Four Absorptions

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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mikenz66
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Re: Four Absorptions

Post by mikenz66 »

Hi abhinav1,
abhinav1 wrote: Sat Jan 27, 2024 6:44 am Hello All

I practise Vipassana Meditation in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw. I am reading the suttas and there are consistent references of the four absorptions many times in the discourses ( for e.g. MN 52) - I am unable to reconcile vipassana with the absorptions. Are the four absorptions a natural unfolding of my vipassana practice or it is some other practice at all.

Please guide. Thanks.
Do you do this with a teacher/group or from written or audio instructions?

Some simple general observations:

As others have said, Mahasi's approach is not geared towards jhana (absorption) but the various grounding objects that are used (motion of the feet, motion of the abdomen, touch, etc) do lead to quite deep samadhi, but usually of a "momentary" sort, rather and an "absorbed" sort. Absorption will usually require attention to a single object, i.e. returning to the breath (or some other object) when distractions arise, whereas a key feature of Mahasi approach is to investigate whatever arises and understand it in terms of the Satipatthana Sutta and other texts.

Developing absorption usually takes some time. It's not that Mahasi and other teachers are against jhana. However, they will tend to say that it will take some time, so if you don't have a few months to devote to practice, they are giving you an approach which may be more suitable. I would also say that teachers I've worked with tend to be quite flexible, and make suggestions based on the progress of the particular student.

Since mindfulness is one of the factors of jhana, as well as insight, developing mindfulness is always a good thing. The "gradual training" sequence in the suttas has a sequence of development of sila, mindfulness, jhana, then liberation. However, other suttas speak of different sequences. There is no one-size-fits-all in Dhamma practice.

:heart:
Mike
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robertk
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Re: Four Absorptions

Post by robertk »

abhinav1 wrote: Sat Jan 27, 2024 6:44 am Hello All

I practise Vipassana Meditation in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw. I am reading the suttas and there are consistent references of the four absorptions many times in the discourses ( for e.g. MN 52) - I am unable to reconcile vipassana with the absorptions. Are the four absorptions a natural unfolding of my vipassana practice or it is some other practice at all.

Please guide. Thanks.
The mundane jhanas are availble to wise men even before the time of the Buddha. They are difficult to attain but those with enough accumulations living in seclusion with deep understanding can attain them- one by one.
For those wise ones who master jhana that becomes like their daily life. They can enter and exit at will.

However, if they want to progress on the way of vipassana - the path of the Buddhas - then upon exiting jhana, the factors of jhana can be directly understood. This is the way of the jhanalabhi.

There is also the also the path of the sukkavipassaka - those who do not attain mundane jhana. For them the elements that are understood are those like seeing, sound, hearing, desire, feeling and so on. At the moment of attainment the concentration is equivalent in strength to mundane jhana.

The Atthasalini – The expositor PTS (translator : maung tin).
P58. Triplets in the Matika
The Discourse on LOKUTTARA (transcendental).

“He cultivates the Jhana means that he evolves, produces the ecstatic jhana of one momentary flash of consciousness. because it goes forth from the world, from the round of rebirths, this is jhana called going out…This is not like that which is known as ‘leading to accumulation’ which heaps up and increases rebirths by the moral(kusala) consciousness of the three planes[includes kusala such as giving as well as all levels of “mundane” jhana]
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Pondera
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Re: Four Absorptions

Post by Pondera »

sphairos wrote: Sat Jan 27, 2024 3:08 pm the thing is, nobody knows what these four jhānas truly are. Every practitioner, scholar and teacher has their own version. And there are so-called "Buddhaghosa jhānas" -- the way jhānas are understood in the orthodox or classical Theravāda tradition. It is said that a practitioner can not hear sounds and feel other sense-objects in jhāna. But nobody seems to be able to reach them. I personally haven't met anyone who can reach such a deep trance state, -- having been a student of Buddhist meditation for over 20 years. As Buddhaghosa writes, only one in a million (or smth. like that) can reach them. The topic has been discussed on the forum numerous times -- try using the search function.
Exactly. And I’ll say it again … we have an absorption in which hearing, seeing, smelling, etc are explicitly excluded. That is “ saññā-vedayita-nirodha”.

