The Great Jhana Debate

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.
ignobleone
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Re: Buddhism cult

Postby ignobleone » Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:06 am

Cittasanto wrote:
ignobleone wrote:Please differentiate between "can not have" and "don't have". "Don't have" doesn't mean "can not have".
In Buddhist context, 'faith' means faith in Tathagata.
Of course if you talk about Jainism, 'faith' means faith in Jainism.

That seams false!
it was a question in the guise of a statement, in other words there is more to faith than in one thing. The now underlined part above is a statement of faith both Buddhists and non-buddhist can have faith in. The Buddha had faith that enlightenment is possible BTW.

You should pay attention to the context when talking about something which is context specific. When I say "don't have faith", it means "don't have conviction in Buddha/Tathagata". To be more precise, disciple's conviction in the Teacher. Jain's conviction is not conviction in the Buddha/Tathagata.
" The Buddha had faith that enlightenment is possible" is not talking about faith as in the disciple-teacher context.

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Re: Buddhism cult

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:08 am

JhanaStream wrote:I think as Buddha has already pointed out the path, it is wiser to pursue stream-entry rather than pursue a Deva Realm and hope to proceed from there.


Of course. I was just answering the statements in ignobleone's post. (see my post above which makes conclusion #2 below, which is a different conclusion from #1)

In conclusion / summary:

1. A noble one would most likely have attained proficiency in the jhanas (possibly even required)
2. An individual with attainment in jhanas is not necessarily a noble one (although it certainly doesn't hurt and only can help on the Path)

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Re: Buddhism cult

Postby Ben » Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:11 am

David N. Snyder wrote:I believe you may be analyzing it the other way around. Bhikkhu Bodhi states:

Recently, however, several articulate teachers of meditation have argued down the validity of the dry insight approach, insisting that the jhānas are necessary for the successful development of insight at every stage. Their arguments usually begin by making a distinction between the standpoints of the Pāli Canon and the Commentaries. On this basis, they maintain that from the perspective of the Canon jhāna is needed to attain even stream-entry. The Nikāyas themselves do not address this problem in clear and unambiguous terms, and it is difficult to derive from them any direct pronouncement on its resolution.


Jhanas may be necessary for successful development of insight, but one need not be at such a high level just because jhana has occurred. Alara Kalama was not a Buddhist and attained the jhanas up to the third formless realm. Udaka Ramaputta was not a Buddhist and attained the jhanas up to the fourth formless realm.


And let's not forget Bahiya who was a master of the eight jhanas before he encountered the Buddha.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Buddhism cult

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:13 am

ignobleone wrote:My anonymous cult warner seems to stop responding since I demanded sutta references which support his points/claims.
He said: 1)Sotapanna is an enlightened being. 2)Jhanas can only be reached by Sakadagami and above.
As far as I can remember, I know only Arahat does have something to do with jhana. So far I couldn't find any sutta which contains the relationship between Sakadagami/Anagami and jhanas. Maybe anyone can help?

try looking at the names and descriptions of noble attainment, there is a big clue as to where they got this idea about Jhana from.
but what David said is correct, the need for any such attainment to reach the first two attainments is debated by some.
The Sotapanna, and Sakadagami do return to this world at least once.
The Anagami do not return to this world and are guaranteed a divine birth in the next life.
A Jhana Attainer of any pedigree is guaranteed divine birth in their next life.

I will add references if this is not shown in any of the texts David pointed to in a moment.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"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: Buddhism cult

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:06 am

ignobleone wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
ignobleone wrote:Please differentiate between "can not have" and "don't have". "Don't have" doesn't mean "can not have".
In Buddhist context, 'faith' means faith in Tathagata.
Of course if you talk about Jainism, 'faith' means faith in Jainism.

That seams false!
it was a question in the guise of a statement, in other words there is more to faith than in one thing. The now underlined part above is a statement of faith both Buddhists and non-buddhist can have faith in. The Buddha had faith that enlightenment is possible BTW.

