Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Brizzy » Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:55 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Brizzy wrote: Dry insight on the other hand can be more appealing, since the practices can be undertaken 24/7, no lack of virtue or lack of renunciation actually impedes one in the process of noting or feeling. Indeed, such practices as noting or feeling can be undertaken regardless of ones actions.
That is an interesting and extremely unfortunate distortion of the Mahasi Sayadaw practice. It right up there with B. Alan Wallace's sniper business. In all my formal instruction, it has never, ever been presented outside a Buddhist context of sīla-samādhi-paññā. That mindfulness practice has been, by some, secularized does not diminish the significance of this profound practice within its Dhamma context.

Cultivation of jhana is a lifestyle choice in and of itself, one cannot claim to cultivate jhana and live life heedlessly.
Attainment of significant levels of jhana type concentration do not require a Buddhist context and certainly can happen within contexts thay are not at all in line with what is taught in the suttas.


Of course we are talking about the jhana that is found in the sutta's, which is called 'Right', and is an essential part of the path. Maybe I can forsee your reply being........but what is the jhana that is to be found in the suttas? To which my reply is .........it is the Right jhana that is built upon the other Right factors of the path.

Metta

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:01 am

Brizzy wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Brizzy wrote: Dry insight on the other hand can be more appealing, since the practices can be undertaken 24/7, no lack of virtue or lack of renunciation actually impedes one in the process of noting or feeling. Indeed, such practices as noting or feeling can be undertaken regardless of ones actions.
That is an interesting and extremely unfortunate distortion of the Mahasi Sayadaw practice. It right up there with B. Alan Wallace's sniper business. In all my formal instruction, it has never, ever been presented outside a Buddhist context of sīla-samādhi-paññā. That mindfulness practice has been, by some, secularized does not diminish the significance of this profound practice within its Dhamma context.

Cultivation of jhana is a lifestyle choice in and of itself, one cannot claim to cultivate jhana and live life heedlessly.
Attainment of significant levels of jhana type concentration do not require a Buddhist context and certainly can happen within contexts thay are not at all in line with what is taught in the suttas.


Of course we are talking about the jhana that is found in the sutta's, which is called 'Right', and is an essential part of the path. Maybe I can forsee your reply being........but what is the jhana that is to be found in the suttas? To which my reply is .........it is the Right jhana that is built upon the other Right factors of the path.
And, in turn, one might keep in mind that the practice of noting within the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition is within the context of Right View, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:56 am

Brizzy wrote:I don't think anybody has said that insight's cannot arise without jhana.
The sutta in question is not advocating a 'dry insight' approach, it actually points out the necessity of jhana & insight yolked together.


The Jhana Sutta seems to indicate that insight arises "within" jhana.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby chownah » Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:28 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And, in turn, one might keep in mind that the practice of noting within the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition is within the context of Right View, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.

An interesting comment. I don't understand exactly what you mean. Are you saying that the "theory" of the Mahasi Sayadaw practice is within the context of those Right things or are you saying that you are personally verifying from your own experience that the method as applied is within the context of those Right things or perhaps something else? I guess for me it is easy to say that a method for meditation is within those Right things but it is another thing entirely to make a convincing arguement for the same. Rather than to deal with all of those Right things I would like to ask you to explain how just one, that being can you show a verification that he Mahasi Sayadaw method is within the context of Right View and what that means? I'm now asking for a treatise on the subject but just some kind of info about what are the underpinnings of your comment.
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:48 pm

chownah wrote: Are you saying that the "theory" of the Mahasi Sayadaw practice is within the context of those Right things or are you saying that you are personally verifying from your own experience that the method as applied is within the context of those Right things or perhaps something else?
I am saying that the practice, not theory.

can you show a verification that he Mahasi Sayadaw method is within the context of Right View and what that means? I'm now asking for a treatise on the subject but just some kind of info about what are the underpinnings of your comment.

    ". . . the perception of impermanence should be cultivated for the removal of the conceit 'I am.' For when one perceives impermanence, Meghiya, the perception of not-self is established. When one perceives not-self one reaches the removal of the conceit 'I am,' which is called Nibbana here and now." U iv 1.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby daverupa » Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:45 pm

tiltbillings wrote:". . . the perception of impermanence should be cultivated for the removal of the conceit 'I am.' For when one perceives impermanence, Meghiya, the perception of not-self is established. When one perceives not-self one reaches the removal of the conceit 'I am,' which is called Nibbana here and now." U iv 1.


Isn't this targeting a fetter that even non-returners have, thereby making a focus on this practice premature in terms of the gradual training for most, if not all?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:06 pm

daverupa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:". . . the perception of impermanence should be cultivated for the removal of the conceit 'I am.' For when one perceives impermanence, Meghiya, the perception of not-self is established. When one perceives not-self one reaches the removal of the conceit 'I am,' which is called Nibbana here and now." U iv 1.


