Jhana as a prerequisite for satipatthana: Re: How is Mahasi not a samatha 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.
Post Reply
User avatar
budo
Posts: 531
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:16 am
Location: The world

Jhana as a prerequisite for satipatthana: Re: How is Mahasi not a samatha practice?

Post by budo » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:24 pm

Split from this topic: viewtopic.php?f=41&t=32135&p=477909#p477839


Good post cjmacie. :goodpost:

Have you read the book "Way of Buddhist Meditation" by Kheminda Thera, who is a friend of Soma Thera and helped translate the latest edition of Vimuttimaga?

He says that satipathana/mahasatipathana actually starts after one has attained jhana and he references and quotes the lines for it in the sutta.

It also seems like the Vimuttimaga declares the same thing that jhanas are necessary. From my understanding the vimuttimaga was written by an Arahant whereas the Vissudhimagga was written by a scholar. The vimuttimagga uses the Young Cow simile to describe how one who does not attain jhanas can not destroy lust, etc..

On page 79 of the Vimuttimagga, it says that access-concentration is not strong enough, it is unable to hold onto an object sufficiently and wanders like a child, and is therefore 'not accomplished', and that fixed meditation (aka jhana) is accomplished.

My own personal view is that this isn't really a huge deal as people make it out to be, you can cover all bases, I do so by starting my meditation and continuing in this sequence:

brahma-viharas/metta -> concentration (see how concentrated I can get until I feel like I'm going to burn out/run out of steam) -> vipassana/panna (khanikha samadhi + contemplations)

On good days I'll get to jhana, on bad days I'll barely make it to access concentration, regardless I'll move onto vipassana.

In this way I am always training myself in the threefold trainings and covering all bases. If I'm not able to meditate at all then I'll resort to recollections/sutta/book reading.

User avatar
rightviewftw
Posts: 2112
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

Jhana: from How is Mahasi not a samatha practice?

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:08 pm

budo wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:24 pm
Good post cjmacie. :goodpost:

Have you read the book "Way of Buddhist Meditation" by Kheminda Thera, who is a friend of Soma Thera and helped translate the latest edition of Vimuttimaga?

He says that satipathana/mahasatipathana actually starts after one has attained jhana and he references and quotes the lines for it in the sutta.

It also seems like the Vimuttimaga declares the same thing that jhanas are necessary. From my understanding the vimuttimaga was written by an Arahant whereas the Vissudhimagga was written by a scholar. The vimuttimagga uses the Young Cow simile to describe how one who does not attain jhanas can not destroy lust, etc..

On page 79 of the Vimuttimagga, it says that access-concentration is not strong enough, it is unable to hold onto an object sufficiently and wanders like a child, and is therefore 'not accomplished', and that fixed meditation (aka jhana) is accomplished.

My own personal view is that this isn't really a huge deal as people make it out to be, you can cover all bases, I do so by starting my meditation and continuing in this sequence:

brahma-viharas/metta -> concentration (see how concentrated I can get until I feel like I'm going to burn out/run out of steam) -> vipassana/panna (khanikha samadhi + contemplations)

On good days I'll get to jhana, on bad days I'll barely make it to access concentration, regardless I'll move onto vipassana.

In this way I am always training myself in the threefold trainings and covering all bases. If I'm not able to meditate at all then I'll resort to recollections/sutta/book reading.
Mundane jhanas are certainly not necessary for the attainment of path and fruition, as i remember according to commentary there are 5 types of Arahants liberated by wisdom, those who attain liberation after each of the four jhanas and the dry-insight practitioner.

"There is the case where a monk has developed insight preceded by tranquillity. As he develops insight preceded by tranquillity, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity preceded by insight. As he develops tranquillity preceded by insight, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity in tandem with insight. As he develops tranquillity in tandem with insight, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.

"Then there is the case where a monk's mind has its restlessness concerning the Dhamma [Comm: the corruptions of insight] well under control. There comes a time when his mind grows steady inwardly, settles down, and becomes unified & concentrated. In him the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.
"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, do you dwell touching with your body the peaceful emancipations, the formless states beyond form [the formless jhanas]?"

"No, friend."

