Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby Agmanellium » Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:32 am

"you'll just know" I expect to be the Answer. Personally I beleive access consciousness, since not mentioned by the Buddha, to be the weak beginnings of the first jhanna that later comentators felt the need to distinguish from full jhanna emersion.
How do you know when it's jhanna?
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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby Ben » Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:42 am

Its worthwhile reviewing the literature including works by Ajahn Brahms, Ven Gunuratna, Vism, finally and not leastly, the Suttas.
If you have a teacher, it will also be worthwhile consulting with him/her.
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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby Kenshou » Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:56 am

Depends who you ask. Here's a decent overview of the spectrum of opinions: http://www.leighb.com/jhanantp.htm And not to be dismissive of your topic, but this subject has been discussed to death around here, I'm sure you can find plenty of good information scattered around the forums.

As long as you're doing something to help you gain concentration, whatever works.
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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby James the Giant » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:30 am

Agmanellium wrote:"you'll just know" I expect to be the Answer.

No, definitely not. Having experienced a fair number of rapturous states during my meditation, I can say it's definitely possible to mistake simple bliss for the first Jhana. Bliss is very very nice, just as nice as the first Jhana in fact.
But the first Jhana has a very specific set of properties which are well recorded and written about in the sources others above have recommended.
I also recommend the Visuddhimagga, by Buddhaghosa, it's excellent once you find the bit you are looking for.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby Nyana » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:37 pm

Agmanellium wrote:"you'll just know" I expect to be the Answer. Personally I beleive access consciousness, since not mentioned by the Buddha, to be the weak beginnings of the first jhanna that later comentators felt the need to distinguish from full jhanna emersion.
How do you know when it's jhanna?

Hi Agmanellium,

It's better to just attend to the practice in the present. These audio mp3 teachings by Ven. Ṭhānissaro are very clear and to the point:



These teachings by Ven. Gunaratana may also be helpful. What is samatha-vipassanā? (Pt 1):



What is samatha-vipassanā? (Pt 2):



Why do some teachers warn against practicing jhāna-s?



What are the benefits of practicing jhāna-s? (Pt 1):



What are the benefits of practicing jhāna-s? (Pt 2):



All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby andre9999 » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:40 pm

Every time I read this topic it sounds like Pink Floyd.
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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:11 pm

Well to be honest, apart from 'you will just know it' reading or hearing these youtube clips/articles are going to be of much help as a man telling someone who has never seen the sea, about what the sea looks like.

It would make sense to read/watch as you practice.

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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:10 am

If I answered, it would be "speaking and listening," or "creating thoughts and receiving thoughts" instead of jhana. :)
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby socoguy78 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:10 pm

Agmanellium wrote:"you'll just know" I expect to be the Answer. Personally I beleive access consciousness, since not mentioned by the Buddha, to be the weak beginnings of the first jhanna that later comentators felt the need to distinguish from full jhanna emersion.
How do you know when it's jhanna?


Taken from the "Mahjjhima Nikaya: The Middle Length Sayings" by Bhikkhu Bodhi and Bhikkhu Nanamoli, this Sutta covers what was taught by the Buddha concerning the identification of what the student experiences while meditating in each of the Four Jhanas and the four Arupa Jhanas. This is Sariputta's account of the Jhannas... When experiencing a Jhanna you have less ignorance towards the 4 noble truths and dependent origination. As you go deeper there is less ignorance to the 4 noble truths and dependent origination.

1] Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika’s Park. There he addressed the bhikkhus thus: "Bhikkhus." - "Venerable, sir," they replied. The Blessed One said this:

2] "Bhikkhus, Sariputta is wise; Sariputta has great wisdom; Sariputta has wide wisdom; Sariputta has joyous wisdom; Sariputta has quick wisdom; Sariputta has keen wisdom; Sariputta has penetrative wisdom. During half a month, bhikkhus, Sariputta gained insight into states one by one as they occurred. Now Sariputta’ insights into states one by one as they occurred were this:

3] "Here, bhikkhus, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, Sariputta entered upon and abided in the first Jhana, which is accompanied by thinking and examining thought, with joy and happiness born of seclusion.

