Aspiration for Jhana ?

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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Aspiration for Jhana ?

Post by fijiNut » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:49 am

Thank everybody here on DhammaWheel for their collective wisdom once again.

In regards to the topic of aspiration for (at least 1st) Jhana, the first thing that comes to mind is to plant the right seeds and sow the conditions for deeper samadhi to occur, whether it will it occur and when it will occur will be not a matter of 'forced will or grasping' but a gradual unfolding quality of a quiet mind.

What have been the lifestyle changes and practical things that you have done to make that possible?
Practical tips would be much appreciated (especially with breath meditation).

eg (3 months silent retreat + 2 hours maintenance everyday) or
(complete celibacy + 2 hours practice everyday for 1 complete year) or
(good awareness/mindfulness of breath all day + 2 hours regular practice) etc.

What might work for somebody, might not work for others, but I guess they are good indication of the resolve and consistency one might need to put in practice.
Dhamma practice is a long term project after all.

kindest regards,

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Re: Aspiration for Jhana ?

Post by Ben » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:01 am

Hi FijiNut

Do you have a copy of Vism? If so, it might be a good place to start as well as the suttas.
Check out the section on anapana sati.
Its a section that I go back to over and over and over again. And its probably going to be a constant companion for the rest of my life.
Also, have a read of Ven Analayo's book "Satipatthana: the direct path to realization".

My recommendations are:
Retreat setting, preferably silent.
Maintenance of eight precepts and practice anapana.

And you're comments regarding grasping for attainment. One of the comments SN Goenka makes during the 20-day course is that craving immediately creates a[n insurmountable] barrier to its attainment.
Keep your sila, and maintain awareness on the touch of the breath and have no expectations.
Let go.
All the very best with your (non) aspiration!
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Aspiration for Jhana ?

Post by Reductor » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:08 am

Sense restraint for the duration of each day, sutta reflection during the quiet times of day (not intensive intellectualism, just a relaxed reflection). Sense restraint in itself takes a lot of practice, but also sharpens your mind for meditation.

Then just plenty of practice: two hours a day, or about. In this case I don't think it need all be spent on your butt, but rather those two hours can be spent sitting, walking, washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, etc. Anything that is simple to which you can dedicate your attention as completely as you're able too.

I used to meditate at night, hoped up on tea - I'd spend some time meditating, some time cleaning the kitchen, some time walking back and forth, etc.. practice like this until you get where you think you want to be.

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Re: Aspiration for Jhana ?

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:59 am

fijiNut wrote:
What might work for somebody, might not work for others,
And add to that the differing understandings of what jhana entails. But the basic stuff has been spelled out above. Some here, such as Ian and Ñāṇa, have offered some good advice on the basics, and there are now several very good books written from the jhanika perspective. So, maybe some further study on your part to clarify what it is you are looking for might help, but fundamentally, constancy of practice, keeping it simple and easy are the best things.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Aspiration for Jhana ?

Post by IanAnd » Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:12 am

tiltbillings wrote: Some here, such as Ian and Ñāṇa, have offered some good advice on the basics, and there are now several very good books written from the jhanika perspective.
I would also add that Thanissaro Bhikkhu's e-book Mind Like Fire Unbound might provide you with some additional insightful information. Especially this section of the book subtitled Habits & practices, where he quotes from a discourse one example of entering absorption. If your intuition is working, the description might be of some use to you.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

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Re: Aspiration for Jhana ?

Post by rowyourboat » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:42 pm

Two or three one hour sittings (anapanasati) a day. Mindfulness as much as possible at all other times. No major life problems haunting you during meditation. Preferably a quiet lifestyle. Celibabacy not essential. Complete sense restraint not essential (some degree may be helpful). Specific meditations to overcome specific hindrances. Or go on a serious samatha retreat 14 days usually enough from what I have seen (not for everyone obviously).

With metta

With Metta

& Upekkha

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Re: Aspiration for Jhana ?

Post by cooran » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:19 pm

Hello fijinut,

Bhante Gunaratana's latest book ''Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English - an introductory guide to Deeper States of Meditation'' may be of assistance to you:
Here is the .pdf version for download: ... nglish.pdf" onclick=";return false;

with metta
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: Aspiration for Jhana ?

Post by Rui Sousa » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:43 pm

The six recollections, according to my understanding of the Mahanam Sutta AN 11.13, are one way of developing the first Jhana.
With Metta

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Re: Aspiration for Jhana ?

Post by fijiNut » Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:26 am

Many thanks for the different advice given, all of them very pragmatic. Enough to work on for a couple of months.

I will post again in this thread with queries and updates when necessary.

May all find release from suffering.


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