Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby Alex123 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:58 pm

Hello all,


Non-Buddhist couldn't attain Jhana, because real jhana requires suppresion of 5 hindrances. Without belief in triple gem you cannot suppress the 5th hindrance. Without understanding of anatta, you cannot fully suppress the the first two hindrances.

Some might object saying Alara Kalama and Udakka Ramaputta has attained aruppas, and by inference Jhanas. However, It is not very certain that they have achieved the real Jhana states. More likely those teachers have achieved a diluted version of those states. If they did, why didn't it lead to Nibbana, while Jhana is the path to awakening (MN36, MN52)? If they taught "Jhana", then why did the Buddha remembered his Jhana as a child and not their Jhana states? Why was it only the Buddha that has awoken to Jhana (SN 2.7) and discovered the N8P that leads to them?


What about AN9.36 that says:
"'I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana.' ... "'I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the the
dimension of nothingness"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

If Alara Kalama really attained base of nothingness, then why didn't he become Awakened?

In Dhp 372 there is a statement that "there is no Jhana without panna".

So how could non-Buddhist ascetics have Buddhist panna? The middle path was discovered by the Buddha not them. The other two common paths was either self-mortification or indulgence in sense pleasures. None of these are particularly suitable for Jhana.


Also

"Suppose that a wild deer is living in wilderness glen. Carefree it walks, carefree it stands, carefree it sits, carefree it lies down. Why is that?
Because it has gone beyond the hunter's range. [5] In the same way, a monk — quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unskillful qualities —
enters & remains in the first jhana:.... This monk is said to have blinded Mara. Trackless, he has destroyed Mara's vision and has become invisible to the Evil One." http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


If Jhana blinds "Mara", then it has to have panna. Furthermore if Brahmas are Jhana attainers (and are in a jhanic states) then why can they be possessed and
controlled by Mara (see MN49 sutta for example).

Buddha: "You are Mara, Evil One. And Brahma, and Brahma's assembly, and the attendants of Brahma's assembly have all fallen into your hands. They have all fallen into your power. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Again if Brahma and his attendants are said to posses Jhana, then how can they fall under Mara's hand if Jhana blinds Mara?

Note: It is not necessary according to the suttas to develop Jhana to be reborn in rupa/aruppa loka. See mn120.

Again the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, benevolence and wisdom. The bhikkhu learns, that gods born in the sphere of consciousness ... re ... in the sphere of nothingness, re ... in the sphere of neither perception nor non perception have a long life span and enjoy much pleasantness. It occurs to him. O! I should be born with gods of the sphere of neither perception nor non perception with long life, much pleasantness. This is the path and method to be born there.http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/2Majjhima-Nikaya/Majjhima3/120-sankharuppatti-e.html


In MN127 it says that one can have impure, with hindrances of sloth&torpor metta meditation and yet be reborn in rupa loka. Without overcoming ALL hindrances (including sloth & torpor, doubt, etc), one isn't technically even in full Buddhist First Jhana.

http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... dha-e.html

Some quick quotes
Jhana IS the path to awakening - MN36
Jhana Is what Buddha awakened to. AN9.42 & SN2.7
Jhana Is Practiced by awakened ones: Dhp 23
Jhana Leads to 4 fruits: From Stream to Arhatship. (DN29)
Jhana Is Right Concentration - SN 45.8
Ending of Mental Fermentations depend on Jhana - AN 9.36
Samadhi is proximate condition to "knowledge and vision of things as
they really are" - SN12.23
Samadhi -> seeing rise & fall of 5 aggregates (which is wisdom) SN 22.5
Samadhi -> wisdom
Samadhi is the path - AN 6.64
Jhana is the only 4 Meditative absorptions thay Buddha praised. -MN108
Jhana goes together with discernment (panna): Dhp 372
Jhana Is a mark of a great discernment, great man - AN4.35
Jhana is the escape from confinement. AN 9.42
Released through Panna (Pannavimutti) = Jhanas 1-9 AN 9.44
7 Parts of Noble 8Fold path are support for Jhana- MN117
Jhana + discernment is a single thing that can lead one to Arhatship - AN 11.17
The Buddha has recomended Jhana for trainees - MN107
It is *impossible* to break 5 lower and 5 upper fetters without Jhana (and
insight after it). - MN64 Jhana are 4 stations of mindfulness (anussatithana)
AN 3.322 Udayin sutta iii, 320, VI, iii, 29



With metta,

Alex
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2808
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:29 pm

Hi Alex,

Interesting theory.

