The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 20 Join Date: 2/20/11 Recent Posts
I began the study of dharma and a daily meditation practice in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta in 1973. A year and a half later I was introduced to the practice of Vipassana Meditation in a ten-day meditation retreat that was led by Robert Hover, who was a student of the Burmese teacher Sayagi U Ba Khin. I have attended about 15 ten-day meditation retreats, and about 40 three to five day retreats from a number of meditation teachers in various traditions. I have also spent 90 days in a Kundalini yoga ashram some years ago (1974), and completed two 3-year solo wilderness retreats (1974-1977 & 2003-2006). I have had a daily meditation practice for almost the whole of the intervening years. The contemplative traditions that I have practiced have been primarily Advaita Vedanta and Theravadan Buddhism. I have recently found an excellent complement to these traditions in Mahamudra and Dzogchen.

The symptoms that I am experiencing in meditation are: within a few minutes of engaging in the observation of the tactile field and breath, my mind begins to settle to stillness, which I understand is the tranquility of the second jhana. Shortly this stillness becomes stable and unmoved by sensory or mental state variations, which I believe is the equanimity of the third jhana. At this point awareness seems to expand, and my concentration becomes more focused, and a kind of energy builds gently along my spine, as my meditation deepens. This energy seems to be consistent with how the terms Kundalini, vîrya, viriya are described in Asian canonical literature.

Soon after the calm is established a series of sensations follow soon after. Typically the sensations I have, other than full body awareness of the surface of my body and the internal organ functions, muscles, circulatory system and connective tissue, is primarily a general full-body vibrator sensation, which is often concentrated in my hands, feet, chest, throat, forehead and top of the head. These phenomena are consistent with how the upper four chakras and stigmata are described by various mystics.

It is my understanding that the generalized full-body vibratory sensation is the aura. The localized concentrations of sensation appear to correspond to the chakras of the yoga tradition. These vibratory sensations are the most dominant tactile sensations, and they are often accompanied by a very loud ringing sound, which often has sufficient intensity as to be nearly deafening. The sound often goes through a series of frequency changes from a cicada like chirping, to ringing, to a roaring, like rain, or a water fall, or perhaps the ocean at a distance, to a high pitched whine, or ring. Many mystics have described such sounds.

There is typically a very gentle bobbing of my head and a gentle swaying of my torso to accompany the above sensations. The bobbing and swaying seems purely autonomic, and appears to be an elastic rebound response in the frame of the body caused by blood pulsing in my legs, torso and neck without the counter balancing effect of tension in the muscles, which have become relaxed, and therefore don't hold the neck and torso in check. I understand this spontaneous movement is called a ‘kriya’ in the yoga traditions.

Often shock waves like a deep shiver also run up my spine at intermittent intervals, at which time my fingers and lips may twitch and my torso becomes very erect, which causes the period of the oscillations of my torso and neck to become more rapid in the same way a guitar string oscillates more rapidly if drawn taut.

In company with the shock waves is usually a sensation of intense ecstasy, which culminates in a sense of luminosity. I believe this is what has been described as kundalini in the yoga literature.

Since I practiced Vipassana meditation in the tradition of Sayagi U Ba Khin, I was introduced to contemplative practice in various forms of body scanning in the tactile field. Over the years I have modified my meditation practice as a consequence of experience, deepening contemplation and broadening awareness.

I have found that scanning is no longer necessary for me, because scanning, like any other concentration technique, seems to serve the primary purpose of occupying the mind until it comes to rest. Since I can settle my mind fairly quickly, I have found I can simply observe the tactile field as a totality without having to force the mind to observe it.

Once I'm observing the whole of the tactile field, then this whole-body vibratory sensation soon emerge. Once I am established in observing the tactile field, I begin to observe the other sense fields simultaneously. I usually add the sense field of sound next, which eventually becomes, as I have said a ringing.

The ringing is really much more a combination of sounds such as ringing, whirring, buzzing, chirping, and a rushing sound much like the wind or a waterfall all at the same time. I believe the ringing in the ears is to the auditory sense, as the vibrations are to the tactile sense. I have found the other senses have their own manifestations of unique expression during these deep absorption states as well. Therefore these charismatic phenomena appear to manifest in their own unique way in each sense field.

In the progression of my daily meditation sits I eventually observe all of the sense fields at once. Simultaneously observing the manifestations of charismatic phenomena in all of the sense fields becomes something like witnessing a symphony of pleasant sensations in all six of the sense fields.

From examining various chapters of the Pali canon, it seems that the trajectory toward enlightenment is to go through a series of altered states of consciousness, which the Buddha called “jhana,” which are a subset of “samadhi.” The descriptions of spiritual ecstasy and enlightenment that are provided by the various mystics seem to indicate that one enters altered states of consciousness, which are absorption states through which we must pass to arrive at nirvana, which is annihilation of the self in the infinite. With little else to go on, my solution has been to just go with the surges of energy and other charismatic manifestations, and to continue to experience the various expansion and unification of awareness and annihilation of identity, which occur for me at random intervals during meditation.

To go deeper into equanimity I have found relinquishing grasping is essential. I have found that grasping clearly hinders the progression of the absorption states, so relinquishing grasping has been central to my practice. In fact I have found that a grasping "event" immediately precedes a mind event, or ripple of disturbance on the otherwise quiet flow of my awareness. Consequently, my mindfulness practice for these decades has been primarily focused upon observing the rising and falling of grasping and aversion in response to the senses, consequently I have endeavored to relinquish my hold or obstruction on the senses.

During the progression of my meditation there is often a bit of a shift in my focus and my breathing at discrete moments, which I flow with spontaneously in the progression of my deepening absorption and corresponding expanding awareness. These shifts in focus and breathing seem to precede the surges of energy up my spine, which can be of sufficient force as to give me the sensation as though I'm going to be lifted off the meditation pillow.

It does seem at times, that if the energy rising up my spine got anymore intense, my brain would pop out of the top of my head. It can be a bit disconcerting at times, but that's when I have decided to practice non-grasping to even the body.

As this energy surges up my spine I undergo a series of shifts in focus, which eventually concludes in a wall of light, which impinges on my psyche to the point of overwhelming my identity. At that moment it seems even identity must be relinquished as well. It seems that the trajectory is to get to a place where one doesn't cling to anything, not even to identity. It is this experience that seems to be what the historic Buddha called unification of consciousness.

I have been meditating 4 to 6 hours a day since 2000. Every time I sit in meditation I enjoy some part or all of the above described sensations. I have found that when I begin and end each day with these pleasant sensations my days and nights are filled with the charismatic sensations, as well as pleasant thoughts, feelings and emotions.

I fill each moment with mindful observation of sensation, and I attentively avoid grasping and aversion. Consequently equanimity pervades or permeates my waking and sleep state. In fact from the moment I first become aware of this body until the moment that sleep overcomes this body I am filled with more happiness and contentment than I have ever felt before. And I am always filled with the sweetest sensation of love, as though I have a new romance, although there is no object for that love. And, I seem to be completely free of any anxiety, neuroses or addictive behavior.

This practice and these sensations have even pervaded my sleep state, because I no longer seem to go unconscious when I rest at night. As I rest the body at night I observe mindfully the progression of my repose, which is a succession of deepening relaxation, and deepening breath, in which I travel out-of-body to various domains of existence, and from which my awareness reemerges at about 4 to 5 AM each morning, at which time I sit to meditate for an hour or so before I begin my day.

The pervasion of my awareness into my sleep domain has also produced a kind of shattering of my sense of reality, as well as my dependence upon a linear time/space domain. My dreams are often so lucid as to be indistinguishable from what we call "waking reality." Consequently, even though I "awake" every morning to this "reality, I have also "awakened" to other seamlessly real and equally engaging realities which are not in this space/time domain, so I call them out-of-body experiences in other dimensions. The consequence is that I cannot with conviction state that this reality is any more real, than the other realities that I encounter. I believe this is of course the realization of much of the material within Advaita Vedanta and Mahamudra, in which the very nature of reality is called into question.

It is a bit disconcerting not knowing to which reality I can "rely" upon, or to which I will find myself in the next moment. This lack of reliance upon a fixed time/space domain has produced a lack of dependence on external references, which has produced a great ambivalence toward the objects of the senses. As a consequence I seem to have no ambition for anything in life. I have no interest in a career. I do not care for an ideal relationship, or acquiring progeny. I have no interest in acquiring anything, such as land, a home or wealth. I have no thought toward acquiring wealth, or a retirement. I do not even care if I get sick, or how long I live. Death could come in the next moment, and it would mean nothing to me. And, interestingly enough, I have no fear of the dark.

Another interesting property of my life, is I can not seem to gain my balance. I often feel ever so slightly off balance. I believe this vertigo is related to the heightened awareness I have developed for my senses. One of the most over-looked senses is our kinesthetic sense, which is where we acquire our sense of balance, and yet it is critical to our species method of bipedal locomotion. I believe the sense of euphoria one experiences during the ecstasies is a heightened awareness of the sense of balance. It is this, perhaps overly acute, awareness of the sense of balance that keeps me feeling slightly off balance almost as though I am drunk.

I am 58 years old and a single parent of two children, who are now grown. In the past my spiritual practice had been something that I had arranged in the quiet times after the children and spouse went off to sleep. The spouse left long ago. My children have all grown and left home. Since then, my energies have been fully directed toward my contemplative life, the guidance of contemplatives who have similar attainments as I do, and the teaching of others how to achieve what I have found in meditation.

May you begin and end each day with bliss, and may your days and nights be filled with joy.

Jeffrey S. Brooks (Jhanananda)
February, 2011, Prescott, AZ, USA

The following is excerpt from My Experience of Meditation (July 23, 2004, last updated February 2011)
Experience of Contemplation
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Jeffrey,

Some years ago, I came across your site - around the same time as I also discovered MCTB and Nanavira's writings and so on. I was doing quite a bit of research.

I admit that, back then, I wrote you off as a "jhana junkie". That was before I had any taste of the jhanas myself, or had any solid notions, based on my own experience, about the developmental process, so that was quite a premature thing to do - but I had to start with something.

So thanks for the concise report. Let's see what I can recognize from your descriptions: here on the DhO, we have a fairly standardized vocabulary, and that may make us unaware of the fact that we often talk about different things when using the same words, so an "outside perspective" like yours should shake things up a bit. I hope others join in as well.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
I began the study of dharma and a daily meditation practice in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta in 1973. A year and a half later I was introduced to the practice of Vipassana Meditation in a ten-day meditation retreat that was led by Robert Hover, who was a student of the Burmese teacher Sayagi U Ba Khin. I have attended about 15 ten-day meditation retreats, and about 40 three to five day retreats from a number of meditation teachers in various traditions. I have also spent 90 days in a Kundalini yoga ashram some years ago (1974), and completed two 3-year solo wilderness retreats (1974-1977 & 2003-2006). I have had a daily meditation practice for almost the whole of the intervening years. The contemplative traditions that I have practiced have been primarily Advaita Vedanta and Theravadan Buddhism. I have recently found an excellent complement to these traditions in Mahamudra and Dzogchen.


I learned some meditation techniques as a child (relaxation stuff along the lines of PMR or autogenic training), liked to play mind games as a child. Had a few "mystical" experiences as a child and later as a teen-ager, while on the out-skirts of charismatic Christianity. Swung over to materialism (but not reductionism - still curious about consciousness, perception, and identity) around the age of twenty, eventually got back to meditation, this time using Buddhist techniques in my mid-thirties. Haven't done any retreats except a few very short (a few days) solo ones - I practise whenever I find the time. Oh, and I read most of the sutta pitaka (out of sheer stubbornness) during these last few years, along with assorted Buddhist and mystical/spiritual writers, remaining atheist all the time (in the sense of "not in possession of any gods").

The symptoms that I am experiencing in meditation are: within a few minutes of engaging in the observation of the tactile field and breath, my mind begins to settle to stillness, which I understand is the tranquility of the second jhana. Shortly this stillness becomes stable and unmoved by sensory or mental state variations, which I believe is the equanimity of the third jhana. At this point awareness seems to expand, and my concentration becomes more focused, and a kind of energy builds gently along my spine, as my meditation deepens. This energy seems to be consistent with how the terms Kundalini, vîrya, viriya are described in Asian canonical literature.


Interesting the way you locate the jhanas. I associate the stillness with first jhana, and the stability and expansion and rising kundalini sensations with second.

Soon after the calm is established a series of sensations follow soon after. Typically the sensations I have, other than full body awareness of the surface of my body and the internal organ functions, muscles, circulatory system and connective tissue, is primarily a general full-body vibrator sensation, which is often concentrated in my hands, feet, chest, throat, forehead and top of the head. These phenomena are consistent with how the upper four chakras and stigmata are described by various mystics.


Body surface stuff indicates third jhana in my way of associating these. Harsh vibrations and chakras acting up, too.

It is my understanding that the generalized full-body vibratory sensation is the aura. The localized concentrations of sensation appear to correspond to the chakras of the yoga tradition. These vibratory sensations are the most dominant tactile sensations, and they are often accompanied by a very loud ringing sound, which often has sufficient intensity as to be nearly deafening. The sound often goes through a series of frequency changes from a cicada like chirping, to ringing, to a roaring, like rain, or a water fall, or perhaps the ocean at a distance, to a high pitched whine, or ring. Many mystics have described such sounds.


I get the sound all the time I am conscious. It's usually in the background, but I can perceive it at will any time, except in very loud surroundings. When meditating, the sound comes into the foreground in what I call the fourth jhana.

There is typically a very gentle bobbing of my head and a gentle swaying of my torso to accompany the above sensations. The bobbing and swaying seems purely autonomic, and appears to be an elastic rebound response in the frame of the body caused by blood pulsing in my legs, torso and neck without the counter balancing effect of tension in the muscles, which have become relaxed, and therefore don't hold the neck and torso in check. I understand this spontaneous movement is called a ‘kriya’ in the yoga traditions.


Not sure if I get that. There certainly is something weird going on with the sense of orientation in what I term 4th jhana. The most common sensation I get is a hard to describe "turning clockwise and counter-clockwise simultaneously", like a narrow tume inserted into a wide one, and the two rotating in different directions.

Often shock waves like a deep shiver also run up my spine at intermittent intervals, at which time my fingers and lips may twitch and my torso becomes very erect, which causes the period of the oscillations of my torso and neck to become more rapid in the same way a guitar string oscillates more rapidly if drawn taut.


Sometimes I seem to enter jhana while dreaming - I've woken up to similar shock waves. Never in sitting meditation, yet.

In company with the shock waves is usually a sensation of intense ecstasy, which culminates in a sense of luminosity. I believe this is what has been described as kundalini in the yoga literature.

Since I practiced Vipassana meditation in the tradition of Sayagi U Ba Khin, I was introduced to contemplative practice in various forms of body scanning in the tactile field. Over the years I have modified my meditation practice as a consequence of experience, deepening contemplation and broadening awareness.

I have found that scanning is no longer necessary for me, because scanning, like any other concentration technique, seems to serve the primary purpose of occupying the mind until it comes to rest. Since I can settle my mind fairly quickly, I have found I can simply observe the tactile field as a totality without having to force the mind to observe it.

Once I'm observing the whole of the tactile field, then this whole-body vibratory sensation soon emerge. Once I am established in observing the tactile field, I begin to observe the other sense fields simultaneously. I usually add the sense field of sound next, which eventually becomes, as I have said a ringing.


Yeah... what happens to the sense of observing itself when these fields integrate?

The ringing is really much more a combination of sounds such as ringing, whirring, buzzing, chirping, and a rushing sound much like the wind or a waterfall all at the same time. I believe the ringing in the ears is to the auditory sense, as the vibrations are to the tactile sense. I have found the other senses have their own manifestations of unique expression during these deep absorption states as well. Therefore these charismatic phenomena appear to manifest in their own unique way in each sense field.


The sound is interesting, I agree. Actually, what I call "vibrations" are just the small, rapid variations in the sound and in tactile sensations.

In the progression of my daily meditation sits I eventually observe all of the sense fields at once. Simultaneously observing the manifestations of charismatic phenomena in all of the sense fields becomes something like witnessing a symphony of pleasant sensations in all six of the sense fields.


... and then? I have found that fusing the observation with the field, so that the effort (for lack of a better word - intention maybe? Directed attention?) and the receptivity approach really closely, become like two sides of the same thing, has remarkable consequences.

How about the formless Jhanas?

Have you called up jhanas in random order?

From examining various chapters of the Pali canon, it seems that the trajectory toward enlightenment is to go through a series of altered states of consciousness, which the Buddha called “jhana,” which are a subset of “samadhi.” The descriptions of spiritual ecstasy and enlightenment that are provided by the various mystics seem to indicate that one enters altered states of consciousness, which are absorption states through which we must pass to arrive at nirvana, which is annihilation of the self in the infinite. With little else to go on, my solution has been to just go with the surges of energy and other charismatic manifestations, and to continue to experience the various expansion and unification of awareness and annihilation of identity, which occur for me at random intervals during meditation.


Have you tried using a kind of curious inquisitive attention to "sweep" the energetic phenomena in the same way body sweeping sweeps body phenomena? I have found that to be very revealing, as well.

To go deeper into equanimity I have found relinquishing grasping is essential. I have found that grasping clearly hinders the progression of the absorption states, so relinquishing grasping has been central to my practice. In fact I have found that a grasping "event" immediately precedes a mind event, or ripple of disturbance on the otherwise quiet flow of my awareness.


It's that way, isn't it? When letting the Jhanas progress on their own, I get that strongest just between what I term first and second jhana.

Consequently, my mindfulness practice for these decades has been primarily focused upon observing the rising and falling of grasping and aversion in response to the senses, consequently I have endeavored to relinquish my hold or obstruction on the senses.

During the progression of my meditation there is often a bit of a shift in my focus and my breathing at discrete moments, which I flow with spontaneously in the progression of my deepening absorption and corresponding expanding awareness. These shifts in focus and breathing seem to precede the surges of energy up my spine, which can be of sufficient force as to give me the sensation as though I'm going to be lifted off the meditation pillow.


I'm familiar with the breath doing stuff like that, usually around what I call second jhana.

It does seem at times, that if the energy rising up my spine got anymore intense, my brain would pop out of the top of my head. It can be a bit disconcerting at times, but that's when I have decided to practice non-grasping to even the body.

As this energy surges up my spine I undergo a series of shifts in focus, which eventually concludes in a wall of light, which impinges on my psyche to the point of overwhelming my identity. At that moment it seems even identity must be relinquished as well. It seems that the trajectory is to get to a place where one doesn't cling to anything, not even to identity. It is this experience that seems to be what the historic Buddha called unification of consciousness.


Are you referring to what is also known as "one-pointedness"?

In my way of talking about this stuff, there is, orthogonal to the progression of the jhanas, a second "axis" designating the quality of concentration, from momentary dips into one-pointed concentration, then a more prolonged "threshold" or "proximity" to this, then the enduring one-pointedness - this is how I use the traditional terms "khanika", "upacara", and "appana" samadhi.

How would you describe your mental state when emerging form what you call "unification consciousness"?

I have been meditating 4 to 6 hours a day since 2000. Every time I sit in meditation I enjoy some part or all of the above described sensations. I have found that when I begin and end each day with these pleasant sensations my days and nights are filled with the charismatic sensations, as well as pleasant thoughts, feelings and emotions.

I fill each moment with mindful observation of sensation, and I attentively avoid grasping and aversion. Consequently equanimity pervades or permeates my waking and sleep state. In fact from the moment I first become aware of this body until the moment that sleep overcomes this body I am filled with more happiness and contentment than I have ever felt before. And I am always filled with the sweetest sensation of love, as though I have a new romance, although there is no object for that love. And, I seem to be completely free of any anxiety, neuroses or addictive behavior.


How would you describe your mode of perception during the day? In what way has it changed during the unfolding of your practice over the past thirty years?

This practice and these sensations have even pervaded my sleep state, because I no longer seem to go unconscious when I rest at night. As I rest the body at night I observe mindfully the progression of my repose, which is a succession of deepening relaxation, and deepening breath, in which I travel out-of-body to various domains of existence, and from which my awareness reemerges at about 4 to 5 AM each morning, at which time I sit to meditate for an hour or so before I begin my day.

The pervasion of my awareness into my sleep domain has also produced a kind of shattering of my sense of reality, as well as my dependence upon a linear time/space domain. My dreams are often so lucid as to be indistinguishable from what we call "waking reality." Consequently, even though I "awake" every morning to this "reality, I have also "awakened" to other seamlessly real and equally engaging realities which are not in this space/time domain, so I call them out-of-body experiences in other dimensions. The consequence is that I cannot with conviction state that this reality is any more real, than the other realities that I encounter. I believe this is of course the realization of much of the material within Advaita Vedanta and Mahamudra, in which the very nature of reality is called into question.

It is a bit disconcerting not knowing to which reality I can "rely" upon, or to which I will find myself in the next moment. This lack of reliance upon a fixed time/space domain has produced a lack of dependence on external references, which has produced a great ambivalence toward the objects of the senses. As a consequence I seem to have no ambition for anything in life. I have no interest in a career. I do not care for an ideal relationship, or acquiring progeny. I have no interest in acquiring anything, such as land, a home or wealth. I have no thought toward acquiring wealth, or a retirement. I do not even care if I get sick, or how long I live. Death could come in the next moment, and it would mean nothing to me. And, interestingly enough, I have no fear of the dark.


Interesting. Maybe Nathan will chime in. Until he does, what do you make of his description in this thread (he posts as "triple think")?

A switch from a semblance of powers to real powers

Another interesting property of my life, is I can not seem to gain my balance. I often feel ever so slightly off balance. I believe this vertigo is related to the heightened awareness I have developed for my senses. One of the most over-looked senses is our kinesthetic sense, which is where we acquire our sense of balance, and yet it is critical to our species method of bipedal locomotion. I believe the sense of euphoria one experiences during the ecstasies is a heightened awareness of the sense of balance. It is this, perhaps overly acute, awareness of the sense of balance that keeps me feeling slightly off balance almost as though I am drunk.


Some meditation-related phenomena can be an awful lot like neurological issues - the inner sound sounds a lot like tinnitus; some nimittas could also be migraine auras, etc. A co-worker, who had a stroke recently, which affected his cerebellum and consequently his balance, was also describing it as "like being slightly drunk all the time". I'm not diagnosing anything, mind you - your description just rang a bell.

I am 58 years old and a single parent of two children, who are now grown. In the past my spiritual practice had been something that I had arranged in the quiet times after the children and spouse went off to sleep. The spouse left long ago. My children have all grown and left home. Since then, my energies have been fully directed toward my contemplative life, the guidance of contemplatives who have similar attainments as I do, and the teaching of others how to achieve what I have found in meditation.

May you begin and end each day with bliss, and may your days and nights be filled with joy.


Thanks!

I hope you like it here on the Dharma Overground.

Cheers,
Florian
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Florian Weps:

Jeffrey S Brooks:
It does seem at times, that if the energy rising up my spine got anymore intense, my brain would pop out of the top of my head. It can be a bit disconcerting at times, but that's when I have decided to practice non-grasping to even the body.

As this energy surges up my spine I undergo a series of shifts in focus, which eventually concludes in a wall of light, which impinges on my psyche to the point of overwhelming my identity. At that moment it seems even identity must be relinquished as well. It seems that the trajectory is to get to a place where one doesn't cling to anything, not even to identity. It is this experience that seems to be what the historic Buddha called unification of consciousness.


Are you referring to what is also known as "one-pointedness"?


To me this sounded like 6th jhana, the sphere of boundless consciousness - I associate that state with a wall of light whose edges stretch to wherever space stretched in the 5th jhana, one where everywhere I turn I only see my own consciousness - and then going to 7th jhana where the consciousness is relinquished to go into sphere of nothingness. Does that sound accurate at all, Jeffrey? (Do you notice space before and nothingness after?)

I'm also curious if you've experienced cessation in any way, aka Fruition or Nirodha Samapatti. Also do any of the stages described in the Progress of Insight sound familiar to you?

From what I understand, simply attaining these jhanic states is not equivalent to enlightenment. The key is to investigate the phenomena that make up these states and the fruits of that investigation is enlightenment. See MN 111 where Sariputta goes up the jhanas, during each jhanic state he investigates what it's made up of:

Buddha:
Whatever qualities there are in the [fourth jhana — a feeling of equanimity, neither pleasure nor pain; an unconcern due to serenity of awareness;[3] singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention —] he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.


