Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

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Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby phil-zero » Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:20 pm

Eradicating one's craving for sensual pleasures is obviously a key aspect of buddhism. These sensual pleasures feel good, and as such, we become attached to them through repetition and crave them over time. This craving results in always wanting more, and thus suffering.

This makes perfect sense...but what about the pleasure involved in the act of meditation? The 1st jhana, for example, is described as a profound state of bliss and ecstasy:

"There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... jhana.html


What exactly is the difference between this meditative pleasure and say, the pleasure between two lovers during sex?

I ask this, because, i feel in a way, that I have almost developed an attachment to the pleasurable and detached state of meditation. If i enter a state of meditation for 30 minutes before i go to work, for example, I realize how much less pleasurable the act of "work" is in comparison to the relaxed, detached, and empty mind of meditation. Now theoretically, my meditation should ALLOW me to get in better touch with my feelings TOWARDS work, but this doesn't always occur. It's almost like i enjoy meditation so much that i just want MORE of it, just like any pleasure.

So once again, what exactly IS the difference between the pleasure of meditation and any other sort of sensual pleasure? Or is there none?
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby daverupa » Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:59 am

MN 139

“Bhikkhus, there are these five cords of sensual pleasure. What five? Forms cognizable by the eye…sounds cognizable by the ear…odours cognizable by the nose…flavours cognizable by the tongue…tangibles cognizable by the body that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and likeable, connected with sensual desire and provocative of lust. These are the five cords of sensual pleasure. Now the pleasure and joy that arise dependent on these five cords of sensual pleasure are called sensual pleasure – a filthy pleasure, a coarse pleasure, an ignoble pleasure. I say of this kind of pleasure that it should not be pursued, that it should not be developed, that it should not be cultivated, and that it should be feared.

“Here, bhikkhus, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhāna…the second jhāna…the third jhāna…the fourth jhāna. This is called the bliss of renunciation, the bliss of seclusion, the bliss of peace, the bliss of enlightenment. I say of this kind of pleasure that it should be pursued, that it should be developed, that it should be cultivated, and that it should not be feared.
    "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: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby James the Giant » Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:08 am

daverupa wrote:“Here, bhikkhus, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhāna…the second jhāna…the third jhāna…the fourth jhāna. This is called the bliss of renunciation, the bliss of seclusion, the bliss of peace, the bliss of enlightenment. I say of this kind of pleasure that it should be pursued, that it should be developed, that it should be cultivated, and that it should not be feared.

I quoted this to a vipassana assistant teacher last weekend, and he grimaced, and said:
"That's why you shouldn't read so much."
He wanted me to avoid reading the suttas, and just stick to the teacher's writings.
Game over, that's the end of my respect for him.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby phil-zero » Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:44 am

daverupa wrote:MN 139

“Now the pleasure and joy that arise dependent on these five cords of sensual pleasure are called sensual pleasure – a filthy pleasure, a coarse pleasure, an ignoble pleasure. I say of this kind of pleasure that it should not be pursued, that it should not be developed, that it should not be cultivated, and that it should be feared.

“Here, bhikkhus, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhāna…the second jhāna…the third jhāna…the fourth jhāna. This is called the bliss of renunciation, the bliss of seclusion, the bliss of peace, the bliss of enlightenment. I say of this kind of pleasure that it should be pursued, that it should be developed, that it should be cultivated, and that it should not be feared.


What then, makes the bliss inherent in jhana states different from the more "coarse" forms of sensual pleasure? Isn't it still theoretically possible to become totally attached and "crave" the bliss of such an absorptive meditative state? Though the jhana state is more skillful, it still appears liable to the same pitfalls as ordinary pleasures, ie: attachment, craving and wanting more.

Perhaps i am missing a key point? I know that the final stage of Jhana is literally the complete dissolution of both pleasure AND pain...but that would imply total enlightenment, which is a level the majority of human beings have not yet reached.

I'm still quite new to buddhism, hence the large number of questions :D
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby James the Giant » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:21 am

phil-zero wrote:What then, makes the bliss inherent in jhana states different from the more "coarse" forms of sensual pleasure? Isn't it still theoretically possible to become totally attached and "crave" the bliss of such an absorptive meditative state?

From what I understand from books (no personal experience, alas!) the bliss of the 1st jhana develops as you explore and develop it, until finally it becomes coarse. The mind at this point is intent on pursuing the finer, and so naturally moves in that direction naturally, to the next jhana. So on up the scale, from coarser to finer, eventually leaving bliss behind entirely at the 4th jhana.
So it is not to be feared, as there is apparently a natural progression through and out the other side of bliss.
Whereas there's no progression through everyday bliss.

