Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

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SarathW
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Post by SarathW » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:24 pm

If you practice Jhana with the intention of practising Vipassana, then I can't see how attachment is involved.


I agree with you. I do Samatha meditation when I am alone. The experience I have, I can't explain in words. I practice Vipassana meditaiton in my day to day activities such as working in my day job. This make me a very happy person. Understanding Anatta is the final stage of liberation according to text. (eliminating ten fetters)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Post by whynotme » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:42 am

SarathW wrote:If you practice Jhana with the intention of practising Vipassana, then I can't see how attachment is involved.


I agree with you. I do Samatha meditation when I am alone. The experience I have, I can't explain in words. I practice Vipassana meditaiton in my day to day activities such as working in my day job. This make me a very happy person. Understanding Anatta is the final stage of liberation according to text. (eliminating ten fetters)
Glad to hear you are a happy person because of dhamma. Destroying of greed, anger and ignorance is happiness. The teaching is real, only one who taste it believe it

Regards
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Dmytro
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Post by Dmytro » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:23 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
SarathW wrote:There are ten fetters to be eliminated to attain Nirvan.
Two of the ten fetters are attachment to form and formless realam. (This implies Samatha Meditaion)
ie:
6.lust for material existence, lust for material rebirth (rūparāgo)[12]
7.lust for immaterial existence, lust for rebirth in a formless realm (arūparāgo)[13]

Hence the meditator should start practicing Vipassana meditation to achieve Nirvana.
That is an incorrect reading. Lust for material rebirth and immaterial rebirth is attachment to being. It has nothing to do with Jhana.
SarathW, thank you, this is a correct reading.

As Buddha explains in Uposatha sutta (AN II 184), jhanas are equivalent to the states of devas in the form (rupa) realm:

"And how has a bhikkhu attained the state of a deva? Here, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskilful behavior, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the first jhana ..."

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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Post by Dmytro » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:29 am

Mal wrote:2) Jhana is obtained through total non-attachment, so how can you be worried about "too much attachment" to Jhana?! Jhana really is pleasure without strings attached.
Jhana is based on non-attachment to the pleasures of the sensual (kama) plane. Yet there can still remain attachment to the form (rupa) and formless (arupa) planes.
LonesomeYogurt wrote:This is the most important point to make; you cannot be attached to letting go, which is the whole point of Jhana. Worrying about becoming attached to Jhana is like worrying about becoming addicted to not smoking.
Why do you think so?

Seems like you are quoting Brahmavamso?

Uddesa-vibhanga sutta clearly states that there can be an attachment to jhana:

"And how is the mind said to be internally positioned? There is the case where a monk, quite withdrawn from sensuality (kama), withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. His consciousness follows the drift of the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal, is tied to... chained... fettered, & joined to the attraction of the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal. Or further, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. His consciousness follows the drift of the rapture & pleasure born of composure, is tied to... chained... fettered, & joined to the attraction of the rapture & pleasure born of composure. Or further, with the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' His consciousness follows the drift of the equanimity & pleasure, is tied to... chained... fettered, & joined to the attraction of the equanimity & pleasure. Or further, with the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. His consciousness follows the drift of the neither pleasure nor pain, is tied to... chained to... fettered, & joined to the attraction of the neither pleasure nor pain: The mind is said to be internally positioned.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:15 pm

From some of the above sutta quotes it seems clear that for complete liberation it will be necessary to relinquish attachment to jhana and formless attainments, which are, after all, conditioned phenomena.

However, from other sutta quotes it is clear that this is not a reason to fear those states. As Thanissaro Bhikkhu notes:
[quote]Another advantage to this mindful, concentrated state is that as you feel more and more at home in it, you begin to realize that it's possible to have happiness and pleasure in life without depending on things outside of yourself — people, relationships, approval from others, or any of the issues that come from being part of the world. This realization helps pry loose your attachments to things outside. Some people are afraid of getting attached to a state of calm, but actually, it's very important that you get attached here, so that you begin to settle down and begin to undo your other attachments. Only when this attachment to calm is the only one left do you begin work on loosening it up as well.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... cmind.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
/quote]
So, as with most of the advice in the suttas, and from ancient and modern teachers, one needs to pay attention to the context...