Finally after exiting the 8th jhana he enters cessation, and upon exiting mindfully from that attainment, seeing with discernment,
his fermentations were totally ended - and it was the seeing with discernment that allowed that to happen, not merely entering & exiting the cessation.
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 20 Join Date: 2/20/11 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

To me this sounded like 6th jhana, the sphere of boundless consciousness - I associate that state with a wall of light whose edges stretch to wherever space stretched in the 5th jhana, one where everywhere I turn I only see my own consciousness - and then going to 7th jhana where the consciousness is relinquished to go into sphere of nothingness. Does that sound accurate at all, Jeffrey? (Do you notice space before and nothingness after?)

The problem for any discussion in Buddha dhamma is for all concerned to realize that most concepts bandied about in Buddhism are most likely from the commentaries and/or a doubtful translation of the suttas. For instance interpreting any level of samadhi over the 4th as 'jhana' is purely commentarial, and has no suttic support.

The actually Pali term used in the suttas for the 5th stage of samadhi is 'àkàsà-nañc-àyatanaü.' The prefix 'àkàsà' refers to heaven, which is a plane of existence, which suggests an OOBE to me. The suttas that define this level of samadhi further refer to an immaterial existence and a lack of sensory awareness. However, I agree that the experience that I described above from a strong kundalini rise certainly made me think of the 8th samadhi, which is neither-perception-nor-non-perception, 'Nevasannanasannnayatana,' because there was nothing but a dimensionless light that expanded out to infinity.
I'm also curious if you've experienced cessation in any way, aka Fruition or Nirodha Samapatti. Also do any of the stages described in the Progress of Insight sound familiar to you?

I examined the web page at the link you provided and found I do not have much alignment with it. The idea of "Vipassana Jhanas" is strictly commentarial. There is no sutta that describes "Vipassana Jhanas." And, I have found no reason to believe in such an interpretation based on my 40 years of meditation practice.
From what I understand, simply attaining these jhanic states is not equivalent to enlightenment. The key is to investigate the phenomena that make up these states and the fruits of that investigation is enlightenment. See MN 111 where Sariputta goes up the jhanas, during each jhanic state he investigates what it's made up of:

This interpretation of jhana I find is far too cognitive. I have found nothing in Thanisaro's translation work that suggests he has ever had the experience of jhana, or had an experience that he recognized as jhana. For me, when I am in jhana, I am not investigating anything. At that time I am relinquishing all cognitive processes, so there is very little volition to do anything with the state other than to experience it with awareness.

Secondly, while I will agree that a single experience of any level of samadhi is not fully liberating; however, I have found it can be life changing to the point that the contemplative might be inspired to attempt to live a lifestyle that produces the levels of the 8 samadhis on a regular basis. And, I have found that if one meditates to the point of experiencing the 4th jhana every day, then doing so is very liberating, ie the hindrances are eventually brought to rest; however, I have also found this transformation of character can take years, and is not at all instantaneous.

Also, if you examine the Maha-nidana Sutta (DN-15), you will find a description of 8 liberations (attha vimokkha). You will find those 8 liberations are a description of the upper 7 levels of samadhi, plus full liberation (saññá-vedayita-nirodha), which is Nibanna. This means the upper 3 jhanas are the same as the lower three liberations. Thus, jhana 2-4 are the same as liberations 1-3.
Finally after exiting the 8th jhana he enters cessation, and upon exiting mindfully from that attainment, seeing with discernment, his fermentations were totally ended - and it was the seeing with discernment that allowed that to happen, not merely entering & exiting the cessation.
Again, this interpretation of the suttas is far too cognitive for me to agree with, because when I am in samadhi, I am not thinking or "discerning" anything.

The Pali term that is being translated here as discernment is 'upasampajja.' I translate it as 'investigation.' I am not really happy with that term either, because, as I said above, the experience of samadhi is not cognitive; whereas the terms 'discernment' and 'investigation' suggest a cognitive process at work, which cannot be true.
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Jeffrey S Brooks:
The problem for any discussion in Buddha dhamma is for all concerned to realize that most concepts bandied about in Buddhism are most likely from the commentaries and/or a doubtful translation of the suttas. For instance interpreting any level of samadhi over the 4th as 'jhana' is purely commentarial, and has no suttic support.

No doubt. I'm speaking from personal experience here. I think we are splitting hairs when you say ayatana and we say formless realms, and you say they're not jhana and we say they are. That is, we're talking about the same thing. But I'll endeavor to use your terminology when corresponding with you.

What is the difference though? I mean, what exactly is wrong about calling the 5th-8th samadhis 'jhanas'? Meaning, in what way is saying so confusing, which confusion is alleviated by using different terminology? (Or is it a "The Buddha called it this so that's what I will"? That's fine; I'm just speaking from a practical point of view so we can communicate more clearly.)

Jeffrey S Brooks:
However, I agree that the experience that I described above from a strong kundalini rise certainly made me think of the 8th samadhi, which is neither-perception-nor-non-perception, 'Nevasannanasannnayatana,' because there was nothing but a dimensionless light that expanded out to infinity.

I strongly disagree. In the 8th samadhi you have already abandoned those things from the lower samadhis, including all perceptions of form, of space, of consciousness, and of nothingness. If you describe a dimensionless light expanding out to infinity, you not only definitely had perception (and not neither-perception-nor-non-percecption), but also light and a conception of infinity, etc. I can't describe the 8th samadhi very well though so perhaps someone else who has can chime in.

Jeffery S Brooks:
I examined the web page at the link you provided and found I do not have much alignment with it. The idea of "Vipassana Jhanas" is strictly commentarial. There is no sutta that describes "Vipassana Jhanas." And, I have found no reason to believe in such an interpretation based on my 40 years of meditation practice.

Do you simply mean to say that you don't believe those states exist? Or that they do, but they're something that the Buddha never talked about, and therefore a false path? What is your take on cessation? The suttas definitely talk about cessation. I mean total cessation, nirvana, etc., not just the temporary cessation of certain mental factors that getting deep into samadhi accomplishes.

Jeffrey S Brooks:

This interpretation of jhana I find is far too cognitive. I have found nothing in Thanisaro's translation work that suggests he has ever had the experience of jhana, or had an experience that he recognized as jhana. For me, when I am in jhana, I am not investigating anything. At that time I am relinquishing all cognitive processes, so there is very little volition to do anything with the state other than to experience it with awareness.

I believe this is a difference in degree. That is, you have remarkable concentration and hence get fully absorbed in jhana. However, one can be in jhana without as much concentration. I'm reminded of something Leigh Branson said:
Leigh Branson:

The other very surprising thing was that I could examine the factors of the jhana while in these states. Usually, I found that when practicing jhanas in the style I learned from Ayya Khema, all my "bandwidth" was used up in being in the concentrated state. But here, with the totally undistractable nature of these states, I could actually "look" at what I was experiencing while experiencing it. It seems that the relationship of concentration and examination goes something like this:
  • Weak concentration - it is possible to examine the experience because the bandwidth is not used up.
  • Moderate concentration - it is NOT possible to examine the experience because the bandwidth IS used up.
  • Strong concentration - it is possible to examine the experience because the state is so stable and self sustaining on its own
  • Visuddhimagga concentration - it is NOT possible to examine the experience because of the total absorption

I must say that now suttas like MN 111 where Sariputta describes his insight into the jhana factors makes a great deal more sense to me now.

Heh interesting he mentions that exact sutta - I didn't realize that before.

Jeffrey S Brooks:

Secondly, while I will agree that a single experience of any level of samadhi is not fully liberating; however, I have found it can be life changing to the point that the contemplative might be inspired to attempt to live a lifestyle that produces the levels of the 8 samadhis on a regular basis. And, I have found that if one meditates to the point of experiencing the 4th jhana every day, then doing so is very liberating, ie the hindrances are eventually brought to rest; however, I have also found this transformation of character can take years, and is not at all instantaneous.

I can indeed see how experiencing so much jhana daily would cause hindrances to diminish. However, it seems like Buddha really emphasized clear seeing, seeing things as they are, discernment, right thinking, right view, right intent, etc. That's what Enlightenment is, as I understand it - seeing things as they are. I don't see how abiding in 4th jhana and not examining it would lead to fundamental insights. The fetters are demolished when ignorance is demolished, and you cure ignorance with clear seeing, not by abiding in certain temporary states, though the latter is certainly a beneficial practice. This is why I am keen on knowing more about your experiences, as you say you eliminated the 10 fetters, so how did you do so / come to realize you had done so in your 40 years of practice?

Jeffrey S Brooks:

Finally after exiting the 8th jhana he enters cessation, and upon exiting mindfully from that attainment, seeing with discernment, his fermentations were totally ended - and it was the seeing with discernment that allowed that to happen, not merely entering & exiting the cessation.
Again, this interpretation of the suttas is far too cognitive for me to agree with, because when I am in samadhi, I am not thinking or "discerning" anything.

You will notice the quote says "upon exiting mindfully from that attainment". There is no consciousness or perception in cessation, so of course Sariputta would not discern anything while in cessation, but his discernment on the entrance and exit gave him the insight necessary to end his ignorance.
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 20 Join Date: 2/20/11 Recent Posts
Florian Weps:
Hi Jeffrey,

Some years ago, I came across your site ...I admit that, back then, I wrote you off as a "jhana junkie". That was before I had any taste of the jhanas myself, or had any solid notions, based on my own experience, about the developmental process, so that was quite a premature thing to do - but I had to start with something.


Hello Flroian, it is a pleasure to reconnect with you and receive a respectful response after so many years. I have been called "jhana junkie," “Bliss Bunny” and many other disrespectful terms in the 10 years that I have taken my work to the web. It is remarkable to me that Buddhists are so disrespectful of those who choose to lead a rigorous self-aware contemplative life, but I just mark these kinds of responses up to jhana-envy. It is good to find that you have matured since we last exchanged messages.

So thanks for the concise report. Let's see what I can recognize from your descriptions: here on the DhO, we have a fairly standardized vocabulary, and that may make us unaware of the fact that we often talk about different things when using the same words, so an "outside perspective" like yours should shake things up a bit. I hope others join in as well.


One of the things to get about jhana, is there is no agreement about what it is. Mainstream Buddhists interpret jhana and samadhi as just “concentration.” This only proves to me that these people have never experienced jhana, because the experience of jhana is ecstatic, blissful and joyful, and the suttas support this in defining it with terms like ‘piti’ and ‘sukha.’

Interesting the way you locate the jhanas. I associate the stillness with first jhana, and the stability and expansion and rising kundalini sensations with second.


So, while you interpret the first jhana as the stilling of the mind, don’t you think the tranquility (passaddhi) that defines the second jhana in the suttas is the stilling of the mind? If not, then what is tranquility (passaddhi), if it is not the stilling of the mind?

Body surface stuff indicates third jhana in my way of associating these. Harsh vibrations and chakras acting up, too...I get the sound all the time I am conscious. It's usually in the background, but I can perceive it at will any time, except in very loud surroundings. When meditating, the sound comes into the foreground in what I call the fourth jhana.


I agree with you that the third jhana is characterized by “Body surface stuff,” chakras, aura, etc. However, I find it is really various sensory phenomena that are not the product of sensory stimulation, and occurs in all of the senses, so it could also include such phenomena of visual or auditory nature, etc., as the sound you mentioned.

I found that if I use these phenomena as my meditation object as they arise in meditation, then I am taken deeper into contemplation (samadhi). And, like you I find these sounds accompany me all day long, but even in loud situations, such as emergency vehicle sirens. But, I find all of the charismatic phenomena accompanies me all day long, and I find it very comforting.

You mentioned kundalini just arising in the first jhana. Now, I study charismatic phenomena cross-culturally, and I happen to know that almost everyone who uses the term ‘kundalini these days, since Gopi Krishna’s work, has no idea what kundalini is. So, I did some research on the subject and found that the Sanskrit term “kundalini” did not appear in early Hindu literature. It came much later.

The term that is commonly translated as ‘kundalini’ from the Yoga Sutras and Bhagavad Gita is ‘viriya.’ If you are familiar with Pali, then you will know that the term ‘vîrya’ appears in the suttas and is commonly translated as ‘energy.’ As a rigorous contemplative, who has spent a great deal of time in the 8 stages of samadhi I know that energy builds from the first jhana and becomes exponentially powerful as one moves from the fourth jhana and into the fifth samadhi. You may find reading my essay, and/or viewing my video on this subject at the following URLs:

Energy, Kundalini, vîrya, viriya Understanding the Charismatic Experience

Kundalini Video:

Not sure if I get that. There certainly is something weird going on with the sense of orientation in what I term 4th jhana. The most common sensation I get is a hard to describe "turning clockwise and counter-clockwise simultaneously", like a narrow tume inserted into a wide one, and the two rotating in different directions.


Yes, one of the kinesthetic charismatic phenomena that I experience is the "turning clockwise and counter-clockwise simultaneously" that you described. And, I agree with the kinesthetic charismatic phenomena seems to arise most notably in the fourth jhana; however, I experience it all day long now that I meditate several hours every day. I also found that the kinesthetic charismatic phenomena seems to be related to the OOBE.

Sometimes I seem to enter jhana while dreaming - I've woken up to similar shock waves. Never in sitting meditation, yet.


Yes, I too have often “dreamt” I was meditating, and doing so took me into deep ecstasies (samadhi). One who meditates a lot is likely to take it into the “dream-scape.” Just as one who does anything a lot will take it into the “dream-scape.” Thus, a dedicated rigorous contemplative is likely to take that contemplative life into the sleep domain. I believe this is precisely is what is meant by the “death-less (amatta) in the suttas.

Yeah... what happens to the sense of observing itself when these fields integrate?


I find that most contemplative traditions these days simply do not understand the 8 stages of contemplation (samadhi). So, they make it all much too cognitive.

I believe the important thing to get about meditation is that it is not an end in itself, but is a cognitive mental exercise that is intended to lead to an altered state of consciousness that is characterized by the cessation of the cognitive processes and the arising of ecstatic and charismatic phenomena, which was called ‘contemplation’ by the Christian mystics, like Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, and ‘samadhi’ by Buddhist and Hindu yogis. Calling samadhi ‘concentration’ is a classic example of how this altered state of consciousness is commonly misinterpreted in Buddhism today.

Thus, while contemplation (samadhi) is an altered state of consciousness, it is not without awareness. In fact I find in this state I am hyper-self-aware, but I am not engaged at that time in some cognitive mental exercise of body scanning, or reflecting upon the three marks, etc.

How about the formless Jhanas?


The suttas do not use the term “formless” or “arupa-Jhanas.” This comes from the commentaries Abhidhamma and Visuddhimagga. In the suttas they are referred with a common suffix ‘-ayatana’ so I call them the ‘ayatanas.’ Yes, I have experienced the immaterial domains or ayatanas many times. And, since I meditate when the body sleeps at night every night, then I spend all night in the ayatanas.

Have you called up jhanas in random order? ... Have you tried using a kind of curious inquisitive attention to "sweep" the energetic phenomena in the same way body sweeping sweeps body phenomena? I have found that to be very revealing, as well.”


When I meditate, no, I just drop into the fourth jhana; however, decades ago when I was beginning to experience these phenomena, then I found the 4 jhanas were linear, meaning the first led to the second and so on. Your question also suggests moving about the jhanas as if they were a mental jungle gym. Now, I find such an interpretation of jhana to be far to cognitive. I find instead my experience of the 8 samadhi states is they are progressively less cognitive. So, I have just meditated for depth for these nearly 40 years, and have always let the process just unfold on its own naturally.

How would you describe your mode of perception during the day? In what way has it changed during the unfolding of your practice over the past thirty years?


My “mode of perception during the day” has been directed toward keeping the mind still, while being self-aware, and especially self-aware of the charismatic phenomena that arises during my daily contemplations (samadhi). Thus, I keep the mind still, and the charisms with me all day long.

Some meditation-related phenomena can be an awful lot like neurological issues - the inner sound sounds a lot like tinnitus; some nimittas could also be migraine auras, etc. A co-worker, who had a stroke recently, which affected his cerebellum and consequently his balance, was also describing it as "like being slightly drunk all the time". I'm not diagnosing anything, mind you - your description just rang a bell.


I agree with you, there are various neurological conditions that are similar to the charisms. In fact the condition “Saint Vitas Dance," was named because a neurologist thought the condition resembled the description of the kriyas that Saint Vitas experienced in his religious ecstasies.

The key here is tinnitus is caused by damage to the hearing apparatus through a head injury, or cold, or flu or loud noises. It typically manifests on one side, and it does not grow stronger during meditation. Whereas, the nimitta, or charisms of sound is not caused by damage to the hearing apparatus, tends to be in both ears, or in the center of the head or in all directions, and becomes louder during meditation. You can read an essay and watch a video on this subject at these URLs.

Clairaudience or Charismatic hearing or the Divine Ear and meditation induced tinnitus (May 9, 2004)
Clairaudience Video:
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Jeffrey S Brooks:
One of the things to get about jhana, is there is no agreement about what it is. Mainstream Buddhists interpret jhana and samadhi as just “concentration.” This only proves to me that these people have never experienced jhana, because the experience of jhana is ecstatic, blissful and joyful, and the suttas support this in defining it with terms like ‘piti’ and ‘sukha.’

I agree... they are definitely very distinct altered states (especially formless /ayatana jhanas). I think the understanding of jhana at DhO matches yours more than it matches those who say it's "just concentration". This thread might be interesting to read - it goes into that particular topic a bit ("just concentration") along with many others.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
Now, I study charismatic phenomena cross-culturally
Out of curiosity - whence the term "charismatic"?

Jeffrey S Brooks:
I believe the important thing to get about meditation is that it is not an end in itself, but is a cognitive mental exercise that is intended to lead to an altered state of consciousness that is characterized by the cessation of the cognitive processes and the arising of ecstatic and charismatic phenomena, which was called ‘contemplation’ by the Christian mystics, like Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, and ‘samadhi’ by Buddhist and Hindu yogis. Calling samadhi ‘concentration’ is a classic example of how this altered state of consciousness is commonly misinterpreted in Buddhism today.


Hmm here is where I guess I will either agree or disagree with you at the same time, depending on what your goals are. I agree meditation is not an end to itself - there's no point to sit there and meditate for the sake of meditating (with no other goal). And I agree that the goal of concentration meditation is as you said - to lead to an altered state of consciousness that is characterized by the cessation of the cognitive processes and the arising of ecstatic and charismatic phenomena. However, I would not say that accessing these pleasant states of absorption is the end in and of itself... as you noticed, the states of absorption are temporary. The goal would be unbinding... happiness or calmness or whatnot independent of conditions... enlightenment. Thus I would not say the goal of meditation is to access these states, but to become enlightened, and one does that with the help of these states, which help because it puts you in a good position to do something like reflect upon the three marks.

I'm definitely interested in hearing more about your experiences, especially on how you came to eliminate all ten fetters.
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Jacob Henry St. Onge Casavant, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 698 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
I think Jeffrey has very specific definitions of "meditation", "contemplation" and other terms Claudiu, which may be causing some confusion. I suspect that what he's referring to in the passage you quote is not what is generally meant, loosely, by the term "meditation" but rather has a precise technical meaning to Jeffrey. I could be completely off-base on this, it's just the impression I've gotten ;-)
--Jake
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 20 Join Date: 2/20/11 Recent Posts
Jacob Henry St. Onge Casavant:
I think Jeffrey has very specific definitions of "meditation", "contemplation" and other terms Claudiu, which may be causing some confusion. I suspect that what he's referring to in the passage you quote is not what is generally meant, loosely, by the term "meditation" but rather has a precise technical meaning to Jeffrey. I could be completely off-base on this, it's just the impression I've gotten ;-)
--Jake
I agree with Jake here. While I can understand that it can be very confusing to have to learn every teacher's lexicon; however, I have an English degree, and I have studied the major mystics of the major religions, so I am very specific in my use of terminology; however, I find I have to disagree with many terms that are used by Buddhist translators. So, let me define my terms:

Meditation = 'sati' (Pali), 'smrti' (Sanskrit). Meditation is a cognitive mental exercise of concentration and mindful, self-awareness.

Contemplation = 'jhana' (Pali) + samadhi (Sanskrit). Contemplation is an altered state of consciousness that is characterized by ecstatic and charismatic phenomena, such as bliss, joy and ecstasy. I use this term in the same way Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross used it and Patanjali and Siddhartha Gautama used samadhi, and jhana by Siddhartha Gautama.

Charism, charismatic = jhana-nimitta (Pali). Sensory phenomena that is not the product of sensory stimulation, and it arises from leading a contemplative life that produces Contemplation. Therefore Charisms require the presence of Contemplation.

Concentration = a cognitive state of applied attention upon an object, process, or concept. It is not Contemplation, jhana, or samadhi, but is a reasonable interpretation or aspect of sati and smrti.

Insight = 'vipassana' (Sanskrit). Insight is a subjective state that is intuitive and revelatory, and not at all cognitive. It is the product of attaining Contemplation. Insight (vipassana) is not a meditation technique that was described by the Buddha. There is no place in the suttas where the term 'vipassana' refers to a meditation technique.

Shamata (Sanskrit) = is a synonym for 'jhana' (Pali) and samadhi (Sanskrit), therefore it refers to Contemplation. Shamata is not a meditation technique that was described by the Buddha. There is no place in the suttas where the term 'Shamata' refers to a meditation technique.

Fruit of Attainment = phala (Sanskrit) The Samaññaphala Sutta (DN 2) describes a number of fruits that are the product of following the Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path. Shamata and vipassana are two of those fruits (phala). They are not paths (magga).

Path = magga (Pali) a path is a method or technique or lifestyle. It is different from a Fruit of Attainment. Path (Magga) does not at all mean Fruit of Attainment (phala). Path leads to Fruit of Attainment (phala) but they are not the same thing.
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Jeffrey,

Thanks for your reply. I'm not sure we even exchanged mails back then, I remember reading your website - if we did, and I offended you, I'm truly sorry.

Regarding jhana-envy: what would the parallel reaction be (analogous to castration anxiety)? Anxiety of losing Jhana? ;)

1st Jhana: I don't equate stilling the mind with first jhana, more the other way around, a stilled/calm/composed, mind is one of the hallmarks of jhana.

Passadhi - isn't that one of the seven factors of awakening, rather than a jhana factor? Have you found a nice way of mapping the Jhanas onto the seven factors? I like finding these deep correspondences a lot, and am curious about what you have discovered.

Dropping straight into 4th Jhana - I'm familiar with that. In fact, the first jhana I ever experienced "hard" was 4th.

Can you say a bit more about those mindstate shifts you experience during meditation? I experience something that might be described like that, and associate it with crossing between individual jhanas, most markedly at the entrance of second.

Viriya, energy, kundalini - I use these words pretty much interchangeably, probably to the horror of kundalini experts.

Yeah, the words meditation and contemplation seem to be used in radically different ways in the various traditions. In Christianity, if I remember correctly, they have reversed roles compared to Buddhism.

Let's talk about the elephant in the living room? You probably noticed that "Mahasi cessation" is a much discussed and reported phenomenon here on DhO. What's your take on this way of framing stream entry and the subsequent paths? Related to this question, how do you interpret suttas where the jhanas (including the ayatana states) are described as some kind of preview of nibbana, enabling one to conjecture about nibbna, but not the real thing? For example Nibbana Sutta, where nibbana doesn't have feelings or any of the "strings of sensuality"?

Cheers,
Florian
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 20 Join Date: 2/20/11 Recent Posts
Florian Weps:
Hi Jeffrey, Thanks for your reply...1st Jhana: I don't equate stilling the mind with first jhana, more the other way around, a stilled/calm/composed, mind is one of the hallmarks of jhana.

No, the hallmark of all four jhanas is the presence of bliss (piiti) and joy (sukha).
Passadhi - isn't that one of the seven factors of awakening, rather than a jhana factor? Have you found a nice way of mapping the Jhanas onto the seven factors? I like finding these deep correspondences a lot, and am curious about what you have discovered.

