How does bhavanga relate to samatha meditation?

Discussion of Abhidhamma and related Commentaries

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

User avatar
xinuflux
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 1:50 am
Location: S. Eastern USA
Contact:

How does bhavanga relate to samatha meditation?

Postby xinuflux » Sat Jul 19, 2014 2:04 pm

While reading Sayalay Susila's "Unraveling the Mysteries of Mind and Body Through Abhidhamma" I noticed this sentence:

"New practitioners, when developing their concentration on the meditation object, owing to the weakness of mindfulness, sometimes let their minds fall into the bhavanga state."

I thought the ideal of samatha meditation was to reach the still points. Maybe I'm misunderstanding how optimal calm can happen while the mind is "processing" things outside of the bhavanga intervals. Thanks for any pointers.

User avatar
JeffR
Posts: 145
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:54 am
Location: Minnesota, USA

Re: How does bhavanga relate to samatha meditation?

Postby JeffR » Sun Jul 20, 2014 4:14 am

It seems to me that letting your mind fall into the bhavanga states is what we normally refer to as "spacing out" or "getting lost in the zone".

User avatar
robertk
Posts: 1619
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: How does bhavanga relate to samatha meditation?

Postby robertk » Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:34 am

if she had said that some people fall asleep while meditating it might have been clearer.

Abhaya-Achim_Bayer
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:04 am

Re: How does bhavanga relate to samatha meditation?

Postby Abhaya-Achim_Bayer » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:17 am

As far as I know, the aim of samatha meditation is to reach samaadhi, i.e. a one-pointed concentration on any object of sense- or mind-perception (vi;n;naana).

Then, concentration is placed on the objects of mental-perception within the dhamma-dhaatu.
That is to say, the contemplation of impermanence and so on, in vipassanaa meditation (first jhaana).

A kind of nothingness or blanking out is not desirable.

Whether or not some blanking out or dullness is accurately described as bava:nga is an interesting question.

I would be delighted to see further remarks, primary sources etc on this.

:anjali:

Abhaya

:buddha1:

SarathW
Posts: 4401
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: How does bhavanga relate to samatha meditation?

Postby SarathW » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:03 am

robertk wrote:if she had said that some people fall asleep while meditating it might have been clearer.


:goodpost:

See Page 49:



http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhidhamma.pdf

paul
Posts: 266
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 11:27 pm
Location: Australia

Re: How does bhavanga relate to samatha meditation?

Postby paul » Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:46 pm

Sleep indicates a failure of mindfulness; mindfulness must be maintained, even in absorption.

The 5 jhana factors:
1. Bringing the mind to the object (arousing, applying)
2. Keeping the mind with the object (sustaining, stretching)
3. Finding, having interest in the object (joy)
4. Being happy and content with the object (happiness)
5. Unifying the mind with the object (fixing).

"The final stage will be the sinking in, absorption or unification with the object. This is one-pointedness. Again there must be some mindfulness at the very quiet and still stage before absorption. Otherwise one may lapse into deep sleep or is pulled away by subtle thoughts. At this last phase, the Visuddimagga quotes joy as overcoming restlessness, bliss as overcoming ill-will, and one-pointedness as overcoming sensual desires because it stops the mind from flitting to sense objects and fixes onto the meditation object."

http://www.buddhanet.net/mettab3.htm

Sloth and torpor, one of the 5 hindrances is mental, while sleep is physical, however unwise attention to torpor can lead to sleep. Each of the 5 jhana factors opposes one of the 5 hindrances.

dhamma follower
Posts: 336
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:48 am

Re: How does bhavanga relate to samatha meditation?

Postby dhamma follower » Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:00 am

paul wrote: sleep is physical


Greeting Paul,

While there are physical processes during sleep, we can not say that sleep is physical. Sleep is mental phenomena. During sleep with dreaming, there is thinking, a mental process. During fast sleep, it is the series of bhavanga cittas that keep arising and passing away, still a mental process.

Best wishes,

D.F


Return to “Abhidhamma”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine