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: ... +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 (i) There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought &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."
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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.
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

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


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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