SunWuKong wrote: ↑
Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:14 pm
So, as you may or may not know, Anapanasati, Satipatthana, samatha, Vipassana are taught in Theraveda, Mahāyāna, and Vajrayana programs. So what I was taught in the mindfulness practices in Thich Nhat Hanhs organization was simply samatha, and after about ten years of doing it I took it out and wondered if it needed fixing. I decided it needed more bare attention and wakefulness. And this was the result: strange things started happening. Didn’t know what it was. But I knew what it seemed like so I started searching online. It took s few months to piece together but it had something to do with samadhi and jhana. At first it was great but at the same time I didn’t have support from teacher or sangha due to my job and work schedule. Without going into details, let’s just say it was a game-changer. Recently I began to approach the problems of no teacher no sangha. Then I discover that my experience is not considered authentic by the same teacher who taught the samatha in the first place. I can’t ignore or discount the experience so until the dust settles I’m looking for other traditions/lineage. Ad hoc “mindfulness” teachings aren’t at the top of the list, I think that’s part of the problem, not the solution. I’m not sectarian, as I have no dog in this fight. My experience with jhana/samadhi is leading me somewhere I just need a road map and some fellow travelers.
My sugestions are:
(1) Read "Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English", by Bhante Gunaratana. It's a very good book on (sutta) jhana.
The difference between sutta jhana and hard jhana is mostly the degree of one pointedness of attention. In hard jhana, the mind is so one pointed that you lose the sense of your body and you can't direct this jhanic mind to vipassana. Also, hard jhana is said to be very hard to attain. Sutta jhana is jhana with a unified, collected and stable mind, together with the jhana factors of each corresponding jhana. But it is not strictly one pointed, it's easier to attain, and it's useful for deep insight.
(The sutta jhanas are taught in the book, as opposed to an earlier book by Bhante Gunaratana which was about hard jhana, so be careful and read his later material.)
(2) Listen to Ayya Khema dhamma talks about jhana. She was one of the first contemporary teachers to openly teach the (sutta) jhanas.
Also, I believe she was an arahant, so you could benefit from listening to her dhamma talks about paths and fruits. You may take my opinion about her being an arahant with a large dose of skepticism, but I assure you that at least you'll like these dhamma talks. And they're freely available on the web.
Lastly, the hindrance of doubt is suppressed during jhana, but not permanently removed, so you may be doubtful outside of jhana, but during jhana there are no doubts tormenting your mind.
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)