Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby pelletboy » Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:25 am

Will one inevitably be born in the immaterial realms if one has attained fine material and immaterial jhanas or should one be in the said jhanas at the moment of death to be born so? If one is not born in the said realms when one is not in the particular jhana at the moment of death and one has a choice to be born where one wishes to be by what jhana you enter into at the moment of death then why was Asita the seer crying and thought he had no way to meet the Buddha after death because he attained immaterial jhanas? If one is born in higher fine material and immaterial realms then why does the dhamma encourage monks to do jhanas up to immaterial jhanas which would cause one to miss the Sasanas?
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby santa100 » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:26 pm

Pelletboy wrote:
why does the dhamma encourage monks to do jhanas up to immaterial jhanas which would cause one to miss the Sasanas?


A monk after passing the first 4 "form" jhanas and reach the next 4 "formless" jhanas should not stop there according to the teaching. There's the 9th one (last one): cessation of feeling & perception, the final steppting stone toward arthantship and enlightenment. So, the formless jahnas mentioned in the Suttas are the means to an end but are not the end themselves.

ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jhana
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby pelletboy » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:07 am

santa100 wrote:
Pelletboy wrote:
why does the dhamma encourage monks to do jhanas up to immaterial jhanas which would cause one to miss the Sasanas?


A monk after passing the first 4 "form" jhanas and reach the next 4 "formless" jhanas should not stop there according to the teaching. There's the 9th one (last one): cessation of feeling & perception, the final steppting stone toward arthantship and enlightenment. So, the formless jahnas mentioned in the Suttas are the means to an end but are not the end themselves.

ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jhana

If one would look at the case of Asita the seer, there is the risk of being reborn in the immaterial realms after death if one does not attain the fruits of the DHamma(from stream-entry to arhatship). So why encourage it?
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby Ben » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:14 am

pelletboy wrote:
santa100 wrote:
Pelletboy wrote:
why does the dhamma encourage monks to do jhanas up to immaterial jhanas which would cause one to miss the Sasanas?


A monk after passing the first 4 "form" jhanas and reach the next 4 "formless" jhanas should not stop there according to the teaching. There's the 9th one (last one): cessation of feeling & perception, the final steppting stone toward arthantship and enlightenment. So, the formless jahnas mentioned in the Suttas are the means to an end but are not the end themselves.

ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jhana

If one would look at the case of Asita the seer, there is the risk of being reborn in the immaterial realms after death if one does not attain the fruits of the DHamma(from stream-entry to arhatship). So why encourage it?


Indeed!
It is precisely why some vipassana teachers attempt to get their students well established in practicing vipassana before attempting jhanas as jhanas without a firm foundation in vipassana can be incredibly seductive and fool the unwary into thinking that they have actually become enlightened.
kind regards

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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby Zom » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:18 pm

If one is born in higher fine material and immaterial realms then why does the dhamma encourage monks to do jhanas up to immaterial jhanas which would cause one to miss the Sasanas?


Because with the right view attaining jhana will result either in non-returning or arahantship.
What is more, MN 64 tells that it is impossible to become a non-returner without a jhana:

It is not possible that one could, knowing and seeing overcome the lower bonds of the sensual world without coming to this path and method. It is like one come to a huge standing tree with heartwood, would cut the heartwood without removing the bark and sapwood. That is not possible, in the same manner, it is not possible that one could know, see and overcome the lower bonds of the sensual world, without coming to this path and method.

what is the path and method, to dispel the lower bonds of the sensual world? ânanda, the bhikkhu secluding the mind thoroughly, by dispelling things of demerit, removes all bodily transgressions that bring remorse. Then secluding the mind, from sensual thoughts and thoughts of demerit, with thoughts and discursive thoughts and with joy and pleasantness born of seclusion abides in the first jhana (an so on up the jhanas).


http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... ta-e1.html
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby pelletboy » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:14 am

Zom wrote:
If one is born in higher fine material and immaterial realms then why does the dhamma encourage monks to do jhanas up to immaterial jhanas which would cause one to miss the Sasanas?


Because with the right view attaining jhana will result either in non-returning or arahantship.
What is more, MN 64 tells that it is impossible to become a non-returner without a jhana:

It is not possible that one could, knowing and seeing overcome the lower bonds of the sensual world without coming to this path and method. It is like one come to a huge standing tree with heartwood, would cut the heartwood without removing the bark and sapwood. That is not possible, in the same manner, it is not possible that one could know, see and overcome the lower bonds of the sensual world, without coming to this path and method.

what is the path and method, to dispel the lower bonds of the sensual world? ânanda, the bhikkhu secluding the mind thoroughly, by dispelling things of demerit, removes all bodily transgressions that bring remorse. Then secluding the mind, from sensual thoughts and thoughts of demerit, with thoughts and discursive thoughts and with joy and pleasantness born of seclusion abides in the first jhana (an so on up the jhanas).


http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... ta-e1.html

It is stated in the Jhana book ny Bhante Henepola which I think he derived from the suttas and the commentaries that there were arhats who achieved arhatship through dry-insight alone without jhana much less those who achieved non-returnership without jhana...
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby Zom » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:10 pm

It is stated in the Jhana book ny Bhante Henepola which I think he derived from the suttas and the commentaries that there were arhats who achieved arhatship through dry-insight alone without jhana much less those who achieved non-returnership without jhana...


