Is jhana possible?

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: Is jhana possible?

Postby nathan » Wed May 26, 2010 12:23 am

PeterB wrote:We may half convince ourseves that because we have developed an interest in things Buddhist that means we have left behind all our driven ,goal orientated behaviour, for many of us moderns however that can simply be displaced into other seeking to affirm our identity through Jhana states for example.
I think identification with the pure and simplified functional qualities of fully concentrated consciousness that are more directly exposed by the form and formless jhana states has a lot to do with the identifications codified in many religious and philosophical viewpoints but this need not be so in relation to the Buddhadhamma when it is rightly understood.

When consciousness is variously concentrated (or as some would say 'purified') it improves the quality of day to day experience considerably. On that basis people can take up various positions about having achieved some kind of a pure consciousness such as the many views common in the Buddha's time and no less common today. That's why I pointed out the value of observing how concentrated consciousness is conditional and dependent by developing full concentration and examining a concentrated consciousness with insight. When concentration is taken to the point of conscious cessation, cessation is found to be without conditions entirely. Then all of the potential basis for any and all misperception of a self either in conditions or in the absence of conditions is removed. Concentration can be supportive of self making, just as you say, but it can also be a valuable support for insight into no self and what is observed in the absence of identifications which is dependently arising conditional phenomena.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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