Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby twelph » Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:26 pm

Is there such thing as entering jhana without being absorbed in a single object? The way I prefer to interpret samadhi is a type of "unification of the mind", not necessarily focused upon any single object. When developing an open awareness, I gain a stillness. If I rest deeper and deeper into that stillness while still being fully aware of other experiences, can I use this to enter the 4 classical jhanas from the suttas?

Another question, can any of these 4 levels of jhana be experienced with eyes open, or during walking?
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby marc108 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:45 am

twelph wrote:Is there such thing as entering jhana without being absorbed in a single object? The way I prefer to interpret samadhi is a type of "unification of the mind", not necessarily focused upon any single object. When developing an open awareness, I gain a stillness. If I rest deeper and deeper into that stillness while still being fully aware of other experiences, can I use this to enter the 4 classical jhanas from the suttas?

Another question, can any of these 4 levels of jhana be experienced with eyes open, or during walking?



from what I can tell yes. the Jhana of the Suttas seems to be a a more embodied, open Samadhi rather than disembodied & fixed.

http://bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com/hom ... -variants/
http://www.leighb.com/jhanantp.htm
http://audiodharma.org/series/135/talk/1854/

no idea about with eyes open, and i would seriously doubt while walking although I believe some people would disagree.
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby twelph » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:41 am

marc108 wrote:
twelph wrote:Is there such thing as entering jhana without being absorbed in a single object? The way I prefer to interpret samadhi is a type of "unification of the mind", not necessarily focused upon any single object. When developing an open awareness, I gain a stillness. If I rest deeper and deeper into that stillness while still being fully aware of other experiences, can I use this to enter the 4 classical jhanas from the suttas?

Another question, can any of these 4 levels of jhana be experienced with eyes open, or during walking?



from what I can tell yes. the Jhana of the Suttas seems to be a a more embodied, open Samadhi rather than disembodied & fixed.

http://bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com/hom ... -variants/
http://www.leighb.com/jhanantp.htm
http://audiodharma.org/series/135/talk/1854/

no idea about with eyes open, and i would seriously doubt while walking although I believe some people would disagree.


Thanks especially for the audiodharma series! I go back into the archives as often as I can, but I still wind up missing some awesome talks.
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby DarwidHalim » Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:11 am

Yes. And that is then jhana you get from insight or vipassana.

Vipassana jhana.
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.
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby twelph » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:46 am

DarwidHalim wrote:Yes. And that is then jhana you get from insight or vipassana.

Vipassana jhana.


I have full respect for the teachings of Mahasi Sayadaw, but I can't seem to find anything in the Pali cannon where the Buddha teaches meditation that distinguishes between vipassana and samadhi. They seem to be practiced in unison, not as two separate styles of meditation. While the sayadaw seems to have a very detailed extrapolation of experiences while within Jhana, many of these same experiences are reported by people who are supposedly experiencing the classical Pali characteristics of Jhana. Does the Buddha make a distinction between two different types of Jhana?
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:52 am

twelph wrote:
DarwidHalim wrote:Yes. And that is then jhana you get from insight or vipassana.

Vipassana jhana.


I have full respect for the teachings of Mahasi Sayadaw, but I can't seem to find anything in the Pali cannon where the Buddha teaches meditation that distinguishes between vipassana and samadhi. They seem to be practiced in unison, not as two separate styles of meditation. While the sayadaw seems to have a very detailed extrapolation of experiences while within Jhana, many of these same experiences are reported by people who are supposedly experiencing the classical Pali characteristics of Jhana. Does the Buddha make a distinction between two different types of Jhana?
Take a look at the OP in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=9016&p=140097&#p140097
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:03 am

Regarding the question of concentration and insight in the Sutta Pitaka, there are a number of suttas one could point to.

For example, this sutta regarding the use various types of meditation objects giving different outcomes:
AN 4.41 Samadhi Sutta: Concentration
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Monks, these are the four developments of concentration. Which four? There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in the here & now. There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision. There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness. There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents.
...