I hope that helped answer a part of your question at least.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby santa100 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:36 am

phil-zero wrote:
What then, makes the bliss inherent in jhana states different from the more "coarse" forms of sensual pleasure? Isn't it still theoretically possible to become totally attached and "crave" the bliss of such an absorptive meditative state? Though the jhana state is more skillful, it still appears liable to the same pitfalls as ordinary pleasures, ie: attachment, craving and wanting more.


Because the nature of the 2 kinds of bliss(sensual vs. meditative) are completely different. Sensual bliss is like a thirsty person who drinks salty water. The drinking only temporarily quenches his thirst but soon after makes him want to keep drinking more and more. Meditative bliss is like a mountain climber wanting to reach the summit. His wanting diminishes as he gets closer and closer to the top. His desire completely ceases once he's at the top of the mountain. Here's Ven. Ananda's wonderful instruction to the brahman Unnabha: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby Dmytro » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:44 am

Hi Phil-zero,

phil-zero wrote:What exactly is the difference between this meditative pleasure and say, the pleasure between two lovers during sex?


Meditative pleasure is "non-carnal" (niramisa), "born of the mental contact" (mano-samphassa-ja).
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=13998

phil-zero wrote:I ask this, because, i feel in a way, that I have almost developed an attachment to the pleasurable and detached state of meditation. If i enter a state of meditation for 30 minutes before i go to work, for example, I realize how much less pleasurable the act of "work" is in comparison to the relaxed, detached, and empty mind of meditation. Now theoretically, my meditation should ALLOW me to get in better touch with my feelings TOWARDS work, but this doesn't always occur. It's almost like i enjoy meditation so much that i just want MORE of it, just like any pleasure.


There indeed happens such an attachment.

In Pali, that's called "rupa-raga" or "arupa-raga" http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/s_t/samyojana.htm

Some citations:

"There is the case, Ananda, where a monk, having practiced in this way — (thinking) 'It should not be, it should not occur to me; it will not be, it will not occur to me. What is, what has come to be, that I abandon' — obtains equanimity. He relishes that equanimity, welcomes it, remains fastened to it. As he relishes that equanimity, welcomes it, remains fastened to it, his consciousness is dependent on it, is sustained by it (clings to it). With clinging/sustenance, Ananda, a monk is not totally unbound."

"Being sustained, where is that monk sustained?"

"The dimension of neither perception nor non-perception."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

It's worthwhile to develop wisdom to deal with such attachment:

"I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"There was the case where Sariputta — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities — entered & remained in the first jhana. Whatever qualities there are in the first jhana — directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"There is the case where a monk, secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, feeling, perception, fabrications, & consciousness, as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'"

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"And how is the mind said to be internally positioned? 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. His consciousness follows the drift of the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal, is tied to... chained... fettered, & joined to the attraction of the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal. Or further, 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. His consciousness follows the drift of the rapture & pleasure born of composure, is tied to... chained... fettered, & joined to the attraction of the rapture & pleasure born of composure. Or further, 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.' His consciousness follows the drift of the equanimity & pleasure, is tied to... chained... fettered, & joined to the attraction of the equanimity & pleasure. Or further, 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. His consciousness follows the drift of the neither pleasure nor pain, is tied to... chained to... fettered, & joined to the attraction of the neither pleasure nor pain: The mind is said to be internally positioned.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:51 am

phil-zero wrote:What exactly is the difference between this meditative pleasure and say, the pleasure between two lovers during sex?

one pleasure is sensual the other is non-sensual, or worldly (coneccted witht the five strandls of sensual pleasure/the agregates) and the other is spiritual (not connected to sensual pleasure/the agregates).

when there is an attachment there is a dissidence in views about what is happening. here seeing them as equal is possibly the cause.

The difference between these pleasures can be seen in where Dhamma aims
Discourse advising Gotami briefly - (Samkhitta Sutta) - AN 8.53(Excerpt) translated by me wrote:‘Those teachings that lead: to dis-passion (calm objectivity), not to passion (intense enthusiasm); to being unfettered (moving with things), not to being fettered (moved by things); to shedding (decrease of troubles), not to accumulating (increase of troubles); to being inwardly content, not to self importance (conceit); to contentment with things, not to discontent (longing for better things); to privacy from external concerns, not to involvement in external concerns; to the application of energy, not to wasting time; to being easily supported (needing little), not to being hard to please (wanting more’): You can definitely hold, ‘This is the teaching, this is the discipline, this is the teacher’s instruction.’


