Why are jhanas considered superior to sensual pleasures?

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: Why are jhanas considered superior to sensual pleasures?

Postby fraaJad » Mon May 12, 2014 7:38 pm

Greetings,

In my experience (doing what ppl in this forum seem to call "sutta jhanas," as taught by Bhante Vimalaramsi), it is just as some of you have said -- if you WANT the jhana, you ain't gonna get it. So if you got there, it is because you have (temporarily) renounced some craving. This gets more and more subtle as you progress through the jhanas. Any tiny little "ah, let's make this happen" can throw you off balance and give you a restless sit. It can be super frustrating. :-) Especially when you have a great sit one day, and -- even seemingly subconsciously -- think "oh cool, now I can do that, let's do that again tomorrow!".. Well, it ain't gonna happen. :tantrum:

Because of that, doing the jhanas is a big big lesson on renunciation. You have to *really* relax the craving, mentally and physically, and the clinging (i.e. the thoughts about attaining jhana). Next time you sit, take the first two minutes and quietly ask yourself, am I wanting anything right now? Find where in your body there is tension in that, and relax it. (I find this often in my chest, head, and spine. Sometimes I'm leaning forward ever so slightly -- mentally and physically!) Say to yourself, "Let's let that go for just this sitting." Accept whatever is going to happen. Get out of the way. Relax and watch, stay on your object. When you get knocked off your object, relax again, return again. Rinse and repeat.

Sensual pleasures, on the other hand, require no renunciation of anything. There's no lesson in that.

All that said, yes, it's easy to get addicted to jhana. It's a subtler form of addiction, and you're not going to break precepts to keep getting your fix. :spy: (As Thanissaro Bhikkhu says, "Nobody ever killed anyone over jhana." :jumping: ) But there's still craving and clinging there. Eventually, whatever jhana you're working with gets a little boring, and you develop some dispassion for it.. You relax the craving and boom -- next jhana! And oh it feels so good, it's so awesome, and hey look at me with this attainment! And there you have the craving to deal with all over again. :-D In MN 106 I think it was, the Buddha tells Ananda that the 8th jhana, the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, is the best object of clinging. So yeah -- getting addicted to the jhanas is just part of the process. But (unlike sensual pleasures) so is not caring if you're going to get them.

So how do you get it, without wanting it? Simple -- you set up the conditions for it to happen, and let it unfold on its own. (What are the conditions? Well, that's outside the scope of this particular post...)

Metta, :candle:
FJ
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Re: Why are jhanas considered superior to sensual pleasures?

Postby 2pennyworth » Mon May 12, 2014 8:37 pm

Sati1 wrote:Hi James and Kitztack,
I didn't expect to lose interest in sensual pleasures, but now that is definitely happening, and it feels a bit strange and sometimes "abnormal". Today, for example, a few colleagues from work were eagerly discussing how to party and celebrate New Year's eve. My wife and I decided not to do anything special that day, and whereas before that I would have felt uncomfortable with "being different", now this feels just fine. It just seems less "necessary" to have fun with other stuff and much more exciting to stay at home, meditate and read. Given that this experience is unusual in our society, I began to wonder if it is healthy or not.


Sorry, I'm a bit of a johnny-come-lately with this discussion, just wanted to add my 2 pennies worth! I can fully empathize with this, it can be difficult as so many social activities revolve around drinking and partying, and a lot of my friends, whom I've grown up with, are big time hedonists. And I'm quite a hermit, who enjoys living a very simple, quiet life. Like you say, meditating, doing what needs to be done; cooking, cleaning, going for walks and reading. I know this sounds kind of harsh, but now that a lot of them have moved away from my town it's kind of a relief, as I don't have them pressuring me to go out "clubbing" or whatever, though it's always nice to see them every once in a while. But you do feel kind of 'out-of-the-loop' and kind of outside of society at times, and it can be difficult to relate to people who mainly talk about and bond over sports, TV shows and general gossip, etc.
“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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Re: Why are jhanas considered superior to sensual pleasures?

