What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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budo
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What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

Post by budo » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:30 pm

So it is clear in the suttas that The Buddha thought the 8 jhanas alone were not enough to attain Nibbana, as his teachers Alara Kalama and Udaka Ramaputta who taught him the 7th and 8th jhanas, did not attain enlightenment, and when the Buddha attained enlightenment he wanted to go back to these teachers and teach them what he learned but found out they had passed away and he said "It was a great loss", which I take it to mean these recluses did not even attain Stream-entry despite having mastered the 7th and 8th jhanas.

If you look at the suttas where the Buddh rejects the Jhanas and Metta he always ends it with the same thing.

With the Jhanas the Buddha says:
In this way did Alara Kalama, my teacher, place me, his pupil, on the same level with himself and pay me great honor. But the thought occurred to me, 'This Dhamma leads not to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to Awakening, nor to Unbinding, but only to reappearance in the dimension of nothingness.' So, dissatisfied with that Dhamma, I left.
With the Metta / Brahma Viharas, he says the same thing:
Pancasikha asked Buddha if he remember this story? Buddha replied: 'I do, Pancasikha as I was the Brahmin, the Great Steward, at that time. I taught those disciples the path to union with the Brahma-world. However, Pancasikha, that holy life does not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to super- knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana, but only to birth in the Brahma-world. Whereas my holy life leads unfailingly to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to super- knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana. That is the Noble Eightfold Path, namely Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. Those of my disciples now who have fully mastered my teaching have by their own super-knowledge realized, by the destruction of the corruptions in this very life, the un-corrupted freedom of heart and mind. Those who have not fully mastered it, some by the destruction of the five lower fetters will be reborn spontaneously, attaining thence to Nibbana without returning to this world (non-returners); some by the destruction of three fetters and the reduction of greed, hatred and delusion will become Once-Returners, who will return once more to this world before making an end of suffering; some by the destruction of three fetters will become Stream-Winners, incapable of falling into states of woe, assured of enlightenment. Thus the going-forth, all these people will find it productive of fruit and profit.'

I used to think the missing ingredient was the 9th jhana Nirodha Samapatti but it seems like the 9th Jhana is only accessible AFTER enlightenment has been attained as we can see Sariputtas cycling through it in the Anupada Sutta, so the 9th Jhana is out of the question, or is it??
"Furthermore, with the complete transcending of the dimension of nothingness, Sariputta entered & remained in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. He emerged mindfully from that attainment. On emerging mindfully from that attainment, he regarded the past qualities that had ceased & changed: 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.[4]

"Furthermore, with the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, Sariputta entered & remained in the cessation of feeling & perception. Seeing with discernment, his fermentations were totally ended. He emerged mindfully from that attainment. On emerging mindfully from that attainment, he regarded the past qualities that had ceased & changed: 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is no further escape,' and pursuing it there really wasn't for him."
So then it seems the common theme for what is missing in other practices is

- Disenchantment
- Dispassion
- Cessation
- Stilling / Peace
- Direct Knowledge / Super Knowledge
- Awakening
- Unbinding

The jhanas alone do not destroy the hindrances and fetters, only suspend them. So what is the practice that one must do while in 4th Jhana to attain the qualities listed above? Try to see the 5 aggregates, 3 marks of existence and Dependent Origination? How does one do that? Do they switch to momentary concentration while in 4th jhana, and focus on the objects that arise? Or do they go to 8th jhana and try to enter 9th Jhana by 'ferreting' out the remaining qualities that exist as shown in the Anupada Sutta.


Thank you

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cappuccino
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Re: What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

Post by cappuccino » Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:14 am

"Sariputta my friend, which things should a virtuous monk attend to in an appropriate way?"

"A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant … not-self."


Silavant Sutta
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

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Re: What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:47 am

Yes, I agree with what Cappuccino quoted.
The jhana is just a tool for eliminating the hindrances and making the mind powerful and calm, so you can do the proper job of observing.
First you temporarily clear away all the hindrances, then with the enormously powerful and still mind just out of jhana, turn your attention to seeing anicca, anatta, and dukkha, in everything that happens.
Then you get enlightened. Poof, the self dissappears. Job done.

I think that's how it works...?

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Re: What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:13 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 3:47 am
Yes, I agree with what Cappuccino quoted.
The jhana is just a tool for eliminating the hindrances and making the mind powerful and calm, so you can do the proper job of observing.
First you temporarily clear away all the hindrances, then with the enormously powerful and still mind just out of jhana, turn your attention to seeing anicca, anatta, and dukkha, in everything that happens.
Then you get enlightened. Poof, the self dissappears. Job done.

I think that's how it works...?
No disrespect, James, but why hasn't it worked in your case? Seems simple enough, yet no cigar.

For myself, it seems there is no missing ingredient. This would simply be a further grasping for something to attain or identify with. Disinterest and disenchantment lead to letting go, no more seeking, no more grasping, because you understand that these activities do not bring you peace. You see it clearly. There can be no wanting, no desire for enlightenment or any change of state when you have true disenchantment and dispassion. You are not interested in Nibbana even if such a thing exists. It is completely out of your hands.

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Re: What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:49 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:13 am
No disrespect, James, but why hasn't it worked in your case? Seems simple enough, yet no cigar.
Hahaha! No offense taken. Yeah, it is simple, just like walking across the continent. One foot after the other.
Or simple like being an amazing harpsichord/piano/keyboard player. I have a friend who plays for the national Symphony Orchestra, and he says it's nothing special, you just need to practise for tens and tens of thousands of hours. He says he doesn't have any special talent.
Another friend of mine makes astounding portaits of people on commission. She really captures their look, and they pay a lot for the portaits. And just the same, she says it is simple, it involves just practising for tens and tens of thousands of hours, wearing out the pencils and paintbrushes.

