difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby alan... » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:36 am

are jhana and samadhi one and the same?

jhana being absorptions and samadhi meaning "concentration" is there any time samadhi means it's own separate thing?

vipassana i believe is insight which is looking at things with the mind and developing insight into them.

samatha is calm? so a jhanic factor?

i know many of these terms are likely used for describing a progression, as in metta can be samatha but then lead into jhana and so on.

so how many types are there once you get up the ladder (ie: past the method and into a different state of consciousness?

just jhana and vipassana?
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Re: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby khlawng » Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:01 am

My answers below is based on the method taught to me which uses Samatha as a base, shallow Jahanas as a intermediary practise to achieve deep Samadhi.

alan... wrote:are jhana and samadhi one and the same?


No they are not the same. For a start, one uses Jhanas to achieve Samadhi. But after some time, you do not require Jhanas to go into Samadhi.

alan... wrote:jhana being absorptions and samadhi meaning "concentration" is there any time samadhi means it's own separate thing?


Samadhi is a seperate thing which you can use Jhanas to reach. But there are other meditation methods taught that does not use the Jhanic factors to achieve Samadhi.

alan... wrote:vipassana i believe is insight which is looking at things with the mind and developing insight into them.

samatha is calm? so a jhanic factor?


Samatha is often used as a pre-requisite to develop both Jhana and Samadhi. With Samadhi, one can then proceed to Vispassana.

alan... wrote:i know many of these terms are likely used for describing a progression, as in metta can be samatha but then lead into jhana and so on.

so how many types are there once you get up the ladder (ie: past the method and into a different state of consciousness?

just jhana and vipassana?


Base on what I was taught, samatha is always the base. From there, you can direct your mind to do metta, jhana or samadhi. When you are proficient in the jahans enough, you can achieve samadhi directly. But I suspect there are many other methods taught by different teachers but all ultimately leading to the same point.
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Re: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby alan... » Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:47 am

khlawng wrote:My answers below is based on the method taught to me which uses Samatha as a base, shallow Jahanas as a intermediary practise to achieve deep Samadhi.

alan... wrote:are jhana and samadhi one and the same?


No they are not the same. For a start, one uses Jhanas to achieve Samadhi. But after some time, you do not require Jhanas to go into Samadhi.

alan... wrote:jhana being absorptions and samadhi meaning "concentration" is there any time samadhi means it's own separate thing?


Samadhi is a seperate thing which you can use Jhanas to reach. But there are other meditation methods taught that does not use the Jhanic factors to achieve Samadhi.

alan... wrote:vipassana i believe is insight which is looking at things with the mind and developing insight into them.

samatha is calm? so a jhanic factor?


Samatha is often used as a pre-requisite to develop both Jhana and Samadhi. With Samadhi, one can then proceed to Vispassana.

alan... wrote:i know many of these terms are likely used for describing a progression, as in metta can be samatha but then lead into jhana and so on.

so how many types are there once you get up the ladder (ie: past the method and into a different state of consciousness?

just jhana and vipassana?


Base on what I was taught, samatha is always the base. From there, you can direct your mind to do metta, jhana or samadhi. When you are proficient in the jahans enough, you can achieve samadhi directly. But I suspect there are many other methods taught by different teachers but all ultimately leading to the same point.



where in the canon does the buddha say samma samadhi is going through the four jhanas and four arupa jhanas and that the goal is samadhi? i'm not trying to be smart or rude, i really don't get this and would please like clarification. i thought the goal was jhana with that leading to liberation through cognition? samma samadhi is the eighth of the path but it's definiton is the jhanas: samma samadhi = jhanas.

not the other way around: samma jhana = samadhi.

i was under the impression that if one could fully master the jhanas (which would include samatha) and use them for insight (which covers vipassana) into the nature of reality that that was pretty much it for meditation and really the dhamma itself. and as i guessed, this means that jhana and vipassana could be broad enough to cover all of theravada meditation and that samadhi is simply a factor of jhana. where does samadhi come in to play as a separate goal? i always see the buddha teaching jhana as the goal, though not in pali, perhaps translators are confusing me by translating samadhi as jhana???
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Re: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby khlawng » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:14 am

alan... wrote: where in the canon does the buddha say samma samadhi is going through the four jhanas and four arupa jhanas and that the goal is samadhi? i'm not trying to be smart or rude, i really don't get this and would please like clarification. i thought the goal was jhana with that leading to liberation through cognition? samma samadhi is the eighth of the path but it's definiton is the jhanas: samma samadhi = jhanas.


The canon does not say that. I am just writing this down base on my personal experience. But then, the canon is rather vague in its approach on the usage of jhanas and how you develop them or for what purpose. So unless you experience it for yourself, it is difficult to progress from just relying on a combination of content in the suttas, books and guesswork. Not saying that is impossible becuase there are some people who perhapes in their past lives, have had the opportunity to develop samadhi to some level and by just reading the lines in the canonical text, they are able to figure stuff out. But for the majority of us, it is difficult to decipher what was written and how to apply it.

alan... wrote:not the other way around: samma jhana = samadhi.

i was under the impression that if one could fully master the jhanas (which would include samatha) and use them for insight (which covers vipassana) into the nature of reality that that was pretty much it for meditation and really the dhamma itself. and as i guessed, this means that jhana and vipassana could be broad enough to cover all of theravada meditation and that samadhi is simply a factor of jhana. where does samadhi come in to play as a separate goal? i always see the buddha teaching jhana as the goal, though not in pali, perhaps translators are confusing me by translating samadhi as jhana???


