Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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budo
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Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

Post by budo » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:39 pm

Hello friends,

This is my second attempt at creating this thread in hopes we can help each other develop samatha jhanas!

So to start, here are some questions you can answer, this time around with more questions:

1. Are you able to enter the jhanas every time you sit down?

2. If not, how often are you able to enter the jhanas? (Once day, week, month, etc..)

3. What is the highest jhanas you've attained?

4. What is the highest jhana you've mastered?

5. What method do you use?

6. What teachers and books do you like?

7. Where are you working on? what are you stuck on? and what do you need help on?


Please keep this thread on topic and avoid debates/arguments.


My answers below:

1 & 2. I used to be able to last year consistently, but not anymore, now around once a week.

3. 4th jhana is the highest I've attained, but only rarely.

4. I haven't mastered any jhanas

5. Anapanasati and sutta jhanas

6. I use a combination of Ayya Khema/Leigh Brasington, Henepola Gunaratana, and Buddhadasa Bhikkhu's methods. I just finished reading Bhikkhu Analayo's new book "Meditator's life of the Buddha" and now I'm currently reading the book Way of Buddhist Meditation by Kheminda Thera

7. My goal is to master first jhana, and enter it at least once a day, at the sutta jhana level (rapture/bliss daily). My secondary goal is to reach 5th jhana once. I'm currently trying to get up to access concentration consistently again, I seem to sneeze every time my samatha is tightened around the tip of the nose about one hour in right before access concentration.


Thank you!

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Re: Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

Post by budo » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:14 pm

I would like to add; this dhamma talk helped me the most along with Leigh Brasington's book "Right Concentration". It really cleared up a lot of misconceptions for me.

It is Ayya Khema explaining the sutta DN2


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Re: Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:48 pm

1. Are you able to enter the jhanas every time you sit down?
No. :cry:
2. If not, how often are you able to enter the jhanas? (Once day, week, month, etc..)
Not typically in a 'periodic' basis but more of a 'after how long' basis. I usually need a long time to get in the right amount of concentration, so depending on whether I've had a good or bad day the nimitta will show up or not. Access concentration is much easier after having done at least a half hour of straight concentration though.
3. What is the highest jhanas you've attained?


I've gotten as far as having the rushing feelings of Pīti and the aftermath of niramisa sukha with one pointedness of mind, but not equanimity yet, which is sad because I sorely need it.
4. What is the highest jhana you've mastered?
Hard to say, I typically reach the short bursts of Pīti, but not the kind that shocks the system, but then again I am not sure I want to bliss out of my head either. I want to be aware, so I'm cautious about jhana.
5. What method do you use?
Anapanasati.
6. What teachers and books do you like?
Mahasi Sayadaw, Bhante Gunaratana, Tara Branch, and S.N. Goenka. But really all of the teachers are great.
7. Where are you working on? what are you stuck on? and what do you need help on?
All of them. For me the Jhanas are things that just... happen because of the right things being there. I can't rely on my mind to be as malleable at times.

Also, really, congratulations! Keep up the strenuous effort. There's a point where you pretty much lose all sensation of breathing, just be careful to not get too nervous about it.
"One is not born a woman, but becomes one."- Simone de Beauvoir

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Re: Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:28 pm

Greetings budo,
budo wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:39 pm
1. Are you able to enter the jhanas every time you sit down?
2. If not, how often are you able to enter the jhanas? (Once day, week, month, etc..)
3. What is the highest jhanas you've attained?
4. What is the highest jhana you've mastered?
In light of the different conceptions of jhana (i.e. the differences between the commentarial and sutta interpretations, and the subsequent views which flow from those two baselines) it doesn't really seem prudent to answer these questions. I'll just say that I do not have a regular sitting practice, at present.
budo wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:39 pm
5. What method do you use?
Anything which involves observation of impermanence, and/or a resolution not to fabricate sankharas.

For a couple of examples of how that might look in practice, see:
MN 121: Cula-suññata Sutta
AN 4.126: Metta Sutta
budo wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:39 pm
6. What teachers and books do you like?
First and foremost, the Sutta Pitaka, interpreted in a manner in keeping with the teachings of ven. Nanananda. Unlike some people, I do not perceive a strong distinction between study/theory and practice.
budo wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:39 pm
7. Where are you working on? what are you stuck on? and what do you need help on?
Nothing much actively at the moment. I hope to have the opportunity to do the sutta practices outlined above at some point in the near future, although meditation isn't very compatible with other life circumstances at present.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:28 pm
a resolution not to fabricate sankharas.
fascinating, did it work yet?
also i think this thread is only for rupa and arupa samatha jhanas

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Re: Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:38 pm

Greetings,
rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 pm
retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:28 pm
a resolution not to fabricate sankharas.
fascinating, did it work yet?
Whilst I was doing it, I was happy with the results.

