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

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:21 am
by SarathW
As per MN 52 you attain Brhama Vihara only when you are in fourth Jhana.
Is it possible to practice Brahama Vihara without reaching the fourth Jhana?

https://suttacentral.net/en/mn52

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

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:32 am
by JohnK
I took a quick look at the sutta because it never occurred to me (never read or heard that I can recall) that fourth jhana was a necessary pre-condition.
Although the BV are presented after the fourth jhana in this sutta, I don't think it said anywhere "dependent on" the fourth jhana, but I may have missed it -- if so, sorry.
[Edit: went back a did a re-look. As I read it, any jhana or BV when know with complete insight will be the route to the unconditioned.]

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

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:40 am
by SarathW
Thank you John.
What is the different between Upekkha in fourth Jhana and Upekkaha in BV?

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

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:46 am
by JohnK
SarathW wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:40 am
Thank you John.
What is the different between Upekkha in fourth Jhana and Upekkaha in BV?
That one's over my pay grade! :D
I hope others will jump in to assist.

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

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:04 am
by Garrib
SarathW wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:40 am
Thank you John.
What is the different between Upekkha in fourth Jhana and Upekkaha in BV?
Interesting - Maybe they are the same? That would explain the notion that by practicing Upekkha Brahma Vihara you can reach the 4th Jhana.

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

Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:21 am
by SarathW
I tried to do my own research and found this.


Thus the sign and access are obtained by this bhikkhu simultaneously
with the breaking down of the barriers. But when breaking down of the barriers
has been effected, he reaches absorption in the way described under the earth
kasina without trouble by cultivating, developing, and repeatedly practicing
that same sign.
At this point he has attained the first jhána, which abandons five factors,
possesses five factors, is good in three ways, is endowed with ten characteristics,
and is accompanied by loving-kindness. And when that has been obtained,
then by cultivating, developing, and repeatedly practicing that same sign, he
successively reaches the second and third jhánas in the fourfold system, and the
second, third and fourth in the fivefold system. [308]>

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... on2011.pdf

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

Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:19 am
by DooDoot
JohnK wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:32 am
Although the BV are presented after the fourth jhana in this sutta, I don't think it said anywhere "dependent on" the fourth jhana...
I agree.

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

Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:18 am
by JohnK
A bit more research.
This from AN8:63.
Then you should train yourself thus: ‘Good-will, as my awareness-release, will be developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, & well-undertaken.’ That’s how you should train yourself. When you have developed this concentration in this way, you should develop this concentration with directed thought & evaluation, you should develop it with no directed thought & a modicum of evaluation, you should develop it with no directed thought & no evaluation, you should develop it accompanied by rapture… not accompanied by rapture… endowed with a sense of enjoyment; you should develop it endowed with equanimity.
https://suttacentral.net/en/an8.63
So, rather than jhana needed to practice BV, this exceprt says you can develop jhanas from BV.
[Doing my part to help this be a Buddhist forum. :) ;) ]

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

Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:26 am
by JohnK
Getting back to equanimity in BV and 4th jhana, here is an interesting excerpt from the same sutta AN8:63.
“When this concentration is thus developed, thus well-developed by you, you should then train yourself thus: ‘Compassion, as my awareness-release… Appreciation, as my awareness-release… Equanimity, as my awareness-release, will be developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, & well-undertaken.’ That’s how you should train yourself. When you have developed this concentration in this way, you should develop this concentration with directed thought & evaluation, you should develop it with no directed thought & a modicum of evaluation, you should develop it with no directed thought & no evaluation, you should develop it accompanied by rapture… not accompanied by rapture… endowed with a sense of enjoyment; you should develop it endowed with equanimity.
So one can develop BV equanimity as a starting place to work your way up to fourth jhana equanimity -- interesting, huh.

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

Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:48 am
by SarathW
When you have developed this concentration in this way, you should develop this concentration with
How I see is that they have to be developed in tandem.
Are all four Brahma Vihara considered meditation objects?

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

Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:52 am
by Saengnapha
SarathW wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:40 am
Thank you John.
What is the different between Upekkha in fourth Jhana and Upekkaha in BV?
According to Bh. Punnaji, in the meditation, in the 4th jhana, the focus on an object stops and the focus is on perception. Upekkhā=apperception, is seeing the process of perception instead of the object that is perceived, the constituents of the process of perception.

If the Brahma viharas and the jhanas are conditioned and volitional, why would you pursue them if you actually understand what Ananda said in this sutta? OTOH, if you understand what Ananda is saying, you pass go and begin to see how the process of perception creates the illusion of the personal. Nirodha-samāpatti is the stopping of existence.

The only reason I see to enter jhanas is to thoroughly dismiss them, to understand that what they represent is not what the Buddha was pointing to. Attachment is operating at every level. It is not that difficult to see this, yet the obsession with 'states' is very apparent in most meditators.

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

Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:24 am
by JohnK
SarathW wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:48 am
Are all four Brahma Vihara considered meditation objects?
AN 8:63 in full (linked above) goes through a repetition that includes all 4.

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

Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:37 am
by SarathW
JohnK wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:24 am
SarathW wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:48 am
Are all four Brahma Vihara considered meditation objects?
AN 8:63 in full (linked above) goes through a repetition that includes all 4.
thanks.

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

Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:34 am
by Cittasanto
I believe Jhana is presented first because one is stabilising the mind internally, then taking qualities to be applied externally as the object. One is not necessarily in Jhana at the time of taking up the BV as objects, but can then progress through the Jhana with the subject of Meditation.
Having a quality, such as upekkha, and applying it to situations can involve trial and error, and the stability of Jhana and its residual effect will enable better reflection also.

Dy firrinagh focklagh
In Truth
Cittasanto

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

Posted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:47 am
by DooDoot
I think mastering jhana before BV represents saving oneself before trying to save or help others.