Body Scanning and Jhana...

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Body Scanning and Jhana...

Postby Myotai » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:28 pm

Does the Goenka style lead to Jhana?

It seems very 'busy' in compassion to other styles (?Mahasi maybe).

Does this method lead to the subtle states of mind I have read other styles lead to?

*Note - I am not asking because I am seeking such phenomena, just wondered really?

Thanks,

M...
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Re: Body Scanning and Jhana...

Postby pilgrim » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:51 pm

Myotai wrote:Does the Goenka style lead to Jhana?

It seems very 'busy' in compassion to other styles (?Mahasi maybe).

Does this method lead to the subtle states of mind I have read other styles lead to?

*Note - I am not asking because I am seeking such phenomena, just wondered really?

Thanks,

M...

One needs to practise samatha to get into jhana. In a typical 10 day Goenka retreat, one practises samatha for the 1st three days. But one would need to be especially talented or fortunate to achieve jhana in 3 days. I would say its possible but uncommon. Perhaps on longer retreats. However, I think it is less likely with Mahasi methods as they typically go into awareness of various objects from the beginning.
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Re: Body Scanning and Jhana...

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:58 pm

Myotai wrote:Does the Goenka style lead to Jhana?


I recall there have been some detailed discussions here on "vipassana jhana" which you might want to search for.
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Re: Body Scanning and Jhana...

Postby Myotai » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:17 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Myotai wrote:Does the Goenka style lead to Jhana?


I recall there have been some detailed discussions here on "vipassana jhana" which you might want to search for.


I think you're right, my fault - will dig that thread out!

:thanks:
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Re: Body Scanning and Jhana...

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:33 pm

Myotai wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
Myotai wrote:Does the Goenka style lead to Jhana?


I recall there have been some detailed discussions here on "vipassana jhana" which you might want to search for.


I think you're right, my fault - will dig that thread out!

:thanks:


It struck me a while back that concentrating on the breath and concentrating on bodily sensations are actually quite similar activities.
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Re: Body Scanning and Jhana...

Postby Monkey Mind » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:42 pm

In that tradition, there are also twenty- and thirty-day retreats. Jhana becomes an item of discussion during the longer retreats. But Mr. Goenka repeatedly emphasizes that one should not chase after a particular attainment, nor should one cling to an attainment once achieved.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
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Re: Body Scanning and Jhana...

Postby culaavuso » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:50 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:It struck me a while back that concentrating on the breath and concentrating on bodily sensations are actually quite similar activities.


This is probably why the in and out breath is classed as a body among bodies:

MN 118
MN 118: Anapanasati Sutta wrote:On whatever occasion a monk breathing in long discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, discerns, 'I am breathing out long'; or breathing in short, discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, discerns, 'I am breathing out short'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&... out sensitive to the entire body'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out calming bodily fabrication': On that occasion the monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. I tell you, monks, that this — the in-&-out breath — is classed as a body among bodies, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.


Myotai wrote:Does this method lead to the subtle states of mind I have read other styles lead to?


It's noteworthy also that the text says "sensitive to the entire body" as part of the instructions. Body scanning can be a useful tool in learning to be sensitive to the entire body. This practice is the beginning of a discourse that leads all the way to the final goal of clear knowing and release:

MN 118: Anapanasati Sutta wrote:This is how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to bring the four frames of reference to their culmination.
...
This is how the four frames of reference are developed & pursued so as to bring the seven factors for awakening to their culmination.
...
This is how the seven factors for awakening are developed & pursued so as to bring clear knowing & release to their culmination.


It also says in the same discourse that this practice can bring concentration as a factor of awakening to the culmination of its development:
MN 118: Anapanasati Sutta wrote:For one who is at ease — his body calmed — the mind becomes concentrated. When the mind of one who is at ease — his body calmed — becomes concentrated, then concentration as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.


Bringing release to its culmination as mentioned above means bringing an end to the fermentations:

AN 9.44
AN 9.44: Pannavimutti Sutta wrote:And as he sees with discernment, the mental fermentations go to their total end. And he knows it through discernment. It is to this extent that one is described by the Blessed One as released through discernment without a sequel.


Ending the fermentations depends on Jhana:
AN 9.36
AN 9.36: Jhana Sutta wrote:I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana.
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Re: Body Scanning and Jhana...

Postby Myotai » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:06 am

Thanks everyone...
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Re: Body Scanning and Jhana...

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:12 am

culaavuso wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:It struck me a while back that concentrating on the breath and concentrating on bodily sensations are actually quite similar activities.


It's noteworthy also that the text says "sensitive to the entire body" as part of the instructions. Body scanning can be a useful tool in learning to be sensitive to the entire body. This practice is the beginning of a discourse that leads all the way to the final goal of clear knowing and release:


Yes, that's a good point.
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Re: Body Scanning and Jhana...

Postby Goob » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:07 am

culaavuso wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:It struck me a while back that concentrating on the breath and concentrating on bodily sensations are actually quite similar activities.


