Jhana and laymen

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char101
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Jhana and laymen

Post by char101 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:14 am

Did the Buddha ever give instructions about practicing jhana when teaching Dhamma to laymen? Or is there stories in the suttas about laymen attaining Jhana (apart from the bodhisatta in his childhool)?

As far as I remember, the Buddha did teach dana, sila, and insight practice to layment but not Jhana practice (probably because jhana is ...secluded from sensuality... which is exactly lay life is).

SarathW
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Re: Jhana and laymen

Post by SarathW » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:18 am

"Such talk on the Dhamma is not given to lay people clothed in white, but only to those who have gone forth."

"Well, then, Sariputta, let such talk on the Dhamma be given to lay people clothed in white. There are people with little dust in their eyes who are wasting away through not hearing such talk on the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .olen.html
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Sam Vara
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Re: Jhana and laymen

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:25 am

char101 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:14 am
Did the Buddha ever give instructions about practicing jhana when teaching Dhamma to laymen? Or is there stories in the suttas about laymen attaining Jhana (apart from the bodhisatta in his childhool)?

As far as I remember, the Buddha did teach dana, sila, and insight practice to layment but not Jhana practice (probably because jhana is ...secluded from sensuality... which is exactly lay life is).
When the Buddha talked about being secluded from sensuality within jhana (vivecceva kamehi) did he mean that one's entire life was free from sensuality, or that one's mind was temporarily free from those qualities at the time?

If the former, then presumably jhana would be out of reach for lay practitioners. If the latter, then he is referring to an unusual but not prohibitively difficult state of mind for lay followers.

char101
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Re: Jhana and laymen

Post by char101 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:56 am

SarathW wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:18 am
"Such talk on the Dhamma is not given to lay people clothed in white, but only to those who have gone forth."

"Well, then, Sariputta, let such talk on the Dhamma be given to lay people clothed in white. There are people with little dust in their eyes who are wasting away through not hearing such talk on the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .olen.html
I don't think the sutta talked about jhana but rather about insight practice. There are indeed laymen in the period of the Buddha that gain enlightment upon hearing such exposition of the Dhamma.

char101
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Re: Jhana and laymen

Post by char101 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:59 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:25 am
When the Buddha talked about being secluded from sensuality within jhana (vivecceva kamehi) did he mean that one's entire life was free from sensuality, or that one's mind was temporarily free from those qualities at the time?
If one want to have slim muscular body one cannot indulge in junk fatty foods which is akin to laymen life with respect to jhana.

So while laymen can have period of abstain from sensual pleasure I don't think it is enough for the development of jhana. Instead seclusion from sensual desires need to part of the laymen lifestyle.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Jhana and laymen

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:27 am

char101 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:59 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:25 am
When the Buddha talked about being secluded from sensuality within jhana (vivecceva kamehi) did he mean that one's entire life was free from sensuality, or that one's mind was temporarily free from those qualities at the time?
If one want to have slim muscular body one cannot indulge in junk fatty foods which is akin to laymen life with respect to jhana.

So while laymen can have period of abstain from sensual pleasure I don't think it is enough for the development of jhana. Instead seclusion from sensual desires need to part of the laymen lifestyle.
Well, that's an opinion on the matter, I guess, but there doesn't seem to be enough information in the standard pericope in, say, SN 53.1 or DN 2 to decide. When I talked about one's mind being "temporarily free from those qualities", I don't mean a period of abstention from sensual pleasures such as a few days without sex, entertainment, and whatever luxuries one's life usually affords. I mean that one is simply able to free one's mind from sensual desire while one meditates.

Perhaps there are other suttas where the term vivecceva kamehi is used, which can throw some light on this.

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DooDoot
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Re: Jhana and laymen

Post by DooDoot » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:18 am

Yes:
Then the Buddha taught the householder Upāli step by step, with a talk on giving, ethical conduct and heaven. He explained the drawbacks of sensual pleasures, so sordid and corrupt, and the benefit of renunciation. And when he knew that Upāli’s mind was ready, pliable, rid of hindrances, joyful and confident he explained the special teaching of the Buddhas: suffering, its origin, its cessation and the path. Just as a clean cloth rid of stains would properly absorb dye, in that very seat the stainless, immaculate vision of the Dhamma arose in Upāli: “Everything that has a beginning has an end.” Then Upāli saw, attained, understood, and fathomed the Dhamma. He went beyond doubt, got rid of indecision, and became self-assured and independent of others regarding the Teacher’s instructions.

https://suttacentral.net/mn56/en/sujato
No:
And how is a brahmin equal to a god?

It’s when a brahmin is well born on both the mother’s and the father’s sides … Having offered the fee to his teacher, he seeks a wife, but only by legitimate means, not illegitimate.

In this context, Doṇa, what is legitimate? Not by buying or selling, he only accepts a brahmin woman by the pouring of water. He has sex only with a brahmin woman. He does not have sex with a woman from a caste of aristocrats, merchants, workers, outcastes, hunters, bamboo workers, chariot-makers, or waste-collectors. Nor does he have sex with women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or outside the fertile half of the month that starts with menstruation.

And why does the brahmin not have sex with a pregnant woman? If a brahmin had sex with a pregnant woman, the boy or girl would be born in too much filth. That’s why the brahmin doesn’t have sex with a pregnant woman.

And why does the brahmin not have sex with a breastfeeding woman? If a brahmin had sex with a breastfeeding woman, the boy or girl would drink back the semen. That’s why the brahmin doesn’t have sex with a breastfeeding woman.

And why does the brahmin not have sex outside the fertile half of the month that starts with menstruation? Because his brahmin wife is not there for sensual pleasure, fun and enjoyment, but only for procreation. Having ensured his progeny through sex, he shaves off his hair and beard, dresses in ocher robes, and goes forth from the lay life to homelessness.

When he has gone forth, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, he enters and remains in the first absorption … second absorption … third absorption … fourth absorption. Having developed these four absorptions, when the body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm.

That’s how a brahmin is equal to god.

https://suttacentral.net/an5.192/en/sujato
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SarathW
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Re: Jhana and laymen

Post by SarathW » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:15 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:25 am
char101 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:14 am
Did the Buddha ever give instructions about practicing jhana when teaching Dhamma to laymen? Or is there stories in the suttas about laymen attaining Jhana (apart from the bodhisatta in his childhool)?

As far as I remember, the Buddha did teach dana, sila, and insight practice to layment but not Jhana practice (probably because jhana is ...secluded from sensuality... which is exactly lay life is).
When the Buddha talked about being secluded from sensuality within jhana (vivecceva kamehi) did he mean that one's entire life was free from sensuality, or that one's mind was temporarily free from those qualities at the time?

If the former, then presumably jhana would be out of reach for lay practitioners. If the latter, then he is referring to an unusual but not prohibitively difficult state of mind for lay followers.
Agree.
Even Arahants do not in Samatha Jhana all the time.
Another point is there are many levels of Jhana. Perhaps the householder may be developing enough Jhana only to gain insight.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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