Thread: The Jhanas

  1. #1
    Forums Member Citta's Avatar
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    The Jhanas

    And since we have this new forum...:-) here’s a heady topic.

    The Buddha spoke often of the jhanas in many contexts, and often as core to right concentration.

    One such reference is in SN 45.

    "And what, monks, is right concentration? (i) There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. (ii) With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. (iii) With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' (iv) With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This, monks, is called right concentration."

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi....008.than.html

    What are your thoughts or experiences with the jhanas?

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    My thoughts are that nothing gets people more angry than anyone claiming to have experienced jhanas at any particular level, of any particular definition, but in case there's anyone I haven't upset yet, I've been through them all, at least in terms of what I wanted from such practice.

  3. #3
    Hi Citta,

    My only thoughts at the moment are on some comments from Ajahn Amaro in his book "Small Boat Great Mountain":


    One of the great meditation masters of Thailand, Venerable Ajahn Tate, was such an adept at concentration that, as soon as he sat down to meditate, he would go straight into arupa-jhana, formless states of absorption. It took him 12 years after he met his teacher, Venerable Ajahn Mun, to train himself not to do that and to keep his concentration at a level where he could develop insight.

    In those formless states, it is just so nice. It’s easy to ask: “What’s the point of cultivating wise reflection or investigating the nature of experience? The experience itself is so seamlessly delicious, why bother?”

    The reason we bother is that those are not dependable states. They are unreliable and they are not ours.

    https://forestsangha.org/teachings/b...nguage=English


    and here's a little quote from Ajahn Sumedho:



    The jhanas are often spoken of in terms of 'attainment', but it's no attainment at all, it's more like abandoning, or relinquishing. Because jhana is a state when the five hindrances are suppressed or abandoned. By cultivating this spacious, expansive mind, you do actually develop the jhana factors -- like rapture, gladness, etc. -- but they arise naturally, without you trying to attain them.


    https://sites.google.com/site/gavesa...-ajahn-sumedho


  4. #4
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citta View Post
    And since we have this new forum...:-) here’s a heady topic.
    . . .
    What are your thoughts or experiences with the jhanas?
    For several years my meditation development was guided by the Samatha Trust, and they taught cultivation of the jhanas for the more experienced meditators, both rupa-jhana and arupa-jhana.

    My own experience did not extend beyond the first rupa-jhana. I cannot know what was achieved by my fellow-meditators as there was a general understanding that we did not discuss our experience in jhana with each other. The reason is that the experience is entirely personal and can easily be affected by expectations or comparisons based on what we may have heard.

    However, we have the description from the suttas of the four jhana stages and we have guidance from our teachers. I think that the suttas describe the common ground, the experience common to all who approach this deeper state of meditation.

    For me, I think I would be making a mistake in trying to reach the next stage, or try to hurry myself to the fourth. I think that the achievement of the higher states of meditation come when the time is right and I should accept whatever my experience of meditation offers me.

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