natural progression of meditation?

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:39 pm

Magoo wrote:Below is an interview that I stumbled upon. I have never heard of the Monk or the Website before but I found the interview excellent reading and very useful in regard to some of your questions Alan.

http://www.wiseattention.org/blog/2012/09/07/learning-meditation-from-the-buddha-a-meeting-with-ven-analayo/


Quite a nice Q&A, this.

:thumbsup:
    "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: natural progression of meditation?

Postby danieLion » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:18 pm

daverupa wrote:
Magoo wrote:Below is an interview that I stumbled upon. I have never heard of the Monk or the Website before but I found the interview excellent reading and very useful in regard to some of your questions Alan.

http://www.wiseattention.org/blog/2012/09/07/learning-meditation-from-the-buddha-a-meeting-with-ven-analayo/


Quite a nice Q&A, this.

:thumbsup:

Thanks Dave. I'm stealing this and posting it in the "REAL Meditation Thread: The Originalist Thesis," okay?
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby Sylvester » Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:30 am

daverupa wrote:
Magoo wrote:Below is an interview that I stumbled upon. I have never heard of the Monk or the Website before but I found the interview excellent reading and very useful in regard to some of your questions Alan.

http://www.wiseattention.org/blog/2012/09/07/learning-meditation-from-the-buddha-a-meeting-with-ven-analayo/


Quite a nice Q&A, this.

:thumbsup:


I think this is where we find an oft-neglected aspect of formal sitting - the attitude accompanying the contemplation. It's not any old thinking, but always the triad of kusala sankappa - renunciation, non-ill will, harmlessness.
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby rahul3bds » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:04 pm

alan... wrote:i'm SO sick of all the conflict and confusion regarding jhana interpretation. i find that there is so much confusion that there will never be a 100% resolution without a time machine or until metteya shows up.

that being said, what happens if i just give up and watch my breath and do nothing else? and then after, or during, i practice vipassana? surely it's possible i will end up going through the jhanas naturally without really knowing it, or it's possible this is wrong concentration? i have no clue.

thoughts?


you (and probably any being that can think sanely for that matter), have already experienced the first three jhanas without even realizing it! Remember the day, you were lost in thoughts, pondering over "something", and then when you finally have that "something" figured out, you smiled to yourself and being satisfied with your new finding, you began sharing it with others.....First three jhanas are as simple as that(starting from thinking to forming an opinion to feeling happy to becoming satisfied).
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby K.Dhamma » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:38 pm

In the words of Ven. Ajahn Chah - (Translated) "If you practice in order to get to nirvana/jhana/anything, you will never get there. Letting go without striving is the only path that leads to liberation."

Much Metta - :buddha2:
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby reflection » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:48 pm

Hi Alan,

First of all, yes, I think just focusing on the breath is a good idea. Please do so. I'm just going to say some things that I hope help you. :smile:

That having said, I acknowledge the landscape of the jhana teachings is quite a mess, and it's quite sad really for it to be this way. But in my eyes it can only mean, jhana is not easily achieved, it is rare. If it were common, there wouldn't be so much different opinions.

But the way this landscape is, is not a problem if you have faith in a specific approach. And I think your problem is, you do not have such faith in a specific teacher or teaching. That's good for it keeps your options open, but as you noticed, it can also become a bit of a problem. I really want to help you, not hurt or confuse you even more, so don't take this the wrong way, but perhaps that lack of faith is because you may actually not have achieved a jhana? Because, before the Buddha rediscovered the path, he recollected his jhana experience as a child and immediately knew, that yes, that's the way towards nibbana. So I personally understand jhana to be so powerful, they should give us a similar faith of "YES, this is the way". If in certain systems you experienced "this and that jhana", but gave no such confidence.. maybe reconsider if that's the right system for you.

Again, I'm very sorry if it makes you doubt even more, but perhaps this can help. With all respect, I think you are very well on the path and a very skilled meditator already. But here are some other perspectives that may help more:

Instead of focusing on the jhanas, how about focusing on what keeps the jhanas from arising? I'm talking about the five hindrances here. If a teacher can give a good explanation of the hindrances - why they arise and how they prevent jhana, and also, how they relate to the rest of the path (and nibbana), I'd say that's a teacher to follow. If a teacher fails to explain to you how removing specific hindrances relates to specific states of meditation, that may not be a good a sign. I mean, we are often without the 'worldly' version of sensual desire, anger, restlessness, sleepiness and doubt. For example, when we are taking the car for a drive, when we are painting a wall, things like that. Does that make it jhana? No, of course not. Everybody who drives a car would become enlightened, which obviously is not the case, just look at how some people behave in traffic ;) . So the hindrances must be something very specific. A teacher failing to address this, in my humble opinion, may not really understand jhana either.