Isn't this targeting a fetter that even non-returners have, thereby making a focus on this practice premature in terms of the gradual training for most, if not all?
Why would it be? There seems to be an assumption in what you are asking that the path must rigidly proceed in only one way, a charge leveled at the commentaries to show how out of touch they are. While the perception of impermanence will lead to the removal of the "I am" conceit, the perception of impermanence will lead to other things along the way:

    "Of all those things that from a cause arise,
    Tathagata the cause thereof has told;
    And how they cease to be, that too he tells,
    This is the doctrine of the Great Recluse."
    - Vin. Mv. Kh 1

    You fool, don't you know
    the arahants' maxim? —
    'How inconstant are compounded things!
    Their nature: to arise & pass away.
    They disband as they are arising.
    Their total stilling is bliss.'
    -- S i 200

What will not be seen when anicca is considered in these terms? But this is going off-topic for this thread and section. We can discuss this in the vipassana bhavana section, if you wish.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby bodom » Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:22 pm

daverupa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:". . . the perception of impermanence should be cultivated for the removal of the conceit 'I am.' For when one perceives impermanence, Meghiya, the perception of not-self is established. When one perceives not-self one reaches the removal of the conceit 'I am,' which is called Nibbana here and now." U iv 1.


Isn't this targeting a fetter that even non-returners have, thereby making a focus on this practice premature in terms of the gradual training for most, if not all?


Even mere householders who "who enjoy worldly pleasure... lead a life encumbered by wife and children..." are instructed to see impermanence:

"What is the accomplishment of wisdom?

"Herein a householder is wise: he is endowed with wisdom that understands the arising and cessation (of the five aggregates of existence); he is possessed of the noble penetrating insight that leads to the destruction of suffering. This is called the accomplishment of wisdom.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .html#vyag

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Alex123 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:06 pm

Brizzy wrote:I don't think anybody is suggesting that jhana is the end. On the other hand to portray jhana as you do is hardly representative of the suttas as a whole. Jhana is Right meditation, it is that simple. It has always been enough for me to know that on the night the Buddha attained enlightenment it was with the use of jhana.


And what counts as Jhāna in BUDDHIST context?

    404. If he develops the mental faculty of mindfulness for the fraction of a second, it is said he abides in jhana, has done his duties by the Teacher, and eats the country's alms food without a debt. If he makes much of that, it would be more gainful

    406. If he develops the mental faculty of wisdom, for the fraction of a second, it is said he abides in jhana,...
    413. If he develops the enlightenment factor investigation of the Teaching, for the fraction of a second, it is said he abides in jhana,...
    419. If he develops right view for the fraction of a second, it is said he abides in jhana,
    http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... ali-e.html
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:39 pm

Alex123 wrote:And what counts as Jhāna in BUDDHIST context?

    404. If he develops the mental faculty of mindfulness for the fraction of a second, it is said he abides in jhana, has done his duties by the Teacher, and eats the country's alms food without a debt. If he makes much of that, it would be more gainful

    406. If he develops the mental faculty of wisdom, for the fraction of a second, it is said he abides in jhana,...
    413. If he develops the enlightenment factor investigation of the Teaching, for the fraction of a second, it is said he abides in jhana,...
    419. If he develops right view for the fraction of a second, it is said he abides in jhana,

IMO it's a bit of a stretch to assume that these figurative expressions were meant to be understood as literal teachings on the development of jhāna.
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Alex123 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:50 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:IMO it's a bit of a stretch to assume that these figurative expressions were meant to be understood as literal teachings on the development of jhāna.


They say what is considered to be jhāna.

And when it comes to speed that duration can last, these teaching also help to explain the apparent contradiction between MN111 and MN74 about when Ven. Sariputta attained Awakening.

    442. If he develops to overcome the sphere of neither perception-nor non-perception and abide in the cessation of perceptions and feelings, for the fraction of a second,

So Ven. Sariputta could still blank out while standing as it happened for a finger-snap - and not as certain teacher teaches, paraphrased, "if it doesn't last for hours, it is not considered to be jhana"

Also this fits well with the instant awakening of Venerable Bahiya.
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby danieLion » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:25 pm

tiltbillings wrote:The problem is that jhana is a contenious subject. Firtst it was the jhana-wallah against the vipassana-noids, which it generally still is, but it has now gone to sutta jhana-wallah against the commentraial/VM jhana-wallahs. It is a contenious field.

Hey there Tilt,
What's a jhana-walla? What's a vipassana-noid?
:anjali:
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:22 am

danieLion wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The problem is that jhana is a contenious subject. Firtst it was the jhana-wallah against the vipassana-noids, which it generally still is, but it has now gone to sutta jhana-wallah against the commentraial/VM jhana-wallahs. It is a contenious field.

