Jhanas and Hindrances

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.
barcsimalsi
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Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby barcsimalsi » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:31 am

I often read about hindrances are suppressed when one attained Jhana, and the wholesome state of mind can even last for some while after coming out from Jhana. Is there a phenomenal explanation regarding the process?

Additional question:
Are hindrances suppressed by Jhanic factors?
Or
Suppressing hindrances lead to the arising of Jhanic factors?

fivebells
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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby fivebells » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:02 am

barcsimalsi wrote:Is there a phenomenal explanation regarding the process?


Yes. The jhana gives you something harmless to hang on to, so you don't need to grasp after your usual (hindrance-based) strategies.

barcsimalsi wrote:Are hindrances suppressed by Jhanic factors?
Suppressing hindrances lead to the arising of Jhanic factors?


These two processes happen in tandem in a virtuous cycle. Lately I've found it very productive, when I identify a hindrance in progress, to pull back to jhana and then contemplate the hindrance as in the analogies listed here. (It is no coincidence that there are five analogies.) So the jhana makes it easier to develop dispassion for the hindrance, and of course dispassion for the hindrance makes it easier to foster jhana.

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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby SarathW » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:48 am

barcsimalsi wrote:I often read about hindrances are suppressed when one attained Jhana, and the wholesome state of mind can even last for some while after coming out from Jhana. Is there a phenomenal explanation regarding the process?

Additional question:
Are hindrances suppressed by Jhanic factors?
Or
Suppressing hindrances lead to the arising of Jhanic factors?


As far as I know suppressing hindrances lead to the arising of Jhanic factors.
Initial stage they do not occur in tandam.

Please read:

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/printguna.pdf

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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby fivebells » Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:38 pm

BTW, barcsimalsi, my understanding of the process I described comes from Thanissaro.

Although the hindrances cannot be totally relinquished prior to the various stages of Awakening, they can be lessened on a preliminary level to the point where the mind can settle down in jhāna. This preliminary level is the focus of the passages in this section.

...

This pleasure plays an important function in the practice...because the pleasure and equanimity of jhāna are more exquisite than sensory pleasures, and because they exist independently of the five senses, they can enable the mind to become less involved in sensory pleasures and less inclined to search for emotional satisfaction from them. In this sense, the skillful pleasures of jhāna can act as a fulcrum for prying loose one's attachments to the less skillful pleasures of sensuality. ...the pleasure of jhāna provides a place of rest and rehabilitation along the path when the mind's powers of discernment become dulled or it must be coaxed into the proper mood to accept some of the harsher lessons it needs to learn in order to abandon its cravings. Just as a person who is well-fed and rested is more open to receiving criticism than when he is tired and hungry, the mind is often more willing to admit its own foolishness and lack of skill when it is nourished by the pleasure of jhāna than when it is not.


There's much more in that vein. If you listen to a few dozen of his talks, you will get the flavor of it.

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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby barcsimalsi » Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:25 am

fivebells wrote:BTW, barcsimalsi, my understanding of the process I described comes from Thanissaro.

Although the hindrances cannot be totally relinquished prior to the various stages of Awakening, they can be lessened on a preliminary level to the point where the mind can settle down in jhāna. This preliminary level is the focus of the passages in this section.

...

This pleasure plays an important function in the practice...because the pleasure and equanimity of jhāna are more exquisite than sensory pleasures, and because they exist independently of the five senses, they can enable the mind to become less involved in sensory pleasures and less inclined to search for emotional satisfaction from them. In this sense, the skillful pleasures of jhāna can act as a fulcrum for prying loose one's attachments to the less skillful pleasures of sensuality. ...the pleasure of jhāna provides a place of rest and rehabilitation along the path when the mind's powers of discernment become dulled or it must be coaxed into the proper mood to accept some of the harsher lessons it needs to learn in order to abandon its cravings. Just as a person who is well-fed and rested is more open to receiving criticism than when he is tired and hungry, the mind is often more willing to admit its own foolishness and lack of skill when it is nourished by the pleasure of jhāna than when it is not.


