Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Dinsdale
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:01 am

chownah wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:31 am
A small excerpt from the mn128 link provided by dinsdale:
“Good, good, Anuruddha and friends! But as you live diligently like this, have you achieved any superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones, a meditation at ease?”

“Well, sir, while meditating diligent, keen, and resolute, we perceive both light and vision of forms. But before long the light and the vision of forms vanish. We haven’t worked out the reason for that.”
I took "light and vision of forms" as being superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones......so I thought that this was answering in the affirmative....

For me the entire "superhuman" concept is wrong.......if you look at the link on the first page: fourth post where doodoot gave a link to something thanissaro wrote you will see that he uses "superior human state" instead of "superhuman state" (if my memory of this is correct).....thanissaro's translation clearly calls it a human state which is correct if you consider that the meditator to be human...while "superhuman state" means that the meditator was not human but rather a "superhuman".
chownah
:goodpost:

I think the point being made is that jhana is a higher meditative attainment requiring some preparation, and not an "ordinary" one. But you don't have to be "superhuman" to do it, and being like mild-mannered Clark Kent is fine. :tongue:

Though of course jhana isn't exclusive to Buddhism, and Buddhism doesn't have a monopoly on "higher" meditative attainments. So it isn't that special.

A more productive discussion would be around the degree of preparation that is required to attain jhana, though probably that would be a matter of interpretation.
Last edited by Dinsdale on Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

Dinsdale
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:08 am

The section of this Wiki article comparing jhana in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism is worth a look.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhyana_in_Hinduism
Buddha save me from new-agers!

form
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by form » Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:53 am

Dinsdale wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:01 am
chownah wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:31 am
A small excerpt from the mn128 link provided by dinsdale:
“Good, good, Anuruddha and friends! But as you live diligently like this, have you achieved any superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones, a meditation at ease?”

“Well, sir, while meditating diligent, keen, and resolute, we perceive both light and vision of forms. But before long the light and the vision of forms vanish. We haven’t worked out the reason for that.”
I took "light and vision of forms" as being superhuman distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones......so I thought that this was answering in the affirmative....

For me the entire "superhuman" concept is wrong.......if you look at the link on the first page: fourth post where doodoot gave a link to something thanissaro wrote you will see that he uses "superior human state" instead of "superhuman state" (if my memory of this is correct).....thanissaro's translation clearly calls it a human state which is correct if you consider that the meditator to be human...while "superhuman state" means that the meditator was not human but rather a "superhuman".
chownah
:goodpost:

I think the point being made is that jhana is a higher meditative attainment requiring some preparation, and not an "ordinary" one. But you don't have to be "superhuman" to do it, and being like mild-mannered Clark Kent is fine. :tongue:

Though of course jhana isn't exclusive to Buddhism, and Buddhism doesn't have a monopoly on "higher" meditative attainments. So it isn't that special.
Yes. The Buddha learn those immaterial jhanic spheres from non Buddhists.

MarioK
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by MarioK » Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:56 am

Pulsar wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:14 am
Dear MarioK Are you familiar with the Four Step Rupa jhana method
I am afraid not
Pulsar wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:14 am
It is nicely explained in Atthasalini, which is found on the web. If I give you a link to the text, can you access it?
Sure
Pulsar wrote:
Thu Jul 25, 2019 9:14 am
Once you reply, I will try to help, based on your current knowledge of other 37 factors of awakening.
I have given up a lot of social activity in order to maintain the frame of mind required for Jhanic meditation. It is a long term commitment.
Also as I find time, I will add comments that should help you negotiate the 4 rupa jhanas. :heart:
That will certainly take a lot of time I am willing to spent. Thank you so much for your support. :heart:

Pulsar
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:50 pm

Dear Chownah, you've been plainly awesome, researching Thanissaro and MN 128. I will add a note on MN 128 later. I know it is not personal, but in the name of Dhamma we have to be proactive,
when some try to delude others with false information, it surprised me that some believed the false information, that Jhana is superhuman
Isn't it common knowledge that in
Man from Atthakanagara MN 52, that Ananda was instructing Dasama the householder, a man off the street, a man on a business trip, the 11 doors to hidden treasure, or how to approach the jhanas?
Does it not count as schism of sangha when one spreads false rumors? Practicing Jhanas have transformed my life, Pulsar only wanted other good people to know that this is doable.
Jhana is a technique of quieting the mind, it is not exotic. As to how to do jhana? It is a recipe invented by Buddha's infinite mind. Who else can you trust in this world?
Following these, some call it mapping Buddha's mind, the immense rapture and the eventual Upeksha parisuddhi,
that you find in the 4th jhana, to do this is totally within our capacity.
Now there are different powers of 4th jhana as indicated by the canon
Maybe in the beginning we will not
have the infinite horsepower which the arahants attain.
That one may call Superhuman
Power gained to wipe out all the defilements. That is the highest miracle according to the Buddha, not flying through air. Besides nowadays if one wants to fly, one can buy a ticket on a reliable airline. All I want to do is get near that state where I can wipe my ignorance slowly but surely.Thank you Chownah, should I say you are an angel? :candle:

