Jhana: sutta v commentary v abhidhamma

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Sudarsha
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Re: Jhana: sutta v commentary v abhidhamma

Postby Sudarsha » Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:45 pm

Ah, IanAnd - The Wings to Awakening - I have tried so often to make my way through this most profound of Dhamma texts. Sadly, it appears I'm short a brain cell or three! It's so difficult. That said, I am very grateful for the discussion you have presented. My own childhood memory of something vaguely similar is staring at the stars and imagining endlessness (I don't think that, then, I knew the word infinity ) - I was just, somehow, aware that it went on and on - perhaps even the word "forever" was beyond my vocabulary then.

Over the past 10 years I developed an interest in the Mahamudra and Dzogchen practises (mostly because they were "secret" and, well, I wanted to know :spy: ). The Dzogchen practise of togal is very much like my childhood experience of imagining endlessness - but to what end one practises this is particular I hae me doots. I suspect very strongly that your take on the matter that one slips into jhana fairly much as a matter of fact is a far more common experience than many of us recognize. Certainly your explanation is very confirming for me and I am very happy to thank you for that.

When it comes to identifying the jhana factors ... I want to ask why - isn't it sufficient to just continue to let go? I think it was very important for the Buddha to identify the minutia of our mental operation because he was in the entirely unique position of, to no small extent, having to confirm for others that (1) he was what he said he was and (2) he also had to confirm for his students that they, too, were able to attain the same awakening. For myself, I seem to only get confused. When, for example, Bhante Gunaratana or the Buddha explains JOY, I don't see their explanations as what I call joy when I have those experiences - I see them as "relief" and I see that sense of relief as dependent upon contrast with something else.

So my predicament seems to be one of being somewhat less than "in tune" with the language. To me, passing from a mind of discursive thinking to one of increasing spaciousness and non-clinging is just pleasant, that is, not unpleasant. I return to the awareness right in front and, when the body's had enough, I don't seem to be able to sustain it any longer. It usually lasts about an hour.

I presume that maybe some day I'll get more sensitive (although that's a lot to presume as I've always been a bit of a curmudgeon. Still, I remain so very grateful to all of you for your clarity and scholarship. I was so hesitant to join this group and very afraid, sort of, that y'all'd laugh at my foolishness.
Sudarsha
parimukhaṁ satiṁ upaṭṭhapetvā

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IanAnd
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Re: Jhana: sutta v commentary v abhidhamma

Postby IanAnd » Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:43 pm

"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

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Sudarsha
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Re: Jhana: sutta v commentary v abhidhamma

Postby Sudarsha » Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:14 pm

Thank you, IanAnd - I reviewed the section from Mind Like Fire Unbound that you recommended. I read this a long time ago. This time, it made sense. Whaddyano 'bout that! :P

I didn't describe my experiences/feelings/impressions when gazing at the on-and-on-ness of the stars because I find it nearly impossible to describe things. All the time I see people (on TV, of course) who describe someone to a sketch artist! I couldn't describe my mother to a sketch artist. It's apparently a gift I do not possess.

But you have given me great encouragement, IanAnd - I will start reviewing the books and essays that didn't make any sense or very little sense when I first read them.

Perhaps I have "improved". :jumping:
Sudarsha
parimukhaṁ satiṁ upaṭṭhapetvā

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IanAnd
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Re: Jhana: sutta v commentary v abhidhamma

Postby IanAnd » Sat Oct 24, 2009 12:20 am

"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

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Re: Jhana: sutta v commentary v abhidhamma

Postby pink_trike » Sat Oct 24, 2009 12:22 am

I feel compelled to note here for the sake of those early on the path that in order to ride a bicycle hands-free we need to have a very good comfortable experiential relationship with the essentials of bike riding first...no point in trying to ride hands-free until we can ride a bike with a at least a basic level of confidence and experience.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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Sudarsha
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Re: Jhana: sutta v commentary v abhidhamma

Postby Sudarsha » Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:21 am

Many, many thanks, IanAnd. I have read both books that you recommend and will dig them out for re-reading. Yes, with continued practise comes insight. This experience is familiar to me. Regarding looking at the on-and-on-ness of the stars when I was little, perhaps reverie is a useful term. It let me feel ... oops, no idea what the words for that are. I'll take a stab and say "big" ... now, see? I am at a complete loss, even now with, believe it or not, a couple of university degrees! One in English literature, too.

:shock:

Thanks to you, pink_trike, for your very correct words. Despite having practised for many years and having read many books, attended many talks, yadda, yadda, it's like the really silly joke: the man asks little boy, why are you pulling that chain; little boy replies have you ever tried pushing one? - I'm afraid that during my many years of learning to practice many mistaken twists and turns were not at all unlike trying to push a chain.

So much thanks to all of you. This is a wonderful discussion venue and I hope to learn a great deal from all of you.
Sudarsha
parimukhaṁ satiṁ upaṭṭhapetvā

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catmoon
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Re: Jhana: sutta v commentary v abhidhamma

Postby catmoon » Sat Oct 24, 2009 6:03 am

Does anyone here understand the difference between applied thinking and sustained thinking? Seems to me that if you are going to apply a thought it has to be sustained or you are not applying it. So the two terms mean the same thing to me. This has to be wrong. Doesn't it?

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Re: Jhana: sutta v commentary v abhidhamma

Postby puthujjana » Sat Oct 24, 2009 10:17 am

"Once you understand anatta, then the burden of life is gone. You’ll be at peace with the world. When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness and we can truly be happy."

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Re: Jhana: sutta v commentary v abhidhamma

Postby puthujjana » Sat Oct 24, 2009 10:28 am

"Once you understand anatta, then the burden of life is gone. You’ll be at peace with the world. When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness and we can truly be happy."

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catmoon
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Re: Jhana: sutta v commentary v abhidhamma

Postby catmoon » Sat Oct 24, 2009 2:18 pm


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IanAnd
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Re: Jhana: sutta v commentary v abhidhamma

Postby IanAnd » Sat Oct 24, 2009 5:15 pm

"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

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catmoon
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Re: Jhana: sutta v commentary v abhidhamma

Postby catmoon » Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:49 am


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IanAnd
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Re: Jhana: sutta v commentary v abhidhamma

Postby IanAnd » Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:05 am

"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

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Sudarsha
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Re: Jhana: sutta v commentary v abhidhamma

Postby Sudarsha » Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:53 pm

:bow:

Thank you, all, so much for your continuing contributions to this topic. No, I have no idea how to respond. I can only try my best to absorb your compassionate sharings into my daily practise.

:anjali:
Sudarsha
parimukhaṁ satiṁ upaṭṭhapetvā


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