So it sounds like the jhanas may not be something for layperson practitioners to worry too much about? I agree people can get stuck, I think that's what happens sometimes with Hindu meditation (which i started out with)...
I was probably very lucky that i was rarely ever able to bliss out.
Venerable Pesala sums it up well
Venerable. Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Moral Kamma Producing Effects in the Realms of Form
These powerful wholesome kammas transcend the sensual realm. Sensual desire is one of the five hindrances to concentration, so to attain jhāna one has to overcome sensual thoughts. The jhānas are difficult to attain, and difficult to maintain. They are not usually attained when practicing the pure insight method, but insight meditators do experience states comparable to jhāna. Insight cuts off defilements at the root, jhāna only cuts them off at the base, so insight meditation is preferable.
At the Pa Auk Forest Monastery for example (which draws much of it's basis from the authoritative texts) Jhanas are taught before mature insight practices. It's easy to understand why too, because the peace brought about by Samadhi (tranquility) practice provides a very stable ground for insight to arise.
Rereading this again, the above is quite interesting.
A question here, from a newcomer to these pali terms. How does samadhi
differ from upekkha
and from sati
? I've noticed that sati, upekkha, jhana
are interconnected in various ways...
My present understanding (and please correct where wrong) is that upekkha
is an aspect of everything we are talking about. Upekkha
are components of what we would call mindfulness practice, and lead to insight (vipassana).
are related, but how that works is less clear to me...
I find it very interesting above that Venerable Pesala said:
The jhānas are difficult to attain, and difficult to maintain. They are not usually attained when practicing the pure insight method, but insight meditators do experience states comparable to jhāna. Insight cuts off defilements at the root, jhāna only cuts them off at the base, so insight meditation is preferable.
This is quite good news for those of us who find it difficult to train in formal Monastary situations. Satipatthana
seems the way to go, for many. I have to get down and read what Retro passed on to me about it.
And of course, spend less time mentally masturbating online and more time ~*practicing*~!!