Pulsar
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Fri Jul 26, 2019 1:16 pm

Dinsdale wrote
Though of course jhana isn't exclusive to Buddhism, and Buddhism doesn't have a monopoly on "higher" meditative attainments. So it isn't that special.
This is not true, it is a misconception created by ill informed people who contribute to Wikipedia.
All Wiki articles are not true, but there are some excellent articles written by well informed Wiki contributors.
There were various methods of meditations in India before Buddha, like the 4th-8th immaterial states (some call them jhanas) that have crawled into the suttas. A famous scholar named Saddhatissa, stated that these have been snuck in by brahmins who later became buddhists.
The Four fine material jhanas as explained in the suttas essential for awakening, was purely SammaSambuddha's invention
It is true he learned the Immaterial states (5th-8th) from Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputtha.
But these did not enable Gotama to awaken to the 4 Noble Truths, and Dependent Origination.
and that is why Buddha was unique. MN 125.
Some people call both sets jhanas and think the 4th-8th states not invented by the Buddha contribute to
cleaning oneself of the defilements. This is not true.
Wiki misleads people, and some suttas the way they are worded by the compilers, make readers
think, the 5th-8th immaterial steps are essential for the buddhist purpose.
To remove the misconceptions surrounding
Buddhist
Meditation leading to clearing of ignorance
was the intention of OP.
After going over what I have presented here, If you still say
Though of course jhana isn't exclusive to Buddhism, and Buddhism doesn't have a monopoly on "higher" meditative attainments. So it isn't that special.
If what you mean is the Buddhist Jhanas, does your statement still apply? I am talking in the context of
Buddha's enlightenment.

:candle:
Last edited by Pulsar on Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:02 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Pulsar
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Fri Jul 26, 2019 1:26 pm

Form wrote
Yes The Buddha learn those immaterial jhanic spheres from non Buddhists
Yes but what good did those do?
If you read the suttas with a clear mind, you will see Buddha rejected these, and came up with his own method,
The Four fine material jhanas as explained in the canon
The whole point of OP is to stress, that these are the only meditations required by the buddhist,
but of course those who insist on the latter four, 5th-8th, can enjoy those if they so please.
Siddhartha did not awaken to the 4 Noble Truths, and Dependent Origination through brahmanic methods
he rejected those, which are called
pre buddhist meditations. :candle:

Pulsar
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Fri Jul 26, 2019 5:08 pm

MrioK wrote "That will certainly take a lot of time I am willing to spent"
Ok I get it, still do you mind me, if I tried to explain the method in very simple language?
Perhaps I can plant a seed in you, so later on if you felt like exploring the teaching, you would
have had a heard of it previously. I shall imagine I am teaching a Jhana 101 class,
an introduction to those with little time. But I have to do it over weeks, since right now
I don't have a whole chunk of time, but few moments a day? :candle:

MarioK
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by MarioK » Fri Jul 26, 2019 7:18 pm

Pulsar wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 5:08 pm
Ok I get it, still do you mind me, if I tried to explain the method in very simple language?
Perhaps I can plant a seed in you, so later on if you felt like exploring the teaching, you would
have had a heard of it previously. I shall imagine I am teaching a Jhana 101 class,
an introduction to those with little time. But I have to do it over weeks, since right now
I don't have a whole chunk of time, but few moments a day? :candle:
I didn't dare to ask :anjali:

Pulsar
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Sat Jul 27, 2019 2:36 pm

