how do you know Jhana and Nibbana are real?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: how do you know Jhana and Nibbana are real?

Postby binocular » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:29 pm

ibelieve wrote:I having been reading suttas for a year and I have a question I cannot answer: how can you know Jhana and Nibbana are real rather than some tricks played just in your brain?

My partial answer to the question is that if you can obtain some psychic power through meditation, at least you know that there is indeed something beyond modern science. However this is not a good answer obviously.

What is your answer to the question?

I think it all comes down to the issue of whom one is trying to justify oneself to.

When one has a question and is looking for an answer to it: with whom in mind is one assessing the various answers that one finds? Whom is one trying to please or appease, and why?

I think it is very important to work out who exactly the internal audience of one's thoughts is. For example, if that audience is a merciless critic, then no matter what answer one may come up with, it's never going to be good enough.
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Re: how do you know Jhana and Nibbana are real?

Postby fivebells » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:33 pm

ibelieve wrote:If you develop some supernatural power through jhana, for example, (according to the Buddha) you can make yourself invisible, you can touch the moon, you can detect other people's thoughts and verify that what you detect is correct. Are you going to say it is only something fabricated in your brain?


Can you expand on your argument? If something like that is caused by jhana, it doesn't contradict the fact that jhana is a deliberately fashioned mental state.
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Re: how do you know Jhana and Nibbana are real?

Postby ibelieve » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:45 pm

fivebells wrote:
ibelieve wrote:If you develop some supernatural power through jhana, for example, (according to the Buddha) you can make yourself invisible, you can touch the moon, you can detect other people's thoughts and verify that what you detect is correct. Are you going to say it is only something fabricated in your brain?


Can you expand on your argument? If something like that is caused by jhana, it doesn't contradict the fact that jhana is a deliberately fashioned mental state.


I mean, if you can develop supernatural power through jhana, then it can be concretely verified that it is not just your imagination. The problems are

1. Supernatural power is not necessarily a product of jhana
2. What about nibbana?

Thanks everyone for the discussion. My answer so far is that "let's try to reach it first. Probably I will know by then".

ibelieve
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Re: how do you know Jhana and Nibbana are real?

Postby Babadhari » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:24 pm

ibelieve wrote:

I think I need to judge by myself and some faith is necessary. Indeed I believe in the Buddha and the so many master after him.

this is a good starting point

ibelieve wrote:"let's try to reach it first. Probably I will know by then".

the Buddha has shown us the Path, Up to us to do the practice and experience the results
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: how do you know Jhana and Nibbana are real?

Postby fivebells » Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:58 pm

ibelieve wrote:
fivebells wrote:I mean, if you can develop supernatural power through jhana, then it can be concretely verified that it is not just your imagination


Yes, but any such byproducts are irrelevant to the purpose of cultivating jhana. The utility of a purportedly jhanic state can be evaluated purely in terms of its mental effects, as far as Buddhist practice is concerned.
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Re: how do you know Jhana and Nibbana are real?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:43 pm

ibelieve wrote:...how can you know Jhana and Nibbana are real rather than some tricks played just in your brain?


What do you mean by "trick"?
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Re: how do you know Jhana and Nibbana are real?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:46 pm

fivebells wrote:Yes, but any such byproducts are irrelevant to the purpose of cultivating jhana. The utility of a purportedly jhanic state can be evaluated purely in terms of its mental effects, as far as Buddhist practice is concerned.


Yes, that's how I understand it. I wouldn't mind some supernatural powers, but nothing's happened yet.... ;)
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Re: how do you know Jhana and Nibbana are real?

Postby Ananda26 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:01 pm

ibelieve wrote:Hi,

This is my first post and please forgive my English, which is not my native language.

I having been reading suttas for a year and I have a question I cannot answer: how can you know Jhana and Nibbana are real rather than some tricks played just in your brain?

My partial answer to the question is that if you can obtain some psychic power through meditation, at least you know that there is indeed something beyond modern science. However this is not a good answer obviously.

What is your answer to the question?

Thank you!

ibelieve


There is a monk who attained Jhana and attained Nibbana.

Prior to that time though he had gained confidence in Buddha's teaching which includes how to gain Nibbana and how to meditate on Jhana and he knew that Buddha got it right.
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