Fate of Jhana Practitioners

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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Zenainder
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Post by Zenainder »

Ben wrote:
Indeed!
It is precisely why some vipassana teachers attempt to get their students well established in practicing vipassana before attempting jhanas as jhanas without a firm foundation in vipassana can be incredibly seductive and fool the unwary into thinking that they have actually become enlightened.
kind regards

Ben
Good morning Ben,

Could you kindly share the thought process generally assumed by the unwary in jhanic meditation that results in a false sense of enlightenment? I am unfamiliar with the subtle undertones of this view point.

Please & thanks,

Zen
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manas
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Post by manas »

Hi pelletboy

another instructive sutta regarding this issue:
"Monks, there are these four types of individuals to be found existing in the world. Which four?

"There is the case where an individual, withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He savors that, longs for that, finds satisfaction through that. Staying there — fixed on that, dwelling there often, not falling away from that — then when he dies he reappears in conjunction with the devas of Brahma's retinue. The devas of Brahma's retinue, monks, have a life-span of an eon. A run-of-the-mill person having stayed there, having used up all the life-span of those devas, goes to hell, to the animal womb, to the state of the hungry shades. But a disciple of the Blessed One, having stayed there, having used up all the life-span of those devas, is unbound right in that state of being. This, monks, is the difference, this the distinction, this the distinguishing factor, between an educated disciple of the noble ones and an uneducated run-of-the-mill person, when there is a destination, a reappearing...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
I am not sure if 'an educated disciple of the noble ones' specifically refers to one who has (at least) attained stream entry, but in any case I take from this, once again, the importance of trying to practice jhana in the context of the Path as a whole, and not as an end in itself. Furthermore, there is a sutta where the Buddha is quoted as saying that there are also two other types of persons who have transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill: the 'dhamma follower' and the 'faith follower':


At Savatthi. "Monks, eye-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Ear-consciousness... Nose-consciousness... Tongue-consciousness... Body-consciousness... Intellect-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
So it could be that, if we can recognize ourselves somewhere amongst this group of three types of disciple, that we also need not be so fearful. But neither should we be complacent either!

metta
:anjali:
To the Buddha-refuge i go; to the Dhamma-refuge i go; to the Sangha-refuge i go.
oceanfloor
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Post by oceanfloor »

pelletboy wrote:Will one inevitably be born in the immaterial realms if one has attained fine material and immaterial jhanas or should one be in the said jhanas at the moment of death to be born so?
Material and immaterial realms are also known as Brahma realms. In DN 13 the Buddha speaks about how to be born in Brahma realm, or union with Brahma. If at the moment of death one has something in common with Brahma, that is being unencumbered, then one will be born in Brahma realm. While one is in jhana one is unencumbered.
pelletboy wrote:why was Asita the seer crying and thought he had no way to meet the Buddha after death because he attained immaterial jhanas?
Lifespan in Brahma realm is said to be quite extremely long. Being unable to make any merit in that lifespan while the fruits from good kamma fuels his existence, eventually the the fruits will run out. Running out of accumulation of good kamma, there will be greater chance to be born in lower realm, thus it will be much harder to get the chance to learn Dhamma again. That is why he cried.
pelletboy wrote:If one is born in higher fine material and immaterial realms then why does the dhamma encourage monks to do jhanas up to immaterial jhanas which would cause one to miss the Sasanas?
No, it is not up to immaterial jhanas. The Buddha encourages monks to master jhanas to attain nibbana by transcending immaterial jhanas. In DN 9 the Buddha speaks about this.

Metta,
:anjali:
shoenhad
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Post by shoenhad »

Zom wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:10 pm
It is stated in the Jhana book ny Bhante Henepola which I think he derived from the suttas and the commentaries that there were arhats who achieved arhatship through dry-insight alone without jhana much less those who achieved non-returnership without jhana...
The sutta speaks for itself. Buddha says "impossible". So it's up to you to decide if the sutta lies or not ,)
This seems a bit too easy.

I can't imagine bhante gunaratana not being able to interpret what is being said here if it is indeed as unambiguous as you make it out to be and I certainly can't imagine he is not aware of the sutta mentioned here. He also has no reason to have a bias. If anything he is a proponent of the mundane jhanas.

If we are talking about the last 2 levels of awakening it would imply an attainment of either the first or the second level of awakening so we can assume one is operating from a supramundane jhanic consciousnness at that point. I remember dhammanando saying that initial stream entry for a dry insight worker is the first jhana. The link you provided regarding MN64 has Thanissaro talking about the first jhana as well.