Alex123 wrote:
"'I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana.' ... "'I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the the
dimension of nothingness"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

If Alara Kalama really attained base of nothingness, then why didn't he become Awakened?


The jhanas can lead to awakening, but I don't think that they guarantee enlightenment.

In Dhp 372 there is a statement that "there is no Jhana without panna".


Perhaps a lower level paññā, but not the full and complete paññā of enlightenment.

Also

"Suppose that a wild deer is living in wilderness glen. Carefree it walks, carefree it stands, carefree it sits, carefree it lies down. Why is that?
Because it has gone beyond the hunter's range. [5] In the same way, a monk — quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unskillful qualities —
enters & remains in the first jhana:.... This monk is said to have blinded Mara. Trackless, he has destroyed Mara's vision and has become invisible to the Evil One." http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Again if Brahma and his attendants are said to posses Jhana, then how can they fall under Mara's hand if Jhana blinds Mara?


Perhaps not high enough jhana?

Jhana IS the path to awakening - MN36


TO awakening, but not awakening itself.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7963
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby Kenshou » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:09 pm

Non-Buddhist couldn't attain Jhana, because real jhana requires suppresion of 5 hindrances. Without belief in triple gem you cannot suppress the 5th hindrance. Without understanding of anatta, you cannot fully suppress the the first two hindrances.


What if you've never heard of the Triple Gem or barely know anything or care about Buddhism, if doubts are not actively hindering meditation, why can't one be successful?

What if someone just doesn't have any ill-will at the moment? Or doesn't have any particular sense-cravings and is happy to sit down and meditate, no anatta involved in getting to that decision? Maybe I'm a little optimistic in thinking that not all hindrances are always present at all times. Probably a few, but not all of them all the time.

What I'm trying to say is, if a hindrance is suppressed enough that it does not act as a barrier to meditative success, then why can the individual not succeed? The hindrances are "dormant", and of course will not be fully eradicated until whatever attainment. But if a hindrance is not present, I see no reason why someone shouldn't be able to have a good meditation, regardless of exactly what caused the suppression of the hindrance at that time, weather it was inspiration from the Triple Gem or just happening to be in a good mood at the time.

Some might object saying Alara Kalama and Udakka Ramaputta has attained aruppas, and by inference Jhanas.


Is that necessarily so? I think the formless realms were originally a Brahmanic practice, unrelated to the 4 jhanas of Buddhism. The 4 jhanas are not a necessary prerequisite to the formless realms, but it happens that the 4th jhana is a good base from which to develop them, if one wants to.

I believe that Johannes Bronkhorst's, The Two Traditions of Meditation in Ancient India (http://my.unil.ch/serval/document/BIB_A88A22EFD384.pdf) covers this subject. His conclusion was that the 4 jhanas (or dhyanas as he calls them) appear to be an innovation by the historical Buddha, but that does not include the formless realms. I haven't read it for awhile, though.

Again if Brahma and his attendants are said to posses Jhana, then how can they fall under Mara's hand if Jhana blinds Mara?


I'm no Deva-ologist, but they probably aren't in Jhana -all the time-.

If Alara Kalama really attained base of nothingness, then why didn't he become Awakened?

In Dhp 372 there is a statement that "there is no Jhana without panna".

So how could non-Buddhist ascetics have Buddhist panna? The middle path was discovered by the Buddha not them. The other two common paths was either self-mortification or indulgence in sense pleasures. None of these are particularly suitable for Jhana.


Does everyone who reaches the base of nothingness become awakened? The Buddha sure didn't (at that time).

The Buddha himself said (at least as the story goes) that Alara Kalama and Udakka Ramaputta had (I paraphrase) "little dust in their eyes, and would penetrate the Dhamma quickly". So they had -some- wisdom, surely.

The Buddha was indeed the first to completely uncover and understand the path. But if a person gives something away and understands the benefit of renunciation, haven't they gained a little bit of panna right there? Wisdom, in the Buddhist sense, is not restricted to the context of Buddhism, and it can arise regardless of labels or associations of the individual. Where there is the world, there is the Dhamma.
Last edited by Kenshou on Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby vinasp » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:11 pm

Hi Alex123,

An interesting line of inquiry. My interpretation is that there are two kinds of jhana. There is mundane jhana, and there is supramundane jhana. You seem to be suggesting something similar with your expression 'real jhana'.