Yes, Passadhi is the fifth Factor of Enlightenment (bojjhanga). It is also the defining quality of the second jhana.
[quote=Buddha Maha-satipatthana Sutta (DN 22.22)
(2nd Jhana)]originating from (ekodibhàvaü) withdrawal, clear intention (vitakkavicàrànaü våpasamà) and a noble tranquil mind (sampasàdanaü cetaso), and in the absence of applied and sustained attention (avitakkaü avicàraü) with absorption (samàdhijaü) in bliss and joy (pãtisukhaü), one resides (viharati) in the clarity (upasampajja) of the second ecstasy (dutiyaü jhànaü).
Translated from the Pali by Jhananda 11-02-06
Can you say a bit more about those mindstate shifts you experience during meditation? I experience something that might be described like that, and associate it with crossing between individual jhanas, most markedly at the entrance of second.

Not really, that is just what I experience. I find there can be some pretty "hard" transitions from one phase of contemplation to the next.
Let's talk about the elephant in the living room? You probably noticed that "Mahasi cessation" is a much discussed and reported phenomenon here on DhO. What's your take on this way of framing stream entry and the subsequent paths? Related to this question, how do you interpret suttas where the jhanas (including the ayatana states) are described as some kind of preview of nibbana, enabling one to conjecture about nibbna, but not the real thing? For example Nibbana Sutta, where nibbana doesn't have feelings or any of the "strings of sensuality"?

Cheers,
Florian

As I have already stated I find there is far too much cognitive language in Buddhist descriptions of the 8 stages of samadhi. I would not describe the 8 stages of samadhi. as some kind of "preview" of nibbana or an opportunity to "conjecture" about nibbana, while in contemplation. I would describe them as shades of gray leading to completion.

While I am very familiar with the suttas I am not at all familiar with "Mahasi cessation" or the lingo of DhO.
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Jeffrey S Brooks:
Florian Weps:
Hi Jeffrey, Thanks for your reply...1st Jhana: I don't equate stilling the mind with first jhana, more the other way around, a stilled/calm/composed, mind is one of the hallmarks of jhana.

No, the hallmark of all four jhanas is the presence of bliss (piiti) and joy (sukha).

As I understand and experience it, piti and sukha fade upon entering the 4th jhana... can you cite the sutta where 4th jhana is described as still having piti and sukha?

Jeffrey S Brooks:
As I have already stated I find there is far too much cognitive language in Buddhist descriptions of the 8 stages of samadhi. I would not describe the 8 stages of samadhi. as some kind of "preview" of nibbana or an opportunity to "conjecture" about nibbana, while in contemplation. I would describe them as shades of gray leading to completion.

The way I'm interpreting your words (correct me if I'm wrong) is that by there being too much cognitive language in the suttas (which suttas do you agree with and which do you disagree with, by the way?), you mean that it seems like they are talking about a rational, intellectual process. Like "oh look at this factor, and i remember it arising! that's interesting, let's think about the implications of this" in as many words. I believe that's not what they mean at all - they mean just seeing what arises and passes away as it happens. No cognitive effort required, simply mindful attention.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
While I am very familiar with the suttas I am not at all familiar with "Mahasi cessation" or the lingo of DhO.

Are you familiar with/have you experienced the cessation described in the suttas? Either saññá-vedayita-nirodha or nirodha-samapatti? You said you have eliminated all 10 fetters, so you must have attained the Fruition of each of the four paths. Can you describe your experience of those Fruitions? Like for each one, what led to it, what was different before/after, how did you view the world differently, etc. I'm curious as I've heard about fruitions here, and while the fruition of stream entry seems to match the 10-fetter model, the fruition of the other paths we have described here doesn't so well, so I'm curious to hear about one's experience who does match the 10-fetter model.

About Fruit of Path vs. Path, that is just loose lingo on our part I guess. We say "I got 2nd path" to mean "I got the fruition of 2nd path".
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

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Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

As I understand and experience it, piti and sukha fade upon entering the 4th jhana... can you cite the sutta where 4th jhana is described as still having piti and sukha?

Beoman and Flroian, it is my experience that the 8 stages of samadhi are all blissful. And, Piiti appears in most suttic descriptions of the third jhana. However, just because piiti is not mentioned in the suttic descriptions of the fourth jhana and above does not mean it is not present, because bliss (piiti) is a factor of Enlightenment (bojjhanga), it therefore can never disappear in the trajectory toward and during enlightenment (nibanna), according to the teaching of the Buddha in the sutta pitaka.

Maha-satipatthana Sutta (DN 22.22):

(3rd Jhana)
Residing in (viharati) bliss (Pãtiyà), dispassion (viràgà) and equanimity (upekkhako); and with a luminous (sampajàno) joy-filled body (sukha°Ëca kàyena) a noble one (ariya) proclaims a joyful abiding in the equanimity and mindfulness and clarity (upasampajja) of the third ecstasy (jhana).
Translated from the Pali by Jhananda 11-02-06

The Noble Search:

Ariyapariyesana Sutta (MN 26.28)
Translated from the Pali by Jhananda 11-02-06
(3rd Jhana)
"Then again seekers of Buddhahood (bhikkhave bhikkhu), Residing in (viharati) bliss (Pãtiyà), dispassion (viràgà) and equanimity (upekkhako); and with a luminous (sampajàno) joy-filled body (sukha°Ëca kàyena) a noble one (ariya) proclaims a joyful abiding (sukhavihàrãti) in the equanimity (upekkhako) and mindfulness (satimà) and clarity (upasampajja) of the third ecstasy (jhana). seekers of Buddhahood (bhikkhave bhikkhu) is said to have blinded Mara. Trackless, he has destroyed Mara's vision and has become invisible to the Evil One.
Translated from the Pali by Jhananda

The way I'm interpreting your words (correct me if I'm wrong) is that by there being too much cognitive language in the suttas (which suttas do you agree with and which do you disagree with, by the way?), you mean that it seems like they are talking about a rational, intellectual process. Like "oh look at this factor, and i remember it arising! that's interesting, let's think about the implications of this" in as many words. I believe that's not what they mean at all - they mean just seeing what arises and passes away as it happens. No cognitive effort required, simply mindful attention.

No I never said, “there (is) too much cognitive language in the suttas.” I am saying, there is too much cognitive language in the interpretation and translation of the suttic descriptions of the 8 stages of samadhi, because the suttas are clearly not talking about a rational or intellectual process, but a subjective self-arising phenomena that is the product of leading a rigorous, self-aware contemplative life. However, I would agree with "just seeing what arises and passes away as it happens. No cognitive effort required, simply mindful attention." But, that is not how I am reading how at least some people here are expressing it.
Are you familiar with/have you experienced the cessation described in the suttas? Either saññá-vedayita-nirodha or nirodha-samapatti? You said you have eliminated all 10 fetters, so you must have attained the Fruition of each of the four paths. Can you describe your experience of those Fruitions? Like for each one, what led to it, what was different before/after, how did you view the world differently, etc. I'm curious as I've heard about fruitions here, and while the fruition of stream entry seems to match the 10-fetter model, the fruition of the other paths we have described here doesn't so well, so I'm curious to hear about one's experience who does match the 10-fetter model.

Well, your inquiry is still a bit lingo-heavy for me, but I will answer your questions as I understand them.

The Four Stages of Enlightenment of noble beings (s. ariya-puggala) is defined throughout the suttas in terms of being free of the fetters. See below:

stream winner (Sotapanna) has eradicated the 1st 3 fetters: Narcissism & clan identification (sakkaya-ditthi), Skeptical doubt (vicikiccha), and Clinging to rules, rights and rituals (silabbata-paramasa); will be enlightened in seven lives or less

once returner (Sakadágámi) has eradicated the 1st 3 & weakened the 4th and 5th fetters: erotic craving (kama-raga) & Ill-will or aversion (vyapada)

Non-return (Anágámi) has eradicated the first five fetters

enlightened, saint (Arahatta) has eradicated all 10 fetters, the above plus: Craving for material existence (rupa-raga), Craving for immaterial existence (arupa-raga), Conceit (mana), Restlessness (uddhacca), & Ignorance (avija)

Now, while the suttas do not make a definite relationship to the four stages of of Enlightenment of noble beings (s. ariya-puggala) to jhana attainment, it is nonetheless suggested in a jhana oriented interpretation of the suttas. Also, it has been my experience that when I am able to manifest the first jhana every time I meditate, and I meditate several times a day, then I have eradicated the 1st 3 fetters, and so forth. My case histories also support this finding. However, I must point out that a single experience of any of the 8 stages of samadhi does not result in any of the Four Stages of Enlightenment of noble beings (s. ariya-puggala), but we could say this person has entered the stream, if we are willing to consider that the "stream" is samadhi. I experience the fourth jhana every time I meditate and I meditate several times a day. It just so happens I am completely free of the 10 fetters. This means I have no craving for anything. In a western context, this means I have no addictions, nor any neuroses.

Now, you asked about saññá-vedayita-nirodha. It means "complete liberation from sensory perception," and it is understood to be equal to nibanna. It is often interpreted in Buddhism as an unconscious, black void state. However, this makes no sense. If it were true we could call every dead person an 'Arahatta.' I have found when one has negotiated all 8 stages of samadhi, and experiences at least the 4th jhana every time one meditates, and one experiences this every day, then one has very little attachment to the cognitive components of identity.

Also, one who experiences any of the 4 immaterial samadhis (arupa), is most certainly eradicating their hold upon the physical universe and the sensory domain. When I rest the body at night, then I spend the whole night in the immaterial domains, and I move about their freely, and I move about just as freely through space/time. I have found for such a person space and time has no meaning. I believe we could thus say such a person has arrived at saññá-vedayita-nirodha.

However, it was my experience that this was not just a single meditation experience, or moment in time, but the culmination of spending a great deal of time in the 8 stages of samadhi, which is every day for decades, and this so unhinged my time/space domain that I can never tell where I am in space time when I transition from one to the next domain until I give it some time to integrate. Thus, the sensory domain has no hold upon me, and therefore I have arrived at saññá-vedayita-nirodha.
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

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Jeffrey S Brooks:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

As I understand and experience it, piti and sukha fade upon entering the 4th jhana... can you cite the sutta where 4th jhana is described as still having piti and sukha?

Beoman and Flroian, it is my experience that the 8 stages of samadhi are all blissful.

I think we're just mixing up terminology here again... they're all certainly pleasant to be in, but when I'm in the 4th jhana and the ayatanas I don't feel joy and bliss to the large extent that i do in 2nd and 3rd jhanas.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
And, Piiti appears in most suttic descriptions of the third jhana. However, just because piiti is not mentioned in the suttic descriptions of the fourth jhana and above does not mean it is not present...

You make it sound like an accident that it isn't mentioned! =P. However, it's not only that it isn't mentioned - it's actively described as fading! From MN111:

Buddha:

3] "Here, bhikkhus, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, Sariputta entered upon and abided in the first Jhana, which is accompanied by thinking and examining thought, with joy and happiness born of seclusion.

So far, so good - joy (piti) and happiness (sukha) present in 1st jhana.
Buddha:

...
5] "Again, bhikkhus, with the stilling of thinking and examining thought, Sariputta entered and abided in the second Jhana, which has self-confidence and stillness of mind without thinking and examining thought, with joy and happiness born of unification.

Yep, still present in 2nd jhana...
Buddha:

...
7] "Again, bhikkhus, with the fading away as well of joy, Sariputta abided in equanimity, and mindful, and fully aware, still feeling happiness with his body, he entered upon and abided in the third Jhana, on account of which noble ones announce: ‘He has a pleasant abiding who has equanimity and is mindful’.

Written plain as day... joy (piti) fades upon entering 3rd jhana, while happiness (sukha) remains.
Buddha:

...
9] "Again, bhikkhus, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, with the previous disappearance of joy and grief, Sariputta entered upon and abided in the fourth Jhana, which has neither-pleasure-nor-pain and purity of mindfulness due to equanimity.

Here any pleasure (along with pain) is also gone, leaving neither-pleasure-nor-pain. Also from my own experience, 2nd jhana is very intensely pleasureful everywhere in the body, 3rd jhana is lightly pleasurable everywhere in the body in a more subtle but still nice way, and 4th jhana either has no bodily pleasure at all (if i'm in it deep) or very faint traces of it (if i'm in it lightly). it's certainly a calm state to be in, but not what i would describe blissful.

Could you describe what you experience as you go through the jhanas nowadays? As in, go into more details on how you find them all blissful, as maybe you just mean that they're pleasant states to be in(?). And what differences do you find among them? Like how do you know whether you have moved onto third or are still in second? Not necessarily in the moment, as one's attention is taken up then, but looking back, at least.

Jeffrey S Brooks:

...because bliss (piiti) is a factor of Enlightenment (bojjhanga), it therefore can never disappear in the trajectory toward and during enlightenment (nibanna), according to the teaching of the Buddha in the sutta pitaka.

I don't know much about the factors of enlightenment. As the sutta pitaka consists of more than 10000 suttas, i couldn't look for a particular reference there - can you show me where it's mentioned that piti never disappears at any point on the path towards enlightenment, including when in the 4th jhanas and the ayatanas?

Jeffrey S Brooks:

Now, while the suttas do not make a definite relationship to the four stages of of Enlightenment of noble beings (s. ariya-puggala) to jhana attainment, it is nonetheless suggested in a jhana oriented interpretation of the suttas.

Could you expound upon this interpretation and how you came upon it?

Jeffrey S Brooks:

Also, it has been my experience that when I am able to manifest the first jhana every time I meditate, and I meditate several times a day, then I have eradicated the 1st 3 fetters, and so forth.

Hmm perhaps we have a different definition of eradicated... by my understanding, eradication of a fetter means that it is unconditionally gone. It has fully disappeared from that person, and it is impossible to re-arise in that person. Thus if you say the fetter is only gone when one meditates daily up to the first jhana, that wouldn't be eradication, that would be attenuation.

I haven't seen anywhere that Enlightenment is referred to as something conditional, e.g. you are Enlightened so long as you meditate daily, but if you don't, you become un-Enlightened. That doesn't make it sound too great at all! Buddha always said his state was unexcelled and lots of other superlatives.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
My case histories also support this finding. However, I must point out that a single experience of any of the 8 stages of samadhi does not result in any of the Four Stages of Enlightenment of noble beings (s. ariya-puggala), but we could say this person has entered the stream, if we are willing to consider that the "stream" is samadhi.

If we define the stream as jhana, then yep, first jhana would literally be "stream-entry". I don't believe that's what whoever came up with that metaphor had in mind, though... so let's ignore that for now.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
I experience the fourth jhana every time I meditate and I meditate several times a day. It just so happens I am completely free of the 10 fetters.

I know it's just a turn of phrase but you make it sound accidental! When did you realize you had eradicated the last five fetters? Did it happen gradually over a particular period of time? Did they disappear simultaneously?

Maybe this exercise would help. Start with now, and ask - am I free of all 10 fetters now? Answer is yes. Think back to your childhood, ask - was I free of all 10 fetters then? The answer is no. Then just converge, going back in the past from now and forward in future from then, and see when it was that each of the 10 fetters were gone. Did they go in groups like suggested by the 4-path 10-fetter model?

Jeffrey S Brooks:
This means I have no craving for anything. In a western context, this means I have no addictions, nor any neuroses.

As you said you stream entry was dependent upon your daily meditations, is your Arahatship also dependent upon daily meditation? What would happen if you stopped meditating for a week (and I encourage you to do it if you want to see whether those fetters are really gone)? Would neuroses re-arise?

Jeffrey S Brooks:
Now, you asked about saññá-vedayita-nirodha. It means "complete liberation from sensory perception," and it is understood to be equal to nibanna. It is often interpreted in Buddhism as an unconscious, black void state. However, this makes no sense. If it were true we could call every dead person an 'Arahatta.'
...
Thus, the sensory domain has no hold upon me, and therefore I have arrived at saññá-vedayita-nirodha.

I don't know much Pali, but isn't nirodha more accurately rendered as "extinction"? Thus it would be "extinction of perception and feeling". As perception itself is extinguished, I don't believe one could walk about while in said (non-)state. It would not be a black void state either, as recognizing anything as black or void requires perception.

It's also constantly mentioned in the suttas, for example, again from MN 111:
MN 111:
Furthermore, with the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, Sariputta entered & remained in the cessation of feeling & perception. Seeing with discernment, his fermentations were totally ended. He emerged mindfully from that attainment.

Thus it is an attainment that one enters in and then exits from. Also note-worthy is that while Sariputta investigated the factors making up the jhanas and ayatanas while residing in them prior to that, he did not investigate the factors while in the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, or in the cessation of feeling & perception.

This hasn't happened only in the suttas... several people on the DhO and on KfD claim this attainment. Thus I believe you're referring to something else when you say saññá-vedayita-nirodha, and not the attainment described in the suttas and by (for example) members of these two communities.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
I have found when one has negotiated all 8 stages of samadhi, and experiences at least the 4th jhana every time one meditates, and one experiences this every day, then one has very little attachment to the cognitive components of identity.

Does this mean you have attachment to the cognitive components of identity if you do not experience the 4th jhana on a daily basis?

Jeffrey S Brooks:
Also, one who experiences any of the 4 immaterial samadhis (arupa), is most certainly eradicating their hold upon the physical universe and the sensory domain. When I rest the body at night, then I spend the whole night in the immaterial domains, and I move about their freely, and I move about just as freely through space/time. I have found for such a person space and time has no meaning. I believe we could thus say such a person has arrived at saññá-vedayita-nirodha.

Again, it is the extinction of perception and feeling. The state itself is not consciously experienced, as there's literally nothing to experience... one only knows the moment before and the moment after, and its happening must be inferred by observing what preceded it (a powering-down of the mental faculties) and followed it (powering-up, and very large amounts of bliss, and any external indications of time passing). Another example from here:
Richard:

One other instance (too many to relate) occurred when sitting cross- legged upon a hillside overlooking the valley below and across to the mountain range opposite; there was incredible blissfulness just prior to that ultimate state – roiling waves of almost indescribable bliss – and ecstatic bliss immediately after yet for the event itself there was nothing, zero, zilch (hence ‘ineffable’, ‘unspeakable’, and so on) as the ultimate, the supreme by whatever name, is truly void.
(The reason why I have singled-out that event (in 1985) from all the others is that, being born and raised on a remote farm in the forties and fifties telling the time by the sun was second nature; it was about 8:00 AM according to its position upon commencement and about 2:00 PM upon completion; ...)


So one cannot be moving about an immaterial domain freely and be said to have arrived at saññá-vedayita-nirodha.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
However, it was my experience that this was not just a single meditation experience, or moment in time, but the culmination of spending a great deal of time in the 8 stages of samadhi, which is every day for decades, and this so unhinged my time/space domain that I can never tell where I am in space time when I transition from one to the next domain until I give it some time to integrate. Thus, the sensory domain has no hold upon me, and therefore I have arrived at saññá-vedayita-nirodha.


Same as before, you seem to be using "saññá-vedayita-nirodha" differently.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
You are right Florian, I am feeling a little "hammered" with questions from several sides, and most of these questions are being asked by more than one person, so I want to avoid repeating myself, and I believe others here would appreciate that.

Sorry for my part in the hammering! We is all keen on enlightenment here on the DhO, so we is curious folk =). Above all I'm curious when you knew you had eradicated each of the fetters.
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

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Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

As you said you stream entry was dependent upon your daily meditations, is your Arahatship also dependent upon daily meditation? What would happen if you stopped meditating for a week (and I encourage you to do it if you want to see whether those fetters are really gone)? Would neuroses re-arise?

Now, I find this an interesting question, because anyone who has read the suttas will find that after his enlightenment Siddhartha Gautama continued to practiced meditation every day, even on the day of his death. So, is it worth considering that the Noble Eightfold Path is a lifestyle that both produces enlightenment, as well as sustains it. This is my finding.
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

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Jeffrey S Brooks:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

As you said you stream entry was dependent upon your daily meditations, is your Arahatship also dependent upon daily meditation? What would happen if you stopped meditating for a week (and I encourage you to do it if you want to see whether those fetters are really gone)? Would neuroses re-arise?

Now, I find this an interesting question, because anyone who has read the suttas will find that after his enlightenment Siddhartha Gautama continued to practiced meditation every day, even on the day of his death. So, is it worth considering that the Noble Eightfold Path is a lifestyle that both produces enlightenment, as well as sustains it. This is my finding.


I wasn't sure whether you were suggesting that Enlightenment goes away if you stop meditating, but the following quote from the link you provided shows that you do believe that to be the case:
Jhananda:
If that was the case, then if the Buddha had stopped meditating, his enlightenment, which is the sustaining of the 7 factors of Enlightenment, would have come to an end. Considering that he meditated several times a day every day including the day he died we can consider accepting that the Noble Eightfold Path, which includes the practice of meditation, is not just a practice strategy (magga) but a lifestyle that supports attainment (phala) as well.


I'm very curious to see where it is written anywhere in a sutta that Enlightenment is dependent upon any conditions whatsoever. That Enlightenment is merely a state that can go away. I have found no reason to believe this from personal experience or anything I have read. Furthermore there are numerous stories, in the suttas, of beings becoming Enlightened after merely hearing some words of the Buddha, for example Bahiya in the Bahiya Sutta:
Bahiya Sutta:

A third time, Bahiya said to the Blessed One: "But it is hard to know for sure what dangers there may be for the Blessed One's life, or what dangers there may be for mine. Teach me the Dhamma, O Blessed One! Teach me the Dhamma, O One-Well-Gone, that will be for my long-term welfare and bliss."

"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."

Through hearing this brief explanation of the Dhamma from the Blessed One, the mind of Bahiya of the Bark-cloth right then and there was released from the effluents through lack of clinging/sustenance. Having exhorted Bahiya of the Bark-cloth with this brief explanation of the Dhamma, the Blessed One left.

Also note how jhana is not mentioned anywhere in that passage.

Everything points to the fact that Enlightenment - becoming fully unbound, released from the effluents, etc. - happens in a few moments - those moments usually being supported by much meditation work beforehand, yes, but in a few moments it all comes crashing down. Given that I have had a few moments of realization myself, where my perception was permanently altered right after as compared to right before, and said changes did not go away no matter what I did or didn't do afterwards, I know that the "moment of realization" is possible.. I just have yet to finish the job fully.

Why did Buddha keep meditating after his Enlightenment? Ultimately it's for him to know. It still seems a good way to relax. I think that he would have mentioned explicitly that one must practice jhana several times a day, every day, in order to maintain one's Enlightenment, if that were the case. He was not one to omit important details.

As to whether I meditate daily... I used to, now it's spottier as I'm pursuing other techniques. When I did, I believe I got into all of the jhanas and samadhis. I did not notice a fundamental reduction in anxiety or craving, so according to you I wasn't doing it right - which is also why I want to see exactly how you do it! =).
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

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Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
As to whether I meditate daily... I used to, now it's spottier as I'm pursuing other techniques. When I did, I believe I got into all of the jhanas and samadhis. I did not notice a fundamental reduction in anxiety or craving, so according to you I wasn't doing it right - which is also why I want to see exactly how you do it! =).

Here is the methodology that I employ to attain the 8 stages of samadhi and become free of stress, anxiety, neuroses and addictions.
A Practice Regimen (Magga) That Can Lead To Enlightenment (Phala) In This Very Lifetime
Video

Best regards, Jhanananda
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

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Jeffrey S Brooks:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
As to whether I meditate daily... I used to, now it's spottier as I'm pursuing other techniques. When I did, I believe I got into all of the jhanas and samadhis. I did not notice a fundamental reduction in anxiety or craving, so according to you I wasn't doing it right - which is also why I want to see exactly how you do it! =).

Here is the methodology that I employ to attain the 8 stages of samadhi and become free of stress, anxiety, neuroses and addictions.
A Practice Regimen (Magga) That Can Lead To Enlightenment (Phala) In This Very Lifetime
Video

Best regards, Jhanananda


Thanks for the links. I read your textual description, and I have had those experiences, though not the in-between material and immaterial place, and not the dimension of infinite time. Becoming all of those light beings - I never thought they were other beings, I always understood those to be projections of my own consciousness. I believe that is still 6th jhana. (I also notice how you don't object to calling it jhana there, but you did here - why the change of heart?) 7th jhana is when I simply perceive nothingness. That is, there is my consciousness, and then I perceive nothingness - I feel there is nothing in front of me, below me, around me, I feel nothing where my body should be, etc.

I must say I don't relate to the instructions like "let go of ever having had a body". To me, the sense of my body just fades, and I don't have to actively let go of it, or think about whether I had one before. Same with letting go of having been a being, etc.. it happens without having to incline my mind in that way.