And this sutta where the Buddha says that we should consult an expert if we are lacking in either concentration or insight:
AN 4.94 Samadhi Sutta: Concentration (Tranquillity and Insight)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"As for the individual who has attained neither internal tranquillity of awareness nor insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, he should approach an individual who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment... and ask him, 'How should the mind be steadied? How should it be made to settle down? How should it be unified? How should it be concentrated? How should fabrications be regarded? How should they be investigated? How should they be seen with insight?' The other will answer in line with what he has seen & experienced: 'The mind should be steadied in this way. The mind should be made to settle down in this way. The mind should be unified in this way. The mind should be concentrated in this way. Fabrications should be regarded in this way. Fabrications should be investigated in this way. Fabrications should be seen in this way with insight.' Then eventually he [the first] will become one who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment.


:anjali:
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby twelph » Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:33 am

tiltbillings wrote:Take a look at the OP in this thread: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 7&#p140097

Thank you very much, that conversation was extremely insightful. The only part that I would like to comment on is this:

The methods generally have two things you can optimize -- but only one at a time.


Is there a place in the suttas where these parts are optimized separately? Some teachers seem to think they can be worked upon simultaneously. Without delving deeper into that teacher's methods, I wonder why he thinks concentration and insight are always unbalanced?

----------

mikenz66 wrote:Regarding the question of concentration and insight in the Sutta Pitaka, there are a number of suttas one could point to.

For example, this sutta regarding the use various types of meditation objects giving different outcomes:
AN 4.41 Samadhi Sutta: Concentration
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Monks, these are the four developments of concentration. Which four? There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in the here & now. There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision. There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness. There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents.
...


I suppose my question would be, is there an issue with developing all of these types of concentration at once?
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:08 am

twelph wrote:I suppose my question would be, is there an issue with developing all of these types of concentration at once?

I think that is often what happens.

However, focussing on different objects does give different results (try it and see!) , and if one were aiming for highly-concentrated jhana states ("pleasant abiding" in the sutta I quoted) then some objects (generally more conceptual ones) are more conducive than others (the "arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates", for example, in the same sutta).

:anjali:
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby twelph » Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:19 am

mikenz66 wrote:
twelph wrote:I suppose my question would be, is there an issue with developing all of these types of concentration at once?

I think that is often what happens.

However, focussing on different objects does give different results (try it and see!) , and if one were aiming for highly-concentrated jhana states ("pleasant abiding" in the sutta I quoted) then some objects (generally more conceptual ones) are more conducive than others (the "arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates", for example, in the same sutta).

:anjali:
Mike



Taking a further look at this sutta, I noticed:
"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is feeling, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is perception, such its origination, such its passing away. Such are fabrications, such their origination, such their passing away. Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents.


Is this just having continuous mindfulness and being fully aware of the beginning and end of each object that appears in the mind, aka the third tetrad of the Anapanasati Sutta?
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:48 pm

twelph wrote:Taking a further look at this sutta, I noticed:
"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is feeling, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is perception, such its origination, such its passing away. Such are fabrications, such their origination, such their passing away. Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents.


Is this just having continuous mindfulness and being fully aware of the beginning and end of each object that appears in the mind, aka the third tetrad of the Anapanasati Sutta?


Or maybe the first bit of the 4th tetrad?
"[13] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on inconstancy.'
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:51 pm

twelph wrote:Is there such thing as entering jhana without being absorbed in a single object? The way I prefer to interpret samadhi is a type of "unification of the mind", not necessarily focused upon any single object. When developing an open awareness, I gain a stillness. If I rest deeper and deeper into that stillness while still being fully aware of other experiences, can I use this to enter the 4 classical jhanas from the suttas?


