Did anyone here attain jhana?

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Ben » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:56 am

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
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.

Spiny


That may be true of some people, more so in the real world, but you do not need to go far to find people on the internet who neither deserve the title nor the attention of their students.
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:00 am

Ben wrote:
Spiny O'Norman wrote:My experience has been that people who lead classes or groups are constantly questioning their own motivation and ability, and rightly so.

Spiny


That may be true of some people, more so in the real world, but you do not need to go far to find people on the internet who neither deserve the title nor the attention of their students.


I haven't come across anyone like that on this forum. ;)

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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:42 am

Ñāṇa wrote:...Nyingma Dzogchen are each a unique version of mindfulness meditation.



I used to do Dzogchen shamata, which involved nominally 25% attention on the breath, the rest being "spacious" awareness. I've found some parallels with the 4 tetrads of the Anapanasati Sutta.

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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby befriend » Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:51 pm

how does one manage the pride one gets from jhana. wasnt pride from jhana mastery what caused devadatta to fall? he became proud of his super powers and became jealous of buddha.
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:27 pm

befriend wrote:how does one manage the pride one gets from jhana. wasnt pride from jhana mastery what caused devadatta to fall? he became proud of his super powers and became jealous of buddha.

Maybe reading through this short thread might help:

viewtopic.php?f=35&t=9148#p141526
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 chownah » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:15 am

befriend wrote:how does one manage the pride one gets from jhana. wasnt pride from jhana mastery what caused devadatta to fall? he became proud of his super powers and became jealous of buddha.

Wanting to control pride might give you an edge on understanding not-self. Here's how.....if this pride is part of you then you should be able to control it after all it is YOU and if you can not control yourself then maybe you really aren't you.....or if pride arises from YOU then you should be able to just stop arising it and if you can't stop it from arising then how can you think that it has arisen from you....
Watch carefully as pride arises....to do this get into a solid state of concentration and then direct it to being mindful of thoughts....then think about how good you are at jhana and watch as your pride arises......I guess....maybe its a bad idea to try this....maybe it will be painful and a bad expereince...but it won't cost anything.....
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby befriend » Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:55 am

i remember my teacher already answered this years ago for me, she said watch the pride, when the mind sees how much suffering there is in it, this will help alleviate the pride. thanks for reminding me, metta.
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby manas » Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:56 am

The more I desire meditative bliss, the more it eludes me. The more I practice 'not expecting any result' - just doing the work - the more bliss I get to taste.

This drives me nuts sometimes, but I'm slowly getting the message.

:heart:

PS: I'm not talking about jhana here, just the ordinary bliss we find in a calmed mind.
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby kirk5a » Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:05 am

manasikara wrote:PS: I'm not talking about jhana here, just the ordinary bliss we find in a calmed mind.

Maybe that's what jhana is? But opinions vary on that apparently.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby manas » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:53 am

kirk5a wrote:
manasikara wrote:PS: I'm not talking about jhana here, just the ordinary bliss we find in a calmed mind.

Maybe that's what jhana is? But opinions vary on that apparently.
The thing is, kirk5a, the less I worry about 'when' I'm going to attain it (a calmed mind), the calmer my mind gets. That's the 'catch-22' that I find so amusing in a mildly masochistic way. I can only get it, if I don't hanker after it...lol! Anyway, I like being in the lower ranks of samatha practitioners...got no jhana, just a bit of peace and love from time to time (when I get lucky)...I like it this way as I have nothing to live up to.
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby Ben » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:45 am

Hi manasikara

Its a tricky balance, isn't it? If one craves this or that attainment it becomes a barrier to its achievement. And subtle craving can masquerade as equanimity. At the end of the day if we just maintain continuous attention of the object (for samatha) then that's all we need do.
kind regards.

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby PeterB » Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:04 pm

Well said Ben.
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:24 pm

Ben wrote:At the end of the day if we just maintain continuous attention of the object (for samatha) then that's all we need do.


