Walking back and forth in Jhana (AN3.63)

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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Ceisiwr
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Re: Walking back and forth in Jhana (AN3.63)

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Alex123 wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:52 pm
The problem first of all is craving, not sense objects themselves. That is what brahmins tried to do. All their fasting, and breath-holding, helped to slow down the brain so that it would eventually stop. Hence why their meditation resulted in rebirth if not in highest two arupa planes, then in asannasati (mindless/unconscious) deva loka, a terrible waste of time.
Traditional mainstream Brahmins didn’t meditate, and as far as I’m aware they don’t today either. Regarding the formless, the suttas tie them more with annihilationists. It was the Jains who aimed for the cessation of the activity of body, speech and mind. Something the Buddha took on from them, amongst other things.
“Mendicants, I do not see a single thing that, when it’s not tamed, is so very harmful as the mind. A wild mind is very harmful.”

Adantavagga
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Alex123
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Re: Walking back and forth in Jhana (AN3.63)

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Ceisiwr wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 10:15 pm Traditional mainstream Brahmins didn’t meditate, and as far as I’m aware they don’t today either. Regarding the formless, the suttas tie them more with annihilationists. It was the Jains who aimed for the cessation of the activity of body, speech and mind. Something the Buddha took on from them, amongst other things.
Here is the first example that comes to mind:
[Alex: Uttara]
“There is the case where one does not see forms with the eye, or hear sounds with the ear [in a trance of non-perception]. That’s how the brahman Pārāsiri teaches his followers the development of the faculties.”

[Alex: Buddha]
“That being the case, Uttara, then a blind person will have developed faculties, and a deaf person will have developed faculties, according to the words of the brahman Pārāsiri. For a blind person does not see forms with the eye, and a deaf person does not hear sounds with the ear.”
MN152
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Walking back and forth in Jhana (AN3.63)

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Alex123 wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 10:56 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 10:15 pm Traditional mainstream Brahmins didn’t meditate, and as far as I’m aware they don’t today either. Regarding the formless, the suttas tie them more with annihilationists. It was the Jains who aimed for the cessation of the activity of body, speech and mind. Something the Buddha took on from them, amongst other things.
Here is the first example that comes to mind:
[Alex: Uttara]
“There is the case where one does not see forms with the eye, or hear sounds with the ear [in a trance of non-perception]. That’s how the brahman Pārāsiri teaches his followers the development of the faculties.”

[Alex: Buddha]
“That being the case, Uttara, then a blind person will have developed faculties, and a deaf person will have developed faculties, according to the words of the brahman Pārāsiri. For a blind person does not see forms with the eye, and a deaf person does not hear sounds with the ear.”
MN152
As I said, traditional mainstream Brahmins didn’t practice meditation. They memorised the sacred hymns and spells (Vedas), instructed young boys in the same texts, performed the ritual sacrifice and so on. They were very much like Druids in my country. Some Brahmins of course became interested in meditation, possible due to the influence of the sramanas, but they were a minority. Brahmins don’t seem to have favoured a renunciate way of life, and the texts even have them ridiculing renunciates like the Buddha as “shavelings”.
“Mendicants, I do not see a single thing that, when it’s not tamed, is so very harmful as the mind. A wild mind is very harmful.”

Adantavagga
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Pondera
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Re: Walking back and forth in Jhana (AN3.63)

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Alex123 wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:52 pm
Pondera wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 1:19 pm The fetter between sound and ear, eye and sights, etc. is the associated sense consciousness of that faculty.
So, to remove fetters we need to remove eye consciousness, ear consciousness, etc?
Essentially. But “remove” may be the wrong word here. I would say, “relax the body; relax the mind - sense consciousness will leave on its own accord - sense perception will gradually fade out - mindfulness and concentration will be established.”
Yes, we are freed from the burden of all the senses and feelings in jhana. But that is in a very conscious way. In what other sense would jhana be pleasurable, if not through conscious experience?
The problem first of all is craving, not sense objects themselves. That is what brahmins tried to do. All their fasting, and breath-holding, helped to slow down the brain so that it would eventually stop. Hence why their meditation resulted in rebirth if not in highest two arupa planes, then in asannasati (mindless/unconscious) deva loka, a terrible waste of time.
Sure. But I don’t think we can talk about craving and attachment without the objects of craving and attachment.

