Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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Re: Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

Post by Zom » Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:53 pm

Would it not also make sense that a skilled teacher of meditation of which Goenka was one, would know the signposts and be able to skillfully guide students and help them to recognize these?
Or is it your opinion that no teachers exist but one must wade through the countless pages of sutta translations on their own, and in this way, and only this way they will find and grasp the path laid out by Buddha?
Have you seen Goenka himself sit in one place for some 10+ hours? End of story.
This is vipassana as I have been taught only the translation of “turning his mind away from states and directs it towards the deathless element “ is observing the arising and passing away of Vedana. To see the process at the subatomic level observing finer and finer realities coming into existance and passing away one is indirectly observing nibanna. When trancendence occurs all falls away and nibanna.

You don’t have to do this for 12 continuous hours in the seated position to know you are in first jhana you can be experiencing this moving around, eating, pooping, it is not easy but possible.
First of all you must be in real jhana to do that. Otherwise it is just wishful thinking. People think they are "subatomic level observers" but this is very far from real situation. I already said, many people, who crave so much for "spiritual results" tend to interpret trifling things and phenomenas as something unique, great, deep insights, "subatomic observations", "jhanas", "emptiness", "kundalini awakening" etc etc etc - anything their spiritual fantasies can offer )) This is natural for all "retreat-goers". They spend so much time and effort in it that they simply deny this brings them nothing and leads them nowhere.

If you really got "meditative results" - show something worthy. At least, I said, prolonged sittings. Better - some physic powers, since they are closely connected with jhanic level of mind -) But as we see, no one can do that. Too much fervent talking and no real results.

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Re: Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

Post by thepea » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:08 pm

Zom wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:53 pm

Have you seen Goenka himself sit in one place for some 10+ hours? End of story.

If you really got "meditative results" - show something worthy. At least, I said, prolonged sittings. Better - some physic powers, since they are closely connected with jhanic level of mind -) But as we see, no one can do that. Too much fervent talking and no real results.
I have not met mr Goenka but I have worked and meditated beside many of his acharia and assistant teachers. I have given service as a manager on courses and watched and listened to students approaching with greats burning questions and some angry and wanting to leave and I’ve witnessed great compassion flowing from these people and this is the quality which draws me towards this practice as I can see compassion arising with me in my day to day activities and I am generally a much happier person than I was before. If this result is not worthy of the wise then what are we doing sitting for hours and hours. If the goal of progress is to float or pass through walls then I have not progressed one step, I have become better at reading the Minds of people in my company and showing more compassion to those in need.
Does this count towards my jhana merit points? Is this proof that I have experienced real jhana? I have never sat still for more than three hours at a time but I have had entire days where I could move around And follow the schedule and awareness was at the tip of nose and breath was very refined and crystal clear every breath was experienced in very subtle detail. I have no mastery of this and this does not occur on every retreat in fact it rarely is clear like this but there is always subatomic particles arising and passing that I can feel. It’s just that the very refined sensation like ones in spinal chord are not always accessible mostly on retreats do I have opportunity to go this deep.
This to me is mudane jhana and when meditator is ready supramundane jhanas arise, in these there is a melting of minds and experiences are more vivid perhaps in these the super powers are available. My experience with these jhanas is limited so I cannot say for certain.

Again, the compassion and generally happy disposition is all that is important to me.

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Re: Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

Post by Zom » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:19 pm

I have not met mr Goenka but I have worked and meditated beside many of his acharia and assistant teachers. I have given service as a manager on courses and watched and listened to students approaching with greats burning questions and some angry and wanting to leave and I’ve witnessed great compassion flowing from these people and this is the quality which draws me towards this practice as I can see compassion arising with me in my day to day activities and I am generally a much happier person than I was before. If this result is not worthy of the wise then what are we doing sitting for hours and hours.
Any religious sect have this thing. Visit Krishna cult followers - you will get x10 more "unconditioned love", etc ))
Does this count towards my jhana merit points? Is this proof that I have experienced real jhana?
10+ hours and here you go 8-) Better 7 days, of course, but even 10-12 hours will be convincing enough. Not a 100% proof still, but okay .) (be careful though, I recall Jack Kornfield wrote about one case where someone decided to sit a whole night through the pain and was taken to mental hospital thereafter)

