Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby BlackBird » Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:52 pm

EOD wrote:
BlackBird wrote:I think it's clear to say one does not need Jhana to achieve nibbana.

Hello

... [snip] ...


But I don't want to say that we have to master all the four jhanas in order to achieve nibbana or that we have to develop the jhanas "extra". I think they are a result of a correct practice.

Best wishes,

EOD


Glad to see we're on the same page then :tongue:

As for the rest, concentration may be developed to absorbtion jhana, or vipassana jhana (which I think) is based at an access-concentration stage. According to the Mahasi method, one does not need to develop absorbtion Jhana in order to achieve nibbana. One can go straight from access-concentration to mature Vipassana practise, using the methods employed in the style.

As for why the Buddha taught absorbtion Jhanas, perhaps it is because they are really really helpful?

EOD wrote:
If we start doubting that one part of the path is not really necessary, there is no reason to stop there. What about the other parts? Right speech for example. Unnecessary too? I don't think that this is an appropriate attitude towards the teachings.

...
But what about morality? It is also not explicitly mentiond in that sutta. Does this mean that morality is not necessary? Certainly not. One has to read more than one sutta to get a picture of the whole.


Don't extrapolate the debate over the degree of Right Concentration necessary, with the need for Right speech, and morality. That is flawed logic my friend.

In essense, you're taking this up with the wrong person. I think it would be best to speak to someone who has more experience with dry-vipassana, perhaps have a talk to the Venerable Bhikkhu Pesala about this, as he is quite learned on the subject.

Metta & :anjali:
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:09 pm

Jechbi wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:No one here is "evaluating" (and certainly not criticizing) ...

I never mentioned criticism. But certainly, there's no other way to describe your earlier post except to acknowledge that it constituted a form of evaluation of Blackbird's contemplation practice. In what respect would you say that your comment about his practice fails to rise to the level of an evaluation of it? Of his practice, you wrote: "There is nothing wrong with this. It is, however, still pretty much a conceptual practice." Clearly, that is an evaluation.

tiltbillings wrote:So, yes, you seemed to have missed something here ...

No, I don't think I did in this case. I feel as though now I'm defending myself here.


Huh? You seem to be stuck on "evalution" here. If you want this to be an evaluation, then for you it is such. I thought I was looking for information in the context of the OP, which is vipassana and jhana practices. I did not say that you said I was criticizing. That was a parenthetical aside to clarify my intent. If you wish to comment on this further, then please do so via PM.
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: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:22 pm

EOD wrote:But I don't want to say that we have to master all the four jhanas in order to achieve nibbana or that we have to develop the jhanas "extra". I think they are a result of a correct practice.


I think this correct, but what is meant by jhana might not be all that clear as the first link in Moggalana's above msg makes clear. Also, in terms of the Mahasi Sayadaw vipassana tradition, it may not be as "dry" as as it first seems as my above links to the vipassana jhanas show.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby EOD » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:18 pm

BlackBird wrote:Don't extrapolate the debate over the degree of Right Concentration necessary, with the need for Right speech, and morality. That is flawed logic my friend.

I'm sorry, but don't think so. We surely agree that morality and concentration are not the same, but they belong to the same (noble eightfold) path. To question one part of that path could lead to questioning the path as a whole, i. e. its "eightfoldness". Maybe it was off-topic to bring morality in here. BTW: I'm not saying that you or anyone else here denies the necessity of morality (or even of right concentration as such). If you understood my posting this way I would like to apologize for that.

Best wishes

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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby BlackBird » Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:57 pm

EOD wrote:Maybe it was off-topic to bring morality in here. BTW: I'm not saying that you or anyone else here denies the necessity of morality (or even of right concentration as such). If you understood my posting this way I would like to apologize for that.

Best wishes

EOD


No, I don't interprete your posting in that way, so that's cool :smile:

I guess I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here, because I've always held the Jhana's to be important. I just don't think we should go so far to say that the pursuing tranquility meditation to it's culmination is a necessary factor for enlightenment.