I am really interested to hear more descriptions about the "black hole" you mention, here:
Jhananda:

If you can let go of ever having been a being or ever becoming again, then you arrive at no longer being able to tell who you are, this is the 8th jhana, then give up ever having been someone. When the universe collapses around you into a black hole, that will swallow both you as an individual and as an infinite being from which you can never escape, then love it utterly and completely, because this is called nibbana. If you return from that my friend, you will be the Maitreya.


Can you go into more detail about that? What happens immediately before going into the hole? How does it collapse? What is your experience while you are in the black hole? What happens immediately after? When did you first come into the black hole? Did you notice anything permanently different about yourself after going into the black hole for the first time?

Anyway, my claim is as before - if I did that for 6 hours a day every day, my neuroses would be reduced. (There would also simply be less time for them to arise, as most of my day would be spent in absorption...) I don't believe they would be eliminated, though - and I have no reason to as you say they aren't - so I'm merely looking for a path that will eliminate them completely and utterly. A path which may very well include jhana - and indeed I have found it very useful to meditate in a way that produces insight while in the jhanas - but I don't think just abiding in jhana is where it's at. And you confirm this yourself, as you say your neuroses would re-arise if you stopped meditating.
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Jeffrey S Brooks:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
As to whether I meditate daily... I used to, now it's spottier as I'm pursuing other techniques. When I did, I believe I got into all of the jhanas and samadhis. I did not notice a fundamental reduction in anxiety or craving, so according to you I wasn't doing it right - which is also why I want to see exactly how you do it! =).

Here is the methodology that I employ to attain the 8 stages of samadhi and become free of stress, anxiety, neuroses and addictions.
A Practice Regimen (Magga) That Can Lead To Enlightenment (Phala) In This Very Lifetime
Video

Best regards, Jhanananda


Hmm can I suggest something? Please don't take offense that a much less experienced meditator is offering you advice =).

Read the Anupuda Sutta. If you do not trust Thanissaro Bikkhu's translation, or believe it contains too much cognitive language, then I encourage you to translate it yourself as you seem to be handy with Pali. Pay particular attention not only how Sariputta goes up the jhanas, but how he investigates them:

MN111:
"There was the case where Sariputta — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities — entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Whatever qualities there are in the first jhana — directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.


Basically, try doing the same for the next week or two that you meditate. Don't just get absorbed in the jhanas as you usually do, but observe these qualities, how, not having been, they arose, and how, having been, they vanish. In particular, focus on the Three Characteristics or Three Marks of each sensation - impermanence, suffering, and selflessness, all in the context of the heavy absorption you are so proficient at. You might have to be slightly less absorbed in order to do this, but it shouldn't be much - you seem to have lots of mental bandwidth to spare as a result of your meditation practice.

I believe if you do so, if you incline your mind to seeing how all sensations arise and pass away, then through clear and direct seeing, that will lead to permanent elimination of the fetters. It shouldn't take too long - it only took Sariputta half a month! =P.

Note I'm not saying to stop practicing to see whether those fetters re-arise. I just mean to, maybe for only one of your meditation sessions per day at first, try investigating these phenomena in this manner, and see what happens. I'm also very interested to see what happens, so let us know what you experience if you decide to do this!

It appears before that meditation of Sariputta's, he heard the Buddha give this discourse, the Dighanaka Sutta - that might also be helpful. Translate it yourself if you feel that is necessary.

Have fun!
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

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Hi Jeffrey,

You're right, in D22 the factors of awakening and the jhanas are put into mutual context. I had overlooked that. Thanks!

But in that same text, from third jhana on, piti is missing, and the definition of fourth doesn't contain either piti or sukha. Now in my own experience, it's more a matter of shifting and clarifying focus than that of dropping factors, what is locked onto rather than what is missing, and still I wouldn't say that piti or sukha are prominent in fourth jhana.

I'm not really that much into sutta-thumping - to me, what is experienced is primary, and finding a good way to talk about it can be difficult, especially when coming from different "cultures" of talking about it, different ways of using the same pali words and so on.

So since we share experience of the jhanas (I boldly claim), we have a lot in common already. Let's find a way to talk about what we have in common.

First, these states. There are four of them, plus four more which are related but very subtle. The additional states are also understood as offshoots of the fourth, or as contained within the fourth. Here on the DhO, we call all eight of them Jhanas, which may be a bit too casual for dedicated scholarship, but we're consistent about it, so if you see "seventh Jhana" it always refers to the sphere of nothingness, for example. So I think we can move on here.

(Parenthesis: You also noticed that there is a good bit of language and concepts from the commentaries in our vocabulary here. Again, we're fairly consistent with it, and when we say "second vipassana jhana", it's about a very specific set of experiences, which have certain correspondences with what is called jhana in the suttas. It's just a term, though - just as often, we talk about the "arising and passing away" or "A&P", referring to the same set of experiences. I don't think it's useful to get too hung up about the provenance of words and terms, it's important that we understand each other here and now and are consistent in our usage. I don't care very much whether the Venerable Ananda would immediately understand me talking today (i.e. if he would approve of my usage, or if my usage would have been correct in the 5th century BC), as long as I can understand what he reported.)

Second, which of the four states corresponds to which experience? I think we covered much of this already, given your detailed descriptions in the initial post of this thread.

Third, how about the other four? How do you experience limitless space, limitless consciousness, nothingness, and (hard to describe, I know), neither perception nor non-perception? To my way of understanding these states, they all launch off the fourth jhana, as do many other experiences you mentioned, OOBs (which I'm familiar with as dreams with distinct qualities such as grainy vision and noise), visionary experiences (again, with me these occur almost exclusively in dreams), and so on. I also understand you as saying that the "gifts of the spirit" in Christianity, and similar concepts from other mystical traditions, correspond to these.

And fourth, again, the elephant in the living room. So far we've been talking about what constitutes jhana and related states. What about taking it all apart? Seeing the disadvantage of these states? The four noble truths? For a common starting point in the suttas, M111 comes to mind.

I'm enjoying this discussion a lot, thanks for participating. You're being hammered with questions from several sides now, so please understand this as our way of welcoming newcomers by wanting to know all about them, rather than an interrogation at the gate emoticon

Cheers,
Florian
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 20 Join Date: 2/20/11 Recent Posts
Florian Weps:
Hi Jeffrey,

You're right, in D22 the factors of awakening and the jhanas are put into mutual context. I had overlooked that. Thanks!

...And fourth, again, the elephant in the living room. So far we've been talking about what constitutes jhana and related states. What about taking it all apart? Seeing the disadvantage of these states? The four noble truths? For a common starting point in the suttas, M111 comes to mind.

I'm enjoying this discussion a lot, thanks for participating. You're being hammered with questions from several sides now, so please understand this as our way of welcoming newcomers by wanting to know all about them, rather than an interrogation at the gate emoticon

Cheers,
Florian
You are right Florian, I am feeling a little "hammered" with questions from several sides, and most of these questions are being asked by more than one person, so I want to avoid repeating myself, and I believe others here would appreciate that. I did skip answering one of your questions, which I plan to answer tomorrow, as the day is getting late. But, I will answer the above quoted question.

In the suttas the 4 jhanas are the definition of the 8th fold, so, and there is no place in the suttas where any of the jhanas are considered as a disadvantage. In fact the only place where we see the 4 Noble Truths resolved in freedom from anxiety (dhukkha) is the 4th jhana.

The Noble Search:

Ariyapariyesana Sutta (MN 26.28)
Translated from the Pali by Jhananda 11-02-06
(4th Jhana)
"Then again seekers of Buddhahood (bhikkhave bhikkhu), with the abandoning (pahànà) of pleasure (sukhassa) and anxiety (dukkhassa); and the earlier abandoning (pahànà pubbeva) of manic-depression (somanassadomanassànaü), agitation (atthaïgamà), suffering and unhappiness (adukkhamasukhaü); one arrives at (viharati) the clarity (upasampajja) and complete purity of mindful equanimity (upekkhàsatipàrisuddhiü) of the fourth ecstasy (catutthaü jhànaü). This, seekers of Buddhahood (bhikkhave), is said to have blinded Mara. Trackless, he has destroyed Mara's vision and has become invisible to the Evil One.

Now, I can see from the Western perspective "renounces (vivicceva) sensuality (kàmehi), renounces unwholesome mental states and beliefs (akusalehi dhammehi)" could be a horrifying thought; however, from personal daily experience with the four jhanas, this is precisely what one must do. I have found if one follows through then the consequence is freedom from anxiety and addictions (dhukkha).

So, there seems to be a lot of people on this forum who claim to experience the four jhanas. So, how many meditate every day? How many experience the 4th jhana every day? And, how many found they are free from anxieties and addictions (dhukkha)?
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Nikolai H., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Jeffrey S Brooks:


So, there seems to be a lot of people on this forum who claim to experience the four jhanas. So, how many meditate every day? How many experience the 4th jhana every day? And, how many found they are free from anxieties and addictions (dhukkha)?


Hi Jeffrey,

Since getting to the 1st cessation moment (fruition according to Mahasi Sayadaw and others) after traversing the stages of insight (many many many yogis have experienced and are experiencing them so there is no denying there is something to them regardless of not being explicitly talked of in the suttas) and which is considered here to be stream entry, I have been able to will the mind into any of the 8 traditional jhanas by just directing the mind there. The cessation moment did something to the mind/brain which made it permanently and phenomenologically more "spacious", panoramic and wide.

There is a seriously different feel to perception now, and there is no self to find in it all at all. No centre point to the illusion of self. Actually it became more this way after getting to what people here call 4th path. Suffice to say, this cleaning out of the mind, after 3 specific special perception changing "fruitions" (cessation moments) and another special "blip" which shifted perception permanently made it so I can will it into any jhana at anytime and as fast as I can think "jhana".

Here is an explanation of what happens at what is called 4th path here: http://dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/664764;jsessionid=9B89AC3A96B29B1459983B656A64B030

So yes, I can hang out in 4th jhana all I want for as long as I want. All day if I wanted to, sitting, standing, eating, walking. . The thing is, the default mode of the mind now after 4th path (7 months since) is one of great stillness and calm. So I don't always have the "urge" to dwell in jhana. In fact I often sense dissatisfaction while dwelling in them as I experience subtle tension in the way the mind "holds" the factors that condition each jhana regardless of how blissful they are. Letting go of the tensions/conditioning factors is my current practice. Here is a more detailed explanation:

http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2011/01/yogi-tool-box-letting-go-approach-to.html

I don't consider 4th path to be arhatship but more like sakadagmi in the fetter model as that is my experience. I'm not the only 4th pather who thinks the same. Craving and aversion have seriously been attenuated but the insights gained need to be 100% embodied still which is what Im currently working on. The illusion of self was seen through for the first time at 1st path and ever more so and seemingly permanently at 4th path. Other yogis here and at KFD consider 4th path to be arhatship. I don't and prefer to follow a higher ideal.

At 1st and more so at 2nd path for myself, the jhanas were naturally uncovered to be seen as natural strata of mind that every human can develop access to. The path moments made it all natural. And I can dwell in a more superfical jhana where the conditioning factors are all in place, or will the mind to go much deeper into absorption. Getting what we term "path" here allows for jhanas to be easily accessed by, at times, just the will of mind. That is how it is for myself and many other yogis I know.

Maybe a lot of what we talk of here at the DhO does not match up to the suttas but more so to the commentaries. Maybe this is so because their authors weren't always talking out their arses. ;) There are so many of us now with similar stories and experiences and poo pooing anyone's experience just because it cant be found in the suttas doesnt occur too often here. Hopefully, we can find some common ground.

emoticon

Metta,

Nick
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Jeffrey,

Jeffrey S Brooks:
In the suttas the 4 jhanas are the definition of the 8th fold, so, and there is no place in the suttas where any of the jhanas are considered as a disadvantage. In fact the only place where we see the 4 Noble Truths resolved in freedom from anxiety (dhukkha) is the 4th jhana.

The Noble Search:

Ariyapariyesana Sutta (MN 26.28)
Translated from the Pali by Jhananda 11-02-06
(4th Jhana)
"Then again seekers of Buddhahood (bhikkhave bhikkhu), with the abandoning (pahànà) of pleasure (sukhassa) and anxiety (dukkhassa); and the earlier abandoning (pahànà pubbeva) of manic-depression (somanassadomanassànaü), agitation (atthaïgamà), suffering and unhappiness (adukkhamasukhaü); one arrives at (viharati) the clarity (upasampajja) and complete purity of mindful equanimity (upekkhàsatipàrisuddhiü) of the fourth ecstasy (catutthaü jhànaü). This, seekers of Buddhahood (bhikkhave), is said to have blinded Mara. Trackless, he has destroyed Mara's vision and has become invisible to the Evil One.


Do you base your assertion that this is the same as the third noble truth on the phrase "adukkhamasukham"? That translates roughly as "not suffering nor happiness", right?

Hm. I don't think this is the same as the third noble truth. The third noble truth is the truth of Nirodha/cessation/extinction. "Remainderless extinction of this very thirst..." IIRC. As for blinding Mara: there certainly is something to this poetic image. After entering the stream, upon reading Epicurus' letter to Menoeceus, his "death is nothing to us" rang true to me in a way it had not done before.

But, in my own experience, extinction is accessible from 4th jhana. That is, 4th jhana, as you say, falls into place as the "samma samadhi" factor of the noble eightfold path. When viewing my experience in terms of the path factors, right effort (doing and maintaining what should be done; renouncing and not taking up again what should not be done) is another necessary factor, and that corresponds nicely with what you're saying here:

Jeffrey S Brooks:
Now, I can see from the Western perspective "renounces (vivicceva) sensuality (kàmehi), renounces unwholesome mental states and beliefs (akusalehi dhammehi)" could be a horrifying thought; however, from personal daily experience with the four jhanas, this is precisely what one must do. I have found if one follows through then the consequence is freedom from anxiety and addictions (dhukkha).

So, there seems to be a lot of people on this forum who claim to experience the four jhanas. So, how many meditate every day? How many experience the 4th jhana every day? And, how many found they are free from anxieties and addictions (dhukkha)?


Speaking for myself only: I meditate every day (not for four+ hours though). I can pop into 4th jhana (or any of these eight states) and stay there for as long as I like (though I have only tested this with durations up to about half an hour). While in jhana, anxiety and other forms of dukkha are not prominent, that is true. There is certainly something to the doctrine that the hindrances are suppressed while in Jhana. But in everyday life, while certainly highly beneficial, I can't say that jhana practice has totally freed me of anxieties or addictions.

That said, I'm not impressed by the doctrinal division between jhana (or samatha) and vipassana practice, and the whole "dry/wet" thing. It's a useful training aid, I think, to drive home the difference between samma samadhi (jhana) and samma ditthi (seeing things in terms of the four noble truths), highlighting the need to develop both - but nothing more. When developing samma sati (i.e. doing satipatthata meditation), these are integrated in a natural way anyway.

Are you quite sure that it was solely the attainment of fourth jhana that "did it" for you? That would be kind of contrary to not only my experience, but also to the Buddha's many sermons about the importance of all eight path factors, not just samma samadhi. What I'm saying is that I had reached 4th many, many times before the thing "popped" for me, though when it did, it was indeed from that jhana. Is this in line with your own observations?

As always, it's fun hashing this out. Looking forward to your other reply. Cheers,
Florian
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 20 Join Date: 2/20/11 Recent Posts
Florian Weps:
Hi Jeffrey...
Speaking for myself only: I meditate every day (not for four+ hours though). I can pop into 4th jhana (or any of these eight states) and stay there for as long as I like (though I have only tested this with durations up to about half an hour). While in jhana, anxiety and other forms of dukkha are not prominent, that is true. There is certainly something to the doctrine that the hindrances are suppressed while in Jhana. But in everyday life, while certainly highly beneficial, I can't say that jhana practice has totally freed me of anxieties or addictions.

Thank-you Florian, for being honest enough to post your response to my question. I have spent some time in daily meditation practice for nearly 4 decades. In these decades I have met a great deal of contemplatives and I have spoken to them about their meditation experiences. Of the hundreds of case histories that I have gathered I seem to have more facility with the attainment of the 8 stages of samadhi than anyone I have had this conversation with. To me, Florian's facility with the 8 stages of samadhi certainly does not reflect my experience of jhana and samahi, nor that of my case histories, and I meditate about 3 hours a day, every day.

Now, it has been my experience that the hindrances, anxieties and addictions have disappeared in me from my meditation practice that gives rise to the 4 jhanas every day. And, my students who follow this model also report the same finding. So, I wonder why Florian is not free of the hindrances, anxieties and addictions if he has the facility with the attainment of the 8 stages of samadhi that he claims he has.

From the other responses I have received on this forum it has become clear to me that we are most probably not speaking of the same thing when we use the terms 'jhana' and 'samadhi.' Has anyone here examined the differential way in which these terms have been used by those who teach it and write about Buddhist meditation and philosophy?

Some years ago I wrote an essay comparing how jhana is expressed by the various teachers. I also wrote an essay on Translator bias, which shows how jhana has been translated by 25 different translators. You can find these articles at the following URLs:

A Critical Analysis of the teaching of Jhana
Exposing translator bias in the translation of the Pali Canon and other Asian literature

About 8 years ago I attended a 10-day meditation retreat in New Mexico that was led by Leigh Brasington. Vimalaramsi was there as well. There I had a number of conversations with Vimalaramsi in between lectures and meditation sessions. He expressed he did not agree with the way Brasington understood jhana. I had to agree with him; however, I did not necessarily agree with Vimalaramsi's point of view on the subject either.

While at Brasington's retreat I asked him if he meditated every day.

Brasington said, "I do not."

I could not understand how someone who does not have a daily meditation practice could have much experience, if any, with jhana.

Since then Brahmavamso published a few books on the subject. I have read two of them. I find I do not agree with his interpretation of jhana either.

So, there seems to be some differential use in the terms 'jhana' and 'samadhi.' It does not seem we are talking about the same thing here.

I find the Stages of Enlightenment of noble beings (s. ariya-puggala) might be the best way to determine if someone really has the facility with the 8 stages of samadhi that they claim. If one has such facility, then we would expect them to be free of all hindrances. Or if they have facility with some of the levels, then they should be relatively free of the hindrances. Otherwise, what is the point in following the Noble Eightfold Path, if it does not lead to freedom from anxiety and addictive behavior? It has for me and my students, but it has not for others. Why?
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Jeffrey S Brooks:

From the other responses I have received on this forum it has become clear to me that we are most probably not speaking of the same thing when we use the terms 'jhana' and 'samadhi.'


This seems to be the case. Can you provide an explanation (or a link to an existing one) of what, precisely, your understanding of jhana is? How does one go about cultivating it? How does one know one has cultivated it? Can you give a report of what exactly happens when you sit down to meditate, from the moment you sit down, to the moment you get up, identifying the stages of samadhi as you go between them, along with what it is you are doing to go through those stages? Something like here or any other experience reports found on this forum.

I'm looking not just for refutation of other people's points, or comparing their views to yours, or sutta citations, but what exactly it is that you do during the many hours a day you meditate. I guess since you say your methods work for your students, then links to how you teach them would also suffice.

UPDATE: I read What is Jhana? on your page and just didn't see anything there that I hadn't read before... and as far as I understand, we at the DhO get into those same jhanas described there... so how is your understanding different from ours (what makes you think we are not speaking of the same thing), how does that difference cause you to believe that you are doing it correctly and are an Arahat but we are doint it improperly and therefore we are not, and how would one go about learning that practice?

UPDATE: Have you tried jhana using a different object of meditation than whatever you normally use when you close your eyes? What happens if you try to go through the jhanas with open-eye kasina practice, for example? I wonder if your experiences with that would line up with ours.
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Jeffrey S Brooks:
Thank-you Florian, for being honest enough to post your response to my question.


You're welcome. There are many people here on the Dharma Overground giving honest, precise descriptions of their mode of experience. It's what makes this place so worthwhile to participate in.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
I have spent some time in daily meditation practice for nearly 4 decades. In these decades I have met a great deal of contemplatives and I have spoken to them about their meditation experiences. Of the hundreds of case histories that I have gathered I seem to have more facility with the attainment of the 8 stages of samadhi than anyone I have had this conversation with. To me, Florian's facility with the 8 stages of samadhi certainly does not reflect my experience of jhana and samahi, nor that of my case histories, and I meditate about 3 hours a day, every day.


Hm - I haven't given a precise description of my experience of jhana in this thread, so unless you've been reading a lot of archive threads here, I assume you're working with the few comments I made to your initial post.

I'm not saying your're wrong, of course. You obviously have sat in jhana for much longer than me - I was born around the time you started practising after all.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
Now, it has been my experience that the hindrances, anxieties and addictions have disappeared in me from my meditation practice that gives rise to the 4 jhanas every day. And, my students who follow this model also report the same finding. So, I wonder why Florian is not free of the hindrances, anxieties and addictions if he has the facility with the attainment of the 8 stages of samadhi that he claims he has.


Good question. For one thing, I only entered the stream in June last year. I'm not aware that total round-the-clock freedom from the hindrances is required of stream-enterers emoticon But if I understand you correctly, you're teaching that the four stages of noble/awakened beings correspond to being able to attain to the four jhanas. Since I claim to have fourth jhana (plus the other four states), I can see how my claims don't fit your model.

Do I understand your model correctly? I've been re-reading some of your website these past days, but I haven't yet come across details of your model of awakening. Any links? Or would you be willing to describe it here?

Jeffrey S Brooks:
From the other responses I have received on this forum it has become clear to me that we are most probably not speaking of the same thing when we use the terms 'jhana' and 'samadhi.' Has anyone here examined the differential way in which these terms have been used by those who teach it and write about Buddhist meditation and philosophy?

[Some years ago I wrote an essay comparing how jhana is expressed by the various teachers. I also wrote an essay on Translator bias, which shows how jhana has been translated by 25 different translators. You can find these articles at the following URLs:

A Critical Analysis of the teaching of Jhana
Exposing translator bias in the translation of the Pali Canon and other Asian literature


Yes, these words get used in wildly different ways. This thread, to me, is where we try to line up our respective usages, by comparing our actual experiences. Thanks for the links, I'll have a look at those. In the meantime, here is what most people on the DhO start out with:

Concentration vs. Insight
and the subsequent chapters; see the MCTB Table of Contents (the above chapter is the first one of part iii).

Jeffrey S Brooks:
About 8 years ago I attended a 10-day meditation retreat in New Mexico that was led by Leigh Brasington. Vimalaramsi was there as well. There I had a number of conversations with Vimalaramsi in between lectures and meditation sessions. He expressed he did not agree with the way Brasington understood jhana. I had to agree with him; however, I did not necessarily agree with Vimalaramsi's point of view on the subject either.


In what ways do you differ from either Leigh Brasington, Bhante Vimalaramsi, or Ven. Ajahn Brahmavamso? They all have very high standards for jhana, as far as I'm concerned.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
So, there seems to be some differential use in the terms 'jhana' and 'samadhi.' It does not seem we are talking about the same thing here.

I find the Stages of Enlightenment of noble beings (s. ariya-puggala) might be the best way to determine if someone really has the facility with the 8 stages of samadhi that they claim. If one has such facility, then we would expect them to be free of all hindrances. Or if they have facility with some of the levels, then they should be relatively free of the hindrances. Otherwise, what is the point in following the Noble Eightfold Path, if it does not lead to freedom from anxiety and addictive behavior? It has for me and my students, but it has not for others. Why?


Some things certainly changed in my mode of experience since stream-entry. I'm generally more calm, and find my calm way more quickly when I do get agitated. I notice this most strongly in my interaction with co-workers and bosses at work (IT, big company, lots of stressed-out burnt-out people flipping out over minor technical details all the time) and my family. While that's quite nice, it's not a constant, just a trend. What's more striking, to me, is also much harder to put into words; there is an increased immediacy or honesty or cleanliness in how I perceive and experience, a sense of much useless harmful filtering or evaluating of experience having gone for good. Also, my jhana abilities were really notched up a bit after stream entry - which is where we're getting close to your model, right?

So while I know that a "cognitive" approach to awakening, with detailed models and criteria, is not your thing - could you be persuaded that for the purpose of lining up our vocabulary, models and concepts have their uses?

Cheers,
Florian
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 20 Join Date: 2/20/11 Recent Posts
Florian Weps:
...Do I understand your model correctly? I've been re-reading some of your website these past days, but I haven't yet come across details of your model of awakening. Any links? Or would you be willing to describe it here?

