How common is Jhana

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

How common is Jhana

Postby Zimesky » Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:01 am

How common is Jhana? Further more, are any countries that have more people attaining the Jhanas?
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Re: How common is Jhana

Postby Viscid » Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:19 pm

You're probably not going to receive a very satisfying answer, as there are widely varying opinions as to what degree/depth of concentration qualifies as jhana. Why ask which countries have more practitioners achieving jhana? I think it'd be fairly safe to say that the countries with the most advanced practitioners would be the ones with the most opportunities to practice meditation seriously-- India, Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Korea, etc. You should also consider that what is considered 'Jhana' is likely not exclusive to Buddhism or Hinduism, as the practices of other esoteric/mystical traditions (such as those in Christian monasticism or Sufism) may also lead to jhanic states.
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Re: How common is Jhana

Postby manas » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:04 pm

Zimesky wrote:How common is Jhana? Further more, are any countries that have more people attaining the Jhanas?


Hi Zimesky

I don't think it goes by country, but rather by training and the willingness of the practitioner to turn away from sensuality, and towards renunciation - which isn't easy. It is further complicated by the fact that 'jhana' is defined differently by different traditions. Even in this Forum we find different perspectives on what it actually IS, and different practitioners report differing experiences.

Having said that, it is plausible that countries or locales in which there is are less temptations to sensual indulgence being thrust at one constantly, via the electronic media, Internet, and even whilst just walking down the street, would make it easier (maybe) to really turn away from indulgence in gross sense pleasures (in particular, sexual indulgence), but even sitting in a Himalayan cave all alone one could still recall previous sights seen, and sensations felt. So ultimately, I think that it depends more on the heart and intention of the individual practitioner, and much less on the location in which they are practicing.

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Re: How common is Jhana

Postby Zenainder » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:22 am

In sensual societies such as the West, it is very unusual, however I personally know of a group and often visit it that I believe see it fairly commonly. Now, they are not a Buddhist group, they are an unorthodox group of Christians that air on the mystical side of spirituality. It is common there to see many of the core members blissed and happy out of their minds; I've seen it soften hindrances temporarily for them. I seriously doubt they are aware of jhana's, but it would not surprise me if a jhana master were to honestly inspect it to give a firm knod in agreement. A few members have also levitated. I also doubt they know that it goes much deeper (though they probably state that it does without fully understanding what it is they are experiencing).

They teach a complete focus on love and love within (loosely metta meditation) and I've read Theravadist teachings that state that metta can take people straight into jhana.

It's an interesting topic nonetheless.
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Re: How common is Jhana

Postby Crazy cloud » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:12 pm

Sounds to me like that these christians maybe experiences what is called "meditation-madness", which is a fairly well known phenomenon in meditation. I'v heard that meditators who have those experiences are put in "isolation" until they are fairly grounded again. And I might be wrong also ..

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Re: How common is Jhana

Postby Zenainder » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:34 pm

Crazy cloud wrote:Sounds to me like that these christians maybe experiences what is called "meditation-madness", which is a fairly well known phenomenon in meditation. I'v heard that meditators who have those experiences are put in "isolation" until they are fairly grounded again. And I might be wrong also ..

metta

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It is possible. All of this "insight" with regards to their group recently dawned as it puzzled me before I was familiar with Buddhism. I would certainly roughly use the term "madness" as they do silly things in said state. However, not all have the same experience nor act similarly. Some commonly remain calm and serene. Many of them are good friends of mine and I happily see them on a fairly regular basis. Lets say I find it easy to chill amongst them as I can meditate without really anyone knowing or exchanging animosity.

Ironically, without knowing it at the time, I got to know metta meditation through them a few years ago. Keep in mind, though, they do not teach an exclusive style of meditation. They just focus on love of God, self, and others. It may not be an orthodox form of metta meditation, but I do believe that abiding in love can really take a practitioner (or in this case believer) places.

Hehe, these are of course my opinions of a loving community. I could be wrong as well.
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Re: How common is Jhana

Postby Crazy cloud » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:42 pm

Zenainder wrote:
Crazy cloud wrote:Sounds to me like that these christians maybe experiences what is called "meditation-madness", which is a fairly well known phenomenon in meditation. I'v heard that meditators who have those experiences are put in "isolation" until they are fairly grounded again. And I might be wrong also ..

metta

:candle:


It is possible. All of this "insight" with regards to their group recently dawned as it puzzled me before I was familiar with Buddhism. I would certainly roughly use the term "madness" as they do silly things in said state. However, not all have the same experience nor act similarly. Some commonly remain calm and serene. Many of them are good friends of mine and I happily see them on a fairly regular basis. Lets say I find it easy to chill amongst them as I can meditate without really anyone knowing or exchanging animosity.

