natural progression of meditation?

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

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Re: natural progression of meditation?

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Re: natural progression of meditation?

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Re: natural progression of meditation?

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K.Dhamma
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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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reflection
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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!
Reflection

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Re: natural progression of meditation?

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Re: natural progression of meditation?

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

"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

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Re: natural progression of meditation?

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Re: natural progression of meditation?

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Re: natural progression of meditation?

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Re: natural progression of meditation?

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

your name Mori means forest like the infinite fresh green distances of your blindness

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kirk5a
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

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

"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

"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?

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Re: natural progression of meditation?

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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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Zenainder
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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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