I've heard access concentration referred to as a "point of stillness".
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby marc108 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:18 pm

twelph wrote:I have full respect for the teachings of Mahasi Sayadaw, but I can't seem to find anything in the Pali cannon where the Buddha teaches meditation that distinguishes between vipassana and samadhi. They seem to be practiced in unison, not as two separate styles of meditation. While the sayadaw seems to have a very detailed extrapolation of experiences while within Jhana, many of these same experiences are reported by people who are supposedly experiencing the classical Pali characteristics of Jhana. Does the Buddha make a distinction between two different types of Jhana?



i think what is meant by the term vipassana jhana, which is used by teachers like Joseph Goldstein, is actually Sutta Jhana... an embodied Jhana where experience is still observable... vs the fixed type of Jhana where most experience has effectively ended.

he explains them well here: (this is one of my favorite talks btw)
http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/talk/3 ... reedom.mp3
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:58 pm

twelph wrote:Is there such thing as entering jhana without being absorbed in a single object? The way I prefer to interpret samadhi is a type of "unification of the mind", not necessarily focused upon any single object. When developing an open awareness, I gain a stillness. If I rest deeper and deeper into that stillness while still being fully aware of other experiences, can I use this to enter the 4 classical jhanas from the suttas?

Another question, can any of these 4 levels of jhana be experienced with eyes open, or during walking?


The first jhāna factors sometimes includes 'cittass'ekaggata' which can be translated as arriving at a unified mind, although it can also be translated as one-pointedness of mind, as-well as calmness of mind, however as cetaso ekodibhāva can also be translated in both ways, and is always used for the second Jhana, it would be reasonable to assume jhana has fixed itself upon the opject hence the dropping away of the verbal fabrications.

there is some mention of directed and undirected meditation here http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html but this does not sugest that there is no object and from the many meditative methods found in the suttas it would appear an object is always there.

there is a text where walking meditation is talked about in relation to the fourth jhana (in this case called the imperturbable) here http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html although I have not looked this further I do believe it won't be full fledged Jhana which can easily be argued as only attainable while sitting silent..., but refering to the qualities of jhana being pressent to the point it can legitimately be called Jhana, yet not to the strength described as Sammasamadhi in the texts, although this list does not discount weaker levels of samadhi whether in its path factor form or training form being right samadhi.
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby twelph » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:42 pm

porpoise wrote:I've heard access concentration referred to as a "point of stillness".


An interesting term. In my own experience I can be aware of this point of stillness as one of many objects, and yet sometimes it seems to expand. If it's presence is strong enough my thoughts seem to emerge from this space and then naturally fade back into it. If I focus on this stillness while excluding all other objects it seems to grow in an unnatural way while possibly becoming something else entirely. I notice when I accidentally begin doing this, because I rapidly become exhausted. When this happens the best solution that I have come up with is to cease all effort, as even the tiniest amount will perpetuate this phenomenon. I then "rinse and repeat" and try to be aware of any early warning signs to keep it from happening again.

----------

marc108 wrote:he explains them well here: (this is one of my favorite talks btw)
http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/talk/3 ... reedom.mp3

I'll give it a listen! Goldstein provides many of my favorite talks these days.

----------

Cittasanto wrote:there is a text where walking meditation is talked about in relation to the fourth jhana (in this case called the imperturbable) here http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html although I have not looked this further I do believe it won't be full fledged Jhana which can easily be argued as only attainable while sitting silent..., but refering to the qualities of jhana being pressent to the point it can legitimately be called Jhana, yet not to the strength described as Sammasamadhi in the texts, although this list does not discount weaker levels of samadhi whether in its path factor form or training form being right samadhi.

What I'm getting from this is that different aspects of even the higher Jhanas can be experienced in parts, but a Jhana can only be considered completely mastered when all of the classical experiences are witnessed in a single session?
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby santa100 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:57 pm

Twelph wrote:
"Is there such thing as entering jhana without being absorbed in a single object?"

The stock description of the first jhana: "secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a monk enters upon and dwells in the first jhana, which is accompanied by applied thought and sustained thought, with rapture and happiness born of seclusion" indicates the existence of an object of meditation for the mind to apply Vitakka and Vicara..
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:24 pm

twelph wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:
twelph wrote:I suppose my question would be, is there an issue with developing all of these types of concentration at once?

I think that is often what happens.

However, focussing on different objects does give different results (try it and see!) , and if one were aiming for highly-concentrated jhana states ("pleasant abiding" in the sutta I quoted) then some objects (generally more conceptual ones) are more conducive than others (the "arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates", for example, in the same sutta).