Thank-you Beoman and Florian for posting your most interesting responses. I will attempt to respond to the core of both of your enquiries. If you read the essays and view the videos at the links below you should acquire a reasonably detailed description of my description of the 8 stages of samadhi, and the methods that I have employed to get there.
Recognizing the Absorption States (jhana)
Are the physical senses fully effaced during jhana?
An Experiential Look at the Phenomena of Meditative Absorption
A Proposed Unifying Theory for the Experience of Gnosis within the Buddha’s 9 stages of Meditative Absorption (contemplation, fana, jhana, samadhi, shamatha)
Videos:
What is jhana?
The four jhanas
Guided meditation through the four jhanas
Guided sunrise meditation to the first jhana
Guided meditation through the four jhanas at sunrise
Florian Weps:
In what ways do you differ from either Leigh Brasington, Bhante Vimalaramsi, or Ven. Ajahn Brahmavamso? They all have very high standards for jhana, as far as I'm concerned.

I have provided an essay with a detailed description of how I understand the jhanas models of the major exponents of jhana attainment in Theravadan Buddhism at the following link:
A Critical Analysis of the teaching of Jhana
Florian Weps:
Some things certainly changed in my mode of experience since stream-entry. I'm generally more calm, and find my calm way more quickly when I do get agitated. I notice this most strongly in my interaction with co-workers and bosses at work (IT, big company, lots of stressed-out burnt-out people flipping out over minor technical details all the time) and my family. While that's quite nice, it's not a constant, just a trend. What's more striking, to me, is also much harder to put into words; there is an increased immediacy or honesty or cleanliness in how I perceive and experience, a sense of much useless harmful filtering or evaluating of experience having gone for good. Also, my jhana abilities were really notched up a bit after stream entry - which is where we're getting close to your model, right?

...Cheers,
Florian

It sounds like you are consistently attaining some level of jhana, if the above it true, which suggests your experience at a reduction of stress is corresponding to improvements in your contemplative life, which supports my premise that if someone is genuinely experiencing jhana on a regular basis, then they should be demonstrating a reduction in anxiety, neuroses and addictions.
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Jeffrey S Brooks:

Thank-you Beoman and Florian for posting your most interesting responses. I will attempt to respond to the core of both of your enquiries. If you read the essays and view the videos at the links below you should acquire a reasonably detailed description of my description of the 8 stages of samadhi, and the methods that I have employed to get there.
Recognizing the Absorption States (jhana)
Are the physical senses fully effaced during jhana?
An Experiential Look at the Phenomena of Meditative Absorption
A Proposed Unifying Theory for the Experience of Gnosis within the Buddha’s 9 stages of Meditative Absorption (contemplation, fana, jhana, samadhi, shamatha)
Videos:
What is jhana?
The four jhanas
Guided meditation through the four jhanas
Guided sunrise meditation to the first jhana
Guided meditation through the four jhanas at sunrise


Thanks for the links - I'll have to take a look at them more thoroughly later.

I wanted to spell out what I think the difference is between your thinking and ours (since I shouldn't speak for others, I'll just say mine), and why we will just run around in circles if we don't address the issues at the root.

You say doing jhana, and nothing more, is enlightenment, and that enlightenment fades when one stops practicing. I (and basically everyone else you have ever spoken with) claim that's not the case. You claim that well, we therefore must not be doing jhana properly, since your way of doing jhana does lead to Enlightenment.

There are two assumptions here - that of what jhana is, and that of what Enlightenment is. I'll use JhJhana, JhEnlightenment, BeoJhana, and BeoEnlightenment, to represent our conceptions of each.

You say JhJhana leads to JhEnlightenment. I'm saying BeoJhana does NOT lead to BeoEnlightenment (though it helps and is not to be discouraged, unlike what some of your other opponents say). Notice these points of view are compatible, so far, as all the concepts are different.

My claim is that JhJhana = BeoJhana. We're talking about the same thing. Therefore, BeoJhana does lead to JhEnlightenment, and JhJhana does not lead to BeoEnlightenment.

About the first point - I do agree that if I were to do jhana for as many years as you have, for as many hours as you have - if you've been practicing 4 hours/day for 40 years, that's an astonishing 58000 hours of jhana! - then I would definitely get your results - a reduction in anxiety, less neuroses, and a lack of desire to do anything besides abide in jhana. In my opinion, though, that is not BeoEnlightenment. To be more bold, I believe BeoEnlightenment is pretty close to BuddhaEnlightenment, and that JhEnlightenment is pretty far from it. Thus I believe our differences lie not in what jhana is, but simply in what Enlightenment is, and in what the fruit of this meditative practice/lifestyle really is. And furthermore I believe that in reading the suttas, it is pretty clear that Enlightenment is not JhEnlightenment, as it is never mentioned as being a state that must be maintained by the daily practice of jhana, and it is mentioned numerous times as something that can happen in few moments, and even something that can happen without being in jhana.

Thus the first point I want to establish is that BeoJhana = JhJhana. If that is true, then it is clear our differences lie in what Enlightenment is, and that the difference in our practice is a matter of degree, not something fundamental.

Another approach I could take is to show that JhEnlightenment != BuddhaEnlightenment. Then you might ask yourself why your practice is not leading to Enlightenment, and go from there. I've started doing this in my previous post, and have asked you to show examples of why you believe JhEnlightenment = BuddhaEnlightenment.

That's just my opinion, of course, and both those statements could turn out to be incorrect. That is why we are having this conversation, after all!

Thus from now on, when you say that our understanding of jhana is different, I ask you to point to specific instances of where our practice differs, and very importantly, why that difference gives you results and not us, instead of saying "if you did it properly, you would be Enlightened just like I am," since I'm calling into question the definition of what Enlightenment is. (Note I am not calling into question that your practice does indeed yield the fruits you claim it does - that is, reduction of neuroses, etc. - I'm just claiming that that isn't BuddhaEnlightenment.)

Also, seeing how I accept that if we did our jhana more often, it would lead to closer to your results, I believe where we would get the most out of our conversations is by talking about what we believe Enlightenment to be.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
Florian Weps:
In what ways do you differ from either Leigh Brasington, Bhante Vimalaramsi, or Ven. Ajahn Brahmavamso? They all have very high standards for jhana, as far as I'm concerned.

I have provided an essay with a detailed description of how I understand the jhanas models of the major exponents of jhana attainment in Theravadan Buddhism at the following link:
A Critical Analysis of the teaching of Jhana

I don't find that the criticisms you mention are significant.

Leigh Brasington: he does rely on visualization, but as a way of getting to the jhana for the first time. How did you begin getting to jhana? Furthermore I find I can practice jhana in different ways. I can be totally immersed in it, not being able to clearly define the state I'm in, and in this state it moves of its own volition. Or I can be not so totally immersed, and then indeed have some modicum of control, deciding when to go 'up' or 'down', though of course I'm not going anywhere as it's just a mental absorption. Even so, I don't think there is a fundamental difference between the two - you get to similar states of mind, just that one is much deeper and more absorbed than the other. I will agree that doing it your way, the deep and absorbed way, would tend to lead to the results you talk about more than the less involved way, but as before I'm calling into question what the point of these practices is.

Bhante Vimalarmsi: All you say is that he is rowdy and you banned him from your list. Further you say that he thinks there is only tension in the head, but not anywhere else, and that he likes guided meditation. I don't see these as significant differences at all, though I'd be glad to read the messages that got him banned from your list if you can link me to them.

Ajahn Brahmavamso: The only specific criticism you mention is that he called what you thought was 1st jhana, access concentration. I don't see how this difference in terminology would change the states one is in, or the effects those states have upon your psyche. You mention a broad generalization of "he relies too heavily on the Visuddhimagga," but without anything more specific I can't comment.

I'd love explanations as to why these differences would have your method lead to your results, and their methods not lead to your results, more than "well they clearly are different as my way leads to my results and their ways don't."

Jeffrey S Brooks:
Florian Weps:
Some things certainly changed in my mode of experience since stream-entry. I'm generally more calm, and find my calm way more quickly when I do get agitated. I notice this most strongly in my interaction with co-workers and bosses at work (IT, big company, lots of stressed-out burnt-out people flipping out over minor technical details all the time) and my family. While that's quite nice, it's not a constant, just a trend. What's more striking, to me, is also much harder to put into words; there is an increased immediacy or honesty or cleanliness in how I perceive and experience, a sense of much useless harmful filtering or evaluating of experience having gone for good. Also, my jhana abilities were really notched up a bit after stream entry - which is where we're getting close to your model, right?

...Cheers,
Florian

It sounds like you are consistently attaining some level of jhana, if the above it true, which suggests your experience at a reduction of stress is corresponding to improvements in your contemplative life, which supports my premise that if someone is genuinely experiencing jhana on a regular basis, then they should be demonstrating a reduction in anxiety, neuroses and addictions.


This is just circular reasoning. You see that he has less neuroses, you thus assume he attains jhana daily, thus you show that attaining jhana daily leads to less neuroses. Florian did not say he attains jhana daily, though. He said he noticed these changes "since stream-entry" - to us, stream-entry is a single definable moment in time, the culmination of lots of meditation practices that lead to insight, that several members on this forum report experiencing. Thus those changes he mentioned are permanent to him, and are in no way affected by whether he experiences jhana on a daily basis. Thus his descriptions don't support your premise. (Florian, of course, please correct me if I'm wrong.)
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Claudiu,

just a quick reply. Good points, though I'm not entirely sure that a discussion of expectations of enlightenment is what will lead to the best results in this thread (though it can't hurt to know broadly what the other participants expect). I like it best when we line up our actual experience and agree on specific terms, rather than speculate on what we might be experiencing on day.

Oh, and I do have a daily meditation practice, though it's not been nearly as formal or structured as before stream-entry.

Like I mentioned in the other post, I'll be working tomorrow, so no posts from me.

Cheers,
Florian
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 20 Join Date: 2/20/11 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
I wanted to spell out what I think the difference is between your thinking and ours (since I shouldn't speak for others, I'll just say mine), and why we will just run around in circles if we don't address the issues at the root.

You say doing jhana, and nothing more, is enlightenment, and that enlightenment fades when one stops practicing.

No, I do not say this. The crucial difference between our concepts of jhana is you think it has something to do with "doing;" and I say jhana is not at all anything doing about doing. It is an attainment, which is characterized by bliss, joy and ecstasy, is the product of the practice of meditation and self-awareness, but is absolutely NOT the same thing.

I also say there are 8 stages of liberation (attha vimokkha-mukha) that are described in the suttas. If one were to examine the lower 7 stages of liberation that are described in the suttas and compare them to how the upper 7 stages of samadhi are described there, then one will see that they are one and the same thing.

This supports my premise, my experience and my case histories that by leading a rigorous, self-aware contemplative life that produces the upper 7 stages of samadhi every day, one will thus arrive at relative level of liberation from anxiety, neuroses and addictions (dhukkha). This, relative degree of liberation is relative to the level of samadhi that one can begin and end every day with. And, my findings also support that if one were to give up the daily rigorous, self-aware contemplative life that produces the upper 7 stages of samadhi every day, then one will gradually lose that relative level of liberation.
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
I (and basically everyone else you have (x)ever(x) spoken with {here}) claim that's not the case. You claim that well, we therefore must not be doing jhana properly, since your way of doing jhana does lead to {liberation from anxiety, neuroses and addictions (dhukkha)}.

Correct, If you are doing something cognitive when you think you are experiencing jhana, then your jhana is not my jhana. Your findings here thus support my premise, because a few people who gave rise to brief periods of some level of samadhi found they were liberated, but when they reduced their meditation practice they lost their relative degree of liberation. My premise is, if they maintained at least 3 hours of meditation a day, then they are very likely to have sustained the level of samadhi and liberation they found at the retreat where they had an experience of "enlightenment."
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
There are two assumptions here - that of what jhana is, and that of what Enlightenment is. I'll use JhJhana, JhEnlightenment, BeoJhana, and BeoEnlightenment, to represent our conceptions of each.

You say JhJhana leads to JhEnlightenment. I'm saying BeoJhana does NOT lead to BeoEnlightenment (though it helps and is not to be discouraged, unlike what some of your other opponents say). Notice these points of view are compatible, so far, as all the concepts are different.

My claim is that JhJhana = BeoJhana. We're talking about the same thing. Therefore, BeoJhana does lead to JhEnlightenment, and JhJhana does not lead to BeoEnlightenment.

I have already demonstrated that JhJhana is not equal to BeoJhana. Therefore JhEnlightenment is not equal to BeoEnlightenment.
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
About the first point - I do agree that if I were to do jhana for as many years as you have, for as many hours as you have - if you've been practicing 4 hours/day for 40 years, that's an astonishing 58000 hours of jhana! - then I would definitely get your results - a reduction in anxiety, less neuroses, and a lack of desire to do anything besides abide in jhana. In my opinion, though, that is not BeoEnlightenment. To be more bold, I believe BeoEnlightenment is pretty close to BuddhaEnlightenment, and that JhEnlightenment is pretty far from it. Thus I believe our differences lie not in what jhana is, but simply in what Enlightenment is, and in what the fruit of this meditative practice/lifestyle really is. And furthermore I believe that in reading the suttas, it is pretty clear that Enlightenment is not JhEnlightenment, as it is never mentioned as being a state that must be maintained by the daily practice of jhana, and it is mentioned numerous times as something that can happen in few moments, and even something that can happen without being in jhana.

This assumption is based upon reading poorly translated suttas, and looking at an all too narrow groups of suttas that support your belief.
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
How did you begin getting to jhana?

To consistently get to the four jhanas every day I practiced meditation and self-awareness as described in the four sati suttas. Links below:
Anapanasati Sutta (MN 118) “Mindfulness of the breath”
Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10) “the Four Paths of Mindfulness”
Kayagata-sati Sutta (MN 119) “Mindfulness of the Body”
Maha-satipatthana Sutta (DN 22), “Larger Discourse on the Four Paths of Mindfulness”
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
Furthermore I find I can practice jhana in different ways.

I should point out here that jhana is not a practice, so as long as you consider it so, then you and I are not talking about the same thing.
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
I can be totally immersed in it, not being able to clearly define the state I'm in, and in this state it moves of its own volition. Or I can be not so totally immersed, and then indeed have some modicum of control, deciding when to go 'up' or 'down', though of course I'm not going anywhere as it's just a mental absorption. Even so, I don't think there is a fundamental difference between the two - you get to similar states of mind,

It is clear to me that we are not getting to the same states of mind. Because I would not use mind for jhanas 2-4, as mind is cognitive, and once the mind is still in the 2nd jhana, it is not present. I would use the term "states of consciousness."
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
just that one is much deeper and more absorbed than the other. I will agree that doing it your way, the deep and absorbed way, would tend to lead to the results you talk about more than the less involved way, but as before I'm calling into question what the point of these practices is.

You might take note that I use the term 'rigorous' to describe my methodology. I have found being rigorous in my self-aware contemplative life leads to the 8 stages of samadhi, which leads to the 8 stages of liberation. Whereas, your method is not so rigorous, and has thus not led to the 8 stages of liberation. I need only point to my liberation from anxiety, neuroses and addictions (dhukkha); whereas you cannot to show that my method, not only works for myself, but also works for my students who engage in my methodology.
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
Bhante Vimalarmsi: All you say is that he is rowdy and you banned him from your list. Further you say that he thinks there is only tension in the head, but not anywhere else, and that he likes guided meditation. I don't see these as significant differences at all, though I'd be glad to read the messages that got him banned from your list if you can link me to them.

Well, I was a little more articulate about the differences between vimalaramsi and myself. If you want to read the archive there to see how he and Lou Overstreet behaved there, then do go onto that forum and search its archive for those names. Link is here.
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
Ajahn Brahmavamso: The only specific criticism you mention is that he called what you thought was 1st jhana, access concentration. I don't see how this difference in terminology would change the states one is in, or the effects those states have upon your psyche. You mention a broad generalization of "he relies too heavily on the Visuddhimagga," but without anything more specific I can't comment.

Actually, you are overlooking his luminous sphere model. He claims the first jhana does not appear until the four senses are completely effaced, which I would call an immaterial attainment, or an OOBE. While that difference may seem slight to you, I would only point out that not recognizing the significant difference between our two models suggests you have not had any experience with jhana as I experience it.
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
I'd love explanations as to why these differences would have your method lead to your results, and their methods not lead to your results, more than "well they clearly are different as my way leads to my results and their ways don't." .

I have already pointed out that my method leads to liberation from anxiety, neuroses and addictions (dhukkha); whereas their method does not seem to. It would seem to be a significant difference, but then perhaps you do not care to be liberated from anxiety, neuroses and addictions (dhukkha).
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Julie V, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 82 Join Date: 8/17/10 Recent Posts
First of all, thank you for posting about your experience here. As someone who just started to practice jhanas, the comments made here by everyone have been very helpful to me to discover where I am.

As an outsider for this discussion, I'm just curious to know more of your opinions on this question:

Do you think it's possible to be liberated from (not affected by) anxiety, neuroses and addictions even without having to abide in jhanas every day or at all in every circumstance?

I asked this question, because it seems other people on this site believe that it is possible, and that's partly what enlightenment is.
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Firstly....

Do you think it's possible to be liberated from (not affected by) anxiety, neuroses and addictions even without having to abide in jhanas every day or at all in every circumstance?


Julie, yes it is entirely possible and is aim of what the Buddha taught. That's what the majority of yogis on here believe and many have found to be true after attaining 4th Path through following the Three Trainings of morality, wisdom and concentration. Do yourself a favour and start up a new thread on the subject 'cause what's being discussed on here will only confuse you further. Hopefully speak to you soon.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now....

I've been avoiding getting involved in this discussion since I don't have the knowledge of the suttas which Jeffrey, Claudiu or Florian have and couldn't provide any sort of "scriptural" evidence for my case since I prefer direct experience over book knowledge. I now feel obliged to get involved because this is turning into a total joke and I can't be bothered with the amount of crap being spouted here.

My opinion is that Jeffrey a "jhana junkie". There, I said it. If you're offended then so be it, much as I'd rather maintain the supportive and open nature of this forum than get into an argument, I can't agree with the vast majority of what you're saying here. You're arguing an interpretation of Buddhism which is totally based on concentration states and claiming that spending hours in absorption is the way to enlightenment. Bullshit. You're wrong. Prove it. Show us your track record of students who've attained enlightenment in the real-world, get them to come here and testify that your approach works and don't base every single reply on your own videos, website and writings. Seriously, I'm sick of this. I watched your videos, read some of your site and you're very good with concentration, a decent writer and you seem like an alright guy in the flesh, I don't think you mean any sort of harm to anyone, but I think you're misleading people with this emphasis on one third of the Three Trainings.

I may not have 40 years of reading books and countless hours with my head up my arse in concentration, but I've got enough experience of investigating reality to know that hiding from it doesn't get the job done. You answer every question with your own idiosyncratic interpretation of the suttas, you spout utter tripe about being an arahat based on this, you don't appear to have subjected your abilities to real-time reality testing due to your isolated lifesytle and seem to have created this little world of fantasy around you. Basically, beyond your own website and your writings there's nothing else I've come across yet which confirms your interpretation of the teachings of the Buddha. We can all use words, it doesn't mean we're always presenting an accurate interpretation of momentary experience.

Jeffrey, you're trying to teach a system of attainment which runs contrary to what the majority of people on this site know to be true through empirically tested techniques. Jhana is an essential part of the Three Trainings, but you appear to completely disregard insight practice which is what really annoys me about your take on this. Many people on here are highly skilled practitioners of samatha and vipassana, there's a lot of experience on these boards and this may explain why most people have avoided interacting with you, it's certainly part of my own reasons for avoiding your postings until now. People here, myself included, know about attaining all eight samatha jhanas, Nirodha Samapatti, the "pure land" jhanas, sub-jhana etc etc and have done considerable experimenting with them so you're not preaching to a crowd of potential converts to your approach here.

I won't be contributing to this post again after this point so don't waste both our times with a response.
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Julie V, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 82 Join Date: 8/17/10 Recent Posts
Thanks for the answer, Tommy! I think my question was meant mostly for Jeffrey actually! I know that that's what most of everyone on this site think and believe and probably experience it. I'm just curious to know what Jeffrey's view is on this subject. It's good not to be attached to our views, isn't it?
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 20 Join Date: 2/20/11 Recent Posts
Julie V:
First of all, thank you for posting about your experience here. As someone who just started to practice jhanas, the comments made here by everyone have been very helpful to me to discover where I am.

As an outsider for this discussion, I'm just curious to know more of your opinions on this question:

Do you think it's possible to be liberated from (not affected by) anxiety, neuroses and addictions even without having to abide in jhanas every day or at all in every circumstance?

I asked this question, because it seems other people on this site believe that it is possible, and that's partly what enlightenment is.
Thank-you Julie for posting your respectful question. While there are a lot of opinions about Buddhism reflected in its many schools, I do not happen to believe in most of those opinions. For instance PureLand Buddhism believes that the Buddha rejected the practice of meditation late in life. Well, I think everybody here would laugh at that belief system, even though there are millions of PureLand Buddhists who believe it is true.

Now, mainstream Theravadan Buddhism happens to believe that the Buddha taught two basic meditation techniques, one he called 'vipassana' and another one he called 'shamata' which is where jhana is supposed to be. The problem is, when we study the suttas critically we find there is no place in the suttas where this is expressed. Some people here think I am just splitting hairs.

Now Tom thinks I am a "jhana junkie." Zen Buddhists tend to call me a "bliss bunny." However, the 8th fold of the Noble Eightfold Path is defined in the suttas by jhana (DN-22). So, we can conclude anyone who rejects jhana is not following the Noble Eightfold Path.

Now, we have spent a lot of time here discussing jhana in this thread, and we have found that what I call 'jhana' is not what most of the people on this forum call jhana. So, I would agree, there is no reason to spend a lot of time practicing what is called here "jhana practice." Because, jhana is not a practice.

Jhana is an attainment, and according to properly translated suttas it is the result of following the previous 7 folds of the N8P. Anyone can read the Samaññaphala Sutta (DN 2) (The Discourse on the Fruit of the Contemplative Life) to find out what is attainment, which is called "phala" in the suttas. And, when you read the Anapanasati Sutta (MN 118) (Mindfulness of the breath) you will find that in that suttas the Buddha says, "By following this method you will attain superior fruit (maha-phala)." The Samaññaphala Sutta (DN 2) is where those fruit are described, and one of those fruit is jhana.

Now, recall that the Budha's thesis statement is the Four Noble Truths, and that is all about suffering (dhukkha) and how to overcome suffer (dhukkha). The only place in the suttas where we find someone free of suffering is when they arrive at the fourth jhana, through following the N8P, where adhukkha (freedom from suffering, or no-dhukkha) is part of what one attains in jhana.

We can thus conclude that attaining the 4th jhana is all about being free from dhukkha, which I define as being liberated from anxiety, neuroses and addictions, because once I had established my meditation level to attaining the 4th jhana every day, and I meditated at least three times a day, then I found all of my anxiety, neuroses and addictions had left me. My students following my model have also arrived at the same freedom from dhukkha that I have. So, it seems reasonable that if you engage in the Noble Eightfold Path in the same way I did, to the point of attaining the 4th jhana every time you meditate, and you meditate to that level at least three times a day, then you are likely to become free of anxiety, neuroses and addictions. However, if you do you are likely to be called a "jhana junkie," or a "bliss bunny." To me this is a small price to pay to be free of suffering. But, you will have to understand what the 4th jhana is, because it seems very few Buddhist priests, monks, and meditation teachers know what jhana is, because most of them think it is a meditation technique, which it is not.

Now, some people think that I am back to splitting hairs. However, don't forget I am the one who claims to be free of anxiety, neuroses and addictions. Whereas, those who tend to claim that jhana is a meditation technique have yet to claim, or exhibit freedom from anxiety, neuroses and addictions.

Best regards, Jhanananda
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Julie V, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 82 Join Date: 8/17/10 Recent Posts
Thanks for your answers, Jhanananda (I suppose you prefer to go by this name)! In my humble opinion, I really think that it's difficult to compare the experience just by words, so it's hard to say whether jhanas that you described are the same as those of everyone else's.

Let's forget all about what the Buddha said for now. Let's say that our goal is to be liberated from anxiety, neuroses and addictions. I really don't know about you though, but what everyone else's here practices and claims to attain seems much more attractive to me than your method for a reason. That reason is that once they gets to the end of the path, everything becomes automatic, and that it's something they cannot lose whether they sit to meditate every day. Maybe I'm just lazy, so lazy that I don't even want to pay a blissful price of abiding in the kinds of jhanas you practice 4 h every day whether that's what the Buddha said or not. Once I put my efforts and my whole life into doing something, I really don't want to lose it within a month, if I happen to be busy with life that month for any reasons.