Yet I wonder if Right Effort is a call for a more proactive practice. Neither merely seeking attainments nor merely persisting in a method, but rather actively pursuing the performance of wholesome behaviors (of thought, word, and deed).

The (Zen) maxim to "just sit" feels like a misstep; to me, this is where the common idea of samatha and vipassana as differing practices goes awry. Proper practice is both and roughly at the same time, the way left-hand-right-hand climbs a ladder.
    "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 rowyourboat » Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:41 pm

daverupa wrote:
Ben wrote:At the end of the day if we just maintain continuous attention of the object (for samatha) then that's all we need do.


Yet I wonder if Right Effort is a call for a more proactive practice. Neither merely seeking attainments nor merely persisting in a method, but rather actively pursuing the performance of wholesome behaviors (of thought, word, and deed).

The (Zen) maxim to "just sit" feels like a misstep; to me, this is where the common idea of samatha and vipassana as differing practices goes awry. Proper practice is both and roughly at the same time, the way left-hand-right-hand climbs a ladder.


The Samadhi components in the N8FP are right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration- 3 practices. It is more complex than seen at first take. We often forget the development of wholesome qualities and go after the more exotic/exciting meditative attainments. I wish more people were enthused about having say more empathy, as they are about attaining jhana. Yet it can be simple as well- like Ben said (see one of the Samadhi sutta where samadhi is described merely as unifying the mind).

with metta

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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby manas » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:33 am

Ben wrote:Hi manasikara

Its a tricky balance, isn't it? If one craves this or that attainment it becomes a barrier to its achievement. And subtle craving can masquerade as equanimity. At the end of the day if we just maintain continuous attention of the object (for samatha) then that's all we need do.
kind regards.

Ben
As always, thanks Ben for your timely and accurate advice. Yes, I need to watch that...I might rephrase it as 'wanting to take it a little too easy, masquerading as equanimity', but the principle of being subtly deceived is the same. Argh, why is it so hard to find the balance, between trying too hard, and not trying hard enough? :x

Anyway...peace

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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby chownah » Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:33 am

Speaking of effort......I think that many people think of hard work when they think of effort...I really don't think that this is a good way to think of Right Effort. I don't think that Right Effort is developed by a mental furrowing of the brow and induced tension.....I think that is is aided by calm and stressless concentrated awareness......it's difficult to explain my views on this but I guess the main thing is for one to determine for ones self what will facilitate the arising of Right Effort....I suggest reading alot of sources about Right Effort and see if you can interpret what they say within a context of calm and stressless concentrated awareness.....see if you can make sense of that....and if you can then try to implement it in your meditation.......if you can't make sense of it that way then just forget what I have said. Just as a starter, here is the opening lines of Nayanatiloka' Dictionary on Padhana which talks about sammapadhana which I think means Right Effort. I suggest reading it as I have described and see what you think.....best to go to the link and study it in full and also look for more references too:

http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... p.htm#padhāna

"Padhāna: 'effort.' The 4 right efforts samma-padhāna forming the 6th stage of the 8-fold path i.e. sammā-vāyāma see: magga are: 1 the effort to avoid samvara-padhāna 2 to overcome pahāna-padhāna 3 to develop bhāvanā-padhāna 4 to maintain anurakkhana-padhāna i.e. 1 the effort to avoid disadvantageous akusala states, such as evil thoughts, etc. 2 to overcome disadvantageous states, 3 to develop advantageous kusala states, such as the 7 elements of enlightenment bojjhanga, 4 to maintain the advantageous states.
............."


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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby fijiNut » Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:29 am

To answer the original question:
Did anyone here attain jhana?

Yes, it was a 10 day Vipassana silent retreat in the Vipassana(U Ba Khin as taught by Goenka) tradition following the mindfulness of breathing (Anapana) stage.

There is no "I" that attains jhana, you need the right conditions for a quiet mind and nothing short of all the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path. Silent retreat of more than 5 days will suffice under a skilled teacher.

