Did anyone here attain jhana?

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:46 pm

Viscid wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:I think as long as we avoid creating conceited 'teacher' roles for ourselves and just help people out with kindness, to the best of the abilities that we posses, then there is nothing wrong in that. It is easy to become attached to being a 'teacher' or 'attained' to this stage or other - leave all that behind - they are just more self-views (sakkaya ditti) caused by not properly recognising the five aggregates within.

:goodpost:

There needs to be an internal evaluation of one's desires for teaching: Is it because you want to be respected by others, or because you want to help them selflessly? Though I'd imagine if one is particularly deluded, they'd just convince themselves that they're being selfless..


Just keep at it, Viscid! :)

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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Viscid » Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:12 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Just keep at it, Viscid! :)
:embarassed:
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:00 pm

Thanks Geoff for the interesting historical perspective.
Ñāṇa wrote:Buddhists discussing, debating, and disagreeing with other Buddhists on a variety of subjects is almost as ancient as Buddhism itself.

This particular subject of debate appears in the Kathāvatthu, where, for a number of reasons, the proposed resolution isn't very convincing. It also appears in the Abhidharmakośabhāsya in terms somewhat related to certain aspects of contemporary discussions of the subject. After presenting both sides of the debate, Vasubandhu concludes by saying the following:

    A certain school maintains the system that has been presented, but the ancient masters (pūrvācārya-s) are not in agreement on this. Consequently the point should be further examined.

If a learned Indian scholar monk of the caliber of Vasubandhu couldn't find a satisfactory resolution to the subtler points of disagreement, then we shouldn't be surprised or bothered by the fact that it is still a subject of debate 1600 years later.

tiltbillings wrote:And it probably not a bad thing that there is such variation in the understanding of what jhana encompasses.

Ñāṇa wrote:And the fact that the discussion is still presently occurring at all is a very good thing. It's a sign of a healthy, vibrant, living tradition peopled by diverse individuals who are actually interested in practice. Otherwise, Buddhist meditation would be little more than an academic curiosity and the sutta records and classical meditation manuals just dusty museum pieces.

Yes. It continues to surprise me when those ancient commentaries and meditation manuals are dismissed as if they were merely some academic exercise by dull scholars, rather than read as fascinating ongoing discussion about practice.

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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby daverupa » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:39 pm

I'm also very grateful for the recent flurry of jhana discussion the forum has fielded of late. It's been very edifying to have access to such succinct and comprehensive discussions.

mikenz66 wrote:... when those ancient commentaries and meditation manuals are dismissed as if they were merely some academic exercise by dull scholars...


:strawman:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:45 pm

Hi Freauwaru,
Freawaru wrote:The question is: do you want to think in terms of authority or in terms of expertism? An authority is a guru, a leader. An expert is someone you consult regarding a specific problem, may it be scriptural or meditative. There is no authority at all when you think in terms of expertism. And thus no leading astray.

Perhaps I didn't explain myself well.

If I see a question that I think I can answer from my experience, but I know has been written/spoken about by a teacher I trust I prefer to give a quotation from that teacher, and say "My experience is consistent with what X says here...". It's not a question of "authority". The point is that those teachers have explained the issues to thousands of students, so their explanation will tend to be better, and more general, than mine would be.

My impression from discussions with various teachers and friends is that practising in certain ways leads to somewhat predictable results, at least on the level of my practise (I can't comment on the more advanced levels of insight discussed by ancient and modern teachers...). On a Goenka retreat it seems common to get that "dissolving" feeling that Goenka describes as "bhangha". With Mahasi-style retreat practice it seems common to observe the motion of one's feet or abdomen become discontinuous, like under a strobe light in the disco... So it seems to me to be sensible to point a questioner at general discussions of them, rather than just answer using one's own experience, since the exact experiences do vary from person to person.

:anjali:
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:51 pm

daverupa wrote:I'm also very grateful for the recent flurry of jhana discussion the forum has fielded of late. It's been very edifying to have access to such succinct and comprehensive discussions.

mikenz66 wrote:... when those ancient commentaries and meditation manuals are dismissed as if they were merely some academic exercise by dull scholars...


:strawman:

Really? I see rather a lot of :strawman: wheeled out in your posts.
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 40#p139857


:anjali:
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby daverupa » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:57 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
daverupa wrote:I'm also very grateful for the recent flurry of jhana discussion the forum has fielded of late. It's been very edifying to have access to such succinct and comprehensive discussions.

mikenz66 wrote:... when those ancient commentaries and meditation manuals are dismissed as if they were merely some academic exercise by dull scholars...


:strawman:

Really? I see rather a lot of :strawman: wheeled out in your posts.
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=8957&start=40#p139857


:anjali:
Mike


And I sometimes struggle to accept the criticism, yet I do, and I really strive to avoid it. I thought you might be appreciative of having it pointed out on your end, however rare. :shrug:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:08 pm

daverupa wrote:I'm also very grateful for the recent flurry of jhana discussion the forum has fielded of late. It's been very edifying to have access to such succinct and comprehensive discussions.

mikenz66 wrote:... when those ancient commentaries and meditation manuals are dismissed as if they were merely some academic exercise by dull scholars...


