Jhana and Vipassana Practice

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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one_awakening
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Jhana and Vipassana Practice

Post by one_awakening » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:02 am

Was listening to a Dhamma talk about the Jhanas by Leigh Brasington. He spoke about how when he achieved Jhanas his teacher instructed him to now practice Vipassana, but he didn't go into how to practice Vipassana in the Jhanas. So my question is, how does one use the Jhanas to practice Vipassana?

I've been meditating for ten years and have found that when reaching deep states of concentration, insight either arises spontaneously, or I will direct my concentrated mind to probe the nature of my experience and insight arises that way. Not sure if this is correct, it's just what came naturally.
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pyluyten
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Re: Jhana and Vipassana Practice

Post by pyluyten » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:37 am

Hi,

you will face completely different point of views.

So, i will stick to suttas. In the suttas, you cannot find a description of Vipassana as a distinct practice. it is only mention of doing Jhana, or doing Anapanasati or other contemplations. Vipassana (and Samatha) are consequences of the practice. This point of view, is not compatible with the idea "now i will stop Jhana to practice Vipassana".

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Re: Jhana and Vipassana Practice

Post by Caodemarte » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:38 pm

From a non-expert’s point of view, what you (the OP) are doing does not seem out of line with what I have seen in expert advice in many of the Theravada traditions. If possible, I would suggest you talk in person to someone you respect as a teacher. Advice given even by an expert without examination of your practice is very unreliable.

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Pseudobabble
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Re: Jhana and Vipassana Practice

Post by Pseudobabble » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:43 am

Disclaimer: I have not achieved Jhana


When you're very concentrated, it's a lot easier to see the 'strings' of thought, emotion, reaction, reaching back to the stimulus which brought them about.

So, you're concentrated, and at some point, something happens to make you irritated (let's say someone says something to you soon after you finish meditation). So, with your nice, clear mind, you look at the sequence of events: someone says something - the noise hits your ear - process the noise, recognise it as speech - interpret the speech - meanings of the words fit into your worldview - thoughts are triggered, memories and emotions - irritation arises from those associated contents in conjunction with current input - you see the process of arising - you see that the irritation is simply a consequence of the past conditions (memories, ingrained emotional responses) meeting present conditions (hearing/understanding the words).

Voila! Insight into the arising of present conditions, in conjunction with past conditions, totally devoid of self.

PS: pyluyten is right - you can get a lot of different answers on this topic.
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"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


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DooDoot
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Re: Jhana and Vipassana Practice

Post by DooDoot » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:27 am

There is the case where an individual, withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, feeling, perception, fabrications & consciousness, as inconstant, unsatisfactory, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, a danger, diseased, alien, a disintegration, emptiness, not-self.

https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.124
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Re: Jhana and Vipassana Practice

Post by JohnK » Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:32 pm

I was listening to a talk by Thanissaro Bhikkhu last night. At one point he said something like the clarity established in concentration should be used to ask yourself what you are "doing," what might be the stress (perhaps very subtle) to comprehend right here, what might you be doing to cause stress right now, might you be able to let go of that. He said something like regardless of jhana, not jhana, which jhana. More directly related to your question, I believe he did also say that when in especially deep concentration, it may require a "step back" from that to do that investigation. He also said that some people are really inclined toward investigation and so need to get as concentrated as they can before getting back to their investigation, and some people are more inclined to get and stay concentrated and so need to remember to investigate. I hope this is helpful.
I hope I have not over-simplified or misrepresented. The talk was part 3 of his Thai Forest Masters talks here: http://www.audiodharma.org/series/16/talk/5996/
"...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.

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Re: Jhana and Vipassana Practice

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:41 am

ven. Buddhadasa's standpoint

Verbatim excerpts from:
The Handbook for Mankind by ven. Buddhadasa
A deeply concentrated mind cannot practice introspection at all. It is in a state of unawareness and is of no use for insight. Deep concentration is a major obstacle to insight practice. To practice introspection one must first return to the shallower levels of concentration; then one can make use of the power the mind has acquired. Highly developed concentration is just a tool. In this developing of insight by the nature method, we don’t have to attain deep concentration and sit with the body rigid. Rather, we aim at a calm, steady mind, one so fit for work that when it is applied to insight practice, it gains right understanding with regard to the entire world. Insight so developed is natural insight, the same sort as was gained by some individuals while sitting listening to the Buddha expounding Dhamma.
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"the one thing all the mistaken views have in common is the assump­tion that the self exists" ~ DN1

"It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" ~ MN22

SN22.59:
The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
⬤ No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate.

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pegembara
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Re: Jhana and Vipassana Practice

Post by pegembara » Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:34 am

According to this sutta, only the final 2 states are considered too deep for direct seeing.
"Furthermore, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, [perceiving,] 'There is nothing,' Sariputta entered & remained in the dimension of nothingness. Whatever qualities there are in the dimension of nothingness — the perception of the dimension of nothingness, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, '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.