The sutta speaks for itself. Buddha says "impossible". So it's up to you to decide if the sutta lies or not ,)
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby chownah » Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:48 am

Zom,
The description of first jhana (from MN 64) is interesting. I went to the link you provided and read the entire description of the first jhana and the last sentence is this:
" ânanda, this too is a method for overcoming the five lower bonds of the sensual world."
What I'm wondering is if this is indicating that there is some other method when it says "this too is a method"? I do agree that MN64 also says "It is not possible that one could, knowing and seeing overcome the lower bonds of the sensual world without coming to this path and method."....so it seems like there is a bit of a discrepency somewhere and I guess it is probably in my understanding.
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby pelletboy » Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:42 pm

Zom wrote:
It is stated in the Jhana book ny Bhante Henepola which I think he derived from the suttas and the commentaries that there were arhats who achieved arhatship through dry-insight alone without jhana much less those who achieved non-returnership without jhana...


The sutta speaks for itself. Buddha says "impossible". So it's up to you to decide if the sutta lies or not ,)

Should one know all the jhanas to be liberated? Or is it enough to have just one, the first jhana? ANd did it say that knwoing jhana inevitably leads to liberation but liberation does not always accompany jhana? If the former is true, then there would not be any puthujana brahmas born because all of them wopuld be Noble Ones am i right?
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby Zom » Sat Aug 20, 2011 7:38 pm

Should one know all the jhanas to be liberated? Or is it enough to have just one, the first jhana? ANd did it say that knwoing jhana inevitably leads to liberation but liberation does not always accompany jhana? If the former is true, then there would not be any puthujana brahmas born because all of them wopuld be Noble Ones am i right?


Jhana is a tool needed for liberation. Just like, for example, viriya (effort) or mindfulness (sati).
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby inpractice » Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:47 pm

in my opinion, practicing jhanas help us understanding four noble truth. to be picky about the place of our rebirth, isn't it attachment to the fetter believe in a self? I think each jhana is important because there are/is difference(s) in each jhana, like cimbing stairs, each jhana is each stage in practicing concentration and right view. Try reading more about jhanas and other suttas, too. Buddhism is hard to understand just by reading it a little
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby Martin Po » Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:25 pm

Agree with Zom.

In MN 14 once-retourner Mahanama (brother of Ananda) still experiancing greed, hatred and delusion, and Buddha say him that it's because he still enjoy sensual pleasures in household life, and that one who develop jhanas have no (mondain) sensual desire.
+
B.B. and Bhante Henepola Gunaratana explain jhana also as a tool.
Also in MN 13 in "Feelings" Buddha say that even jhanas (as supramondain feelings) are suffering, imprmanent and subject to change.
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby manas » Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:32 am

pelletboy wrote:Will one inevitably be born in the immaterial realms if one has attained fine material and immaterial jhanas or should one be in the said jhanas at the moment of death to be born so? If one is not born in the said realms when one is not in the particular jhana at the moment of death and one has a choice to be born where one wishes to be by what jhana you enter into at the moment of death then why was Asita the seer crying and thought he had no way to meet the Buddha after death because he attained immaterial jhanas? If one is born in higher fine material and immaterial realms then why does the dhamma encourage monks to do jhanas up to immaterial jhanas which would cause one to miss the Sasanas?


Hi pelletboy

unless you are regularly entering into and remaining in the higher rupa or arupa jhanas, why waste precious energy worrying about these hypothetical issues? As for why the Buddha encouraged monks to do jhanas, well there's a lot written about that, but my quick precis is that the mind in it's ordinary, undeveloped state is not strong, calm or sharp enough to see and discern clearly the impermanence and thus unsatisfactoriness of all fabricated phenomena (including the pleasant phenomena in jhana itself) and thus to dis-identify with them, to not construe 'me' or 'mine' in them. (Not saying I've completed this work, far from it. I regard myself as a 'jhana beginner'. But I've dipped my toe in enough times to notice that a bit of samadhi does help the mind to see more clearly. NB I am referring to jhana as instructed in the original suttas, however, and not the commentarial version.)