But, AFAIK, it’s a mental attachment. And it’s a mental letting go which allows the body to heal itself and temporarily deal with mental/bodily suffering through its own network of endorphins and natural pain killers.
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Re: Walking back and forth in Jhana (AN3.63)

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NotMe wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 5:01 pm
Pondera wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 4:34 pm ...
(Btw. I’m about 20 years your younger)
Great post again. Yeah, rub it in, I'm old and bent now ~ The absolute worst part is *now* I am looking UP at you, young man! <grin>

You age gracefully sir. In America we'd say you have the Dick Clark aura.

:anjali:
Ah yes. Dick Clark. I can safely say I am just old enough that the reference does not go over my head. Thank you for the compliment.

But don’t worry, old timer - I have my fair share of aches and pains. Along with absolutely no desire to get hooked on pain medication.

That is how I view Buddhism at this point. I no longer get caught up in the speculation. I take the salient points drawn from mindfulness of breathing and apply it to a happier, healthier body, and a happier relationship with my wife.

In other words, I “chill” 😎 May you be free of pain and suffering, good sir :anjali:
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Re: Walking back and forth in Jhana (AN3.63)

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Pondera wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 1:19 pm The fetter between sound and ear, eye and sights, etc. is the associated sense consciousness of that faculty.

In jhana, we are not lifeless logs. Our faculties do not shut down and we do not become unconscious.

Yes, we are freed from the burden of all the senses and feelings in jhana. But that is in a very conscious way. In what other sense would jhana be pleasurable, if not through conscious experience?

It reminds me of two mendicants. I wish I could find the sutta, but alas. The gist of the sutta is that they are comparing their attainments.

One mendicant recalls that he was in samadhi when an entourage of kings, royalty and elephants came by him in all their hustle and bustle making quite a noise. But as he sat by the roadside he did not notice.

The second mendicant says that he was in samadhi when a lightening and thunder storm began. Lightening scorched his surroundings, and yet he did not notice.

That is the point. You can ask a person in Jhana, what is that sound? And they will reply, “well, I was not paying any attention to perceptions and feelings at all, but now that you mention it, that sound was a crow cawing.”

How is that possible? Well, look. They’re so far removed from the consciousness requisite that connects sense faculty with sense media that they happily ignore the thorns of perception. On the other hand, the intellect is in tact. They are not so stupid that they can’t recollect the nature of the sense perceptions around them.

On another note: jhana is pain relief. Pure and simple. The first jhana provides moderate pain relief. The fourth jhana can numb the entire body. A lot can be said about natural pain relief in the body and the meditative practices which calm body and mind to the point where pain is numbed. To be sure, those effects wear off. And the reality that pain and suffering can only be stemmed in the material world is at the foremost concern of the meditator. It is the goal of the Buddhist to transcend the aggregates and never return to a material or fine material state. They bring little pleasure and much dissatisfaction.

As the fourth jhana stock phrase states:

“With the abandonment of pain and pleasure (as with the earlier disappearance of distress and elation) he enters into and remains in the fourth jhana - neither pain nor pleasure …”

This is the teaching. Start small and learn pain management techniques. Go further and learn very, very potent pain management techniques. Then realize that regardless of how well you can release factors which numb pain, that effect always wears off, and the pain returns. Ie. learn to transcend pain and pleasure (ie. enter the fourth jhana).

Jhana is the equivalent of a harsh opioid addiction in which you are using your body’s hidden endorphins to mask the signs of pains. The benefit being that you cannot get addicted to Jhana. Ultimately, the practice is transcendent. And in that sense - esoteric.
I recalled the story incorrectly. But here it is. Some of my above points are mistake. However the assertion that we are conscious during deep meditation withstands.
Pukkusa the Malla
33. Now it so happened that one Pukkusa of the Malla clan, who was a disciple of Alara Kalama, was passing by on his way from Kusinara to Pava.[40]

34. And when he saw the Blessed One seated at the foot of a tree, he approached him, respectfully greeted him, and sat down at one side. And he spoke to the Blessed One, saying: "Marvellous it is, Lord, most wonderful it is, O Lord, the state of calmness wherein abide those who have gone forth from the world.