There's much more in that vein. If you listen to a few dozen of his talks, you will get the flavor of it.

Thanks, that explain.

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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby barcsimalsi » Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:41 am

SarathW wrote:As far as I know suppressing hindrances lead to the arising of Jhanic factors.
Initial stage they do not occur in tandam.

Please read:

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/printguna.pdf

Thanks for the link.

I've yet to finish reading all but some question need to be solved first. On page 100, it stated that Satipatanna practice won't lead to Jhana and the practitioner gain insight by mindfulness contemplation support by momentary concentration. Had it negated the need of right concentration to attain complete liberation?

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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:22 am

barcsimalsi wrote:Are hindrances suppressed by Jhanic factors?
Or
Suppressing hindrances lead to the arising of Jhanic factors?


I think both are true. It seems like the hindrances and jhana factors are mutually exclusive.
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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:57 pm

fivebells wrote:The jhana gives you something harmless to hang on to...


I'd say wholesome rather than harmless. I think it's similar to Right Effort, where wholesome states of mind "displace" unwholesome ones.
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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby manas » Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:10 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:I often read about hindrances are suppressed when one attained Jhana, and the wholesome state of mind can even last for some while after coming out from Jhana. Is there a phenomenal explanation regarding the process?

Additional question:
Are hindrances suppressed by Jhanic factors?
Or
Suppressing hindrances lead to the arising of Jhanic factors?


Hi barcsimalsi

according to the Samaññaphala Sutta, the hindrances are abandoned first, then jhana issues forth:

"In the same way, when these five hindrances are not abandoned in himself, the monk regards it as a debt, a sickness, a prison, slavery, a road through desolate country. But when these five hindrances are abandoned in himself, he regards it as unindebtedness, good health, release from prison, freedom, a place of security. Seeing that they have been abandoned within him, he becomes glad. Glad, he becomes enraptured. Enraptured, his body grows tranquil. His body tranquil, he is sensitive to pleasure. Feeling pleasure, his mind becomes concentrated.

"Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, he enters and remains in the first jhana...

[bolding added for emphasis]
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Furthermore, it is described in this translation not as supression, but as a cleansing of the mind, obviously not a permanent cleansing away of the hindrances, but still, the words we choose can colour our understanding:

"Abandoning covetousness with regard to the world, he dwells with an awareness devoid of covetousness. He cleanses his mind of covetousness. Abandoning ill will and anger, he dwells with an awareness devoid of ill will, sympathetic with the welfare of all living beings. He cleanses his mind of ill will and anger. Abandoning sloth and drowsiness, he dwells with an awareness devoid of sloth and drowsiness, mindful, alert, percipient of light. He cleanses his mind of sloth and drowsiness. Abandoning restlessness and anxiety, he dwells undisturbed, his mind inwardly stilled. He cleanses his mind of restlessness and anxiety. Abandoning uncertainty, he dwells having crossed over uncertainty, with no perplexity with regard to skillful mental qualities. He cleanses his mind of uncertainty.


kind regards
manas
:anjali:

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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby barcsimalsi » Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:34 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
barcsimalsi wrote:Are hindrances suppressed by Jhanic factors?
Or
Suppressing hindrances lead to the arising of Jhanic factors?


I think both are true. It seems like the hindrances and jhana factors are mutually exclusive.

Like sleeping? must calm down before falling asleep then deeper relax in sleep...
So it is more like manually accommodating oneself to a situation and when the condition is right, auto absorption applies itself.

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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby barcsimalsi » Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:17 am

manas wrote:according to the Samaññaphala Sutta, the hindrances are abandoned first, then jhana issues forth:

"In the same way, when these five hindrances are not abandoned in himself, the monk regards it as a debt, a sickness, a prison, slavery, a road through desolate country. But when these five hindrances are abandoned in himself, he regards it as unindebtedness, good health, release from prison, freedom, a place of security. Seeing that they have been abandoned within him, he becomes glad. Glad, he becomes enraptured. Enraptured, his body grows tranquil. His body tranquil, he is sensitive to pleasure. Feeling pleasure, his mind becomes concentrated.

"Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, he enters and remains in the first jhana...

[bolding added for emphasis]
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Furthermore, it is described in this translation not as supression, but as a cleansing of the mind, obviously not a permanent cleansing away of the hindrances, but still, the words we choose can colour our understanding:

"Abandoning covetousness with regard to the world, he dwells with an awareness devoid of covetousness. He cleanses his mind of covetousness. Abandoning ill will and anger, he dwells with an awareness devoid of ill will, sympathetic with the welfare of all living beings. He cleanses his mind of ill will and anger. Abandoning sloth and drowsiness, he dwells with an awareness devoid of sloth and drowsiness, mindful, alert, percipient of light. He cleanses his mind of sloth and drowsiness. Abandoning restlessness and anxiety, he dwells undisturbed, his mind inwardly stilled. He cleanses his mind of restlessness and anxiety. Abandoning uncertainty, he dwells having crossed over uncertainty, with no perplexity with regard to skillful mental qualities. He cleanses his mind of uncertainty.


kind regards
manas
:anjali:

Thanks, It definitely make sense. The quote implies that one need to have enough knowledge to discriminate between kusala and akusala to abandon the latter which focus on vipassana technique before switching to samatha, but what if one doesn't possess enough insights to do the job but can't wait to attain jhana?
I’m also interested to know how much it took if one depends more on samatha practitice to abandon the hindrance and enter jhana? 10 year old little buddha make it look easy but not for many, even with the help of vipassana.

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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby manas » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:13 am

barcsimalsi wrote:Thanks, It definitely make sense. The quote implies that one need to have enough knowledge to discriminate between kusala and akusala to abandon the latter which focus on vipassana technique before switching to samatha, but what if one doesn't possess enough insights to do the job but can't wait to attain jhana?
I’m also interested to know how much it took if one depends more on samatha practitice to abandon the hindrance and enter jhana? 10 year old little buddha make it look easy but not for many, even with the help of vipassana.


There is some controversy in the Buddhist world about this, but I don't think that vipassana and samatha are actually two different styles of meditation practice after all, but rather, they are two distinct qualities of mind, and that we need both of these qualities to undertake meditation.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:In the few instances where they [the suttas] do mention vipassana, they almost always pair it with samatha — not as two alternative methods, but as two qualities of mind that a person may "gain" or "be endowed with," and that should be developed together.
...
Another passage (AN 10.71) recommends that anyone who wishes to put an end to mental defilement should — in addition to perfecting the principles of moral behavior and cultivating seclusion — be committed to samatha and endowed with vipassana. This last statement is unremarkable in itself, but the same discourse also gives the same advice to anyone who wants to master the jhanas: be committed to samatha and endowed with vipassana. This suggests that, in the eyes of those who assembled the Pali discourses, samatha, jhana, and vipassana were all part of a single path.


So it's not that we have to 'choose between samatha or vipassana practice', rather, we ought to use both samatha and vipassana every time we sit...

kind regards
:anjali:

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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:08 am

manas wrote:There is some controversy in the Buddhist world about this, but I don't think that vipassana and samatha are actually two different styles of meditation practice after all, but rather, they are two distinct qualities of mind, and that we need both of these qualities to undertake meditation.


But from a practical point of view, developing jhana seems like a different activity from vipassana.
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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby barcsimalsi » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:49 am

manas wrote:So it's not that we have to 'choose between samatha or vipassana practice', rather, we ought to use both samatha and vipassana every time we sit...

kind regards
:anjali:

I’m just starting to grasp the correct way to do vipassana and was satisfied with the practice but the samatha part isn’t developing much, still no steady one-pointedness or absorption and often have to switch back to contemplation before any hindrances getting stronger.