This dissidence may start by the factors not being balanced as faculties/strengths, a lack of equipoise (which doesn't just pop up fully formed in the fourth) and too much attention on the pleasurable aspects of the meditation may actually be giving a foothold for the attachment here.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby reflection » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:26 am

Good, get addicted to meditation, that's not a problem if you ask me. But there is quite a difference between the types of pleasure as explained before.
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby Mal » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:17 am

phil-zero wrote:So once again, what exactly IS the difference between the pleasure of meditation and any other sort of sensual pleasure? Or is there none?


Try reading Ajahn Brahm's book "Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond". I'll attempt a rough description of some of his main points on the differences between sensory pleasure and the pleasure of Jhana:

1) The pleasure encountered in Jhana is not a sensory pleasure because you are beyond the realm of the five senses.

2) Jhana is obtained through total non-attachment, so how can you be worried about "too much attachment" to Jhana?! Jhana really is pleasure without strings attached.

3) The highest states of Jhana, in which you encounter the most blissful pleasure, are the best preparation for the greatest insights and for enlightenment. Jhana is really having your cake and eating it (even if baking the cake is incredibly difficult!)

So:

4) Be happy about wanting to pursue Jhana, it's exactly the right thing to do, according to Brahm.
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:07 pm

Mal wrote:2) Jhana is obtained through total non-attachment, so how can you be worried about "too much attachment" to Jhana?! Jhana really is pleasure without strings attached.

This is the most important point to make; you cannot be attached to letting go, which is the whole point of Jhana. Worrying about becoming attached to Jhana is like worrying about becoming addicted to not smoking.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby SarathW » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:33 am

So once again, what exactly IS the difference between the pleasure of meditation and any other sort of sensual pleasure? Or is there none?[/quote]

There are ten fetters to be eliminated to attain Nirvan.
Two of the ten fetters are attachment to form and formless realam. (This implies Samatha Meditaion)
ie:
6.lust for material existence, lust for material rebirth (rūparāgo)[12]
7.lust for immaterial existence, lust for rebirth in a formless realm (arūparāgo)[13]

Hence the meditator should start practicing Vipassana meditation to achieve Nirvana.
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:41 am

SarathW wrote:There are ten fetters to be eliminated to attain Nirvan.
Two of the ten fetters are attachment to form and formless realam. (This implies Samatha Meditaion)
ie:
6.lust for material existence, lust for material rebirth (rūparāgo)[12]
7.lust for immaterial existence, lust for rebirth in a formless realm (arūparāgo)[13]

Hence the meditator should start practicing Vipassana meditation to achieve Nirvana.

That is an incorrect reading. Lust for material rebirth and immaterial rebirth is attachment to being. It has nothing to do with Jhana.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby pegembara » Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:27 am

Here is a description of meditation by the jhana route by Sariputta.

There is nothing wrong with the jhanas except each stage is only a step with something "better" beyond until "cessation of feeling & perception". Then seeing with discernment, his fermentations were totally ended.

"There was the case where Sariputta — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities — entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Whatever qualities there are in the first jhana — directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness,[2] desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby Mal » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:33 am

SarathW wrote:There are ten fetters to be eliminated to attain Nirvan.
Two of the ten fetters are attachment to form and formless realam. (This implies Samatha Meditaion)
ie:
6.lust for material existence, lust for material rebirth (rūparāgo)[12]
7.lust for immaterial existence, lust for rebirth in a formless realm (arūparāgo)[13]

Hence the meditator should start practicing Vipassana meditation to achieve Nirvana.


Ajahn Brahm suggests that to achieve Nirvana you need to practice Vipassana with "superpowerful mindfulness", which can only be achieved after attaining Jhana. He says you can't practice mindfulness in Jhana, but when you came out of Jhana you are in by far the best state to practice Vipassana.

If you practice Jhana with the intention of practising Vipassana, then I can't see how attachment is involved.

Also, why do you think "this implies Samatha Meditation"? In (7.) "attachment to formless realm" is defined as "lust for immaterial experience." You can only experience lust outside of Jhana, i.e., outside of the higher stages of Samatha meditation.

You might have attachment to the formless realm if, after experiencing Jhana, you do not practice Vipassana, but go running after Jhana again.

According to Ajahn Brahm once in Jhana you can't think or do anything, you certainly can't 'lust after a formless realm', you can't even decide to leave Jhana!
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby SarathW » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:24 pm

If you practice Jhana with the intention of practising Vipassana, then I can't see how attachment is involved.