In my class, we don't try to master the jhanas. Samatha is a must and then we use a very shallow form of jhanas (the term jhana doors come to mind) to expirence samadhi and once samadhi can be established, we set the jhanas aside and move on to deepening samadhi and silencing the mind to prepare it for vispasanna practise. This is the best I can describe the method which I have been taught. In fact, what exactly does master the jhanas even mean?

In the early days, meditation was such a struggle for me I almost gave up. The Internet didn't help and it actually added to a lot of my confusion. It was only when I placed effort to seek out an experience meditation teacher that I really saw progress. Initially, progress was slow and painful becuase I kept trying to fit the instructions given with what was in the suttas and books. It wasn't until I completely agreed to give up and not question the instructions that I saw progress.

Our paths are all different and I don't expect you to follow or agree with what I say. I am just stating what I know here to give you an alternative view base on a personal experience. I hope it helps. Good luck.
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Re: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby santa100 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:57 pm

There're the mundane and supramundane dimensions to jhanas. Mundane jhanas lead to mundane samadhi and fruits (ie. reborn into those form and formless heavens). This dimension isn't exclusive to Buddhist practitioners as mentioned in MN 142:

"One gives a gift to one outside the Dispensation who is free from lust for sensual pleasures"


which Ven. Bodhi noted as:

n.1296: a non-Buddhist contemplative who attains the jhanas and the mundane kinds of direct knowledge


Then there's the supramundane dimension where jhanas must be combined with vipassana and the other factors of the Eightfold Noble Path, which leads to what's called Noble Right Concentration/Ariyam Samma Samadhi mentioned in MN 117:

"Bhikkhus, I shall teach you noble right concentration with its supports and its requisites."


which is noted as:

n.1099: MA explains “noble” here as supramundane, and says that this is the concentration pertaining to the supramundane path. Its “supports and requisites,” as will be shown, are the other seven path factors (of the Eightfold Noble Path)
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Re: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby IanAnd » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:21 pm

khlawng wrote:My answers below is based on the method taught to me which uses Samatha as a base, shallow Jhanas as a intermediary practice to achieve deep Samadhi.

Thank you for the clarification, khlawng! Just goes to show that discernment can always be tweeked, I guess.

Now that you mention it, this description fits exactly how I experienced these practices. Although I eventually developed dhyana to a deep level of calm concentration (the four form dhyanas and the four formless dhyanas), the explanation you gave, using dhyana to achieve deep samadhi is exactly how my practice developed, except that I had no one there to tell me that the deep concentration state I had developed was called samadhi and not fourth dhyana, since it felt so much similar to the fourth dhyana. But now that you mention it, I concur.

For several years now, rather than practice dhyana, I go directly to a samadhi state and practice insight from there. It's been very beneficial.

khlawng wrote:
alan... wrote:are jhana and samadhi one and the same?

No they are not the same. For a start, one uses Jhanas to achieve Samadhi. But after some time, you do not require Jhanas to go into Samadhi.

Samadhi is a seperate thing which you can use Jhanas to reach. But there are other meditation methods taught that does not use the Jhanic factors to achieve Samadhi.

Samatha is often used as a pre-requisite to develop both Jhana and Samadhi. With Samadhi, one can then proceed to Vispassana.


Base on what I was taught, samatha is always the base. From there, you can direct your mind to do metta, jhana or samadhi. When you are proficient in the jhanas enough, you can achieve samadhi directly. But I suspect there are many other methods taught by different teachers but all ultimately leading to the same point.

I would second khlawng's responses and descriptions here.
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Re: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby alan... » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:12 pm

okay could someone please give a detailed contrasting explanation between jhana and samadhi then? i'm lost.
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Re: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:26 pm

Is "sammasamadhi = jhana" helpful?
    "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: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby alan... » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:34 pm

daverupa wrote:Is "sammasamadhi = jhana" helpful?


i already said that but people are saying samadhi is a separate thing.

khlawng wrote:Samadhi is a seperate thing which you can use Jhanas to reach


alan... wrote:samma samadhi is the eighth of the path but it's definiton is the jhanas: samma samadhi = jhanas.

not the other way around: samma jhana = samadhi.


so i'm lost.
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Re: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby santa100 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:43 pm

alan... wrote:okay could someone please give a detailed contrasting explanation between jhana and samadhi then? i'm lost.


In what sense? There's Samadhi in a narrow sense, a wider sense, and a "still wider" sense, as described by Ven. Gunaratana here.. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#ch1.3
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Re: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:01 pm

Some of these posts about samadhi sound like they' might be coming from yoga traditions or influence not Theravada. In theravada, the 4 jhanas are what count as right samadhi. There isn't some separate thing called samadhi that one uses jhana to get to, at least not according to the suttas.