Like James I don't have experience with deep states that would correspond to Ajahn Brahm/Visuddhimagga-strength jhana. However, I have had some quite pleasurable experiences on retreats. I've never had teachers tell me to "fear" these states. What they do encourage is to be sure to maintain strong mindfulness. My experience is that if I don't maintain strong mindfulness and energy then I slip into blank states which aren't much good for anything...

:anjali:
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Post by nibbuti » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:15 am

phil-zero wrote:Isn't it still theoretically possible to become totally attached and "crave" the bliss of such an absorptive meditative state?
Hi phil-zero

If one gets "attached to meditation" it is wrong meditation. If one gets attached to "absorptive meditative state" it is wrong absorbtion.

There is nothing more to say.

:anjali:

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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Post by Dmytro » Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:55 am

Hello Mike,
Another advantage to this mindful, concentrated state is that as you feel more and more at home in it, you begin to realize that it's possible to have happiness and pleasure in life without depending on things outside of yourself — people, relationships, approval from others, or any of the issues that come from being part of the world. This realization helps pry loose your attachments to things outside. Some people are afraid of getting attached to a state of calm, but actually, it's very important that you get attached here, so that you begin to settle down and begin to undo your other attachments. Only when this attachment to calm is the only one left do you begin work on loosening it up as well.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... cmind.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Thanks for the excellent quote. There inevitably arises attachment to jhanas, which has to be dealt with later.
Like James I don't have experience with deep states that would correspond to Ajahn Brahm/Visuddhimagga-strength jhana. However, I have had some quite pleasurable experiences on retreats. I've never had teachers tell me to "fear" these states. What they do encourage is to be sure to maintain strong mindfulness. My experience is that if I don't maintain strong mindfulness and energy then I slip into blank states which aren't much good for anything...
Yes, without awareness and wisdom these states are not much good.

:anjali:

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Kumara
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Post by Kumara » Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:41 am

phil-zero wrote:
daverupa wrote:MN 139
<snip>
“Here, bhikkhus, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhāna…the second jhāna…the third jhāna…the fourth jhāna. This is called the bliss of renunciation, the bliss of seclusion, the bliss of peace, the bliss of enlightenment. I say of this kind of pleasure that it should be pursued, that it should be developed, that it should be cultivated, and that it should not be feared.
What then, makes the bliss inherent in jhana states different from the more "coarse" forms of sensual pleasure? Isn't it still theoretically possible to become totally attached and "crave" the bliss of such an absorptive meditative state? Though the jhana state is more skillful, it still appears liable to the same pitfalls as ordinary pleasures, ie: attachment, craving and wanting more.

Perhaps i am missing a key point?
That's a healthy doubt.

As I see it, the whole trouble many people have with this has to do with the translation. The translator has injected classical Mahavahara-Theravadin view of jhana into his translation. See the original text: "Idaṃ vuccati nekkhammasukhaṃ pavivekasukhaṃ upasamasukhaṃ sambodhisukhaṃ āsevitabbaṃ bhāvetabbaṃ bahulīkātabbaṃ. Na bhāyitabbaṃ etassa sukhassāti vadāmi."

If he had rendered all the occasions of sukha literally as happiness, instead of bliss and pleasure (which is rather inconsistent and selective), you may have gotten a different picture.

Theravadin orthodoxy generally use the word jhana as the Visuddhimagga describes it. Indeed for this kind of jhana, the sukha that is experienced can be aptly translated as bliss and pleasure. For the Sutta type, they would be inappropriate. Having sukha as simply happiness would be just perfect.