"So just now, friends, didn't you make that declaration without having attained any of these Dhammas?"

"We're released through discernment, friend Susima."
9. “And what, Ānanda, is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters? Here, with seclusion from the acquisitions, with the abandoning of unwholesome states, with the complete tranquillization of bodily inertia, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion.
“Whatever exists therein of material form, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, he sees those states as impermanent, as suffering, as a disease, as a tumour, as a barb, as a calamity, as an affliction, as alien, as disintegrating, as void, as not self. He turns his mind away from those states [436] and directs it towards the deathless element thus: ‘This is the peaceful, this is the sublime, that is, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all attachments, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna.’ If he is steady in that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints because of that desire for the Dhamma, that delight in the Dhamma, then with the destruction of the five lower fetters he becomes one due to reappear spontaneously [in the Pure Abodes] and there attain final Nibbāna without ever returning from that world. This is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters.
10–12. “Again, with the stilling of applied and sustained thought, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the second jhāna … Again, with the fading away as well of rapture, a bhikkhu … enters upon and abides in the third jhāna … Again, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain … a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the fourth jhāna, which has neither-pain-nor-pleasure and purity of mindfulness due to equanimity.
“Whatever exists therein of material form, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, he sees those states as impermanent … as not self. He turns his mind away from those states and directs it towards the deathless element … This is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters.
13. “Again, with the complete surmounting of perceptions of form, with the disappearance of perceptions of sensory impact, with non-attention to perceptions of diversity, aware that ‘space is infinite,’ a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the base of infinite space.
“Whatever exists therein of feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, he sees those states as impermanent … as not self. He turns his mind away from those states and directs it towards the deathless element … This is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters.
14. “Again, by completely surmounting the base of infinite space, aware that ‘consciousness is infinite,’ a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the base of infinite consciousness.
“Whatever exists therein of feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, he sees those states as impermanent … as not self. He turns his mind away from those states and directs it towards the deathless element … This is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters.
15. “Again, by completely surmounting the base of infinite consciousness, aware that ‘there is nothing,’ a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the base of nothingness.
“Whatever exists therein of feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, he sees those states as impermanent, as suffering, as a disease, as a tumour, as a barb, as a calamity, as an affliction, as alien, as disintegrating, as void, as not self. He turns his mind away from those states and directs it towards the deathless element thus: ‘This is the peaceful, this is the sublime, that is, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all attachments, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna.’ If he is steady in that, [437] he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints because of that desire for the Dhamma, that delight in the Dhamma, then with the destruction of the five lower fetters he becomes one due to reappear spontaneously [in the Pure Abodes] and there attain final Nibbāna without ever returning from that world. This is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters.”
16. “Venerable sir, if this is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters, then how is it that some bhikkhus here [are said to] gain deliverance of mind and some [are said to] gain deliverance by wisdom?”
“The difference here, Ānanda, is in their faculties, I say.”


That is what the Blessed One said. The venerable Ānanda was satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One’s words.
it would make no sense for Ananda to ask the Blessed One about the case of those delivered by wisdom as all the Jhana to Deathless variants have been covered, so the natural interpretation is that there are exceptions to the Jhana to Deathless variant and that there are those who realize Deathless without the Jhana and relying on the development of Path destroy the Fetters without Jhana.

User avatar
budo
Posts: 531
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:16 am
Location: The world

Re: How is Mahasi not a samatha practice?

Post by budo » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:52 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:08 pm

Mundane jhanas are certainly not necessary for the attainment of path and fruition, as i remember according to commentary there are 5 types of Arahants liberated by wisdom, those who attain liberation after each of the four jhanas and the dry-insight practitioner.

From my understanding, jhanas are only mundane if one is anariya (non-noble one), once one becomes a sotapanna then jhanas are supermundane.

Mundane Jhanas are not necessary for entering Sotapanna, that is correct, since Devedatta attained mundane jhanas and superpowers but was reborn in hell, and there have been lay people who attained sotapanna just by hearing the Buddha speak.

As for the claims about not needing jhanas for arahantship, I will reserve all claims and judgements since I do not have sufficient knowledge in this area. Kheminda Thera explains the suttas in his book "Way of Buddhist Meditation" that they do in fact enter the jhanas when attaining arahantship, even if they got there through wisdom/contemplations.