When I was on retreat earlier this year Venerable Ajahn Tiradhammo related a story to me about a Q&A session he had with the Venerable Ajahn Chah. Ajahn Ti asked Ajahn Chah how far one needed to develop calm meditation in order to practise vipassana. Ajahn Chah responded: "Calm enough."

:anjali:
Jack

Jechbi wrote:BlackBird, best wishes for success in your practice.


Thank you my friend, best wishes for success in your practise also :smile:
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby christopher::: » Thu Sep 17, 2009 5:38 am

BlackBird wrote:
I guess I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here, because I've always held the Jhana's to be important. I just don't think we should go so far to say that the pursuing tranquility meditation to it's culmination is a necessary factor for enlightenment.

When I was on retreat earlier this year Venerable Ajahn Tiradhammo related a story to me about a Q&A session he had with the Venerable Ajahn Chah. Ajahn Ti asked Ajahn Chah how far one needed to develop calm meditation in order to practise vipassana. Ajahn Chah responded: "Calm enough."


That makes good sense, BlackBird. Though I would think as one gets closer and closer to deepest enlightenment the calm probably deepens as well, just naturally, organically...

Kind of related...

Jechbi wrote:
Hi Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:The connection I had in mind was that "conceptual" forms of meditation are only good up to the first jhana, and that upekkha is the trademark of the third jhana.


One wonders whether upekkha in any form is possible outside of jhana, for example, can we bring equanimity to the processes of driving a car, or to the process of engaging with colleagues at work? In other words, can we bring upekkha into our practice when we bring our practice out into the world?

Or would you regard upekkha as a narrow term in this context that only can be applied to its manifestation at some stage of meditative absorption?

In answer to the OP, I think one outcome of practicing the 8fold path is that it can strenghthen upekkha on and off the cushion.


Hi Jechbi,

I see Retro hasn't come by yet. He just posted this though in another discussion, which I think relates...

retrofuturist wrote:Have you read...?

DN 22: Maha-Satipatthana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



And from the Intro...

Translator's Introduction

The word "satipatthana" is the name for an approach to meditation aimed at establishing sati, or mindfulness. The term sati is related to the verb sarati, to remember or to keep in mind. It is sometimes translated as non-reactive awareness, free from agendas, simply present with whatever arises, but the formula for satipatthana doesn't support that translation. Non-reactive awareness is actually an aspect of equanimity, a quality fostered in the course of satipatthana. The activity of satipatthana, however, definitely has a motivating agenda: the desire for Awakening, which is classed not as a cause of suffering, but as part of the path to its ending (see SN 51.15). The role of mindfulness is to keep the mind properly grounded in the present moment in a way that will keep it on the path. To make an analogy, Awakening is like a mountain on the horizon, the destination to which you are driving a car. Mindfulness is what remembers to keep attention focused on the road to the mountain, rather than letting it stay focused on glimpses of the mountain or get distracted by other paths leading away from the road.


So, I think (if i understand correctly) mindfulness practice is very much about bringing equanimity (upekkha) out into the world, with a calm non-reactive awareness of everything we do...

Including car driving!

:smile:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 17, 2009 5:44 am

christopher::: wrote:

So, I think (if i understand correctly) mindfulness practice is very much about bringing equanimity (upekkha) out into the world, with a calm non-reactive awareness of everything we do...

Including car driving!


The thing is, however, you have to react, to pick and choose.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby christopher::: » Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:02 am

tiltbillings wrote:
christopher::: wrote:

So, I think (if i understand correctly) mindfulness practice is very much about bringing equanimity (upekkha) out into the world, with a calm non-reactive awareness of everything we do...

Including car driving!


The thing is, however, you have to react, to pick and choose.


React or respond?

I guess the question is what the translator meant with the phrase "non-reactive awareness"...