Ironically, without knowing it at the time, I got to know metta meditation through them a few years ago. Keep in mind, though, they do not teach an exclusive style of meditation. They just focus on love of God, self, and others. It may not be an orthodox form of metta meditation, but I do believe that abiding in love can really take a practitioner (or in this case believer) places.

Hehe, these are of course my opinions of a loving community. I could be wrong as well.


Mostly wanted to mention it because I have personal ex with that "madness", and wasnt under guidance by skilled teachers at that time - and only a bit of luck (I guess) prevented me to become at full blown christian at that moment. But it was quite a experience - actually thought I was at the end point of my searching .. :tongue:

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Re: How common is Jhana

Postby Zenainder » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:29 pm

Crazy cloud wrote:
Zenainder wrote:
Crazy cloud wrote:Sounds to me like that these christians maybe experiences what is called "meditation-madness", which is a fairly well known phenomenon in meditation. I'v heard that meditators who have those experiences are put in "isolation" until they are fairly grounded again. And I might be wrong also ..

metta

:candle:


It is possible. All of this "insight" with regards to their group recently dawned as it puzzled me before I was familiar with Buddhism. I would certainly roughly use the term "madness" as they do silly things in said state. However, not all have the same experience nor act similarly. Some commonly remain calm and serene. Many of them are good friends of mine and I happily see them on a fairly regular basis. Lets say I find it easy to chill amongst them as I can meditate without really anyone knowing or exchanging animosity.

Ironically, without knowing it at the time, I got to know metta meditation through them a few years ago. Keep in mind, though, they do not teach an exclusive style of meditation. They just focus on love of God, self, and others. It may not be an orthodox form of metta meditation, but I do believe that abiding in love can really take a practitioner (or in this case believer) places.

Hehe, these are of course my opinions of a loving community. I could be wrong as well.


Mostly wanted to mention it because I have personal ex with that "madness", and wasnt under guidance by skilled teachers at that time - and only a bit of luck (I guess) prevented me to become at full blown christian at that moment. But it was quite a experience - actually thought I was at the end point of my searching .. :tongue:

:candle:


It is interesting you stated thinking you were at the end of your searching and having moved on. I reflect on my time amongst their group positively as it did open my views more and helped answer questions I had at the time. They were sort of a catalyst that led my journey into Buddhism. Ultimately I found, despite "meditation madness" or an ignorant jhanic state, it unsatisfactory as to how to see the nature of reality beyond relative perceptions. I sort of hit a road block at that time and knew there was something missing and, maybe it was through that medtiation, that I realized the entanglement of perception; which led to my departure as it was chasing a conceptualized notion of reality (God) was not ending my suffering and, in fact, propagated further suffering / stress / frustration.

Fun stuff! Thanks for sharing.
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Re: How common is Jhana

Postby Crazy cloud » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:26 pm

Zenainder wrote:It is interesting you stated thinking you were at the end of your searching and having moved on.


Hi again - Here's the whole "mess" :tongue:

One year ago and before buddhism came to me, I was ridden by what I will call a "demon", and what buddhism describe as a "hungry ghost" - in short it was a "travelmate" that had been following me for most of my life (I'm 52 now), and it grew so strong that it took over most of my time and energy to keep in a "secure closet inside of me", until it wasn't possible to contain him anymore. It came to a point where the sufferings was unbearable, and the worst of sufferings was to watch my loved ones, and how "tortured" they were - So I told myself on that memorable day; this has got to stop now!!!

The first few days was like living inside/under a wet and heavy blanket, reminding me of a kind of prozak-mindlessness - and when that fog lifted i made myself a promise to slow down the drinking - at least only drink in the weekends, and be more normal. But then a whole week went by and the weekend to, without drinking at all, and i was quite happy about this progress. Another week, and the same happened - and I started to wonder about where have all the cravings gone?