Do not neglect your sila before going into the retreat and make sure all the worldly matters are settled. Follow instructions diligently and try to leave the 'panpanca'(proliferating mind) at the gates of the retreat centre.

All the 'balas' (strengths of mind: conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, and discernment) will be needed to deal with the five hindrances ( Sensual desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and remorse, doubt).

When jhana 'happens', your confidence in the Buddha's teachings increases manifold.
Because if what the Buddha teaches about jhana is true, and the mind experiences it, then the experience of Nibanna where the mind is free from all the defilements is possible too (extrapolating our experience). :buddha1:

:anjali:
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby manas » Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:58 am

fijiNut wrote:To answer the original question:
Did anyone here attain jhana?

Yes, it was a 10 day Vipassana silent retreat in the Vipassana(U Ba Khin as taught by Goenka) tradition following the mindfulness of breathing (Anapana) stage.

There is no "I" that attains jhana, you need the right conditions for a quiet mind and nothing short of all the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path. Silent retreat of more than 5 days will suffice under a skilled teacher.

Do not neglect your sila before going into the retreat and make sure all the worldly matters are settled. Follow instructions diligently and try to leave the 'panpanca'(proliferating mind) at the gates of the retreat centre.

All the 'balas' (strengths of mind: conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, and discernment) will be needed to deal with the five hindrances ( Sensual desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and remorse, doubt).

When jhana 'happens', your confidence in the Buddha's teachings increases manifold.
Because if what the Buddha teaches about jhana is true, and the mind experiences it, then the experience of Nibanna where the mind is free from all the defilements is possible too (extrapolating our experience). :buddha1:

:anjali:
Hi fijiNut,
as someone who has not yet attained jhana, I wanted to say thanks for sharing your experience of what was important for you in reaching it. On that note, I wanted to add that maybe we should not make it out to be too involved and arduous to attain. If we do that, some people might feel a bit overwhelmed...Maybe for some persons it could end up being a rather simple affair...they might (one fine day) just ease into it, like the young Bodhisatta sitting under the rose-apple tree, who attained the first jhana not even intending to, as far as I know...

:namaste:
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby fijiNut » Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:26 am

Hi Manasikara,

Thank you for pointing that out. Beginners mind is important.
When I went on the retreat, I didn't have such a long list.
Heck, I didn't even know what jhana was.
I was just intent (not too tightly) on calming the mind, relaxing the body, and following the breath.
The experience of it was so powerful that I couldn't help but bow to the teacher and the Triple Gem in gratitude, quite speechless.
It was only on personal reflection after the retreat that I realized, these were the factors that were present.

The practice has still a long way to go. The mind having experiencing jhana once, is not the same as having the 'skill' to enter jhana on a daily basis (whilst in the trappings of lay life, having a partner, job etc).
One good thing about DhammaWheel is that there are experienced practitioners/teachers who have been able to do so, and that in and of itself is inspiring enough to keep practicing on the Path.
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Re: Did anyone here attain jhana?

Postby manas » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:07 am

fijiNut,
thanks for that clarification. :smile: I just said what I said because I have personally found that the old way I used to look at 'concentration' actually hindered me from attaining anything even near serenity. I have found that Ajahn Brahm is correct (he is speaking from sutta, of course, so it is actually the Buddha who is correct! - but sometimes we need the meaning of sutta explained in more detail): he describes the jhanas as 'states of letting go', and I find the idea of progressively letting go of baggage - first the gross, then more and more subtle stuff - a very appealing and useful perspective. It helps me to ease into samatha practice, to relax, rather than to strain like I used to (I was mentally straining, not physically, but still...). As I said, there are those accomplished in jhana here, but I'm not one of them...I'm just a guy trying to learn to calm his mind lol... :tongue:

Thanks again for your insights regarding the practice, especially the reminder about the need for the five balas in getting past the hindrances. Got to cultivate those...

May all of us here be able to enter upon jhanas, for the sake of penetrative insight!

:namaste:
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