MarioK wrote
I didn't dare to ask :anjali:
Dear MarioK do I dare tell you how then? with pleasure.
It is an experiment for me, at the end pl tell me whether you got anything out of it, meaning was the seed planted, or did I fail? if so it is OK too, there is always a next time.
There is a verse in Dhammapada # 183
Not to do any evil, to cultivate good, to purify one's mind, this is the teaching of the Buddhas
This poem fascinated me where it says
purification of the mind
but I did not know how to, but then over time I became familiar with, through the buddhist fine material jhanas, of course for short periods, as short as ten min. I will paint the four jhanas for you using images, over time.
First it is important to free the mind of longing, aversions, sloth and torpor, restlessness and anxiety or worry, and doubt. Are you familiar with these?
If so you can practice any time of the day when you have free moments, just examine your mind. See whether it is dusty with nivaranas, you can do it while taking a walk, or when no one else is around you.
Before I introduce rupa jhanas can you do this for me? or at least try doing it, so you know what I am talking about.
Do you want a link to 5 hindrances? plenty on the web. Here is one I just located.
http://insightmeditationcenter.org/arti ... rances.pdf
Pl let me how it goes. Best of luck. :candle:

MarioK
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by MarioK » Sat Jul 27, 2019 4:13 pm

Dear Pulsar,

it seems I am able now to send PMS. Please look in your inbox. If you wish, I will post my reply here, but I think its better off public.

:anjali:

Pulsar
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:53 pm

Chownah I penned a very brief summary for us On the
Sutta on Imperfections
MN 128 before you figured out the implication of the sutta by yourself. So here it is.
When Buddha asks
Have you attained any superhuman states?
the response was
Ven. Sir as we abide diligent, ardent and resolute, we perceive both light and vision of forms. (Soon afterwards the light and vision of forms disappear, but we have not discovered the cause)
'
This implied that they merely accessed the jhana, but were unable to stabilize it.
Buddha goes over a list of mental obstructions, any one of these could be the cause of failure in jhana, something he had figured out as an unawakened Bodhisatta. The list goes
1. doubt 2. Inattention 3. Sloth and torpor 4. Fear 5. Elation 6. inertia 7. excess energy 8. Lack of energy 9. longing 10. excessive meditation.
In the agama version the 9th obstruction longing is not found but conceit is found in its place,
Sloth and torpor affects most of us :) but this can be fixed by resorting to some strenuous physical activity briefly and returning to the meditation. :candle:

Pulsar
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:56 pm

Chownah I penned a very brief summary for us On the
Sutta on Imperfections
MN 128 before you figured out the implication of the sutta by yourself. So here it is. When Buddha asks
Have you attained any superhuman states?
the response was
Ven. Sir as we abide diligent, ardent and resolute, we perceive both light and vision of forms. (Soon afterwards the light and vision of forms disappear, but we have not discovered the cause)
This implied that they merely accessed the jhana, but were unable to stabilize it.
Buddha goes over a list of mental obstructions, any one of these could be the cause of failure in jhana, something he had figured out as an unawakened Bodhisatta. The list goes
1. doubt 2. Inattention 3. Sloth and torpor 4. Fear 5. Elation 6. inertia 7. excess energy 8. Lack of energy 9. longing 10. excessive meditation.
In the agama version the 9th obstruction longing is not found but conceit is found in its place,
Sloth and torpor affects most of us :) but this can be fixed by resorting to some strenuous physical activity briefly and returning to the meditation. :candle:

Pulsar
Posts: 475
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:04 pm

Dinsdale you wrote
A more productive discussion would be around the degree of preparation that is required to attain jhana
in terms of degrees of preparation, a sutta that may help, since hindrances have to be removed before jhana access. SN 46.40
Bhikkhus these five hindrances are makers of blindness, causing lack of vision, causing lack of knowledge, detriment to knowledge, tending to vexation, leading away from Nibbana.
What five? the hindrance of sensual desire, hindrance of ill will, hindrance of sloth and torpor, hindrance of restlessness and remorse, hindrance of doubt.
These five hindrances are makers of blindness, causing lack of vision, causing lack of knowledge, detriment to knowledge, tending to vexation, leading away from Nibbana
These seven factors of enlightenment are makers of vision, makers of knowledge, promoting the growth of wisdom, free from vexation, leading towards nibbana. The enlightenment factor of mindfulness is a maker of vision, ...........the enlightenment factor of equanimity is a maker of vision leading towards nibbana.
These seven factors of enlightenment are makers of vision, makers of knowledge, promoting the growth of wisdom, free from vexation, leading towards nibbana
Notice how the teaching places Hindrances against Enlightenment factors i.e. what to get rid of and what to add in place.
The sutta preceding SN 46.39 is similar but says
hindrances encircle the mind and and weakens wisdom

Pulsar
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:06 pm

MarioK pl go over the comment above. A sutta that speaks of hindrances and enlightenment factors. Practicing these takes a while, but are very helpful. :candle:

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