This is probably why the in and out breath is classed as a body among bodies:

MN 118
MN 118: Anapanasati Sutta wrote:On whatever occasion a monk breathing in long discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, discerns, 'I am breathing out long'; or breathing in short, discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, discerns, 'I am breathing out short'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&... out sensitive to the entire body'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out calming bodily fabrication': On that occasion the monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. I tell you, monks, that this — the in-&-out breath — is classed as a body among bodies, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.


Myotai wrote:Does this method lead to the subtle states of mind I have read other styles lead to?


It's noteworthy also that the text says "sensitive to the entire body" as part of the instructions. Body scanning can be a useful tool in learning to be sensitive to the entire body. This practice is the beginning of a discourse that leads all the way to the final goal of clear knowing and release:

MN 118: Anapanasati Sutta wrote:This is how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to bring the four frames of reference to their culmination.
...
This is how the four frames of reference are developed & pursued so as to bring the seven factors for awakening to their culmination.
...
This is how the seven factors for awakening are developed & pursued so as to bring clear knowing & release to their culmination.


It also says in the same discourse that this practice can bring concentration as a factor of awakening to the culmination of its development:
MN 118: Anapanasati Sutta wrote:For one who is at ease — his body calmed — the mind becomes concentrated. When the mind of one who is at ease — his body calmed — becomes concentrated, then concentration as a factor for awakening becomes aroused. He develops it, and for him it goes to the culmination of its development.


Bringing release to its culmination as mentioned above means bringing an end to the fermentations:

AN 9.44
AN 9.44: Pannavimutti Sutta wrote:And as he sees with discernment, the mental fermentations go to their total end. And he knows it through discernment. It is to this extent that one is described by the Blessed One as released through discernment without a sequel.


Ending the fermentations depends on Jhana:
AN 9.36
AN 9.36: Jhana Sutta wrote:I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana.


Good posting.

My view on this is that the Goenka approach is an alternative route to the full body awareness carried on from mindfulness of breathing that Ven. Thanissaro and others (and the anapanasati-sutta, in my view) recommend, but that Goenka's framework and understanding of this is different and more couched in a Burmese Vipassana context and terminology.

I have done a couple of Goenka retreats and asked the assistant teachers if it is permissable to combine the breath with bodily sensations and they answered yes, so the practical basic differences between say Goenka and Thanissaro are actually smaller than first suspected. If you ask me tho, the Goenka tradition ties in a lot of unique interpretations and later commentarial things that I don't find very useful, but hey, to each his/her own.

Take care!
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Re: Body Scanning and Jhana...

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:50 pm

Goob wrote: My view on this is that the Goenka approach is an alternative route to the full body awareness carried on from mindfulness of breathing that Ven. Thanissaro and others (and the anapanasati-sutta, in my view) recommend, but that Goenka's framework and understanding of this is different and more couched in a Burmese Vipassana context and terminology.


Interesting comment. Something I don't really understand is why Goenka's approach is usually labelled as just "vipassana" - isn't it really more akin to the 4 tetrads of anapanasati, ie samatha and vipassana?
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Re: Body Scanning and Jhana...

Postby Goob » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:10 pm

Yeah, I never really got why either. It seems so much more awkward to to make the technique comform to the Satipatthana-sutta and ideas about momentariness than to the anapanasati-sutta, but it probably has to do with being connected to the Burmese lay-meditation movement in the beginning of the 20th century and to the particular interpretations by Burmese scholars. Just a vague non-professional guess :smile:

Also, Leigh Brasington teaches the body scan technique (a'la Goenka) as an alternative to his usual ways of getting in to his version of Jhana (i.e by focusing on the nostrils and piti). Do a search for 'body scan' on his talks on http://www.dharmaseed.org and at least one talk should come up.
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Re: Body Scanning and Jhana...

Postby sylo » Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:21 pm

Goob wrote:If you ask me tho, the Goenka tradition ties in a lot of unique interpretations and later commentarial things that I don't find very useful, but hey, to each his/her own.
Take care!


Could you please elaborate on these interpretations and commentarial things Goob?

:namaste:
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Re: Body Scanning and Jhana...

Postby Goob » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:39 pm

sylo wrote:
Goob wrote:If you ask me tho, the Goenka tradition ties in a lot of unique interpretations and later commentarial things that I don't find very useful, but hey, to each his/her own.
Take care!


Could you please elaborate on these interpretations and commentarial things Goob?


Hiya,

I'm by all means no expert or scholar when it comes to all this, and I certainly don't want to discredit any teacher or tradition, but it seems to me that the Goenka tradition's strong emphasis on the experience of kalapas and their momentariness are later commentarial developments that I find unnecessarily ontologizes things in a realist way. Not necessarily saying that it isn't true or helpful to some people, it's just something I struggled with accepting before I realised one doesn't have to. Here is a long interesting thread on this very issue: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=10653

I also find Goenka's talk about sankharas as physical accretions of kamma to be burned off both rather unique and strange, even tho, again, they might be useful to some.

Like I said tho, one takes what is useful and sets aside what is not. One the whole the Goenka tradition has been very beneficial to my own practice.

Take care!
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