21833Re: [dsg] Jhanas
- May 1 7:59 PMTo Ken H:
In a message dated 5/1/03 12:05:06 AM, kenhowardau@... writes:
<< Doesn't jhana fall into much the same scenario? Moments
before the Buddha proclaimed his teaching, masters of
jhana were the pinnacle of religious and intellectual
hierarchy. They could teach a way that led to countless
aeons of bliss. ('immediately followed by rebirth in the
worlds of woe, but let's not be too critical.)
Then, suddenly, there was a totally different Path that
led, not to TEMPORARY release, but to FINAL release from
dukkha. So who needs jhana masters? >>
I find your assumption, while intriguing, not supported by my practice,
attainment nor the canon:
Potthapada Sutta, DN. 9-17
9-10. (One scrutinizes) the sense doors...Having reached the first jhana,
(one) remains in it. Whatever sensations (that were there) disappear. At
that time there is present a true but subtle perception of delight and
happiness, born of detachment, and (one) becomes one(,) who is conscious of
this delight and happiness. In this way some perceptions arise through
training, and some pass way. This is that training...
11. ...With the subsiding of thinking, by gaining inner tranquillity and
unity of mind (consciousness), (one) reaches and remains in the second jhana,
which is free from thinking, born of concentration, filled with delight and
happiness. At (this) time there arises a true but subtle perception of
delight and happiness born of concentration, and (one) becomes one(,) who is
conscious of this delight and happiness. In this way some perceptions arise
through training, and some pass way.
12. ...Dwelling in equanimity, mindful and clearly aware, (one) experiences
in (one's) body that pleasant feeling of which the Noble Ones say: "Happy
dwells the (one) of equanimity and mindfulness," (thus one) reaches and
remains in the third jhana...There arises at this time a true but subtle
sense of equanimity and happiness. In this way some perceptions arise
through training, and some pass way.
13. ...With the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the disappearance
of previous joy and grief, one reaches and remains in the fourth jhana, a
state beyond pleasure and pain, purified by equanimity and mindfulness...and
there arises a true and subtle sense of neither happiness nor unhappiness,
and (one) becomes one(,) who is conscious of this subtle sense of neither
happiness nor unhappiness. In this way some perceptions arise through
training, and some pass way.
14. ...By passing entirely beyond bodily sensations, by the disappearance of
all sense of resistance and by non-attraction to the (diverse perceptions),
seeing that space is infinite, (one) reaches and remains in the sphere of
Infinite Space. In this way some perceptions arise through training, and
some pass away.
15. ...By passing entirely beyond the Sphere of Infinite Space, seeing that
consciousness is infinite (one) reaches and remains in the Sphere of Infinite
Consciousness. In this way some perceptions arise through training, and some
16. ...By passing entirely beyond the Sphere of Infinite Consciousness,
seeing that there is no thing, one reaches and remains in the Sphere of
No-Thingness. (One) becomes one who is conscious of this true but subtle
perception of the Sphere of No-Thingness. In this way some perceptions arise
through training, and some pass away.
17. ...From the moment that one has gained this (self-awareness, one)
proceeds from stage to stage till (one) reaches the limit of perception. (At
this moment) it occurs: "Mental activity is worse for me, lack of mental
activity is better...So, (one chooses to) neither think nor imagine.
Then...(one) attains cessation.
So how can there be any question as to which way we
should go? I think it's a matter of samvega (sense of
urgency). Do we have the time to learn jhana? We could die
tomorrow, who knows when we will have another opportunity
to hear the Dhamma?
I believe the above quote from the Potthapada Sutta should be sufficient
evidence to refute your assumption that one could even avoid developing jhana
and hope to achieve enlightenment. I believe this Sutta makes it quite clear
that jhana is simply "par for the course." If my good friend, there is a
sense or urgency, would you not abandon all other activities and cultivate
jhana now instead of waiting?
Had we the accumulations for jhana, our opportunity would
be less tenuous. (I can't quote any sources for this, by
the way.) In our preliminary practice, we would have
developed, for example, the ability to remember past
lives. So we would have the luxury of time. In such a
case, it would be quite appropriate that we emulate the
Buddha more closely and that we develop psychic powers.
In so doing, we could both pay more respect and be better
able to pass on the teaching.
With the exception of advocating the development of "psychic powers," which I
think are whole unnecessary, I would disagree with you here. The Buddha's
discourse on Dependent Origination, made it quite clear that resolving one's
"past lifetime linking" was an essential aspect of the path of purification.
Also, there is not much time involved in remembering a life time anyway. One
can recall the whole of a life time in an instant, so where is the time
"lost." And, besides what is the big hurry? Do you have to attain
enlightenment before the light turns green? I don't believe there is a "rush
hour" on the path to freedom.
I think it's safe to say that you and I are not such
highly developed beings -- but are any of us?
If, twenty-six centuries ago, a person had the
accumulations for jhana, wouldn't he/she have followed
the Eight-fold Path to Parinibana by now? (The obvious
exception would be a Bodhisattha, of course.)
Since that time, would anyone have *acquired*
accumulations for jhana? -- in preference to developing
vipassana? I don't see why. So I wonder, today, in this
human realm, is the real jhana taught or practised by
Quite the contrary my good friend. If you log onto the Jhana Support Group
you will find there are plenty of people who experience jhana. In fact in my
town we have a sangha dedicated to jhana, and I have several students, all of
whom experience jhana.
I am a mere layman, with little formal instruction, but I experience jhana
all of the time. In my experience anyone can experience jhana, even me. It
just requires some training, practice and a little discipline. No more than
your vipassana practice.
blessings to you,
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