I agree that both sam and vip are essential because the mind can't really contemplate much if there's no sense of tranquility while doing samatha alone seems to be harder to stay on track. Yet when we talk about jhana(which is the main concern of this thread), the emphasis is often more on samatha, hence i think there's still more for me to learn about improving the samatha part.

Thanks again.

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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby Anagarika » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:41 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
manas wrote:There is some controversy in the Buddhist world about this, but I don't think that vipassana and samatha are actually two different styles of meditation practice after all, but rather, they are two distinct qualities of mind, and that we need both of these qualities to undertake meditation.


But from a practical point of view, developing jhana seems like a different activity from vipassana.


I think this is an important point that Ajahn Geoff is trying to bring out. A number of western teachers that developed the 'vipassana school' in the west came, in part, from a Burmese background, that taught vipassana as a separate practice, sometimes thought of as 'dry insight,' or a standalone form of insight meditation exclusive of jhana. Ven. Thanissaro makes the case that the Buddha taught meditation as jhana, jhana being as described very well above as the practice that includes by its very nature both concentration and insight. It has always seemed to me that if one wants to really develop the practice as the Buddha instructed, one can understand that it is jhana in its fullest form that is what the Buddha admonished his monks to do. I don't accept jhana as some teach it as a standalone "absorption" practice or sukkha development practice, nor do I feel it's technically correct to teach samatha and/or vipassana as separate practices without at least teaching the difference between dry vipassana/samatha and jhana. Both, of course, very beneficial, but a deviation from what I understand the Buddha to have expressed.

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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:09 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote:
I think this is an important point that Ajahn Geoff is trying to bring out. A number of western teachers that developed the 'vipassana school' in the west came, in part, from a Burmese background, that taught vipassana as a separate practice, sometimes thought of as 'dry insight,' or a standalone form of insight meditation exclusive of jhana.
The reality is, as has been discussed at length on DW, that that is not really an accurate portrayal of vipassana meditation as it is actually practiced.
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.

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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby daverupa » Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:47 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
BuddhaSoup wrote:
I think this is an important point that Ajahn Geoff is trying to bring out. A number of western teachers that developed the 'vipassana school' in the west came, in part, from a Burmese background, that taught vipassana as a separate practice, sometimes thought of as 'dry insight,' or a standalone form of insight meditation exclusive of jhana.
The reality is, as has been discussed at length on DW, that that is not really an accurate portrayal of vipassana meditation as it is actually practiced.


And yet, the misunderstanding persists that this is what Vipassana Practice^TM looks like - altogether different than jhana, vipassana and samatha as practices and not qualities, etc etc.

Surely we all know that vipassana-samatha are a pair to be developed in tandem, with imbalances duly rectified, and that this paired foundation is what facilitates bringing the awakening factors to fulfillment by development, which includes jhana.

So I wonder, where is this repetitive structure of misunderstanding coming from?
    "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: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby fivebells » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:14 pm

daverupa: Goenka practitioners don't know that. :-)

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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:36 pm

daverupa wrote:Surely we all know that vipassana-samatha are a pair to be developed in tandem, with imbalances duly rectified, and that this paired foundation is what facilitates bringing the awakening factors to fulfillment by development, which includes jhana.


And yet most of the commentaries I've read on the Anapanasati Sutta tetrads effectively describe a progression from samatha to vipassana, with jhana early on in the progression. IMO it's more reminiscent of this progression: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html.

Perhaps we should look more closely at the purpose of developing jhana, and the corresponding awakening factors?
Last edited by Spiny Norman on Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Jhanas and Hindrances

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:37 pm

barcsimalsi wrote: Yet when we talk about jhana(which is the main concern of this thread), the emphasis is often more on samatha, hence i think there's still more for me to learn about improving the samatha part.


IMO jhana can be seen as the fullfilment of samatha.
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