And when I pondered on this missing craving, I became aware that it wasnt the only craving that had vanished. All my cravings were completly "missing", and I started to wonder about if I was going completly mad (absolutly no ambitions, and very happy ...?). I felt like I had several heavy stones that I had been carrying around for so long, had been lifted off my shoulders, and the floting feeling was enormously satisfying. I didnt tell my wife or anybody about this, but after a while my wife began to behave quite strange. She tested me again and again on some of my usual triggerpoints, and where it was certain that a small explosion would result (sexdenial, foul/loud speaking, aggression and so on)

And all the time I just watched this in silence - didnt get angry (but slightly amused), but saw her very clearly and what she was trying to provoke, and just gave her a lot of metta. This went on for about 2 months, and then I told her that something "funny" had happened with me, and that it wasnt possible for her or myself to find the usual "monster" anymore. Funny thing also - I'v been used to visualising myself and my future/past - and that has been pictures of many colors and rocky mountains and shores) But now it was totally "blank" or "just white sheets". That made me a little uneasy at first, but later I come to think that it is the "picture of emtiness". Now, when I try the same visualising, the picture is mostly "nothing"

This state of calmness and total balance gave me the ability to see people "for what they were" according to what I read in the dhamma, and be in the moment fully consentrated without even trying or thinking about it. It was like I'v reached a "athmosphere" that was different from what I ever had experienced before, and my childhood-belifs told me; You have been heard, and been saved ...
So I thanked my God and began wondering about seeking out fellowchristians, but something held me back. I thought that maybe it has nothing to do with God, and if i get sucked into some religious communities, I might loose what was gained, or just be fooling myself, and never find out what it really was

So I went for the "gutfeeling" - picked up the first book that "came to me", and it was a small pocketsized book containing zen-koans and poetry. And there i picked up a few simple advices for how to find out for myself by myself. I became completly still (both in mind and body) - didnt start anything that i couldnt se the end of, and waited for information to come to me, and not "hunt for it". And this worked just fine (but I had to tell myself several times to BE STILL, wait wait ....) Not only new information came easy to me, but also individuals witch I have had a rather difficult life with, got solved without me doing anything other than beeing there and let metta do its duty



mettamettametta :smile:
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Re: How common is Jhana

Postby Zenainder » Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:38 pm

Crazy cloud wrote:
Zenainder wrote:It is interesting you stated thinking you were at the end of your searching and having moved on.


...

So I went for the "gutfeeling" - picked up the first book that "came to me", and it was a small pocketsized book containing zen-koans and poetry. And there i picked up a few simple advices for how to find out for myself by myself. I became completly still (both in mind and body) - didnt start anything that i couldnt se the end of, and waited for information to come to me, and not "hunt for it". And this worked just fine (but I had to tell myself several times to BE STILL, wait wait ....) Not only new information came easy to me, but also individuals witch I have had a rather difficult life with, got solved without me doing anything other than beeing there and let metta do its duty



mettamettametta :smile:


A wonderful story, crazycloud. I feel like you and I already had this discussion! :lol: could be de ja vu? :P
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Re: How common is Jhana

Postby Zimesky » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:44 pm

I definitely believe that the Jhana's, Dhyana's, Samadhi's are all generally the same states, just labeled differently throughout many cultures and religions. Even Christianity. I suppose I was curious because I've only read about people that have attained a Jhana state, through 2nd or 3rd hand accounts. It seemed like sort of a rarefied state from the information I've gathered so far. I can't be sure where I heard this, but It was a question I heard a student recently put forward to his Master, who was supposedly enlightened. He asked how many people in the world were currently cultivating Dhyana, the master had responded that 30'ish individuals(can't remember the specific number), were currently sitting in the 4th Jhana. That seemed to me like an incredibly low number. This thread does sort of dove-tail in with the other threads of finding a skilled teacher, able to attain these states, and teach others to cultivate a correct practice.
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Re: How common is Jhana

Postby Zenainder » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:52 pm

Zimesky wrote:I definitely believe that the Jhana's, Dhyana's, Samadhi's are all generally the same states, just labeled differently throughout many cultures and religions. Even Christianity. I suppose I was curious because I've only read about people that have attained a Jhana state, through 2nd or 3rd hand accounts. It seemed like sort of a rarefied state from the information I've gathered so far. I can't be sure where I heard this, but It was a question I heard a student recently put forward to his Master, who was supposedly enlightened. He asked how many people in the world were currently cultivating Dhyana, the master had responded that 30'ish individuals(can't remember the specific number), were currently sitting in the 4th Jhana. That seemed to me like an incredibly low number. This thread does sort of dove-tail in with the other threads of finding a skilled teacher, able to attain these states, and teach others to cultivate a correct practice.


It's generally possible that jhana 1 is practice more than we likely reckon (still rare from a standpoint of human samsana), however the latter jhana's beyond 4 are likely rare. I have no claim of special powers other than purely speculation regarding this. It is an ambigious discussion as many speculate the validity regarding personal accounts. In the end, the truth is realized within.
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