The True Path to Enlightenment - Magga - Dhamma Wheel

The True Path to Enlightenment - Magga

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

Postby smokey » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:26 pm

As Buddhists we all know that the True Way which leads One to Enlightenment is the Noble Eightfold Path. Now we have to ask ourselves what does that mean?
In Buddha's time people were becoming Arahants in a matter of months or even weeks, but today rarely anyone achieves it during whole lifetime. Why is that? I have read that in the suttas it is written that the Buddha said that his Teachings will remain pure for five hundred years after his passing and entering into Parinibbana. So what we have to ask ourselves is what in the Buddha's Teaching has become impure? The answer is rather simple: It is the meditation technique.
What also I do recollect from the suttas is that the Buddha experienced Jhana when he was a boy and when he was trying to achieve enlightenment he recollected that memory and came to a conclusion: "Jhana is the Way which leads One to Enlighenment". Today "Dry Insight" is practised and results are very feeble and Jhana is barely practised. And Satipatthana Sutta could easily be the result of a lost Teaching that has become Impure and leading One away from "Right Mindfulness" and making the Enlightenment a lot more difficult to achieve, it is not a wrong method to enlightenment, but a rather more difficult one.
So I invite you all to discuss this and think of how to find an answer of the question: What was the Buddha really teaching? What to be mindful of during Jhana? How to achieve Enlightenment using only Jhanas in a matter of months or even weeks?

With Metta and Karuna -smokey

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Re: The True Path to Enlightenment - Magga

Postby Refugee » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:28 pm

My practice is simply this: Avoid evil, do good, and purify the mind.

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Re: The True Path to Enlightenment - Magga

Postby bodom » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:37 pm

Nyanaponika Thera:

We have to face the fact that, in this hectic and noisy age of ours, the natural quietude of mind, the capacity for higher degrees of concentration, and the requisite external conditions to cultivate both, have greatly decreased, compared with the days of old. This holds good not only for the West, but also, though in a lesser degree, for the East, and even for a not inconsiderable section of Buddhist monkhood. The principal conditions required for cultivating the absorptions are seclusion and noiselessness; and these are very rare commodities nowadays. In addition, environment and education have produced an increasing number of those types who will naturally be more attracted by, and adapted to, the direct development of Insight.Under such circumstances, it would amount to a neglect of promising roads of progress if one were to insist rigidly on an exclusive approach through the absorptions, instead of making use of a method emphatically recommended by the Buddha himself: Dry insight.

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo

With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5

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Re: The True Path to Enlightenment - Magga

Postby Kenshou » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:42 pm

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Re: The True Path to Enlightenment - Magga

Postby Reductor » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:08 pm

I think jhana by itself is insufficient, as is the four frames of reference.

Entering into jhana is to establish the ideal mental qualities for the development of the frames and for their observation and analysis. The development of the frames and their analysis, coupled by the intense focus of mind, allows understanding of DO and the process of craving. With the growth of this understanding comes skill in letting go, until you let go of the final perception of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, resulting in cessation and release, and to final knowledge.

Or so that is the picture that the suttas seem to paint.

EDIT: Oh, yeah, the final 'letting go' can come from any stage after the first jhana.
Last edited by Reductor on Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The True Path to Enlightenment - Magga

Postby Sobeh » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:39 pm

I found the following by Bhikkhu Bodhi to be very useful with respect to understanding the necessities of jhana in various contexts. It is entitled The Jhānas and the Lay Disciple According to the Pāli Suttas, and is very clear. Some pertinent bits from the conclusion are below:

(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.

(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.

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Re: The True Path to Enlightenment - Magga

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:28 pm

Imo spiritual growth is about surrender, letting go. In developing absorption using the method of just relaxing and breathing rather than hard, contracted, forced concentration on some artificial object or particular spot, one must see what one is letting go of. I think they call that mindfulness.

I saw a utube vid, a bhante was sayiing that the buddhas instructions for breath meditation appeared, i beleive it was, 4 times in the canon, pretty much word for word and he didnt think that was an accident.

I beleive too that the degree to which one wants or sees jhana as important is inversley proportional to the degree one is likely to experience it. So i think the best course of action is to relax and breathe and let go :)
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Re: The True Path to Enlightenment - Magga

Postby Freawaru » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:31 pm

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Re: The True Path to Enlightenment - Magga

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:02 am

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Re: The True Path to Enlightenment - Magga

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:09 pm

Right effort (to get rid of unwholesome/hindrances) leads to right mindfulness (satipatthana) leads to right unification of mind (jhana) according to the noble eightfold path. According to the tenfold classification right unification (or concentration) leads to right insight (samma nana) and right release (samma vimukti).

This is mirrored in the classification of the spiritual faculties:
effort leads to mindfulness leads to unification/samadhi leads to insight leads to release.

the three trainings:
virtue leads to unification leads to insight

the purifications
virtue leads to mind/samadhi leads to various degrees of insight

The gradual path:
moderation in eating, precepts, removing 'obstructing things'/hindrances leading to satipatthana practice leading to jhana

So it cannot be said to be a great mystery as to what the path is. We just need to mindful enough (hours/days continously) after having purified our minds through sila,sense restraint, removing gross hindrences (this being the purpose of samatha anapanasati), leading to seeing arising and passing away of whatever we are mindful of.

Why arent we successful unlike in the Buddha's time. I can think of a few reasons
1) the buddha is not around to know the minds of others and give the perfect meditation instruction/take the mind to stream entry and beyond using words
2) too little faith (how difficult is taking refuge?)
3) too much thinking/analyzing, talking (try talking once a week!)
4) too little effort (the whole day, every minute)
5) not prepared to follow anothers instructions (weak teacher student relationships)
6) too much sensual distractions through the media (the world is too comfortable- death disease old age is hidden away in institutions)
7) world view doesnt have karma and rebirth in it- too little incentive to practice
8) ...we are outside the Buddhas dispensation?? not enough paramii ?? -I dont believe these

with metta

With Metta

& Upekkha

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