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Jhana - the spice your meditation has been missing

SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/jhana-the-spice-your-meditation-has-been-missing/

"But sati is only one of the meditative elements of the eightfold path—the other major one is samadhi, or concentration. And here’s where things get interesting. In most of the Pali canon’s discussion of samadhi, it’s described not simply as one-pointed concentration in general, but as the ability to enter the four jhanas—distinct, concentrated mind states—in particular.... But a funny thing happened to the jhanas within Theravadan traditions, particularly in the “dry insight” Burmese lineages that evolved into Western insight meditation and from there into secular mindfulness: jhana practically disappeared."

Shoshin

Comments

  • RuddyDuck9RuddyDuck9 MD, USA Veteran

    Is this journalist implying that a majority of practitioners are not fully concentrating and/ or enmeshed into their contemplative states while meditating? Is that empirically measurable? I'd argue it isn't.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited September 2016

    @RuddyDuck9 said:
    Is this journalist implying that a majority of practitioners are not fully concentrating and/ or enmeshed into their contemplative states while meditating? Is that empirically measurable? I'd argue it isn't.

    I think he is saying that few people practice with the intention of experiencing the jhanas. It's worth observing that although the jhanas are mentioned a lot in the suttas, there isn't a consensus within Theravada about their definition or importance.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @RuddyDuck9 said:
    Is this journalist implying that a majority of practitioners are not fully concentrating and/ or enmeshed into their contemplative states while meditating? Is that empirically measurable? I'd argue it isn't.

    I think he is saying that few people practice with the intention of experiencing the jhanas. It's worth observing that although the jhanas are mentioned a lot in the suttas, there isn't a consensus within Theravada about their definition or importance.

    Really? That's very interesting because I recall reading some fairly definitive statements in sutra's that mastery of the jhana's was a key part of the path to enlightenment. I'll have to see if I can find the reference.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @RuddyDuck9 said:
    Is this journalist implying that a majority of practitioners are not fully concentrating and/ or enmeshed into their contemplative states while meditating? Is that empirically measurable? I'd argue it isn't.

    I think he is saying that few people practice with the intention of experiencing the jhanas. It's worth observing that although the jhanas are mentioned a lot in the suttas, there isn't a consensus within Theravada about their definition or importance.

    Really? That's very interesting because I recall reading some fairly definitive statements in sutra's that mastery of the jhana's was a key part of the path to enlightenment. I'll have to see if I can find the reference.

    Previous discussion here: http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/17529/are-the-jhanas-essential/p1

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited September 2016

    Most of us are distracted by silly fish or other life experiences. That is our life, one distraction after another. We are in essence just a conduit for whatever arises.

    That is why focus, concentration, attention, awareness, absorption is important. There are degrees or types of concentration, no doubt. An undisciplined mind is just all over the place ...

    In some paths for example Sufism, the simple craft task of ones job is way to attend or become concentrated on ones experience ...

    I remember going on an excellent beginners retreat (the only sort I am fit to attend) and we learned a set of potential useful focussing meditations. The breath most of us know. Mantra or sound. Visual image and so on. Sounds simple? In theory yes. Takes practice to concentrate. Very useful, in Dharma as in life ...

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited September 2016

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Kerome said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @RuddyDuck9 said:
    Is this journalist implying that a majority of practitioners are not fully concentrating and/ or enmeshed into their contemplative states while meditating? Is that empirically measurable? I'd argue it isn't.

    I think he is saying that few people practice with the intention of experiencing the jhanas. It's worth observing that although the jhanas are mentioned a lot in the suttas, there isn't a consensus within Theravada about their definition or importance.

    Really? That's very interesting because I recall reading some fairly definitive statements in sutra's that mastery of the jhana's was a key part of the path to enlightenment. I'll have to see if I can find the reference.

    Previous discussion here: http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/17529/are-the-jhanas-essential/p1

    The previous discussion is not really definitive. My take on it is that the jhana's are essential to the Buddhist path because (as others stated) otherwise they wouldn't be mentioned in the Noble Eightfold Path.

    But it seems there are other paths to enlightenment than the one the Buddha took - you can look at Sri Ramana Maharshi, who detailed some very direct techniques. So perhaps it is possible without the jhana's as well... whether you can still call that approach Buddhism is very debateable.