Or how about forgetting jhana in another way, by steering the mind directly towards nibbana? I don't know if you have the courage or the insight, but if you do, you can also bypass all interpretations of jhana. By its nature, the path will take you through them with this approach. This is another way of saying: just let go. But it takes a mind that is willing to give up its own existence. This was the Buddha's instruction also, to paraphrase: "A mind willing to let go will achieve samadhi." It just will. Just keep letting go of everything. Of ideas of jhana, thoughts about jhana, of "you", off "you" controlling anything, of the mind, of consciousness, of everything. And by that nature, it must go the right way. Whatever jhana is, by letting go, they will come. The Buddha promised this.

Please don't take this the wrong way, not as me correcting you, or anything. I just hope you can find some insight in this, however small. It may just be the tiny change of mind that you need. If not - please be willing to ignore this entire post. It's not easy to find the right words to say to people when communicating only by text.

With metta!
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby rahul3bds » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:19 pm

reflection wrote:jhana is not easily achieved, it is rare. If it were common, there wouldn't be so much different opinions.


jhana is impossible, let alone rare if one is not experiencing genuine pīti and sukha. From what i see, nobody has ever been able to experience genuine pīti and sukha during meditation including teachers from various traditions or we would be practicing jhana rather than discussing it. Point is all traditions hold that thinking is bad and try to skip the first jhana, thats where the problem lies. If you're not experiencing the first, you won't experience the remaining three.
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:08 pm

rahul3bds wrote:jhana is impossible, let alone rare if one is not experiencing genuine pīti and sukha...


So how would you describe genuine piti and sukha?
Well, oi dunno...
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby rahul3bds » Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:02 am

porpoise wrote:
rahul3bds wrote:jhana is impossible, let alone rare if one is not experiencing genuine pīti and sukha...


So how would you describe genuine piti and sukha?


vitakka is precisely your "skeptical thoughts", vicāra is precisely the "lasting conclusion" to your "skeptical thoughts", pīti is precisely the "joy" born of that "lasting conclusion", sukha is precisely the "satisfaction" born of that "joy".
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby kmath » Thu May 09, 2013 7:56 pm

alan... wrote:i'm SO sick of all the conflict and confusion regarding jhana interpretation. i find that there is so much confusion that there will never be a 100% resolution without a time machine or until metteya shows up.

that being said, what happens if i just give up and watch my breath and do nothing else? and then after, or during, i practice vipassana? surely it's possible i will end up going through the jhanas naturally without really knowing it, or it's possible this is wrong concentration? i have no clue.

thoughts?



Just mediate on the breath and see what happens. Discover the truth for yourself!

If you're very concentrated on the breath for a long period of time, the breath will disappear on its own and a nimitta MIGHT arise in its place. Then fine use the nimitta as your object. But if the nimitta doesn't arise just stay with concentrated mind. You can usually kind of "see" the mind even if it's not glowing like a nimitta. But even if the breath never disappears then who cares? Just stay with the breath. You can still have the piti and sukkha arise and that's great. Plus with a bit of steadiness some people would call that first jhana. It doesn't matter anyway. Just keep meditating.
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby kmath » Fri May 10, 2013 7:00 pm

reflection wrote:
Instead of focusing on the jhanas, how about focusing on what keeps the jhanas from arising? I'm talking about the five hindrances here. If a teacher can give a good explanation of the hindrances - why they arise and how they prevent jhana, and also, how they relate to the rest of the path (and nibbana), I'd say that's a teacher to follow. If a teacher fails to explain to you how removing specific hindrances relates to specific states of meditation, that may not be a good a sign. I mean, we are often without the 'worldly' version of sensual desire, anger, restlessness, sleepiness and doubt. For example, when we are taking the car for a drive, when we are painting a wall, things like that. Does that make it jhana? No, of course not. Everybody who drives a car would become enlightened, which obviously is not the case, just look at how some people behave in traffic ;) . So the hindrances must be something very specific. A teacher failing to address this, in my humble opinion, may not really understand jhana either.

Reflection


Also this is very good advice.
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby Crazy cloud » Tue May 14, 2013 3:50 pm

K.Dhamma wrote:In the words of Ven. Ajahn Chah - (Translated) "If you practice in order to get to nirvana/jhana/anything, you will never get there. Letting go without striving is the only path that leads to liberation."