4] "And those states in the first Jhana - the thinking, the examining, the joy, the happiness, and the unification of mind; The contact, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness; the enthusiasm, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and attention - these states were defined by him one by one as they occurred; known to him those states arose, known they were present, known they disappeared. He understood thus: ‘So indeed, these states, not having been, come into being; having been, they vanish.’ Regarding those states, he abided un-attracted, un-repelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of barriers. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond this,’ and with the cultivation of that attainment, he confirmed that there is.

5] "Again, bhikkhus, with the stilling of thinking and examining thought, Sariputta entered and abided in the second Jhana, which has self-confidence and stillness of mind without thinking and examining thought, with joy and happiness born of unification.

6] "And the states in the second Jhana - the self-confidence, the joy, the happiness, and the unification of mind; the contact, feeling, perception, volition, and consciousness; the enthusiasm, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and attention - these states were defined by him one by one as they occurred; known to him those states arose, known they were present, known they disappeared. He understood thus: "So indeed, these states, not having been, come into being; having been they vanish." Regarding those states, he abided un-attracted, un-repelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of barriers. He understood; ‘There is an escape beyond this’, and with the cultivation of that attainment, he confirmed that there is.

7] "Again, bhikkhus, with the fading away as well of joy, Sariputta abided in equanimity, and mindful, and fully aware, still feeling happiness with his body, he entered upon and abided in the third Jhana, on account of which noble ones announce: ‘He has a pleasant abiding who has equanimity and is mindful’.

8] "And the states in the third Jhana - the equanimity, the happiness, the mindfulness, the full awareness, and the unification of mind; the contact, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness; the enthusiasm, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and attention - these states were defined by him one by one as they occurred; known to him those states arose, known they were present, known they disappeared. He understood thus: ‘So indeed, these states, not having been, come into being; having been they vanish’. Regarding those states, he abided un-attracted, un-repelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of barriers. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond this’, and with the cultivation of that attainment, he confirmed that there is.

9] "Again, bhikkhus, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, with the previous disappearance of joy and grief, Sariputta entered upon and abided in the fourth Jhana, which has neither-pleasure-nor-pain and purity of mindfulness due to equanimity.

10] "And the states in the fourth Jhana - the equanimity, the neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling, the mental unconcern due to tranquility, the purity of mindfulness, and the unification of mind; the contact, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness; the enthusiasm, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and attention - these states were defined by him one by one as they occurred; known to him those states arose, known they were present, known they disappeared. He understood thus: ’So indeed, these states, not having been, come into being; having been, they vanish.’ Regarding those states he abided un-attracted, un-repelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of barriers. He understood, ‘There is an escape beyond this’, and with the cultivation of that attainment he confirmed that there is.

11] "Again, bhikkhus, with the complete surmounting of perceptions of form, with the disappearance of perceptions of sensory impact, with non-attention to perceptions of diversity, aware that ‘Space is Infinite,’ Sariputta entered upon and abided in the base of Infinite Space.

12] "And the states in the base of Infinite Space - the perception of the base of Infinite Space and the unification of mind; the contact, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness; the enthusiasm, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and attention - these states were defined by him one by one as they occurred; known to him they arose, known they were present, known they disappeared. He understood thus: ‘So indeed, these states, not having been, come into being; having been, they vanish’. Regarding those states, he abided un-attracted, un-repelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of barriers. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond this,’ and with the cultivation of that attainment, he confirmed that there is.

13] "Again, bhikkhus, by completely surmounting the base of Infinite Space, aware that ‘Consciousness is Infinite’, Sariputta entered upon and abided in the base of ‘Infinite Consciousness’.

14] "And the states in the base of ‘Infinite Consciousness’ - the perception of the base of ‘Infinite Consciousness’ and the unification of mind; the contact, feeling, perception, volition, and consciousness; the enthusiasm, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and attention - these states were defined by him one by one as they occurred; known to him those states arose, known they were present, known they disappeared. He understood thus: ‘ So indeed, these states, not having been, come into being: having been they vanish.’ Regarding those states he abided un-attracted, un-repelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of barriers. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond this’, and with the cultivation of that attainment, he confirmed that there is.

