Someone practicing Dhyana only ?

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
Caodemarte
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Re: Someone practicing Dhyana only ?

Post by Caodemarte » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:02 pm

CedarTree wrote:This would be the practice of Gyobutsuji Zen Monastery & Antai-ji.

Different methods though than seen in Theravada. :)
Zazen (which includes shikantaza) is typically seen as the essence of Samatha and Vipassana, but not as one or the other or some sort of staged approach.

At least some Theravada teachers teach that Samatha leads to Vipassana and vice versa, although they are sometimes artificially separated for training purposes, much as one would teach a physical activity or exercise by artificially separating it into distinct steps before it all flows together. It is all one activity, not several, although it may be introduced as such.

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CedarTree
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Re: Someone practicing Dhyana only ?

Post by CedarTree » Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:33 am

Caodemarte wrote:
CedarTree wrote:This would be the practice of Gyobutsuji Zen Monastery & Antai-ji.

Different methods though than seen in Theravada. :)
Zazen (which includes shikantaza) is typically seen as the essence of Samatha and Vipassana, but not as one or the other or some sort of staged approach.

At least some Theravada teachers teach that Samatha leads to Vipassana and vice versa, although they are sometimes artificially separated for training purposes, much as one would teach a physical activity or exercise by artificially separating it into distinct steps before it all flows together. It is all one activity, not several, although it may be introduced as such.
Can't really argue with that. You nailed it.


Practice, Practice, Practice


pyluyten
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Re: Someone practicing Dhyana only ?

Post by pyluyten » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:39 am

bodom wrote:
Garrib wrote:
bodom wrote:
If that were so then the Buddha's first two teachers who mastered and instructed him in the highest immaterial jhanas would have realized nibbana.

:namaste:
Of course, there is some controversy over whether Alara Kalama and Udakka Ramaputta were actually practicing 'Jhana' meditation as taught by the Buddha - my understanding is that it is made clear in the Suttas that their practices culminated in a certain immaterial absorption. However, when the Buddha is sitting under the Bodhi tree having made the determination to gain perfect liberation, his mind goes back to when he obtained the first Jhana as a child - this becomes his path for developing Samma Samadhi, not the more recent and extensive experience he had with immaterial absorptions under those two teachers. Something to consider!
Fair enough. My point though was that Jhana by itself does not lead to insight. It needs to be practiced with the other seven path factors. Most importantly right view.

:namaste:
thanks I fond your exchange interesting. As far as i understood
- arupas jhanas are found only in certain suttas (sometimes we only have rupas jhanas). This lead some to think arupas jhanas were added "lately". For example Shankman does provide some input in this topic regarding arupas jhanas in suttas vs commentaries (but he does not work on the "lately added" debate). The fact Gautama remembers youth Jhana and does not remember his masters, may be on the side, Arupas Jhanas were not part of first Suttas.
on the opposite site, Wynne argues, Buddha *did* really practice arupas jhanas. He writes, there is no reason to think Alara Kalama and Udakka Ramaputta were not historical. So according to Wynne, they are historical, and indeed practiced absorbtions, and taught to Buddha.
- one can argue the noble truth is merely Samadhi, because the "path leading to cessation of suffereng" is the noble path, with 8 factors, *leading to* the last one, samadhi. In this *point of view* right view is merely a start to begin practice. Then the end of the practice is Samadhi, then one realize he has attained Samadhi, which is the end of suffereing.
On a very different point of view, right view is not the beginning but rather the end of the path : after samadhi, one is to realize right view.

Of course from these debates we cannot extract much. my 2 cents is, there is no indication Alara Kalama and Udakka Ramaputta did teach Mindfulness (during daily activities and so on). They barely taught one sitting practice.
While Jhana could have more or less existed pre-Buddhism, i think there was no teaching to constantly practice mindfulness here and there, everytime.
Also, while Buddhists do teach different things; they all agree about mindfulness. While there are so many debates regarding canon or commentaries, there is no debate regarding mindfulness.

So, i would say if there is one central point, i would keep mindfulness. This is not the most thrilling theory but oh, well at least this does not hurt =)

lostitude
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Re: Someone practicing Dhyana only ?