One thing which you do not mention are the two kinds of liberation, temporary liberation, and non-temporary liberation. I believe that these are connected to the two kinds of jhana.

Suppression of the hindrances results in mundane jhana only, which is temporary liberation. The sudden or gradual abandonment of the fetters is what results in supramundane jhana.

The realisation of impermanence, suffering and not-self, to some degree, is required for supramundane jhana.

Supramundane jhana is permanent and effortless, due to the partial or complete elimination of the formations.

Best wishes, Vincent.
vinasp
 
Posts: 1191
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby Alex123 » Fri Mar 12, 2010 2:44 am

Thank you all for your replies.


Maybe Kenshou is correct.


With metta,

Alex
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2808
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:14 pm

I think what the Buddha remembered (childhood vs Alarakalam,Uddakaramaputta) was that there must have been an element of renunciation in the former. It is possible to get to the jhana by striving very hard (forced sankhara). It is also possible to do this by letting go. As a child has no preconceptions the jhana which occured would have been quite natural devoid of striving.

"I thought: 'Not only did Rama have conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, & discernment. I, too, have conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, & discernment. .."In this way did Uddaka Ramaputta, my companion in the holy life, place me in the position of teacher and pay me great honor. But the thought occurred to me, 'This Dhamma leads not to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to Awakening, nor to Unbinding (nibbana), but only to reappearance in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.' So, dissatisfied with that Dhamma, I left."— MN 36

Them he goes on to try extreme ascetism as a means of reaching these renounced mind states, however this doesnt work and then he remembers a more subtle form of letting go in the form of childhood experience- this is what works. I think Ajhan Brahm goes the other extreme of not learning the first lesson the aspiring Buddha learnt with his former teachers- that some renunciation is required and just getting to jhana simply wont do it.
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby Vardali » Sun Mar 14, 2010 6:55 pm

I feel it is a misrepresentation saying that Ajahn Brahm is not utilizing renunciation in the path towards Jhanas he is describing. After all, the key he seems to stress -according to how I understand his teaching - is that "letting go" is the way to go; i.e. you cannot "strive" for Jhana but have to overcome sensory clinging and willfulness.

As for non-Buddhist achieving at least first Jhana: AB has given a recent sutta talk (audio at the dhammoloka.org. au site) about MN 59 going through the Jhana stages; he seems to think from the description of some Catholic saints to have probably obtained first Jhana, but obviously interpreted them within the context of their religion ("extacy of the unity with God"). But he admits that there is no conclusive evidence that it was jhana. And even then it is way removed from full Jhana.
User avatar
Vardali
 
Posts: 150
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2009 6:56 am

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby Alex123 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:34 pm

As for the two teachers:

The ideas that I've heard were:

1) Their Jhāna was forced, and perhaps too deep.
2) Their Jhāna was too weak, and only those who understand Anatta can let go far enough to reach Jhāna.
3) Their Jhāna was fine, but they had wrong views, and those views have obstructed their progress.

It is quite possible that they didn't let go enough because they didn't know about Anatta, and didn't know fully about Noble Truths. As I understand it, the more belief in atta one has, the harder it is to meditate and get into deeper states. As Ajahn Brahm used to say, "self is not a factor, it is an obstacle". The more personally one takes feelings, thoughts and volitions within the meditation, the harder it is to become dispassionate toward them to let go far enough and reach hard, full, Buddhist Jhāna. IMHO.


With metta,

Alex
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2808
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:01 pm

Ajhan Brahm's letting go is a million miles from revulsion, dispassion and cessation mentioned in the suttas. He tried to get a group of Sri Lankans living in UK to accept that there was no such thing as vipassana in the pali canon -until someone had to show him a sutta which contained the word. I find his talks on the four noble truths quite weak in terms of appreciation of the word 'dukkha'. Essentially he is talking samatha, no different from what the Buddhas teachers taught. This is clearly my opinion and I see no reason not to state it here. This is not to say that he has done great things for Buddhism after all he is a popular and accessible teacher. But for those who want to go beyond more than just jhanas a further 'noble search' will have to take place.
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby Alex123 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:51 pm

Hello RYB,

I am not sure what you are talking about. Did he change? I've read his two books on meditation and he seems to be a hardliner in certain things. For example he says that Dukkha is not just clinging, even bare consciousness itself is dukkha .