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Re: Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

Post by James Tan » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:51 pm

Greetings ,

There is a monk that I know that could sit for a stretch of 3 hours per session . He is capable of conducting a continuous meditation retreat up to 100 days nonstop without difficulty . He is also well versed in the nikaya . His name is bhikkhu vupasama .
There is another person but not a buddhist .
He could sits for 4 to 5 hours without any problems . In case if you are interested he is called sadhguru .
There were many Taoist that could sit for many hours and many days .
There were many Indian yogis that sits for many hours and days .
There is one Vajrayana tulku boy I know which is merely 4 years old could sits for 5 , 6 hours during the day of the enthronement ceremony .
Lastly , there is a piece of stone could sits for a million years .

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Re: Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

Post by Caodemarte » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:34 pm

An American Zen Buddhist monk told me he accompanied his old Japanese monk teacher to the US. There was room on the flight so the old man immediately went into lotus and stayed the way, greatly impressing the American. After arriving 12 hours later, the old man looked at his companion, and said that he was amazed at his flexibility and endurance. Americans were able to sit upright in an uncomfortable Western chair for the entire flight! He could hardly imagine the great ability to do that.

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Re: Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:43 pm

I heard a monk talking about Thai Ajahn entering rock solid states for set amounts of time when they would do all night sittings, the young monks could not keep up and it was very impressive to him. He himself also teaches absorbtion states, death contemplation, body contemplation, metta and breath bhavana.

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Re: Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

Post by thepea » Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:42 pm

Zom wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:19 pm

Any religious sect have this thing. Visit Krishna cult followers - you will get x10 more "unconditioned love", etc ))


10+ hours and here you go 8-) Better 7 days, of course, but even 10-12 hours will be convincing enough. Not a 100% proof still, but okay .) (be careful though, I recall Jack Kornfield wrote about one case where someone decided to sit a whole night through the pain and was taken to mental hospital thereafter)
I can’t speak to whether the Krishna’s love is unconditioned as I’m not immersed in this organization.
I can say that I have never witnessed a teacher or assistant teacher treat anyone poorly within goenka organization or speak out negatively about any other religion or tradition. Fellow students do this often but I’ve never heard this from a teacher.
We are going slightly off topic although it is relevant pertaining to purity derived from time spent in jhanas. but I can’t say the same about all the theravaden Buddhist monks I’ve come across and there have only been about a dozen. I was doing a retreat at one temple and was called in for interview with the monk teaching the retreat. We were at the early stage of the retreat and we were doing anapanasati. In the interview he asked about my experience and I mentioned the work I had done on Goenka retreats and I explained the way I was taught to do anapanasati, he was doing a mild noting technique and I was asking if it was ok not to do this and work as I was taught by Goenka.
He said Goenka s concentration is weak and then went on to tell me how he was in a car accident and he used to sit full lotus but now must sit half lotus and that he must wrench his inflexible leg into position and observe this he said the strength of his concentration allowed him to sit like this motionless. It left me feeling very sad for this monk thinking how rude and arrogant he was and how disrespectful he was. I felt no love or compassion from this man and decided that whatever he had to teach I wanted no part of so I did not return after that day was over. Some other monks have also shared their distaste for Goenka method. I brought this up at a sutta talk and one visiting monk said that he had done a few courses and practices that technique fully the head monk later went on to sit a Goenka course after the discussion.