Postby Mkoll » Mon May 12, 2014 9:07 pm

I'm not sure why you resurrected this old thread to pick apart my carefully qualified statements. But you did so I will respond.

melancholy wrote:people should be very careful when talking things that they do not know, because these things are not some cheap crap to speak lightly :smile:

I made it clear that I had no jhana attainments and used the phrase "I'm guessing" in my next statement. That very clearly says (twice!) that "I do not know" to the reader. That means the reader should take what I say with a grain of salt because I'm not trying to make an argument. It seems you missed this.

melancholy wrote:
Mkoll wrote:... and therefore not devote time and effort into practicing insight. In this way, they could be a hindrance.
...


also there is no separate "practicing insight".

You conveniently didn't quote the beginning of my statement where I said "I'm guessing". That means what I said is speculation. I'm not trying to prove anything. Again, it's very clear. You're trying to disprove a claim I didn't make.

melancholy wrote:may all you find the genuine path :namaste:

You're forgetting to include yourself. Was that deliberate or a mistake?
Peace,
James
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Re: Why are jhanas considered superior to sensual pleasures?

Postby 2pennyworth » Mon May 12, 2014 9:11 pm

Mkoll wrote:I'm not sure why you resurrected this old thread to pick apart my carefully qualified statements. But you did so I will respond.


Oh yeah, i hadn't seen the date of it. I really was a 'johnny-come-lately!"
Last edited by 2pennyworth on Mon May 12, 2014 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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Re: Why are jhanas considered superior to sensual pleasures?

Postby K.Dhamma » Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:25 pm

melancholy wrote:
Mkoll wrote:Dear Satti1,

Please note that I have not attained jhana so I am not speaking from personal experience.
...
But can jhanas not also result in craving and therefore cause suffering?

I'm guessing that one could become attached to the bliss and calm of jhana and therefore not devote time and effort into practicing insight. In this way, they could be a hindrance.
...


“Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu attains to the first dhyana. . . second dhyana. . . third dhyana. . . fourth dhyana. To this is said the non sensual pleasure, the pleasure of seclusion, appeasement and enlightenment. It should be practised, made much and should not be feared, I say.”
[Majjhima Nikāya 139, Araṇavibhaṅga Sutta]


attached to jhana and jhana no need is an idea advertised by the so-called "dry vipassana" tradition. one could not become attached to the bliss and calm of jhana if he is following lord buddha's "path" correctly starting with the "right view". hindus might get attached to it thinking it is the final goal, the brahma, but we buddhists know jhana is not the final goal. jhana is the path.

“Bhikkhus, samadhi is the Path, no samadhi is the wrong Path.”
[Aṅguttara Nikāya 6.64, Sīhanāda Sutta]

“Ānanda, samadhi has knowledge and insight of reality as its purpose, as its reward.”
[Aṅguttara Nikāya 11.1, Kimatthiya Sutta]


if one really has jhana, once out of it the world will be a different place, i mean the way he or she sees the world (yatha-bhuta), then you can know for your self whether the jhana is an attachment or is it the path out of the attachment. people should be very careful when talking things that they do not know, because these things are not some cheap crap to speak lightly :smile:

“Bhikkhus, just as the River Ganges leans, inclines, and flows towards the east, so too a bhikkhu who develops ( bhāvento) and
makes much (bahulīkaronto) of the four dhyanasleans, inclines, and flows towards Nirvana.”
[Saṃyutta Nikāya 53.1, Jhāna Sutta]


... and therefore not devote time and effort into practicing insight. In this way, they could be a hindrance.
...


also there is no separate "practicing insight".

“No dhyana ifwisdom(paññā) lacks, no wisdom if dhyanalacks, in whom are both these qualities, near to Nirvanais that one.”
[Dhammapada 372]

may all you find the genuine path :namaste:

note: all the references copied from this http://www.scribd.com/doc/64780914/The-Nude-Monk-s-Burning-Robes


The underlined/bold is very important to remember. :goodpost:
"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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