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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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.
“You only lose what you cling to”

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Re: Jhana and Vipassana Practice

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


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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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.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"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

'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

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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.


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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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