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Re: it's all about jhanas

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  • rjkjp1
    ... Dear Hope, That is also my main method for pali study. Like you I also pick up bits by reading the other posts. welcome to the group robert
    Message 1 of 12 , Oct 6, 2003
      --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Hope Raven" <hope_raven@h...> wrote:
      > I've just ordered Warder - maybe if I have enough Pali books
      > in my house I can learn the language by osmosis?
      >
      > ____
      Dear Hope,
      That is also my main method for pali study.

      Like you I also pick up bits by reading the other posts.
      welcome to the group
      robert
    • nina van gorkom
      Dear Hope, ... N: You may be very busy but, it pays to look up the relevant Warder Ch that Jon mentions each time he gives us an exercise. At first I also
      Message 2 of 12 , Oct 7, 2003
        Dear Hope,
        op 07-10-2003 03:23 schreef rjkjp1 op rjkjp1@...:

        > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Hope Raven" <hope_raven@h...> wrote:
        >> I've just ordered Warder - maybe if I have enough Pali books
        >> in my house I can learn the language by osmosis?
        N: You may be very busy but, it pays to look up the relevant Warder Ch that
        Jon mentions each time he gives us an exercise.
        At first I also thought that I would not need so much grammar, but I found
        out that even the difference between instrumentalis or ablative can, if we
        are not precise, twist the meaning. We have to be very precises with the
        cases. I found out while studying the text of the Buddha's last meal in the
        Dhamma Study Group. There are many pittfalls. In the course of learning
        interest will grow. I welcome any discussions on grammar on this list. I
        learn by discussions.
        Nina.
      • cheangoo
        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
        Message 3 of 12 , Oct 14, 2003
          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
          vice versa.

          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
          arahants.


          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
          timeless.

          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,
          Khaik-Cheang Oo


          --- 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."
          > And
          > >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
          the
          > 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
          > phrase:
          >
          > "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
          > vipassanaa".
          >
          > "Samatha~nca vipassana~nca va.d.dhethaa ti vutta.m hoti." --MA ii
          195
          > (there's a bit more just before this)
          > Jim:
          > >> 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
          ending.
          > In the
          > PED, the verbs are entered in their 3rd pers. sing. forms with the -
          ti
          > 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,
          > contemplate,
          > 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
          > vipassanaa"
          > 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.
          according
          > to
          > 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
          > actual
          > 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
          and
          > 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.
          > RobertK
        • rjkjp1
          Dear Khaik-Cheang Oo, ... ____ I appreciate you continuing the discussion, please add more.I just add something on this point for now: ... _____ From the sutta
          Message 4 of 12 , Oct 14, 2003
            Dear Khaik-Cheang Oo,
            In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "cheangoo" <cheangoo@h...> wrote:
            > 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 appreciate you continuing the discussion, please add more.I just
            add something on this point for now:
            ____

            >
            > Then about accumulation of good kamma, and how times have
            > deteriorated in these declining years of the Sasana - that's all
            > Commentary stuff. The suttas never say any such thing.

            _____
            From the sutta Pitaka
            Samyutta Nikaya IX (20)7
            p708 of Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation

            The Peg
            "Monks, there once was a time when the
            Dasarahas
            had a large drum called 'Summoner.' Whenever Summoner was split,
            the
            Dasarahas inserted another peg in it, until the time came when
            Summoner's original wooden body had disappeared and only a
            conglomeration of pegs remained.
            "In the same way, in the course of the future there will be
            monks who
            won't listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata --
            deep,
            deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness --
            are
            being recited. They won't lend ear, won't set their hearts on
            knowing
            them, won't regard these teachings as worth grasping or
            mastering.
            But they will listen when discourses that are literary works --
            the
            works of poets, elegant in sound, elegant in rhetoric, the work
            of
            outsiders, words of disciples -- are recited. They will lend ear
            and
            set their hearts on knowing them. They will regard these
            teachings as
            worth grasping & mastering.

            "In this way the disappearance of the discourses that are words
            of
            the Tathagata -- deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent,
            connected
            with emptiness -- will come about.

            "Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will listen when
            discourses
            that are words of the Tathagata -- deep, deep in their meaning,
            transcendent, connected with emptiness -- are being recited. We
            will
            lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these

            teachings as worth grasping & mastering.' That's how you should
            train
            yourselves."
            _________
            >
            > 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. >
            > ________
            Anyway I add something from the commentary to the above sutta:
            The commentary notes that this means deep teachings such as
            those dealing with emptiness(sunnatapatisamyutta), explaining
            mere phenomena devoid of a being (sattasunnata-dhammamattam eva
            pakasaka)
            [like the whole of the Abhidhamma? -robert]
            RobertK
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