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MN 68: a good case study on how easy and ordinary first jhana is

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:11 am
by frank k
If you're not already familiar with the STED standard formulas for 7sb awakening factors, and first jhana, you wouldn't even recognize what's going on in this sutta because he doesn't use those explicit labels. But I'm here to help:

https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... -and.html

Re: MN 68: a good case study on how easy and ordinary first jhana is

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:01 pm
by DooDoot
Hello Frank. It doesn't sound like jhana, to me. Just because "sukha" is mentioned does not mean it is jhana. For example, the following sukha is not jhana:
Eye consciousness arises dependent on the eye and sights. The meeting of the three is contact. Contact is a condition for the arising of what is felt as pleasant, painful, or neutral.

Cakkhuñca, bhikkhave, paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṃ, tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso, phassapaccayā uppajjati vedayitaṃ sukhaṃ vā dukkhaṃ vā adukkhamasukhaṃ vā.

When you experience a pleasant feeling, if you approve, welcome, and keep clinging to it,
So sukhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho samāno abhinandati abhivadati ajjhosāya tiṭṭhati.

the underlying tendency to greed underlies that.
Tassa rāgānusayo anuseti.

https://suttacentral.net/mn148/en/sujato
Jhana is said to be a "superhuman state" in the suttas. :smile:

Re: MN 68: a good case study on how easy and ordinary first jhana is

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:11 pm
by chownah
DooDoot wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:01 pm
Jhana is said to be a "superhuman state" in the suttas. :smile:
It is only called a superhuman state by translators who don't really understand the english language well enough to know the mistake they are making by using those words. Anyone intersted in this issue should go search for what thanisarro puts in place of "superhuman state".....and what he says about superhuman states vis a vis jhanas. (Hint: he explicitly says that jhanas do not require superhuman stuff.)

So, while it is true that jhana is said to be a "superhuman state" (as a translation of what it says in the suttas) it is also true that it is said that jhana is NOT a "superhuman state".
chownah

Re: MN 68: a good case study on how easy and ordinary first jhana is

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:32 pm
by Volo
Term "superhuman state" is a translation of Pali uttarimanussadhamma. Ven Thanissaro translates it as "superior human states".

Re: MN 68: a good case study on how easy and ordinary first jhana is

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:36 pm
by DooDoot
chownah wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:11 pm
jhana is NOT a "superhuman state".
The term "superhuman state" is a translation of Pali uttarimanussadhamma. "Uttara" means "beyond", such as found in the term "lokuttara", meaning "transcending" or "above the world". "Jhana" is not a "worldly state". "Jhana" is a state of exclusively non-sensual pleasant feelings. It seems those who still must engage in sensuality for happiness have not mastered jhana. The suttas say once the Buddha mastered jhana, his mind did not return to thoughts or impulses towards sensuality. This appears to be the mark of the mastering of jhana; namely, no interest in sensuality.
Even though a disciple of the noble ones has clearly seen as it actually is with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair & greater drawbacks, still — if he has not attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that — he can be tempted by sensuality. But when he has clearly seen as it actually is with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, and he has attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that, he cannot be tempted by sensuality

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
It appears pointless attempting to manipulate words in suttas to claim you have mastered jhana. Instead, if sensuality still arises in the mind, this appears to be the sign jhana is not mastered. :candle:

Re: MN 68: a good case study on how easy and ordinary first jhana is

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:46 pm
by Sam Vara
DooDoot wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:36 pm
The term "superhuman state" is a translation of Pali uttarimanussadhamma. "Uttara" means "beyond", such as found in the term "lokuttara", meaning "transcending" or "above the world".
Uttara can also mean "further", "higher", or even "Northern". I don't know what it means in the context under discussion, but we ought to be wary of applying one meaning.

Re: MN 68: a good case study on how easy and ordinary first jhana is

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:51 pm
by pegembara

Re: MN 68: a good case study on how easy and ordinary first jhana is

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:32 pm
by TLCD96
So how does this make Jhana seem easy for those who struggle to even put down their phone?

Re: MN 68: a good case study on how easy and ordinary first jhana is

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:29 am
by frank k
TLCD96 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:32 pm
So how does this make Jhana seem easy for those who struggle to even put down their phone?
EBT (early buddhist text) first jhana, is very easy relative to the VRJ and ABRJ (Vism. and Ajahn Brahm redefinition of jhana).
They are 2 completely different samadhi training systems. But VRJ and late Theravada have the gall to claim that EBT pali suttas support the VRJ redefinition.

So 'easy' is relative. But for the novice monastic, someone who made the commitment to renounce phones and householder pleasures, with proper understanding of EBT first jhana (at least low quality momentary bursts of it) is easily accessible. The tragedy is many Theravada monastics believe the VRJ reinterpretation, and believe they don't have the karmic merit or capability to do first jhana, so they don't even try. It's like if we pretend Barack Obama (first Black USA president) never happened, and told all African American kids, "You have no chance at ever becoming US President, it's impossible, and no one has ever done it." Most kids would believe it and never even make the attempt.

In my estimation, well over 95% of most humans are capable of having a low quality first jhana experience (lasting a few seconds).
But to be competent in first jhana, for example, meaning if you set aside 30 min to do first jhana, 15 of those 30 min. would be at least a low quality first jhana, would require commitment, daily training, and renunciation worldly entanglements. That's the hard part for most people, they're not convinced that renunciant pleasure is greater than worldly pleasure, so they won't make the effort or commitment to try.

It takes several hours a day IMO (in my opinion) of samadhi training (not just sitting with eyes closed, using samadhi in every activity of the day), but it's doable if one is committed.

MN 45 and MN 36

Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:55 pm
by frank k
https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... irst.html

examining two more sutta passages that show how accessible and ordinary first jhana is (compared to VRJ vism. redefinition of jhana).