In many respects, I see the value of formal sitting practice not so much in the actual sitting, but moreso in giving yourself the freedom to isolate yourself from situations and circumstances where you'd be otherwise be obliged to engage in a manner that involves taking nama-rupa as something "real", as opposed to seeing it as something entirely fabricated. (For more context on that, see this post)

Admittedly that's a bit of a vipassana lens on the situation, but yes, in keeping with the topic, that same seclusion obviously supports jhana too.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:43 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:38 pm
Greetings,
rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 pm
retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:28 pm
a resolution not to fabricate sankharas.
fascinating, did it work yet?
Whilst I was doing it, I was happy with the results.
i was asking if you have attained the non-arising but you don't have to answer if you don't want to.

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Re: Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:51 pm

Greetings,
rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:43 pm
i was asking if you have attained the non-arising but you don't have to answer if you don't want to.
I might decline on the same basis that I declined to answer Qs 1-4... thanks for your understanding. As I'm sure you can appreciate, the potential brouhaha caused by inadvertent misrepresentation isn't worth the trouble... not good for anyone's jhana practice, if you will.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:41 pm

i think i have attained first jhāna once. and i'd like to state my skepticism of leigh brasington's account
and it's important within the context of this discussion for participants to compare their definition of jhana to what the suttas say
from leigh's 'list of things to do' to enter the jhanas:

Essence of entering each of the 8 Jhanas:

0. Follow breath until access concentration is established:

a. Thoughts are wispy and in the background,
b. and/or White light glows in the background,
c. and/or Breath becomes very shallow or disappears.


as i understand it very shallow or disappearing breath is not a prerequisite of first jhana
now if we want to create a spin-off thread for critiquing leigh so be it but his resources have been used as support for the original post
from another of leigh's papers

However, if you are craving a jhana, you've got sense desire and an unwholesome state of mind.
"'This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? There is the case, sister, where a monk hears, 'The monk named such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the fermentations, has entered & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for himself in the here & now.' The thought occurs to him, 'I hope that I, too, will — through the ending of the fermentations — enter & remain in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for myself in the here & now.' Then he eventually abandons craving, having relied on craving. 'This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
https://www.facebook.com/readingfaithfu ... =3&theater
further from leigh

The first question that may arise when I say "Shift your attention to a pleasant sensation" is "What pleasant sensation?" Well, it turns out that when you get to access concentration, the odds are quite strong that some place in your physical being, there will be a pleasant sensation. Look at this statue of the Buddha: he has a smile on his face. That is not just for artistic purposes; it is there as a teaching mechanism. Smile when you meditate, because when you reach access concentration, you only have to shift your attention one inch to find the pleasant sensation.

now im just asking this, where is it instructed to focus on pleasant sensation? i thought it was focus on all sensation or if any in particular the neutral ones
anyway i'm not too worried about entering jhanas myself, i've got closer fish to fry, that is not to say i have literal fish - it is a metaphor
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Re: Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

Post by DooDoot » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:50 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:33 pm
retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:28 pm
a resolution not to fabricate sankharas.
fascinating, did it work yet?
also i think this thread is only for rupa and arupa samatha jhanas
Paul's post appears perfectly consistent with the suttas about jhana:
Atha kho pana, bhikkhu, mayā anupubbasaṅkhārānaṃ nirodho akkhāto.

And I have also taught the step-by-step cessation of fabrications (sankhara). When one has attained the first jhāna, speech has ceased. When one has attained the second jhāna, directed thought & evaluation have ceased. When one has attained the third jhāna, rapture has ceased. When one has attained the fourth jhāna, in-and-out breathing has ceased. When one has attained the dimension of the infinitude of space, the perception of forms has ceased. When one has attained the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space has ceased. When one has attained the dimension of nothingness, the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness has ceased. When one has attained the dimension of neither-perception nor non-perception, the perception of the dimension of nothingness has ceased. When one has attained the cessation of perception & feeling, perception & feeling have ceased. When a monk's effluents have ended, passion has ceased, aversion has ceased, delusion has ceased.