If you think you can get rid of your attachments and cravings, and then live in this world and have a jolly good time, that’s not nibbida. Nibbida is what sees the problem... there is no little corner of samsara where he could hang out and have a good time. It’s rotten to the core. That is what the first noble truth means.


He is one of few teachers who tells it strait that everything, and all consciousness, ends in Nibbana, and there is no one and no Self that lives happily ever after in nibbana.

Sometimes people get afraid. It is bleak, thinking of Nibbana as cessation, ending! Whether we like it or not, that’s just what happens.



SImply This Moment!
If it’s real insight, yatha-bhuta-ñananadassana, seeing things as they truly are, as opposed to seeing things as they seem to be, it only happens when the five hindrances are abandoned, usually after a jhana. When this happens, real insight gives rise to nibbida, the rejection of the world. Seeing things as they truly are one gets nibbida, a distaste for the five senses, negativity towards those things, aversion towards those things. It is the mind disengaging from the five senses when craving has been seen, and letting them go. Seeing things as they truly are! Samsara is seen very clearly to be dukkha and out of that seeing arises revulsion for the wheel of samsara, pushing one off the wheel.




With metta,

Alex
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2808
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby Brizzy » Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:55 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello all,


Non-Buddhist couldn't attain Jhana, because real jhana requires suppresion of 5 hindrances. Without belief in triple gem you cannot suppress the 5th hindrance. Without understanding of anatta, you cannot fully suppress the the first two hindrances.

Some might object saying Alara Kalama and Udakka Ramaputta has attained aruppas, and by inference Jhanas. However, It is not very certain that they have achieved the real Jhana states. More likely those teachers have achieved a diluted version of those states. If they did, why didn't it lead to Nibbana, while Jhana is the path to awakening (MN36, MN52)? If they taught "Jhana", then why did the Buddha remembered his Jhana as a child and not their Jhana states? Why was it only the Buddha that has awoken to Jhana (SN 2.7) and discovered the N8P that leads to them?


What about AN9.36 that says:
"'I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana.' ... "'I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the the
dimension of nothingness"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

If Alara Kalama really attained base of nothingness, then why didn't he become Awakened?

In Dhp 372 there is a statement that "there is no Jhana without panna".

So how could non-Buddhist ascetics have Buddhist panna? The middle path was discovered by the Buddha not them. The other two common paths was either self-mortification or indulgence in sense pleasures. None of these are particularly suitable for Jhana.


Also

"Suppose that a wild deer is living in wilderness glen. Carefree it walks, carefree it stands, carefree it sits, carefree it lies down. Why is that?
Because it has gone beyond the hunter's range. [5] In the same way, a monk — quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unskillful qualities —
enters & remains in the first jhana:.... This monk is said to have blinded Mara. Trackless, he has destroyed Mara's vision and has become invisible to the Evil One." http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


If Jhana blinds "Mara", then it has to have panna. Furthermore if Brahmas are Jhana attainers (and are in a jhanic states) then why can they be possessed and
controlled by Mara (see MN49 sutta for example).

Buddha: "You are Mara, Evil One. And Brahma, and Brahma's assembly, and the attendants of Brahma's assembly have all fallen into your hands. They have all fallen into your power. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Again if Brahma and his attendants are said to posses Jhana, then how can they fall under Mara's hand if Jhana blinds Mara?

Note: It is not necessary according to the suttas to develop Jhana to be reborn in rupa/aruppa loka. See mn120.