Although as I said I cannot confirm any of this since I do not know enough myself, and I don't think anyone can claim with certainty unless they themselves are an arahant.

User avatar
rightviewftw
Posts: 2112
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

Re: How is Mahasi not a samatha practice?

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:58 pm

budo wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:52 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:08 pm

Mundane jhanas are certainly not necessary for the attainment of path and fruition, as i remember according to commentary there are 5 types of Arahants liberated by wisdom, those who attain liberation after each of the four jhanas and the dry-insight practitioner.

From my understanding, jhanas are only mundane if one is anariya (non-noble one), once one becomes a sotapanna then jhanas are supermundane.

Mundane Jhanas are not necessary for entering Sotapanna, that is correct, since Devedatta attained mundane jhanas and superpowers but was reborn in hell, and there have been lay people who attained sotapanna just by hearing the Buddha speak.

As for the claims about not needing jhanas for arahantship, I will reserve all claims and judgements since I do not have sufficient knowledge in this area. Kheminda Thera explains the suttas in his book "Way of Buddhist Meditation" that they do in fact enter the jhanas when attaining arahantship, even if they got there through wisdom/contemplations.

Although as I said I cannot confirm any of this since I do not know enough myself, and I don't think anyone can claim with certainty unless they themselves are an arahant.
lower jhanas are lower jhanas no matter if one is ariya or not. What makes a jhana supramundane(lokuttara) is it being on the treshold of the Unmade, i do not think you are warranted to use the term lokuttara while denying it's original meaning but you can make up your own theories if you want. Also i don't need to be an Arahant to be certain that mundane jhanas are not necessary for attainment of path and fruition knowledge.

User avatar
budo
Posts: 531
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:16 am
Location: The world

Re: How is Mahasi not a samatha practice?

Post by budo » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:08 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:58 pm
budo wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:52 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:08 pm

Mundane jhanas are certainly not necessary for the attainment of path and fruition, as i remember according to commentary there are 5 types of Arahants liberated by wisdom, those who attain liberation after each of the four jhanas and the dry-insight practitioner.

From my understanding, jhanas are only mundane if one is anariya (non-noble one), once one becomes a sotapanna then jhanas are supermundane.

Mundane Jhanas are not necessary for entering Sotapanna, that is correct, since Devedatta attained mundane jhanas and superpowers but was reborn in hell, and there have been lay people who attained sotapanna just by hearing the Buddha speak.

As for the claims about not needing jhanas for arahantship, I will reserve all claims and judgements since I do not have sufficient knowledge in this area. Kheminda Thera explains the suttas in his book "Way of Buddhist Meditation" that they do in fact enter the jhanas when attaining arahantship, even if they got there through wisdom/contemplations.

Although as I said I cannot confirm any of this since I do not know enough myself, and I don't think anyone can claim with certainty unless they themselves are an arahant.
lower jhanas are lower jhanas no matter if one is ariya or not. What makes a jhana supramundane(lokuttara) is it being on the treshold of the Unmade, i do not think you are warranted to use the term lokuttara while denying it's original meaning but you can make up your own theories if you want. Also i don't need to be an Arahant to be certain that mundane jhanas are not necessary for attainment of path and fruition knowledge.
This article may be of interest to you https://puredhamma.net/living-dhamma/sa ... na-dhyana/

He explains the difference between anariya (mundane) and ariya (supermundane) jhanas.

There is first anariya jhana and also first ariya jhana.

User avatar
rightviewftw
Posts: 2112
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

Re: How is Mahasi not a samatha practice?

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:17 pm

budo wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:08 pm

This article may be of interest to you https://puredhamma.net/living-dhamma/sa ... na-dhyana/

He explains the difference between anariya (mundane) and ariya (supermundane) jhanas.

There is first anariya jhana and also first ariya jhana.
That site is quite controversial and 1st Ariya jhana probably refers to fruition re-attainment of the First Path(sotapattiphalasamapatti) rather than 1st Rupajjhana. Also evident from the article you linked to;
13. On the other hand, one gets to the first Ariya jhāna by focusing on the “cooling down” (Nibbāna) that one has seen.