The matter about 2 kinds of jhana has already been very well researched and explained by Richard Shankman in his book "The Experience of Samadhi". Geoff Shatz has also done a good share of research, presented here in Dhammawheel (by the name Ñana). E.g. Jhana According to the Pali Nikayas. http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=5761" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

As I can tell from their writing, both of them are experienced meditator. They quote much from texts to substantiate their view points, but aren't speaking from mere textual understanding. They are well qualified to speak on the matter.
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Kumara
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Post by Kumara » Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:21 am

phil-zero wrote:Isn't it still theoretically possible to become totally attached and "crave" the bliss of such an absorptive meditative state?
It's not just a theory, I can assure you. :-)
I'm not just a monk. I'm a human being. — Sayadaw U Jotika

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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Post by Polar Bear » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:27 pm

"Even though a disciple of the noble ones has clearly seen as it actually is with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, still — if he has not attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that[4] — he can be tempted by sensuality. But when he has clearly seen as it actually is with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, and he has attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that, he cannot be tempted by sensuality.

"I myself, before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened bodhisatta, saw as it actually was with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, but as long as I had not attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that, I did not claim that I could not be tempted by sensuality. But when I saw as it actually was with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, and I had attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that, that was when I claimed that I could not be tempted by sensuality.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Post by marc108 » Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:03 pm

phil-zero wrote: I ask this, because, i feel in a way, that I have almost developed an attachment to the pleasurable and detached state of meditation. If i enter a state of meditation for 30 minutes before i go to work, for example, I realize how much less pleasurable the act of "work" is in comparison to the relaxed, detached, and empty mind of meditation. Now theoretically, my meditation should ALLOW me to get in better touch with my feelings TOWARDS work, but this doesn't always occur. It's almost like i enjoy meditation so much that i just want MORE of it, just like any pleasure.

So once again, what exactly IS the difference between the pleasure of meditation and any other sort of sensual pleasure? Or is there none?
attachment to meditation is ok... not even ok, but desirable. it's perfectly normal and i believe most people who pursue meditations seriously experience this. people trip out way too much about this idea that attachment to meditative pleasure being bad. as far as I know, the Buddha never said attachment to meditative pleasure is bad (other than not wanting drop off the coarse piti to get into the 2nd Jhana). The Budhha praised & praised the pleasure from meditation, and said it was 'blameless'. so if you're talking about loving meditation so much you enjoy it more than work, and you find yourself drawn more towards meditation than worldly things, then that's GREAT, its working, keep going.

meditation isnt supposed to make the unpleasurable things of the world seem better. approached from a Canonical standpoint, its supposed to help you develop dispassion towards the world to the point where you give up the worldly life and become a monk.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"I myself, before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened bodhisatta, saw as it actually was with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, but as long as I had not attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that, I did not claim that I could not be tempted by sensuality. But when I saw as it actually was with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, and I had attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that, that was when I claimed that I could not be tempted by sensuality.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"And, Udayin, there are these five strings of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Sounds cognizable via the ear... Aromas cognizable via the nose... Flavors cognizable via the tongue... Tactile sensations cognizable via the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. These are the five strings of sensuality. Now, any pleasure & happiness that arises dependent on these five strings of sensuality is called sensual pleasure, a filthy pleasure, a run-of-the-mill pleasure, an ignoble pleasure. And of this pleasure I say that it is not to be cultivated, not to be developed, not to be pursued, that it is to be feared.

"Now, there is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This is called renunciation-pleasure, seclusion-pleasure, calm-pleasure, self-awakening-pleasure. And of this pleasure I say that it is to be cultivated, to be developed, to be pursued, that it is not to be feared.

I think what this is pointing to is that the pleasure in meditation, beyond its function in deepening meditation, allows the mind to loosen its grips on sensual pleasure. if you think you're going to will yourself out of the desire to experience pleasure in one form or another... good luck with that. the idea is to be 'attached' to the type of pleasure that is skillful and helps us move towards awakening.