15] "Again, bhikkhus, by completely surmounting the base of Infinite Consciousness, aware that there is ‘Nothing’, Sariputta entered upon and abided in the base of ‘Nothingness’.

16] "And the states in the base of ‘Nothingness’ - the perception of the base of ‘Nothingness’ and the unification of mind; the contact, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness, the enthusiasm, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and attention - these states were defined by him one by one as they occurred; know to him those states arose, known they were present, known they disappeared. He understood thus: ‘So indeed, these states not having been, come into to being; having been, they vanish.’ Regarding these states he abided un-attracted, un-repelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of barriers. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond this’, and with the cultivation of that attainment, he confirmed that there is.

17] "Again, bhikkhus, by completely surmounting the base of ‘Nothingness’ Sariputta entered upon and abided in the base of neither perception nor non-perception.

18] "He emerged mindful from that attainment. Having done so, he contemplated the states that had passed, ceased and changed, thus: ‘So indeed, these states, not having been, come into being; having been they vanished. Regarding those states, he abided un-attracted, un-repelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of barriers. He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond this,’ and with the cultivation of that attainment, he confirmed that there is.

19] "Again, bhikkhus, by completely surmounting the base of neither perception nor non-perception, Sariputta entered upon and abided in the cessation of perception and feeling. And his taints were destroyed by his seeing with wisdom.

20] "He emerged mindful from that attainment. Having done so, he recalled the sates that had passed, ceased, and changed, thus: ‘So indeed, these states, not having been, come into being; having been, they vanish.’ Regarding those states, he abided un-attracted, un-repelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of barriers. He understood: ‘There is no escape beyond this,’ and with the cultivation of that attainment, he confirmed that there is not’.

21] "Bhikkhus, rightly speaking, were it to be said of anyone: ‘He has attained mastery and perfection in noble virtue, attained mastery and perfection in noble collectedness, attained mastery and perfection in noble wisdom, attained mastery and perfection in noble deliverance,’ it is of Sariputta indeed that rightly speaking this should be said.

22] "Bhikkhus, rightly speaking, were it to be said of anyone: ‘He is the son of the Blessed One, born of his breast, born of his mouth, born of the Dhamma, created by the Dhamma, an heir in the Dhamma, not an heir in material things,’ it is of Sariputta indeed that rightly speaking this should be said.

23] "Bhikkhus, the matchless Wheel of Dhamma set rolling by the Tathagata is kept rolling rightly by Sariputta."

That is what the Blessed One said. The Bhikkhus were satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One’s words.
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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby Maarten » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:19 pm

The Buddha communicated the qualities of Jhana to us like this:

“There is the case where an individual, withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.
Again, there is the case where an individual, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation.
Again, there is the case where an individual, with the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, ‘Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.
Again, there is the case where an individual, with the abandoning of pleasure & stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain.”
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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby socoguy78 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:36 pm

Maarten wrote:The Buddha communicated the qualities of Jhana to us like this:

“There is the case where an individual, withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.
Again, there is the case where an individual, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation.
Again, there is the case where an individual, with the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, ‘Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.
Again, there is the case where an individual, with the abandoning of pleasure & stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain.”


Who is the translator? Are they reliable? What publication did this come from?
Much Maha Metta,
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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby Maarten » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:48 pm

socoguy78 wrote:Who is the translator? Are they reliable? What publication did this come from?
Much Maha Metta,
Zach


Hi Zach,

If I am not mistaken this formula is found in many places, one such place is:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn45/sn45.008.than.html
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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby ignobleone » Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:56 pm

Agmanellium wrote:"you'll just know" I expect to be the Answer. Personally I beleive access consciousness, since not mentioned by the Buddha, to be the weak beginnings of the first jhanna that later comentators felt the need to distinguish from full jhanna emersion.

Bhante Gunaratana's advice is very important, i.e. don't forget to read the "text" (suttas.)

How do you know when it's jhanna?

