The Great Jhana Debate

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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mikenz66
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:52 am

samseva wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:00 am
I think the intention with considering a style of jhāna as "Sutta jhāna" is wanting to know that what one is practicing is what the Buddha authentically taught. ...
No one really knows what the Buddha taught. All we have from close to his time are the suttas, which give no detailed methods of how to enter jhana. Modern teachers give much more comprehensive instructions (as does the Visuddhimagga, of course). What they teach is techniques that they have developed, they don't just "teach the suttas". Clearly they all genuinely believe that the techniques are based on suttas, but they are also influenced by what they learned from their teachers, and their own experience. Quite rightly, in my opinion. It seems clear from the suttas that the Buddha and others gave much more detailed instructions than those preserved in the suttas. Just read the start of MN 118: https://suttacentral.net/en/mn118. The Buddha's discourse is to monks who have had several months of intensive instruction.

[In fact, I have heard some teachers theorise that the suttas are deliberately vague, so that teachers can adapt techniques to suit their students. If they were too specific teachers would have much less scope to personalise their instructions.]

Now, Ajahn Brahm and others teach a deep VM-style jhana, which one needs to emerge from to do insight. He, and others, claim that this is what is described in the suttas. If teachers like him are correct then the VM jhana is authentically what the Buddha taught and the lighter "sutta jhana" style, where one can do insight within the jhana is not authentically what the Buddha taught.

On the other hand, as I said above, perhaps they are all correct, and the two different styles are both effective.

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Mike

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samseva
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Post by samseva » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:55 am

Just with common sense, I don't think the Buddha practiced and taught jhāna similarly to access concentration/jhāna-lite. If you compare it to the way jhāna is described in the Suttas, there are barely any similarities. There are different instances where the Buddha is dwelling/rejoicing in deep absorption, such as during the night (I don't have one of those passages on hand, though), and he eloquently describes jhāna as being intensely satisfying—and all the many similes of absorption as well—that the Buddha would describe jhāna-lite in such a way would make no sense.

It would also make no sense that monks who lived in the forest and did very little else other than meditate, chant, discuss and so on, would be taught absorption being similar to jhāna-lite. Surely, and especially the many hundreds who were actual Arahants, a good portion could actually reach the 1st absorption. And with the way the formless attainments are described in the Suttas... it just doesn't add up.

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samseva
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Post by samseva » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:59 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:52 am
[...]
But like I said earlier, I have no issues with jhāna-lite or access concentration. It's just that classifying it as "Sutta-style jhāna" and then classifying deeper jhāna as "Visuddhimagga-style jhāna", is distasteful and honestly makes no sense.

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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:41 pm

samseva wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:59 am
mikenz66 wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:52 am
[...]
But like I said earlier, I have no issues with jhāna-lite or access concentration. It's just that classifying it as "Sutta-style jhāna" and then classifying deeper jhāna as "Visuddhimagga-style jhāna", is distasteful and honestly makes no sense.
Umm, that's exactly the point I was making. Various teachers teach "light" and "deep" jhana. The latter is what is described in the VM, and by a number of modern teachers who you seem to agree with:
samseva wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:55 am
Just with common sense, I don't think the Buddha practiced and taught jhāna similarly to access concentration/jhāna-lite.
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Mike

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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Post by samseva » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:21 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:41 pm
[...]
Yes, but there is one point which, like you mentioned regarding how you didn't understand how I didn't get that there are different teachers with different interpretations (which I do), on my side, I don't feel like you understand my point about Leigh's approach.

For perspective, I completely understand and think it is fine that different teachers have different interpretations and practice a specific type of jhāna. I am also not debating the usefulness of jhāna-lite. What I am pointing to is the approach of claiming that "I [in this case, Leigh] have the authentic teachings and everyone else is and was wrong all along." Such claims without solid proof are empty, but still...

Anyway, I plan on looking into the Suttas and material (as well as his latest book, which I was planning on reading) to see on what Leigh bases his opinion that jhāna-lite is the authentic absorptions that the Buddha taught. I'll see where this leads me.

Cheers.

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mikenz66
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:13 am

Hmm, OK, looks like I wasn't understanding your posts very clearly!

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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Post by SunWuKong » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:36 pm

I am looking at it like this: what is being called samatha, vipassana, come from the same collection of verses. Which don't say to practice them separately. I don't see the suttas as being vague. They say that do this, and this happens. What people find disconcerting is that they expect to see a panoramic show while they are sitting. The panoramic show doesn't happen there. What happens during sitting is subtle, sublime. Only when the subtle and sublime coexist with the round of daily activities, when jhana-specific experiences pervade the 24 hour daily standard waking state activities, is it going to seem maybe panoramic. (example) Sukkha, blissful pleasure, is not hard to get while sitting. It's to be encouraged. But when sukkha happens while you are grocery shopping is powerful and compelling. And its inevitable. The idea is that every step we take on the path, in reality, IS the Path. :alien:

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