Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

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Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby fivebells » Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:53 pm

Is there any basis in the Pali canon for the claim that you only need to attain first jhana in order to complete the path? I think I've read that claim in at least two places, and sort of accepted it as common wisdom, but now I'm having trouble finding scriptural support for it.
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Re: Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby cooran » Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:32 pm

Hello fivebells,

You may find this teaching article by Bhikkhu Bodhi clarifies things for you:

The Jhanas and the Lay Disciple according to the Pali Suttas
http://www.viet.net/anson/ebud/ebdha267.htm

with metta,
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Re: Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby culaavuso » Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:04 am

fivebells wrote:Is there any basis in the Pali canon for the claim that you only need to attain first jhana in order to complete the path?


AN 9.36
AN 9.36: Jhana Sutta wrote:"Suppose that an archer or archer's apprentice were to practice on a straw man or mound of clay, so that after a while he would become able to shoot long distances, to fire accurate shots in rapid succession, and to pierce great masses. In the same way, there is the case where a monk... enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, feeling, perception, fabrications, & consciousness, as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'

"Staying right there, he reaches the ending of the mental fermentations. Or, if not, then — through this very dhamma-passion, this very dhamma-delight, and from the total wasting away of the first five of the fetters — he is due to be reborn [in the Pure Abodes], there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world.
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Re: Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:15 am

culaavuso wrote:
AN 9.36: Jhana Sutta wrote:"....there is the case where a monk... enters & remains in the first jhana: ....He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'


Thanks for that. However the succeeding lines in this sutta seem to paint a different picture, since they refer to the full set of 8 jhanas - why do suttas like this describe the full set of 8 jhanas if the 1st jhana alone is sufficient? :reading:

"'I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

(Similarly with the second, third, and fourth jhana.)

"'I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the dimension of the infinitude of space.' Thus it has been said. In reference to what was it said? There is the case where a monk, with the complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, [perceiving,] 'Infinite space,' enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space."
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Re: Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby SarathW » Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:01 pm

Hi SN
The way I understand What ever the level of jhanas, it is important that the meditator desern the following.
=============
He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, feeling, perception, fabrications, & consciousness, as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'

============
Some meditators may decern it in the first jhana, others may decern it in another level of jhana.
:thinking:
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Re: Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby fivebells » Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:37 pm

Thanks, everyone. I independently remembered that this is covered in the Right Concentration section of Wings to Awakening., but couldn't delete the question because I'd accidentally put it in a moderator queue.

Spiny, I think "depends" must be a confusing translation.
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Re: Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby santa100 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:46 pm

See Ven. Thanissaro's important introductory note to SN 12.70: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby binocular » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:52 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:Thanks for that. However the succeeding lines in this sutta seem to paint a different picture, since they refer to the full set of 8 jhanas - why do suttas like this describe the full set of 8 jhanas if the 1st jhana alone is sufficient?

I presume because the first jhana might not be sufficient for just anyone.

A similar formulation from MN 20:

First it says:

"There is the case where evil, unskillful thoughts — imbued with desire, aversion, or delusion — arise in a monk while he is referring to and attending to a particular theme. He should attend to another theme, apart from that one, connected with what is skillful. When he is attending to this other theme, apart from that one, connected with what is skillful, then those evil, unskillful thoughts — imbued with desire, aversion, or delusion — are abandoned and subside. With their abandoning, he steadies his mind right within, settles it, unifies it, and concentrates it. Just as a skilled carpenter or his apprentice would use a small peg to knock out, drive out, and pull out a large one; in the same way, if evil, unskillful thoughts — imbued with desire, aversion, or delusion — arise in a monk while he is referring to and attending to a particular theme, he should attend to another theme, apart from that one, connected with what is skillful. When he is attending to this other theme, apart from that one, connected with what is skillful, then those evil, unskillful thoughts — imbued with desire, aversion, or delusion — are abandoned and subside. With their abandoning, he steadies his mind right within, settles it, unifies it, and concentrates it.


and it seems like a complete instruction.

