Jhana

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
Pulsar
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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

An intriguing passage! it is about a painter's products. 
It writes, 'A painter's products', they stand before us as if they are alive. But if you question them, they maintain a most majestic silence.
It is the same with written words,
they seem to talk to you as though they were full of wisdom, but if you ask them anything about what they say from a desire to be influenced, they go on telling you just the same thing.
I thought this was applicable to the way we relate to the sutta pitaka. We try to understand how to free ourselves from distress, by reading the canon, or we talk about these things endlessly.
Take the case of a recipe, by reading a recipe or talking about it, over and over again? that dinner is not going to appear, but if we gather the ingredients skin the lemon, grate the cheese and stir the pot on a hot stove??
you have begun the process, and making some headway.
  • BuddhaDhamma is like this, it is a recipe.
At the beginning willpower, energy, and conviction is paramount, the faith that this recipe will work.
Then the gathering of thought, unification, the playful mindfulness, samadhi, iddhipada, and so on. 
Or consider a goldsmith, she prepares the furnace, heats up the crucible, takes some gold with a tong (wholesome factors) places in the crucible.
From time to time, she blows on it (exertion), from time to time sprinkles water over it (samadhi, 1st-4th jhana), and from time to time just looks on (Equanimity). Eventually the filigree jewellery!
Suttas on the goldsmith,  AN 3.101 and AN 3.102 https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN3_102.html
I am sure sometimes the goldsmith gets it wrong, when she is distracted. and has to start over again. She does not give up.
Over exerted energy leads to restlessness, laziness results from too much samadhi, these are pitfalls of the 8th fold path too. One has to get the path right. One cannot read it, and decide "i will do steps
1-6 and skip steps 7 and 8" That is foolish.
 
You have to do the dry runs of the entire path, even when you are not sure, the first step "Right view" requires a lot of patience, even if you don't get it right entirely, maybe you got 1/10th right.
At least you are convinced of Rebirth and Kamma, and you are convinced that when things arise they condition other things, just as we can infer that what is happening right now, will condition the future (that what we think, and do, and speak have repercussions), hence the constant mindfulness. 

Conditionality or DO does not disappear, until what is causing the conditions vanishes. The goal of the 8-fold path is to do away with conditioning, ending our distress. The practice of 8-fold path, is not limited to a long or a short time of a given day, on a cushion, but weaves through the livelong day, via every activity. 
Sure there are lapses, 8-fold path cannot be built in a day, it is more sophisticated than what is taught at Insight Meditation centers. 
True teaching is something sustainable once you leave the retreat, or the cushion. If it does not sustain, that means the practice is flawed. It is not the fault of the teaching. 
Sometimes listen to the Reverends Thanissaro, Sona, Sujatho, Brahmali, but not always. Not everything they say may be right for you, but they are excellent teachers, each in his own way. They are also human with the typical human fallibilities, that makes them more endearing. 
They are way better than the teachers whose meditation instruction directs you away from the 8-fold path, esp the 4 buddhist jhanas.
Return to the suttas, once more, and see whether that listening clarified what the suttas say. What do the suttas say? Suttas recurrently talk about blissfulness, happiness, an island of safety, that is exactly what we seek.
  • Nibbana, the Third Noble Truth? How to retrieve? all within this 6 foot frame?
 The third truth is the only reality.
  • Suffering or distress spoken of in the first truth vanished.
  • What props up our unrealities?
What props up "I"?, or things by which identification is constructed?. Identification is the unreality which we have to grapple with endlessly. Mara is in a continuous battle, to make us believers of "I". As you battle the Mara of unreality, the
  • 'Doer' gets out of the way.
Freedom opens up.
Cruelty leaves, asubha leaves, the auspicious remains. The process becomes smooth and sublime, as the stages advance.
Some poets of the canon identify these as heavenly realms. Now you are the god of Streaming radiance, and now the one of Refulgent glory,  and so on and so forth.
These refer to manifestations of levels of Samadhi. (4 buddhist jhanas). Samadhi manifests in an ascending gladness (pamojja) of joy (piti), of rapture (sukha) and of tranquility (Pasadhi).
Notice how some of these terms are common to 4 Buddhist jhanas and the Awakening factors. One cannot put awakening factors in one box, breath in another box, and 4 aspects of mindfulness in another box. Samadhi is about bringing awakening factors into fruition.
The reference to a recipe? If you are the chef of the 8-fold path, and you have followed the instructions for the recipe of buddhist happiness, you are almost there, but almost doesn't count, so you have to keep repeating the things you think you got right, in the previous dry run.
Sometimes you glimpse Nibbana, sometimes you fall flat on your face.
But this is OK,  Rome was not built in a day.
With love  :candle:
Pulsar
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

