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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - Anapanasati Vs. jhana

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 Mkoll » Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:22 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Mkoll wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:I don't think jhana is essential for the practice, though some piti and sukha is undoubtedly helpful in developing samadhia. In terms of the 2nd and 3rd tetrads I've found the approach of looking for pleasant feeling to be helpful - there's some discussion here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... +1st+jhana.
The commentaries don't agree on the requirement for jhana, and and of course defining jhana is quite a tricky subject. ;)

It's essential eventually. Right concentration is defined as the four jhanas:
Perhaps, but there isn't a consensus on what jhana looks like in practice.
Are you saying that "perhaps" right concentration is essential to the path?

SN 45.8 wrote:"And what, monks, is right concentration? (i) There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. (ii) With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. (iii) With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' (iv) With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This, monks, is called right concentration."
Peace,
James
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby starter » Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:44 am

AN 9.36 (& MN 64):
...

"I tell you, the ending of the assavas depends on the first jhana.' Thus it has been said. In reference to what was it said?..., there is the case where a monk... enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal, accompanied by directed application (of mind to a meditation object) & sustaining (the mind on the meditation object). He regards whatever phenomena there [in the jhana?] that are connected with form, feeling, perception, volitions, & 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 the deathlessness:

'This is the peaceful, this is the sublime, that is, the stilling of all volitions*, the relinquishing of all attachments, the ending of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbana.' [*See viewtopic.php?f=25&t=19351]
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:14 am

Mkoll wrote:Are you saying that "perhaps" right concentration is essential to the path?


No, just observing that there isn't a consensus on what jhana and right concentration actually look like.
"I ride tandem with the random, Things don't run the way I planned them, In the humdrum."
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby starter » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:14 am

Greetings!

I'd like to share the following that I learned from Pa Auk Sayadaw about samadhi pactice (thanks to his very helpful personal guidance):

1) For Anapanasati in and out BREATH should be the meditation object. To my understanding, "setting mindfulness to the fore" really means focusing attention on the actual in and out BREATH in front -- at the nostril or the upper lip. Based upon my very limited experience, the middle point of the nostril is better than the upper lip since at this point in and out breath can be clearly experienced (as the movement of a saw). By focusing on the other parts of the body such as the chest or the belly the actual BREATH can't be felt.

2) "Experiencing the whole [breath] body" means experiencing both the in-breath and the out-breath. I previously gave up the method because I interpreted "experiencing the whole [breath] body" as following the entire breath and I couldn't do so by focusing only at the nostril. Now I understood I only need to experience the in-breath and the out-breath at the nostril. Since the Buddha taught us "setting mindfulness to the fore", following the entire breath doesn't sound right here.

3) Focusing on one point helps to reach and maintain samadhi better than focusing on multiple points (e.g. following the entire breath).

4) When possible, the in-breath and the out-breath at the nostril should be attended to for all postures, during all activities. During meditation, no matter sitting, walking, standing, and sleeping, the breath should be the only object of the attention. During non-meditation activities, I personally think it is possible for lay people for many, if not most, of our daily activities. I suppose we don't have to attend to only the breath during these activities (such as driving), but we can attend to both the activities and the breath. But this is only my personal interpretation, which is not confirmed by Pa Auk Sayadaw.

5) The 16 steps of Anapanasati as taught in MN 118 are for those who have mastered jhana to practice the four mindfulness, not for beginners to learn/master jhana. Beginners like me should practice only the first tetrad.

I had only a short time to learn from the Venerable Sayaday, so there might be misinterpretations of his teaching. If so, please correct me.

Metta to all!
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby starter » Sun Sep 21, 2014 4:38 pm

I'd like to add the following to my last post:

1) The method described in my last post leads to mundane samadhi, singleness of mind, which has the observation of precepts as the foundation but is not yet equipped with the other 7 path factors. This is confirmed by Pa Auk Sayadaw. I personally think establishing the mundane samadhi is helpful for developing the path factors, and can be transformed to the noble samadhi. I'm stilll trying to figure out how to incorporate the practice of sila into this system of samadhi practice.