Then, monk, I have also taught the step-by-step stilling of fabrications. When one has attained the first jhāna, speech has been stilled. When one has attained the second jhāna, directed thought & evaluation have been stilled. When one has attained the third jhāna, rapture has been stilled. When one has attained the fourth jhāna, in-and-out breathing has been stilled. When one has attained the dimension of the infinitude of space, the perception of forms has been stilled. When one has attained the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space has been stilled. When one has attained the dimension of nothingness, the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness has been stilled. When one has attained the dimension of neither-perception nor non-perception, the perception of the dimension of nothingness has been stilled. When one has attained the cessation of perception & feeling, perception & feeling have been stilled. When a monk's effluents have ended, passion has been stilled, aversion has been stilled, delusion has been stilled.

"There are these six calmings. When one has attained the first jhāna, speech has been calmed. When one has attained the second jhāna, directed thought & evaluation have been calmed. When one has attained the third jhāna, rapture has been calmed. When one has attained the fourth jhāna, in-and-out breathing has been calmed. When one has attained the cessation of perception & feeling, perception & feeling have been calmed. When a monk's effluents have ended, passion has been calmed, aversion has been calmed, delusion has been calmed."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

:meditate:
rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:43 pm
i was asking if you have attained the non-arising but you don't have to answer if you don't want to.
Again, what on earth is being said above? :roll: Because the question is Dhammically incomprehensible; it appears unanswerable; which Paul, similar to a Buddha; maintained silence in answering . :)

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Re: Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

Post by rightviewftw » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:06 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:50 pm
...
this is why we can't have nice things :focus:

As for helping eachother with development i have this advice to overcome fondness of sleep;
- when sleepy doing tiresome physical work
- not neglecting things to be done
- keeping things clean
- keeping busy doing wholesome activities; ie feed birds or something
Last edited by rightviewftw on Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:18 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

Post by DooDoot » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:10 am

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:41 pm
as i understand it very shallow or disappearing breath is not a prerequisite of first jhana
What evidence is there for the above assertion?
Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:41 pm
"'This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.'
This quote is by Ananda to a lady with lust. It is not found anywhere else in the suttas. About jhana, the BUDDHA taught it is attained by letting go ("vossagga") of craving:
And what is the faculty of concentration? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, making it his object to let go (vossagga), attains concentration, attains singleness of mind. Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, he enters & remains in the first jhana...

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
The same is taught in the Anapanasati Sutta:
And how are the seven factors for awakening developed & pursued so as to bring clear knowing & release to their culmination? There is the case where a monk develops mindfulness as a factor for awakening dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. He develops analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening... persistence as a factor for awakening... rapture as a factor for awakening... serenity as a factor for awakening... concentration as a factor for awakening... equanimity as a factor for awakening dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment (vossagga).

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

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Re: Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

Post by DooDoot » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:18 am

rightviewftw wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:06 am
As for helping eachother with development i have this advice to overcome fondness of sleep;
- when sleepy doing tiresome physical work
- not neglecting things to be done
- keeping things clean
- keeping busy doing wholesome things
I say the above is 100% irreverent. If fact, having good sound healthy sleep does not hinder jhana or any meditative development. Jhana development is not dependent upon lack of sleep. When I meditated full-time in Thailand, we slept at least 6 hours each night and generally had a small nap after lunch.
Last edited by DooDoot on Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

Post by DNS » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:20 am

According to at least one sutta, a bit of competitiveness is good for progress:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

However, it doesn't work out too well on online forums, from my experience. Here's what I wrote in one thread over at DWM:

The problem with competitiveness over meditation or attainments in online forums is that often people chime in (and often correctly) that the person is delusional, grandiose, etc. And then the poster will get defensive and say it's the others who don't understand proper meditation and attainments, enlightenment experiences, glimpses, kensho, etc. and results in flame wars. A meditator could have genuine attainments, but if those responding have never had any or have not developed mudita, their responses could be even more delusional than the claimant. Since we can't know for sure which one is more delusional, it's best to avoid public claims, except perhaps for some very subtle ones to show that progress can be made, for the purpose of encouraging others, but just for that, imo.

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Re: Let's help eachother develop jhanas (take two!)

Post by rightviewftw » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:33 am

“Three things, bhikkhus, lead to the falling away of a learner bhikkhu. What are the three? Here, a learner bhikkhu enjoys activity, is fond of activity, enjoys indulging in activity. He enjoys gossip, is fond of gossip, enjoys indulging in gossip. He enjoys sleep, is fond of sleep, enjoys indulging in sleep. These are the three things that lead to the falling away of a learner bhikkhu.
Being fond of sleep, fond of company, indolent, lazy and irritable — this is a cause of one's downfall.
"Dice, women, liquor, dancing, singing, sleeping by day, sauntering at unseemly hours, evil companions, avarice — these nine[5] causes ruin a man.
Last edited by rightviewftw on Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:11 am, edited 4 times in total.

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