Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

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Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby chownah » Fri Sep 16, 2011 4:46 am

It seems that quite often in the suttas there is a case of a monk going up the ladder of jhana usually to the 4th jhana and then contemplating something, something like the body internally, the body externally, the body both internally and externally for example. (This is for example only and I'm not wanting to discuss the body here unless it is necessary.) My question is whether the 4th jhana is only the first part which consists of the concentration of the mind?...or is the contemplation part which happens after the mind has achieved concentration part of the jhana too?
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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby Ben » Fri Sep 16, 2011 4:50 am

Greetings Chownah, is there a specific sutta (and the wording of that sutta) which you would like to refer to?
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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby chownah » Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:54 am

Ben,
Not particularly. I find the same pattern in many places....first the monk attains jhana (usually the 4th)....and then the monk directs the mind to some contemplation. It seems like that this is a two part thing....the first part is to attain a certain level of concentration and the second part is to direct this concentrated mind towards a contemplation. It seems to me that this patterns exists in alot of places....do you think that it must be taken on a case by case basis? Accesstoinsight won't open for me just now but I think the Satipattana Sutta has this pattern. I have no time for this now and if it seems necessary I will look up a reference later.
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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby Ben » Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:25 am

No problems, Chownah.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby Nicro » Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:06 pm

I believe you attain Jhana then direct it toward insight. On the Bhavana Society's webstie they have an article called "Should you come out of Jhana for Vipassana" or something along those lines. It says one should attain Jhana then direct that concentration to insight.
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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby daverupa » Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:44 pm

MN 64 describes contemplation within jhana; one attains to a certain jhana, then contemplates according to the instructions in that sutta.
    "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: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby chownah » Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:55 pm

MN122 has 4th jhana followed by several different actions that could happen while a monk "is dwelling by means of this dwelling"........are all of these actions happening during jhana?....or is the jhana finished and this is all happening post jhana?

A portion of MN122: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"So, Ananda, if a monk should wish, 'May I enter & remain in internal emptiness,' then he should get the mind steadied right within, settled, unified, & concentrated. And how does the monk get the mind steadied right within, settled, unified, & concentrated? There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana... the second jhana... the third jhana... the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain. That is how a monk gets the mind steadied right within, settled, unified, & concentrated.

"He attends to internal emptiness. While he is attending to internal emptiness, his mind does not take pleasure, find satisfaction, grow steady, or indulge in internal emptiness. When this is the case, he discerns, 'While I am attending to internal emptiness, my mind does not take pleasure, find satisfaction, grow steady, or indulge in internal emptiness.' In this way he is alert there.

"He attends to external emptiness...[2]

"He attends to internal & external emptiness...

"He attends to the imperturbable.[3] While he is attending to the imperturbable, his mind does not take pleasure, find satisfaction, grow steady, or indulge in the imperturbable. When this is the case, he discerns, 'While I am attending to the imperturbable, my mind does not take pleasure, find satisfaction, grow steady, or indulge in the imperturbable.' In this way he is alert there.

"When that is the case, he should get the mind steadied right within, settled, unified, & concentrated in his first theme of concentration.

"He then attends to internal emptiness. While he is attending to internal emptiness, his mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, grows steady, & indulges in internal emptiness. When this is the case, he discerns, 'While I am attending to internal emptiness, my mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, grows steady, & indulges in internal emptiness.' In this way he is alert there.

"He attends to external emptiness...

"He attends to internal & external emptiness...

"He attends to the imperturbable. While he is attending to the imperturbable, his mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, grows steady, & indulges in the imperturbable. When this is the case, he discerns, 'While I am attending to the imperturbable, my mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, grows steady, & indulges in the imperturbable.' In this way he is alert there.

"If, while the monk is dwelling by means of this dwelling, his mind inclines to walking back & forth, he walks back & forth [thinking,] 'While I am walking thus, no covetousness or sadness, no evil, unskillful qualities will take possession of me.' In this way he is alert there.

"If, while he is dwelling by means of this dwelling, his mind inclines to standing... to sitting... to lying down, he lies down, [thinking,] 'While I am lying down thus, no covetousness or sadness, no evil, unskillful qualities will take possession of me.' In this way he is alert there.

"If, while he is dwelling by means of this dwelling, his mind inclines to speaking, he resolves that 'I will not engage in talk that is base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unbeneficial, that does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calm, direct knowledge, self-awakening, or Unbinding — i.e., talk about kings, robbers, & ministers of state; armies, alarms, & battles; food & drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, & scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women & heroes; the gossip of the street & the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity, the creation of the world & of the sea; talk of whether things exist or not.' In this way he is alert there.