You should pay attention to the context when talking about something which is context specific. When I say "don't have faith", it means "don't have conviction in Buddha/Tathagata". To be more precise, disciple's conviction in the Teacher. Jain's conviction is not conviction in the Buddha/Tathagata.

there is enlightenment, a way to enlightenment, and those who have practiced rightly so can declare that path
you may wish to read the definition of faith in the texts, and what was replied to.
there is more to it! and no previous Buddha had faith in a Buddha (you know part of what you said; as is)
The problem is, non-buddhist cannot see the Dhamma, let alone becomes wise because of Dhamma.
The reason I replied to your first comment is because I don't get why a non-buddhist tries to correct a buddhist. It just doesn't make any sense.

which is the start of/the context informing what?

" The Buddha had faith that enlightenment is possible" is not talking about faith as in the disciple-teacher context.

you may wish to read the entire area I quoted
ignobleone wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
ignobleone wrote:buddhists = have sadha, non-buddhists = don't have
buddhist = Buddha follower, Mr. Gotama = follows himself? Please give me a break!

so a non-buddhist can not have faith that there is enlightenment, a way to enlightenment, and those who have practiced rightly so can declare that path? I think the Jain have faith, maybe from a Buddhist perspective in the wrong place but they have faith.

Please differentiate between "can not have" and "don't have". "Don't have" doesn't mean "can not have".
In Buddhist context, 'faith' means faith in Tathagata.
Of course if you talk about Jainism, 'faith' means faith in Jainism.

when I said that, the underlined part asking for a break was the context. as is the rest of what you said which led up to that.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"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: Buddhism cult

Postby JhanaStream » Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:39 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:Jhanas may be necessary for successful development of insight, but one need not be at such a high level just because jhana has occurred. Alara Kalama was not a Buddhist and attained the jhanas up to the third formless realm. Udaka Ramaputta was not a Buddhist and attained the jhanas up to the fourth formless realm.

David

An English monk, now living in Australia, named Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera, has made a case Buddha discovered jhana. Brahmavamso's inquiry is certainly valid, but its correctness seems to be based on the premise MN 36 (about Siddhartha recollecting his spontaneous/opapatika 1st jhana under the rose apple tree) is historically correct and MN 22 (about Alara Kalama & Udaka Ramaputta) is not historically correct. Or have I misunderstood Brahmavamso's case?

What is your view (if you have one) on Brahmavamso's case that Alara Kalama & Udaka Ramaputta could not have entered the 7th & 8th jhanas without entering the 1st?

Could they have entered these immaterial jhanas using a philosphical construct/view as a foundation, such as: "This world is nothing/there is nothing" or "Perception is not real" (as many philosophers have held) and then their mind developed along these lines in terms of actualising these philosphical views? If that was so, could their 7th & 8th jhanas not have been as refined as Buddha's, which used a more refined foundation to enter?

Brahmavamso's inquiry is certainly interesting.

David N. Snyder wrote:In conclusion / summary:

1. A noble one would most likely have attained proficiency in the jhanas (possibly even required)
2. An individual with attainment in jhanas is not necessarily a noble one (although it certainly doesn't hurt and only can help on the Path)

Thank you. My conclusion would align with that of Bhikkhu Bodhi's, in that a noble one that is a stream-enterer would not necessarily have attained proficiency in the jhanas. In the Samyutta Nikaya, there is a series of discourses about the 'breakthrough' (such as SN 13.1), where the suffering of the stream-enterer is compared to a fingernail of earth in relation to the great earth and, implied, the liberation of the stream-enterer is compared to the remainder of the great earth. This series of discourses about the 'breakthrough' seem to show us how much Dhamma & liberation is possible without jhana.

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Re: Buddhism cult

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:19 pm

JhanaStream wrote:An English monk, now living in Australia, named Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera, has made a case Buddha discovered jhana. Brahmavamso's inquiry is certainly valid, but its correctness seems to be based on the premise MN 36 (about Siddhartha recollecting his spontaneous/opapatika 1st jhana under the rose apple tree) is historically correct and MN 22 (about Alara Kalama & Udaka Ramaputta) is not historically correct. Or have I misunderstood Brahmavamso's case?


Please show us the link, reference, quote to where Ajahn Brahm states MN 22 is not historically correct.

I agree with Bhikkhu Bodhi's analysis too. From his conclusions:

All noble disciples acquire the right concentration of the Noble Eightfold Path, which is defined as the four jhānas. This need not be understood to mean that stream-enterers and once-returners already possess jhāna before they reach stream-entry. The formula for right concentration may imply only that they must eventually attain the jhānas in the course of developing the path to its culmination in arahantship.


