What does Ajahn Brahm really mean? Did the Buddha say this?

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What does Ajahn Brahm really mean? Did the Buddha say this?

Postby Jaidyn » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:17 pm

Ajahn Brahm (page 2, Mindfulness, bliss, and beyond, 2006, second printing) makes an interesting reference to Samyutta Nikaya, but when I check the part referred to it is not even about the same subject.

One of the many simple but profound statements of the Buddha is that ‘a meditator who makes letting go the main object easily achieves samadhi,’ that is, attentive stillness, the goal of meditation (SN 48,9).


Does he assume SN 48.9 claim that attentive stillness is the goal of meditation, or does he assume SN 48.9 claim that the Buddha said “a meditator who makes letting go ...”, or maybe both?

He is vague, and I hoped that looking it up would make clear what he really mean, but the text referred to is about five faculties. Ajahn Brahms interpretation does not fit at all. Am I wrong in some way? I looked up 48,9 in Bhikkhu Bodhis translation pages 1670-1.

Did the Buddha say such a thing as “‘a meditator who makes letting go the main object easily achieves samadhi,’”, and where do I find it?
Last edited by Jaidyn on Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What does Ajahn Brahm really mean? Did the Buddha say this?

Postby DarwidHalim » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:28 pm

I don't see any problem with that.

The art of letting go indeed can bring us even to the highest samadhi level - Jhana 4.

But please note, samadhi only bring you to be born in god realm.

There is no difference between Buddhist practise and Hindu yogi practitioner until this level.

According to Hindu tradition, this is the highest of the highest goal and you have been free from samsara.

But not to Buddhist teaching.

When we reach that samadhi state, we really have the best of the best naked or bare awareness.

We need to utilize that state to do a true vipassana to see and experience directly the no identity or no self of this reality.

By realizing there is no identity or no self in this samsara, it is only at this point onwards that the true detachment, the true stopping of craving, the true stopping of grasping is really burn out and will never ever arise again. Because in that state you realize there is no base actually for you to grasp both this body and the phenomena.

Freeing from samsara is then possible.
Last edited by DarwidHalim on Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: What does Ajahn Brahm really mean? Did the Buddha say this?

Postby Jaidyn » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:32 pm

Without reading your post too carefully, I dare to say I agree with you, BUT my post is about that Brahms reference to SN seems to be incorrect. I want to know the correct reference.
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Re: What does Ajahn Brahm really mean? Did the Buddha say this?

Postby reflection » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:37 pm

I know SN48.10 says this:

And what is the faculty of concentration? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, making it his object to let go, attains concentration, attains singleness of mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


After that it goes on to describe the jhanas, which in A.B.'s book are referred to as the goal of meditation. I would say the goal is nibanna, but ok. The Buddha described samma samadhi as the 4 jhanas, so you could say they are the goal of meditation, depends on how you look at it. I still don't see the "easy" part, but apart from that I think what A.B. cites is indeed quite close to what the Buddha seems to have said.

With metta,
Reflection
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Re: What does Ajahn Brahm really mean? Did the Buddha say this?

Postby DarwidHalim » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:38 pm

I read both of his book, this one and the art of disappearing.

We need to know that what he quoted is the general idea or essence from that SN.

We cannot compare every word vs every word.

We need to compare the essence and the essence.

For myself, I am actually agree with him.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: What does Ajahn Brahm really mean? Did the Buddha say this?

Postby DarwidHalim » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:47 pm

reflection wrote:I know SN48.10 says this:

And what is the faculty of concentration? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, making it his object to let go, attains concentration, attains singleness of mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Singleness of mind is what he wrote here as attentive stillness, samadhi.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: What does Ajahn Brahm really mean? Did the Buddha say this?

Postby Jaidyn » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:16 pm

reflection wrote:I know SN48.10 says this:

And what is the faculty of concentration? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, making it his object to let go, attains concentration, attains singleness of mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


After that it goes on to describe the jhanas, which in A.B.'s book are referred to as the goal of meditation. I would say the goal is nibanna, but ok. The Buddha described samma samadhi as the 4 jhanas, so you could say they are the goal of meditation, depends on how you look at it. I still don't see the "easy" part, but apart from that I think what A.B. cites is indeed quite close to what the Buddha seems to have said.

With metta,
Reflection


Thank you! BBs translation renders "having made release the object" while AB states "making it his object to let go". BBs version is in both 48.9 and 48.10. It turns out ABs reference was correct. By the way, AB says all translations from Pali are his own unless otherwise specified and his translations may differ if compared with other translations.

I am not entirely a fan of this book and I find other interpretations suspect, like on page 127: "the only kind of meditation that the Buddha recommended was jhana". Does AB exclude vipassanā for example? Hmm, the word "only" is rather exclusive in its meaning.

