natural progression of meditation?

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

natural progression of meditation?

Postby alan... » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:18 pm

i'm SO sick of all the conflict and confusion regarding jhana interpretation. i find that there is so much confusion that there will never be a 100% resolution without a time machine or until metteya shows up.

that being said, what happens if i just give up and watch my breath and do nothing else? and then after, or during, i practice vipassana? surely it's possible i will end up going through the jhanas naturally without really knowing it, or it's possible this is wrong concentration? i have no clue.

thoughts?
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby lojong1 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:29 pm

alan... wrote:...what happens if i just give up and watch my breath and do nothing else?

exactly

alan... wrote:...and then after, i practice vipassana?

exactly

alan... wrote:...and then during, i practice vipassana?

exactly

alan... wrote: ...or it's possible this is wrong concentration?

still something to watch for
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:57 pm

How about you just follow the steps of anapanasati and see what happens? Watch the breath until piti arises and go from there.

You seem to be caught in the thicket of views. In reality, Jhana is readily accessible to those who spend more time just watching the breath and less time wondering where it will take them :smile:
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

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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:08 pm

alan... wrote: what happens if i just give up and watch my breath and do nothing else? and then after, or during, i practice vipassana? surely it's possible i will end up going through the jhanas naturally without really knowing it, or it's possible this is wrong concentration? i have no clue.

thoughts?


Apparently the Buddha would tell you to do more:

At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said, "Monks, do you develop mindfulness of in-&-out breathing?"

When this was said, Ven. Arittha replied to the Blessed One, "I develop mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, lord."

"But how do you develop mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, Arittha?"

"Having abandoned sensual desire for past sensual pleasures, lord, having done away with sensual desire for future sensual pleasures, and having thoroughly subdued perceptions of irritation with regard to internal & external events, I breathe in mindfully and breathe out mindfully."[1]

"There is that mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, Arittha. I don't say that there isn't. But as to how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is brought in detail to its culmination, listen and pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," Ven. Arittha responded to the Blessed One.

(And then the Buddha goes through the 16 steps of anapanasati)

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


As a thought, you could just develop the body based jhanas, then after that develop the non-body based jhanas and then after that master samadhi under an Advaita Vedanta Swami and then after that master some version of the formless attainments and then after that use your samadhi skills and direct your mind to looking at things as they have to be, see that they are not worth holding onto and then incline the mind to the destruction of the asavas.
"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: natural progression of meditation?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:13 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Jhana is readily accessible to those who spend more time just watching the breath and less time wondering where it will take them


This also makes much sense and is of pragmatic value.
"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: natural progression of meditation?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:01 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Jhana is readily accessible to those who spend more time just watching the breath and less time wondering where it will take them


Doubt is a fickle thing. shut up and do the practice.
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: natural progression of meditation?

Postby lojong1 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:35 pm

polarbuddha101 wrote:
alan... wrote: what happens if i just give up and watch my breath and do nothing else? and then after, or during, i practice vipassana? surely it's possible i will end up going through the jhanas naturally without really knowing it...?

Apparently the Buddha would tell you to do more: ...(And then the Buddha goes through the 16 steps of anapanasati)

These steps would be included in Alan's vipassana during/after.
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby alan... » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:56 pm

lojong1 wrote:
alan... wrote:...what happens if i just give up and watch my breath and do nothing else?

exactly

alan... wrote:...and then after, i practice vipassana?

exactly

alan... wrote:...and then during, i practice vipassana?

exactly

alan... wrote: ...or it's possible this is wrong concentration?

still something to watch for


seems we are in agreement. what about your last statement though? how do i avoid this?
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby alan... » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:58 pm

lojong1 wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote:
alan... wrote: what happens if i just give up and watch my breath and do nothing else? and then after, or during, i practice vipassana? surely it's possible i will end up going through the jhanas naturally without really knowing it...?