It thus seems likely that stream-enterers and once-returners desirous of advancing to non-returnership in that very same life must attain at least the first jhāna as a basis for developing insight. As non-returners have eliminated sensual lust and ill will, the main obstacles to jhānic attainment, they should face no major problems in entering the jhānas.

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Re: Buddhism cult

Postby daverupa » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:50 pm

MN 36 and MN 22 aren't in conflict; the problem is thinking that the four jhanas of Buddhism are at all related to jhanas as understood and practiced prior to the Buddha and, mostly, since. I'm not so sure this has ever adequately been shown - the later texts make this connection explicit, such that we speak of eight or nine jhanas in a sequence, but this is definitely later thinking on the matter.

It appears that the Buddha trained under those two teachers and then, afterwards, recollected the rose-apple tree experience - he did not recollect teachings, and he did not recollect either teacher, in connection with this discovery and followup.
    "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: Buddhism cult

Postby Mr Man » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:31 pm

daverupa wrote: the problem is thinking that the four jhanas of Buddhism are at all related to jhanas as understood and practiced prior to the Buddha and, mostly, since.

You mean the Buddha used terminology in a way that was un-related to the common understanding of that terminology at that time and that the Buddha's way of using that terminology never really took root?

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Re: Buddhism cult

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:51 pm

daverupa wrote:MN 36 and MN 22 aren't in conflict; the problem is thinking that the four jhanas of Buddhism are at all related to jhanas as understood and practiced prior to the Buddha and, mostly, since. I'm not so sure this has ever adequately been shown - the later texts make this connection explicit, such that we speak of eight or nine jhanas in a sequence, but this is definitely later thinking on the matter.

It appears that the Buddha trained under those two teachers and then, afterwards, recollected the rose-apple tree experience - he did not recollect teachings, and he did not recollect either teacher, in connection with this discovery and followup.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu's recent book
Right Mindfulness: Memory & Ardency on the Buddhist Path
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=13538
has an Appendix on Jhana, where he notes (starting on page 170):

[Bear with it, the first part may not seem relevant. You can skip to the highlighted part...]
Another passage cited to prove that one can be an arahant without
having attained jhana is in AN 4:87. Here, the Buddha lists four types of
contemplatives, two of them being the “white-lotus contemplative” and the
“red-lotus contemplative.”

“And which individual is the white-lotus contemplative? There is the case,
monks, where a monk—through the ending of the effluents—has entered
& remains in the effluent-free awareness-release & discernment-release,
directly knowing & realizing them for himself right in the here-&-now.
But he does not also remain touching with his body the eight
emancipations [vimokkha]. This is how an individual is a white-lotus
contemplative.

“And which individual is the red-lotus contemplative? There is the case,
monks, where a monk—through the ending of the effluents—has entered
& remains in the effluent-free awareness-release & discernment-release,
directly knowing & realizing them for himself right in the here-&-now.
And he remains touching with his body the eight emancipations. This is
how an individual is a red-lotus contemplative.” — AN 4:87
http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/4Anguttara-Nikaya/Anguttara2/4-catukkanipata/009-macalavaggo-e.html

The argument here is that the eight emancipations, while not identical to the
four jhanas and the formless attainments, are nevertheless equivalent to them.
This would mean that “white-lotus” arahants are those who have attained none
of the jhanas, whereas “red-lotus” arahants are those who have mastered all the
jhanas.

Now it is true that the last five of the eight emancipations are identical with
the four formless attainments plus the cessation of perception and feeling. From
this it could be argued that the first three emancipations are simply another
name for the four jhanas, in which case the “white-lotus” arahants would have to
be devoid of jhana. But there are two reasons for not accepting this argument.

The first reason comes from the description of the three emancipations
themselves:

“Possessed of form, one sees forms. This is the first emancipation.
“Not percipient of form internally, one sees forms externally. This is the
second emancipation.
“One is intent only on the beautiful. This is the third emancipation.” — DN 15
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.15.0.than.html

These are not descriptions of the four jhanas, for they contain no mention of
the jhana factors. Their emphasis is on what one sees, which means that they are
types of meditative visionary experiences. The mere fact that they can lead to the
formless attainments does not make them equivalent to the jhanas. They simply
provide an alternative route to the formless attainments. In fact, the existence of
this alternative route may explain why the Buddha, prior to his awakening, was
able to reach the formless attainments when studying under Alara Kalama and
Uddaka Ramaputta, without at the same time passing through the four jhanas.