The "trick" in meditation is just to keep at it, despite the five hindrances. But that's the hard part. The hindrances are hard! It is so difficult to just overcome those five difficulties, moment to moment. The ones that made me run out of the monastery were restlessness, sloth, and... well, all of them actually! Ha!

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Re: What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:08 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:49 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:13 am
No disrespect, James, but why hasn't it worked in your case? Seems simple enough, yet no cigar.
Hahaha! No offense taken. Yeah, it is simple, just like walking across the continent. One foot after the other.
Or simple like being an amazing harpsichord/piano/keyboard player. I have a friend who plays for the national Symphony Orchestra, and he says it's nothing special, you just need to practise for tens and tens of thousands of hours. He says he doesn't have any special talent.
Another friend of mine makes astounding portaits of people on commission. She really captures their look, and they pay a lot for the portaits. And just the same, she says it is simple, it involves just practising for tens and tens of thousands of hours, wearing out the pencils and paintbrushes.

The "trick" in meditation is just to keep at it, despite the five hindrances. But that's the hard part. The hindrances are hard! It is so difficult to just overcome those five difficulties, moment to moment. The ones that made me run out of the monastery were restlessness, sloth, and... well, all of them actually! Ha!
This is where we differ greatly in view. It is not practice makes perfect. How could that be? This is not piano playing or throwing pots on a wheel. This is a fundamental issue that undermines our very existence. You can't practice for it. There is no rehearsal although it may seem like that is what is called for. Time is not the factor for real insight. You see the futility of whatever it is you do to escape what you think you must escape from. The falling out of the search is a necessary step. Without the disenchantment and dispassion for your clinging, it is a hopeless ride on the ferris wheel. We are not a person in time that is going somewhere. This is a mirage like someone seeing an oasis in the desert and pointing to it as if it is real.

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Re: What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:22 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:08 am
Time is not the factor for real insight. You see the futility of whatever it is you do to escape what you think you must escape from. The falling out of the search is a necessary step. Without the disenchantment and dispassion for your clinging, it is a hopeless ride on the ferris wheel. We are not a person in time that is going somewhere. This is a mirage like someone seeing an oasis in the desert and pointing to it as if it is real.
No disrespect, Saengnapha, but why hasn't it worked in your case? Seems simple enough, yet no cigar.

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Re: What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:39 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:22 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:08 am
Time is not the factor for real insight. You see the futility of whatever it is you do to escape what you think you must escape from. The falling out of the search is a necessary step. Without the disenchantment and dispassion for your clinging, it is a hopeless ride on the ferris wheel. We are not a person in time that is going somewhere. This is a mirage like someone seeing an oasis in the desert and pointing to it as if it is real.
No disrespect, Saengnapha, but why hasn't it worked in your case? Seems simple enough, yet no cigar.
It has worked. I do see the futility of my own 'search'. I don't engage in useless exercises to try to attain anything but simple things like maintaining health, not trying to attain super conscious states or insights or understand scriptures that are used as 'gospel'. Buddhist apparatchiks are a dime a dozen as well as all the other traditions. It's the words that you are misled by, that everyone is misled by. There is not going to be a cigar for you or for me! That is my point.

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Re: What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:46 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:39 am
...
... er, so, um... how do you get enlightened using your method? Is it in the suttas? Or is it one of those things that's overlooked, or read-between-the-lines?

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Re: What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:54 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:46 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:39 am
...
... er, so, um... how do you get enlightened using your method? Is it in the suttas? Or is it one of those things that's overlooked, or read-between-the-lines?
The question of enlightenment is only a question for a self operating within a structure of time. The search coming to an end has to be operative because you 'see' that it leads to grasping and anguish. I believe I have read many accounts of the Buddha saying the same thing in different words. I am not interested in the words as I see all of them as conditioned and they are what keeps the game going. Only you can work this out with yourself. The deception is deep, at the core of your existence.

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Re: What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:05 am

Well, good luck with that! :shrug:

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Re: What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

Post by budo » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:14 am

(Typing this on phone, so can't look up sources at the moment)

Remember guys after the Buddha left the ascetics, he remembered his childhood memory of the first Jhana. Under the bodhi tree right away he attained 3 knowledge's: past lives, divine eye, and 4 Nobel truths.

Thus if your dhamma is correct it should lead to one of the 'higher knowledges'. The fourth Jhana can lead to higher knowledge's, and there is a sutta that talks about abjhinna specifically looking at light to attain divine eye.

So I disagree with the users in this thread that imply that enlightenment is chance or 'non-attainment'. It very much has a.method of attainment, otherwise there would be no dhamma.

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Re: What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:54 am

budo wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:14 am
So I disagree with the users in this thread that imply ...
Yes, Saengnapha may be Buddhist, but he or she is certainly not Theravada Buddhist.

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Re: What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:34 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:54 am
budo wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:14 am
So I disagree with the users in this thread that imply ...
Yes, Saengnapha may be Buddhist, but he or she is certainly not Theravada Buddhist.
I am neither. Identification is not the Buddha's tenet.

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Re: What is this missing ingredient between Jhanas and Nibbana?

Post by auto » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:57 pm

.i was offtopic

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