Apparently the Buddha would tell you to do more: ...(And then the Buddha goes through the 16 steps of anapanasati)

These steps would be included in Alan's vipassana during/after.


indeed, i should have clarified that point. even if not the specific anapanasati vipassana techniques then another canonical method.
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby alan... » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:00 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
LonesomeYogurt wrote:Jhana is readily accessible to those who spend more time just watching the breath and less time wondering where it will take them


Doubt is a fickle thing. shut up and do the practice.


i wish it were so simple. the conflicting instructions from different teachers are night and day. it's not like i'm seeing only small variation. if all are correct then it's one of the easiest and most ambiguous meditation practices i've ever heard of.

to just "shut up and do the practice" sounds like good advice, but, which practice? i don't have a teacher or any nearby. the different teachers i have read are all over the place on defining proper jhana.
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:21 pm

alan... wrote:i wish it were so simple. the conflicting instructions from different teachers are night and day. it's not like i'm seeing only small variation. if all are correct then it's one of the easiest and most ambiguous meditation practices i've ever heard of.

to just "shut up and do the practice" sounds like good advice, but, which practice? i don't have a teacher or any nearby. the different teachers i have read are all over the place on defining proper jhana.

But they're not all over the place on how to get there; everyone agrees that one should watch the breath with mindfulness. That, coupled with proper sila, is going to get you to Jhana.

It's as though there is a path in front of you; some say it leads to a bustling city, some say it leads to an open pasture, and some say it leads to ocean. Why not just start down the path yourself? You'll only be able to know where the path really leads once you walk down it without fear or trepidation. Live a wholesome life and watch the breath with energy, mindfulness, compassion, and resolve. Wherever that takes you, you'll know it to be "proper Jhana." And once you're there, you might realize that every description - city, pasture, ocean - is just one way of explaining something that is really beyond words.
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: natural progression of meditation?

Postby alan... » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:31 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
alan... wrote:i wish it were so simple. the conflicting instructions from different teachers are night and day. it's not like i'm seeing only small variation. if all are correct then it's one of the easiest and most ambiguous meditation practices i've ever heard of.

to just "shut up and do the practice" sounds like good advice, but, which practice? i don't have a teacher or any nearby. the different teachers i have read are all over the place on defining proper jhana.

But they're not all over the place on how to get there; everyone agrees that one should watch the breath with mindfulness. That, coupled with proper sila, is going to get you to Jhana.

It's as though there is a path in front of you; some say it leads to a bustling city, some say it leads to an open pasture, and some say it leads to ocean. Why not just start down the path yourself? You'll only be able to know where the path really leads once you walk down it without fear or trepidation. Live a wholesome life and watch the breath with energy, mindfulness, compassion, and resolve. Wherever that takes you, you'll know it to be "proper Jhana." And once you're there, you might realize that every description - city, pasture, ocean - is just one way of explaining something that is really beyond words.


well some say the city is where you lack all your senses and are totally absorbed by it, others say you still have your senses and so on. so the path leading to it is different, so is the destination. it's a joke. seriously, the only way this would be easier on me is if i had a teacher that i had faith in personally. beyond that the differences in interpretation are so vast it's maddening.
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:38 pm

alan... wrote:
LonesomeYogurt wrote:well some say the city is where you lack all your senses and are totally absorbed by it, others say you still have your senses and so on. so the path leading to it is different, so is the destination. it's a joke. seriously, the only way this would be easier on me is if i had a teacher that i had faith in personally. beyond that the differences in interpretation are so vast it's maddening.

The path to either "absorption" Jhana or regular sutta Jhana is the same - mindfulness of breathing. I think you're overstressing on the different interpretations. All interpretations contain the same factors and the same progression; while some may be "deeper" than others, it's all still Jhana. I'm curious as to what, besides the sense/no-sense debate, you see as so disparate between schools.
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: natural progression of meditation?

Postby alan... » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:50 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
alan... wrote:
LonesomeYogurt wrote:well some say the city is where you lack all your senses and are totally absorbed by it, others say you still have your senses and so on. so the path leading to it is different, so is the destination. it's a joke. seriously, the only way this would be easier on me is if i had a teacher that i had faith in personally. beyond that the differences in interpretation are so vast it's maddening.

