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Thread: MN13: Mahadukkhakkhandha Sutta

  1. #11
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    Esho,
    In order to free ourselves of the feelings and experiences that are impermanent, is it possible that we need to get a really good look at them and see them for what they are?

    In my meditative experiences the guru has always said that when these "thoughts and feelings arise" we should either just bring our focus back to the present, or, in some cases, the guru will suggest looking at these thoughts to see the emptiness and impermanence behind them.

    As I have known people that simply start out, from the very beginning of their practices, with the idea that there is no "I" and their feelings/experiences do not exist, it is my opinion that they have not really and truly recognized how deeply ingrained these feelings and experiences are within us. In other words, I don't think one can make a cheap denial of the senses and how they operate. -------- And I would also suggest that the Janas that go beyond bliss and rapture have a definite commitment to equanimity.

    There doesn't seem to be a commitment on the part of the Janas to instill more feeling in us. It seems to be more a matter of just bringing out what we already have and taking a look at it. The bliss and rapture seem to be things that we already have, not things that we are creating in the Janas.

    --------------- Just my thoughts on the matter. ------ And it may also be possible that pure Vipassana people take all of these things into account. I just don't know. I suppose it is possible that a good Vipassana practice actually deals with some of things that are involved in Jana practice. ----- A lot of truly great practitioners have wrestled with this enormous issue and I have great respect for all of them. I have the definite belief that many of these guys have thought all of this through many levels beyond what my crude practice attempts to do. I'm just doing my best from where I am right now.


    jasweet
    Last edited by Aloka; 12 Mar 19 at 05:50. Reason: To create spaces in block of text.

  2. #12
    Forums Member justusryans's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esho

    I have listened to the talk and it confirms what I understood. The jhanas are experiences of the greatest gratification but they have a danger; they are impermanent and subject to suffering. So my question is the same: Why are jhanas so important in the nikayas?



    Hits it on the button... so to speak. Nothing is permanent, eventually we must move past the jhanas. They are hindrances to enlightenment.
    If we use them as markers to establish our own progress on the way. You should look at them, recognize them for what they are are and set them back down and move on from them.

    To be continually going there during your meditation is not what our ultimate goal/no goal should be. It’s easy to get stuck there or believe you have found nibbana when what we have we have found is another illusion.



  3. #13
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esho View Post
    ...inconstant, stressful and subject to change.
    Hi Esho

    The above appears to be a mistranslation. When the word 'dukkha' is found in relation to the Three Characteristics, it is best translated as 'unsatisfactory'. The jhanas are 'unsatisfactory' because, in themselves, they are not Nibbana and won't end suffering. Whatever is impermanent cannot bring permanent happiness therefore anything impermanent is 'unsatisfactory' or 'dukkha'.

    Regards

  4. #14
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Element View Post
    Hi Esho

    The above appears to be a mistranslation. When the word 'dukkha' is found in relation to the Three Characteristics, it is best translated as 'unsatisfactory'. The jhanas are 'unsatisfactory' because, in themselves, they are not Nibbana and won't end suffering. Whatever is impermanent cannot bring permanent happiness therefore anything impermanent is 'unsatisfactory' or 'dukkha'.

    Regards
    Thanks Element...

    But my question remains. Why are Jhanas so important in the nikaya tradition?

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esho View Post

    But my question remains. Why are Jhanas so important in the nikaya tradition?
    Hi Esho

    My own explianation to your answer is that the Nikaya tradition is close to the Buddha's message that Dhamma is a description of a path.

    This hinges on the understanding that Humans are not an entity but a process, in the Nikaya's the root cause of the dhukka we experience is ignorance in the sense of just not knowing.

    Looking at this from a slightly more mordern understanding of the human mind and how it works, we create the reality we inhabit, this is because we recieve raw data from our sensory conciousness, the mind makes patterns of the information and compares it to patterns stored in the mind (Sankharas) and then creates a story confirming what we percieve.


    We now call this Framing, there has been a lot of research into framing, it all points to the mind accepting data that confirms beliefs already held, and dismissing or ignoring beliefs that contradict what we believe the world is.

    Which is why we train in meditation to see the data, but not to judge or get caught in the stories, as anyone who has tried meditation will attest, this is not easy.

    So the function of the path which can be characterised as meditation, study and reflection leading to understanding, is to counter the normal human tendency to frame experience, to begin to see things as they really are rather than through a filter of our sankhara's.

    The great difficulty is that our normal mode of operation is persistant, and can be extremely subtle, so the framing gets trickier but still operates.

    Now whether you accept the descriptions of Jhana in the Nikaya'a or the later commentaries, the constant experience of Jhana is that YOU do not do it, the way into jhana is to set up the conditions and to let go into the ride, if you try to get into Jhana it doesn't happen.

    This deep state of conciousness show the mind that "I" doesn't need to be present, infact when "I" gets out of the way there can be deep joy and rapture, very healing to many.

    The important part though is that from this changed perspective, insight can arise, insight into the true nature of reality, not filtered through the normal framing.

    It is this new perspective the nikaya's are pointing too, not the transendental experience that can come in Jhana and why Jhana is seen as so important.

    Jhana in the nikaya's I understand from some teachers is not the deep state of the commentaries, the commentaries came from Monks who were dedicated and skilled in meditation, as such were describing states that are achieved through dedicated practice.

    The Nikaya's describe states that are helpful on the path, for anyone who wants to follow the path.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Esho
    But my question remains. Why are Jhanas so important in the nikaya tradition?

    I found this article by Bhikkhu Bodhi: "The Jhānas and the Lay Disciple According to the Pāli Suttas" ....but I haven't had time to read it, so I don't know if it will be helpful or not.


    https://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha267.htm



  7. #17
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Thanks Aloka and McKmike...


  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esho View Post
    But my question remains. Why are Jhanas so important in the nikaya tradition?
    At least three reasons:

    1. Jhanas include non-sensual pleasant feelings that are much superior to ordinary sensual pleasant feelings. Thus they help overcome sensuality. When sensuality is overcome, there is more spiritual freedom.

    2. Jhanas are a sign of increasing mental purification. Thus, they signify practise is progressing.

    3. Increasing mental purification helps the mind see more clearly for the purpose of vipassana.

    Regards

  9. #19
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    That's OK, thanks Element

  10. #20
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    Thank you Element. Very well said. (Wish I would have said that.)

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