:strawman:
And your basis for your claim that Mike's statement is a strawman?
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 Reductor » Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:43 pm

Five pages. Not bad.
:popcorn:
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 » Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:46 pm

thereductor wrote:Five pages. Not bad.
:popcorn:
And alot of it is actually rather interesting and useful.
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 David N. Snyder » Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:50 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
daverupa wrote:I'm also very grateful for the recent flurry of jhana discussion the forum has fielded of late. It's been very edifying to have access to such succinct and comprehensive discussions.

mikenz66 wrote:... when those ancient commentaries and meditation manuals are dismissed as if they were merely some academic exercise by dull scholars...


:strawman:
And your basis for your claim that Mike's statement is a strawman?


I was thinking the same thing.

daverupa may not agree with Mike's point, but that doesn't make Mike's point a straw man. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

Mike's point is about the jhanas and the elder commentators which is on-topic and is not changing the position of any side here, just making a comment.
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby daverupa » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:07 pm

I mistakenly read an attribution into the complaint, which was not there. Sorry, yet again... wow, I'm done for a while I think, this is happening a lot recently.

:embarassed:

:buddha1:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:11 pm

daverupa wrote:I mistakenly read an attribution into the complaint, which was not there. Sorry, yet again... wow, I'm done for a while I think, this is happening a lot recently.

:embarassed:

:buddha1:
Thank you for acknowledging that. It is not always easy.
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 » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:42 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And it probably not a bad thing that there is such variation in the understanding of what jhana encompasses.

And the fact that the discussion is still presently occurring at all is a very good thing. It's a sign of a healthy, vibrant, living tradition peopled by diverse individuals who are actually interested in practice. Otherwise, Buddhist meditation would be little more than an academic curiosity and the sutta records and classical meditation manuals just dusty museum pieces.

All the best,

Geoff
And part of this ongoing discussion is, of course, such works as the commentaries and Buddhaghosa. Just because something such as khaṇikasamādhi, moment-to-moment concentration, drawn out in the commentaries, that does not mean it is is not a useful concept reflecting actual experience. The ongoing dialogue and debates can be useful.
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 Nyana » Thu Jul 14, 2011 6:27 am

tiltbillings wrote:And part of this ongoing discussion is, of course, such works as the commentaries and Buddhaghosa. Just because something such as khaṇikasamādhi, moment-to-moment concentration, drawn out in the commentaries, that does not mean it is is not a useful concept reflecting actual experience. The ongoing dialogue and debates can be useful.

Of course. A point that isn't often mentioned is that a number of the most widely practiced Buddhist meditation lineages each practice different variations of mindfulness meditation. Not only Theravāda Vipassanā lineages, but also Sōtō Zen, Kagyu Mahāmudrā, and Nyingma Dzogchen are each a unique version of mindfulness meditation.

The only thing that I've ever taken issue with on this subject is the claim made by a few modern Theravādins who maintain that they've rediscovered the Buddha's actual "jhāna," and that everyone else, practicing khaṇikasamādhi mindfulness and so on, has got it all wrong.

All the best,

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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Freawaru » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:46 am

Hi Mike,

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Freauwaru,
Freawaru wrote:The question is: do you want to think in terms of authority or in terms of expertism? An authority is a guru, a leader. An expert is someone you consult regarding a specific problem, may it be scriptural or meditative. There is no authority at all when you think in terms of expertism. And thus no leading astray.

Perhaps I didn't explain myself well.

If I see a question that I think I can answer from my experience, but I know has been written/spoken about by a teacher I trust I prefer to give a quotation from that teacher, and say "My experience is consistent with what X says here...". It's not a question of "authority". The point is that those teachers have explained the issues to thousands of students, so their explanation will tend to be better, and more general, than mine would be.


Yes, I think I know where you come from. I use this, too, especially when I have a quote at hand and not enough time for an own reply. And I think it works - to a certain degree.

But when one looks closely at this behaviour there are several things implied without talking about that easily lead to misunderstandings. One is that - as we all use terms from the suttas - that the teacher in question is wrong regarding his (or her) interpretation of them. This possibility is - an I appreciate it very much - discussed on this forum. But, lets assume that the teacher quoted use of the suttic terminology is in agreement to how the Buddha meant it, even then there is still the assumption that the person who quotes it ALSO uses the terminology in this way. AND that the person to whom it was quoted also understands it in this way. Both of these assumptions can only be discussed and misunderstandings cleared up by describing and discussing own experiences.

What someone who meditates really wants to know is "what is this or that experience I have or had?" and "how to go on from here?" Not in a philosophical way but in a direct way, applicable once he or she is again in this or that state. For this one needs to analyse the experience right while it happens, one has to learn "when I do this - that will happen". Of course one can do this without using specific terms to name everything but then one cannot use anyone's help - especially not those of the suttas. One has to go on all by oneself. But I think it is not necessary to invent the wheel again.