Why would one be required to leave the supramundane jhana to ‘go back’ to the first level of the mundane jhana to be able to progress to the last 2 levels of awakening? What element is supposedly lacking?
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Zom
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Post by Zom »

Why would one be required to leave the supramundane jhana to ‘go back’ to the first level of the mundane jhana to be able to progress to the last 2 levels of awakening? What element is supposedly lacking?
Nothing is lacking, it is just supramundane jhana doesn't exist, being a late commentarial theoretical invention.
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zerotime
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Post by zerotime »

Zom wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:10 pm The sutta speaks for itself. Buddha says "impossible". So it's up to you to decide if the sutta lies or not ,)
not really. Just be aware about what the Sutta shows:
"what is the path and method, to dispel the lower bonds of the sensual world?"
that teaching was born from that specific basis in where the cultivation of jhanas was taught to be followed by many monks in that assembly.

However, we find later inside SN 35.95, how the same Malunkyaputta asked to the Buddha:
"It would be good, lord, if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief so that, having heard the Dhamma from the Blessed One, I might dwell alone in seclusion: heedful, ardent, & resolute."
and then, the Buddha taught to Malunkyaputta a path different from a cultivation of jhanas:
"Then, Malunkyaputta, with regard to phenomena to be seen, heard, sensed, or cognized: 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...... When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."
and at the end of the Sutta, we read how Malunkyaputta was succesful with this different teaching without cultivating jhanas:
"Then, dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute, he in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here & now. He knew: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world." And thus Ven. Malunkyaputta became another one of the arahants."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

The conclussion is seeing Malunkyaputta in the first Sutta, although for some reason he was not succesful or akin to the cultivation of jhanas. Because we find him again in SN 35.95 asking to the Buddha for a "total" or "speedy" teaching. And the reason for that petition appears inside the same SN 35.95:
"Here now, Malunkyaputta: What will I say to the young monks when you — aged, old, elderly, along in years, come to the last stage of life — ask for an admonition in brief?"
Malunkyaputta was old and still not succesful, despite he knew the jhanas cultivation as we read in the other sutta. And then the Buddha taught him a different path without a cultivation of jhanas. By the way, this is the same teaching that we read in the popular Bahiya Sutta. This is a path of wisdom/insight.

The Buddha taught in different ways, not only Jhanas. This is a fact.

It is interesting the "complaint" of the Buddha, about what he will say to the young monks. It seems like if the Buddha preferred the jhana cultivation for young monks, although in many cases he taught another ways. A plausible speculation can be the worldly benefits associated to the mastery of jhanas like the supranormal ones. Because at those times it was quite necessary in example to demonstrate the superiority of Dhamma teaching in front other teachings also exhibiting supranormal powers.
Although for nibbana purposes this is no relevant, and the Buddha was compassive to liberate all the possible people.
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Post by BrokenBones »

zerotime wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 3:25 am
Zom wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:10 pm The sutta speaks for itself. Buddha says "impossible". So it's up to you to decide if the sutta lies or not ,)
not really. Just be aware about what the Sutta shows:
"what is the path and method, to dispel the lower bonds of the sensual world?"
that teaching was born from that specific basis in where the cultivation of jhanas was taught to be followed by many monks in that assembly.

However, we find later inside SN 35.95, how the same Malunkyaputta asked to the Buddha:
"It would be good, lord, if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief so that, having heard the Dhamma from the Blessed One, I might dwell alone in seclusion: heedful, ardent, & resolute."
and then, the Buddha taught to Malunkyaputta a path different from a cultivation of jhanas:
"Then, Malunkyaputta, with regard to phenomena to be seen, heard, sensed, or cognized: 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...... When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."
and at the end of the Sutta, we read how Malunkyaputta was succesful with this different teaching without cultivating jhanas:
"Then, dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute, he in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here & now. He knew: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world." And thus Ven. Malunkyaputta became another one of the arahants."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

...
"Here now, Malunkyaputta: What will I say to the young monks when you — aged, old, elderly, along in years, come to the last stage of life — ask for an admonition in brief?"
Malunkyaputta was old and still not succesful, despite he knew the jhanas cultivation as we read in the other sutta. And then the Buddha taught him a different path without a cultivation of jhanas. By the way, this is the same teaching that we read in the popular Bahiya Sutta. This is a path of wisdom/insight.

The Buddha taught in different ways, not only Jhanas. This is a fact.