35. "For at one time, Lord, Alara Kalama was on a journey, and he went aside from the highway and sat down by the wayside at the foot of a tree to pass the heat of the day. And it came about, Lord, that a great number of carts, even five hundred carts, passed by him, one by one. And then, Lord, a certain man who was following behind that train of carts, approached and spoke to him, saying: 'Did you, sir, see a great number of carts that passed you by?' And Alara Kalama answered him: 'I did not see them, brother.' 'But the noise, sir, surely you heard?' 'I did not hear it, brother.' Then that man asked him: 'Then, sir, perhaps you slept?' 'No, brother, I was not sleeping.' 'Then, sir, were you conscious?' 'I was, brother.' Then that man said: 'Then, sir, while conscious and awake you still did not see the great number of carts, even five hundred carts, that passed you by one after another, nor heard the noise? Why, sir, your very robe is covered with their dust!' And Alara Kalama replied, saying: 'So it is, brother.'

36. "And to that man, O Lord, came the thought: 'Marvellous it is, most wonderful indeed it is, the state of calmness wherein abide those who have gone forth from the world!' And there arose in him great faith in Alara Kalama, and he went his way."

37. "Now what do you think, Pukkusa? What is more difficult to do, more difficult to meet with — that a man, while conscious and awake, should not see a great number of carts, even five hundred carts, that passed him by one after another, nor hear the noise, or that one conscious and awake, in the midst of a heavy rain, with thunder rolling, lightning flashing, and thunderbolts crashing, should neither see it nor hear the noise?"

38. "What, O Lord, are five hundred carts — nay, six, seven, eight, nine hundred, or a thousand or even hundreds of thousands of carts — compared with this?"

39. "Now one time, Pukkusa, I was staying at Atuma, and had my abode in a barn there. And at that time there was a heavy rain, with thunder rolling, lightning flashing, and thunderbolts crashing. And two farmers who were brothers were killed close to the barn, together with four oxen, and a great crowd came forth from Atuma to the spot where they were killed.

40. "Now at that time, Pukkusa, I had come out of the barn and was walking up and down in thought before the door. And a certain man from the great crowd approached me, respectfully greeted me, and stood at one side.

41. "And I asked him: 'Why, brother, has this great crowd gathered together?' And he answered me: 'Just now, Lord, there was a heavy rain, with thunder rolling, lightning flashing, and thunderbolts crashing. And two farmers who were brothers were killed close by, together with four oxen. It is because of this that the great crowd has gathered. But where, Lord, were you?'

"'I was here, brother.' 'Yet, Lord, did you not see it?' 'I did not see it, brother.' 'But the noise, Lord, you surely heard?' 'I did not hear it, brother.' Then that man asked me: 'Then, Lord, perhaps you slept?' 'No, brother, I was not sleeping.' 'Then, Lord, you were conscious?' 'I was, brother.' Then that man said: 'Then, Lord, while conscious and awake, in the midst of a heavy rain, with thunder rolling, lightning flashing, and thunderbolts crashing, you neither saw it nor heard the noise?' And I answered him, saying: 'I did not, brother.'

42. "And to that man, Pukkusa, came the thought: 'Marvellous it is, most wonderful indeed it is, the state of calmness wherein abide those who have gone forth from the world!' And there arose in him great faith in me, and he respectfully saluted me, and keeping his right side towards me, he went his way."

43. When this had been said, Pukkusa of the Malla clan said to the Blessed One: "The faith, Lord, that I had in Alara Kalama I now scatter to the mighty wind, I let it be carried away as by a flowing stream! Excellent, O Lord, most excellent, O Lord! It is as if, Lord, one were to set upright what had been overthrown, or to reveal what had been hidden, or to show the path to one who had gone astray, or to light a lamp in the darkness so that those having eyes might see — even so has the Blessed One set forth the Dhamma in many ways. And so, O Lord, I take my refuge in the Blessed One, the Dhamma, and the Community of Bhikkhus. May the Blessed One accept me as his disciple, one who has taken refuge until the end of life."

44. Then Pukkusa of the Malla clan spoke to a certain man, saying: "Bring me at once, friend, two sets of golden-hued robes, burnished and ready for wear." And the man answered him: "So be it, sir."

45. And when the robes were brought, Pukkusa of the Malla clan offered them to the Blessed One, saying: "May the Blessed One, O Lord, out of compassion, accept this from me." And the Blessed One said: "Robe me, then in one, Pukkusa, and in the other robe Ananda."

"So be it, Lord." And he thereupon robed the Blessed One in one, and in the other he robed the Venerable Ananda.