For this reason, vipassana is very attractive to me, and I'm willing to take risk. I understand that all of the jhanas you mention are very blissful and that it's a very enlightening state to abide to. Also, unlike me, you are obviously not lazy. However, doesn't what people can attain from vipassana practice for this reason sound somewhat interesting to you? Don't you want to be in blissful state all the times even without having to abide in jhanas every day or at all in every circumstance?
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Julie V:
Thanks for your answers, Jhanananda (I suppose you prefer to go by this name)! In my humble opinion, I really think that it's difficult to compare the experience just by words, so it's hard to say whether jhanas that you described are the same as those of everyone else's.

They are very deep jhanas, backed by thousands of hours of concentration, so they are likely more blissful than the ones we experience, but I believe they are fundamentally the same.

Julie V:
Let's forget all about what the Buddha said for now. Let's say that our goal is to be liberated from anxiety, neuroses and addictions. I really don't know about you though, but what everyone else's here practices and claims to attain seems much more attractive to me than your method for a reason. That reason is that once they gets to the end of the path, everything becomes automatic, and that it's something they cannot lose whether they sit to meditate every day. Maybe I'm just lazy, so lazy that I don't even want to pay a blissful price of abiding in the kinds of jhanas you practice 4 h every day whether that's what the Buddha said or not. Once I put my efforts and my whole life into doing something, I really don't want to lose it within a month, if I happen to be busy with life that month for any reasons.

Yeah, if you want to meditate 4hrs a day and temporarily reduce your neuroses, then do that. If you want to meditate 1 hour a day and permanently alter your perception for the better cause you saw insight into the nature of all phenomena, then start a noting practice and ask us for help if you get stuck. If you want a really simple way to do it all, then check out Actual Freedom - if you're curious then search this forum for those keywords, as that discussion doesn't belong here.
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 20 Join Date: 2/20/11 Recent Posts
Julie V:
Thanks for your answers, Jhanananda (I suppose you prefer to go by this name)! In my humble opinion, I really think that it's difficult to compare the experience just by words, so it's hard to say whether jhanas that you described are the same as those of everyone else's.

Let's forget all about what the Buddha said for now. Let's say that our goal is to be liberated from anxiety, neuroses and addictions. I really don't know about you though, but what everyone else's here practices and claims to attain seems much more attractive to me than your method for a reason. That reason is that once they gets to the end of the path, everything becomes automatic, and that it's something they cannot lose whether they sit to meditate every day. Maybe I'm just lazy, so lazy that I don't even want to pay a blissful price of abiding in the kinds of jhanas you practice 4 h every day whether that's what the Buddha said or not. Once I put my efforts and my whole life into doing something, I really don't want to lose it within a month, if I happen to be busy with life that month for any reasons.

For this reason, vipassana is very attractive to me, and I'm willing to take risk. I understand that all of the jhanas you mention are very blissful and that it's a very enlightening state to abide to. Also, unlike me, you are obviously not lazy. However, doesn't what people can attain from vipassana practice for this reason sound somewhat interesting to you? Don't you want to be in blissful state all the times even without having to abide in jhanas every day or at all in every circumstance?
There is no easy path, no drive-through enlightenment; however, mainstream religions always sell instant enlightenment to the masses, because they are ignorant, naive and lazy. So, if you want the easy path, then do not follow my path, and do not follow the path of "insight." Instead accept "Jesus Christ is the only begotten son of God, and he died for your sins." That is how "salvation" is termed in a mainstream Christian context.

However, no Christian mystic sold that nonsense, which is based upon a blatant translation error, just as the premises of Insight (Vipasssana) Meditation are based upon numerous gross translation errors. Vaishnava Hinduism and Pure Land Buddhism are just as simple-minded as mainstream Christianity, and they are equally based upon deeply flawed translation errors. So, if you do not like mainstream Christianity, then you can take an intellectual lobotomy with one of those other mainstream religions. On the other hand the path of the mystic offers bliss, joy and ecstasy in the here and now. You choose.
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Hey Jhananda, thank you for your replies. I have a lot to say but I'm not sure the most organized way to say it.

I still believe most of our differences are minor compared to two major, huge, startling issues. The first one is I believe that you are not actually attaining all 8 stages of samadhi.

What is 6th, 7th and 8th jhana? What is nibbana/cessation?
I was dismayed you did not reply to my queries to describe the "black hole" state more, as I think there is valuable discussion to be had there. I will just go by what you have written already. The summary is: you are not attaining 8th jhana or cessation, but 7th jhana is your current upper limit, and you mistake it for Nibbana.

Breaking down your practice regimen:

Jhananda:
You may realize these stars are all beings. This is the infiinite psyche (6th jhana). Open yourself up to them. Resist noting. If you can remain in infinite time and space for an infinity, then you may become all of those infinite beings of light, if you do this is the 7th jhana.

I respectfully disagree. Becoming all of those infinite beings of light is not the 7th jhana. The 7th jhana is simply "The Sphere of Nothingness." There is simply nothingness enveloping you. Anywhere you might turn your perception, you merely perceive nothingness. You don't perceive infinite beings of light that you have become - you perceive nothingness. I think this is more of the 6th jhana.

Jhananda:
When you become all of those light beings (7th jhana), then let go of ever having been a being or ever becoming one again. If you can let go of ever having been a being or ever becoming again, then you arrive at no longer being able to tell who you are, this is the 8th jhana, then give up ever having been someone.

I disagree again. The 8th jhana is "The Sphere of Neither-Perception-nor-Non-Perception." You no longer even perceive that nothingness - there is neither perception, nor non perception. I believe this not being able to tell who you are stage and what-not is just more of the 6th jhana. Furthermore, your earlier description of the "8th jhana":
Jhananda:
However, I agree that the experience that I described above from a strong kundalini rise certainly made me think of the 8th samadhi, which is neither-perception-nor-non-perception, 'Nevasannanasannnayatana,' because there was nothing but a dimensionless light that expanded out to infinity.

makes me think you have never attained the 8th jhana, as you would not describe it that way if you had.

Jhananda:
When the universe collapses around you into a black hole, that will swallow both you as an individual and as an infinite being from which you can never escape, then love it utterly and completely, because this is called nibbana . If you return from that my friend, you will be the Maitreya.

No, I believe this is merely "The Sphere of Nothingness", the 7th jhana.. Cessation isn't something you love utterly and completely. While in cessation, or saññá-vedayita-nirodha, there is not even what little perception that remained in the 8th jhana. As in the links I gave you, it is over in an instant even if it lasts 6 hours. However, the universe collapsing into a black hole, which swallows you and the infinite being you are not, that you can then love utterly and completely (meaning there is perception of the black hole) and that you can 'return from', sounds like a great description of the 7th jhana. I can also easily understand why someone would mistake the 7th jhana for Nibbana.

Thus even if you do not believe me when I talk about Enlightenment, consider that the black hole is just the 7th jhana, and realize there is something beyond that - at the very least, the 8th jhana.

Reading through the other links you gave, I see similar mistakes. From experiental jhana:
Jhananda:
Stage 7; I have found if I remain in this domain unattached to anything then my awareness expands to embrace all of those beings and points of light. Those beings and points of light become the cells of my organism, and my psyche includes all of the other psyches in the universe. This stage the Buddha called "akincannayatana" which is often translated as the domain of No-Thingness. To me it is an infinite non-dual state in which one cannot distinguish between either this nor that, neither self nor other, neither self nor god. When Moses experienced this domain he said, "I am That, that I am." The Advaitans said, "Tat Twam Assi," which means the same thing. When Jesus said, "I and my father in heaven are one," he was most probably speaking of this experience. This is the 7th stage of meditative absorption (samadhi).

I don't see how you go from "The Sphere of Nothingness" to "beings and points of light becoming the cells of my organism", and "my psyche includes all of the other psyches in the universe", the latter of which sounds like a great description of the 6th jhana.

Jhananda:
Further, I have found if I remain in absorption attached to nothing then my awareness enters into a domain in which there is no perceivable object. It is as if all the non-material senses have completely gone as dead as the physical senses. There is not even a sense of time or dimension or location in space. I believe this domain the Buddha called "nevasannanasannnayatana," which translates as the domain of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. I believe this is cessation (nibbana/nirvana) union (yoga) with the Infinite in which there is no sensible dimension, blackness, the full enlightenment. The Sufis called this absorption state "fana" which means annihilation.

Your descriptions were good until you mentioned there was blackness. How can there be blackness if there is no perceivable object? Blackness is a perceivable object.

Jhananda:
Further, I have found if I remain in absorption attached to nothing then my awareness enters into a domain in which there is no perceivable object. It is as if all the non-material senses have completely gone as dead as the physical senses. There is not even a sense of time or dimension or location in space. I believe this domain the Buddha called "nevasannanasannnayatana," which translates as the domain of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. I believe this is cessation (nibbana/nirvana) union (yoga) with the Infinite in which there is no sensible dimension, blackness, the full enlightenment. The Sufis called this absorption state "fana" which means annihilation.

I don't understand how you went from Buddha calling the domain nevasannanasannnayatana, to believing it is cessation, which is always described as something entered after exiting the 8th jhana. Further I don't see how you can consider it to be cessation when there is still an awareness that can enter into a domain. Further, how can it be a "state" if it is cessation? It is not a state at all. There is no perception or feeling present at all. Based on your earlier statements of what you believed saññá-vedayita-nirodha to be, I further assert you have never experienced cessation, as you would never have said those things if you truly had. And indeed, you probably would have a better understanding of the upper jhanas if that were the case.

This is why I wanted to see descriptions! They reveal a lot - and that we are indeed talking about different things, as when you say 6th, 7th, and 8th jhana, you mean variations on/deepening of the 6th jhana, and when you say cessation you mean 7th jhana. I believe this is a far more pressing issue than when you simply brush us off for doing something "cognitive" instead of "true jhana."

I urge you to consider my statements here, and see for yourself whether you cannot deepen the state you claim to be cessation, and go beyond it into nevasannanasannnayatana, and from there, perhaps even cessation, though that will not be possible if you are not investigating the arising & passing away of all sensations along the way.

Also if I am indeed correct that you are mistaken here, isn't it interesting that someone with 14 months of meditative experience is more accurate at describing and recognizing descriptions of these states than someone with 40 years? Indeed there may be something more to this than attaining jhana. But please do not be predisposed to disbelieve what I'm saying based on the length of time I have been meditating - just read my words and tell me what you think.

Big Picture (What is Enlightenment):
The other huge issue is just of what Enlightenment is. Hopefully not to beat a dead horse, but let me just re-iterate my point, and re-iterate that I don't have any stake in "winning" this debate, and it's only for your benefit (and those you teach) to try out the following advice:

You currently have a practice which temporarily frees you of neuroses. As long as you maintain your practice, you are free of neuroses. It works for you, and that's great - keep it up. I, and others, are simply saying there is more to what the Buddha was saying, that you have really dumbed down what Enlightenment is, and we say this not only based on suttas but on our own personal experiences. If you think there is any possibility that this is true - and I ask you to investigate this claim sincerely - then it might benefit you to try something else. And by 'try something else', I do not mean abandon your meditation practice cause it makes you a "jhana junkie" or whatever. I mean simply investigate your experience a little more, like in MN111 like I listed above. Through investigation I believe you can find permanent release. Buddha did not say Sariputta was wise because he attained the jhanas - he said Sariputta was wise because of his discernment while abiding in the jhanas, which discernment led to his release. If you think there is absolutely nothing to these claims, then do not attempt to do anything differently for even a day. But I urge you to experiment and try it for yourself, as you will maintain your Enlightenment requirements of at least 3 hours across at least 3 sits per day of abiding in 4th jhana while doing so, so you will remain as Enlightened as you are now. If you find the added investigation 'taints' your jhanas too much, then do your Enlightenment-requirement practice, and then try a half hour of a more investigative approach. Just see for yourself!

I want to add that I believe you entirely. Your method leads to your results. So why do I not drop everything and ask you for a one-on-one session? Because I believe your results are not Enlightenment. Again I urge you to find a properly-translated sutta, translated by yourself if necessary, which supports your claims - a single one! Any discourse where Buddha talks about Enlightenment as something that must be maintained! There are tens of thousands of suttas - I'm sure he would've mentioned it at least once. And I'm sure it is never mentioned, because that is not what Enlightenment is.

Jhananda:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
... And furthermore I believe that in reading the suttas, it is pretty clear that Enlightenment is not JhEnlightenment, as it is never mentioned as being a state that must be maintained by the daily practice of jhana, and it is mentioned numerous times as something that can happen in few moments, and even something that can happen without being in jhana.

This assumption is based upon reading poorly translated suttas, and looking at an all too narrow groups of suttas that support your belief.

Well, translate the Bahiya Sutta yourself, then, and tell me how Bahiya was not released upon hearing Buddha's words. Also if you believe I am reading too narrow a group of suttas that support my belief, please show me a wider group of suttas that supports your belief, or indeed any group of suttas, or even one sutta.

Also it is not based upon reading suttas, as my understanding of the "moment of realization" came most importantly from my first-hand experience of it, and it is further corroborated by the experience of many people on DhO and KFD, not to mention numerous other stories of how people attained Enlightenment.

Again I want to point out that I believe all your claims - that everything you do leads to everything you say it does, and that I find that entirely believable. Yet I am not asking for your phone number so I can get one-on-one lessons on attaining jhana and thus becoming JhEnlightened.

Jhananda:
We can thus conclude that attaining the 4th jhana is all about being free from dhukkha, which I define as being liberated from anxiety, neuroses and addictions, because once I had established my meditation level to attaining the 4th jhana every day, and I meditated at least three times a day, then I found all of my anxiety, neuroses and addictions had left me.
...
My premise is, if they maintained at least 3 hours of meditation a day, then they are very likely to have sustained the level of samadhi and liberation they found at the retreat where they had an experience of "enlightenment."

Let me just try to spell out why we do not buy this...

You say attaining 4th jhana 3 times a day for at least 3 hours a day is the definition of Enlightenment. The Buddha sure loved numbers, but not in this way! Does that not sound kind of strange to you? Why does that particular configuration work, but not 2 times a day for 4 hours, or one stretch for 3 hours, or 5 times a day but only 20 minutes each time, or 5th jhana, or 3rd jhana, or whatever? Show me the karmic reasoning - the cause and effect, straight up. I can tell you why what we at the DhO and at KFD do works, and if you read Mastering the Core Teachings of Buddha, you might, too.


Minor Issues:
I believe the other issues are not at the root of any of our differences, and all our differences can be attributed to the fact that you just do a lot more jhana than most people - see "Big Picture" previously.

Jhana is not "doing":
Jeffrey S Brooks:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
You say doing jhana, and nothing more, is enlightenment, and that enlightenment fades when one stops practicing.

No, I do not say this. The crucial difference between our concepts of jhana is you think it has something to do with "doing;" and I say jhana is not at all anything doing about doing. It is an attainment, which is characterized by bliss, joy and ecstasy, is the product of the practice of meditation and self-awareness, but is absolutely NOT the same thing.

OK, when you sit down and attain the jhanas, you are doing something - namely, attaining the jhanas. When I say "doing jhana" I mean, sitting down and attaining the jhanas - "doing jhana". I get it - you're not visualizing or imagining or worshipping faeries. You're not "doing" something - you are attaining the jhanas. That is what I mean.

Jhananda:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
Furthermore I find I can practice jhana in different ways.

I should point out here that jhana is not a practice, so as long as you consider it so, then you and I are not talking about the same thing.

Again, just a turn of phrase. Replace "practice jhana" with "meditate in a way that leads to the attainment of jhana." To re-phrase fully: "Furthermore, I find I can sit and meditate in different ways that lead to attaining jhana in differing levels of absorption."

Jhana is not "cognitive":
Jhananda:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
I (and basically everyone else you have (x)ever(x) spoken with {here}) claim that's not the case. You claim that well, we therefore must not be doing jhana properly, since your way of doing jhana does lead to {liberation from anxiety, neuroses and addictions (dhukkha)}.

Correct, If you are doing something cognitive when you think you are experiencing jhana, then your jhana is not my jhana.


As I have sat in the way you have sat as described in your practice regimen: "Allow yourself to become utterly and completely saturated in the jhana-nimitta", "Allow all absorptions to sweep you away as far as they will take you. Cling to nothing.", etc., I don't see how that is different from what you are doing. It is very pleasant. I can see how doing it 6 hours a day for years on end would reduce my neuroses. I don't see how it would eliminate them permanently - and you yourself say it doesn't, so I have no reason to think it would. Can you see why your way of life is not appealing to someone who wants to permanently eliminate neuroses?

Jhananda:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
How did you begin getting to jhana?

To consistently get to the four jhanas every day I practiced meditation and self-awareness as described in the four sati suttas. Links below:
Anapanasati Sutta (MN 118) “Mindfulness of the breath”

I began reading the link and came upon these instructions:
Anapanasati Sutta:

"[1] Breathing in long, one discerns that one is breathing in long; or breathing out long, one discerns that one is breathing out long.

[2] Or breathing in short, one discerns that one is breathing in short; or breathing out short, one discerns that one is breathing out short.

[3] One trains oneself to breathe in sensitive to the entire body, and to breathe out sensitive to the entire body.

I immediately stopped reading there as I found these instructions to be too cognitive.

Okay, I am being facetious =). So please explain how those instructions are not cognitive, yet what I do is cognitive.

Jhananda:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:
Even so, I don't think there is a fundamental difference between the two - you get to similar states of mind,

It is clear to me that we are not getting to the same states of mind. Because I would not use mind for jhanas 2-4, as mind is cognitive, and once the mind is still in the 2nd jhana, it is not present. I would use the term "states of consciousness."

Okay, let me re-phrase: "Even so, I don't think there is a fundamental difference between the two - you get to similar states,". I assure you I did not mean something "cognitive" when I said "states of mind." Also, please define what you mean by "cognitive", as before - what is not cognitive about the instructions I quoted but cognitive about what I do?

Comparison to Others
I want to point out that when critiquing your criticisms, I went solely by what I found in that link, a critical analysis of jhana. You did not mention "luminous sphere model", "effacing the senses", "OOBE", or anything along those lines in that link, and that is the only one you provided - and specifically about those teachers. If you have more in-depth criticisms of those teachers then please post those links. I am only responding to the material you provided. So when you say:
Jhananda:
While that difference may seem slight to you, I would only point out that not recognizing the significant difference between our two models suggests you have not had any experience with jhana as I experience it.

You are not addressing anything I said as I did not even know that he had a luminous sphere model, since you didn't mention it in your article.

"it works for me, and not for them, so there is clearly a difference"
Jhananda:
I have already pointed out that my method leads to liberation from anxiety, neuroses and addictions (dhukkha); whereas their method does not seem to. It would seem to be a significant difference, but then perhaps you do not care to be liberated from anxiety, neuroses and addictions (dhukkha).

Do you have any reason for that? Like a cause and effect reason, not "it's clear there is an important difference as there is the difference and they don't have my results." Sure, take that as a given. Take me through, step-by-step, exactly why the differences give you results but not them. If you are Enlightened you must know why you are Enlightened, more than "this seems to work." So far the only reason I can see is that you simply meditate more than them - and you said so yourself, if you don't get at least 3 hours or 3 sessions of meditation in, then it will not work. 3 hours a day, for the rest of your life, sounds like a lot of work if it doesn't even permanently eliminate suffering.

Believe me, I care about being liberated from suffering. I care about others being liberated from suffering, as well. That's why I'm having this (very interesting!) exchange with you.

vipassana vs. shamatha
Jhananda:
Now, mainstream Theravadan Buddhism happens to believe that the Buddha taught two basic meditation techniques, one he called 'vipassana' and another one he called 'shamata' which is where jhana is supposed to be. The problem is, when we study the suttas critically we find there is no place in the suttas where this is expressed. Some people here think I am just splitting hairs.

I don't see why you mention this. Florian said he doesn't buy this, either, but this has nothing to do with what we've been talking about.

jhana junkie
Jhananda:
Now Tom thinks I am a "jhana junkie." Zen Buddhists tend to call me a "bliss bunny." However, the 8th fold of the Noble Eightfold Path is defined in the suttas by jhana (DN-22). So, we can conclude anyone who rejects jhana is not following the Noble Eightfold Path.

Just cause someone calls you a jhana junkie, does not mean they reject jhana. I personally know that Tom engages in jhana quite frequently (egads I've given you away, Tom!).

suffering only eliminated in 4th jhana
Jhananda:
Now, recall that the Budha's thesis statement is the Four Noble Truths, and that is all about suffering (dhukkha) and how to overcome suffer (dhukkha). The only place in the suttas where we find someone free of suffering is when they arrive at the fourth jhana, through following the N8P, where adhukkha (freedom from suffering, or no-dhukkha) is part of what one attains in jhana.

If 4th jhana is the only place you overcome suffering, why does 1st-3rd jhana eliminate the first 5 fetters, which are also forms of suffering?

I believe this is just a mistranslation on your part, but i do not know pali so someone else will have to chime in.

8 stages of liberation
Jhananda:
I also say there are 8 stages of liberation (attha vimokkha-mukha) that are described in the suttas.
I'm afraid I really don't know what you mean, so please cite the sutta and/or describe the stages (or provide links doing so) and I'll reply further.

Conclusion
I'm looking forward to your thoughts on my posts.
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 20 Join Date: 2/20/11 Recent Posts
I am really honored that you would go to so much trouble to unpack my work. It is too bad you have not gone to that much work to unpack Buddhism for yourself. Here are a few more essays and videos that should help you understand what seems to be beyond your capacity to appreciate:

Are the physical senses fully effaced during jhana?

The Immaterial Domains and the Milky Way
Video:

The Proto-Contemplative Life, Lucid Dreams and Out-of-Body Travel
Video:

Rapture in Buddhism, Manomaya, the "mind-made body." The Buddha’s Discourses on the Astral Body and Out-of-Body (OOBE) experiences

Remaining Conscious During the Sleep Cycle

Recollection of Past Lives
(s. Patisandhi, paticcasamuppada, pubbenivásánussati, pubbenivàsànussati):
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Jeffrey S Brooks:
I am really honored that you would go to so much trouble to unpack my work. It is too bad you have not gone to that much work to unpack Buddhism for yourself. Here are a few more essays and videos that should help you understand what seems to be beyond your capacity to appreciate:

Are the physical senses fully effaced during jhana?

The Immaterial Domains and the Milky Way
Video:

The Proto-Contemplative Life, Lucid Dreams and Out-of-Body Travel
Video:

Rapture in Buddhism, Manomaya, the "mind-made body." The Buddha’s Discourses on the Astral Body and Out-of-Body (OOBE) experiences

Remaining Conscious During the Sleep Cycle

Recollection of Past Lives
(s. Patisandhi, paticcasamuppada, pubbenivásánussati, pubbenivàsànussati):


If you are so honored that I would go to so much trouble to unpack your work, then I kindly ask you to reciprocate and actually reply to my direct questions, instead of sending me links to articles you have written long ago that do not even address my questions. Let's just focus on the 6th-8th jhanas and cessation, for now. I believe that will be easiest to talk about as we'll both be speaking from direct experience and not about what Enlightenment may or may not be. What do you think of my assessment that what you think is 6th-8th jhana, I think is just 6th jhana, and what you think is Nibbana, I think is just 7th jhana? If you disagree, then why? If those articles actually address this point, then let me know how.

The "are the physical senses fully effaced during jhana?" article only talks about 1st-4th jhanas, so that does not address the issue of 6th-8th jhana and of cessation at all.

The Immaterial Domains and the Milky Way article just re-iterates what you wrote previously:
Jhananda:
Eventually I was able to stand back from the individual star-beings and view the whole expanse of star-beings while in non-material absorption. I believe the Buddha called that experience "Vinnananaacayatana," which means "domain of infinite consciousness" or maybe better " domain of infinite expanse of beings." This is also known as the 6th stage of samadhi.

At this point the star-beings ceased to me to be things or planets and stars and became just points of light, love and awareness, thus this attainment I believe was called by the Buddha "Akincannayatana," which means "the Domain of No-Things," because at that point I ceased to objectify the objects in space. This stage of absorption is also known as the 7th stage of samadhi.