Forget 2nd jhana and above until you can master the 1st. Focus on mastering the 1st jhana. A couple of clues you cannot find in commentaries:
- You know it's jhana if there's thunder going on when you're meditating but you don't know there's thunder.
- The pitisukha is born from the seclusion (withdrawal from sensuality). So, next time if you're meditating you feel a bliss but you still perceive anything from your sensory domains, that's not the pitisukha of the 1st jhana.
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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:41 pm

See also The Great Jhana Debate
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 597#p70016
for some long discussions of interpretations. I

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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby ignobleone » Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:57 pm

mikenz66 wrote:See also The Great Jhana Debate
viewtopic.php?f=43&t=4597#p70016
for some long discussions of interpretations. I

:anjali:
Mike

Thanks for the link. I already know it. The thread has become very long. It's difficult to navigate in a long thread like that, not easy for people to follow. If the layout of this forum is not sequential but hierarchical like Yahoo Groups, it'd be better since we can expand comments of interest and collapse the others, easier to jump over comments.

Anyway, I think there's nothing more left (which is substantial) about jhana to debate since it's already clear.
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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:10 am

ignobleone wrote:Anyway, I think there's nothing more left (which is substantial) about jhana to debate since it's already clear.

If it were clear to everyone that thread would not be so long... :thinking:

What does seem clear is that there is considerable disagreement about the interpretation of jhana. I don't see it as just a commetary vs. sutta distinction, since teachers claiming to follow "just the suttas" have a wide variety of interpretations (e.g. Vens. Brahm and Thanissaro...).
I think that Ven Brahm would agree with your:
ignobleone wrote:- You know it's jhana if there's thunder going on when you're meditating but you don't know there's thunder.

but so would a lot of "commentary based" teachers. On the other hand, many "sutta based" teachers (such as Ven Thanissaro) would disagree.
See, for example the discussion of "ambulance jhana" here:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 20#p107109

I don't have a strong opinion on these different interpretations. However, I note that there are different models, but that the reputable teachers who teach based on the different models all seem to be teaching good Dhamma.

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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby theY » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:42 am

Could you access to in-sign, by samādhibhāvanāmaya-ñāṇa, jhānaṅgas and their foes by lakkhaṇādicatukkas ?

Lakkhaṇādicatukkas using to notice environmental elements of jhāna-citta-- cetasikas, hadayavatthurūpa, etc., is the best way to notice jhana, because jhana is citta, that kāyānupassanā in satipaṭṭhānasutta had taught to access to in-sign it by analysis their environmental elements.
Lesson Relationship of Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha (10/31/2012)
http://tipitakanews.org/en/node/61
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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby ignobleone » Sun Oct 14, 2012 2:12 pm

mikenz66 wrote:If it were clear to everyone that thread would not be so long... :thinking:

The thread seems to be not that active anymore, that's why I think it's already clear.
Anyway, the thread has become so long because of any of these: hypocrisy, ignorance, ego.

What does seem clear is that there is considerable disagreement about the interpretation of jhana. I don't see it as just a commetary vs. sutta distinction, since teachers claiming to follow "just the suttas" have a wide variety of interpretations (e.g. Vens. Brahm and Thanissaro...).
I think that Ven Brahm would agree with your:
ignobleone wrote:- You know it's jhana if there's thunder going on when you're meditating but you don't know there's thunder.

Well since I prefer objectivity over subjectivity, I don't care who would agree with me. All I care is that I can find it in the sutta. Since it's clear from "just the suttas", I don't need sutta commentaries. If commentaries don't agree, that's their problem.

but so would a lot of "commentary based" teachers. On the other hand, many "sutta based" teachers (such as Ven Thanissaro) would disagree.
See, for example the discussion of "ambulance jhana" here:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=4990&start=20#p107109

No wonder the debate thread has become that long. Many people are just like you, tend to not touch the subject matters, stating claim without providing any specific. Instead, you give me a homework, i.e. to read a link. I couldn't find what Thanissaro said there. What/why does Bhikkhu Thanissaro disagree? Care to provide some specifics/evidence, some passage for example?
Regarding "ambulance jhana" of Ajahn Brahm, I think I've read about it before. If I'm not mistaken, it's called so since the person in the story was taken to a hospital by ambulance because he stopped breathing. What's wrong with that? Kaya-sankhara ceases in the 4th jhana. Of course you may not find it in commentary, since commentary usually speaks about jhana only in terms of jhanic factors.

