There is a new article by Ven. Gunaratana about Jhana and Vipassana. "Should We Come Out of Jhana to Practice Vipassana?"
It seems the Venerable has a new way of looking at jhana, which he now writes is entirely compatible with vipassana. As he seems to be entirely at odds in this article with what he has previously written about Jhana in two longer works on the same subject I thought it probably made the most sense to post a note about it here where people can quote passages from all three documents. May the noblest Bhante G. win.
The Venerables two previous works, also available as pdfs online, are:
The Jhanas in Theravada Buddhist Meditation
A Critical Analysis of the Jhanas in Theravada Buddhist Meditation
The new article:http://www.bhavanasociety.org/resource/ ... vipassana/
thank you for the link. I just started reading and I must say this version of jhana makes much more sense to me.
I think the interpretation of uppekha as "looking on" rather than the equanimity of an absorption process without sati is correct. Because this kind of uppekha can be experienced and it would not make sense to ignore it.
But I still have doubts about this statement of his:
The belief that one must come out of Jhåna to gain supernormal knowledge
(abhiññås) or to destroy defilements and attain enlightenment is based on an assumption
that the concentrated mind becomes one with the object of meditation and is absorbed
into that object. For this reason some people translate Jhåna or samådhi as absorption
concentration. If the mind is absorbed into the object then the mind is paralyzed and
incapable of doing anything.
This may be true when the Jhåna is gained without mindfulness. This is what
happened to the teachers of the Bodhisatta Gotama. They were stuck in Jhåna but they
thought that they had attained enlightenment.
I doubt that Gotama's teachers attained the formless states without sati and uppekha. The reason is that - if I recall correctly and I don't remember the sutta - after his Awakening the Buddha was sure his former teachers could easily learn what to do to become Enlightened. This suggests that they already had the necessary tools, they just didn't use them correctly. Also, to move from one jhana to another and back again requires the ability to know where you are now and how to control the state. Does not sound like a paralyzed mind at all to me.
What do you think?