Now more to point from your response it seems you accept that one need not sit like a rock for twelve hours to know they are in jhana. You seem to agree that you can access this single pointed concentration and go about your day. The breath I find also dissolved away into subatomic particles at a certain point and I seem to transition to insight meditation automatically as you get absorbed into the tiny sensation at the base of nostrils, this becomes the entire body of experience as there is simply a sphere of rapid sensation. Moving awareness around this sphere is akin to placing awareness at different points of the body but there is no body it is all dissolved away at this point.
When I get up and move positions the breath sensation at base of nostrils becomes apparent and this sphere of sensation is back at base of nostrils if I sit dow to eat and remain still it will reabsorb but if I move my arm to use fork I cannot seem to maintain this depth level.
This comes and goes depending on the level of sensation sometimes it’s deep and sometimes shallow. The important thing to see is the impermanent nature of concentration and to notice and observe our cravings and aversions to these different states.

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Re: Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

Post by Zom » Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:07 pm

It left me feeling very sad for this monk thinking how rude and arrogant he was and how disrespectful he was.
Being a monk doesn't make one saint / good / perfect / kindhearted / wise / clever / compassionate / etc etc
Monks are just people with different motivation and very different spiritual clarity. Even if they are "teachers". Not all monks are good, and not all monks are bad. World is not black and white -)
Now more to point from your response it seems you accept that one need not sit like a rock for twelve hours to know they are in jhana. You seem to agree that you can access this single pointed concentration and go about your day.
Actually, no, if you are in jhana - you are montionless, simply because motion in sitting meditation is the display of bodily discomfort or/and mental agitation. This is confirmed by SN 54.7 where Buddha says it this way:

“Bhikkhus, that bhikkhu gains at will, without trouble or difficulty, that concentration through the development and cultivation of which no shaking or trembling occurs in the body, and no shaking or trembling occurs in the mind.
The important thing to see is the impermanent nature of concentration
The important thing is to reach concentration, which is jhanas. If one doesn't have this level, all these "impermanence observations" are just mind play, leading one nowhere. Buddha said to observe impermanence after you gain jhana, not before. This is why jhana is, actually, needed at all. This is why Buddha says you must have it as a part of training. But ofc people don't listen and like short-cuts. However, there is no such thing as a "short-cut" it Dhamma. There's that Noble Eightfold Path, and you need to fully develop all its 8 factors in order to succeed. No fast enlightenment, sorry. Those who speak about fast enlightenment are crooks. Even a stream-winner may need 7 lives of practice to get jhanas for final liberation.

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Re: Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

Post by thepea » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:50 pm

Zom wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:07 pm

Being a monk doesn't make one saint / good / perfect / kindhearted / wise / clever / compassionate / etc etc
Monks are just people with different motivation and very different spiritual clarity. Even if they are "teachers". Not all monks are good, and not all monks are bad. World is not black and white -)

Actually, no, if you are in jhana - you are montionless, simply because motion in sitting meditation is the display of bodily discomfort or/and mental agitation. This is confirmed by SN 54.7 where Buddha says it this way:

“Bhikkhus, that bhikkhu gains at will, without trouble or difficulty, that concentration through the development and cultivation of which no shaking or trembling occurs in the body, and no shaking or trembling occurs in the mind.

The important thing is to reach concentration, which is jhanas. If one doesn't have this level, all these "impermanence observations" are just mind play, leading one nowhere. Buddha said to observe impermanence after you gain jhana, not before. This is why jhana is, actually, needed at all. This is why Buddha says you must have it as a part of training. But ofc people don't listen and like short-cuts. However, there is no such thing as a "short-cut" it Dhamma. There's that Noble Eightfold Path, and you need to fully develop all its 8 factors in order to succeed. No fast enlightenment, sorry. Those who speak about fast enlightenment are crooks. Even a stream-winner may need 7 lives of practice to get jhanas for final liberation.
With my understanding of the path I would expect that a travelling monk who travels from one monestary to the next teaching retreats would be a saint, otherwise you are not qualified to teach the path as you have not even glimpsed that which you are guiding students towards.
This lead me to the conclusion and my loss of faith in theravaden monastic community, I know there are excellent monks practicing the path but the community of monastics cannot be trusted in my opinion. I think this is what Goenka organization is protecting against truth is recorded on video tapes technique as presented is working why run the risk of allowing others to give discourses within this tradition and risk the possibility of other practices being introduced.

