'Lasting' samadhi effect

russel brugman, modified 2 Years ago at 2/6/21 1:12 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 2/6/21 1:11 AM

'Lasting' samadhi effect

Post: 1 Join Date: 2/6/21 Recent Posts
Hi everyone,

I was just reading ajahn chah's teachings regarding samadhi and came across the following:

'Once the mind is concentrated and one pointed, no mind object will be able to penetrate or disturb it, and you will be able to sit like this for as long as you want. You enter and leave it witout any problems. If you genuinely have samadhi like this, it means that sitting meditation and entering samadhi for just 30 minutes or an hour will enable you to remain cool and peaceful for many days afterwards'.

My question lies in him saying that one remains cool and peaceful for many days afterwards. Because he then goes on to say:

'The buddha was able to attain a high level of absorption samadhi but when he came out of that samadhi his old thinking came up and he would attach to it just as before. The buddha then proceeded and attained an even higher state of samadhi but when he came out of that he still had lust and desire.'

So this latter statement seems to be in contradiction with the former. I am not really trying to dispute that one can feel peaceful to a degree after attaining high levels of samadhi for a short or perhaps even long periods of time after formal meditation is over but it is not necessarily a given like he seems to suggest and later appears to contradict. Of course the point being made in the latter is that the defilements have not been uprooted but merely suppressed so it's a bit odd he would phrase it in the way that he did.

I have a feeling I am simply attaching too much weight to the translation here and that he simply means that samadhi can have 'carry over effects' after formal meditation is done.

Still curious to hear what you guys make of this.
Tim Farrington, modified 2 Years ago at 2/6/21 3:41 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 2/6/21 3:35 AM

RE: 'Lasting' samadhi effect

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Hello, Russell, and welcome to DhO!

​​​​​​​I think Ajahn Chah is getting at the fact that even having attained some samadhi, and savored a prolonged afterglow, there is still work to do, fetters to shed, and that the Buddha went on to do it. This is good old Thai Forest tradition, and gets to the concepts of the ten fetters, in the four-path model of enlightenment in early Buddhism and Theravada.

Forgive the wikipedia, lol:

Stream-enterer (Sotāpanna) is free from:
  • 1. Identity view (Pali: sakkāya-diṭṭhi), the belief that there is an unchanging self or soul in the five impermanent skandhas
  • 2. Attachment to rites and rituals
  • 3. Doubt about the teachings
Once-returner (Sakadāgāmin) has greatly attenuated:
  • 4. Sensual desire
  • 5. Ill will
Non-returner (Anāgāmi) is free from:
  • 4. Sensual desire
  • 5. Ill will
An Arahant is free from all of the five lower fetters and the five higher fetters, which are:
  • 6. Attachment to the four meditative absorptions, which have form (rupa jhana)
  • 7. Attachment to the four formless absorptions (ārupa jhana)
  • 8. Conceit
  • 9. Restlessness
  • 10. Ignorance
David Matte, modified 2 Years ago at 2/6/21 6:00 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 2/6/21 5:59 AM

RE: 'Lasting' samadhi effect

Posts: 102 Join Date: 8/3/19 Recent Posts
Hi Russell,

​​​​​​Not a sheer contraction in my view. As you already suspected, I think Ajahn Chah is basically getting at the fact that the hinderances have been suppressed but not uprooted.