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
). 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.