Hi Frank, Robert, Nina, Dimitry and others,
Fogive me for butting in so late but I see the thread is still
running on the jhanas. I tend to agree largely with Franks'
position. The question of whether to jhana or not, and dry vipassana
has been hotly debated for many years by meditators and will continue
for more. Sometimes all the arguements simply remind me of the
Buddha's simile of the blind men trying to describe an elephant.
Meditation is to be experienced and not to be argued about. If one
wants to follow the jhana way, one should find a teacher who has
achieved it and is skilled in it and learn from such a teacher. Same
for a vipassana meditation. Such an advice was given by the Buddha
in either AN or SN where he said that a monk skilled in samatha
should also visit another skilled in insight and learn from him and
About whether it is important to have jhana or not, I personally
think samatha meditation culminating in jhana is an experience no
meditator whould forego, no matter how long it takes to achieve.
This is obvious from the suttas and the way in which jhanas are
described not only by the Buddha but also by Sariputta and other
In an earlier post Robert said that the Visuddhimagga categorized
breath meditation as the most difficult of the 40 odd techniques
taught by the Buddha. Difficult, yes. But so are all meditation
techniques for different people. Meditation can never be easy
because it needs striving, consistency, reflection and
experimentation. The Buddha taught anapanasati as one of central
meditation topics, one that he used himself on the night of his
enlightenment. He wouldn't have taught it if it was impossible for
people to practice.
Then about accumulation of good kamma, and how times have
deteriorated in these declining years of the Sasana - that's all
Commentary staff. The suttas never say any such thing. What the
Buddha said was that as long as we follow the Noble Eightfold Path
persistently and correctly, we should get there some time. The
Buddha knew hemun beings' minds. He taught us to understand our own
minds and how to work with it. Have the minds of human beings
changed since 2500 years ago? I think not. That's why the Dhamma is
I am not a follower of the Commentaries. I have not tried to start
reading the Vidsuddhimagga, because I find the suttas complete and
adequate. While there may be odd statements here and there that are
not satisfactorily understood, the central theme of Dhamma and
practice stands firm and clear and provides enough of a guide to
use. Commentaries are good if they help increase understanding and
practice but I have not found any urge from what I read about other's
postings and explanations of the Commentaries. From such postings,
for example, of Nina's painstaking time and effort in this group, I
see three aspects (a)when the commentaries expand on individual words
e.g. he walked up meaning he waited for the Buddha toi leqve and then
walked up ... I find no additional value in understanding the Dhamma
from such commentaries. (b)when the commentaries explains some simile
and then adds one more of their own e.g. like a lion king, like this
and that, getting more and more extravagant with each example, I can
only imagine that the audience to which the commentaries were
addressed must have been very simple village folk who need the
devotional ardour to be stoked to flaming level. Such commentariesd
do not add to the value I already place on the suttas. (c)when the
commentaries comment on meditation methods and ways of practice, I
find this is often confusing and unnecessary. Because meditation is
something to experience not to intellectualize about. I find many of
the arguements on this thread tend to follow rational lines, meaning
each person is appealing to some understanding from our intellectual
mind. Yet meditation experience, especially jhanas do not fit such
restrictions. The Buddha said that the power and range of jhanas is
one of the four imponderables. Ajahn Brahm teaches that in jhana one
never experience what one expects. Maybe that's why jhana experience
and the reflection after emerging from then are so powerful to cut
off the deep underlying tendencies of greed hatred and delusion.
Wth metta to all,
--- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "rjkjp1" <rjkjp1@y...> wrote:
> --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Frank Kuan <fcckuan@y...> wrote:
> > The buddha goes so far as to say the disciple who
> > neglects jhana practice is "not one who dwells in the
> > dhamma"
> > http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/sutta/anguttara/an05-073.html
> > "Then there is the case where a monk takes the Dhamma
> > as he has heard & studied it and thinks about it,
> > evaluates it, and examines it with his intellect. He
> > spends the day in Dhamma-thinking. He neglects
> > seclusion. He doesn't commit himself to internal
> > tranquility of awareness. This is called a monk who is
> > keen on thinking, not one who dwells in the Dhamma.
> > Then there is the case where a monk studies the
> > Dhamma... [HOWEVER!] He doesn't spend the day in
> > Dhamma-study. He doesn't neglect seclusion. He commits
> > himself to internal tranquility of awareness. This is
> > called a monk who dwells in the Dhamma.
> > "Now, monk, I have taught you the person who is keen
> > on study, the one who is keen on description, the one
> > who is keen on recitation, the one who is keen on
> > thinking, and the one who dwells in the Dhamma.