:anjali:
Mike



Taking a further look at this sutta, I noticed:
"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is feeling, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is perception, such its origination, such its passing away. Such are fabrications, such their origination, such their passing away. Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents.


Is this just having continuous mindfulness and being fully aware of the beginning and end of each object that appears in the mind, aka the third tetrad of the Anapanasati Sutta?

Yes, or in the Satipatthana Sutta, or the Visuddhimagga, or the so-called "vipassana" instructions of many modern teachers.

As I see it, based on experience that is mainly using the Mahasi approach the Satipatthana, Anapanasati, "Gradual Training Suttas" viewtopic.php?f=33&t=13281 and the suttas I quoted above suggest a progression where one uses some objects (breath, motion of abdomen, motion of feet while walking, and so on) to build up concentration and mindfulness with the aim to be able to use that concentration and mindfulness to see the rise and fall of aggregates, etc. A reasonable degree of concentration is probably essential to being able to attempt that.

This focusing on changing objects, as in the sutta above, is described in the Commentaries/Visuddhimagga as "access concentration", and seems to be what U Pandita termed "vipassana jhana".

:anjali:
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:16 pm

twelph wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:there is a text where walking meditation is talked about in relation to the fourth jhana (in this case called the imperturbable) here http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html although I have not looked this further I do believe it won't be full fledged Jhana which can easily be argued as only attainable while sitting silent..., but refering to the qualities of jhana being pressent to the point it can legitimately be called Jhana, yet not to the strength described as Sammasamadhi in the texts, although this list does not discount weaker levels of samadhi whether in its path factor form or training form being right samadhi.

What I'm getting from this is that different aspects of even the higher Jhanas can be experienced in parts, but a Jhana can only be considered completely mastered when all of the classical experiences are witnessed in a single session?

I am not sure if I am reading you correctly, but I would say
the different factors which constitute Jhana can be experienced at different strengths, this could be described as a watered down, but all the factors are present so that the experience can legitimately be called Jhana even if it is not at 100% power.
as an example, a car has a maximum speed of 100mph and to achieve this it uses all its power, and all the mechanical components are working at full; but to go 50mph it does not need all its power so does not use fully the mechanical components but all the same components to achieve 100mph are still in use to achieve the lesser 50mph speed.
it is the same with jhana for full propper Jhana you need the full power, but at lesser power you still need the same equiptment although it can be disputed that it is Jhana proper.
if you didn't have all the jhana factors I would say that was definately not Jhana.
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby twelph » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:29 pm

Cittasanto wrote:it is the same with jhana for full propper Jhana you need the full power, but at lesser power you still need the same equiptment although it can be disputed that it is Jhana proper.
if you didn't have all the jhana factors I would say that was definately not Jhana.

I was just wondering how the monk in the sutta is able to experience this aspect of 4th jhana called the imperturbable while walking. I think I'm still misunderstanding you, if it's probably not possible to enter jhana unless in the sitting position, how is this monk experiencing the condition of 4th jhana?

Edit: I admit that I might not be properly informed for this conversation, as I have purposely in the past made an effort to avoid reading detailed extrapolations of jhana. I am usually without a teacher, and fear that I may put ideas in my head that my mind will try to recreate in my experience. I feel like I'm on a slippery slope :thinking:
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Re: Entering Jhana Without Single Object Absorption

Postby santa100 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:05 pm

twelph wrote:
"I was just wondering how the monk in the sutta is able to experience this aspect of 4th jhana called the imperturbable while walking"

Are you sure the monk was "walking" instead of "standing"? To put the body into motion, one would need to breathe oxygen to generate energy for the muscles to move. But one stops breathing at the fourth jhana according to SN36.011 (ref:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn36/sn36.011.than.html ):
"And I have also taught the step-by-step cessation of fabrications. When one has attained the first jhana, speech has ceased. When one has attained the second jhana, directed thought & evaluation have ceased. When one has attained the third jhana, rapture has ceased. When one has attained the fourth jhana, in-and-out breathing has ceased"
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