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21893[dsg] Jhanas

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  • macdocaz1@aol.com
    May 3 2:20 PM
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      To Ken H:

      In a message dated 5/3/03 12:33:53 AM, kenhowardau@... writes:

      << Hello Jeff,

      It's a pleasure to talk with you. Considering your
      confident enthusiasm for meditation and your undoubted
      accomplishment in that area, I imagine it must be quite
      puzzling to see so many Dhamma students following a
      meditation-free path. You have been very patient with
      us.

      There *is* a meditation-free way of attaining the Eight-
      fold Path -- the way of Bare Insight Training. In fact,
      there are two such ways; if you count the way in which
      firstly, insight is developed to the stage of Path-
      consciousness, and only then, secondly, jhana is developed.

      I gather that you flatly reject these two paths. So I
      will not try to convince you -- there's no point in an,
      'is, isn't, is, isn't,' style of conversation :-)

      You know far better than I do, that there are many,
      varied forms of mental training, several of which are
      claimed to be Buddhist. Rather than look to various,
      conflicting sources, I want to know only what the Buddha
      Gotama taught and I'm confining my search strictly to the
      ancient, Theravadin texts. Here at dsg, I have found
      people who know those texts intimately -- I have found my
      Shangrila :-) >>

      %%%%%%%%%%%%%%
      Jeff:
      I have walked a number of paths, sometimes there are conflicts. I usually
      look toward my personal experience to see whether that path has given me
      "value." I agree with you there is no sense in any claim that is based on
      "mine is bigger (or better) than yours." I believe one only need reflect on
      one's own personal success. If one has found even relative freedom from
      suffering from one's path, then keep "working it."
      %%%%%%%%%%%%%%

      Ken H:
      The way in which I am being taught a sense of urgency is,
      literally, like no other. In this way, one understands
      that there is no control over the arising or non-arising
      of mental states. They will arise when, and only when,
      the conditions for their arising are present. This is
      because all dhammas are anatta, without self.

      %%%%%%%%%%%%%%
      Jeff:
      Well, I agree with you. The idea of urgency and the rareness of the
      opportunity to practice, the historic Buddha borrowed from the Vedas.
      Urgency is a wise thing to cultivate, but I believe the typical implication
      of that urgency is to inspire the practitioners to renounce their material
      possessions and take up an intense monastic practice. But, I am not
      proposing you leave your family, I am just proposing you might find your
      study of Buddhism better informed if you practiced as well. Buddhism is
      essentially a contemplative tradition, how can you expect to understand any
      contemplative tradition without conducting its contemplative practice?
      %%%%%%%%%%%%%%

      Ken H:
      Far from trying to attain enlightenment before the light
      turns green, I am happy to know that the future does not
      exist -- that there are only the mental and physical
      phenomena (nama and rupa), of the present moment. Is
      there direct understanding (panna), of nama and rupa NOW?
      If not, why not; what dhammas ARE present? These are the
      things that interest me, not meditation.

      %%%%%%%%%%%%%%
      Jeff:
      I don't see how you can hope to penetrate the aggregates of the
      psychophysiological conditions that are the underpinnings of your own
      personal nama rupa without the practice of meditation. But, if you are happy
      with celebrating the Buddha's birthday, I am sure your scholarship places you
      in an excellent position to do so.

      Best to you,

      layman Jeff
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