By looking at the part referred to, I would not make such a strict interpretation, or I would not chose that expression. The part referred to (MN 108,27) states that the Buddha praised jhana, and he disparaged kinds of meditations affected by any of the 5 hinderances. It is too much to say that jhana is "the only kind of meditation" just because the Buddha praised jhana and disparaged meditation affected by hinderances.

In a broader sense, vipassanā has often been used as one of two poles for the categorization of types of Buddhist meditation, the other being samatha (Pāli; Sanskrit: śamatha). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vipassan%C4%81


AB states: "Put bluntly, if it isn't jhana then it isn't true Buddhist meditation!" (p. 127)
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Re: What does Ajahn Brahm really mean? Did the Buddha say this?

Postby reflection » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:19 pm

While I generally like the book, I think that passage can indeed be a bit dubious.

But on page 25 AB states:
Some traditions speak of two types of meditation, insight meditation (vipassana) and calm meditation (samatha). In fact the two are indevisible facets of the same process. [..] Calm leads to insight and insight leads to calm. For those who are misled to conceive of all the instructions offered here as "just samatha practice" (calming) without regard to vipassana (insight), please know that this is neither vipassana nor samatha.


So to get to jhana, you need both insight and calm. AB seems to refers to the entire process of Buddhist meditation (including vipassana) with "jhana" on p. 127. To my limited knowledge of Pali, the word jhana indeed sometimes seems to refer to (samadhi) meditation in general and not so much to specific stages of this meditation.

Of course, the debate on this issue of samadhi vs vipassana is another subject, but at least AB is consistent and his position is defendable albeit with some play of words. I also would have put it down elsewise. While reading the book, I personally got the feeling it was a bit of a mishmash of previous publications; if this is true this might explain at least some of the confusion, for example why the quoted passage above is not made more clear in a general introduction.

Metta,
Reflection
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Re: What does Ajahn Brahm really mean? Did the Buddha say this?

Postby DarwidHalim » Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:19 am

If we ask Hindu practitioners, they know that things are impermanent. Their talk about it is available quite wide in YOutube. They know things are coming and going. When they meditate, they meditate single pointedly. They use this knowledge coming and going to stabilize their meditation as well. In this case, they have a little bit of vipassana according to Buddhist perspective, but this vipassana is a very very course vipassana. They don't call it vipassana, because this is Buddhist term as shown by Ajahn Bhram.

The irony is although they know things are impermanent, they Still believe in God as a creator.

In this sense, their meditation fail to see the non existence of God as a creator. The question then is your ability simply knowing things are coming and going is the actual vipassana? How can your end result is completely different with Buddhism?

Buddhism is different, the vipassana is so deep, until the practitioner can see through directly that because things are impermanent, we cannot have an identity. The current identity is wipe out by the next new identity. In other words, we cannot have identity. So God as a creator, who exists as an identity free from causes and condition, is proven cannot exist at all.

This is vipassana. They can see the true face of whatever things appear to them as what it is, without being spoilt by their concepts.

We cannot do a vipassana without Samantha. This is sure.

But we can do Samantha without vipassana? If this is not possible, how can Hindu practitioners keep believing God as a creator? Is their ability to calm their meditation through a bit of wisdom knowing impermanent fulfilled the criteria to be called Vipassana? If we said they have a vipassana, then how can they attach to their meditation sensation? What kind of vipassana you are doing? Is that really vipassana?

May be yes, may be no. I think the disputes are there, depending on how we define that Buddhist jargon.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: What does Ajahn Brahm really mean? Did the Buddha say this?

Postby reflection » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:39 am

Buddhist and hindu meditation are fundamentally different. I don't think you can make such a comparision. You seem to suggest both share the same samadhi, but it's more likely they use the same names for different things.


Also, to back up that you can't have right concentration without right insight (here view/knowledge):
"In a person of wrong view, wrong resolve comes into being. In a person of wrong resolve, wrong speech. In a person of wrong speech, wrong action. In a person of wrong action, wrong livelihood. In a person of wrong livelihood, wrong effort. In a person of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness. In a person of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration. In a person of wrong concentration, wrong knowledge. In a person of wrong knowledge, wrong release.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Anyway, this is a different topic. I'd be happy to discuss it with you, but maybe it has been done before an we should continue in the appropriate thread.
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Re: What does Ajahn Brahm really mean? Did the Buddha say this?

Postby alan » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:35 am

Jaidyn,
You can't believe everything you read from Ajahn Brahm. He likes to tell stories.
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Re: What does Ajahn Brahm really mean? Did the Buddha say this?

Postby ground » Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:38 am

Jaidyn wrote:Ajahn Brahm (page 2, Mindfulness, bliss, and beyond, 2006, second printing) makes an interesting reference to Samyutta Nikaya,


I have read this book and found out that most of his sutta references do not support what he wants to support. For me Ajahn Brahm is an instance of one who has views and reads his views into the suttas. That does not necessarily mean that his suggestions are not helpful. It just means that his sutta referrences should be critically questioned.

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