As one deepens into this domain it becomes a fabric of light, love and beingness, where the most blissful music is sung. I found one can merge one's consciousness into this mass of the fabric of light and being. I believe the Buddha called this stage of meditative absorption "nevasannanasannnayatana," which means "the domain of neither-perception-nor-non-perception." He used this term also for the highest heaven of beings just before nibanna (nirvana/nirvikalpa samadhi).

I have the same critiques as before, so the conversation has not moved forward at all. Maybe you can cite why you believe the states you are in are what Buddha called the 5th-8th stages of samadhi (back to samadhi from jhana I see). Since you are referring to something the Buddha said directly, I ask you to cite suttas.

The Lucid Dreams article is fascinating but does not talk about the technical details of 6th-8th jhana and of cessation, and really seems to come out of nowhere, as you said that all that is required to be Enlightened is to access the 4th jhana at least 3 times a day for at least 3 hours.

The mind-made body article is fascinating but does not talk about the technical details of 6th-8th jhana and of cessation, and really seems to come out of nowhere, as you said that all that is required to be Enlightened is to access the 4th jhana at least 3 times a day for at least 3 hours.

The "Remanining Conscious During the Sleep Cycle" article points to an article about Concentration, which doesn't have the word "sleep" in it, so I ask you to point the link to the right place.

The "Recollection of Past Lives" article is fascinating but does not talk about the technical details of 6th-8th jhana and of cessation, and really seems to come out of nowhere, as you said that all that is required to be Enlightened is to access the 4th jhana at least 3 times a day for at least 3 hours.

OOBEs and Lucid Dreaming
I'd be interested in talking about Lucid Dreaming and OOBEs and stuff; I used to be quite interested in Lucid Dreaming and have had several myself. I always considered it as projections of my own psyche and not that I was travelling anywhere in particular. Anyway, this conversation would belong in another thread. I really want to know about 6th-8th jhana and cessation.

I am curious why you mention these, while maintaining that all that is required to be Enlightened is to attain the 4th jhana regularly, which is not even an OOBE as I understand your description of it. What does Lucid Dreaming have to do with the 4th jhana? Why do you engage in it if it doesn't help you be Enlightened? If it does, why don't you mention it as being required to be Enlightened?
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Jacob Henry St. Onge Casavant, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 698 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Wow Claudiu! I'm wicked impressed with your patience and diligence. I imagine you would do really well in any sort of profession involving negotiation, mediation, communication, etc emoticon Awesome job! I really hope Jeffery, that you carefully attend to Claudiu's very articulate and precise questions, and try to answer them directly and from your own experience. I think it will be instructive to hear your answers. I'm also really interested to hear you address the issue of temporary, conditional abeyance of suffering, however adept one becomes at arranging conditions to attain this conditional result, and permanent dropping of suffering which can't be de-conditioned, at least as long as this body-brain remains.
---Jake
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Nikolai H., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Hi Jeffrey,

I am also very interested in how you answer Claudiu's questions. This is a very insightful thread. Thanks for starting it.

Metta,

Nick
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 20 Join Date: 2/20/11 Recent Posts
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

If you are so honored that I would go to so much trouble to unpack your work, then I kindly ask you to reciprocate and actually reply to my direct questions, instead of sending me links to articles you have written long ago that do not even address my questions.
Hello Beoman, et al, thank-you all for your interest in my insights and attainments. However, it seems you are all looking for an answer in 5 words or less. I have already given the short answers, and that was not enough, so now I have sent you all the essays, which should answer all of your questions exhaustively including suttic references, along with my personal experiences. Now, all you all need to do is exercise some diligent work reading through it all.

On the issue of OOBEs, it seems clear from the suttas, and my meditation experiences that the immaterial domains are OOBEs. If you read all of the material on the immaterial attainments you will find my evidence.
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Jeffrey S Brooks:
Beoman Claudiu Beoman:

If you are so honored that I would go to so much trouble to unpack your work, then I kindly ask you to reciprocate and actually reply to my direct questions, instead of sending me links to articles you have written long ago that do not even address my questions.
Hello Beoman, et al, thank-you all for your interest in my insights and attainments. However, it seems you are all looking for an answer in 5 words or less. I have already given the short answers, and that was not enough, so now I have sent you all the essays, which should answer all of your questions exhaustively including suttic references, along with my personal experiences. Now, all you all need to do is exercise some diligent work reading through it all.


I'm afraid I don't understand where you're coming from. I am not looking for an answer in 5 words or less - I am looking for many, very detailed answers to the numerous questions I have posed to you, specifically with regards to your attainment of 6th-8th jhanas and of cessation. You have not even addressed the fact that I have asked you these questions, and I don't see why. I have read through the essays you linked and found that most of them do not even have the topic of 6th-8th jhanas, so I don't see how they can possibly address my questions about the 6th-8th jhanas. The one that does, simply repeats what the other essay said, and does not answer my specific questions. Thus I fail to see how your essays answer all of my questions exhaustively. I also don't see how you can say that all I have to do is exercise some diligent work to read through your essays, as I have addressed each particular essay you have linked and written specifically why each essay does not answer my questions. If an essay does answer my questions, and I have failed to see it, then please do me the courtesy of pointing out exactly where, as you should know your own work better than I. I've put much effort into this exchange so I ask you to put in a little bit of effort as well, in the interests of moving it forward.

You seem well-regarded by your students, as seen in the post "In His Own Country". I want to draw your attention to this particular quote from that post:
Michael:
More importantly, he has patiently and attentively answered my questions over the years, drawing on his 40 years of daily practice to meet me wherever I’ve been.

I ask why you don't show this patience and attentiveness in the discussions we are having with you. You seem to be ignoring my direct and pointed questions and replying with links to already-written essays, some of which are not even about the topic at hand. Why don't you meet me where I am at now - questioning what the 6th-8th jhanas actually are - and address my direct questions, not just with more descriptions which you have already written, but with direct and fresh responses, since those descriptions you have already written are the very ones I am calling into question?
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Jeffrey S Brooks:
I am really honored that you would go to so much trouble to unpack my work. It is too bad you have not gone to that much work to unpack Buddhism for yourself. Here are a few more essays and videos that should help you understand what seems to be beyond your capacity to appreciate:

Are the physical senses fully effaced during jhana?

The Immaterial Domains and the Milky Way
Video:

The Proto-Contemplative Life, Lucid Dreams and Out-of-Body Travel
Video:

Rapture in Buddhism, Manomaya, the "mind-made body." The Buddha’s Discourses on the Astral Body and Out-of-Body (OOBE) experiences

Remaining Conscious During the Sleep Cycle

Recollection of Past Lives
(s. Patisandhi, paticcasamuppada, pubbenivásánussati, pubbenivàsànussati):


As many of these articles address OOBEs and such, I wanted to let you know that I started a thread about these, if you'd like to discuss them further. Perhaps you can help me understand what seems to be beyond my capacity to appreciate.

Re: your comment:
Jhananda:
On the issue of OOBEs, it seems clear from the suttas, and my meditation experiences that the immaterial domains are OOBEs. If you read all of the material on the immaterial attainments you will find my evidence.

I just didn't see why you brought in articles that talk about OOBEs not in the context of any immaterial jhanas (in terms of attaining them, naming them as they are attained, etc.), since we were talking specifically about the 6th-8th immaterial jhanas, and of cessation.
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Dude, you've just made me break my vow to remain off of this thread but that was quite possibly the most epic dressing down I've ever seen.

That.
Was.
Fantastic.

Uncle Sid would be proud emoticon
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Jeffrey,

whew, that's quite a reading list. Some of that I've read before, but I'll re-read it in the order you recommend, and see what emerges. That will take some time, though; tomorrow I'll be working, please don't assume I lost interest in this discussion if I don't manage to post a reply soon.

Cheers,
Florian
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Jeffrey,

Jeffrey S Brooks:
Thank-you Beoman and Florian for posting your most interesting responses. I will attempt to respond to the core of both of your enquiries. If you read the essays and view the videos at the links below you should acquire a reasonably detailed description of my description of the 8 stages of samadhi, and the methods that I have employed to get there.


Sorry it took me so long to respond - I was a bit busy at work, and I wanted to really read all your material again. I also gave one of your guided meditations a try.

I agree with your original claim that you have access to the jhanas. This is, after all, the "claims to attainments" section of the forum.

Now, when talking about this kind of experience, there's a fine line between agreeing on terms about the experience, and forcing, or shoehorning, terms onto the experience. Or, in more extreme cases, it could even be that behind the desire to have common vocabulary there might be lurking the ulterior motive to force the vis-a-vis to adopt a specific view and call that the common view - to change their mind, in fact. I really hope none of this is happening in this discussion, which, for me at least, is really about sounding out your claims for what they are. (And not for what they should or should not be). We all realize that there is a broad, but still quite well-defined consensus about what is possible in meditation (i.e. awakening in the Buddha's sense) here on the Dharma Overground. In addition to that, there is a body of knowledge, consisting of personal accounts, about what to do and which traps and pitfalls to avoid, respectively how to get out of them.

That said, I'll try to paraphrase how I understand each of us to be seeing the situation. This is merely what happens when I try to see everyone's point of view, so it reflects much more on my own perspective than anything else. Still, it might get the discussion back into a useful, skillful mode. (Yes, this is your moderator speaking).

paraphrase Jeffrey: "I've found that by practising certain meditation techniques every day for close to forty years, four hours a day, I'm able to reach certain mental states called Jhana and attain to certain other manifestations, collectively called Phala (fruits of the contemplative life), resulting in my life becoming free from addictions, neuroses, and anxiety. I also have a very specific interpretation of the suttas to back up my claim that this is the Release, the destruction of the fetters, which the Buddha was going on about. I have written extensively in general terms, but I will discuss the specifics only with people who have been following my instructions".

paraphrase Beoman and Tommy: "I've found that by practising certain meditation techniques intensively for some time, I have had break-through experiences which correspond to the attainments of the four ranks of noble persons (stream-enterers, once returners, etc). I have also been able to reach mental states calle Jhana and experienced certain other fruits of the contemplative life. In particular, I consider the fruit of "ending of the fermentations" to be, in degrees, realized by the break-through "path" experiences, and I think that the personal experience of this break-through is very profound and merits open discussion and exact phenomenological description. The maps and models in use here at the DhO are so useful and universal that meditative experiences are best seen in terms of these maps and models".

Florian: "I've found that the development of my jhana skills, and the development leading to the initial break-through "path" experience coincided, and that after the initial path experience, I've noticed what could be called a reduction of stress, anxiety, and certain tendencies, though this is not as clear-cut as it sounds. These correlations could be due to particularities of my style of practice, but I'm convinced that this is a universal pattern, experienced to various degrees of clarity by all practitioners. I value personal practice and open discussion, realizing that this stuff will manifest in a wide range of ways, and that people will pay attention and assign significance to different phenomenological features of these experiences. I'm also aware of the limitations of online-forum communication. Thus, I'm reluctant to jump to conclusions, even if I hold strong opinion about this stuff".

So, with our various points of view in mind, let's move on:

Jeffrey S Brooks:
It sounds like you are consistently attaining some level of jhana, if the above it true, which suggests your experience at a reduction of stress is corresponding to improvements in your contemplative life, which supports my premise that if someone is genuinely experiencing jhana on a regular basis, then they should be demonstrating a reduction in anxiety, neuroses and addictions.


Yeah. And it also sounds like you've been advancing in the Progress of Insight, which supports our premise that a stream-enterer (and beyond) is able to develop his or her jhana skills more powerfully than somebody who has not yet entered the stream.

We're in agreement on this, apparently, it's just that you are vehemently against the commentary-based Progress of Insight model with its geeky attention to detail, and we think that just being able to reach jhanic mind-states is not enough evidence for someone having attained to stream entry.

What Beoman and Tommy and myself are interested in discussing, is this: what happens next? What happens when someone has had their path moment (in our model and way of conceptualizing this stuff) respectively is able to dwell in fourth jhana (in your model)? What changes, and why, and how?

If you're interested in this kind of discussion, well, this is a great place to have it, with many dedicated practitioners willing to try out new things, and giving detailed reports of what they have found.

Cheers,
Florian
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Jeffrey S Brooks, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 20 Join Date: 2/20/11 Recent Posts
Florian Weps:
Hi Jeffrey, Sorry it took me so long to respond - I was a bit busy at work, and I wanted to really read all your material again. I also gave one of your guided meditations a try.

Thank-you Florian for posting your most respectful response. I will attempt to respond to the core of your inquiry. I am most impressed that you read the essays and viewed one or more of the videos at the links I had posted.
Florian Weps:
I agree with your original claim that you have access to the jhanas. This is, after all, the "claims to attainments" section of the forum.

Now, when talking about this kind of experience, there's a fine line between agreeing on terms about the experience, and forcing, or shoehorning, terms onto the experience. Or, in more extreme cases, it could even be that behind the desire to have common vocabulary there might be lurking the ulterior motive to force the vis-a-vis to adopt a specific view and call that the common view - to change their mind, in fact. I really hope none of this is happening in this discussion, which, for me at least, is really about sounding out your claims for what they are. (And not for what they should or should not be). We all realize that there is a broad, but still quite well-defined consensus about what is possible in meditation (i.e. awakening in the Buddha's sense) here on the Dharma Overground. In addition to that, there is a body of knowledge, consisting of personal accounts, about what to do and which traps and pitfalls to avoid, respectively how to get out of them.

The difficulty that I have had in this thread is I have posted 16 responses, where I have pointed out a number of things that have not be agreed upon.
1) There is no agreed upon interpretation of what precisely is jhana in the Buddhist sangha at large
2) Of the tiny group of Buddhist priests, monks and meditation teachers who use the terminology 'jhana' and 'samadhi' few of them agree upon what it is.
3) I do not happen to accept the mainstream Buddhist interpretation of the terminology of 'jhana' and 'samadhi'
4) DhO has its own interpretation of the terminology of 'jhana' and 'samadhi'
5) I do not happen to agree with DhO's interpretation of the terminology of 'jhana' and 'samadhi'

However, there has been a demand to further the conversation, with a rising air of ridicule in the audience. So, it is unlikely that we can have a dialog on this subject until it is understood that my interpretation might be valid, which requires considering that the mainstream Buddhist and/or DhO interpretations of the terminology of 'jhana' and 'samadhi' might be invalid. Until we arrive at that part of this conversation I do not see how the conversation can be furthered.
Florian Weps:
That said, I'll try to paraphrase how I understand each of us to be seeing the situation. This is merely what happens when I try to see everyone's point of view, so it reflects much more on my own perspective than anything else. Still, it might get the discussion back into a useful, skillful mode. (Yes, this is your moderator speaking).

paraphrase Jeffrey: "I've found that by practising certain meditation techniques every day for close to forty years, four hours a day, I'm able to reach certain mental states called Jhana and attain to certain other manifestations, collectively called Phala (fruits of the contemplative life), resulting in my life becoming free from addictions, neuroses, and anxiety. I also have a very specific interpretation of the suttas to back up my claim that this is the Release, the destruction of the fetters, which the Buddha was going on about. I have written extensively in general terms, but I will discuss the specifics only with people who have been following my instructions".
This is a pretty good synopsis of my argument, but it has its errors, which I will point out.
1) I do not see jhana as a "practice," "meditation technique" or "mental state."
2) I find from personal experience with meditation and its attainments that the 8 stages of samadhi are altered states of consciousness that are characterized by various ecstatic and charismatic phenomena, such as bliss, joy, ecstasy, the stilling of the mind, relative withdrawal from the sensory domain, and freedom from stress, anxiety, neuroses and addiction (dhukkha).
3) The correct English term for the 8 stages of samadhi is 'contemplation.'
4) A highly incorrect term for the 8 stages of samadhi is 'concentration.'
5) The fetters and hindrances are equal to stress, anxiety, neuroses and addiction, which equals dhukkha.
6) The Four Stages of Enlightenment of noble beings (s. ariya-puggala) ie.: Sotapanna (stream winner), Sakadágámi (once returner), Anágámi (Non-return), Arahatta (enlightened, mystic), are defined in the suttas in terms of relative freedom from stress, anxiety, neuroses and addiction, which equals dhukkha.
7) Insight is revelatory and intuitive and is the product of the altered states of consciousness of contemplation (samadhi)
8) Insight is not mindfulness, investigation or cognitive.
Florian Weps:
paraphrase Beoman and Tommy: "I've found that by practising certain meditation techniques intensively for some time, I have had break-through experiences which correspond to the attainments of the four ranks of noble persons (stream-enterers, once returners, etc). I have also been able to reach mental states calle Jhana and experienced certain other fruits of the contemplative life. In particular, I consider the fruit of "ending of the fermentations" to be, in degrees, realized by the break-through "path" experiences, and I think that the personal experience of this break-through is very profound and merits open discussion and exact phenomenological description. The maps and models in use here at the DhO are so useful and universal that meditative experiences are best seen in terms of these maps and models".

Florian: "I've found that the development of my jhana skills, and the development leading to the initial break-through "path" experience coincided, and that after the initial path experience, I've noticed what could be called a reduction of stress, anxiety, and certain tendencies, though this is not as clear-cut as it sounds. These correlations could be due to particularities of my style of practice, but I'm convinced that this is a universal pattern, experienced to various degrees of clarity by all practitioners. I value personal practice and open discussion, realizing that this stuff will manifest in a wide range of ways, and that people will pay attention and assign significance to different phenomenological features of these experiences. I'm also aware of the limitations of online-forum communication. Thus, I'm reluctant to jump to conclusions, even if I hold strong opinion about this stuff".
Your "reduction of stress, anxiety, and certain tendencies" is certainly supported by the suttas as a definition of success in attaining jhana, and it supports my premise that by consistently attaining jhana one is freed relatively from neuroses. And, that relative degree of liberation from neuroses is a function of how much time one spends in jhana every day. If you are experiencing a "reduction of stress, anxiety, and certain tendencies" then it suggests that you are consistently spending some time in jhana.

So, with our various points of view in mind, let's move on:

Jeffrey S Brooks:
It sounds like you are consistently attaining some level of jhana, if the above it true, which suggests your experience at a reduction of stress is corresponding to improvements in your contemplative life, which supports my premise that if someone is genuinely experiencing jhana on a regular basis, then they should be demonstrating a reduction in anxiety, neuroses and addictions.

Florian Weps:
Yeah. And it also sounds like you've been advancing in the Progress of Insight, which supports our premise that a stream-enterer (and beyond) is able to develop his or her jhana skills more powerfully than somebody who has not yet entered the stream.
The problem here is I do not happen to agree with your interpretation of "insight." There is no "Progress" or "stages" of Insight in the suttas.
Florian Weps:
We're in agreement on this, apparently, it's just that you are vehemently against the commentary-based Progress of Insight model with its geeky attention to detail, and we think that just being able to reach jhanic mind-states is not enough evidence for someone having attained to stream entry.
I am not "vehemently" against the commentary-based Progress of Insight model. I simply do not accept it, because it is not supported by my findings in meditation. I find jhana is not at all present or improved when one is engaged in a "geeky attention to detail" during it. I find one is instead improved or deepened in the 8 stages of samadhi when one lets go of the mind completely and submits to the process of samadhi, which is self-arsing and needs no cognitive involvement, just mindful self-awareness.
Florian Weps:
What Beoman and Tommy and myself are interested in discussing, is this: what happens next? What happens when someone has had their path moment (in our model and way of conceptualizing this stuff) respectively is able to dwell in fourth jhana (in your model)? What changes, and why, and how?
I find one does not have to "do" anything but remain in samadhi at the greatest depth and for the longest period of time, and consistently to the point of residing in some level of samadhi every day for several hours a day. My finding are, when one does the above one finds relative release from stress, anxiety, neuroses and addiction. And, when one can spend 3 hours a day in the 4th jhana, then one finds no more addictive and neurotic behavior.
Florian Weps:
If you're interested in this kind of discussion, well, this is a great place to have it, with many dedicated practitioners willing to try out new things, and giving detailed reports of what they have found.

Cheers,
Florian
As long as the conversation remains respectful, then I am willing to continue this discussion.

Jhanananda
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Jeffrey S Brooks:
The difficulty that I have had in this thread is I have posted 16 responses, where I have pointed out a number of things that have not be agreed upon.

1) There is no agreed upon interpretation of what precisely is jhana in the Buddhist sangha at large
2) Of the tiny group of Buddhist priests, monks and meditation teachers who use the terminology 'jhana' and 'samadhi' few of them agree upon what it is.
3) I do not happen to accept the mainstream Buddhist interpretation of the terminology of 'jhana' and 'samadhi'
4) DhO has its own interpretation of the terminology of 'jhana' and 'samadhi'
5) I do not happen to agree with DhO's interpretation of the terminology of 'jhana' and 'samadhi'

For the record:
I agree with #1, but I don't see how it matters as we are talking about DhO views vs. your views, not about the Buddhist sangha at large.
I don't know enough to agree with #2, though I see hints that it may be correct on your site, but I don't see how it matters as we are talking about DhO views vs. your views, not about the tiny group of Buddhist priests, monks, and meditation teachers who use the terminology 'jhana' and 'samadhi' only a few of which agree upon what it is. For the record I think people on the DhO use the term 'jhana' and agree on what it is.
I agree with #3 - you certainly don't!
I agree with #4 - we sure do.
I agree with #5 - you certainly don't agree.

So what is your difficulty exactly? If your difficulty is that we don't yet agree with your point of view, then I ask you to enlighten us, explain your views in more detail, and address our concerns directly... re-stating your views without further explanation will not do much.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
However, there has been a demand to further the conversation, with a rising air of ridicule in the audience.

As there is no censorship going on here, I don't see why the audience's reactions would affect our conversation. As you have no anxieties as a result of your contemplative lifestyle, I don't see why reading someone else's opinions about our conversation would make you not want to continue that conversation.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
So, it is unlikely that we can have a dialog on this subject until it is understood that my interpretation might be valid, which requires considering that the mainstream Buddhist and/or DhO interpretations of the terminology of 'jhana' and 'samadhi' might be invalid. Until we arrive at that part of this conversation I do not see how the conversation can be furthered.

Certainly - we each have our own interpretations and views. Yours might be correct, and ours might be correct. I'm willing to accept your views if you explain them well and the explanations are convincing. I've pointed out where your explanations have not been convincing and asked questions to attempt to clarify those points. It's your turn, now, to answer those questions convincingly. I do not find it convincing when you don't address my questions but simply re-state your views - the views that I questioned in the first place.

Jeffrey S Brooks:
As long as the conversation remains respectful, then I am willing to continue this discussion.

Same here! I am willing to remain respectful, and I hope you are willing to, as well... but I don't consider it a sign of respect when you don't even specifically acknowledge the questions that I put much effort into formulating.
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Jeffrey S Brooks:

I find one does not have to "do" anything but remain in samadhi at the greatest depth and for the longest period of time, and consistently to the point of residing in some level of samadhi every day for several hours a day. My finding are, when one does the above one finds relative release from stress, anxiety, neuroses and addiction. And, when one can spend 3 hours a day in the 4th jhana, then one finds no more addictive and neurotic behavior.


Ah I wanted to point to a sutta you translated yourself, the Samadhi Sutta.

Buddha talks about four developments of samadhi. The first "leads to the joyful home of the way," and leads to the four jhanas. However, Buddha does not stop there. He goes on to show three more developments of samadhi, that leading to vipassana, that leading to sati, and that leading to the ending of mental agitation. Why do you exclusively focus on the first development, yet seem to entirely ignore the latter three? You also might notice that the first development leads to the joyful home of the way - not to the ending of mental agitation. How does one develop samadhi to lead to the ending of mental agitation?

Buddha:
... There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising and falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates (of cognition): 'Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is sensation, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is perception, such its origination, such its passing away. Such are fabrications, such their origination, such their passing away. Such is cognition, such its origination, such its disappearance.' This is the development of absorption (samadhi) that, when developed and pursued, leads to the ending of the agitation.


Thus when I and others say that attaining jhana is not the goal, we are not rejecting jhana - we're merely saying there is more to the Way than attaining jhana... and indeed, Buddha in that sutta shows that developing samadhi to the attainment of jhana does not lead to the ending of mental agitation, but developing samadhi in the way described in the quote does.

