Did anyone here attain jhana?

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby whynotme » Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:34 am

Hi everyone,

Did anyone here attain first, second, third or fourth jhana? If yes, I am more than eager for learning from real experiences.

Regards.
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Reductor » Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:54 am

I suggest you read the threads in the Suttanta Meditation forum. There is plenty of good information from meditators who emphasize jhana in their practice.

As to your question, I would answer "Yes". However many people would be, and are, leery of any claims made by myself and others here. Probably this thread would degenerate. Perhaps I am wrong.

Just read the threads, read the suttas, and practice, practice, practice. What you get will be of value, regardless the label you wish to apply to it.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby James the Giant » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:04 am

Have you heard of the site Dhamma Overground? They love talking about that kind of thing.
But the answer is yeah, a bunch of folks have.
Most don't like to talk about it much, it's kind of often mistaken for bragging.
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:10 am

thereductor wrote:As to your question, I would answer "Yes". However many people would be, and are, leery of any claims made by myself and others here. Probably this thread would degenerate. Perhaps I am wrong.
The problem with a thread such as this is that what is meant by jhana is as varied as those who claimed to have attained it, and given the potential for self delusion that jhana can fuel, it does, indeed, make for an interesting topic -- one that warrants no small degree of caution..
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:11 am

James the Giant wrote:Have you heard of the site Dhamma Overground? They love talking about that kind of thing.
But the answer is yeah, a bunch of folks have.
Most don't like to talk about it much, it's kind of often mistaken for bragging.
And there one really goes off into the fringe areas of this topic.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Ben » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:20 am

Just to add to the good advice so far...
Its good to learn and be under the supervision of a well respected teacher - or guides who are experienced in a respected tradition. Certainly at the beginning stages of one's 'career', it is most beneficial to have that close supervision and mentoring relationship.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Aloka » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:33 am

Personally I tend not to take public claims of attainment seriously. Why would anyone want to announce it to the rest of the world ?

I have always believed that any queries and guidance concerning my own practice should be discussed privately with a teacher.


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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Reductor » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:
thereductor wrote:As to your question, I would answer "Yes". However many people would be, and are, leery of any claims made by myself and others here. Probably this thread would degenerate. Perhaps I am wrong.
The problem with a thread such as this is that what is meant by jhana is as varied as those who claimed to have attained it, and given the potential for self delusion that jhana can fuel, it does, indeed, make for an interesting topic -- one that warrants no small degree of caution..


I have noticed time and again that the dropping the word 'jhana' into discussions is reliable way to turn light into heat. And god help us, there's heat enough to spare in this world. But of course caution is warrented; especially when we know one another by word only.

But I have also noticed only two prevelent interpretations of jhana on DW, and these diverge on how broad a person's consciousness is. One side says consciousness may arise at any one of the sense doors, while the other holds that consciousness arises only at the mind door.

Beyond that I see little among suttanta adherents to suggest widely divergent experiences. I also see little among the vipassana adherents that suggests their experiences diverge much from the suttanta practioners.

But I do see a lot of light turning to heat.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:43 am

thereductor wrote:I have noticed time and again that the dropping the word 'jhana' into discussions is reliable way to turn light into heat. And god help us, there's heat enough to spare in this world. But of course caution is warrented; especially when we know one another by word only.

But I have also noticed only two prevelent interpretations of jhana on DW, and these diverge on how broad a person's consciousness is. One side says consciousness may arise at any one of the sense doors, while the other holds that consciousness arises only at the mind door.

Beyond that I see little among suttanta adherents to suggest widely divergent experiences. I also see little among the vipassana adherents that suggests their experiences diverge much from the suttanta practioners.