This is the only absorption where the senses cease. If you think you’re in jhana and you can’t hear, see, taste, etc. AND you’re conscious - then you’re not in jhana. You’re in “ saññā-vedayita-nirodha”.

Look backwards. Even in “neither perception nor non-perception” there is a type of sensual perception. It’s both “there and not there”. Even in “the realm of nothingness” there is a type of perception.

Look backwards.

"Furthermore, with the complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, [perceiving,] 'Infinite space”

Well …? Transcended what again? “All perceptions of physical form” - ie. sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations.”

Meaning what? Meaning that they were THERE previously. End of discussion! 😂

And even in space we have “transcended” physical form. We have not “eradicated” it or “extinguished” it.

Verily, verily, verily - I say unto those who have ears to hear. Perceptions and feelings end in “nirodha samapatti”.

Furthermore, “consciousness” does not end there. If it did, it would be included in the description.

So, what about Buddhaghosa Jhana? It’s a very difficult journey towards Nirodha Samapatti if you try to climb to the top of a ladder by not starting at the bottom. 😂

Not singling you out btw sphairos. Just my old man commentary.
sphairos
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Re: Four Absorptions

Post by sphairos »

Hi Pondera,

interesting point, thanks!
How good and wonderful are your days,
How true are your ways?
auto
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Re: Four Absorptions

Post by auto »

robertk wrote: Sun Jan 28, 2024 3:25 am
abhinav1 wrote: Sat Jan 27, 2024 6:44 am Hello All

I practise Vipassana Meditation in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw. I am reading the suttas and there are consistent references of the four absorptions many times in the discourses ( for e.g. MN 52) - I am unable to reconcile vipassana with the absorptions. Are the four absorptions a natural unfolding of my vipassana practice or it is some other practice at all.

Please guide. Thanks.
The mundane jhanas are availble to wise men even before the time of the Buddha. They are difficult to attain but those with enough accumulations living in seclusion with deep understanding can attain them- one by one.
For those wise ones who master jhana that becomes like their daily life. They can enter and exit at will.
Jhana is available when the feeling of the end of life is known, because during that feeling one stops taking pleasure on things. Which means one is endowed with the knowledge of the ending of suffering(ending of defilements). It's the wisdom necessary to give up attachments, in contrast to the path what accumulates into attachments(cows, children, gold, flelds). And then the mind becomes limitless to spread it into the world.. jhana itself is internal, personal.
https://suttacentral.net/mn140/en/sujato?lang=en&layout=sidebyside&reference=none&notes=asterisk&highlight=false&script=latin wrote:As the oil and the wick are used up, it would be extinguished due to lack of fuel.
In the same way, feeling the end of the body approaching, they understand: ‘I feel the end of the body approaching.’ Feeling the end of life approaching, they understand: ‘I feel the end of life approaching.’
They understand: ‘When my body breaks up and my life has come to an end, everything that’s felt, since I no longer take pleasure in it, will become cool right here.’
..
Therefore a mendicant thus endowed is endowed with the ultimate foundation of wisdom.
For this is the ultimate noble wisdom, namely,
the knowledge of the ending of suffering.
..
In their ignorance, they used to acquire attachments.
Those have been cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated so they are unable to arise in the future.
Therefore a mendicant thus endowed is endowed with the ultimate foundation of generosity.
For this is the ultimate noble generosity, namely,
letting go of all attachments.
internal(italics mine),
vsm wrote: 139. And at this point, “With the stilling of applied and sustained thought he
enters upon and dwells in the second jhána, which has internal confidence and
singleness of mind without applied thought, without sustained thought, with
happiness and bliss born of concentration” (Vibh 245),
..
141. Internal: here one’s own internal41 is intended; but that much is actually
stated in the Vibhaòga too with the words “internally in oneself” (Vibh 258).
And since one’s own internal is intended, the meaning here is this: born in
oneself, generated in one’s own continuity.
with the vsm quote, can shed some light on what could the attains jhana at will mean.
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