Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby jhana.achariya » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:43 am

BlackBird wrote:As I have been led to believe that it is in fact Morality which is the foundation of Right Concentration

Dear Jack

What you have been led to believe is not entirely correct. Jhana comes from abandoning the five hindrances. Morality alone cannot dissolve the five hindrances. Many human beings have ordained as monks & nuns, adhered to hundreds of precepts, but have been unable to dissolve the five hindrances.

In the Buddha's discourses in the Canon, such as Majjhima Nikaya 19 and 23, wisdom is held to be the means for dissolving the five hindrances.

In the Buddha's instruction on Satipatthana, mindfulness functions together with sampajanna. Sampajanna is of the faculty of wisdom.

In the Anupada Sutta, which is about jhana, the wisdom of Sariputta is emphasised.
The Blessed One said, "Monks, Sariputta is wise, of great discernment, deep discernment, wide... joyous... rapid... quick... penetrating discernment. For half a month, Sariputta clearly saw insight into mental qualities one after another. This is what occurred to Sariputta through insight into mental qualities one after another:

The quality of wisdom will influence the quality of jhana.

It is best to strive for Buddha-Jhana.

With metta

J.A.

:ugeek:
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby jhana.achariya » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:01 am

BlackBird wrote:How is it to be supposed that a non-practitioner of the Noble Eightfold Path, could attain to Jhana if Right View is the foundation of of Jhana (as you stated above)?

Dear Jack

A non-Buddhist gets stuck in jhana. Their jhana is not clear, lucid and effortless to negotiate (pass through) like the jhana of Sariputta.

It is important to understand jhana is just a signpost on the road indicating the mind has right practice. It is regarded in the same way as any aggregate, that is, an object of insight and non-attachment.

That non-attachment forms the foundation of practice is also stated in the Anapanasati Sutta:
And how are the seven factors for awakening developed & pursued so as to bring clear knowing & release to their culmination? There is the case where a monk develops concentration as a factor for awakening dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment.

The Noble Eightfold Path of the Buddha is seamless and one. It is not necessary to divide it into morality, concentration and insight. When the path is engaged, wisdom, morality and concentration function together. The Maha-salayatanika Sutta states:
"Any view belonging to one who has come to be like this is his right view. Any resolve, his right resolve. Any effort, his right effort. Any mindfulness, his right mindfulness. Any concentration, his right concentration: just as earlier his actions, speech, & livelihood were already well-purified. Thus for him, having thus developed the noble eightfold path, the four frames of reference go to the culmination of their development. The four right exertions... the four bases of power... the five faculties... the five strengths... the seven factors for Awakening go to the culmination of their development. [And] for him these two qualities occur in tandem: tranquillity & insight.

So in Buddha-Jhana, morality is not developed separately. Usually, this kind of morality is imbued with attachment to self and lust for jhana. The Buddha advised there is morality with attachment and defilement and morality without attachment and defilement.
"And what is right action? Right action, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right action with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions [of becoming]; and there is noble right action, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

Maha-cattarisaka Sutta

If morality is worldly morality, it will not form the foundation for jhana.

With metta

J.A.

:ugeek:
Last edited by jhana.achariya on Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby christopher::: » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:08 am

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. :tongue:

BlackBird wrote: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 and samadhi 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 and sati are components of what we would call mindfulness practice, and lead to insight (vipassana).

Jhana and samadhi 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*~!!

:coffee: :buddha1:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:05 am

jhana.achariya wrote:A non-Buddhist gets stuck in jhana. Their jhana is not clear, lucid and effortless to negotiate (pass through) like the jhana of Sariputta.


Interesting. Where is that written?
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
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:08 am

Hi Christopher,
christopher::: wrote: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 and samadhi are interconnected in various ways...

I suggest making use of Ven Nyanatiloka's Buddhist Dictionary:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... ict.n2.htm

Metta
Mike
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby BlackBird » Fri Sep 18, 2009 4:47 am

Dear jhana.achariya

Thank you for your expansive responses.
You raise some interesting points, and I will endevour to re-read them sometime tonight. I do not expect however that I will respond further.

:anjali:

Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby Sylvester » Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:52 am

tiltbillings wrote:
jhana.achariya wrote:A non-Buddhist gets stuck in jhana. Their jhana is not clear, lucid and effortless to negotiate (pass through) like the jhana of Sariputta.


Interesting. Where is that written?


I wonder if the belief that Jhana predated the Buddha is strictly a Commentarial interpretation of the passages on Alara Kalama's and Rama's attainments being equated with the respective Formless Attainments as we know them.

I'm using AC Thanissaro's translation of the Ariyapariyesana Sutta here -

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Although Alara is reported to have declared the dimension of Nothingness, the Buddha's report is rather odd. He proceeds to say -

"What if I were to endeavor to realize for myself the Dhamma that Alara Kalama declares he has entered & dwells in, having realized it for himself through direct knowledge.' So it was not long before I quickly entered & dwelled in that Dhamma, ..."

Instead of saying that He entered and dwelled in the dimension of Nothingness, He merely says that he attained what Alara declared.

I do not know how that was presented in the Pali, but I wonder if it might be possible that the Buddha's manner of reporting could be read as an attempt to dissociate the genuine formless attainment from what Alara declared?
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:59 am

Sylvester wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
jhana.achariya wrote:A non-Buddhist gets stuck in jhana. Their jhana is not clear, lucid and effortless to negotiate (pass through) like the jhana of Sariputta.


Interesting. Where is that written?


I wonder if the belief that Jhana predated the Buddha is strictly a Commentarial interpretation of the passages on Alara Kalama's and Rama's attainments being equated with the respective Formless Attainments as we know them.


I cannot think of any reason to assume that the jhanas are stricly a Buddhist innovation. There seems to be enough in the suttas that suggests otherwise.
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
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby Sylvester » Fri Sep 18, 2009 7:06 am

tiltbillings wrote:I cannot think of any reason to assume that the jhanas are stricly a Buddhist innovation. There seems to be enough in the suttas that suggests otherwise.


Thanks tilt.

Might you be able to point me to some of these suttas?

Some have pointed to DN 1's references to how certain Eternalist views arise from meditators accessing past life memories based on "ceto samadhi". They argue that "ceto samadhi" is broad enough to include Jhana, but I just find it odd that the same sutta uses "Jhana" in a different section of the sutta (those expounding Nibbana here-&-now) and ceto-samadhi in the Eternalist section.
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Sep 18, 2009 7:37 am

DN1 would have been the first text I would have pointed, but at thisa point I do not have time to rumage through the suttas, but yours is an interesting question that is worth considering.
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
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby christopher::: » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:48 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Christopher,
christopher::: wrote: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 and samadhi are interconnected in various ways...

I suggest making use of Ven Nyanatiloka's Buddhist Dictionary:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... ict.n2.htm

Metta
Mike


Thanks Mike! Wikipedia has been helpful too.

:reading:

By the way, we had a somewhat related discussion going over at ZFI awhile back that i bumped alive again today. Please feel free to jump in, or just read a bit and comment here, if interested...

Is zazen different from samatha-vipassana?
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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