But then it goes on to say:

"If evil, unskillful thoughts — imbued with desire, aversion, or delusion — still arise in the monk while he is attending to this other theme, connected with what is skillful, he should scrutinize the drawbacks of those thoughts
/.../


The idea is that even though the meditator is applying all those practices, evil, unskilful thoughts can still arise in his mind. That doesn't mean they will, but that they could. (Until he uses the sledge-hammer, that is, gritting his teeth and using overwhelming force.)


In a similar gradual manner the application of the four sublime attitudes in AN 5.161. First one develops goodwill for the person whom one hates. If goodwill doesn't subdue the hatred, then one develops compassion. If compassion doesn't subdue the hatred, then one develops sympathetic joy. If sympathetic joy doesn't subdue the hatred, then one develops equanimity. If after that, hatred still persists, one should ignore the person. If that doesn't subdue the hatred either, then one should reflect on karma. (And this one surely will.)
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Re: Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby suttametta » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:01 pm

fivebells wrote:Is there any basis in the Pali canon for the claim that you only need to attain first jhana in order to complete the path? I think I've read that claim in at least two places, and sort of accepted it as common wisdom, but now I'm having trouble finding scriptural support for it.


Nandakovada Sutta. Even just listening to the Sutta or reading it is enough. The main point is knowing none of it is me or mine. Seeing your own subatomic particles is a waste of life.
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Re: Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby Babadhari » Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:09 pm

suttametta wrote:
fivebells wrote:Is there any basis in the Pali canon for the claim that you only need to attain first jhana in order to complete the path? I think I've read that claim in at least two places, and sort of accepted it as common wisdom, but now I'm having trouble finding scriptural support for it.


Nandakovada Sutta. Even just listening to the Sutta or reading it is enough. The main point is knowing none of it is me or mine. Seeing your own subatomic particles is a waste of life.



hi suttametta

i fail to see your point in relation to the OP. without wishing to get into an arguement with you, can you explain please.
excuse me if it is my own ignorance preventing me from seeing your point.
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Re: Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby suttametta » Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:56 am

kitztack wrote:
suttametta wrote:
fivebells wrote:Is there any basis in the Pali canon for the claim that you only need to attain first jhana in order to complete the path? I think I've read that claim in at least two places, and sort of accepted it as common wisdom, but now I'm having trouble finding scriptural support for it.


Nandakovada Sutta. Even just listening to the Sutta or reading it is enough. The main point is knowing none of it is me or mine. Seeing your own subatomic particles is a waste of life.



hi suttametta

i fail to see your point in relation to the OP. without wishing to get into an arguement with you, can you explain please.
excuse me if it is my own ignorance preventing me from seeing your point.



Ok if you read this Sutta one can see these points are not realized in a deep meditative state. Ones thinking faculty is active. This is the first jhana only. Yet, by engaging in these thought patterns, the I thought is decided upon as not me, not mine... Nibbana is had by this method.
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Re: Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:15 am

binocular wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:Thanks for that. However the succeeding lines in this sutta seem to paint a different picture, since they refer to the full set of 8 jhanas - why do suttas like this describe the full set of 8 jhanas if the 1st jhana alone is sufficient?


I presume because the first jhana might not be sufficient for just anyone.


Yes, I think that's a reasonable assumption. But there do seem to be a lot of suttas which describe progression through the "full set" of 8 jhanas, which makes me wonder.
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Re: Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:16 am

fivebells wrote:Spiny, I think "depends" must be a confusing translation.


Yes, could be, though it seems to be applied throughout the sutta.
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Re: Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:18 am

SarathW wrote:Some meditators may decern it in the first jhana, others may decern it in another level of jhana.
:thinking:


Yes, could be. But I still wonder why there are so many suttas which describe progression through all 8 jhanas?
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Re: Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby suttametta » Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:17 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
SarathW wrote:Some meditators may decern it in the first jhana, others may decern it in another level of jhana.
:thinking:


Yes, could be. But I still wonder why there are so many suttas which describe progression through all 8 jhanas?


Because Buddha wanted folks to be thorough. He also taught different methods based on the different people.
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Re: Basis for the claim that you only need 1st jhana?

Postby Aloka » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:02 pm

suttametta wrote: He also taught different methods based on the different people.


Can you provide some examples of the different methods for different people from the suttas, please suttametta ?

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