This thread is about jhana, the term used specifically in early buddhist meditation of the Pali canon for 4 buddhist absorptions, or Samma Samadhi or 'the right samadhi'
Formless meditations are totally different from these. In Parayanavagga and Atthakavagga considered closed while buddha was living, Pingiya recites in Sn1148
I see him in my mind, as if with my eyes,
day and night, being diligent,
I spend the night honoring him,
therefore i think there is no separation from him. My faith, joy, mindfulness do not deviate from Gotama's dispensation,
wherever the one abounding in wisdom goes,
I bow down in that direction.
The Buddha in Sn 10.42
The streams which are found in the world,
O Ajitha, said the Blessed One,
Mindfulness holds them
back:
(what is this mindfulness Buddha is referring to here?
nothing else but Samma sati and Samma Samadhi spelled out in 8-fold path)
I will proclaim the restraint of the senses;
by understanding they might be blocked;
It is the kind of mindfulness which is required to restrain the senses.
It is not an on cushion thing, in the sense once you leave the cushion that mindfulness ends.

Brief spells of these, are joyful and sublime, they spill over to the activities of the rest of the day.
They transform one's conduct, over time, like the wasting away of Adze handle,
not immediately visible, but noticeable over time.
https://suttacentral.net/sn22.101/en/bodhi

The 4 jhanas! i recall Sujatho saying these are the ones of the garden variety.
A. Wynne says these are not the formless, that were called jhana later, arupas were not called jhana in the Pali canon.

Some think "jhanas' are attainments" far above ordinary reach.
That is misrepresenting Buddha. Buddha himself admitted that as a 7 yr old, under a rose apple tree, he had slipped into the first jhana, and did not think much of it for the longest time, ie until the night of his awakening. 
So pl. do not think of them as hard, the genuine jhanas have nothing to do with formless samapatti, which may be hard for all i care? ascetic practice? but Buddha steered his followers away from these.

For Buddha 
  • jhana begins with Right view, proceeding through Right sankalpa, etc to dislocate the suffering of samsara, arising through Dependent Origination, within the being
  • May we all have the strength to reverse the dependent origination of suffering
through practices that are simple, down to earth, garden variety sort.
First step is to brush the dust off our eyes.
It is a rainy morning here, leaves turned crimson and gold, something auspicious!
With love  :candle:
Pulsar
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

The Parayana, is the 5th and final chapter of Sutta Nipata, consists of framing a story and 16 sections in each of which the Buddha answers the questions of the students of elder brahmin Bavari. 
The Verses from the Parayana are cited and explained elsewhere in AN, SN, and MN. This testifies to its antiquity. It must have existed as an independent work before being incorporated into Sutta nipata.

