Anapanasati Vs. jhana

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby daverupa » Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:59 pm

There's an interesting document linked in the Early Buddhism resources thread which convincingly argues that "secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states" should instead translate into "in order to become secluded from sensual pleasures, in order to become secluded from unwholesome states". The Pali jhana boilerplate is possibly just a tad corrupt.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby suttametta » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:38 pm

Nyana wrote:
legolas wrote:Not really. Nimitta, Nimitta - so important they mentioned it once?

Indeed, if you're referring to a sign of light (obhāsanimitta) and a sign of form (rūpanimitta) mentioned in MN 128 Upakkilesa Sutta. Some contemporary teachers and commentators have suggested that the sign of light (obhāsanimitta) and/or the sign of form (rūpanimitta) mentioned in MN 128 Upakkilesa Sutta are canonical references to what later came to be designated as the counterpart sign (paṭibhāganimitta) in the commentaries, and thus establishes that these nimittas were considered an essential aspect of the development of jhāna even in the early tradition.

There are a couple of points worth mentioning in this regard. Firstly, MN 128 is the only discourse where the term nimitta is used in this context. None of the other canonical occurrences of nimitta as either samādhinimitta, samatha nimitta, or cittanimitta refer to any of these nimittas being an obhāsanimitta or rūpanimitta as explained in the Upakkilesa Sutta.

Secondly, nowhere in the Upakkilesa Sutta does it state that either the obhāsanimitta or the rūpanimitta are essential prerequisites for attaining the first jhāna. Nor does this sutta maintain that the complete elimination of any experience of the five sensory spheres is essential for the arising of either of these two cognitive signs. Therefore, while these apperceptions of light and visions of form can occur during the course of meditational development, there is no explicit statement here, or elsewhere in the suttas, that such apperceptions must arise for one to enter jhāna. Indeed, even the commentarial tradition doesn’t maintain that either of these types of nimittas are essential for the first jhāna.

For example, the Vimuttimagga takes the instructions offered in the Upakkilesa Sutta to refer to the development of the divine eye. This is understandable, as Anuruddhā, the main interlocutor in this discourse with the Buddha, was later designated as the foremost disciple endowed with the divine eye.

And not even the Visuddhimagga limits counterpart signs to apperceptions of light or forms. According to the Visuddhimagga analysis, of the thirty meditations which lead to jhāna, twenty-two have counterpart signs as object. And of these, only nineteen require any sort of counterpart sign which is apprehended based solely on sight, and can therefore give rise to a mental image resulting from that nimitta (the ten stages of corpse decomposition and nine kasiṇas, excluding the air kasiṇa which can be apprehended by way of either sight or tactile sensation).

And so taking all of the above into consideration, according to the early Pāḷi dhamma there is no need to establish a jhāna nimitta (or samathanimitta or cittanimitta) apart from the jhāna factors. And even according to the Vimuttimagga and Visuddhimagga — where the presentation of the method using a counterpart sign is explicitly developed — there is no suggestion that a counterpart sign necessarily must be a sign of light (obhāsanimitta) and/or a sign of form (rūpanimitta). Indeed, according to the Vimuttimagga, when employing mindfulness of breathing in order to attain jhāna, the counterpart sign should be concomitant with the pleasant feeling which arises as one attends to the breath at the nostril area or the area of the upper lip, which is likened to the pleasant feeling produced by a breeze. The text says that this counterpart sign doesn’t depend on color or form, and any adventitious mental images which arise in the course of practice should not be attended to.

All the best,

Geoff


Is kasina meditation necessary for mastery over the elements, walking in space, diving in rocks, etc...? Or does these also arise from jhana due to anapanasati?
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby starter » Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:09 am

Greetings, and Happy Chinese New year to all Chinese friends!

The Buddha used Anapanasati to reach the 4th jhana, and gain the supernormal power. I believe that Anapanasati alone can lead us to the "mastery over the elements, walking in space, diving in rocks, etc...", though kasina meditation can also lead to that.

By the way, Anapanasati taught in MN 118 is for practicing four mindfulness (the 7th path factor), not really for entering deep jhana, as I understand. From the suttas I've gotten a sense that the Buddha probably used simple breath meditation (watching in & out breathing, like the first tetrad of MN 118) for entering jhana. The jhana experience he obtained when he was a child certainly had nothing to do with more than watching the breath, I suppose.

Metta to all!
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby suttametta » Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:41 am

starter wrote:Greetings, and Happy Chinese New year to all Chinese friends!

The Buddha used Anapanasati to reach the 4th jhana, and gain the supernormal power. I believe that Anapanasati alone can lead us to the "mastery over the elements, walking in space, diving in rocks, etc...", though kasina meditation can also lead to that.

By the way, Anapanasati taught in MN 118 is for practicing four mindfulness (the 7th path factor), not really for entering deep jhana, as I understand. From the suttas I've gotten a sense that the Buddha probably used simple breath meditation (watching in & out breathing, like the first tetrad of MN 118) for entering jhana. The jhana experience he obtained when he was a child certainly had nothing to do with more than watching the breath, I suppose.

Metta to all!


Thank you. How does one differentiate practicing anapanasati for the four foundations and seven factors vs. practicing anapanasati to enter the 4th jhana? Isn't the factor of concentration fulfilled as stated in MN 118 (meaning 4th jhana)? Or does one need to assume one is in a lower jhana via MN 118?
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby starter » Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:16 am

Greetings!

I tend to think that Anapanasati described in MN 118 is for those who have mastered jhana to use it to practice 4 mindfulness, not for beginners to try to enter jhana this way. This is also one of the reasons that I think MN 10 should be practiced before MN 118.

Metta to all!
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