K.Dhamma wrote:What about when people reach these jhanas and have that sense of pleasure from it? I have heard people talk that it is normal to crave that pleasure but I guess the important question is: Does desire to want that pleasure constitute craving? Or does it depend on the context of why the pleasure is being craved?
So let's just say a person experiences this "rapture." What if the person wants the "rapture" more than anything else and tries to attain it? Does that mean they are craving? Is it considered an unwholesome craving? I'm sorry about all of the questions. I just have read a few things and these questions popped up in my mind and it seemed a little counter intuitive.
Funny that you should be asking these questions. Someone else recently asked similar questions and my answer was posted here: Trying to separate tanha from vedana
There are some pleasures that are not indicative of an attachment by craving for sensual pleasures resulting in unwholesome states. Recall that the Buddha once questioned his own experience of dhyana, saying: "Why am I afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states?" Then it occurred to him, "I am not afraid of that pleasure since it has nothing to do with sensual pleasures and unwholesome states." And he proceeded to develop his practice of dhyana with a clear mind at ease.
The Buddha's quotation was taken from MN 36.
In reference to the questions posed in your first paragraph, notice the qualifying parameter: "sensual pleasures resulting in unwholesome states."
In the case of the context in which you've asked the questions in the second paragraph, someone in pursuit of the attainment of a dhyana
meditation state who was craving rapture for the sake of experiencing its pleasure alone would be practicing under a wrong view, and hence would need to detach themselves from (become dispassionate about) that view (and unwholesome craving).
The point, from my perspective, of taking up a practice of dhyana
meditation is to be able to attain to the fourth dhyana
where the mind is at ease, free from distraction, and able to "see things as they are" in order to be able to take up insight objects leading to awakening. Rapture (piti
) is just one of the elements on the way to that fourth level, which ultimately has to be dropped in order to enter the fourth level. To cling to it would be unhealthy for one's practice. See?
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV