Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
Reductor
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Post by Reductor » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:39 pm

bodom wrote:
In my humble opinion you're putting the cart before the horse here when you try to go from 4 to 13.


Buddhadasa actually recommended this way of practice as 'The Short Cut Method for Ordinary People'.
Sure, but is it Jhana? The purport of this thread is about jhana, and jhana makes the spiritual path easier and more pleasant. The hitch here is that jhana takes time to develop, and requires a much broader view of your practice than just the hour in which you sit.

I point this out because Retro has mentioned that he lacks time for meditation and that he is drowsy. Since I too lack time to meditate and am usually drowsy when I start, I can appreciate his problem. But, by trying to short cut the suppression of the hindrances he also cuts off the rewarding rapture and pleasure. So he's missing out on the learning opportunities that suppression trains a person in, and he's missing out on the factors that makes a long term meditation practice easier to maintain.

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bodom
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Post by bodom » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:53 pm

Sure, but is it Jhana?


Sure, why not? Buddhadasa is only saying attaining all four jhana's is not necessary before turning to insight.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Post by Reductor » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:55 pm

bodom wrote:
Sure, but is it Jhana?


Sure, why not? Buddhadasa is only saying attaining all four jhana's is not necessary before turning to insight.

:anjali:
If this is the method, that you practice the first four steps then jump to the 13th, then where does rapture and pleasure come in? If they remain absent, then have you attained even the first jhana?

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Post by bodom » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:05 pm

If this is the method, that you practice the first four steps then jump to the 13th, then where does rapture and pleasure come in? If they remain absent, then have you attained even the first jhana?


Im really not sure what your point is?

If you practice the first four steps, they will naturally lead to the first jhana which already has as factors 'rapture and happiness born of seclusion.' (M.i,1818; Vbh.245)

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

Reductor
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Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:52 am
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Post by Reductor » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:22 pm

bodom wrote:
If this is the method, that you practice the first four steps then jump to the 13th, then where does rapture and pleasure come in? If they remain absent, then have you attained even the first jhana?


Im really not sure what your point is?

If you practice the first four steps, they will naturally lead to the first jhana which already has as factors 'rapture and happiness born of seclusion.' (M.i,1818; Vbh.245)

:anjali:
"[5] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to rapture.' [6] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to pleasure.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to pleasure.'
To get to this stage requires the cultivation of the first four steps, but does also require an additional intention -- it requires practice. Hence the "He trains himself" at the beginning of the clause.

If the meditator's attention has switched to some other concern it seems doubtful to me that they would take the right steps to induce the jhanic state. As I've said elsewhere, the rapture and pleasure act to stabilize the experience and prevent the re-emergence of the hindrances.

Also, to say that these additional steps, between 5 to 12 inclusive, can be "short cutted" would suggest that they are somewhat superfluous. But I have not found that to be the case at all.

If you wish to interpret all these things differently, than you are certainly welcome to do so.

Also, I cannot check your references because I'm not familiar with the reference system. Perhaps you could provide them?

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Post by bodom » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:29 pm

Also, I cannot check your references because I'm not familiar with the reference system. Perhaps you could provide them?


Majjhima Nikaya 38
Mahatanhasankhayasuttam
"Having thus abandoned these five hindrances, imperfections of the mind that weaken wisdom, quite secluded from sense desires, secluded from unwholesome states of mind, he enters and remains in the first Jhana which is filled with rapture and happiness born of seclusion and is accompanied by applied and sustained thinking.


http://www.leighb.com/mn38.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

Reductor
Posts: 1382
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:52 am
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Post by Reductor » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:47 pm

bodom wrote:
Also, I cannot check your references because I'm not familiar with the reference system. Perhaps you could provide them?


Majjhima Nikaya 38
Mahatanhasankhayasuttam
Thanks.
"Having thus abandoned these five hindrances, imperfections of the mind that weaken wisdom, quite secluded from sense desires, secluded from unwholesome states of mind, he enters and remains in the first Jhana which is filled with rapture and happiness born of seclusion and is accompanied by applied and sustained thinking.


http://www.leighb.com/mn38.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
And what does that mean to you, bodom?

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Post by bodom » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:51 pm

And what does that mean to you, bodom?


Outside of personally sitting in the first jhana? Not a whole lot.


:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

Reductor
Posts: 1382
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:52 am
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Post by Reductor » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:11 pm

bodom wrote:
And what does that mean to you, bodom?


Outside of personally sitting in the first jhana? Not a whole lot.


:anjali:
Please expound in detail what you've stated in brief. :smile:

That is, are you saying that the above is a description of one 'personally sitting in the first jhana', or are you saying that you have 'personally' sat in the first jhana? If the second, then I'm especially interested. Did you use the breath, or "Buddho"? And how does the experience unfold?

Inquiring minds would like to know.
:namaste:

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Post by bodom » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:33 pm

Inquiring minds would like to know.


I dont know if I have ever reached jhana. I have definitely had some blissful feelings arise while sitting. Jhana? I wouldn't count on it.

To be honest, Im not all that concerned with gaining this level of concentration, that level of concentration, this jhana, that jhana. I just sit until my mind is free from wandering.

What I meant by 'Outside of personally sitting in the first jhana? Not a whole lot.' is that all the descriptions of jhana in the suttas are nothing but words on paper, and at present are not a concern to me and my practice.