"The term sati is related to the verb sarati, to remember or to keep in mind. It is sometimes translated as non-reactive awareness, free from agendas, simply present with whatever arises, but the formula for satipatthana doesn't support that translation. Non-reactive awareness is actually an aspect of equanimity, a quality fostered in the course of satipatthana..."

Bikkhu Thanissaro


Picking and choosing seems to mesh with this just fine.

:smile:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby Jechbi » Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:17 am

Hi Christopher,
christopher::: wrote:So, I think (if i understand correctly) mindfulness practice is very much about bringing equanimity (upekkha) out into the world, with a calm non-reactive awareness of everything we do...

Including car driving!

I would tend to agree with this in some respects, with the caveat that reactions are probably going to keep on occurring, but that we also can bring some measure of equanimity to those very reactions, so that they don't feed themselves and deepen. Or at least not as much.

In my experience (and I suspect many others have had this same experience), perfect equanimity is not a realistic expectation at this stage, but some degree of equanimity is possible, even in those moments when a reaction has occurred. So for example instead of staying angry all day, we might come out of anger in just a few minutes, and then it's over with. In that respect, equanimity in its conventional sense does indeed seem to help with hindrances at the surface level. Maybe that's your experience as well?

:smile:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:24 am

christopher::: wrote:Picking and choosing seems to mesh with this just fine.


It raises an interesting question betwen the world of zafu and the world of crossing the street.

I once said to you that the Hsin Hsin Ming was a meditation text, which I think it primarily is (but, of course, that may not be the only way to read it). Read it through carefully in that light. What is interesting is the transition between the zafu and your daily activities of brushing your teeth, interacting with people, being for something or against something, following the precepts.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby christopher::: » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:29 am

Jechbi wrote:Hi Christopher,
christopher::: wrote:So, I think (if i understand correctly) mindfulness practice is very much about bringing equanimity (upekkha) out into the world, with a calm non-reactive awareness of everything we do...

Including car driving!

I would tend to agree with this in some respects, with the caveat that reactions are probably going to keep on occurring, but that we also can bring some measure of equanimity to those very reactions, so that they don't feed themselves and deepen. Or at least not as much.


Yes, definitely!

In my experience (and I suspect many others have had this same experience), perfect equanimity is not a realistic expectation at this stage, but some degree of equanimity is possible, even in those moments when a reaction has occurred. So for example instead of staying angry all day, we might come out of anger in just a few minutes, and then it's over with. In that respect, equanimity in its conventional sense does indeed seem to help with hindrances at the surface level. Maybe that's your experience as well?


Very much so. That's the "practice" of it. Over time the periods of anger/lust/etc last for shorter and shorter periods. Eventually you get to the point where the arising of emotion/thought (I'm gonna kill that &$#0*%) is there on the inside for a few seconds and then you almost laugh at it...

"What, you again?"

Interestingly I've been trying to help my wife and son with this, for years now. :tongue: But there is no way to teach this to anyone else if you aren't consistently practicing yourself, mastering this, in either the way Ajahn Brahm or Goldstein teaches....

Mastering and/or gaining insight into these elements of the deluded self...

tiltbillings wrote:
christopher::: wrote:Picking and choosing seems to mesh with this just fine.


It raises an interesting question between the world of zafu and the world of crossing the street.

I once said to you that the Hsin Hsin Ming was a meditation text, which I think it primarily is (but, of course, that may not be the only way to read it). Read it through carefully in that light. What is interesting is the transition between the zafu and your daily activities of brushing your teeth, interacting with people, being for something or against something, following the precepts.


Yes! Well, i think this is exactly what sati and zen mind are all about. We are cultivating mindfulness and equanimity on the cushion, almost like keeping your knife sharp as a butcher (sorry for the analogy).... But its then when we get off the zafu that this "mind" is really put to the test.

