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Ben
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby Ben » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:28 am

Yes, I hear what you are saying.
You could either get lost or lose all confidence, that is for sure. By all means examine the differing teachings handed down to us.
If the teacher is reputable and the methodology sound, then there should be some discernable difference to the lives of those who are earnestly practicing under that teacher.
Lastly - you will need to take the plunge yourself. Try out a particular teacher's meditation practice and evaluate it yourself. If after, say one year of practice, it doesn't suit you - try something else.

There's no conflict with particular methodologies having internal consistency yet differ from other competing methodologies.
In some places, Ledi Sayadaw referred to Vipassana Meditation as "insight exercises", I have vague recollections that he also referred to samadhi/jhana as "concentration exercises" - they are just skilful means to develop particular mind states. So, imho, it doesn't really matter if Ajahn Brahm's method for attaining jhana appears different to my own teacher's instructions - so long as the applied method gets you to develop particular rarified mind states - that is the important thing.
with metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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convivium
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby convivium » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:56 am

Thanks Ben! So do they all agree on what qualifies as these particular rarefied states (specifically jhana)? Do they each simply emphasize different degrees of absorption within any possible jhana while they all agree on what qualifies as each particular jhana? For example, Thanissaro's jhana as against Brahm's or Pa-Auk's appears different. Would the latter teachers consider each jhana, under Thanissaro's description, true jhana (only to a lesser degree of absorbtion)?
Last edited by convivium on Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php

Sylvester
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby Sylvester » Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:00 am


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mikenz66
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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:44 am


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Re: Breath as the Object of Jhana

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:18 am



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