...
I think there's a basic misunderstanding of what jhana is and the myriad Dhamma teachings that can be used to cultivate it... it's not all about the nose 😉
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zerotime
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Post by zerotime »

BrokenBones wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:20 am I think there's a basic misunderstanding of what jhana is and the myriad Dhamma teachings that can be used to cultivate it... it's not all about the nose 😉
What do you mean? Can you explain that point?
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Post by Ceisiwr »

zerotime wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:17 pm
BrokenBones wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:20 am I think there's a basic misunderstanding of what jhana is and the myriad Dhamma teachings that can be used to cultivate it... it's not all about the nose 😉
What do you mean? Can you explain that point?
He means because being aware of the tip of the nose isn’t mentioned directly in the Pali suttas (it is in a parallel sutra) it isn’t something Buddhist meditators should be doing. Theravādin, Sautrāntika, Sarvāstivādin and Mahāsāṃghika meditation is therefore all wrong.
“In the same way, great king, when a bhikkhu sees that these five hindrances are unabandoned within himself, he regards that as a debt, as a sickness, as confinement in prison, as slavery, as a desert road. But when he sees that these five hindrances have been abandoned within himself, he regards that as freedom from debt, as good health, as release from prison, as freedom from slavery, as a place of safety.”

Sāmaññaphala sutta
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zerotime
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Post by zerotime »

Ceisiwr wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:20 pm He means because being aware of the tip of the nose isn’t mentioned directly in the Pali suttas (it is in a parallel sutra) it isn’t something Buddhist meditators should be doing. Theravādin, Sautrāntika, Sarvāstivādin and Mahāsāṃghika meditation is therefore all wrong.
ok.. thanks. Well, there are many objects available to develop concentration and samadhi including the nature of atta and self.
Why those new jhana founamentalists deny this, I cannot understand. This is something so obvious, I believe. Just we think about it and there it is, available for anyone.
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Post by BrokenBones »

zerotime wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 1:06 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 12:20 pm He means because being aware of the tip of the nose isn’t mentioned directly in the Pali suttas (it is in a parallel sutra) it isn’t something Buddhist meditators should be doing. Theravādin, Sautrāntika, Sarvāstivādin and Mahāsāṃghika meditation is therefore all wrong.
ok.. thanks. Well, there are many objects available to develop concentration and samadhi including the nature of atta and self.
Why those new jhana founamentalists deny this, I cannot understand. This is something so obvious, I believe. Just we think about it and there it is, available for anyone.
I agree with your comment regarding self, you could include suffering, impermanence and the plethora of teachings within the suttas.

The mistake is thinking you need an 'object'. Yogic practices are fine for yogis... Buddhists not so much.

Ceisiwr would have us chasing fairy lights and senseless.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Post by Ceisiwr »

BrokenBones wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 2:08 pm

The mistake is thinking you need an 'object'. Yogic practices are fine for yogis... Buddhists not so much.

Ceisiwr would have us chasing fairy lights and senseless.
It would be far better to give an honest representation of your opponents views, even if you disagree with them. Absorption isn’t senseless, since there are 6 senses in Buddhadhamma not 5. Furthermore even you recognise the benefit of meditating without the 5 senses, since you accept the formless attainments. Anyway I’ve been rethinking some things on Jhana as of late, but I don’t want to go into them for now.
“In the same way, great king, when a bhikkhu sees that these five hindrances are unabandoned within himself, he regards that as a debt, as a sickness, as confinement in prison, as slavery, as a desert road. But when he sees that these five hindrances have been abandoned within himself, he regards that as freedom from debt, as good health, as release from prison, as freedom from slavery, as a place of safety.”

Sāmaññaphala sutta
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zerotime
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Re: Fate of Jhana Practitioners

Post by zerotime »

BrokenBones wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 2:08 pm I agree with your comment regarding self, you could include suffering, impermanence and the plethora of teachings within the suttas.

The mistake is thinking you need an 'object'. Yogic practices are fine for yogis... Buddhists not so much.

Ceisiwr would have us chasing fairy lights and senseless.
oh.. I understand. So Ceisiwr thinks the jhana cultivation is the right one. In fact also he is right, I believe. Are not exclusive things. The Buddha ordered yogis already skilled in jhanic states. He taught them how to use those tools for nibbana. And also he taught newbies to follow that Path.
IMHO the Buddha taught in many different ways to many different people. He was a Buddha and this is one of the specific skills of a Buddha, even the arhants lacks of it.
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