My impression from discussions with various teachers and friends is that practising in certain ways leads to somewhat predictable results,


Exactly! You already did and do this a lot and established a terminolgy with these friends and teachers by comparing own experiences.

Don't you think it is useful to learn how to express oneself and describe own experiences in a way that others can understand it? Even when one does not intend to become a teacher? Just for learning that skill?


at least on the level of my practise (I can't comment on the more advanced levels of insight discussed by ancient and modern teachers...). On a Goenka retreat it seems common to get that "dissolving" feeling that Goenka describes as "bhangha". With Mahasi-style retreat practice it seems common to observe the motion of one's feet or abdomen become discontinuous, like under a strobe light in the disco... So it seems to me to be sensible to point a questioner at general discussions of them, rather than just answer using one's own experience, since the exact experiences do vary from person to person.

:anjali:
Mike


This differs from me. When I read a teachers words most of the time I am not sure if I unerstand them correctly. I often would love to have a direct feedback, analysing this or that aspect in detail. Because as you said some details vary from person to person and it is not always obvious that they are still similar enough to name the experience identically.
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby manas » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:05 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.
Once again I've not attained jhana in this lifetime, but I have noticed that the preceding 24 hours especially have alot to do with how the hour of meditation goes in the morning. The more I have cultivated:

Saddha (conviction, faith)
Viriya (persistence, effort)
Sati (mindfulness)
Samadhi (concentration)
Pañña (discernment, wisdom)
in the preceding 24 hours, that is in all daily activities, the more easily these qualities can be sustained in meditation, and, in conjunction with metta, overcome the hindrances (obviously I've not totally done this yet, however others here have).

I'm beginning to think that jhana would require a whole-life / lifestyle shift. Even television the night before leaves too much 'noise' in the mind which then disturbs the meditation next morning. No wonder the Buddha emphasized seclusion so much. For me, abandoning that which hinders jhana is taking a while. Pure brahmacariya would help too ;)
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:15 pm

manasikara wrote:
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.
Once again I've not attained jhana in this lifetime, but I have noticed that the preceding 24 hours especially have alot to do with how the hour of meditation goes in the morning. The more I have cultivated:

Saddha (conviction, faith)
Viriya (persistence, effort)
Sati (mindfulness)
Samadhi (concentration)
Pañña (discernment, wisdom)
in the preceding 24 hours, that is in all daily activities, the more easily these qualities can be sustained in meditation, and, in conjunction with metta, overcome the hindrances (obviously I've not totally done this yet, however others here have).

I'm beginning to think that jhana would require a whole-life / lifestyle shift. Even television the night before leaves too much 'noise' in the mind which then disturbs the meditation next morning. No wonder the Buddha emphasized seclusion so much. For me, abandoning that which hinders jhana is taking a while. Pure brahmacariya would help too ;)


Indeed! The conditions necessary to develop sammasamadhi are actually quite hard to come by, especially as householders. Seclusion is crucial.
Not just pure brahmacariya but also purity of all the silas is necessary.
kind regards

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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Freawaru » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:16 am

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 it is necessary to first say which kind of jhana, and - as they are easier that the Visuddhimagga kind of jhana viewtopic.php?f=17&t=9016 - can we, for now, just talk about the Leigh Brasington kind of jhana?

Here: http://www.leighb.com/jhana2.htm access concentration (in LB defintion ) is described, and yes, I have experienced this, and if you want we can talk about it.

I do not think one needs a reteat for it, thought it is probably more easy then. IMO, this state of LB access concentration is already quite useful for mindfulness practice. Because concentration on the object is stable, automatic, one can observe this process and analyse the whole state. Can compare to how much force one had to use to keep concentration on the object, what had taken concentration away from the object before reaching access concentration and thus is not present any more. Also, there are still wispy background thoughts, and here too, one can observe and analyse them, how they arise and decrease, and ponder how easily now the mind is not absorbed in them. There is also a certain impression of spaciousness present, the automatic focus on the object is at a different, non-physical "place" within one's mind than the wispy background thoughts for example.

Because the mind has some power in this state one can switch focus to other objects as LB describes for his version of first jhana. I think it is a very useful state to get to know one's mind and to play with it.

It might not be Visuddhimagga access concentration and I do not know if it is access concentration in the sense the Buddha meant it, but in my experience it is very useful and not all that difficult to reach and I highly recommend it both for concentration practice and mindfulness practice.
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:49 am

Viscid wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:I think as long as we avoid creating conceited 'teacher' roles for ourselves and just help people out with kindness, to the best of the abilities that we posses, then there is nothing wrong in that. It is easy to become attached to being a 'teacher' or 'attained' to this stage or other - leave all that behind - they are just more self-views (sakkaya ditti) caused by not properly recognising the five aggregates within.

:goodpost:

There needs to be an internal evaluation of one's desires for teaching: Is it because you want to be respected by others, or because you want to help them selflessly? Though I'd imagine if one is particularly deluded, they'd just convince themselves that they're being selfless..


My experience has been that people who lead classes or groups are constantly questioning their own motivation and ability, and rightly so.

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