I agree with you. I do Samatha meditation when I am alone. The experience I have, I can't explain in words. I practice Vipassana meditaiton in my day to day activities such as working in my day job. This make me a very happy person. Understanding Anatta is the final stage of liberation according to text. (eliminating ten fetters)
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby whynotme » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:42 am

SarathW wrote:If you practice Jhana with the intention of practising Vipassana, then I can't see how attachment is involved.


I agree with you. I do Samatha meditation when I am alone. The experience I have, I can't explain in words. I practice Vipassana meditaiton in my day to day activities such as working in my day job. This make me a very happy person. Understanding Anatta is the final stage of liberation according to text. (eliminating ten fetters)

Glad to hear you are a happy person because of dhamma. Destroying of greed, anger and ignorance is happiness. The teaching is real, only one who taste it believe it

Regards
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby Dmytro » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:23 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
SarathW wrote:There are ten fetters to be eliminated to attain Nirvan.
Two of the ten fetters are attachment to form and formless realam. (This implies Samatha Meditaion)
ie:
6.lust for material existence, lust for material rebirth (rūparāgo)[12]
7.lust for immaterial existence, lust for rebirth in a formless realm (arūparāgo)[13]

Hence the meditator should start practicing Vipassana meditation to achieve Nirvana.

That is an incorrect reading. Lust for material rebirth and immaterial rebirth is attachment to being. It has nothing to do with Jhana.


SarathW, thank you, this is a correct reading.

As Buddha explains in Uposatha sutta (AN II 184), jhanas are equivalent to the states of devas in the form (rupa) realm:

"And how has a bhikkhu attained the state of a deva? Here, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskilful behavior, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the first jhana ..."
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby Dmytro » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:29 am

Mal wrote:2) Jhana is obtained through total non-attachment, so how can you be worried about "too much attachment" to Jhana?! Jhana really is pleasure without strings attached.


Jhana is based on non-attachment to the pleasures of the sensual (kama) plane. Yet there can still remain attachment to the form (rupa) and formless (arupa) planes.

LonesomeYogurt wrote:This is the most important point to make; you cannot be attached to letting go, which is the whole point of Jhana. Worrying about becoming attached to Jhana is like worrying about becoming addicted to not smoking.


Why do you think so?

Seems like you are quoting Brahmavamso?

Uddesa-vibhanga sutta clearly states that there can be an attachment to jhana:

"And how is the mind said to be internally positioned? There is the case where a monk, quite withdrawn from sensuality (kama), withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. His consciousness follows the drift of the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal, is tied to... chained... fettered, & joined to the attraction of the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal. Or further, 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. His consciousness follows the drift of the rapture & pleasure born of composure, is tied to... chained... fettered, & joined to the attraction of the rapture & pleasure born of composure. Or further, 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.' His consciousness follows the drift of the equanimity & pleasure, is tied to... chained... fettered, & joined to the attraction of the equanimity & pleasure. Or further, 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. His consciousness follows the drift of the neither pleasure nor pain, is tied to... chained to... fettered, & joined to the attraction of the neither pleasure nor pain: The mind is said to be internally positioned.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Jhana meditation and attachment to pleasure

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:15 pm

From some of the above sutta quotes it seems clear that for complete liberation it will be necessary to relinquish attachment to jhana and formless attainments, which are, after all, conditioned phenomena.

However, from other sutta quotes it is clear that this is not a reason to fear those states. As Thanissaro Bhikkhu notes:
[quote]Another advantage to this mindful, concentrated state is that as you feel more and more at home in it, you begin to realize that it's possible to have happiness and pleasure in life without depending on things outside of yourself — people, relationships, approval from others, or any of the issues that come from being part of the world. This realization helps pry loose your attachments to things outside. Some people are afraid of getting attached to a state of calm, but actually, it's very important that you get attached here, so that you begin to settle down and begin to undo your other attachments. Only when this attachment to calm is the only one left do you begin work on loosening it up as well.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... cmind.html
/quote]
So, as with most of the advice in the suttas, and from ancient and modern teachers, one needs to pay attention to the context...

Like James I don't have experience with deep states that would correspond to Ajahn Brahm/Visuddhimagga-strength jhana. However, I have had some quite pleasurable experiences on retreats. I've never had teachers tell me to "fear" these states. What they do encourage is to be sure to maintain strong mindfulness. My experience is that if I don't maintain strong mindfulness and energy then I slip into blank states which aren't much good for anything...

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