Jhana while walking?

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Jhana while walking?

Postby Stephen K » Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:37 pm

It just came to my mind: is it possible to be in a jhana while walking?

I mean, i once read an article by Ajahn Brahm called "Travellogue to the jhanas" and there he said that when one is in a jhana, one isn't aware of one's surroundings. That should make it impossible to have jhana while walking, no?


Edit: here is the source

Again, because the quality of knowing is very strong but very narrow in these states, while you are in these states, there is no way that you can truly assess where you are and what's happening to you. The ability to know through thinking, through analysing, is taken away from you in these states. You usually have to wait until you emerge from these states, until your ordinary thinking returns again, so you can really look back upon and analyse what has happened.

http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Trav ... rahmavamso
With metta,
Upāsaka Sumana (Stephen)


My philosophy is simple: Saying 'yes' to the positive and 'no' to the negative; because the positive is so much better than the negative.

Stop the evil; start and continue the good.
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Re: Jhana while walking?

Postby Kenshou » Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:07 pm

For hard jhana like that of the Theravada orthodox position or Brahm, I think you're right that it's pretty much impossible.

I think that if you talk about jhana that's not as single-pointed with mindfulness of the body maintained, as some more suttic-oriented teachers like, it's not as impossible. In Shankman's Samadhi, page 124 Thanissaro states in an interview:

One of the drawbacks of concentration that's too one pointed is that you're blocking out many areas of your experience, which means that a lot of things can hide away in the areas you're blocking out. If, however, you develop more of a 360-degree awareness of the body, you're more likely to be more conscious of the more peripheral events of the mind. Also, if the awareness is whole body awareness, it's a lot easier to maintain the state of concentration as you open your eyes and move around. Weather or not the concentration when moving around would be termed jhana, I really don't know, but there's a continuity of mindfulness.

http://books.google.com/books?id=lQ_ZzF ... &q&f=false

So there's that. Also, in my experience I'd say that the jhana factors can be developed in walking meditation, but there's simply too much activity and too much to be wary of to enter any kind of fixed absorption. Might be more possible in a theoretical place where we have an infinite even surface so that you don't have to worry about turning around or tripping on things, but such a place just doesn't exist.
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Re: Jhana while walking?

Postby bodom » Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:12 pm

No it is not possible, though deep concentration can be developed while walking.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Jhana while walking?

Postby Moggalana » Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:20 pm

Ajahn Brahm thinks it is impossible or rather very unlikely. At least according to his definition of jhana. However, he sometimes recounts a story of a Thai monk who used to get into jhana while doing walking meditation and that he always returned with lots of bruises and scratches because he wouldn't notice bumping into trees etc. :tongue:

As Kenshou said, I also think it is possible to develop jhana factors while walking, but the degree of absorption will be different to sitting meditation. It basically all comes down to how you define jhana, I think.
Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.
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Re: Jhana while walking?

Postby pt1 » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:52 am

Hi Stefan,
Stefan wrote:It just came to my mind: is it possible to be in a jhana while walking?

I mean, i once read an article by Ajahn Brahm called "Travellogue to the jhanas" and there he said that when one is in a jhana, one isn't aware of one's surroundings. That should make it impossible to have jhana while walking, no?

I don't know from personal experience, but I think that it might be possible if considered that one of the aspects of jhana mastery is being able to enter and exit jhana at will through a determination that jhana would last for a specific length of time. So I'm thinking that if someone is a jhana master and makes a determination to exit jhana half a second after entering it, then it would be possible to do it while walking. In particular, I recall reading a story about Ven.Sariputta that when he would go on the alms-round - at the moment when a householder was putting food into his alms-bowl, he would go through all jhanas all the way to cessation, and then back. As I remember, the reason given for doing this was that it would make the merit for the householder much greater. So, that's what I think relating to "hard" jhanas as described in Visuddhimagga (e.g. jhanas as thought by Ajhan Brahm, Pa-auk Sayadaw, etc) which necessitate suspension of all sense-consciousnesses while in jhana. In case of "softer" jhanas, where teachers don't say there's a necessary loss of all sense-consciousnesses in jhana, I imagine it should be even easier to be in jhana while walking.

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Re: Jhana while walking?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:45 am

Moggalana wrote:
As Kenshou said, I also think it is possible to develop jhana factors while walking, but the degree of absorption will be different to sitting meditation. It basically all comes down to how you define jhana, I think.

A lot of the questions around jhana depends upon how one defines jhana. Is it the hard jhana of the Visuddimagga or the flexible notions jhana found in the suttas which are reflected in the teachings of "vipassana jhanas" by U Pandita? It depends.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Jhana while walking?

Postby pt1 » Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:08 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Moggalana wrote:
As Kenshou said, I also think it is possible to develop jhana factors while walking, but the degree of absorption will be different to sitting meditation. It basically all comes down to how you define jhana, I think.

A lot of the questions around jhana depends upon how one defines jhana. Is it the hard jhana of the Visuddimagga or the flexible notions jhana found in the suttas which are reflected in the teachings of "vipassana jhanas" by U Pandita? It depends.

Hi tilt,

While I agree in general, I think it's politically risky to describe a certain type of jhana as more sutta-based than another because everyone basically claims that their interpretation is based on the suttas. Just that out of those modern interpretations that came down to us, some find support in the visuddhimagga as well, while some find support in more modern works. I'd even argue that vipassana jhanas by U Pandita also find a lot of support in visuddhimagga, etc. So, to avoid political trouble, it seems much more effective to differentiate jhanas based on actual mental factors involved - e.g. what is the strength of concentration, is sense-consciousness suspended or not, does the object has to be nimitta or not, etc. Seems much closer to what's actually going on in practical terms and could avoid all the arguments that have to do with belonging to different camps when it comes to interpretations.

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