46. And then the Blessed One instructed Pukkusa of the Malla clan in the Dhamma, and roused, edified, and gladdened him. And after that, Pukkusa rose from his seat, respectfully saluted the Blessed One, and keeping his right side towards him, went his way.

47. And soon after Pukkusa of the Malla clan had departed, the Venerable Ananda arranged the set of golden-hued robes, burnished and ready for wear, about the body of the Blessed One. But when the set of robes was arranged upon the body of the Blessed One, it became as though faded, and its splendor dimmed.

48. And the Venerable Ananda said to the Blessed One: "Marvellous it is, O Lord, most wonderful indeed it is, how clear and radiant the skin of the Tathagata appears! This set of golden-hued robes, burnished and ready for wear, Lord, now that it is arranged upon the body of the Blessed One seems to have become faded, its splendor dimmed."

49. "It is so, Ananda. There are two occasions, Ananda, when the skin of the Tathagata appears exceedingly clear and radiant. Which are these two? The night, Ananda, when the Tathagata becomes fully enlightened in unsurpassed, supreme Enlightenment, and the night when the Tathagata comes to his final passing away into the state of Nibbana in which no element of clinging remains. These, Ananda, are the two occasions on which the skin of the Tathagata appears exceedingly clear and radiant.

50. "And now today, in the last watch of this very night, Ananda, in the Mallas' Sala Grove, in the vicinity of Kusinara, between two sala trees, the Tathagata will come to his Parinibbana. So now, Ananda, let us go to the Kakuttha River."


51. Clad in Pukkusa's gift, the robes of gold,
The Master's form was radiant to behold.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .vaji.html
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Alex123
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Re: Walking back and forth in Jhana (AN3.63)

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Ceisiwr wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 10:58 pm As I said, traditional mainstream Brahmins didn’t practice meditation.
Ok then lets say that by brahmins I've meant non-Buddhists. What does it change?
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Re: Walking back and forth in Jhana (AN3.63)

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Pondera wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:04 pm Essentially. But “remove” may be the wrong word here. I would say, “relax the body; relax the mind - sense consciousness will leave on its own accord - sense perception will gradually fade out - mindfulness and concentration will be established.”
Yes, the above are crucial points. Anapanasati sutta tells us to relax the body and relax the mind (not sure exactly about how to do that).
Pondera wrote: Sure. But I don’t think we can talk about craving and attachment without the objects of craving and attachment.
Right. But no need to go to extremes by putting wax into ears and blinders for the eyes (unless one is a monk and there are young female lay students around).
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."
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Re: Walking back and forth in Jhana (AN3.63)

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Pondera wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:52 am It reminds me of two mendicants. I wish I could find the sutta, but alas. The gist of the sutta is that they are comparing their attainments.
One of those people was Alara Kalama, who teaching didn't lead Buddha to Awaken.

As for the Buddha's state:
The sutta doesn't state exactly what the state was. It might have been base-of-neither-perception nor non-perception (another state that didn't help Gotama to awaken), it might have been some form of cessation of perception and feeling. The event happened when Buddha was old and had lots of pain, close to parinibbana. So it is no wonder that He spent some time when He didn't feel bodily pain, etc. An Arahant doesn't have to worry about rebirth due to certain meditative attainments.
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Re: Walking back and forth in Jhana (AN3.63)

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Alex123 wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 11:21 am
Pondera wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:04 pm Essentially. But “remove” may be the wrong word here. I would say, “relax the body; relax the mind - sense consciousness will leave on its own accord - sense perception will gradually fade out - mindfulness and concentration will be established.”
Yes, the above are crucial points. Anapanasati sutta tells us to relax the body and relax the mind (not sure exactly about how to do that).
404126DB-1117-4D20-8E65-B4A1B9038896.png
Here’s one image that might be helpful.

Just as an experiment, rather than focusing on the breath concentrate on relaxing the nostrils. Or, concentrate on the tip of your nose.

There are nerves in the brain which are attached to the various parts of the nose - the inner nostrils, the outer nostrils, the bridge, the tip, the connection between the cheeks and the length of the nose.

All five of these specific parts of the nose have a different pathway to the brain/mind.

By establishing calm on various regions of the nose, you can let go of mental obstructions in the mind.
Pondera wrote: Sure. But I don’t think we can talk about craving and attachment without the objects of craving and attachment.
Right. But no need to go to extremes by putting wax into ears and blinders for the eyes (unless one is a monk and there are young female lay students around).
Definitely. Agreed.
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