User avatar
budo
Posts: 531
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:16 am
Location: The world

Re: How is Mahasi not a samatha practice?

Post by budo » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:25 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:17 pm
budo wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:08 pm

This article may be of interest to you https://puredhamma.net/living-dhamma/sa ... na-dhyana/

He explains the difference between anariya (mundane) and ariya (supermundane) jhanas.

There is first anariya jhana and also first ariya jhana.
That site is quite controversial and 1st Ariya jhana probably refers to fruition re-attainment of the First Path(sotapattiphalasamapatti) rather than 1st Rupajjhana.
The article is not much different than Henepola Gunaratana's explanation of Supramundane Jhanas

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... html#ch5.3

"On the occasion when one develops supramundane jhana which is emancipating, leading to the demolition (of existence), for the abandonment of views, for reaching the first plane, secluded from sense pleasures... one enters and dwells in the first jhana. (Dhs. 72)"

User avatar
rightviewftw
Posts: 2112
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

Re: How is Mahasi not a samatha practice?

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:31 pm

budo wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:25 pm
rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:17 pm
budo wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:08 pm

This article may be of interest to you https://puredhamma.net/living-dhamma/sa ... na-dhyana/

He explains the difference between anariya (mundane) and ariya (supermundane) jhanas.

There is first anariya jhana and also first ariya jhana.
That site is quite controversial and 1st Ariya jhana probably refers to fruition re-attainment of the First Path(sotapattiphalasamapatti) rather than 1st Rupajjhana.
The article is not much different than Henepola Gunaratana's explanation of Supramundane Jhanas

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... html#ch5.3

"On the occasion when one develops supramundane jhana which is emancipating, leading to the demolition (of existence), for the abandonment of views, for reaching the first plane, secluded from sense pleasures... one enters and dwells in the first jhana. (Dhs. 72)"
Again what you refer to as Ariya jhana most definitely seems to be the fruition re-attainment, which is refered to as phalasamapatti, it is a lokuttara jhana and it is most definitely not the lower a Rupajjhana as the phalasamapatti is a realization of Nibbana.
phalasamapatti is of four kinds mentioned in the Patisambhidamagga;
49. Sotapattimaggo abhihheyvo, sotapattiphalasama-
patfci abhinneyya, sakadag am i m aggo abhinneyyo, sakada-
gamiphalasamapatti abhinneyya, anagamimaggo abhih-
1 tataftho, S. 21
neyyo, amigamiphalasamapatti abhififieyya, arahatta-
maggo abhififieyyo, arahattaphalasamapatti abhinneyya.
Again i will quote from the first article you linked to;
13. On the other hand, one gets to the first Ariya jhāna by focusing on the “cooling down” (Nibbāna) that one has seen.
Unless you think one can be absorbed in a Rupajjhana after cessation of conditioned phenomena it should be clear that the Ariya Jhanas are referring to attainment or the re-attainment of the Pathfruition by means of the already attained path of which there are four.

Max Nanasy
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:10 pm

Re: How is Mahasi not a samatha practice?

Post by Max Nanasy » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:54 pm

budo wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:52 pm

Mundane Jhanas are not necessary for entering Sotapanna, that is correct, since Devedatta attained mundane jhanas and superpowers but was reborn in hell, and there have been lay people who attained sotapanna just by hearing the Buddha speak.
The case of Devadatta proves that jhanas aren't sufficient for stream entry, but it doesn't prove they're not necessary.
Metta :)

User avatar
budo
Posts: 531
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:16 am
Location: The world

Re: How is Mahasi not a samatha practice?

Post by budo » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:57 pm

Max Nanasy wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:54 pm
budo wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:52 pm

Mundane Jhanas are not necessary for entering Sotapanna, that is correct, since Devedatta attained mundane jhanas and superpowers but was reborn in hell, and there have been lay people who attained sotapanna just by hearing the Buddha speak.
The case of Devadatta proves that jhanas aren't sufficient for stream entry, but it doesn't prove they're not necessary.
Agreed, do you believe Jhanas are required for stream entry?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 53 guests