So to say that an arahant doesn’t touch these emancipations with his/her body
doesn’t mean that he/she has not attained any of the four jhanas.

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Buddhism cult

Postby daverupa » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:45 am

Fascinating, and good reading.

It seems to me that this idea about the connection between jhana and formless attainments is taking it as a given, however. Rather, suppose that those with formless attainment abilities could do jhana as well as those without such abilities, and this distinction was noted but not really given soteriological importance. They aren't an alternative route, and they aren't even properly supplementary. They are other, but necessary, in a way that the formless stuff is not.

I don't really have expertise to comment here:

Mr Man wrote:You mean the Buddha used terminology in a way that was un-related to the common understanding of that terminology at that time and that the Buddha's way of using that terminology never really took root?


I simply consider that most early arahants et al were brahmins first, and their prevailing bhavana modalities were bound to find a place. They seem to have done so in a rather complex, and perhaps not altogether accommodating, way.

I think we can say that the brahmin cosmology was adopted to varying degrees, and the relationships between realms and meditation states made a formless presence somewhat obligatory. Jhana is subtle, and easily lost in such flurry, I expect, especially as the Sangha strove to maintain an institutional presence post-Buddha.
    "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: Buddhism cult

Postby JhanaStream » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:06 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
JhanaStream wrote:An English monk, now living in Australia, named Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera, has made a case Buddha discovered jhana. Brahmavamso's inquiry is certainly valid, but its correctness seems to be based on the premise MN 36 (about Siddhartha recollecting his spontaneous/opapatika 1st jhana under the rose apple tree) is historically correct and MN 22 (about Alara Kalama & Udaka Ramaputta) is not historically correct. Or have I misunderstood Brahmavamso's case?


Please show us the link, reference, quote to where Ajahn Brahm states MN 22 is not historically correct.

David

There is no link to show us because I did not post Ajahn Brahm states implicitedly that MN 22 is not historically correct. However, Ajahn Brahm did dismiss the report in MN 22 as being "connected to jhana". If that is the case, by what method did Alara Kalama and Udaka Ramaputta cultivate the 7th & 8th jhanas? That was/is the question of my inquiry.

Some might raise an objection that the teachers Alara Kalama and Udaka Ramaputta preached on Jhana, because the texts state that they taught the Bodhisatta (the Buddha-to-be) the attainment of the state of nothingness and the attainment of the state of neither perception nor non-perception. However, those two attainments could not have been connected to Jhana, because the Bodhisatta recalled, just prior to sitting under the Bodhi Tree, that the only time in his life that he had experienced any Jhana was as a young boy, while sitting under a Rose Apple Tree as his father conducted the first-ploughing ceremony (MN 36).

Ajahn Brahm


David N. Snyder wrote:I agree with Bhikkhu Bodhi's analysis too. From his conclusions:

All noble disciples acquire the right concentration of the Noble Eightfold Path, which is defined as the four jhānas. This need not be understood to mean that stream-enterers and once-returners already possess jhāna before they reach stream-entry. The formula for right concentration may imply only that they must eventually attain the jhānas in the course of developing the path to its culmination in arahantship.

It thus seems likely that stream-enterers and once-returners desirous of advancing to non-returnership in that very same life must attain at least the first jhāna as a basis for developing insight. As non-returners have eliminated sensual lust and ill will, the main obstacles to jhānic attainment, they should face no major problems in entering the jhānas.

For me, these excerpts on their own are ambiguous in their articulation. For example, the two sentences below, isolated on their own, I must disagree with:
All noble disciples acquire the right concentration of the Noble Eightfold Path, which is defined as the four jhānas.

It thus seems likely that stream-enterers and once-returners...must attain at least the first jhāna as a basis for developing insight.

I agree for stream-enterers and once-returners desirous of advancing to non-returnership must attain at least the first jhāna. I also agree that stream-enterers and once-returners desirous of advancing to non-returnership must attain at least the first jhāna as a basis for developing insight into the jhanas so jhanas can serve as an object of insight & dispassion. But that stream-enterers and once-returners must attain at least the first jhāna as a basis for developing insight per se, i.e., insight into the Four Noble Truths & Three Characteristics, no, that is not the case.