Hey there Tilt,
What's a jhana-walla? What's a vipassana-noid?
:anjali:
Daniel


Wallah, according to Wiki, is "an Indian suffix indicating a person involved in some kind of activity. A jhana-wallah is someone who advocates jhana.

"Noid" is is abit more obscure, being maybe a variation of the suffix "-oid." I would take it as meaning one who advocates vipassana. It is somewhat better than vip-heads as a midly humorous reference to those who practice vipassana, but as I look at noid more closely - meh.

Neither is meant to be derogatory. In a sense many of us here are wallahs here in our advocating of this or that position. It is, however, best not to take ourselves too seriously.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:28 am

tiltbillings wrote:Neither is meant to be derogatory. In a sense many of us here are wallahs here in our advocating of this or that position. It is, however, best not to take ourselves too seriously.


:thumbsup:

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby marc108 » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:09 pm

Hi Friends,

These links may be useful for anyone interested in learning about and practicing Jhana according to the Pali Nikayas:

Richard Shankman has a bunch of great teachings on this. He gives unbiased fact based information on the differences between meditation & Jhana in the Suttas vs. the Visuddhimagga, as well as instructions on practicing in align with the Suttas :


http://jhana2009.mettadharma.org/category/session-1/

notes, comments & recordings from Jhana retreats given by Richard Shankman:

Goals for the Group:

Deepen concentration and insight in our meditation practice.
Receive in-depth, detailed meditation instructions for concentration, jhana and insight.
Explore the teachings of contemporary teachers on samadhi and jhana.
Understand the range of teachings on samadhi and jhana in the Pali source texts.
Understand the relationship between jhana and insight meditation.
Understand the nature of jhana.
Understand the main controversies and disagreements about jhana and its place in insight
meditation practice.
Be introduced to a style of meditation that incorporates mindfulness, concentration, jhana and insight into a single unified practice.


http://www.audiodharma.org/teacher/135/
specifically the talk: Samadhi: Exploring the Range of Teachings and Controversies on Concentration & Jhana

His book, The Experience of Samadhi: An In-depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation:
http://books.google.com/books?id=lQ_ZzF ... hi&f=false

His website and the group he runs have lots of Dhamma talks:
http://www.richardshankman.org/
http://www.mettadharma.org/

Bhante Cintita's blog series on the Buddha’s Meditation and its Variants:
http://bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com/201 ... ariants-1/

Bhante Samahita's compilation on meditation from the Suttas:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Man ... Manual.htm


May they be of use :namaste:
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby danieLion » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:50 am

tiltbillings wrote:It is, however, best not to take ourselves too seriously.

Words to live by Tilt.
Thanks
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Moggalana » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:01 am

Thanks for those links, marc108 :)
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby marc108 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:40 pm

Moggalana wrote:Thanks for those links, marc108 :)



You're welcome.

I really really enjoyed the talks on Jhana by Richard Shankman. He really gives an extremely detailed and precise description of the Visuddhimagga Jhanas vs the Sutta Jhanas both from their respective texts and his own experience. There is probably somewhere to the tune of 25 hours of talks on this subject alone.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby ignobleone » Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:47 am

marc108 wrote: I really really enjoyed the talks on Jhana by Richard Shankman. He really gives an extremely detailed and precise description of the Visuddhimagga Jhanas vs the Sutta Jhanas both from their respective texts and his own experience. There is probably somewhere to the tune of 25 hours of talks on this subject alone.


Be careful, sutta commentaries can be misleading for some topics. IMO it's better to rely only on the Suttas.
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:19 am

ignobleone wrote:
marc108 wrote: I really really enjoyed the talks on Jhana by Richard Shankman. He really gives an extremely detailed and precise description of the Visuddhimagga Jhanas vs the Sutta Jhanas both from their respective texts and his own experience. There is probably somewhere to the tune of 25 hours of talks on this subject alone.


Be careful, sutta commentaries can be misleading for some topics. IMO it's better to rely only on the Suttas.
This is not an uncommon sentiment here; however, one can also easily mislead oneself by relying on the suttas. The commentaries are tools, and like any set of of tools, some work well and others not so much.

If you are only to rely on the suttas, then I would suppose that you have mastered Pali and all its idiomatic quirks, so that you do not have to rely on translators' interpretations and biases in their interpretations, and that you have a good working understanding of early Buddhist history, so as to understand the context of many of the teachings so as to understand better what is being said, and I would think that you would have a really strong grounding in actual practice, and I would also think you would always being willing to entertain the possibility in whatever interpretation you might come to you could be wrong, and I would think that you would recognize that whatever meditative/insight experience you might have is one more thing to let go.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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