"'But,' [he resolves,] 'I will engage in talk that is scrupulous, conducive to release of awareness, and leads exclusively to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calm, direct knowledge, self-awakening, & Unbinding — i.e., talk on modesty, contentment, seclusion, non-entanglement, arousing persistence, virtue, concentration, discernment, release, and the knowledge & vision of release.' In this way he is alert there.

"If, while he is dwelling by means of this dwelling, his mind inclines to thinking, he resolves that 'I will not think thoughts that are base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unbeneficial, that do not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calm, direct knowledge, self-awakening, or Unbinding — i.e., thoughts of sensuality, thoughts of ill will, thoughts of harmfulness.' In this way he is alert there.

"'But,' [he resolves,] 'I will think thoughts that are noble, onward-leading, that lead to the right ending of stress for the person who acts on them — i.e., thoughts of renunciation, thoughts of no ill will, thoughts of harmlessness.' In this way he is alert there.
....................."
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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby daverupa » Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:19 pm

chownah wrote:are all of these actions happening during jhana?


It seems to me they must:

"So, Ananda, if a monk should wish, 'May I enter & remain in <the contemplations discussed>,' then he should get the mind steadied right within, settled, unified, & concentrated. And how does the monk get the mind steadied right within, settled, unified, & concentrated? There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana... the second jhana... the third jhana... the fourth jhana..."
    "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: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby chownah » Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:07 am

daverupa wrote:
chownah wrote:are all of these actions happening during jhana?


It seems to me they must:


Doesn't this seem at odds with what people usually consider about jhana? Here you have someone apparently in 4th jhana who is walking back and forth and talking (presumably) to people....also engaging in discoursive thought ('I will think thoughts that are noble, onward-leading'). I think that this is the most extreme example of a sutta reference which seems to describe a two step process...first step is attaining concentration (which is what I usually thought of as being jhana)....the second step is contemplation (which I usually thought was something different from jhana)....and in this case it seems to even go beyond contemplation...I started this thread because it seemed to me that the jhana part probably ended when the contemplation (or other activities) began but I don't really know. I think that my ideas about jhana are not quite right and need adjusting. I have always been of the opinion that walking meditation was conducive to jhana and discovered that this was contrary to what many people here thought...but now it seems that the scope of what is possible in jhana is much broader than even that.....I guess....I don't know.....all input is appreciated.....
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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby daverupa » Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:37 am

chownah wrote:Doesn't this seem at odds with what people usually consider about jhana?


Of course. I find the Suttas are often at odds with what people think.
    "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: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby ground » Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:02 am

chownah wrote:MN122 has 4th jhana followed by several different actions that could happen while a monk "is dwelling by means of this dwelling"........are all of these actions happening during jhana?....or is the jhana finished and this is all happening post jhana?

A portion of MN122: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"So, Ananda, if a monk should wish, 'May I enter & remain in internal emptiness,'


I do not share your understanding. I think this refers to jhana as a means to enter into emptiness "state" but not to jhana as jhana.

chownah wrote:Doesn't this seem at odds with what people usually consider about jhana? Here you have someone apparently in 4th jhana who is walking back and forth and talking (presumably) to people....

Because it does not refer to jhana but to emptiness "state".


In this sutta there is mention of different kinds of failures/defeats because emptiness "state" does not guard against these when there is lack of discernment/wisdom.
Also I think that MN122 necessarily has to be taken into account in connection with MN121.


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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:39 am

Greetings,

daverupa wrote:
chownah wrote:Doesn't this seem at odds with what people usually consider about jhana?

Of course. I find the Suttas are often at odds with what people think.

:lol:

Samatha + Vipassana = Samma Samadhi.

:meditate:

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Retro. :)
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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby ground » Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:51 am

Generally jhanas and/or form and formless "attainments" may be thought about in two ways:
1. states of absorption
2. transient momentary "phases" or even "momentary events"

Considering the Buddha's teachings I think that only view 2 is appropriate and conducive.