:meditate: :jedi:
Last edited by christopher::: on Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:36 am, edited 3 times in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:33 am

christopher::: wrote:
Yes! Well, i think this is exactly what sati and zen mind are all about. We are cultivating mindfulness and equanimity on the cushion, almost like keeping your knife sharp as a butcher (sorry for the analogy).... But its then when we get off the zafu that this "mind" is really put to the test.


So, that is the question: how does zafu experience translate to crossing the street?
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: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby christopher::: » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:38 am

tiltbillings wrote:
So, that is the question: how does zafu experience translate to crossing the street?


The science of it, or the subjective experience?
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:48 am

christopher::: wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
So, that is the question: how does zafu experience translate to crossing the street?


The science of it, or the subjective experience?


Either, if you wish. I am not so much actually asking you (or anyone) to answer this question in personal terms. I am simply posing the question because it is an interesting thing, and important thing, to look at. In our daily lives we are forced to respond to the continual input of our senses.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby christopher::: » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:I am not so much actually asking you (or anyone) to answer this question in personal terms. I am simply posing the question because it is an interesting thing, and important thing, to look at. In our daily lives we are forced to respond to the continual input of our senses.


Yes!

Two words come into mind for me right off- practice & priority...

Practice cause you get up with that knife sharpened and then Life throws all these curve balls at you... It's almost like that equanimity is at a level that decreases steadily. Some people have mastered this and are like hybrid cars, you can go for hours without needing fuel or a recharge. Others need to constantly cultivate equanimity throughout the day...

Cause when you don't... BAM... smash.... crasssssh..... Dukkha..!!!!

And priority cause its easy to de-prioritize the practice. So easy. A thousand things can keep you from monitoring your upekkha level...

Mindfulness- is all about making this a priority.

just my 2 cents.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby jhana.achariya » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:15 pm

BlackBird wrote:Venerable Pesala sums it up well

Venerable. Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Moral Kamma Producing Effects in the Realms of Form

These powerful wholesome kammas transcend the sensual realm. Sensual desire is one of the five hindrances to concentration, so to attain jhāna one has to overcome sensual thoughts. The jhānas are difficult to attain, and difficult to maintain. They are not usually attained when practising the pure insight method, but insight meditators do experience states comparable to jhāna. Insight cuts off defilements at the root, jhāna only cuts them off at the base, so insight meditation is preferable.


At the Pa Auk Forest Monastery for example (which draws much of it's basis from the authoritative texts) Jhanas are taught before mature insight practices. It's easy to understand why too, because the peace brought about by Samadhi (tranquility) practice provides a very stable ground for insight to arise.


Hello Jack

The authoritative texts do not separate jhana from insight. The Dhammapada states there is no jhana without wisdom & no wisdom without jhana. The Buddha's Noble Eightfold itself has Right View as the foundation of Right Concentration, which is defined as the four jhanas.

Venerable Pesala has sided with contemporary viewpoints but not with authoritative texts when separating jhana from insight.

The jhana discussed without insight is Wrong Concentration, arising from supression rather than born of wisdom.

In the same way, insight not leading to jhana is incomplete insight. Insight according to the authoritative texts leads to letting go and any letting go on the lower levels of insight (such as strem entry) leads directly to jhana.

Letting go is the foundation for jhana rather than the supression Venerable Pasala is proposing.

Jhana and insight support eachother when guided by Right View.

With Metta

J.A

:ugeek:
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby BlackBird » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:06 pm

jhana.achariya wrote:
BlackBird wrote:Venerable Pesala sums it up well

Venerable. Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Moral Kamma Producing Effects in the Realms of Form

These powerful wholesome kammas transcend the sensual realm. Sensual desire is one of the five hindrances to concentration, so to attain jhāna one has to overcome sensual thoughts. The jhānas are difficult to attain, and difficult to maintain. They are not usually attained when practising the pure insight method, but insight meditators do experience states comparable to jhāna. Insight cuts off defilements at the root, jhāna only cuts them off at the base, so insight meditation is preferable.