Much Metta - :buddha2:


Indeed - are a newbie myself, and progress comes "out of nowhere" by just" stubbornly sitting there" ... dont expecting anything and actually dont caring either - very simplistic and easy

you are where you supposed to be - just breathe

:candle:

Studying texts and stiff meditation can make you
lose your Original Mind.
A solitary tune by a fisherman, though, can be
an invaluable treasure.
Dusk rain on the river, the moon peeking in and
out of the clouds;
Elegant beyond words, he chants his songs night
after night.

(Ikkyu Sojun)
your name Mori means forest like the infinite fresh green distances of your blindness
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby kirk5a » Tue May 14, 2013 4:15 pm

Crazy cloud wrote:
K.Dhamma wrote:In the words of Ven. Ajahn Chah - (Translated) "If you practice in order to get to nirvana/jhana/anything, you will never get there. Letting go without striving is the only path that leads to liberation."

I would like to see the source for this quotation, please.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby kirk5a » Tue May 14, 2013 4:56 pm

Ajahn Chah wrote:Following the Middle Path

It's the shortest and most direct path. You can come and argue with me on points of Dhamma, but I won't join in. Rather than argue back, I'd just offer some reflections for you to consider. Please understand what the Buddha taught: let go of everything. Let go with knowing and awareness. Without knowing and awareness, the letting go is no different than that of cows and water buffaloes. Without putting your heart into it, the letting go isn't correct. You let go because you understand conventional reality. This is non-attachment. The Buddha taught that in the beginning stages of Dhamma practice you should work very hard, develop things thoroughly and attach a lot. Attach to the Buddha. Attach to the Dhamma. Attach to the Sangha. Attach firmly and deeply. That's what the Buddha taught. Attach with sincerity and persistence and hold on tight.

http://www.amaravati.org/teachingsofaja ... cle/489/P4
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby dxm_dxm » Wed May 15, 2013 2:57 am

(And then the Buddha goes through the 16 steps of anapanasati)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Things like this are confusing me too. This is clearly instruction of insight meditation or in any case not concentration meditation.

In concentration meditation you just fix the mind on the tip of the nose and observe the sensation, not analise it to see if the breath is long or short, not try to feel the whole body etc. If a sensation arises you just observe it and return your atention to the tip of the nose. Please somewone tell me what is the name of this concentration technique where you just fix on that spot and then change to the pleasant sensation and enter jhana ?
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 15, 2013 8:35 am

Exact interpretations vary, but it seems that the initial steps are usually interpreted as a progression of setting up mindfulness, settling the mind on the breath, calming the breath and body, and so on.
This step, "releasing the mind", is generally interpreted to be referring to Jhana:
[12] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.'

    Footnote: AN 9.34 shows how the mind, step by step, is temporarily released from burdensome mental states of greater and greater refinement as it advances through the stages of jhana.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


:anjali:
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby Zenainder » Wed May 29, 2013 4:14 pm

To the OP:

Have you taken into consideration the hindrance of doubt? It is better observed than engaged imho. After insight dawns, then your doubt will subside.

Anyone, feel free to correct me if I am wrong. Objectively (not engaged) observe the doubt and see from which it arises.

Metta,

Zen
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby Zenainder » Thu May 30, 2013 2:15 pm

Regarding jhana:

I've seen the jhana factors arise a couple of times in my practice (particularly piti and sukkha and more specifically "showering rapture / bliss / piti"). At the time they arose I refrained from pursuing, acquiring, or obtaining anything, except for mindfulness while focused on the in and out of the breath. My resolve was not where was I going or wanting to arrive, but more of an attitude of already having arrived. I cheerfully sat alone in my apartment with no expectations. In fact, I was not aware of jhana at the time and in my recent studies of jhana did I relate with what I read.

Please let me be clear: I am not speaking as though I have perfected or attained jhana. Perhaps it was "wrong jhana factors" or "right jhana factors", I don't know, but what I do know is the bliss / joy and happiness that is there far exceeds anything I've ever known. They did not come as a result of anything, they were just there... if that makes any sense.

In the end, I tend to encourage anyone meditating to remain focused on the breath, be mindful, be objective, and let come what may. I do not fret: how long and where I am going. I simply watch my thoughts, body, and primarily the breath as they arise. I watch the breath at the tip of my nose. Realize that atman and this existence is nothing, in which is not a destination, state, conceptualized notion, so it won't come by desire or ambition. Just sit and watch your conditioned thoughts arise, "note", disappear, and breathe.

Ironically I tend to believe jhana arises in the "effort" of nothing, "striving" (a contradictory and poor word) of letting the mind settle / still.
I feel as though I am deficient in my explanation, but glean what you can if you wish.

Metta,

Zen
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