Thanks, you are quite correct, I should not dismiss all of the nanas out of hand, some may be useful and likely their usefulness also depended on the context in which they were dispersed, such as who the students were and who the teachers were.mikenz66 wrote: ↑Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:26 am There is, obviously, plenty in the instructions of modern teachers such as Ajahns Thanissaro, Maha Bua, Chah etc that is not explicitly in the Suttas, but it would be strange to dismiss the advice of experienced teachers. Likewise, one should use one's judgement about which elaborations are helpful, and which are not, whether the advice is from ancient or modern texts.
Hiheyhello wrote: ↑Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:57 am Vipassana is not a samatha meditation and, as such, is not preoccupied exclusively with jhana but with calming the mind enough to see the nature of reality. In the same way that the 9 samatha jhanas progressively build upon one another, the vipassana nanas also do so.
Yes I see your point. The vipassana nanas felt more loose and undelineated to me because they could occur out of order, or not at all. Whereas to me, jhana seems very delineated, as in the Buddha's frequent explanation of the 1st, 2nd 3rd, 4th, and supramundane jhanas.
However, I agree with you because insight and concentration are both very different, so this could be the reason why the jhanas seem more concrete and definitive.
Yes I know some people do not want to, or are not able to obtain jhana. I am thankful that my meditation experiences support their existence, as they are described, and in the order given by the Buddha. But, regardless of whether I had experienced them, because the Buddha himself described them they must unquestionably be based on truth, at least in my view. I have never observed any mistruth from the Buddha (although of course I have observed some of his teachings which I am not as yet at a stage of development to confirm).
What concrete proof can be provided of jhana? Jhanic attainments are also described in the texts in an arguably vague and ambiguous way (likely due to their subtle nature). Are the descriptions (stages) of jhana thus arbitrary and artificial?
Yes, you are quite correct.Ultimately, that is for each practitioner to determine for themselves based on their own experience.
Either way, you will probably not touch upon the nanas with the body scan method so no need to worry about it too much or overanalyze it to death.