At the Pa Auk Forest Monastery for example (which draws much of it's basis from the authoritative texts) Jhanas are taught before mature insight practices. It's easy to understand why too, because the peace brought about by Samadhi (tranquility) practice provides a very stable ground for insight to arise.


Hello Jack

The authoritative texts do not separate jhana from insight. The Dhammapada states there is no jhana without wisdom & no wisdom without jhana. The Buddha's Noble Eightfold itself has Right View as the foundation of Right Concentration, which is defined as the four jhanas.

Venerable Pesala has sided with contemporary viewpoints but not with authoritative texts when separating jhana from insight.

The jhana discussed without insight is Wrong Concentration, arising from supression rather than born of wisdom.

In the same way, insight not leading to jhana is incomplete insight. Insight according to the authoritative texts leads to letting go and any letting go on the lower levels of insight (such as strem entry) leads directly to jhana.

Letting go is the foundation for jhana rather than the supression Venerable Pasala is proposing.

Jhana and insight support eachother when guided by Right View.

With Metta

J.A


Dear jhana.achariya

Could you please cite some material from the Canon for me to read, which supports your point?
Especially with this:

jhana.achariya wrote:The Dhammapada states there is no jhana without wisdom & no wisdom without jhana. The Buddha's Noble Eightfold itself has Right View as the foundation of Right Concentration, which is defined as the four jhanas.


As I have been led to believe that it is in fact Morality which is the foundation of Right Concentration[1] [2(pdf)] [3]

Venerable Bodhi puts it nicely:
Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:Both paths share certain preliminary requirements. For both, moral discipline must be purified, the various impediments must be severed, the meditator must seek out suitable instruction (preferrably from a personal teacher), and must resort to a dwelling conducive to practice. Once these preliminaries have been dispensed with, the meditator on the path of serenity has to obtain an object of meditation, something to be used as a focal point for developing concentration.


This is quite simply because when we engage in unharmonious activities, the mind becomes distracted, filled with worries. That is why the Buddha says:
"There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal.

- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... jhana.html

Furthermore there is the case where Jhana is achieved by non-practitioners of the Buddhist path. [4]
Do not forget the Buddha-to-be's first two teachers: Alara Kalama and Udaka Ramaputta

How is it to be supposed that a non-practitioner of the Noble Eightfold Path, could attain to Jhana if Right View is the foundation of of Jhana (as you stated above)?
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:14 pm

jhana.achariya wrote:The authoritative texts do not separate jhana from insight. The Dhammapada states there is no jhana without wisdom & no wisdom without jhana. The Buddha's Noble Eightfold itself has Right View as the foundation of Right Concentration, which is defined as the four jhanas.
...
Venerable Pesala has sided with contemporary viewpoints but not with authoritative texts when separating jhana from insight.

Actually, following "contemporary" (last century or so) Burmese teachers, he is siding with the Abhidhamma, the ancient commentaries, and the Visuddhimagga.

I'm guessing that you personally reject those sources, but it is misleading to call them "modern".

Metta
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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:45 pm

This article is relevant to this discussion:
The Jhānas and the Lay Disciple According to the Pāli Suttas
Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
http://mail.saigon.com/~anson/ebud/ebdha267.htm

Conclusions and an Afterthought

Our study has led us to the following conclusions regarding the relationship between lay noble disciples and the jhānas.

(1) Several suttas describe the process by which a worldling enters "the fixed course of rightness" in a way that emphasizes either faith or wisdom as the chief means of attainment. None of the texts, however, that deal with the two candidates for stream-entry -- the faith-follower and the Dhamma-follower -- show them as being proficient in the jhānas. Though some suttas include the jhānas in the analysis of the faculty of concentration, this may be done simply out of compliance with the formulaic style of definition employed by the Nikāyas and need not be seen as having categorical implications. The Commentaries treat these definitions as referring to the supramundane jhāna arisen within the supramundane path. Moreover, the analysis of the concentration faculty mentions another type of concentration, which is gained "by making release the object," and this may be interpreted broadly enough as including degrees of concentration short of the jhānas.