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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby pegembara » Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:18 am

:goodpost:

No, sitting for hours on end is not necessary. Some people think that the longer you can sit, the wiser you must be. I have seen chickens sit on their nests for days on end! Wisdom comes from being mindful in all postures. Your practice should begin as you awaken in the morning. It should continue until you fall asleep. Don't be concerned about how long you can sit. What is important is only that you keep watchful whether you are working or sitting or going to the bathroom. Each person has his own natural pace. Some of you will die at age fifty, some at age sixty-five, and some at age ninety. So, too, your practice will not be all identical. Don't think or worry about this. Try to be mindful and let things take their natural course. Then your mind will become quieter and quieter in any surroundings. It will become still like a clear forest pool. Then all kinds of wonderful and rare animals will come to drink at the pool. You will see clearly the nature of all things (sankharas) in the world. You will see many wonderful and strange things come and go. But you will be still. Problems will arise and you will see through them immediately. This is the happiness of the Buddha.
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby tsurezuregusa » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:16 am

pelletboy wrote:Will one inevitably be born in the immaterial realms if one has attained fine material and immaterial jhanas or should one be in the said jhanas at the moment of death to be born so?

Hi,

you might want to look up Visuddhimagga, Chapter XIX and Abhidhammatthasangaha, Chapter V. Both deal with kamma and one of their kamma analysis is fourfold:

1. garuka-kamma: heavy kamma
2. asanna-kamma: near-death kamma
3. acinna-kamma: often-practiced kamma
4. katatta-kamma: stored kamma.

VisM and AdS have 2. and 3. reversed when it comes what ripens first. The above list is according to AbS, while VisM has acinna or bahula kamma on 2. and asanna kamma on 3. As far as I know, the fruit of jhana counts as garuka-kamma.

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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby Zenainder » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:58 am

Ben wrote:
Indeed!
It is precisely why some vipassana teachers attempt to get their students well established in practicing vipassana before attempting jhanas as jhanas without a firm foundation in vipassana can be incredibly seductive and fool the unwary into thinking that they have actually become enlightened.
kind regards

Ben


Good morning Ben,

Could you kindly share the thought process generally assumed by the unwary in jhanic meditation that results in a false sense of enlightenment? I am unfamiliar with the subtle undertones of this view point.

Please & thanks,

Zen
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby manas » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:59 pm

Hi pelletboy

another instructive sutta regarding this issue:

"Monks, there are these four types of individuals to be found existing in the world. Which four?

"There is the case where an individual, withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He savors that, longs for that, finds satisfaction through that. Staying there — fixed on that, dwelling there often, not falling away from that — then when he dies he reappears in conjunction with the devas of Brahma's retinue. The devas of Brahma's retinue, monks, have a life-span of an eon. A run-of-the-mill person having stayed there, having used up all the life-span of those devas, goes to hell, to the animal womb, to the state of the hungry shades. But a disciple of the Blessed One, having stayed there, having used up all the life-span of those devas, is unbound right in that state of being. This, monks, is the difference, this the distinction, this the distinguishing factor, between an educated disciple of the noble ones and an uneducated run-of-the-mill person, when there is a destination, a reappearing...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


I am not sure if 'an educated disciple of the noble ones' specifically refers to one who has (at least) attained stream entry, but in any case I take from this, once again, the importance of trying to practice jhana in the context of the Path as a whole, and not as an end in itself. Furthermore, there is a sutta where the Buddha is quoted as saying that there are also two other types of persons who have transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill: the 'dhamma follower' and the 'faith follower':



At Savatthi. "Monks, eye-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Ear-consciousness... Nose-consciousness... Tongue-consciousness... Body-consciousness... Intellect-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


So it could be that, if we can recognize ourselves somewhere amongst this group of three types of disciple, that we also need not be so fearful. But neither should we be complacent either!

metta
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Postby oceanfloor » Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:49 am

pelletboy wrote:Will one inevitably be born in the immaterial realms if one has attained fine material and immaterial jhanas or should one be in the said jhanas at the moment of death to be born so?

Material and immaterial realms are also known as Brahma realms. In DN 13 the Buddha speaks about how to be born in Brahma realm, or union with Brahma. If at the moment of death one has something in common with Brahma, that is being unencumbered, then one will be born in Brahma realm. While one is in jhana one is unencumbered.

pelletboy wrote:why was Asita the seer crying and thought he had no way to meet the Buddha after death because he attained immaterial jhanas?

Lifespan in Brahma realm is said to be quite extremely long. Being unable to make any merit in that lifespan while the fruits from good kamma fuels his existence, eventually the the fruits will run out. Running out of accumulation of good kamma, there will be greater chance to be born in lower realm, thus it will be much harder to get the chance to learn Dhamma again. That is why he cried.

pelletboy wrote:If one is born in higher fine material and immaterial realms then why does the dhamma encourage monks to do jhanas up to immaterial jhanas which would cause one to miss the Sasanas?

No, it is not up to immaterial jhanas. The Buddha encourages monks to master jhanas to attain nibbana by transcending immaterial jhanas. In DN 9 the Buddha speaks about this.

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