    It's still a long way off for me, I am feeling :)

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Kerome said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @RuddyDuck9 said:
    Is this journalist implying that a majority of practitioners are not fully concentrating and/ or enmeshed into their contemplative states while meditating? Is that empirically measurable? I'd argue it isn't.

    I think he is saying that few people practice with the intention of experiencing the jhanas. It's worth observing that although the jhanas are mentioned a lot in the suttas, there isn't a consensus within Theravada about their definition or importance.

    Really? That's very interesting because I recall reading some fairly definitive statements in sutra's that mastery of the jhana's was a key part of the path to enlightenment. I'll have to see if I can find the reference.

    Previous discussion here: http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/17529/are-the-jhanas-essential/p1

    The previous discussion is not really definitive. My take on it is that the jhana's are essential to the Buddhist path because (as others stated) otherwise they wouldn't be mentioned in the Noble Eightfold Path.

    But it seems there are other paths to enlightenment than the one the Buddha took - you can look at Sri Ramana Maharshi, who detailed some very direct techniques. So perhaps it is possible without the jhana's as well... whether you can still call that approach Buddhism is very debateable.

    It's still a long way off for me, I am feeling :)

    It's not straightforward though, because the 8-fold path is only one formulation, and it seems that the Mahayana and Vajrayana schools don't consider jhana to be essential.

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    But aren't they then diverging from the path prescribed by the Buddha? You can start pulling in all kinds of sources from later Buddhists and writers but if it goes against what we categorically know the Buddha taught then there must be some question marks against its validity, I would think.

  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran
    edited September 2016

    Thai Forest Tradition doesn't consider the Jhana's essential one meditates on the breath until one has achieved access concentration then one switches to Vipassana by contemplating the arisisng phenomenon.

    lobster
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Lonely_Traveller said:
    Thai Forest Tradition doesn't consider the Jhana's essential one meditates on the breath until one has achieved access concentration then one switches to Vipassana by contemplating the arisisng phenomenon.

    Thai Forest seem to regard jhana as a distraction. But yes, there are different views in different Theravada schools.

  • The Buddha did teach the Eight Noble Path.Right Concentration is defined as Jhana. In my opinion,the Jhanas should be an important part of Buddhist practice.

    "And what is right concentration? 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 composure, 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 right concentration."

    — SN 45.8

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca4/samma-samadhi/

    upekka
  • @Akasha said:
    The Buddha did teach the Eight Noble Path.Right Concentration is defined as Jhana. In my opinion,the Jhanas should be an important part of Buddhist practice.

    From my understanding (Theravadin, Mahayana and Vajrayana) the jhanas are one of the nice bits to experience but from what I can gather by those on the other shore, it's better to focus on sila. Jhanas can be a distraction from ethical behaviour. It's like going shopping and focusing on the pretty window shopping rather than buying anything (bad example I know). It's a 'nice to have' and makes the experience more pleasant but fundamentally, it's not the most central part of the dharma which is about making the world a better place.

    upekka
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited November 2016

    @Tiddlywinds said:

    @Akasha said:
    The Buddha did teach the Eight Noble Path.Right Concentration is defined as Jhana. In my opinion,the Jhanas should be an important part of Buddhist practice.

    From my understanding (Theravadin, Mahayana and Vajrayana) the jhanas are one of the nice bits to experience but from what I can gather by those on the other shore, it's better to focus on sila. Jhanas can be a distraction from ethical behaviour. It's like going shopping and focusing on the pretty window shopping rather than buying anything (bad example I know).

    How does one gather (knowledge) by those on the other shore, pray say? Would love to have direct telephone hotline to Buddha's in nirvanic realms after death, please :awesome:

    This thread and the other already mention a number of sutra's on this, and I'd love to resolve the conflict with the above. I thought the 4NT and the 8FP are central to the Buddha's teachings, and just saying except for this bit seems a bit odd.

    It's a 'nice to have' and makes the experience more pleasant but fundamentally, it's not the most central part of the dharma which is about making the world a better place.

    And here I was thinking it was in the first place about the cessation of (personal) suffering, doh O.o

  • @Kerome, Here's the Buddha's phone number. Remember to dial the UK prefix first.

