A Glimmer of Light

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Re: A Glimmer of Light

Postby Collective » Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:47 pm

DorjePhurba wrote:Focused and Fearless by Shaila Catherine. Just remember that not everything is 100 percent the way the author says it is. There is some room for interpretation, so just keep that in mind.
Chris

Thank you for the recommendations

I was wondering what you meant by not taking everything 100% What if I interprate things incorrectly?
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Re: A Glimmer of Light

Postby Kenshou » Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:52 pm

In my opinion, Focused and Fearless is probably the one you should get first. Shaila does a good job of describing and guiding you through the aspects of jhana in general, where Brahm's book is pretty focused on his particular perspective. Perhaps take a look at this thread? viewtopic.php?f=17&t=400

As for trying not to interpret things incorrectly, you've got to remedy that possibility by gathering as much information as you can on the subject and supplementing it with plenty of personal meditative experience. Meditation and the jhanas are something of a subjective thing, so you need to learn what phenomena accompany the deepening of concentration for you personally. I think there's more than enough good information out there that when mixed with a diligent practice, can give results.
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Re: A Glimmer of Light

Postby DorjePhurba » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:15 pm

Thank you for the recommendations

I was wondering what you meant by not taking everything 100% What if I interprate things incorrectly?


Like the last poster said, you have to gather information for yourself and figure things out based upon looking for good sources of information. What I mean by what I said was that most books on jhana offer certain perspectives on jhana and there are quite a few. For instance, you brought up the book by Ajahn Brahm 'Mindfuless, Bliss and Beyond'. Now I have great respect for Ajahn Brahm and I do agree with much of what he says, but when it comes to jhana we see things differently. Ajahn Brahm holds the Vissudhimagga (which you can consider a commentary and explanation of what the Buddha meant on different topics) to be authoritative. I, on the other hand, do not consider the Vissudhimagga to be to be right when it comes to the issue of jhana. It says quite a few things that seem to be quite off on what the Buddha said and did and the main problem is that it seems to make the first jhana more like the fourth or perhaps formless jhanas of the suttas.So, having read Ajahn Brahm's book I'd say it's not my first choice on jhana. Although it does have some good parts in it about why jhana is important. The trouble is that it's really only a small portion of the book. To be fair Shaila Catherine uses the Vissdudhimagga, but seems to rely more on the suttas and her idea of jhana seems closer IMO to the suttas than other books I've read. Ven. Gunaratana's book is good too. I've read it and it's a good intro, but I don't think it contains enough depth. If you can purchase both Shaila's book and Ven. Gunaratana's then I think you would be on good ground to understand what jhana is all about. If you have any more questions feel free to ask. I hope again this may be of some benefit to you.

With metta,
Chris
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Re: A Glimmer of Light

Postby Kenshou » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:19 pm

Not to go off-topic, but I think it is a little too far to throw out the whole visuddhimagga, rather it might be said that it's not so good when it comes to anapanasati samatha practice. This essay is good on this topic: http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebmed058.htm
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Re: A Glimmer of Light

Postby DorjePhurba » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:23 pm

Kenshou wrote:Not to go off-topic, but I think it is a little too far to throw out the whole visuddhimagga, rather it might be said that it's not so good when it comes to anapanasati samatha practice. This essay is good on this topic: http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebmed058.htm


Indeed, I don't want anyone to think the VM is useless. I just think that when it comes to jhana it's not particularly correct. My apologies if I didn't make that clear enough as I'm sure the VM is useful on the path to Awakening.

With metta,
Chris
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Re: A Glimmer of Light

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:28 pm

Collective wrote:Would this be any good: MB&B

It's also a good book, and you can read the basic instructions part of it here: http://www.bswa.org/zencart/index.php?m ... a40376daa0
and listen to guided meditations from Ajahn Brahm on the same site.

Shaila's book may be more useful for someone coming from more of an "insight meditation" perspective.
Here are some previous discussions:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=400
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3251

Mike
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