Kumara wrote: The matter about 2 kinds of jhana has already been very well researched and explained by Richard Shankman in his book "The Experience of Samadhi".
this is an excellent book. there is also a companion series of talks:
Samadhi: Exploring the Range of Teachings and Controversies on Concentration & Jhana
http://audiodharma.org/series/135/talk/1854/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:55 pm

reflection wrote:Good, get addicted to meditation, that's not a problem if you ask me. But there is quite a difference between the types of pleasure as explained before.
:goodpost:
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Post by Kumara » Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:33 am

reflection wrote:Good, get addicted to meditation, that's not a problem if you ask me. But there is quite a difference between the types of pleasure as explained before.
"Addicted" sounds like a serious form of attachment to me. How about "interested", or even "enthusiastic". As our Teacher advised: Sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāyāti (All things are unworthy of attachment.)
I'm not just a monk. I'm a human being. — Sayadaw U Jotika

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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Post by Sylvester » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:57 am

Kumara wrote: Theravadin orthodoxy generally use the word jhana as the Visuddhimagga describes it. Indeed for this kind of jhana, the sukha that is experienced can be aptly translated as bliss and pleasure. For the Sutta type, they would be inappropriate. Having sukha as simply happiness would be just perfect.
Hi Bhante

Might it be possible that sukha ought to be translated as pleasure, but happiness should be reserved instead for somanassa? See MN 13 on the 2 types of feelings that arise in dependance on the 5 cords of sensual pleasure. There seems to be enough suttas to justify this bifurcation of feelings into kāyika (bodily) and cetasika (mental).

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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Post by Dmytro » Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:24 pm

A passage from Buddhacarita might help:

atho viviktaṁ kāmebhyo vyāpādādibhya eva ca |
vivekajamavāpnoti pūrvadhyānaṁ vitarkavat || 12.49

49. ‘Then he reaches the first stage of contemplation, which is separated from desires, evil intentions and the like, and arises from discrimination and which involves reasoning. 10

tacca dhyānaṁ sukhaṁ prāpya tattadeva vitarkayan |
apūrvasukhalābhena hriyate bāliśo janaḥ || 12.50

50. ‘And having obtained this ecstatic contemplation, and reasoning on various objects, the childish mind is carried away by the possession of the new unknown ecstasy.

śamenaivaṁvidhenāyaṁ kāmadveṣavigarhiṇā |
brahmalokamavāpnoti paritoṣeṇa vaṁcitaḥ || 12.51

51. ‘With a tranquillity of this kind, which disdains desire or dislike, he reaches the world of Brahman, deceived by the delight.

jñātvā vidvān vitarkāṁstu manaḥsaṁkṣobhakārakān |
tadviyuktamavāpnoti dhyānaṁ prītisukhānvitam || 12.52

52. ‘But the wise man, knowing that these reasonings bewilder the mind, reaches a (second) stage of contemplation separate from this, which has its own pleasure and ecstasy.

hriyamāṇastayā prītyā yo viśeṣaṁ na paśyati |
sthānaṁ bhāsvaramāpnoti deveṣvābhāsureṣvapi || 12.53

53. ‘And he who, carried away by this pleasure, sees no further distinction, obtains a dwelling full of light, even amongst the Ābhāsura deities.

yastu prītisukhāttasmādvivecayati mānasam |
tṛtīyaṁ labhate dhyānaṁ sukhaṁ prītivivarjitam || 12.54

54. ‘But he who separates his mind from this pleasure and ecstasy, reaches the third stage of contemplation ecstatic but without pleasure.

tatra kecidvyavasyaṁti mokṣa ityapi māninaḥ |
sukhaduḥkhaparityāgādavyāpārācca cetasaḥ || 12.55 (57)

55. ‘Upon this stage some teachers make their stand, thinking that it is indeed liberation, since pleasure and pain have been left behind and there is no exercise of the intellect.

yastu tasminsukhe magno na viśeṣāya yatnavān |
śubhakṛtsnaiḥ sa sāmānyaṁ sukhaṁ prāpnoti daivataiḥ || 12.56 (55)

56. ‘But he who, immersed in this ecstasy, strives not for a further distinction, obtains an ecstasy in common with the Śubhakṛtsna deities.

tādṛśaṁ sukhamāsādya yo na rajyannupekṣate |
caturthaṁ dhyānamāpnoti sukhaduḥkhavivarjitam || 12.57 (56)

57. ‘But he who, having attained such a bliss desires it not but despises it, obtains the fourth stage of contemplation which is separate from all pleasure or pain.

http://www.buddhanet-de.net/ancient-bud ... ok-XII.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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