Btw, I'm afraid it's out of topic if this continues further here.
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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:47 pm

Hi ignobleone,

Sorry if I was not clear. I was referring to is that Ven Thanissaro's interpretation of Jhana is obviousy different from Ajahn Brham's, as you can see from essays such as:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... mbers.html
where he talks about insight during jhana, which Ajahn Brahm claims is not possible. (In that case Ajahn Brahm agrees with the interpretations of the Commentaries, which speak of emerging from Jhana to gain insight).

Furthermore, as I pointed out, if you read descriptions of Jhana in the Visuddhimagga http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... index.html you will find plenty about strong concentration, much like what Ajahn Brahm describes, as well as quotations of suttas similar to the one that you mentioned.
Visuddhimagga Chapter X wrote:19. In fact it is because they have not been abandoned already before this that
it was said by the Blessed One that sound is a thorn to one who has the first
jhána (A V 135). And it is precisely because they are abandoned here that the
imperturbability (see Vibh 135) of the immaterial attainments and their state of
peaceful liberation are mentioned (M I 33), and that Á¿ára Káláma neither saw
the five hundred carts that passed close by him nor heard the sound of them
while he was in an immaterial attainment (D II 130).


:anjali:
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Re: Mother, how will I know when it's real jhana?

Postby ignobleone » Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:49 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi ignobleone,

Sorry if I was not clear. I was referring to is that Ven Thanissaro's interpretation of Jhana is obviousy different from Ajahn Brham's, as you can see from essays such as:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... mbers.html
where he talks about insight during jhana, which Ajahn Brahm claims is not possible. (In that case Ajahn Brahm agrees with the interpretations of the Commentaries, which speak of emerging from Jhana to gain insight).

Hi mikenz, first of all I want to say I don't mean to defend any one of them.
Ven. Thanissaro:
1. Just because he has translated a lot of suttas, it doesn't always mean that he has the same understanding with the suttas. There's another parameter, i.e. you need to investigate his teacher, Ajahn Fuang. Ajahn Fuang's Teacher is Ajahn Lee, which we know he died at relatively young age. Possibly his teacher didn't teach him long enough. Thus I can suspect Ajahn Fuang has been influenced by commentary since his teacher died.
2. Using only the link is not enough to judge his overall view, even though the link doesn't say anything about cessation of any perception and the way he uses the word concentration together could be enough to suspect he has influenced by commentary. Other link to his article which describes jhana in numbers may help.
Ajahn Brahm:
1. In his article titled The Jhanas (with beautiful breath), he says that bliss of the first jhana is fueled by the complete absence of all five-sense activities, which means cessation of sensuality, consistent with the suttas.
2. Where can I find his claim that insight during jhana is not possible? Care to provide a link?
Regardless of his claim, there should be insight/discernment during jhana, otherwise how can one know/discern the five-sense activities have ceased or not? This is what many people don't notice. They don't have idea what insight is.

Furthermore, as I pointed out, if you read descriptions of Jhana in the Visuddhimagga http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... index.html you will find plenty about strong concentration, much like what Ajahn Brahm describes, as well as quotations of suttas similar to the one that you mentioned.
Visuddhimagga Chapter X wrote:19. In fact it is because they have not been abandoned already before this that
it was said by the Blessed One that sound is a thorn to one who has the first
jhána (A V 135). And it is precisely because they are abandoned here that the
imperturbability (see Vibh 135) of the immaterial attainments and their state of
peaceful liberation are mentioned (M I 33), and that Á¿ára Káláma neither saw
the five hundred carts that passed close by him nor heard the sound of them
while he was in an immaterial attainment (D II 130).

I don't really get what "strong concentration" means. If I'm not mistaken, it means being totally absorbed in an object of choice. If that's the case, it's commentary interpretation. You need to differentiate it with strong exertion to direct one's mind to do something, which is I think a more general interpretation.
Regarding the passage from Visuddhimagga, let me repeat that I never said all commentaries for all topics are misleading. I used some instead of all. That means, not all commentaries are inconsistent.

And now how about you, anything from your own understanding you can share the OP besides pointing links?
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