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would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible? - Page 2 - Dhamma Wheel

would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
alan...
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:22 pm


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Jerrod Lopes
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby Jerrod Lopes » Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:45 am

To be clear, at least for me, I never said jhanas weren't important. I think they are vital for one who really wants to realize nibbana one day. I also think this level of absorption is extremely helpful in gaining the insight needed to understand anatta, rebirth, kamma and other things. What I WAS saying was that a desire for jhana will impede you from getting jhana. Expectations will distract and distort your meditations until it is near impossible to get to these states. This is why people will tell you about jhana or jhana like experiences when they were children. It is because there isn't this desire and misconceptions about what jhanas are and will do for you. I known dozens, if not more people over the years discuss a desire to get jhanas. They feel like its some sort of Buddhist merit badge to be worn proudly, to boast "I have known the jhanas!" And invariably these people go away unfulfilled and still wanting.

I went to flight school when I was younger. The first time up in the air I was asking the instructor about barrel rolls and loops, stalls, all kinds of advanced aerobatics. He pretty much said to me that if I didn't know how to get the plane from its parking spot on the apron, to the runway and into the sky, how on Earth could I ever hope to do all of those things? And in a haste to do them, I would probably crash and die trying to take off. Maybe not the best analogy, but I hope that helps explain. I've also never classed myself as vippasana this or samadhi that. If you box yourself into one thing or the other you've conditioned yourself to be unable to do the other one(s). Best of luck and be well. Wishing shiny happy nimittas for you, always.

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Doshin
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby Doshin » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:03 am

Knowing about dhamma, does not imply knowing dhamma

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Anagarika
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby Anagarika » Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:25 pm

Jerrod some really good stuff you're contributing here. Thanks for sharing this, as it can really make a difference when intelligent people kindly and thoughtfully share important insights.

I'm not one to get all Zenny about these issues, but it's reminiscent of Shunryu Suzuki's admonition about "beginner's mind" and possibilities. I have known Thai Bhikkhus to express frustration that they are not stream enterers....I've had the sense that the striving toward stream entry is the impediment that they are building, walling themselves off from authentic jhana states.

mynameisadahn
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby mynameisadahn » Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:24 pm


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tiltbillings
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:11 pm


mynameisadahn
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby mynameisadahn » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:56 pm


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Jerrod Lopes
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby Jerrod Lopes » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:06 pm

I answered the OP directly. I'll state it again.

Not likely, improbable, ill-advised, but not impossible.

The Buddha wasn't a Buddhist. What did he do? He tried different things until it worked.

What I am seeing here seems to be a cyclical debate between those who say you do need all the toys, names, and terminology and those who say you don't need these things. In the end, each person has to explore and see for themselves.
It might be good first, and a teacher would perhaps ask this in person in response to the OP; how long have you been meditating? Do you meditate often, or only occasionally? What do you know about the 4 Noble Truths? How did you come to be interested in the middle way?

Personally, I don't see discouraging the practice of jhanas as a bad thing when we don't know whether the person asking about them has been meditating twice daily for hours on end for years and years, or just picked up a dhamma pamphlet someone dropped in a shopping mall yesterday. I gave the flight school analogy above. What is most important here is giving the person who asked the question the best answer for the given situation. There are no hard and fast rules for giving answers to anything in life. Just a sone person cares to meditate this way and name each part of that process a different label, another just sits and breathes and couldn't care less about what it's called. Everythign is different, everyone is different. What is the same is that trying to ATTAIN jhanas for the wrong reasons without a proper foundation ends in disappointment and frustration.

But yes... you could maybe learn jhanas from the suttas. Yet I still wonder...how are you to empty your mind and let it be still if you're remembering what a book told you someone else did?

Kenshou
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby Kenshou » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:00 am

Well, you could also say "how are you to empty your mind and let it be still if you're remembering what a teacher told you you ought to be doing?" That's also a potential source of non-productive distracting thoughts. A certain finesse is required, regardless of the origin of one's meditation instruction.

It is sort of an ironic predicament, how meditation instruction or method itself can become an object of worry or doubt, which then makes it even harder. As a person who is naturally driven to lay ideas out in words in just the right way, it's an irony I've been pretty cozy with.

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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:06 am



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Kamran
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby Kamran » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:56 am

Extreme stress, or mental suffering can help you attain jhana faster since you see promising results right away during meditation and become very motivated and strive in your practice.
"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

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Ben
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby Ben » Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:05 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]..

nibbuti
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby nibbuti » Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:16 am

Last edited by nibbuti on Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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tiltbillings
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:21 am


alan...
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby alan... » Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:37 am


SarathW
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby SarathW » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:25 pm

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

SarathW
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby SarathW » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:33 pm

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

mynameisadahn
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby mynameisadahn » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:29 pm

Coming back to this thread over the weekend, I was a bit strident earlier talking about Ayya Khema etc. Sorry about that! Please chalk it up to enthusiasm.

To Alan ... I definitely see where you are coming from with the stressful job and concentration being a reprieve from that. Yoga is a good break from work stress, in my job, but a bit of concentration and associated piti or sukka in meditation is definitely the most wholesome way, short of drinking heavily, of stepping away from work stress.

Whether the piti and sukka I experience in my own meditation rise to the level of a jhana (or by whose definition of "jhana") I don't really know - when it comes down to it. It probably doesn't rise very high, even though it seems pretty cool to me.

To Jerrod, I see a bit more of where you are coming from now.

In the end, I think the suttas about different meditative techniques or attainments are very interesting. It is enjoyable reading them and reading different interpretations. But for me, I try to follow more detailed, specific instructions, like my in-person teacher's description of metta practice, and I also read the vissudhimagga on the topic of metta, or mahasi sayadaw on this topic. I would trust that following these instructions, in a concentration practice, would leave me through jhanas as described in the suttas, whatever those states actually are, provided I was putting sufficient effort/time into the practice. But just practicing metta in my own, less than perfect manner, I cultivate kindness and lessen my stress, which are pretty good results.

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Sekha
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby Sekha » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:24 pm

Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

mogg
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Re: would learning jhana solely from sutta be possible?

Postby mogg » Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:44 am

Of course. Ramana Maharshi was spontaneously liberated at the age of 16 without any teachings of any kind.

Its kammically dependent.


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