But I do see a lot of light turning to heat.
It might be a little more complex than that, but when it comes to claims of jhana, which in a couple of cases have been accompanied by self claims ariya attainment, the problem is in the statement of such claims themselves. It puts an untenable burden upon the readers. We really, really want to believe that such states or attainments are possible, but there is no objective basis for evaluating whether or not these claims are representative of genuine, balanced jhana attainment, not to mention the claims of ariya status. While it is all too easy to lead oneself down the garden path with unshakable conviction, the potential danger of misleading others with the best intentions possible is a more serious problem.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:31 am

I make no claims to attainment, I include not claiming the ability to assess the attainments of others. Having said that :smile:

Reading around the posts of others and cross referring one can often get a feel for the overall tenor of an individuals mindset, and I have never yet been convinced of anyone's online claims to Jnana states.
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:12 pm

A person might discuss their jhana attainments in the interest of helping others, but in far too many cases it can be an opportunity to inflate ego or may not be genuine, which in turn produces reactions of scorn and ridicule from others. It is something best discussed between a student and teacher in direct contact, not even online, since even there one-on-one through the internet, we don't always know who we are really speaking to.

There is a guy in the Southwest U.S. who was turned down for ordination by Bhante Gunaratana and then "self-ordained". He primarily teaches the jhanas and has taken the name, Jhanananda. He has written or hosted several forums and web pages about how he is "demonized" for practicing and teaching jhana.

http://www.greatwesternvehicle.org/crit ... nizing.htm
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:30 pm

I don't see a big problem in saying one has attained the jhanas online. I think it may be a generational issue, regarding how we deal with privacy, and how "real" is the internet world to us.

I think that one thing that misses in this forum is the open-mindedness to discuss personal attainments. If I were a sottapana I would like to share that with my fellow buddhists just as we share good news. It doesn't have to be about ego.

Finaly, I think people have a very high expectations towards people who have attainments, be they jhanas or arya attainments. For example, if someone here said he was an arya and then said he kicked somebody, people would imediatly think that that person couldn't be an arya. But when people tell this story about ajahn Chah kicking someone in the chest because this someone spent his day delinghting on something, people don't doubt Ajahn Chah was an arya.
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:30 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:I don't see a big problem in saying one has attained the jhanas online. I think it may be a generational issue, regarding how we deal with privacy, and how "real" is the internet world to us.

I think that one thing that misses in this forum is the open-mindedness to discuss personal attainments. If I were a sottapana I would like to share that with my fellow buddhists just as we share good news. It doesn't have to be about ego.
It does not have to be, but the problem is that such claims become a credential and all that goes with that. And is it what it is claimed to be? Or are we seeing the obvious dangers of jhana manifest in the self proclaimed attainments? And then there is the obvious danger in wanting so much to believe in and to have such experiences that we might be way too willing to take some very bad advice in pursuit of what we so desperately want.

It is not that jhana experience cannot be talked about; rather, the issue is all too often how it is talked about, and this problem becomes even more acute when there is a claim of ariya status connected to it. Also, if such claim are put out there, they are certainly open to discussion and disagreement, but that has not gone over very well with some claimants to jhana/ariya status here. So, do you have a suggestion or two as to how claims of jhana and ariya can be done, avoiding the obvious pitfalls?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby manas » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:15 pm

One problem I have had is thinking 'about' jhana, and wanting to 'attain' it. From what I hear, it's beyond the level of ordinary thinking, and what's more, can't be owned any more than any other impermanent thing can...so I'm trying to let go of being too attached to the 'when' (when will it be attained? - :shrug: ) and am just trying to focus my mind on cultivating the conditions conducive to it's arising. And there's plenty of work to do there; abandoning watching any TV at all would help, for example! From what I hear, how we spend the hours off the meditation cushion matters alot, not just one or two concerted efforts on the meditation cushion.

I like Ajahm Brahm's analogy of 'building the house of peace', brick by brick; patience is vital. I'm trying to conceive of each meditation as another 'brick', not as this big thing that 'might' happen - pah! Wondering 'when' I will attain jhana has gotten me absolutely nowhere. Letting go, by way of contrast, at least leads to a degree of mental calm; and no matter how humble, it's better than mental agitation.