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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby chownah » Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:37 am

TMingyur,
Are you suggesting that jhana is like a key to a door and once the door is unlocked it is no longer relevant? I'm wondering if this is correct...in the sutta which I referenced its says the monk "enters and remains in" each of the four jhanas...."remains" seems to be suggesting that it is more than a momentary event....but I don't know.
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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby chownah » Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:39 pm

It seems that the Samyutta Nikiya has a section on jhana....but I have not been able to find it on line....does anyone have a link to it?
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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby ground » Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:39 pm

chownah wrote:...in the sutta which I referenced its says the monk "enters and remains in" each of the four jhanas...."remains" seems to be suggesting that it is more than a momentary event....but I don't know.
chownah

Yes you are right
"And what, monks, is right concentration? (i) There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. (ii) With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. (iii) With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' (iv) With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This, monks, is called right concentration."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

But the fact that you can "remain" does not necessarily entail that the 2nd, 3rd etc moment of remaining are different from the 1st and it does not entail that it is worth to try and want to remain there.


chownah wrote:Are you suggesting that jhana is like a key to a door and once the door is unlocked it is no longer relevant?

I am suggesting that the "tour" from the 1st jhana to the 4th and further passing the formless attainments is actually a progression of "letting go". Why should one need to remain at an interstation? What would be the benefit of getting absorbed there?
If you want to travel from city A to city D and you are passing cities B and C in between, why should one buy land, build a house and start living in city B and then some years later in city C if one's goal is just city D? Why should one waste one's energy to establish a living where one did not want to stay in the first place? Isn't it better to just swiftly pass by? Isn't it better to focus on letting go instead of focusing on interstations? When progression of letting go happens the interstations will be passed by necessarily even if these are just instantaneous momentary events and there is no "remaining there".


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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby chownah » Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:05 pm

TMingyur,
I think the questions you are asking are good ones but I don't think they address the point I'm pursuing. Perhaps they do but I'm just not seeing the connection....what I'm wanting to find out about is whether the various types of contemplations and/or activities which the suttas describe in different suttas are part of jhana or to put this another way are they happening "while under the influence of" jhana OR whether the jhana stops and the contemplations and/or activities described are not part of the jhana and consistute a distinctly different process....to put it simply...do the suttas describe a two step process with two distinct steps (i.e. first there is concentration (jhana) and then there is contemplation (not jhana)) or is there one process which continues throughout (jhana throughout) which happens in two phases (i.e. first phase is developing the concentration (like turning on the jhana I guess) and second phase is maintaining the concentration while contemplating (the jhana continues throughout this second phase).........even more simply.....is it jhana throughout or is it just jhana in the first part?
One reason I'm pursuing this is that I find that I have views about what jhana is and how it works that are probably not well founded and I'm wanting to strip off those things which are inappropriate....but I don't want to throw out the baby with the bath water so to speak....for non-native English speakers "throwing out the baby with the bath water" means to discard things of value when ridding ones self of rubbish....obviously this is to be avoided.
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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby ground » Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:32 pm

Okay. I think I understand your point. My experience is that the reification of what is called "jhana" is not helpful at all but distracts from what appears more essential to me. So I completely rely on insight and do not bother about jhanas since I am convinced that jhanas are an inevitable spin-off of practicing insight. Just a minimum of concentration is required for "small" insight which then improves concentration which then "deepens" insight which in turn ....etc. where each insight is actually a step of letting go.


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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby chownah » Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:26 am

TMingyur,
I think we are pretty much in agreement. Perhaps what I am doing here is working on insight directed at letting go of some unfounded views of jhana.
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Re: Is contemplation part of jhana or does it follow jhana?

Postby DarwidHalim » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:27 pm

chownah wrote:It seems that quite often in the suttas there is a case of a monk going up the ladder of jhana usually to the 4th jhana and then contemplating something, something like the body internally, the body externally, the body both internally and externally for example. (This is for example only and I'm not wanting to discuss the body here unless it is necessary.) My question is whether the 4th jhana is only the first part which consists of the concentration of the mind?...or is the contemplation part which happens after the mind has achieved concentration part of the jhana too?
chownah


I think this is discussed in Ajahn Brahm book mindfulness, ....

In jhana, there is no contemplation. Based on what I know, if we try to contemplate something, we will lose our jhana.

In that book, he mentioned that entering jhana state is like how big is your momentum. Depending on your momentum, it will throw you to which jhana. That momentum is depending on your ability to 'let go' or see sunyata before entering that jhana state.

It also mentioned that You have no control in the duration of how long you will be there. It can be suddenly 3 days already or more.

I found this last part quite interesting because different school also mention it. However, that school mentioned that for beginner who just enter jhana, he cannot control the duration within that jhana state. Only very high level of practitioner can control how long he wants to be there.
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