"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.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
The sutta jhanas are not considered too deep.
"Furthermore, with the abandoning of pleasure & stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — Sariputta entered & remained in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain. Whatever qualities there are in the fourth jhana — a feeling of equanimity, neither pleasure nor pain; an unconcern due to serenity of awareness;[3] singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, '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.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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budo
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Re: Jhana and Vipassana Practice

Post by budo » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:53 am

According to the suttas, vipassana means contemplation. Therefore vipassana is referring to contemplating the dhamma, the fourth satipathana, which is the 5 aggregates, sixfold senses, dependent origination, 4 noble truths, 3 characteristics

When you enter cessation and emerge from it, you are learning and understanding how the 5 aggregates come into play, and by doing this over and over you can see how suffering comes into play.

It's like leaving a room and coming back and noticing the smell that was there all along, and like turning a computer on and off so you can learn how it boots up and where the problems begin.

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Re: Jhana and Vipassana Practice

Post by James Tan » Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:36 pm

budo wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:53 am
According to the suttas, vipassana means contemplation. Therefore vipassana is referring to contemplating the dhamma, the fourth satipathana, which is the 5 aggregates, sixfold senses, dependent origination, 4 noble truths, 3 characteristics

When you enter cessation and emerge from it, you are learning and understanding how the 5 aggregates come into play, and by doing this over and over you can see how suffering comes into play.

It's like leaving a room and coming back and noticing the smell that was there all along, and like turning a computer on and off so you can learn how it boots up and where the problems begin.
Therefore , the important thing is to attain jhana first ? Then the problem arises because not many people can achieve jhana .
:reading:

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budo
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Re: Jhana and Vipassana Practice

Post by budo » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:03 pm

James Tan wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 12:36 pm
budo wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:53 am
According to the suttas, vipassana means contemplation. Therefore vipassana is referring to contemplating the dhamma, the fourth satipathana, which is the 5 aggregates, sixfold senses, dependent origination, 4 noble truths, 3 characteristics

When you enter cessation and emerge from it, you are learning and understanding how the 5 aggregates come into play, and by doing this over and over you can see how suffering comes into play.

It's like leaving a room and coming back and noticing the smell that was there all along, and like turning a computer on and off so you can learn how it boots up and where the problems begin.
Therefore , the important thing is to attain jhana first ? Then the problem arises because not many people can achieve jhana .
Hence the importance of going forth.

The Buddha said the path isn't easy and hard to comprehend. There are no shortcuts. The only "easy" thing (relatively) is that you can attain Stream Entry path just by dhamma hearing (reading suttas) alone without meditation, just by contemplating the dhamma and attaining Right View.

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Re: Jhana and Vipassana Practice

Post by James Tan » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:31 pm

budo wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:03 pm
The only "easy" thing (relatively) is that you can attain Stream Entry path just by dhamma hearing (reading suttas) alone without meditation, just by contemplating the dhamma and attaining Right View.
I supposed nowadays no one is able to achieve first sotapanna just by reading alone .
:reading:

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budo
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Re: Jhana and Vipassana Practice

Post by budo » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:34 pm

James Tan wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:31 pm
budo wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:03 pm
The only "easy" thing (relatively) is that you can attain Stream Entry path just by dhamma hearing (reading suttas) alone without meditation, just by contemplating the dhamma and attaining Right View.
I supposed nowadays no one is able to achieve first sotapanna just by reading alone .
Sotapanna path, why not? Fruit depends on perfection of virtue and destroying the 3 fetters. Actually I remember a sutta where the Buddha said that if anyone has perfected the virtues and has attained Right View, then they are allowed to call themselves stream-enterers

The only reason I would think they couldn't is if the Nikayas are incomplete and some vital information is missing, but since there is so much repetition in the suttas and between Nikayas, I don't think that would be the case.

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Re: Jhana and Vipassana Practice

Post by James Tan » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:44 pm

budo wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:34 pm


Sotapanna path, why not? Fruit depends on perfection of virtue and destroying the 3 fetters.
But identity view cannot be destroyed by reading and without jhana .
:reading:

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budo
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Re: Jhana and Vipassana Practice

Post by budo » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:52 pm

James Tan wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:44 pm
budo wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:34 pm


Sotapanna path, why not? Fruit depends on perfection of virtue and destroying the 3 fetters.
But identity view cannot be destroyed by reading and without jhana .
The fetter of identity view is not the same as the fetter of conceit.

Views can be dispelled with contemplation, conceit is not a view, it is a mental activity which requires jhana/insight to stop.
"And, venerable sir, how does self-identity view not come into being?"

"There is the case, householder, where a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — who has regard for noble ones, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma; who has regard for men of integrity, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma — does not assume form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form. He does not assume feeling to be the self... He does not assume perception to be the self... He does not assume fabrications to be the self... He does not assume consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness. This is how self-identity view does not come into being."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

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