    ...from what I can gather from what I've read by those who wrote or spoke about their experiences on the other shore which became suttas/sutras and various texts, it's better etc etc.

    Not sure it's about the cessation of (personal) suffering? I thought the Buddha said 'Truth 1: there is suffering, Truth 2: there is a cause to suffering, Truth 3: there is an end to suffering, Truth 4: the path between Truth 2 and Truth 3 is to follow what I said' (more or less). Can't find a personal in the above.

    Anyways... you can't quite trust what he says so you need to become a gold-digger.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited November 2016

    He does go on then to describe a personal path to the cessation of suffering. And I've seen translations of the 4NT which make it clear he is speaking on a personal level, not intending to make people responsible for the 'cessation of all suffering worldwide', which would be a bit silly.

    If you've got a sutra or text reference for the fact that jhana's are not a major part of practice, I'd love to see it.

    Why follow the Buddha's path if you can't trust him? Anyway it's wise to always test anyone's teachings...

    Akasha
  • This is Ken McLeod's translation of the 37 practices of a bodhisattva. Reflections on Silver River.

    Verse 29
    Understanding that emotional reactions are dismantled
    by insight supported by stillness,
    Cultivate meditative stability that passes right by
    the 4 formless states - this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

    The commentary associated with this verse says roughly that it's a calm mind that's more important than the jhanas. Jhanas are nice but don't get caught in having or desiring them.

    lobster
  • upekkaupekka Veteran
    edited November 2016

    @Tiddlywinds said:
    @Kerome, Here's the Buddha's phone number. Remember to dial the UK prefix first.

    R U sure about this?

    according to the information i have got it is not

    0 1865 791 591

    but

    0 1 865 789 568 1

    Tiddlywinds
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Tiddlywinds said:
    This is Ken McLeod's translation of the 37 practices of a bodhisattva. Reflections on Silver River.

    Verse 29
    Understanding that emotional reactions are dismantled
    by insight supported by stillness,
    Cultivate meditative stability that passes right by
    the 4 formless states - this is the practice of a bodhisattva.

    The commentary associated with this verse says roughly that it's a calm mind that's more important than the jhanas. Jhanas are nice but don't get caught in having or desiring them.

    So according to this author chap who is commenting on a Mahayana text from the 13th century, not the words of the Buddha. Hmm thanks.

  • @upekka said:
    R U sure about this?
    according to the information i have got it is not
    0 1865 791 591
    but
    0 1 865 789 568 1

    oh I tried the number but it didn't work. Do I need to dial the North American prefix?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I read somewhere that something like 43% of Americans believe Jesus is American.... So now we have an American number for Buddha....!? O.o

    I'll get my coat.....

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited November 2016

    You could try phoning the Dairy Lama at Tescos, but he might be busy defrosting a freezer. :p

  • @federica said:
    I read somewhere that something like 43% of Americans believe Jesus is American.... So now we have an American number for Buddha....!? O.o

    I'll get my coat.....

    If English is good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me.

    lobster
  • @Tiddlywinds said:

    @upekka said:
    R U sure about this?
    according to the information i have got it is not
    0 1865 791 591
    but
    0 1 865 789 568 1

    oh I tried the number but it didn't work. Do I need to dial the North American prefix?

    are you kidding?
    Dial the Universe prefix
    it can not go wrong

    @SpinyNorman said:
    You could try phoning the Dairy Lama at Tescos, but he might be busy defrosting a freezer. :p

    true @SpinyNorman, if anyone can call DLT then he would give the mobile number :p

  • @upekka

    are you kidding?
    Dial the Universe prefix
    it can not go wrong

    oh, do you have the prefix - can't seem to find it on google.

  • @Tiddlywinds said:
    @upekka

    are you kidding?
    Dial the Universe prefix
    it can not go wrong

    oh, do you have the prefix - can't seem to find it on google.

    yes, of course
    it is sunyatha or try emptiness

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Apparently 00, or 000.

    oh...

    maybe not....

    upekkaTiddlywinds
  • @federica said:
    Apparently 00, or 000.

    oh...

    maybe not....

    U R very very close

    but

    to get the exact number see in between numbers

  • see without a seer(sucker!)

    upekka
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Mind - the Gap.....

    upekkalobster
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