The only reason I posted was because I was asked by a member to participate in the thread, and I found your post to retro a good jumping in point. From experience, the best way I have found for me is as Buddhadasa recommended, I practice until my mind is calm and then turn to insight. Do I label this calm jhana? No. No need as I see it.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Post by Nyana » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:40 pm

Vepacitta wrote:Personally, I'd like to get into 'how does it work - that you can be concentrated - and yet still think - even though non-discoursive? Is it during the jhana - right after emergence - a bit of both?
Hi V & all,

I think that we each have to identify and map our mental terrain based on our own first hand investigation and experience. If we can take the time to attend to our mind when we're sitting with our body somewhat relaxed, mindfully breathing, we can begin to investigate how our mind works: Can I differentiate between a thought and the recognition (saññā) of a thought? This is a good start. Right here we can begin to see that there's no separate observer independent of that simple recognition of the thought. Can I reflect upon the drawbacks of discursive thinking? Can I begin to just release thoughts as they arise? If I just release my indulgence with thinking can I experience a gap between the end of one thought and the arising of another?

It doesn't really matter if our mind settles and relaxes when we investigate how it works, or if we can experience much of a gap between thoughts, or if the mind just continues to chatter on. The important thing is that we really want to learn how our mind works. And one thing that can be pretty obvious right away is that we aren't really in full control of our mind. The mind operates according to causes and conditions. There's no one running the show. Seeing this we can learn to create the suitable causes and conditions which allow us to investigate our mind again and again. We can investigate how our body and our breath affect the movements of the mind, and so on.

No one can do this inner work for us. We each have to take the time to begin to investigate our inner mental terrain. It can be a rewarding experience which begins to yield some insights into how the mind works. And I think that this was part of the Buddha's genius. He was interested in how things work. He realized that understanding how the mind works is essential if we are going to untangle the tangle that we may currently find ourselves in.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Post by Nyana » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:06 pm

thereductor wrote:
bodom wrote:
If this is the method, that you practice the first four steps then jump to the 13th, then where does rapture and pleasure come in? If they remain absent, then have you attained even the first jhana?


If you practice the first four steps, they will naturally lead to the first jhana which already has as factors 'rapture and happiness born of seclusion.' (M.i,1818; Vbh.245)
"[5] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to rapture.' [6] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to pleasure.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to pleasure.'
If the meditator's attention has switched to some other concern it seems doubtful to me that they would take the right steps to induce the jhanic state. As I've said elsewhere, the rapture and pleasure act to stabilize the experience and prevent the re-emergence of the hindrances.
I think it's possible that some people don't spend more time on the fifth step because they may not think that they've "attained jhāna" or can "experience rapture." But we don't necessarily have to have "attained" anything in order to experience pīti. In this case, the translation of pīti as rapture probably doesn't help. What the heck is rapture?...

But pīti doesn't just mean rapture. It's the mental joy which is present whenever we experience any skillful feeling of pleasure or well-being. And so we don't have to be drenched in bliss in order to practice the fifth step of mindful breathing. If we are sitting in meditation and our body is relaxed and we are feeling at ease and our mind is clear and aware, we can certainly begin to investigate what pīti means in that situation: Can we recognize if the mind is happy? Can there be some degree of mental joy when we sit relaxed and breathe mindfully?

This is the important affective quality of the path which is to be developed and used to aid us in letting go; not always searching for something outside of ourselves for fulfillment. I think that we all need to empower ourselves and give ourselves permission to sit and just enjoy the very simple act of breathing mindfully.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Post by Kenshou » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:28 pm

I like where this thread went, practical discussion is good.

Though there isn't much more I could say about the whole thing that hasn't been for the most part, there is one other thing that I find helpful in jumpstarting this practice, weather it be just a baseline degree of mental calm or deeper absorption.

I have found that, by simply taking notice of the 5 aggregates, 4 satipatthana etc. and noticing how it is that they are unreliable, unsatisfactory, not me, mine, or I, and then noticing how that understanding is a source of relief and joy for the mind, is a very efficient way of igniting the spark of niramisa piti-sukha. It's also a given that a degree of basic mindfulness is established before engaging that contemplation, though. It's really just what the 5 factors of awakening state, mindfulness >investigation > energy > piti. But then of course the presence of piti itself does not mean jhana but it is a step towards deeper meditative absorption, if a person wants it. I've blabbered about that aspect already elsewhere, at least as it pertains to how I find that it works: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... t=0#p88147" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I suppose this may tie in somewhat with what Geoff has mentioned on the use of "unfixed" concentration as a preliminary for fixed concentration, or if not that, it shows how the themes of insight can become the themes of concentration. I guess my point is that simply taking notice of the skilfull happiness that the dhamma provides can itself be a tool, and I mention it at all because it seems to be a very efficient one. Even if it isn't used as a basis for jhana, it's still a useful means for calming and concentrating the mind which then provides the means for insight. Looks like Geoff happened to beat me to the punch a little bit on that subject.

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Post by Nyana » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:26 pm

Good stuff:
  • "Simply taking notice of the skillful happiness that the dhamma provides can itself be a tool, and I mention it because it seems to be a very efficient one." ― Kenshou
That right there is quote-worthy!

:anjali:

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Post by Kenshou » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:32 pm

Thanks! My impression is that niramisa-piti(sukha) is an important tool in the path presented to us in the suttas, and it also seems to be an aspect that isn't much talked about, but it's made all the difference for me. Which is a point I know you've pointed out every now and again, in fact. A subject that deserves a little more attention.

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