Just my two cents worth...

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Last edited by manas on Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Vepacitta » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:19 pm

In my opinion, Jhana claims aren't necessarily a big deal - although what one might be claiming as jhana could actually be a different sort of altered state - people can get to altered states even accidentally ... A clear headed discussion of a person's meditative state could be helpful to said person. It might aid them in figuring out what is going on - are they in neighbourhood concentration, true jhana or "other"? I don't think these discussions have to devolve into argument.

The ariya claims are more difficult. There have been so many charlatans throughout history, it's difficult to take such a claim at face value - especially on the I-Net. In person, there are visual, aural and "vibratory" clues that one just can't get over a screen.

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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby m0rl0ck » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:21 pm

whynotme wrote:Hi everyone,

Did anyone here attain first, second, third or fourth jhana? If yes, I am more than eager for learning from real experiences.

Regards.


I think i might have quite a few years ago. I had recently discovered buddhism and my main practice was metta. iirc i was practicing probably a minimum of twice a day for probably more than a half hour. It was very blissful and lasted off the cushion, even weeks after i quit doing the practice. I got kind of tired of it actually, its just another physical sensation and after awhile it kind of got to be a pain in the ass. Anyway, i started doing zazen and i didnt have to worry about it anymore.

Whatever you are chasing is only exciting, mysterious and enticing, until you catch it and the more you want it the less likely you are to get it. Just surrender to the practice, whatever your practice is.
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Joshu replied, "Throw it away!"
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:10 pm

tiltbillings wrote:It does not have to be, but the problem is that such claims become a credential and all that goes with that. And is it what it is claimed to be? Or are we seeing the obvious dangers of jhana manifest in the self proclaimed attainments? And then there is the obvious danger in wanting so much to believe in and to have such experiences that we might be way too willing to take some very bad advice in pursuit of what we so desperately want.

It is not that jhana experience cannot be talked about; rather, the issue is all too often how it is talked about, and this problem becomes even more acute when there is a claim of ariya status connected to it. Also, if such claim are put out there, they are certainly open to discussion and disagreement, but that has not gone over very well with some claimants to jhana/ariya status here. So, do you have a suggestion or two as to how claims of jhana and ariya can be done, avoiding the obvious pitfalls?


My sugestion for the attainers is to describe and discuss it normaly. The thing is how the non attainers deal with it. But we are adults, capable of critical thinking so lets just act as grown ups. For example, Virgo claimed arya status. What I said in that situation is that I believe in part but I have my doubts. I didn' go runing to read Sujin's works. So my sugestion to non attainers is to participate in the discussion constructively and with the notion that all that can be false and that the suttas are the final authority on the issue. Analysing things in such an open and constructive way can be very helpful for the attainers, the non attainers and the non attainers who think they are attainers.
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Nyana » Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:23 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:I don't see a big problem in saying one has attained the jhanas online. I think it may be a generational issue, regarding how we deal with privacy, and how "real" is the internet world to us.

Discussion of meditation experiences -- "jhāna" or otherwise -- is best kept between student and teacher. There's really no benefit from discussing personal meditation experiences elsewhere, and a number of potential problems.

Modus.Ponens wrote:people don't doubt Ajahn Chah was an arya.

I know people -- including Theravāda bhikkhus -- who doubt that Ajahn Chah was an ariya.

Modus.Ponens wrote:My sugestion for the attainers is to describe and discuss it normaly.

Not only is there no benefit from publicly claiming ariya attainment, there is really no benefit from thinking oneself is an ariya. Far better to just practice.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:50 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:Analysing things in such an open and constructive way can be very helpful for the attainers, the non attainers and the non attainers who think they are attainers.
If it were only that simple. Here, I'll second what Ñāṇa said immediately above.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:27 pm

And just to add, just like the question of what jhana is, on this subject opinions are certainly going to vary, and I certainly do not expect mine or any one else's must prevail.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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