Regards

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Re: Buddhism cult

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:36 pm

JhanaStream wrote:There is no link to show us because I did not post Ajahn Brahm states implicitedly that MN 22 is not historically correct. However, Ajahn Brahm did dismiss the report in MN 22 as being "connected to jhana". If that is the case, by what method did Alara Kalama and Udaka Ramaputta cultivate the 7th & 8th jhanas? That was/is the question of my inquiry.

See Thanissaro Bhikkhu's comments that I quoted above where he argues that there may be other routes to the formless attainments:
viewtopic.php?f=43&t=4597&view=unread#p214511

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Buddhism cult

Postby JhanaStream » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:49 pm

mikenz66 wrote: The first reason comes from the description of the three emancipations
themselves:

“Possessed of form, one sees forms. This is the first emancipation.
“Not percipient of form internally, one sees forms externally. This is the
second emancipation.
“One is intent only on the beautiful. This is the third emancipation.” — DN 15
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.15.0.than.html

These are not descriptions of the four jhanas, for they contain no mention of
the jhana factors. Their emphasis is on what one sees, which means that they are
types of meditative visionary experiences. The mere fact that they can lead to the
formless attainments does not make them equivalent to the jhanas. They simply
provide an alternative route to the formless attainments. In fact, the existence of
this alternative route may explain why the Buddha, prior to his awakening, was
able to reach the formless attainments when studying under Alara Kalama and
Uddaka Ramaputta, without at the same time passing through the four jhanas.

So to say that an arahant doesn’t touch these emancipations with his/her body
doesn’t mean that he/she has not attained any of the four jhanas.

Mike

There are discourses about the 4 arupa (immaterial) jhanas (eg. MN 121 & MN 140) that do not mention the 4 rupa (material) jhanas. According to Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes citing commentaries, these suttas (MN 121 & MN 140) include the attainment of the 4 rupa jhanas as prerequisites.

Despite the contribution of Daverupa & Thanissaro Bhikkhu, to me, the MN 22 v MN 36 matter remains unresolved & speculation because Buddha taught to reach jhana, via the relinquishment of craving (SN 48.10) and taught jhanas are gradual stillings & quietings (SN 36.11).

Regards

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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby ignobleone » Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:34 pm

I guess the 'cult warner' and JhanaStream could be the same person.

The 'cult warner' still owe me some sutta reference. His absence I regard as the failure to prove what he said.
Anyway, there's one thing I can agree with him, i.e. he said most monks are clueless.

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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby alan... » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:43 am

this is an appropriate place for this i think. and if this has already been covered forgive me, i don't have time to read all 18 pages back to 2009.

Modus.Ponens wrote:There are two types of jhana being talked about: the sutta jhanas and the visuddhimagga jhanas.


anyway: obviously the visudhimagga type jhana is well covered and available in said work.

what about the sutta jhana? i see details here and there but no clear concise instructions (they are clear enough with a little commentary but not to work from square one without any commentary like the visuddhimagga instructions). can anyone help? is there something i'm missing or perhaps some compilation of sutta sections that when looked at as a whole make a complete picture?

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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:49 am

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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby alan... » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:47 am

thanks much!

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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:23 pm

The book "Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English" by Bhante Gunaratana, teach how you can attain the sutta jhanas. There's also the book "Who is My Self" by Ayya Khema, teacher of Leigh Brasinghton, that teaches the way to sutta jhanas. But the book by Ayya Khema is taken out of talks on a retreat so it's not as well structured as the book by Bhante Gunaratana. Nevertheless, read both of them as it will give a broader vision on how to enter jhana.
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.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

alan...
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby alan... » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:39 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:The book "Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English" by Bhante Gunaratana, teach how you can attain the sutta jhanas. There's also the book "Who is My Self" by Ayya Khema, teacher of Leigh Brasinghton, that teaches the way to sutta jhanas. But the book by Ayya Khema is taken out of talks on a retreat so it's not as well structured as the book by Bhante Gunaratana. Nevertheless, read both of them as it will give a broader vision on how to enter jhana.



thanks. i love ayya khema so much! and bhante g is amazing!


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