Jhana / Dhyana

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Jackson Wilshire, modified 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 7:21 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 7:21 AM

Jhana / Dhyana

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Forum: Glossary

I'm working on a definition for Jhana (Pali) / Dhyana (Skt) based on some online sources.* Here's what I have so far...

Lit. 'absorption'. Jhana (Pali) / Dhyana (Skt) refers to a stage of meditation, which is a subset of samadhi. In the Theravada tradition, jhana refers primarily to the four meditative absorptions of the fine-material sphere (rupa-jjhana or rupavacara-jjhana). In the Mahayana tradition, dhyana is the fifth of six paramitas (perfections), and is usually synonymous with samadhi in regards to the threefold training of Buddhism: Ethics (sila), Concentration (samadhi / dhyana), and Wisdom (prajna).

Is it too long? Too short? Any suggestions?

Jackson

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jhana
* http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/g_m/jhaana.htm
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Jackson Wilshire, modified 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 4:57 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 4:57 PM

RE: Jhana / Dhyana

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Well, since I haven't gotten any replies I'm going to go ahead and insert the definition. It's still open for revision, of course.

Jackson
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 6:52 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 6:52 PM

RE: Jhana / Dhyana

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Dan_K

I'm not sure how expansive you want this to be, but you could add that dhyana is the root word from which Chán/Zen/Soen are derived, and that it is the seventh limb in Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga. From the Yoga Sutras (as translated by Prabhavananda/Isherwood): Meditation (dhyana) is an unbroken flow of thought toward the object of concentration.
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Jackson Wilshire, modified 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 6:58 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 6:58 PM

RE: Jhana / Dhyana

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Hi Dan. Thanks for chiming in.

I was actually going to add something about the Ch'an/Zen/Soen etymology connection, but as you alluded, the definition is already a bit long. I'll see if I can fit it in without it sounding awkward. Also, as more definitions get inserted, we'll have a better idea of how long this one should be.
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Wet Paint, modified 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 8:15 PM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/9/09 8:15 PM

RE: Jhana / Dhyana

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Dan_K

Hi Jackson,
I'm sure you understand how big of can of worms you are opening by attempting to define this term in a short paragraph :-)
For example, if we include the Patanjali Yoga Sutra definition, dhyana is distinct from samadhi, which is the eighth (and final) limb.
And of course, that that term is used to describe both shamatha and vipassana within the Theravada.
That said, kudos! I think your definition hits the core of the matter, as that is the context in which the term will be used the most often at the Dho.

Dan

edit: of course, not nearly as big as the can of worms for whoever tries to define enlightenment :-) Good luck!
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Jackson Wilshire, modified 13 Years ago at 4/10/09 3:05 AM
Created 13 Years ago at 4/10/09 3:05 AM

RE: Jhana / Dhyana

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Good points.

The nice thing about the new site is that it will have a wiki. The short definitions in the Glossary won't really be a problem if we can linked from that page to the associated wiki for each term (assuming each word will get a page). At that point, short definitions won't even really be needed. It's nice to get a snapshot, thought.

Jackson

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