Again the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, benevolence and wisdom. The bhikkhu learns, that gods born in the sphere of consciousness ... re ... in the sphere of nothingness, re ... in the sphere of neither perception nor non perception have a long life span and enjoy much pleasantness. It occurs to him. O! I should be born with gods of the sphere of neither perception nor non perception with long life, much pleasantness. This is the path and method to be born there.http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/2Majjhima-Nikaya/Majjhima3/120-sankharuppatti-e.html


In MN127 it says that one can have impure, with hindrances of sloth&torpor metta meditation and yet be reborn in rupa loka. Without overcoming ALL hindrances (including sloth & torpor, doubt, etc), one isn't technically even in full Buddhist First Jhana.

http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... dha-e.html

Some quick quotes
Jhana IS the path to awakening - MN36
Jhana Is what Buddha awakened to. AN9.42 & SN2.7
Jhana Is Practiced by awakened ones: Dhp 23
Jhana Leads to 4 fruits: From Stream to Arhatship. (DN29)
Jhana Is Right Concentration - SN 45.8
Ending of Mental Fermentations depend on Jhana - AN 9.36
Samadhi is proximate condition to "knowledge and vision of things as
they really are" - SN12.23
Samadhi -> seeing rise & fall of 5 aggregates (which is wisdom) SN 22.5
Samadhi -> wisdom
Samadhi is the path - AN 6.64
Jhana is the only 4 Meditative absorptions thay Buddha praised. -MN108
Jhana goes together with discernment (panna): Dhp 372
Jhana Is a mark of a great discernment, great man - AN4.35
Jhana is the escape from confinement. AN 9.42
Released through Panna (Pannavimutti) = Jhanas 1-9 AN 9.44
7 Parts of Noble 8Fold path are support for Jhana- MN117
Jhana + discernment is a single thing that can lead one to Arhatship - AN 11.17
The Buddha has recomended Jhana for trainees - MN107
It is *impossible* to break 5 lower and 5 upper fetters without Jhana (and
insight after it). - MN64 Jhana are 4 stations of mindfulness (anussatithana)
AN 3.322 Udayin sutta iii, 320, VI, iii, 29



With metta,

Alex


Hi
I think one of the important words here is suppressing the hindrances. I think this can be done by powerful concentration "techniques". The Buddha however, generally talks about the "abandoning" of the hindrances, which sounds like a gentler way. The Buddha seems to say the abandoning is achieved by seeing the faults of the hindrance and the benefits entailed in letting it go. This would give rise to a gentle shift into samadhi(through gladness & joy), whilst retaining the first two factors of jhana(thinking & examining) and would not require the enormous energy required for the suppressing of hindrances.
I think that there are "concentrations" that have some similarity to the Buddhas four jhanas and this could explain a lot. The idea that the jhanas have to be attained before the bases of nothingness etc. can be attained has already been mentioned in this thread, as not being the case. Everything else is just as you itemise, the Buddhas teaching is that the first 7 parts of the path are the support for the 8th. Non Buddhists can attain a type of jhana, although they should be called concentrations, where there is no discernment. If they were the Buddhas jhanas, they would have to have Right view etc. up to Right mindfulness and if they attained jhana based on those things they will have discernment and must be followers of the Buddha.

:smile:
Brizzy
 

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:06 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello all,


Non-Buddhist couldn't attain Jhana, because real jhana requires suppresion of 5 hindrances.

Of course they can, if suppression of the hindrances is the definition, which can become a basis for erroneous assumption that awakening is a result of jhana/samadhi states. Jhana is no guarantee of awakening and there is no guarantee that jhana states cannot mislead an individual, given that they can be colored by beliefs.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19206
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:16 am

Kenshou wrote: I believe that Johannes Bronkhorst's, The Two Traditions of Meditation in Ancient India (http://my.unil.ch/serval/document/BIB_A88A22EFD384.pdf) covers this subject. His conclusion was that the 4 jhanas (or dhyanas as he calls them) appear to be an innovation by the historical Buddha, but that does not include the formless realms. I haven't read it for awhile, though.

That is likely true, but what is the innovation is the classification and codification of these samadhi states, putting them within - and redefining them within - a particular ethical structure, as was done with a number of things by the Buddha.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19206
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby Brizzy » Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:46 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Kenshou wrote: I believe that Johannes Bronkhorst's, The Two Traditions of Meditation in Ancient India (http://my.unil.ch/serval/document/BIB_A88A22EFD384.pdf) covers this subject. His conclusion was that the 4 jhanas (or dhyanas as he calls them) appear to be an innovation by the historical Buddha, but that does not include the formless realms. I haven't read it for awhile, though.

That is likely true, but what is the innovation is the classification and codification of these samadhi states, putting them within - and redefining them within - a particular ethical structure, as was done with a number of things by the Buddha.