Maybe I just misunderstood what you've been talking about - how do you factor in the other three developments of samadhi in this properly-translated sutta? (I assume it is translated to your satisfaction as you translated it yourself.)
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James Hao Yen, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 270 Join Date: 9/6/09 Recent Posts
The problem is that your interpretation of the suttas (I'm guessing that you are interpreting the suttas in way in order to back up your attainment of arahatship) is incorrect and so is the DhO's.

There is no interpretation to make, you just read the sutta like facts and in that case both the claimed enlightenment of the DhO and Jhanananda fall flat. There is no one in either community that interprets the suttas in a purist way.

And so whatever attainment you're talking about (assuming that you did indeed reach an attainment that was compelling enough for you to regard it as enlightenment, as opposed to the other way around where one is not compelled but rather looks for a reason or interpretation to call himself enlightened because he want's to be) must necessarily be something else.

It's very simple: if you're ever indignant, every angry, anxious or hateful at all then you're not an arahat, if you have any emotion you're not an arahat. How you're able to miss this despite reading several suttas is incredible (cognitive dissonance, holding two facts in the mind that contradict and considering them both to be true), they're unambiguous, you don't have to interpret them.
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi James,

Is awakening a matter of interpretation?

I.e. a matter of interpreting certain texts in just the right way?

The photograph of my late grandmother is never indignant, angry, anxious or hateful. Is it the photograph of an arahat?

There's an entire sub-forum for Theoreticians and Traditionalist, btw, where this and related topics are better placed. If you're interested, start a new thread there.

Cheers,
Florian
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
they're unambiguous, you don't have to interpret them.


But the very act of unawakened perception involved interpretation, amongst other mental mechanisms, so can you explain this to me please?

And so whatever attainment you're talking about (assuming that you did indeed reach an attainment that was compelling enough for you to regard it as enlightenment, as opposed to the other way around where one is not compelled but rather looks for a reason or interpretation to call himself enlightened because he want's to be) must necessarily be something else.


Old argument. You're not immune to having the prover prove what the thinker thinks, so I direct the same argument towards your own viewpoint just as I would my own. Have you ever actually practiced the techniques of vipassana and samatha as taught by the Buddha?

It's very simple: if you're ever indignant, every angry, anxious or hateful at all then you're not an arahat, if you have any emotion you're not an arahat. How you're able to miss this despite reading several suttas is incredible (cognitive dissonance, holding two facts in the mind that contradict and considering them both to be true), they're unambiguous, you don't have to interpret them.

It's very simple: You're wrong. You're dealing with a model which implies that, somehow, an arahat must be emotionless. Would that lack of emotion not also include compassion and pleasure in another persons success? Are these not fundamental to what the Buddha taught?

You're arguing an old point which can be easily refuted if you just stop thinking that it's impossible, sit on your arse and practice vipassana every single day, for as long as you have the time to, until you get it into your skull that you're relying on someone's interpretation and not on direct experience. You will see for yourself through practice, otherwise you're just mentally masturbating.
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Beoman Claudiu Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Tommy M:
It's very simple: if you're ever indignant, every angry, anxious or hateful at all then you're not an arahat, if you have any emotion you're not an arahat. How you're able to miss this despite reading several suttas is incredible (cognitive dissonance, holding two facts in the mind that contradict and considering them both to be true), they're unambiguous, you don't have to interpret them.

It's very simple: You're wrong. You're dealing with a model which implies that, somehow, an arahat must be emotionless. Would that lack of emotion not also include compassion and pleasure in another persons success? Are these not fundamental to what the Buddha taught?

You're arguing an old point which can be easily refuted if you just stop thinking that it's impossible, sit on your arse and practice vipassana every single day, for as long as you have the time to, until you get it into your skull that you're relying on someone's interpretation and not on direct experience. You will see for yourself through practice, otherwise you're just mentally masturbating.

You agree that MCTB 4th path is not Arahat as in the suttas though, don't you? James is just saying the same thing. He also didn't say it was impossible. And it is possible to be emotionless as AF has demonstrated. So I don't see where your reply is coming from.
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
You agree that MCTB 4th path is not Arahat as in the suttas though, don't you? James is just saying the same thing. He also didn't say it was impossible. And it is possible to be emotionless as AF has demonstrated. So I don't see where your reply is coming from.


I agree with this as a theory, yes, but I don't have the experience or knowledge of Buddhist dogma to know it with any certainty. I don't agree that James is saying the same thing at all, and perhaps this is due to me misinterpreting what he said in his original posting, as it sounds to me as if he's saying that enlightenment, as taught by the Buddha, is not what is being discussed on this site at all.

There is no interpretation to make, you just read the sutta like facts and in that case both the claimed enlightenment of the DhO and Jhanananda fall flat. There is no one in either community that interprets the suttas in a purist way.


So we're to read the sutta like fact? Why? Who says so? Did the Buddha say that?

As for AF, I don't consider that to be related to Buddhism in any way. There's a whole other discussion in that one sentence, but this is neither the time nor the place for it.
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James Hao Yen, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 270 Join Date: 9/6/09 Recent Posts
But the very act of unawakened perception involved interpretation, amongst other mental mechanisms, so can you explain this to me please?


Ok what I meant was there's no interpretation to make when reading facts. So when something says something like: "And when reaching the stage of sakadagami, he drops off the fetter of ill will and sensual desire." Then it's pretty umambiguous that it means that the sakadagami no longer experiences ill will or sensual desire.

Old argument. You're not immune to having the prover prove what the thinker thinks, so I direct the same argument towards your own viewpoint just as I would my own. Have you ever actually practiced the techniques of vipassana and samatha as taught by the Buddha?


Not sure what you're saying here. What I said was (mostly in response to Jefferey) assuming that you indeed have an experience so compelling that you must call it enlightenment and that it ws the experience itself that compels you. As opposed to you thinking yourself naturally to be unenlightened, but wanting to be enlightened and then looking for a reason or interpretaion in the suttas to consider yourself enlightened.

It's very simple: You're wrong. You're dealing with a model which implies that, somehow, an arahat must be emotionless. Would that lack of emotion not also include compassion and pleasure in another persons success? Are these not fundamental to what the Buddha taught?

You're arguing an old point which can be easily refuted if you just stop thinking that it's impossible, sit on your arse and practice vipassana every single day, for as long as you have the time to, until you get it into your skull that you're relying on someone's interpretation and not on direct experience. You will see for yourself through practice, otherwise you're just mentally masturbating.



Nein, I'm not wrong at all. Pali Canon arahats experience no emotions whatsoever (not even Metta or other karma producing emotions). The problem is that the people here are fundamentally against what the Buddha taught, their very being is against the teachings of the Buddha. Which is why I don't like it when they quote the Buddha here. Because they tend to do so only on the periphery in order to prove of a point while ignoring that the majority of the suttas would contradict what they're doing.

You're arguing an old point which can be easily refuted if you just stop thinking that it's impossible, sit on your arse and practice vipassana every single day, for as long as you have the time to, until you get it into your skull that you're relying on someone's interpretation and not on direct experience. You will see for yourself through practice, otherwise you're just mentally masturbating.


Aright, not sure what you're saying here agian. Didn't say it was impossible, merely implying that people here are against actual enlightenment.
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Nikolai H., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
James Hao Yen:

The problem is that the people here are fundamentally against what the Buddha taught, their very being is against the teachings of the Buddha. Which is why I don't like it when they quote the Buddha here. Because they tend to do so only on the periphery in order to prove of a point while ignoring that the majority of the suttas would contradict what they're doing.
.



Hi James,

Which people are you referring to? All of us? Could you show links to a thread and specify who exactly you are criticizing like that?

Metta,

Nick
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James Hao Yen, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 270 Join Date: 9/6/09 Recent Posts
Hi James,

Which people are you referring to? All of us? Could you show links to a thread and specify who exactly you are criticizing like that?

Metta,

Nick


Ok I'll try to do this but first I'll have to scour around and find some postings.

Basically what I'm saying is that the premise of this entire website is incorrect in regards to things like morality, sincerity, desire, emotions, intention etc. So it's just by changing the surface or a little of things and now subscribing that you can change but by totally accepting Buddhism.

Because the Buddhist system itself is entirely radical, a Buddhist is often of afraid of being born in hell, he must eradicate every negative emotion in him, examine his intentions. The teaching was to even let go of good or the "raft" lest one stay in the river. Basically every emotion was a permutation of greed hatred and delusion, and so there was no genuine well-wishing, no one really wishes another person well, they may do so for an end (greed) or ostentation (greed). Which is why all forms of emotion must be eradicated, all desire, even the desire to see everyone free of suffering (as the absence of that would lead to suffering, or compassion) in order to reach the end of suffering.

It's whole very, emotional, crazy, paranoid self-introspective thing. But I could be wrong.

Anyways the premise of this website is that the people have indeed reached Buddhist enlightenment and yet still: are capable of certain immoral actions (which contradicts the Pali Canon), capable of emotions (contradicts the Pali Canon), capable of following other paths of belief (contradicts the Pali Canon, could be wrong through), capable of believing there is no life after death (contradicts the Pali Canon, cold be wrong though). Furthermore the grading for these attainments which they claim are the same as the four Ariyan stages or whatever is basically an arbitrary model of nanas, not found in the Pali Canon, and somewhat different from the commentaries. Furthermore the supposed: "Only Anagamis experience Nirodha Samapatti" is found in the Visuddhimagga, which is a commentary.

Plus there is this:

"

Australian Buddhist monastic Shravasti Dhammika writes: "Even Buddhaghosa did not really believe that Theravada practice could lead to Nirvana. His Visuddhimagga is supposed to be a detailed, step by step guide to enlightenment. And yet in the postscript he says he hopes that the merit he has earned by writing the Vishuddhimagga will allow him to be reborn in heaven, abide there until Metteyya (Maitreya) appears, hear his teaching and then attain enlightenment."

"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhaghosa

They also grade the attainment of these states by the experience of a black-out (cessation) which is once again not found in the Pali Canon (I think). Even Frits Koster explains things regarding these black outs.

So I get kind of pissed of when people start quote the Buddha on Jhana. Whoah whoah whoah, Jhana was supposedly a very difficult thing to attain, requiring virture and even more than that pure intention, a delicate mental state. And when Virtue, pure intentions and other things are ignored by this site then that's kind of what I mean. I mean how can you ignore those things and yet use the Buddha's quote for jhana.

So basically, if you have indeed found an experience so compelling that it must be enlightenment then by all means call it enlightenment. But it might not necessarily be suttical enlightenment, otherwise people just want to be called enlightened and are looking for suttical reasons to call themselves so.

Plus keep in mind there were 6 other heretical sects during the time of the Buddha who all had the same flavour of the Buddha's dispensation (namely ascetism and then reaching some kind of awakening or liberation) and it is recorded that one went to hell. Plus Hinduism even has the same flavour with moksha. So if you believe that only the Buddha dhamma is true and that other heretical sects are hell bound then you can recognize THE EXISTENCE of other teachings or sects which are basically identical to Buddhism but do not lead to enlightenment (like Jainism, same flavour of religion). So that could be what's happening here and in AF.

But I could be wrong on a lot of the above, so whatever.
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James Hao Yen, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 270 Join Date: 9/6/09 Recent Posts
Or if you remember lioncity. Those people were crazy.

Edit:

Anyways to elaborate if you remember the forum Lioncity, which was set up to facilitate discussion of Buddhism. The place sucked, I remember back when I was a good person thinking about how much denial they were in. At first thought that due to merit (good karma) of all the Buddhists there it would be enjoyable to be in the forum but the place sucked. As soon you started browsing around this horrible vibe of unwholesomness just came over you, and you looked at the pictures of these people. The place felt like it was frequented by pedophiles. The whole lot was in denial, they thought they were enlightened, virtuous or better but they weren't. It's staggering that they weren't able to detect this. And yet it was so OBVIOUS, yet people stayed. Forget reading about Buddhism, just to read the general website was a pain. Anyways my interpretation was that they accumulated so much demerit due to their evil that the website was inextricably hacked and irretrievably lost.

But it's shocking to me that people stayed, how could they not tell? They were hell-bound (I literallty thought that), I thought those people would be better than normal people, yet they were than normal people. The vibe there was so insufferable that I fail to see how anyone could not tell. Plus all the pretension, of enlightenment and virtue and yet they all were (seemingly) hell-bound. No one willing to admit that they had faults or broke precepts (which are easily broken) or were immoral. Yet so obvious.

Obviously my above interpretation was a literal Buddhist interpretation, but that's kind of what I mean. If you wre a good person on that website you would be able to easily tell that the people were crazy, deluded and hell-bound, and forget reading the posts or content of the website. In order for you to reach that conclusion, when on the website the vibe was so insufferable that you just couldn't stand to be there (maybe). Yet amazingly people stayed and (seemingly) were unable to tell.

That's kind of what I mean, I hope the same thing isn't happening here.
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Nikolai H., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
James Hao Yen:


So I get kind of pissed of when people start quote the Buddha on Jhana. Whoah whoah whoah, Jhana was supposedly a very difficult thing to attain, requiring virture and even more than that pure intention, a delicate mental state. And when Virtue, pure intentions and other things are ignored by this site then that's kind of what I mean. I mean how can you ignore those things and yet use the Buddha's quote for jhana.


Hi James,

How do you know people here are not following a path of virtue and pure intentions? How do you know they are ignored? If they are not talked about does that really mean that people do not follow a moral code of some sort or try and live virtuous lives? Perhaps it is just something taken for granted. How do you know?

James Hao Yen:

So basically, if you have indeed found an experience so compelling that it must be enlightenment then by all means call it enlightenment. But it might not necessarily be suttical enlightenment, otherwise people just want to be called enlightened and are looking for suttical reasons to call themselves so.


I've already stated that what is called 4th path here and at KFD is not considered by myself and a few other yogis to be the arahat of the fetter model. It's half way in my experience. Others may disagree but I'd like to keep the bar higher. There is more left to work on, and this is my current experience. I kind of agree with you here. I think the term arahat was meant to describe soemthing much more than just what is called 4th path here.


Metta,

Nick

Edited to ask: What is your own practice like, James? I'd be interested to hear how your practice is including all of what you have mentioned is supposedly missing from this website. Maybe it would be good to start a thread on morality and virtue. This place is a website primarily focused on discussing practical meditative experience , states and stages. Yes it is heavy on that side. Sila isn't talked about much. But that doesnt mean it isnt practiced.
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Ok what I meant was there's no interpretation to make when reading facts. So when something says something like: "And when reaching the stage of sakadagami, he drops off the fetter of ill will and sensual desire." Then it's pretty umambiguous that it means that the sakadagami no longer experiences ill will or sensual desire.

Admittedly I was probably being a bit of an asshole with that one. emoticon Reading that quote as fact as you suggest, I understand it as meaning that the sakadagami no longer experiences ill will or sensual desire, which is not to say that these sensations do not arise but they are no longer experienced.

As for "there's no interpretation to make when reading facts", wouldn't the same apply to reading the Bible, or the Koran? How can you be sure that what you're being told is fact is actually truth itself without direct experience of it? I know that this is kinda picky but can see my point here?

Not sure what you're saying here. What I said was (mostly in response to Jefferey) assuming that you indeed have an experience so compelling that you must call it enlightenment and that it ws the experience itself that compels you. As opposed to you thinking yourself naturally to be unenlightened, but wanting to be enlightened and then looking for a reason or interpretaion in the suttas to consider yourself enlightened.


I don't claim to be enlightened, or 4th path, or whatever people want to call it. My only definite claim is that of stream entry, anything above that remains unconfirmed and I can only speculate until a qualified Dharma teacher can diagnose this. My only major experiences, which I could quite possibly have mistaken for 'enlightenment', were a few rather spectacular 4th ñana crossings and that's something which every pragmatic practitioner I've spoken to knows to be careful of. I don't know if this really answers your question. If not, would you mind rephrasing it slightly?

Nein, I'm not wrong at all. Pali Canon arahats experience no emotions whatsoever (not even Metta or other karma producing emotions). The problem is that the people here are fundamentally against what the Buddha taught, their very being is against the teachings of the Buddha. Which is why I don't like it when they quote the Buddha here. Because they tend to do so only on the periphery in order to prove of a point while ignoring that the majority of the suttas would contradict what they're doing.


What about the attainment of nirodha samapatti, this is referred to in Buddhist texts as only being available to those of 3rd Path and above, so do you consider this to be another falsehood being discussed on here?

As for your issues with people quoting the Buddha, where does this come from? How are any of us "fundamentally against what the Buddha taught"? I find that comment to be highly offensive, that is a totally unfair and unjust assertion to make and you're bang out of order coming out with stuff like that. How is that attitude in line with the teachings of the Buddha?

As Nik asks, please provide examples of this behaviour. Better yet, I'll open a thread and you can take it from there 'cause that's a downright lie and is the sort of attitude which turned people like me away from the purest, most simple of truths expressed in the Dharma for a long time. I've searched for truth my entire life, thirty years down the line and I found that truth in the teachings of the Buddha and no amount of hypocritical ignorance will prove this to be otherwise.

Aright, not sure what you're saying here agian. Didn't say it was impossible, merely implying that people here are against actual enlightenment.


What I was saying was that you base your understanding of the teachings of the Buddha on the words of others, not on direct experience of what's being discussed in the suttas. How are people here "against actual enlightenment"? What do you think this "actual enlightenment" entails?

Why are you even on this website if you so vehemently stand against that which the majority of people on here, and elsewhere in the world might I add, believe to be true? I believe that truth is realized through directly perceiving the Three Characteristics, not through reading a website and a couple of books.
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Bruno Loff, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
I think the discussion regarding nomenclature and origin is much less interesting than the discussion regarding personal experience. I know more or less where the people posting in this thread are at in their practice, except for Julie, James and Jacob:

Jeffrey is doing a meditation practice emphasizing ecstasy and bliss (other nice descriptions of where this kind of practice can lead will be found at www.aypsite.com);
Florian, Tommy and Claudiu (and me I guess) are working towards MCTB fourth path (is that still correct florian?);
Nick is working on whatever they are experimenting with at KFD (a bit mysterious to me I confess).

Why are we having this discussion exactly? I was interested in reading Jeffrey's descriptions, but after a few more posts I got a bit lost on the goal. Are we quarreling "who has / is aiming for the best/true/original enlightenment?" Isn't it enough to know about the different options?
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Nikolai H., modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Bruno Loff:

Nick is working on whatever they are experimenting with at KFD (a bit mysterious to me I confess).




Hehe! It is basically me doing this: http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2011/01/yogi-tool-box-letting-go-approach-to.html

Not much else. just letting go of stuff from moment to moemnt and seeing watching 3 C's in it all. Basic buddist stuff. Seems to be working.

emoticon
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Bruno Loff:
Florian, Tommy and Claudiu (and me I guess) are working towards MCTB fourth path (is that still correct florian?)


I'm working towards the end of suffering, whatever it takes. As moment-to-moment practice, this means I examine my situation for the dynamics of suffering (four noble truths, suffering from the 3Cs, HAIETMOBA) and then use whatever I think is appropriate from my bag of tricks, which contains meditation (satipatthana), inclining my mind towards emptiness/EE, going for felicitous feelings/brahmaviharas/cultivating harmless happiness, playing with jhana and the powers to see what they do, and so on.

Why are we having this discussion exactly? I was interested in reading Jeffrey's descriptions, but after a few more posts I got a bit lost on the goal. Are we quarreling "who has / is aiming for the best/true/original enlightenment?" Isn't it enough to know about the different options?


Yeah, it was derailed a bit. I'd say we stop this one, and start new threads for the topics that came up.

One thing though about the "best" enlightenment: Having read as many bits of the sutta pitaka as I could get hold of, i.e. the first four nikayas and parts of the fifth, and having read MCTB, and parts of the AF trust site, and having discussed things here and in sister forums, and having read in other traditions, and above all having practised this stuff: it is obvious to me that all this stuff contain a very small kernel of teachings, which get reiterated into lots of permutations due to being explained to different people in different circumstances, resulting in the vastness that is the sutta pitaka or (insert your favorite holy book here). The thing is, in its most condensed form, the teaching is too compact for most people to be useful to them at all. And in its inflated form, there are too many tangents to go off on. So it's for each one to drill down and arrive at that kernel for themselves, and then apply that consistently. All the maps and models and far-away goals to be experienced - that's the inflated version, easier to get into, but also easier to get fascinated by specifics.

I'm ranting, it seems, so I'd better stop here.

Cheers,
Florian
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Florian Weps, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Jeffrey,

Jeffrey S Brooks:
The difficulty that I have had in this thread is I have posted 16 responses, where I have pointed out a number of things that have not be agreed upon.
1) There is no agreed upon interpretation of what precisely is jhana in the Buddhist sangha at large
2) Of the tiny group of Buddhist priests, monks and meditation teachers who use the terminology 'jhana' and 'samadhi' few of them agree upon what it is.
3) I do not happen to accept the mainstream Buddhist interpretation of the terminology of 'jhana' and 'samadhi'
4) DhO has its own interpretation of the terminology of 'jhana' and 'samadhi'
5) I do not happen to agree with DhO's interpretation of the terminology of 'jhana' and 'samadhi'


We appear to be going in small, purposeful circles here - these points were all addressed in previous posts.

However, there has been a demand to further the conversation, with a rising air of ridicule in the audience. So, it is unlikely that we can have a dialog on this subject until it is understood that my interpretation might be valid, which requires considering that the mainstream Buddhist and/or DhO interpretations of the terminology of 'jhana' and 'samadhi' might be invalid. Until we arrive at that part of this conversation I do not see how the conversation can be furthered.


I'm getting the impression that each time an interesting question pops up, you step back to the impenetrable "You're using these terms incorrectly" position, which is doubly annoying, because in other situations you're not as strict with your terminology yourself.

It's understood that your interpretation may be valid. We're trying to move on from that "may be", towards a clearer picture, which is why we're asking all these questions.

It's not as if you were talking to a sala full of orthodox Theravadans here, with a venerable monk in the high seat, whom we're closely watching for signs of approval or disapproval of your interpretation.

Rather, the DhO Home Page, which merits a good read or two, explicitly states:

DhO Home Page:
  • openness regarding what the techniques may lead to and how these contrast or align with the traditional models
  • person responsibility: you take responsibility for the choices you make and what you say and claim


So we're fully aware that there are different ways of reading these old texts, some of which may be more conducive to practice than others. But we'd really like to get unstuck from square one here.

Still, this doesn't change anything about the fact that we've been going in circles these past few days. I don't know. Do you have any ideas?

Cheers,
Florian
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Tommy M, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: The meditation experiences of Jhanananda

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Ariyapariyesana Sutta:

”But the thought occurred to me, ‘This Dhamma leads not to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to Awakening, nor to Unbinding, but only to reappearance in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.’ So, dissatisfied with that Dhamma, I left.”

Sounds to me like Jeffrey is teaching the same Dhamma which the Buddha became dissatisfied with and left. Would this be incorrect?

Jeffrey, with all due respect and with my sincere apologies for the harshness of my earlier criticisms, you're just getting caught up in all sorts of linguistic binds, semantic knots and generally annoying diversions which are not furthering discussion. You're an ideal example of the phrase: "What the thinker thinks, the prover proves" and because you've gotten so caught up in the bliss-trip you haven't developed the insight to see the thinker in action. I don't think this is a harsh or unfair criticism, you admit yourself that your interpretation is based on what you think certain words actually mean when translated from pali to english, not on the practical and empirically validated techniques taught for the last 2,500 years which have led to enlightenment, as taught by the Buddha himself.

If you disagree with any part of the above statement then please correct me.

If we disregard the linguistic elements of the argument here, the translations, and personal interpretation therof, perhaps we can get to the true "core" teachings of:

- higher virtue (adhisīla-sikkhā)
- higher mind (adhicitta-sikkhā)
- higher wisdom (adhipaññā-sikkhā)

And how they function as the "threefold grouping of the Noble Eightfold Path articulated by Bhikkhuni Dhammadinna in Culavedalla Sutta ("The Shorter Set of Questions-And-Answers Discourse," MN 44)" [1]

If we abandoned any personal interpretation, began our training with a beginners mind and approached the Dhamma as if we've never encountered it before, how would we understand these teachings?

I too am interested in opening up discussion with you in a mutually respectful and compassionate way, but I would appreciate it if you continued to avoid references to your vast body of work and to address the matter in hand i.e. that of the three trainings. Please bear in mind that I have far, far less experience and knowledge of the suttas than yourself and that I base my responses on direct experience through the techniques of insight, concentration and ongoing morality training.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Trainings

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