The path to either "absorption" Jhana or regular sutta Jhana is the same - mindfulness of breathing. I think you're overstressing on the different interpretations. All interpretations contain the same factors and the same progression; while some may be "deeper" than others, it's all still Jhana. I'm curious as to what, besides the sense/no-sense debate, you see as so disparate between schools.


with many absorption teachings you drop the breath and switch to a mental nimitta of light, and as far as i know, in anapanasati you keep the breath and there are variations on whether or not a nimitta of light is used.
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:52 pm

IIRC, in Ajahn Brahm's method you attain the jhana factors, but he claims that they are not fully developed until you are in propfound absortion. I interpret this as meaning that the hard jhanas are nothing more than sutta jhanas with excessive concentration factor. It's a matter of degree. So what's most likely is that any method will lead you through the sutta jhanas first and then to the hard jhanas.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby Samma » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:08 am

Sure, teachers say different things and its a problem.
What to do? Follow what seems to make sense, and start with vitakka & vicara.
Just begin,and its trial and error really. You don't want to end up with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analysis_paralysis right?
Maybe read: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... mbers.html and have some more self-reliance.

I might recommend Richard Shankman's book though as it it gives some history to the issue, looking at samadhi in terms of sutta and commentaries, which is where a lot of the differences come from a clash between the two.
http://books.google.com/books?id=lQ_ZzF ... frontcover
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:25 am

alan... wrote:with many absorption teachings you drop the breath and switch to a mental nimitta of light, and as far as i know, in anapanasati you keep the breath and there are variations on whether or not a nimitta of light is used.

Then I would just recommend practicing anapanasati either way; if a nimatta does arise, then follow it, and if not, don't. A nimatta is a tool, like anything else. Don't stress over it.
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: natural progression of meditation?

Postby alan... » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:32 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:IIRC, in Ajahn Brahm's method you attain the jhana factors, but he claims that they are not fully developed until you are in propfound absortion. I interpret this as meaning that the hard jhanas are nothing more than sutta jhanas with excessive concentration factor. It's a matter of degree. So what's most likely is that any method will lead you through the sutta jhanas first and then to the hard jhanas.


that's what i see roughly.
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby alan... » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:43 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
alan... wrote:
LonesomeYogurt wrote:well some say the city is where you lack all your senses and are totally absorbed by it, others say you still have your senses and so on. so the path leading to it is different, so is the destination. it's a joke. seriously, the only way this would be easier on me is if i had a teacher that i had faith in personally. beyond that the differences in interpretation are so vast it's maddening.

The path to either "absorption" Jhana or regular sutta Jhana is the same - mindfulness of breathing. I think you're overstressing on the different interpretations. All interpretations contain the same factors and the same progression; while some may be "deeper" than others, it's all still Jhana. I'm curious as to what, besides the sense/no-sense debate, you see as so disparate between schools.


teacher A says to focus on a blissful feeling and it will get bigger, thus you enter the first jhana. nimitta is irrelevant.

teacher B says to focus on nimitta and ignore bliss and other factors and it will lead you into jhana.

teacher C says to focus on just the breath without nimitta.

teacher D says to focus on just the breath with nimitta.

teacher E says to focus on nimitta and utilize bliss and joy, that they are nearly indispensable for entering jhana.

not only these differences but each of these teachers would have a bunch of other differences as well. these are just ones i can think of easily. there are a few more divisions and further subdivisions within each group. it's a sea of contrast and confusion. each teacher is very different from the others and many say outright or hint that their method is right concentration, being so, others are by implication wrong concentration.
Last edited by alan... on Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:48 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: natural progression of meditation?

Postby alan... » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:45 am

Samma wrote:Sure, teachers say different things and its a problem.
What to do? Follow what seems to make sense, and start with vitakka & vicara.
Just begin,and its trial and error really. You don't want to end up with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analysis_paralysis right?
Maybe read: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... mbers.html and have some more self-reliance.

I might recommend Richard Shankman's book though as it it gives some history to the issue, looking at samadhi in terms of sutta and commentaries, which is where a lot of the differences come from a clash between the two.
http://books.google.com/books?id=lQ_ZzF ... frontcover


the problem is that the suttas state jhana is of extreme importance and that it must be correct jhana. so i either find the correct one or i am wasting my time.
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