Hi

Are you saying that the four jhanas as taught by the Buddha were already in existence and the Buddha simply redefined them?

If so is there any evidence for this?

The jhanas are the culmination of the eightfold path, an integral part of that path and can only be accessed by the other 7 factors of that path, coming together. I am not saying it is Nibbana, but it is a requisite for the fulfillment of the path.

:smile:
Brizzy
 

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby Freawaru » Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:56 pm

Hi Kenshou,

Kenshou wrote: I believe that Johannes Bronkhorst's, The Two Traditions of Meditation in Ancient India (http://my.unil.ch/serval/document/BIB_A88A22EFD384.pdf) covers this subject. His conclusion was that the 4 jhanas (or dhyanas as he calls them) appear to be an innovation by the historical Buddha, but that does not include the formless realms. I haven't read it for awhile, though.


The iddhis are gained by practice of the jhanas (all eight of them) and concentration practice with the elements as objects. As there were masters of the iddhis before the Buddha's Enlightment and independently of His teachings (some suttas mention the iddhis even in persons who were not students of the Buddha) I don't see how the first four jhanas could possibly be innovations of the Buddha.
Freawaru
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby Freawaru » Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:21 pm

Hello Alex,

the practice of the jhanas lead to a rebirth on the deva worlds. No jhana practitioners without a Buddha no deva.

Alex123 wrote:Hello all,
Non-Buddhist couldn't attain Jhana, because real jhana requires suppresion of 5 hindrances. Without belief in triple gem you cannot suppress the 5th hindrance. Without understanding of anatta, you cannot fully suppress the the first two hindrances.


Suppression of the hindrances does only require concentration, not an-atta.

Some might object saying Alara Kalama and Udakka Ramaputta has attained aruppas, and by inference Jhanas. However, It is not very certain that they have achieved the real Jhana states. More likely those teachers have achieved a diluted version of those states. If they did, why didn't it lead to Nibbana, while Jhana is the path to awakening (MN36, MN52)? If they taught "Jhana", then why did the Buddha remembered his Jhana as a child and not their Jhana states? Why was it only the Buddha that has awoken to Jhana (SN 2.7) and discovered the N8P that leads to them?


If you would reread the suttas in question the Buddha experienced the jhanas as taught by his teachers in a different way than when he enlightened. The important phrase is "the pleasant feeling did not enter and not remain". This is different from normal jhana. In normal jhana you experience the pleasant feeling not as detached, remote and alien. Directly before Enlightenment the Buddha experienced the jhanas while being in vipassana. This is why he thought he could teach how to Liberate to his former teachers, they were already almost there. They would just have switched to vipassana while in jhana.

In Dhp 372 there is a statement that "there is no Jhana without panna".


Panna does not depend on vipassana.

So how could non-Buddhist ascetics have Buddhist panna?


There is no Buddhist wisdom and non-Buddhist wisdom. Wisdom is always wisdom. The sword of Manjushri is always the same.

The middle path was discovered by the Buddha not them. The other two common paths was either self-mortification or indulgence in sense pleasures. None of these are particularly suitable for Jhana.


During jhana spiritual pleasant feeling arises. To be contemplated as described in vedananupassana.

If Jhana blinds "Mara", then it has to have panna. Furthermore if Brahmas are Jhana attainers (and are in a jhanic states) then why can they be possessed and
controlled by Mara (see MN49 sutta for example).


Blinding Mara is not the same as confusing Mara. Not to mention that jhana is impermanent. Even the devas die.


Note: It is not necessary according to the suttas to develop Jhana to be reborn in rupa/aruppa loka. See mn120.

Again the bhikkhu is endowed with faith, virtues, learning, benevolence and wisdom. The bhikkhu learns, that gods born in the sphere of consciousness ... re ... in the sphere of nothingness, re ... in the sphere of neither perception nor non perception have a long life span and enjoy much pleasantness. It occurs to him. O! I should be born with gods of the sphere of neither perception nor non perception with long life, much pleasantness. This is the path and method to be born there.http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/2Majjhima-Nikaya/Majjhima3/120-sankharuppatti-e.html


In MN127 it says that one can have impure, with hindrances of sloth&torpor metta meditation and yet be reborn in rupa loka. Without overcoming ALL hindrances (including sloth & torpor, doubt, etc), one isn't technically even in full Buddhist First Jhana.