It was said by the Blessed one in Parayana, in the questions of Brahmin student Tissa Metteyya.
Having understood both ends 
The wise one does not get stuck in the middle
I call him a great man;
He has transcended the seamstress.
  Sn1042
What is the first end? second end? What is in the middle? And what is the seamstress?
Examined in the simplest possible way, (without inserting a variety of non-essential data), so the dhamma becomes immediately visible, and not taking into account this lifetime and other lifetime, so if you are a disbeliever in rebirth you can still subscribe to this dhamma.
Seamstress is craving based on the following
  •  "I-made by views, 
    mine made by craving, 
    and the underlying tendency to conceit"
Arahant is not married to the seamstress. An Ordinary person has defilements in relation to oneself and others.
Seamstress emanates from these.
As long as one is unskillful, the seamstress will insert herself in and stitch the object (outer shape, color) to the subject (sense base), inappropriately.
The contact (phassa), made therein, leads to vedana, sanna ending in  Papanca, reinforcing samsaric consciousness of an "I"
In the arahant contact happens leading to feeling and perception, but these are not colored by above defilements. Vedana and Sanna appear and disappear. In this context, being linked to the seamstress obstructs our spiritual progress.
Samma samadhi (4 buddhist jhanas) are a way of avoiding the seamstress. Another excerpt from the same series and the beauty of the wording.
Is there anyone who can understand the alternatives
without getting stuck in his thinking between them?
Who is there, who is not caught up in the patchwork world
of greed?
Sn 1040
above is a query from the interlocutor. 
There is a person who is not full of agitation,
answered the Buddha
It is the one whose actions, in a sensuous world,
are pure and good.
He does not have the thirst of craving,
he never loses mindfulness,
and he has by his own decision, become extinguished,
calm.
With love  🌷
Pulsar
Posts: 1038
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

An amazing and startling teaching found in the canon is the words to Bahia, which lead to Bahia's immediate realization of Nibbana. He had been meditating most of his life, with the intent of deliverance. Bahia thought he was the Arahant.  
'He was Not'
alerted a friendly deva. Bahia seeks the Buddha, who by voicing just a few lines with 'Anatta' in-built, enables Bahia to cross the flood of craving/suffering. 
"Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus:
In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard,
only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed.
In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself
When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen,
only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed,
only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya,
there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, 
  • there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two.
This, just this, is the end of stress."
What the brief teaching refers to is that things happen in the world of senses
generating sights, sounds, cognitions,
(according to our kamma, asava and ignorance, Mara misleading us) but there is no one in the midst of it, no one the cognizer, no witness.
Most of the sutta pitaka conveys the same message in a variety of ways, with many more words.
"The training involved", that enables one to enter the  truth of Anatta?
DO reveals how a 'self' is born, and 8-fold path reveals the dissemination of self, the crucial steps being the 7th (SN 47.42) and the 4 jhanas, the 8th step.
"The training involved" means just this!I guess Bahia did not have to hear of Paticca samuppada, nor of the 8-fold path, as such.
For that lucky one, so far advanced in meditation, just a sweet nudge does the trick. 
Many suttas of the Pitaka repeat the message of anatta. When the bells and whistles of transmission are removed, it is clear. Failure to pay the right attention to the suttas, makes us think otherwise.

In SN 35. 95 in advice to Malunkyaputta, Buddha repeats the same instruction in detail, however. Malunkyaputta required more time and more instruction. Instant realization was not available to him, he was less advanced than Bahia.
Same notion appears repeatedly in the suttas of the Parayanavagga, and other sections of the canon. To bring you a few examples, in case it did not strike you in the past.
MN 1 Mulapariyaya sutta, sections 19-20.
perceiving the seen as the seen....cognized as cognized
(staying away from placing oneself in the midst, by doing away with conceiving)
MN 51 Kandaraka sutta section16.
On seeing a form with the eye.... on cognizing a mind object ....he does not grasp at its signs and features.
(signs and features are the nimittas released, and underlying tendencies triggered at phassa/contact)
In MN 112 Chabbisodhana sutta Section 4.
"Regarding the seen as the seen, heard as the heard, ...cognized as the cognized, i abide unattracted, unrepelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated"
This is a unique sutta, truths concisely presented. Agama version corrects the error found in the Pali version.
AN 11.1 Sandha sutta
Perception has disappeared, in relation to whatever is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, reached, sought after and examined by the mind,
implies 'get rid of the papanca aspect of consciousness' the view forming aspect, via objectless meditation.
Anatta is presented in a different light, in each case.
  • Brilliance of Buddha!
a different unseemly feature created by ingrained anatta, is brought out. All suttas where Buddha says There is no "I", what he intends is
there is the seen, but no one to be seen, no one to see.
People immersed in ignorance have a hard time digesting this.
Buddha's advice to his son Rahula "that there is no I" in the past, in the future, and the present feelings, perceptions etc." incline towards the same notion,
that there is the seen, heard, sensed, cognized, without a self
 
