Is it possible to practice Brahama Vihara without reaching the fourth Jhana?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
SarathW
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Re: Is it possible to practice Brahama Vihara without reaching the fourth Jhana?

Post by SarathW » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:08 am

It seems that Buddha wanted to differentiate the BV practice by the average householder and the recluse. It appears that BV should be practiced in conjunction with the four Jhanas to qualify for Noble Eightfold Path.

"And what are the six kinds of household equanimity? The equanimity that arises when a foolish, deluded person — a run-of-the-mill, untaught person who has not conquered his limitations or the results of action [2] & who is blind to danger [3] — sees a form with the eye. Such equanimity does not go beyond the form, which is why it is called household equanimity. (Similarly with sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, & ideas.)>

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

JohnK
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Re: Is it possible to practice Brahama Vihara without reaching the fourth Jhana?

Post by JohnK » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:42 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:47 am
I think mastering jhana before BV represents saving oneself before trying to save or help others.
But my understanding is that Metta is about saving yourself: one should protect one's "universal goodwill" (translation per TB) like a mother protects an only child so one will not create unwholesome kamma (e.g. break precepts) and suffer its consequences, such as potentially undermining one's progress on the path (and AN 8:63 as quoted describes BV first, so somebody must have thought it was okay ;) -- which isn't to say it has to be first).

[Edit: And metta supports sila which gladdens the mind and supports concentration.]
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

JohnK
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Re: Is it possible to practice Brahama Vihara without reaching the fourth Jhana?

Post by JohnK » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:16 pm

SarathW wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:08 am
It seems that Buddha wanted to differentiate the BV practice by the average householder and the recluse....
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Hi SarathW, I don't think the discourse you linked to is suggesting a householder BV practice; it is describing a lesser (non-liberative) type of equanimity that occurs in the uninstructed, an equanimity that goes more or less unnoticed between efforts at sense gratification. That's how I'm understanding it anyway (with the aid of TB's notes).
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

SarathW
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Is it possible to practice Brahama Vihara without reaching the fourth Jhana?

Post by SarathW » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:08 pm

JohnK wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:42 pm
DooDoot wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:47 am
I think mastering jhana before BV represents saving oneself before trying to save or help others.
But my understanding is that Metta is about saving yourself: one should protect one's "universal goodwill" (translation per TB) like a mother protects an only child so one will not create unwholesome kamma (e.g. break precepts) and suffer its consequences, such as potentially undermining one's progress on the path (and AN 8:63 as quoted describes BV first, so somebody must have thought it was okay ;) -- which isn't to say it has to be first).

[Edit: And metta supports sila which gladdens the mind and supports concentration.]
Agree.
Even in practicing Metta, you extend Metta to yourself first.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

DooDoot
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Re: Is it possible to practice Brahama Vihara without reaching the fourth Jhana?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:42 am

JohnK wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:42 pm
But my understanding is that Metta is about saving yourself: one should protect one's "universal goodwill" (translation per TB) like a mother protects an only child so one will not create unwholesome kamma (e.g. break precepts) and suffer its consequences, such as potentially undermining one's progress on the path (and AN 8:63 as quoted describes BV first, so somebody must have thought it was okay ;) -- which isn't to say it has to be first).

[Edit: And metta supports sila which gladdens the mind and supports concentration.]
Possibly you are getting overly inspired above & departing from MN 52, which is the sutta of this topic. While the Eightfold Path has a metta & compassion or non-ill-will/non-harming-non-cruelty component in its 2nd factor, MN 52 appears to be about big mind universal BV, which probably requires are very pure & exalted mind to perform. A mind that has not reached jhana obviously still has traces of ill-will & other hindrances; despite is apparent good intentions.
Again, a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, around, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he abides pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will.... Again, a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with equanimity…

MN 52

JohnK
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Re: Is it possible to practice Brahama Vihara without reaching the fourth Jhana?

Post by JohnK » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:28 am

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:42 am
Possibly you are getting overly inspired above & departing from MN 52, which is the sutta of this topic.
Thank you, DooDoot, that's a kind way to put it.
On MN 52: I think this sutta is much less about the relationship between BV and jhana and much more about "the ONE thing" through which the unliberated mind becomes liberated (the question asked of Ananda which the rest of the sutta answers). Ananda, somewhat ironically but very effectively for making the point I think, discusses ELEVEN possibilities (4 jhana, 4 BV, and 3 formless attainments), none of which by themselves are liberating. The only ONE thing that applies across the board for liberation is seeing any one of the eleven as conditioned, volitionally produced, subject to cessation. Nicely done, Ananda.
But I wouldn't look to this sutta to understand the relationship between BV and jhana; that's not the topic. Sorry, I can't say which is the right sutta or suttas where this may be directly addressed. Maybe this thread will continue that exploration.
(Glad to be a member of this community.)
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

DooDoot
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Re: Is it possible to practice Brahama Vihara without reaching the fourth Jhana?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:10 am

JohnK wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:28 am
(Glad to be a member of this community.)
It looks like you have summed up the sutta very well. Blessings. :candle:

SarathW
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Re: Is it possible to practice Brahama Vihara without reaching the fourth Jhana?

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:07 am

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:10 am
JohnK wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:28 am
(Glad to be a member of this community.)
It looks like you have summed up the sutta very well. Blessings. :candle:
Agree.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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