Jhana during Inquisition

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Jhana during Inquisition

Postby lojong1 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:38 am

I wonder if Teresa d'Avila (and maybe Juan de la Cruz and Meister Eckhart) truly remained Christian after Jhana experiences.
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Re: Jhana during Inquisition

Postby James the Giant » Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:00 am

If they did access the first few Jhanas, nothing in that experience would disagree with a Christian world-view.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
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Re: Jhana during Inquisition

Postby Dhammanando » Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:28 am

lojong1 wrote:I wonder if Teresa d'Avila (and maybe Juan de la Cruz and Meister Eckhart) truly remained Christian after Jhana experiences.


Given the tendency of jhāna to powerfully reinforce whatever diṭṭhi (right or wrong) prompts the person to strive for it, one would expect them to be even more Christian (or at least more Papist) afterwards, if they were indeed jhāna-attainers. In St. Teresa's case it's noteworthy that her rabid fulminations against Jews and Lutherans were all written subsequent to her mystical experiences; they are not juvenilia, but the works of her 'mature' years.

Here's an article that may interest you:

Lance S. Cousins, The Stages of Christian Mysticism and Buddhist Purification: Interior Castle of St. Teresa of Ávila and the Path of Purification of Buddhaghosa

teresa.pdf
(114.96 KiB) Downloaded 48 times
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Jhana during Inquisition

Postby Coyote » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:20 pm

lojong1,

You might want to read a bit about Hesychasm and the uncreated light - these kind of experiences have been part and parcel of Christian mysticism since before the first millennia. I think it is interesting to know about these things for a comparative perspective.

It is interesting to note though, that especially in later times, many of these practices took on eastern language i.e uncreated, guarding the mind, true self ect.
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Hesychasm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theoria

But just because they experience concentration, lights, rapture ect. doesn't necessarily make it genuine jhana, though it all seems to be based on the same principles - seclusion, refraining from immorality, deep focus on one object or sound.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Jhana during Inquisition

Postby lojong1 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:53 am

James the Giant wrote:If they did access the first few Jhanas, nothing in that experience would disagree with a Christian world-view.

True.
Dhammanando wrote:Given the tendency of jhāna to powerfully reinforce whatever diṭṭhi (right or wrong) prompts the person to strive for it, one would expect them to be even more Christian (or at least more Papist) afterwards,

More Christian I can see, but more Papist I doubt, if Catholic authorities were deadly critical of her claims.

Dhammanando wrote: In St. Teresa's case it's noteworthy that her rabid fulminations against Jews and Lutherans were all written subsequent to her mystical experiences; they are not juvenilia, but the works of her 'mature' years.

Dang. That attitude would surprise me, as it doesn't jive with 'Interior Castle', the only book I read. Sort of hoping her fulminations were strongly prompted by Inquisitors.
Will check the Cousins link later.
Coyote wrote:You might want to read a bit about Hesychasm and the uncreated light - these kind of experiences have been part and parcel of Christian mysticism since before the first millennia...

I'd like to see which Christian traditions still practice these meditations--Carmelites maybe?

Coyote wrote:But just because they experience concentration, lights, rapture ect. doesn't necessarily make it genuine jhana, though it all seems to be based on the same principles - seclusion, refraining from immorality, deep focus on one object or sound.

I reckon T of A had frequent and definite 1st jhana without mastery. Any highter jhana sort of entails the intentional dropping of specific lower factors, which she doesn't appear to have tried. All random in the hands of God.

I liked her combination of the spring-water Pitis with the moist bath-salt ball; and her Mahamudra reference i.e. soft wax impressed by the King's seal.
This 'Interior Castle' is the clearest christian meditation instruction I've seen. Philokalia might also be good...it's been so long now.
Does John of the Cross describe anything similar besides in Dark Night o Soul? Where are Meister Eckhart's best instructions?
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Re: Jhana during Inquisition

Postby lojong1 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:41 pm

lojong1 wrote:Does John of the Cross describe anything similar besides in Dark Night o Soul? Where are Meister Eckhart's best instructions?

Never mind. Just listened to ayya khema's talk on St. T of A.
John Cruz has nothing else and Meister's writings are too obscure for anyone who has not already experienced jhana.
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Re: Jhana during Inquisition

Postby Coyote » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:34 pm

lojong1 wrote:I'd like to see which Christian traditions still practice these meditations--Carmelites maybe?

This 'Interior Castle' is the clearest christian meditation instruction I've seen. Philokalia might also be good...it's been so long now.


It's mainly eastern Orthodox, with the orientals following similar practice but without the light and such. It is interesting to read up on the debates and differences surrounding hesychasm and the oriental church because they seem to not look to kindly on this kind of mystical experience - seeing it as a product of the EO heresy lol - although I believe the recent Coptic pope has had some kind things to say about the eastern tradition... but that's just my interests I guess. Some Anglicans and eastern catholics also draw from these writings.

As for philokalia, it's quite hard to find English copies. But you can read many of the early and medieval fathers online - the cappadocian fathers have some things to say on spiritual progression which mirror Indian ideas kindof - life of moses by Gregory of Nyssa details spiritual progression using the metaphor of moses going up mount sinai to receive the commandments, culminating in his experience of god as light and darkness simultaneously, if I remember right. It's a good read anyway. Desert Fathers, Evagrius, John Cassian, Isaac of Syria, John of Damascus, John of the Ladder are also good. As for more instructional stuff - more recent Russian and Greek authors might be more to your taste, like Theophan the recluse, Elder Porphyrios, Ignatius Bryanchaninov and other famous EO elders. They have a more instructional bent, less of the theology - and it is prayer rather than meditation, not that there is really much difference.
Maybe if you have a don't have natural interest in this kind of stuff you might find it interesting to pick through what can be quite boring theological treatsies to find the mystical stuff to compare, it's quite interesting for me anyway. But a lot of it doesn't make a lot of sense without the corresponding theological background - nevertheless you might want to look into apophatic theology - bears some resemblance to Buddhist/Indian thought, maybe.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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