Anatta is brought to plain daylight.
That anatta,
is the sadness of life,
also leads to the fleetingness of life. 
  • Dhamma can only be seen when you still the mind, when you get rid of the ego, in a posture of humility
Four establishments of mindfulness and 4 jhanas are tailored to this end. That everywhere and anywhere, all that Buddha  was trying to say, was
  • 'we are born to a vast sensosphere,  due to craving and kamma. In repeated birthing, the culprit of our suffering is the insertion of "I" and clutching of that "I", hoping  "'I"' will become real"
But only reality is Nibbana.
Instead of letting go of the seen, heard, sensed and cognized, we revel in these, bring "I" or the vulnerable ego into birth,  and hence we suffer.
  • We fail to see the cause of our suffering is our failure to heed the advice of Buddha.
 Buddha claims in Mahavagga.
'This that through many toils I've known?
By folk with lust and hate consumed; The dhamma is not understood-
Subtle, deep difficult to see delicate. 
Unseen it will be by passion's slaves, cloaked in the murk
of ignorance.
 
With love  :candle:
Pulsar
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

Analysis of Dependent Co-arising, SN 12.2 Paticca-Samuppada-Vibhanga Sutta:
Excerpt: wording is modified, for the sake of creative thinking, it is of paramount importance, to know how things originate? how come we are here? 
Returning to the sutta: 
And what is name-&-form? Feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention: This is called Nama or Dhamma.  Form is made up of the borrowed elements, earth, fire, fluid and air.
 At death they are returned, blood, flesh, and bones vanish in sequence, each returning to its own source. None moves over to the next life. Residues of Nama/dhamma or intentions move over from one life to another.
nama-&-rupa, or let us call them dhamma-&-rupa to indicate that it is different from what was implied by nama-and-rupa that prevailed before the Buddha (of vedic or upanishadic sort, or non-Buddha sort)
Why stress the distinction?
terminology in the canon creates confusion for some. A confused mind is unable to follow DO. If you take the wrong step first, Budddha's unique teaching leads to sad and useless mental proliferation. Four buddhist jhanas, is the thrust of this thread, these do not make sense, if DO is misconceived.
Nama-&-rupa was in use before Buddha's time.
 
It is well known that Buddha borrowed terms to express his own teaching in previously unforeseen ways. Dependent origination was what Buddha woke up to. (People say things like Jesus was enlightened, Ramanuja was enlightened, I am not talking about that kind of enlightenment) 
crux of the issue:
  • Consciousness gives rise to dhamma-rupa. If it does not, consciousness falls apart, signifying the death of consciousness,
(deathless). Samsara comes to a standstill, a good thing, right?
  • An Arahant stops regenerating nama-rupa/dhamma-rupa in the DO sense.There are no dependencies in the Arahant that lead to suffering
A glitch here? not really. Let us recall what nama/dhamma is 
it is Feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention.
  • This does not include consciousness.
SN 12.2 Nama in dhamma-rupa or nama-rupa as many call it, does not include consciousness.
  • Also consider intention, a component of nama, is not found in the arhant
Nama-rupa or dhamma-rupa that lacks intention/papanca, does not lead to the consciousness of DO, as found in the formula
  • Consciousness ---->nama-rupa
If you understand consciousness as outlined, you see that the Arahant is free of becoming. (Don't think of consciousness as classified in the 5 aggregates, it tends to trip us.) Although Nama aka mentality in general speech includes consciousness, in DO nama does not include consciousness.
Arahant does not resort to the consciousness mentioned in formula, nama-rupa----->consciousness, 
  • Since s/he cannot create a viable nama-rupa, Cycle of DO is broken.
Some Suttas say 
"Kill consciousness"
what does it mean? It means kill the sinful tendencies. If you kill the sinful tendences/intention, consciousness is not regenerated, hence Becoming(bhava) is ended.
Becoming or Bhava is a link/nidana that makes DO viable.
Buddha lived, arahants lived without dying, (the ordinary might puzzle "How so"). DN 1 writes
'Arahants are removed from the tree of becoming'
 
