Vipassana only after jhana?

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Vipassana only after jhana?

Postby Stephen K » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:27 am

Does the meditator following the vehicle of serenity start practicing Vipassana only after he has attained the jhanas?
With metta,
Upāsaka Sumana
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Re: Vipassana only after jhana?

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:29 am

Hi Stefan,
What source are you using?
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Re: Vipassana only after jhana?

Postby Stephen K » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:33 am

None. It's a spontaneously arisen question.
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Re: Vipassana only after jhana?

Postby PeterB » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:36 am

In short Stefan ..no. Although on reflection what do you mean precisely by "the vehicle of serenity " ?
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Re: Vipassana only after jhana?

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:52 am

Hi Stefan
Here's something you might find interesting...

Guide to §29

The Pali Buddhist tradition recognizes two different approaches to the development of insight. One approach, called the vehicle of calm, (samathayana), involves the prior development of calm meditation to the level of access concentration or absorption concentration as a basis for developing insight. One who adopts this approach, the samathayanika meditator, first attains access concentration or one of the fine-material or immaterial-sphere jhanas. Then he turns to the development of insight by defining the mental and physical phenomena occuring in the jhana as mentality-materiality and seeking their conditions (See §30-31), after which he contemplates these factors in terms of the three characteristics (See §32). For this meditator, his prior attainment of access or absorption concentration is reckoned as his purification of mind.
The other approach, called the vehicle of pure insight (suddhavipassanayana), does not employ the development of calm as a foundation for developing insight. Instead the meditator, after purifying his morality, enters directly into the mindful contemplation of the changing mental and material processes in his own experience. As this contemplation gains in strength and precision, the mind becomes naturally concentrated upon the ever-changing stream of experience with a degree of concentration equal to that of access concentration. This moment-by-moment fixing of the mind on the material and mental processes in their present immediacy is known as momentary concentration (khanikasamadhi). Because it involves a degree of mental stabilisation equal to that of access concentration, this momentary concentration is reckoned as purification of mind for the vipassanayanika meditator, the meditator who adopts the vehicle of pure inisght. Such a meditator is also called a "dry insight worker" (sukkhavipassaka) because he develops insight without the "moisture" of the jhanas[4]

4: For a fuller discussion of the differences between the samathayana and vipassanayana approaches, see Gunaratana, The Jhanas, pp 51-55

-- Ch IX, compendium of meditation subjects, A Comprehensive Manual of the Abhidhamma, Bhikkhu Bodhi


kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Vipassana only after jhana?

Postby Brizzy » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:01 am

Stefan wrote:Does the meditator following the vehicle of serenity start practicing Vipassana only after he has attained the jhanas?


Yes

and no :thinking:

To attain jhana in the Buddhas discipline(according to the suttas) one would be simultaneously developing wisdom(you can't develop the Buddhas jhana without letting go of craving to a certain degree). I suppose that if the meditator had not developed wisdom to a sufficient degree by the time they attain jhana, then they would devote more effort in that direction.

:smile:
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Re: Vipassana only after jhana?

Postby puthujjana » Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:19 pm

Ben already gave a great quote from Bhikkhu Bodhi's "A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma".

However, I think that in actual practice it's more useful to use any kind of samadhi that one is able to achieve for the development of insight. As Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw said:

Mahasi Sayadaw wrote:Jhana-samadhi is indeed the best to attain, but failing that, one should acquire momentary concentration (khanika samadhi), which is equivalent to access-concentration.
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Re: Vipassana only after jhana?

Postby Reductor » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:17 pm

Stefan wrote:Does the meditator following the vehicle of serenity start practicing Vipassana only after he has attained the jhanas?


I think that's the way to go, Stefan. I developed Jhana first, and as Brizzy said, that required a good deal of wisdom, and required the development of skill in cause and effect. But I think it is helpful to think of the process as not 'jhana attainment' but as 'mind adjustment', where the result is the abandoning of the hindrances so that the mind is solid and stable and bright.

The results should be the same.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Vipassana only after jhana?

Postby bodom » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:28 pm

"It is possible to begin straightaway with insight meditation without having previously developed full concentration in jhana" (Mahasi Sayadaw, Practical Insight Meditation, Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1971, p. 58).

In Practical Insight Meditation, Mahasi Sayadaw remarks: "The Majjhima Nikaya commentary states… ‘Herein, some persons contemplate on the five aggregates of clinging as impermanent and so on without having previously developed tranquility... [i.e., jhana, or a lower level of absorption called "access concentration."] This contemplation is insight meditation’" (p. 59).

Is Jhana Necessary?
http://www.vipassanadhura.com/jhana.html

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The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Vipassana only after jhana?

Postby PeterB » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:57 pm

bodom wrote:"It is possible to begin straightaway with insight meditation without having previously developed full concentration in jhana" (Mahasi Sayadaw, Practical Insight Meditation, Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1971, p. 58).

In Practical Insight Meditation, Mahasi Sayadaw remarks: "The Majjhima Nikaya commentary states… ‘Herein, some persons contemplate on the five aggregates of clinging as impermanent and so on without having previously developed tranquility... [i.e., jhana, or a lower level of absorption called "access concentration."] This contemplation is insight meditation’" (p. 59).

Is Jhana Necessary?
http://www.vipassanadhura.com/jhana.html

:anjali:

Thats precisely what I was taught.
One of my teachers went further and advised against attempting to cultivate the Jhanas at all.
I think it is the kind of issue which if passes beyond the theoretical, is best talked through with an experienced teacher.
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Re: Vipassana only after jhana?

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:39 pm

Hi Peter,
PeterB wrote:I think it is the kind of issue which if passes beyond the theoretical, is best talked through with an experienced teacher.

I couldn't agree more.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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