(2) All noble disciples acquire the right concentration of the Noble Eightfold Path, which is defined as the four jhānas. This need not be understood to mean that stream-enterers and once-returners already possess jhāna before they reach stream-entry. The formula for right concentration may imply only that they must eventually attain the jhānas in the course of developing the path to its culmination in arahantship. If we go along with the Commentaries in recognizing the Abhidhammic distinction between the preparatory path and the supramundane path, then we can maintain that the jhānas included in right concentration as a path factor pertain to the supramundane path and are thus of supramundane stature. This still leaves open the question whether aspirants for stream-entry must develop the mundane jhānas in the preliminary phase of their practice.

(3) A number of texts on stream-enterers and once-returners imply that they do not possess the jhānas as meditative attainments which they can enter at will. Though it is obvious that disciples at the lower two levels may have jhānic attainments, the latter are not declared to be an integral part of their spiritual equipment.

(4) Several non-returners in the Nikāyas claim to possess all four jhānas, and according to the Mahāmāluṅkya Sutta, attainment of at least the first jhāna is part of the practice leading to the eradication of the five lower fetters. It thus seems likely that stream-enterers and once-returners desirous of advancing to non-returnership in that very same life must attain at least the first jhāna as a basis for developing insight. Those content with their status, prepared to let the "law of the Dhamma" take its course, generally will not strive to attain the jhānas. Instead, they settle for the assurance that they are bound to reach the final goal within a maximum of seven more lives passed in the human and celestial worlds.

(5) As non-returners have eliminated sensual lust and ill will, the main obstacles to jhānic attainment, they should face no major problems in entering the jhānas. The non-returner is similar to the ordinary jhāna-attainer in being bound for rebirth in the form realm. Unlike the latter, however, the non-returner is utterly free from sensual desire and ill will and thus can never fall back to the sensuous realm.

(6) Although in the Nikāyas the tie between the two attainments -- the jhānas and non-returnership -- is clear enough, it remains an open question whether the connection is absolutely binding. Several suttas speak of the achievements of non-returners without mentioning the jhānas, and at least one sutta contrasts the non-returner who gains all four jhānas with one who practises more austere types of meditation that do not typically lead to the jhānas.


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Re: Jhana, Upekkha & the the 5 Hindrances

Postby jhana.achariya » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:32 am

BlackBird wrote:Could you please cite some material from the Canon for me to read, which supports your point?

Dear Jack

Although you did not cite material from the Canon, I can cite some material from the Canon as you have requested:
372. Natthi jhānaṃ apaññassa, paññā natthi ajhāyato;
Yamhi jhānañca paññā ca, sa ve nibbānasantike.

372. There is no meditative concentration for him who lacks insight, and no insight for him who lacks meditative concentration.
He in whom are found both meditative concentration and insight, indeed, is close to Nibbana.

Bhikkhuvagga


The Blessed One said, "Monks, I will teach you noble right concentration with its supports and requisite conditions. Listen, and pay close attention. I will speak."

The Blessed One said: "Now what, monks, is noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions? Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, & right mindfulness — is called noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions.

"Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? In one of right view, right resolve comes into being. In one of right resolve, right speech comes into being. In one of right speech, right action... In one of right action, right livelihood... In one of right livelihood, right effort... In one of right effort, right mindfulness... In one of right mindfulness, right concentration... In one of right concentration, right knowledge... In one of right knowledge, right release comes into being. Thus the learner is endowed with eight factors, and the arahant with ten.

Maha-cattarisaka Sutta


Are you satisfied with the above material from the Canon?

With metta

J.A.

:ugeek:
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