What is the tree of becoming? It is the sinful tendencies that enable the consciousness to regenerate, nama-and-rupa or  dhamma-and- rupa.
Paticca-samuppada has to be analysed  with an extraordinary or astonishing mind set. Intention acts as the vehicle to generate kamma. 
Keep in mind that some suttas say
consciousness is housed within rupa, phassa, vedana, sanna, sankhara
If one of these houses is broken, consciousness cannot thrive. In the Arahant house of Sankhara is dismantled. Don't forget.
Also remember MN 18 (Madhupindika),
if you proceed beyond phassa, vedana, sanna,
you've lost the battle, Birthing of sankhara makes view formation posible, a by product of Papanca, a problem.
You don't want that.
  • Thought should not trend towards making sankara or papanca.
Steps 7 (SN 46.42) and, step 8, of 8-fold path, when rightly executed, brings freedom.
It is as simple as that. What brings one to Samma samadhi or 4 buddhist jhanas?
steps one to seven of 8-fold path.
Path spirally ascends as one advances.The More you practice 4 buddhist jhanas, the more you refine the steps 1-7 of the path, such as right view, right intention, right speech etc.
As Samadhi advances, so does wisdom, as wisdom progresses virtue advances, in a cyclical fashion.
With love  :candle:
PS For those who are unfamiliar with Ramanuja, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramanuja.
Nama-Rupa and Dharma-Rupa: Origins and Aspects of an Ancient Indian Conception:  Maryla Falk
Pulsar
Posts: 1038
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

Aromatic rings, resonance and so forth, leading to jhana. 
Continuing with the last comment, still on dependent origination. Those who tend to be playful, can imagine the sequence of links in DO, similar to a superimposition. 
Imagine a benzene ring where two forms are resonating, the double bonded and single bonded superimposed.
Each carbon-carbon bond in benzene, is neither a double nor a single, yet to explain this to the novice we have to use some tricks, using single bonds and double bonds.
Now imagine the
  • nama-rupa ---->consciousness------> nama-rupa series,
     superimposed over the cycling of impulses from sense base contact---->feeling---->sanna
    ---->sankhara----->craving--->being.
This is an ongoing activity as long as one is deluded.
This impulse transmission from sense bases leads to sinful tendency or Papanca, only when the nama rupa cycle is superimposed. (ie nama-rupa ---->consciousness------> nama-rupa)
What happens in the 4 buddhist jhanas?
By diverting attention at the point of contact away from the sensory world, craving for sense objects at a later point is avoided. This deactivates the short cycle that is superimposed.
it is the goal of the 4 buddhist jhanas, to stop the arising of suffering, due to craving, even if it be short term.
This gives the mind a holiday,  away from the interruptions of the sensory world.
Mind may now lodge in a peaceful state from which it emerges with an awesome equanimity.
Make sense? If it makes sense to you, you will realize the importance of jhana,
its role being to avoid Sankhara,
(blocking sinful tendency) In MN 18 this process is explained in detail, the Arahant's thought process proceeds only up until the point of sanna. In the Arahant, the Nama-rupa cycle is not superimposed, it is done away with. The Sage's feelings and perceptions upon contact with sense bases, rise and fall away, without leading to cumulative effects.
S/he is not interacting with the sensory world in a kamma generating fashion.
Buddha had a dream on the night of awakening.
He dreamt of Arahants walking on fields of sewage without getting smeared by these.
Jhana lets you simulate this walk, even though for a short period. Just imagine what practice of jhana could accomplish.
Sunday morning thoughts, a happy one to you!
With love  :candle:
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