Post by lostitude » Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:28 am

pyluyten wrote: So, question is really : is there people here who practice what is now known as "Jhana" or "Samatha" and who do not practice Vipassana / whatever?
There might be several reason for so, like "not buddhist i just want to have special moments thanks to this technique" or "buddhist but i think insight comes from jhana". And the interesting part will come from reasons and cases i do not know yet =) so let me know !

w/ metta
Hello,

My practice goes through lots of ups and downs but whenever I'm in a good period for sitting meditation, I do 'samatha only'. That's because I base myself on Ajahn Brahm's method, which advocates calming the mind before trying to analyze things.
He himself explains that samatha and vipassana, at higher levels, are two faces of the same coin, because once your mind is pacified, you will be able to see things much more clearly, and the 'vipassana' bit will be a lot easier to do.

I personally started with this approach after reading vipassana manuals by Burmese teachers, whose practice seemed (to me) excruciatingly tedious and tasteless. I knew at once it wasn't for me. Brahm's approach looks a lot less painful.

SunWuKong
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Re: Someone practicing Dhyana only ?

Post by SunWuKong » Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:42 am

pyluyten wrote:
Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:45 pm
Hi, most of my question is in the topic, still to clarify

- it is not a question about defining what jhana are
- it is not a question about whether one did attain step 1 or step 2 or step one hundred and sixty... ;)

So, question is really : is there people here who practice what is now known as "Jhana" or "Samatha" and who do not practice Vipassana / whatever?
There might be several reason for so, like "not buddhist i just want to have special moments thanks to this technique" or "buddhist but i think insight comes from jhana". And the interesting part will come from reasons and cases i do not know yet =) so let me know !

I think to make sense, the question has to focus on sitting practice. When one walks or is mindful while eating, working or so, it's not really anymore part of the question.

w/ metta
Exactly. In many parts of the world the primary practice is Samatha Bhavana, particulary those of Sri Lanka or Thai lineage. Its not that vipasanna isn't practiced, but rather that samatha is valued highly. I kind of think of them as two sides of the jhana coin, but it is what it is. Samatha is also the primary sitting practice in certain Chinese Chan schools, Vietnamese Thein schools, and some Tibetan schools, so its not only in Theravada. I hopes this helps, samatha has been my main practice since 1999. :pig:

Saengnapha
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Re: Someone practicing Dhyana only ?

Post by Saengnapha » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:30 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:42 am
pyluyten wrote:
Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:45 pm
Hi, most of my question is in the topic, still to clarify

- it is not a question about defining what jhana are
- it is not a question about whether one did attain step 1 or step 2 or step one hundred and sixty... ;)

So, question is really : is there people here who practice what is now known as "Jhana" or "Samatha" and who do not practice Vipassana / whatever?
There might be several reason for so, like "not buddhist i just want to have special moments thanks to this technique" or "buddhist but i think insight comes from jhana". And the interesting part will come from reasons and cases i do not know yet =) so let me know !

I think to make sense, the question has to focus on sitting practice. When one walks or is mindful while eating, working or so, it's not really anymore part of the question.

w/ metta
Exactly. In many parts of the world the primary practice is Samatha Bhavana, particulary those of Sri Lanka or Thai lineage. Its not that vipasanna isn't practiced, but rather that samatha is valued highly. I kind of think of them as two sides of the jhana coin, but it is what it is. Samatha is also the primary sitting practice in certain Chinese Chan schools, Vietnamese Thein schools, and some Tibetan schools, so its not only in Theravada. I hopes this helps, samatha has been my main practice since 1999. :pig:
I think in most Buddhist schools across the board, wisdom is regarded to trump tranquility in the sense that mindfulness, being a wisdom factor is what ultimately helps unbind the 5 hindrances of perception and the ending of the dream of existence. Without wisdom, I don't think dispassion can be established. But, without a certain measure of equanimity, tranquility, insight cannot be established. They are partners, mindfulness and samadhi/jhanas.

pyluyten
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Re: Someone practicing Dhyana only ?

Post by pyluyten » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:33 pm

SunWuKong wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:42 am
Samatha is also the primary sitting practice in certain Chinese Chan schools, Vietnamese Thein schools, and some Tibetan schools, so its not only in Theravada.
thanks for your input.
regarding Chan, i had more or less this impression, but for me it was difficult to know

mal4mac
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Re: Someone practicing Dhyana only ?