We are meant to practice 24/7 from moment we awake to moment we sleep, absorbed in observing phenomenon seeing the 3 characteristics, why can we not have absorption concentration while moving? We are to meditate in all postures.

I’ve never heard of a shortcut, u bha khin mention it is our job to activate annicca to gain concentration so one can experiece this mass of subatomic particles arising and passing away. Accessing this at first and then absorbing ito this. If we are aware and equanimous we are walking the path. Sounds like your expectation of jhana

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Re: Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

Post by Zom » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:28 pm

With my understanding of the path I would expect that a travelling monk who travels from one monestary to the next teaching retreats would be a saint, otherwise you are not qualified to teach the path as you have not even glimpsed that which you are guiding students towards.
This says nothing. I know one monk who was the one you are describing here. He disrobed after 10 years.
Sounds like your expectation of jhana
I guess not )

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Re: Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

Post by thepea » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:23 pm

Zom wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:28 pm

This says nothing. I know one monk who was the one you are describing here. He disrobed after 10 years.

I guess not )
I wasn’t arguing the fact that monks are not perfect, I realize this and have no expectation of this for them.
My point is that mr Goenka was a saintly person with high attainments, and knew what he was preaching with regard to jhanas and the path in general. I say this because of my own experiences and the way they line up with both Goenka s and sutta instructions. The few monks who were supported by this vihara and allowed to teach and who had such a distaste for Goenka led me to conclude that there is no continuity within monastic community, at least this has been my experience.

I don’t know what you mean by “I guess not.” This seems to fit with my sutta and experience of understanding and also what learned from Goenka talks.
You have made some comments of Goenka being far from Buddha’s teaching and mahasi being a bit closer these are techniques from Burma. The vihara I visited for years is srilanken based and I met many people there that also disagreed with goenka teachings.
I’m trying to understand this difference in practice and why they do not feel Goenka s technique is what Buddha taught. Like I said I think there are many methods to get to the point where you can observe 3 characteristics and at this point those different traditions culminate in a similar fashion.
I’ve noticed many people scoffing at the mention of wisdom, “ you need to get jhana first” and they don’t seem to feel you can get jhana without becoming a monk and they revere monks and give up practice themselves and give fruit and drinks to a statue.
If anything smells like a cult it is an organization that promotes this type of behaviour, and I notice people at Goenka centres all working and practicing well and doing jhanas, and then this organization taking a lot of heat and being accused as a cult. :shrug:

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Re: Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:37 pm

I also once asked a monk about his thoughts on Nanavira, to which he replied that once a picture was show to a big Ajahn, a picture of Nanavira, the Ajahn concluded with saying that "His mind is dark as night" or "black as night" and that was that for his thoughts on the matter.

Not that i hold NV in highest regard but i think it is inappropriate to say such things about people, especially monks or people who try to give up attachment in general.

I still got good info from that monk about his methods and gains, so i think one should see past aversion ideally and extract value.

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Re: Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

Post by auto » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:53 am

Zom wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:13 pm
Yes, if you just reach jhana and do nothing, you'll reborn in corresponding rupa-realm. But for a buddhist jhana is a must-have tool for insight.


“There is a path, Ānanda, a way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters; that anyone, without relying on that path, on that way, shall know or see or abandon the five lower fetters — this is not possible. “And what, Ānanda, is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters? Here... bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhāna... fourth jhana... 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 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.
it is mahayana.

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Re: Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

Post by Zom » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:11 pm

it is mahayana.
It is MN 64 -)

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Re: Should you sit 12 hours to know that your are in first Jhana?

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:38 am

Zom wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:11 pm
it is mahayana.
It is MN 64 -)
How many fetters have disappeared for you, Zom? :D

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