2) Using breath as a meditation object to serve as a body center (an anchoring point for the mind) during our daily activities is helpful not only for our samadhi practice, but also for calming/concentrating the mind and pausing for circumspection/wise reflection before and during actions. If it's not possible to attend to breath during an activity, I'll try to remind myself to pause before and during the activity for a little while to attend to breath.

3) For the probably more accurate interpretation of 'parimukham', the area at the tip of the nose (nāsikagge) or at the lip of the mouth (mukhanimitte), instead of "front" or "fore", please see
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=5636.

Your input would be appreciated. Metta to all! :anjali:
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby starter » Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:23 pm

Greetings!

Just to share my new understanding of the 16 steps of Ānāpānasati, which appear to be sequential.

MN 118:

“And how, bhikkhus, is mindfulness of breathing developed and cultivated, so that it is of great fruit and great benefit?

“Here a bhikkhu, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty hut, sits down; having folded his legs crosswise, set his body erect, and established mindfulness in front of him, ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.

Mindfulness of body

“Breathing in long, he understands: ‘I breathe in long’; or breathing out long, he understands: ‘I breathe out long.’ Breathing in short, he understands: ‘I breathe in short’; or breathing out short, he understands: ‘I breathe out short.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing the whole body of breath’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing the whole body of breath.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in tranquillising the bodily formation (breathing)’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out tranquillising the bodily formation.’

[Practicing mindfulness of body (breathing) while not yet reaching jhana, but leading to the first jhanan with piti and sukha]

Mindfulness of feeling

“He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing rapture’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing rapture.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing pleasure’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing pleasure.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing the mental formation’ (feeling and perception); he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing the mental formation. ’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in tranquillising the mental formation’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out tranquillising the mental formation.’

[After reaching the 1st jhana with vitaka, vicara, piti, and sukha, withdrawing from the 1st jhana and practicing mindfulness of feeling. By the way, to my understanding, the 1st jhana is equivalent to access concentration/Upacara samadhi (if accompanied by piti and sukha).]

Mindfulness of Mind (States)

“He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing the mind’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing the mind.’

[Following the contemplation of feeling in the 2nd tetrad which was done after withdrawing from the 1st jhana, continuing with mindfulness of mind states -- now the mind is not in jhana.]


He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in gladdening the mind’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out gladdening the mind.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in concentrating the mind’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out concentrating the mind.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in releasing the mind’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out releasing the mind.’

[Experiencing the mind (states) could lead to "sluggishness of mind, or the mind is distracted outwardly". In order to practice mindfulness of the Dhamma, the mind needs to enter jhana again by first gladdening the mind. This can be done either through directing the mind towards some pleasurable/inspiring object in the case of sluggish or distracted mind (and then withdrawing and returning to the breath to bring about piti/sukha), or through consistently watching, if possible, in- and out- breath to bring about piti and sukha which gladden the mind. For relevant discussions on how to gladdening the mind, please see "How to gladden the mind - an important part of meditation
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=6631&hilit=+gladden"). After the mind is gladdened, then concentrating and releasing* the mind via mindfulness of breathing.

*"Releasing the mind" seems to be a better rendering than "liberating the mind", since it's only temporary releasing of the mind from the defilements/hindrances, and probably also vitaka, vicara, piti, sukha in the higher jhanas.
]

Mindfulness of the Dhamma

“He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in contemplating impermanence’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out contemplating impermanence. ’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in contemplating fading away’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out contemplating fading away.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in contemplating cessation’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out contemplating cessation.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in contemplating relinquishment’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out contemplating relinquishment. ’

[After reaching at least the 1st jhana, when the mind is free from defilements/hindrances, then contemplating the Dhamma. Only a hindrance free mind can see the Dhamma. Since in access concentration the mind is hindrance free, it should be able to see the Dhamma and realize nibbana.]

“Bhikkhus, that is how mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated, so that it is of great fruit and great benefit.

Metta to all! :anjali:
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