Post by mal4mac » Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:56 am

This group might be worth investigating, especially if you are in the UK:

https://samatha.org

Rupert Gethin recommends them.
- Mal

Dinsdale
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Re: Someone practicing Dhyana only ?

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:10 am

Derek wrote:
Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:32 pm
You might find Richard Shankman's The Art and Skill of Buddhist Meditation helpful. It has been mentioned several times already on these forums. IIRC Shankman says that he only ever does samatha meditation, and that this is all that is needed. There's no need for any separate, so-called "mindfulness" meditation.
I suspect that the qualities of samatha and vipassana are really two sides of the same coin.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

SunWuKong
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Re: Someone practicing Dhyana only ?

Post by SunWuKong » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:05 pm

Dinsdale wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:10 am
Derek wrote:
Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:32 pm
You might find Richard Shankman's The Art and Skill of Buddhist Meditation helpful. It has been mentioned several times already on these forums. IIRC Shankman says that he only ever does samatha meditation, and that this is all that is needed. There's no need for any separate, so-called "mindfulness" meditation.
I suspect that the qualities of samatha and vipassana are really two sides of the same coin.
I posted elsewhere that both of these practices cite the same scriptures in the sutta. I'm not here to say one size fits all, one technique alone. If an archer wants to hit the center of the target he must factor in "windage" as well as "Kentucky windage" - the arrow must fall in flight, the wind carries it, and the arrow has its own peculiar resistance in the air, and the bow itself is a factor as well. Skilled meditators know theres a great deal to learn about taking a raft across the river. Theres a lot of fear and paranoia about "absorption" but lets face it, its a big river and it has a mind of its own. At some point you must enter the main current of the river, and work with it, not against it. I haven't read Shankman but i'll add it to my list :buddha1:

SunWuKong
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Re: Someone practicing Dhyana only ?

Post by SunWuKong » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:39 pm

R1111 wrote:
Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:34 pm
I think in other Traditions than Theravada one will see more of only Samatha training.
If you were to posit that vipassana is, from the perspective of the Sublime Wisdom, to view all passing phenomena through the lens of the Three Marks of Existence (Pali: tilakkhaṇa; Sanskrit: trilakṣaṇa) - three characteristics of all existence and beings, namely impermanence (anicca), unsatisfactoriness or suffering (dukkha), and non-self (anattā). I don't think it is unique to Theraveda, but it is the primary meditation technique used in Theraveda schools outside Sri Lanka and Thailand, where Samatha is primary and vipassana follows. :buddha1:

befriend
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Re: Someone practicing Dhyana only ?

Post by befriend » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:33 pm

Concentration practices suppresses the hindrances when one takes a hiatus from concentration practice like metta the hindrances storm back a teacher told me a story of a practitioner along time ago who was revered for his accomplishment in concentration he stopped doing it for one reason or another can't recall and the hindrances came back so strong he killed someone out of the power of the defilements. I can imagine this being the case I had practiced metta for 3 hours a day and I stopped altogether on the fourth day my craving greed and irritability were through the roof I was like a heroin junkie looking for anything to satisfy desire which was suppressed. That's why vipassana is so important because it doesn't suppress the hindrances it knows them and sees them as not self.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

Saengnapha
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Re: Someone practicing Dhyana only ?

Post by Saengnapha » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:13 am

befriend wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:33 pm
Concentration practices suppresses the hindrances when one takes a hiatus from concentration practice like metta the hindrances storm back a teacher told me a story of a practitioner along time ago who was revered for his accomplishment in concentration he stopped doing it for one reason or another can't recall and the hindrances came back so strong he killed someone out of the power of the defilements. I can imagine this being the case I had practiced metta for 3 hours a day and I stopped altogether on the fourth day my craving greed and irritability were through the roof I was like a heroin junkie looking for anything to satisfy desire which was suppressed. That's why vipassana is so important because it doesn't suppress the hindrances it knows them and sees them as not self.
This is why some meditation masters tell you not to concentrate. Relaxation and letting go should accompany any meditative practice. Samadhi is not concentration.

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