Erm, virtue and wisdom do base on samatha and the jhanas, so any bhikkhu endowed with them surely knows them. Overcoming the hindrances is something different than suppressing them.


Ending of Mental Fermentations depend on Jhana - AN 9.36


"Depend on"! Not "automatically lead to" or "are identical to".

The reason is that one has to deal with the spiritual pleasant feelings, aka jhana, deva realms.

Samadhi is proximate condition to "knowledge and vision of things as
they really are" - SN12.23


Samadhi leads to experience and identification of sati-sampajanna.
Freawaru
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby Alex123 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:39 pm

Freawaru wrote:Hello Alex,

the practice of the jhanas lead to a rebirth on the deva worlds. No jhana practitioners without a Buddha no deva.



Actually MN120 (Rebirth by aspiration) does not say that Jhana is required.

MN127 talks how one can be reborn in rupa loka even though one meditates with hindrances. Meditation hinder by hindrances is not full and complete Jhana.

http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... tti-e.html
http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... dha-e.html


With metta,

Alex
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2808
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby Kenshou » Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:35 pm

Freawaru wrote:Hi Kenshou,

Kenshou wrote: I believe that Johannes Bronkhorst's, The Two Traditions of Meditation in Ancient India (http://my.unil.ch/serval/document/BIB_A88A22EFD384.pdf) covers this subject. His conclusion was that the 4 jhanas (or dhyanas as he calls them) appear to be an innovation by the historical Buddha, but that does not include the formless realms. I haven't read it for awhile, though.


The iddhis are gained by practice of the jhanas (all eight of them) and concentration practice with the elements as objects. As there were masters of the iddhis before the Buddha's Enlightment and independently of His teachings (some suttas mention the iddhis even in persons who were not students of the Buddha) I don't see how the first four jhanas could possibly be innovations of the Buddha.


If those abilities are attainable through concentration practices, I would speculate that they could be gotten through means other than just jhana of the sort we are referring to. I assume that there have been many different sorts of concentration practice throughout history. But you may know more about this than I do.

And I second Brizzy's request for evidence that the 4 jhanas as we know them are the Buddha's redefinition of a preexisting practice. Are there any pre-buddhist sources describing anything similar? Or are we pushing the limits of written history looking for such a thing. I don't have a particular attachment to either side, but it would be interesting to know. It wouldn't be that surprising to me if that's the case, but I don't know where to find such information.
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:25 pm

Hi Alex123,

Thanks for those quotes- interesting. There seems to be some shift- I wonder if he changes it according to the audience. I suspect that he does.
with metta

RYB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Only Buddhists can attain full Jhana?

Postby Freawaru » Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:56 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Freawaru wrote:Hello Alex,

the practice of the jhanas lead to a rebirth on the deva worlds. No jhana practitioners without a Buddha no deva.



Actually MN120 (Rebirth by aspiration) does not say that Jhana is required.

MN127 talks how one can be reborn in rupa loka even though one meditates with hindrances. Meditation hinder by hindrances is not full and complete Jhana.

http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... tti-e.html
http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... dha-e.html


With metta,

Alex


Hi Alex,

I am a bit confused. Do you think that one can be "endowed with faith, virtues, learning, benevolence and wisdom" without experiencing the jhanas? This sutta describes, IMO, very high level practice. One can choose one's rebirth by intention. I do not think anyone can achieve this without knowing the jhanas.

And if I understand it correctly the other describes reaching the jhanas via metta meditation. Nothing faster to reach equanimity (fourth jhana). And the other is about the release of mind grown great.

During the jhanas the hindrances are temporally suppressed but reappear when getting back into normal wake or dream or trance. Via vipassana on the other hand one can fully overcome them in the sense that one is not affected by them any more. One can be in vipassana while sloth and torpor are there (they won't enter and remain), one can even be in vipassana while in deep sleep, dying and death. The "hindrances" do not affect one in vipassana, this is the way they are overcome.

The jhanas are not called "sharpening the sword of Manjushri" without reason. Manjushri is the Wisdom Buddha, his sword is called "Discernment". Endowed with wisdom means one can wield this sword and it would not be sharp enough if one does not sharpen it by the jhanas.
Freawaru
 
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm

Next

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Nehemia83, Pakow Chris, Thisperson and 10 guests