"And what is right concentration? 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. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. 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.' 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. This is called right concentration (samma-samadhi)."

— SN 45.8



Samadhi is the umbrella term for the 4 jhanas and the 5 other samadhi attainments (infinite space to cessation of perception and feeling) (but the 4 jhanas are the only ones that really matter), jhana is a term that refers to 4 stages of samadhi meditation, vipassana (insight/ clear-seeing) and samatha (calm/tranquility) are qualities to be developed through jhana, mindfulness, clear comprehension, virtue, etc. (this is how I understand these terms at least. (and of course vipassana is a term that nowadays also refers to the meditation practices of certain Burmese sayadaws like Mahasi etc.)

:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby khlawng » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:44 pm

alan... wrote:
daverupa wrote:Is "sammasamadhi = jhana" helpful?


i already said that but people are saying samadhi is a separate thing.

khlawng wrote:Samadhi is a seperate thing which you can use Jhanas to reach


alan... wrote:samma samadhi is the eighth of the path but it's definiton is the jhanas: samma samadhi = jhanas.

not the other way around: samma jhana = samadhi.


so i'm lost.


Hmm.. your use of the "=" sign is very misleading. I am saying the "Practise of Jhanas" leads to "Samadhi". So maybe it should be:

Practise of Jhanas -----> Samadhi
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Re: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:49 pm

This may be a purely semantical misunderstanding. Are you implying that there is some other thing called samadhi that are not the jhanas? Because the jhanas are samadhi, they are states of samadhi and samadhi is an umbrella term that refers to the 4 jhanas, so are you saying that you leave jhana to enter some other thing called samadhi or are you saying that jhana is the cultivation of samadhi?

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:27 pm

Indeed, the '=' was precise, no arrows need apply.

The other way to talk of it would be to say that right effort, right mindfulness, and right composure were Samadhi in terms of the Path, whereupon jhana is the culmination of Samadhi and the entree into Panna. Either way, "jhana --> samadhi" doesn't seem to be borne out by the texts...

Is there any chance samadhi and samatha are being confused, here?
    "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: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby khlawng » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:34 pm

I never said jhana--->samadhi. The words "practice of" is incorrectly omitted.
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Re: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:40 pm

khlawng wrote:I never said jhana--->samadhi. The words "practice of" is incorrectly omitted.


It's a distinction without a difference; practice of jhana leads to jhana, is basically what it says, which doesn't seem clear.
    "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: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby marc108 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:39 am

alan... wrote:are jhana and samadhi one and the same?
jhana being absorptions and samadhi meaning "concentration" is there any time samadhi means it's own separate thing?


Jhanas are a specific state of Samadhi (concentration, stillness) with strong awareness... Samadhi can be developed all up and down a gradient, re: momentary, access, etc but can also be developed into trance like states with no awareness. (imo) the Buddha defined right Samadhi as Jhana because they are the states that are most conducive to liberation.


samatha is calm? so a jhanic factor?


Samatha is a method of meditation meant to develop Samadhi.
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Re: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby daverupa » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:48 am

Samatha is a mental quality paired with vipassana, and this pair is to be developed. These words can be used to refer to meditations which focus on developing one quality over the other, but nevertheless, they are mutually supportive mental qualities, and bhavana which privileges one over the other is an unbalanced state of affairs which one should seek to rectify.

AN 10.71 wrote:"If a monk would wish, 'May I attain — whenever I want, without strain, without difficulty — the four jhanas that are heightened mental states, pleasant abidings in the here-&-now,' then he should be one who brings the precepts to perfection, who is committed to inner tranquillity of awareness, who does not neglect jhana, who is endowed with insight, and who frequents empty dwellings.


AN 4.94 wrote:"As for the individual who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, his duty is to make an effort in establishing ('tuning') those very same skillful qualities to a higher degree for the ending of the (mental) fermentations.
    "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: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby SarathW » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:04 am

This is my understanding:

Buddha learned the following from his teachers:

1)Samadhi (Samatha) which help him to alleviate or suppress five hindrances through Vittaka,Vikara,Pithi,Sukaha and Ekagata.

2) Samath meditation lead Buddha to attain Rupavachara and Arupavachara Dyana (Jhana) which gave him super normal powers.

Then Buddha realise that Dyana will not help him to attain his final goal Nirvana. So he used the highest concentration achieved as above one (1) and used it inconjuction with insight. (Samatha-Vipassana) so he attained Nirvana in four stages (Sothapanna etc)

As per Abhidhamma, above stages can be divided into many types of consciousness.
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Re: difference between samadhi, jhana, vipassana, samatha, etc.

Postby daverupa » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:55 am

My understanding is that he learned some formless attainments from his two teachers, then set that all aside in order to pursue the jhanas - the first one of which he had discovered on his own as a youth, and he was able to pursue and develop and master all four at Uruvela. Jhana was, in fact, the missing piece of the puzzle.
    "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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