> > Whatever a teacher should do -- seeking the welfare of
> > his disciples, out of sympathy for them -- that have I
> > done for you. Over there are the roots of trees; over
> > there, empty dwellings. Practice jhana, monk. Don't be
> > heedless. Don't later fall into regret. This is our
> > message to you."
> >In fact, to this
> >day, I'm still only on lesson 2 of the Gair book, and
> >chapter 4 of the de Silva book, despite my earnest
> >desire to learn more Pali. Why? Because of priorities.
> Dear Frank,
> Certainly only studying Dhamma is of limited value. Still, one of
> advantages of such study, including Pali studies, is that we learn
> about the deeper meaning of phrases such as the one you quote
> above.The Pali (supplied by Jim Anderson) of an almost identical
> "Jhaayatha, Cunda, maa pamaadattha maa pacchaa vippa.tisaarino
> ahuvattha ..." -- M i 46 (near the end of MN 8). Also found at M i
> 118 (MN
> 19) with 'bhikkhave' instead of Cunda.
> Here, the commentary interprets "Meditate" as "Increase samatha and
> "Samatha~nca vipassana~nca va.d.dhethaa ti vutta.m hoti." --MA ii
> (there's a bit more just before this)
> >> I know about this translation of 'jhaayatha'. I find
> >> that it does not
> >> quite agree with the commentary which includes both
> >> samatha and
> >> vipassanaa. That's why I think 'Meditate' is a
> >> better translation than
> >> 'Practice jhana'.
> "Jhaayatha' is a verb in the 2nd person plural with the -tha
> In the
> PED, the verbs are entered in their 3rd pers. sing. forms with the -
> ending. So you will have to look for 'jhaayati' for which you will
> find two
> entries. The first one has the following senses: to meditate,
> think upon, brood over (c. acc.): . . . -- and for the second: to
> burn, to
> be on fire: . . . They are derived from two distinct roots. In the
> commentarial passage from which I quoted "Increase samatha and
> in explaining 'jhaayatha' there is also the following comment that
> helps to
> clarify the difference between samatha and vipassana: "Meditate
> (upanijjhaayatha) on the 38 objects (aaramma.na) with the meditation
> (upanijjhaana) on an object and on aggregates, bases, etc.
> anicca, etc. with the meditation on a characteristic (lakkha.na)." -
> MA i
> 195." end of section by Jim Anderson.
> When the texts talk about meditation, jhaya, it is useful to
> know that there are two types.
> I quoted this to Dimitry earlier: The Dhammapada 371 :"Meditate, o
> bhikkhu and be not heedless." (same
> pali phrase as the sutta you quoted above.
> The atthakatha says "o bhikkhus meditate by the two kinds of
> meditative absorptions"
> And the tika notes that this is twofold in "the sense of
> meditative absorption that arises depending on an object and
> meditative absorption that arises dependent on characteristics"
> The tika later explains this by saying that the first is (p506
> note 6 of carter and palihawadana) "the eight attainments
> (jhanas) to be obtained by training the mind in concentrating on
> one of the thirty eight objects such as kasina [or metta, or
> Buddha or Dhamma or breath etc] and the second means 'insight
> wisdom, path and fruit'..to be obtained by reflecting on the
> three characteristics'"endquote
> Now when it says 'reflecting' this means direct insight into the
> characteristics and conditions of the present moment right up to
> the vipassana nanas and magga and phala, it is far more than only
> thinking about Dhamma.
> THe Dhammapada pradipaya (see p457 of carter and palihawadana) says
> "to consider the coming into being of rupa on account of
> ignorance, craving, kamma and nutrition, and also to see the
> mere characteristics of its instantaneous coming into being,
> without looking for causative aspect; thus one should consider
> the rise of rupa in five ways. Likewise to consider the rise of
> the other 4 khandas in the same way...Thus the rise of the
> pancakkhanda (five aggregates )is seen in 25 ways. To see that
> the rise of the khandas is stopped by abolishing the
> causes:ignorance, craving, kamma and nutrition..in this way the
> cessation of the agregates should be seen" end quote
> As Teng kee pointed out the path out of samsara depends on lakkhana
> jhana - insight into the three characteristics of anicca, dukkha
> anatta. The jhana labhi after he leaves mundane jhana must also
> develop this type of special samadhi. The sukkha-vipassaka develops
> this profound samadhi without having attained mundane jhana.
> Which is the superior path? Certainly the texts are clear that the
> one who develops both samatha and jhana is the highest. However I
> think we should not despise also the lesser path of the sukkha-
> vipassaka as this too eventually results in the end of rebirth.