RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

Andy, modified 24 Days ago.

Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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I'm currently reading Leigh Brasington's Right Concentration and at one point he makes reference to "the Tibetan understanding of the Jhanas". Does anybody know what he is referring to? I've never seen the Jhanas mentioned in a Tibetan context.
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Noah D, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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Sometimes in Mahayana they are looked down upon as lacking the foundation of great compassion .  

also the 9 stages of samatha working towards jhana from Kamalasila is in the Sanskrit but not pali tradition.
Andy, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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Yeah I would agree Hinayana is looked down upon at least somewhat by Mahayana. The Tibetan Vajrayana approach I think has always been more integrative. I've seen Tibetan Buddhist centers, for example, that claim to teach all three vehicles. 

Anyways though I'm looking specifically for Tibetan expositions of the Jhanas, though perhaps they refer to them as Dhyana...?
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Noah D, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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Andy:
Yeah I would agree Hinayana is looked down upon at least somewhat by Mahayana. The Tibetan Vajrayana approach I think has always been more integrative. I've seen Tibetan Buddhist centers, for example, that claim to teach all three vehicles.  Anyways though I'm looking specifically for Tibetan expositions of the Jhanas, though perhaps they refer to them as Dhyana...?
<br /><br />Its not quite accurate to equate Theravada with Hinayana . &nbsp;This is because the Pali canon contains sutras which espouse the bodhisattva path. &nbsp;<br /><br />i don't know much about the politics between Theravada &amp; various Mahayana schools. &nbsp;I would include Tibetan Buddhism as a Mahayana school &amp; vajrayana (whether from Japan, Tibet , Indonesia, etc) as a subset of Mahayana.&nbsp;<br /><br />if you are looking for a book from the indo Tibetan tradition that talks about jhana , you will probably need to find a comprehensive encyclopedic volume that includes it. &nbsp;Perhaps mipham gateway of knowledge?&nbsp;
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Zero, modified 24 Days ago.

RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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Yeah the Tibetans don't use the term "Hinayana" disparagingly at all. It's just beginner teachings. Japanese dharma though...
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svmonk, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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Hi Andy,

I think the Tibetians call it "shamantha", calm abiding. AFIK, they don't teach the detailed structure of the various jhana levels and such.
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Noah D, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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svmonk:
Hi Andy, I think the Tibetians call it "shamantha", calm abiding. AFIK, they don't teach the detailed structure of the various jhana levels and such.


Im pretty sure samatha precedes the 1st jhana & that they do acknowledge the existence of jhana but don't encourage its practice.
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svmonk, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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Hi Noah,

Care to say more? I've never heard any Tibetian teacher or read anything along the lines of the well-articulated Theravada teaching.
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Noah D, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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svmonk
Hi Noah,

Care to say more? I've never heard any Tibetian teacher or read anything along the lines of the well-articulated Theravada teaching.


Sure thing.  Just did some quick googling & it took me to an old DhO thread (lol) which references that Kamalasila's 9 stages lead to the attainment of samatha which = access concentration preceding the 1st jhana - https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/94387.  In page 12 of this doc, Culadasa says the same thing - https://dharmatreasure.org/wp-content/uploads/LightOnMeditationHandout.pdf.  I also have received this teaching orally from a teacher based in the Indo Tibetan tradition.  

That said, they don't talk in a lot of detail about the jhanas because they don't recommend them because they'd rather have someone do something more mahayana-ey, like dzogrim or dzogchen or lam rim after attaining samatha.  
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Siavash ', modified 21 Days ago.

RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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 Isn't B. Alan Wallace's teachings on jhanas also based on Kamalasila's 9 stages and part of the tibetan tradition?
It seems that he teaches hard jhanas similar to VSM jhanas. I guess somewhat different from Culadasa's interpretation.
 
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Noah D, modified 21 Days ago.

RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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Siavash &amp;#39;
 Isn't B. Alan Wallace's teachings on jhanas also based on Kamalasila's 9 stages and part of the tibetan tradition?
It seems that he teaches hard jhanas similar to VSM jhanas. I guess somewhat different from Culadasa's interpretation.
 
Yes, Alan Wallace teaches that the jhanas come after the attainment of samatha (stage 9, or 10, depending on how you mark completion).  I don't know that they are specifically "the tibetan tradition."  In terms of traditional approaches, every buddhist school acknowledges the existence of jhanas & that they come after the attainment of samatha.  Modern shastra/commentarial traditions will then reinterpret or ignore as they wish.  

I don't think Culadasa is negating the fact that in traditional buddhism, jhanas comes after the attainment of samatha.  Rather, I think he's saying that in reality/in practice there are useful, progressive samadhi states that clearly resemble the jhanas yet do not require full samatha to enter & maintain them. 
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Siavash ', modified 21 Days ago.

RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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Thanks Noah.
Derek2, modified 23 Days ago.

RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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Wikipedia says that parts of the Sutta Pitaka (āgamas) were translated into Tibetan. Which parts, and what happened to the bits about jhānas, I do not know. Possibly they had the texts to translate but no contact with a living tradition of jhāna meditation.
John H, modified 19 Days ago.

RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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I wonder if the Tibetan version of the jhanas is Tummo. That system reliably produces results and can taught without too much trouble although Tummo is dangerous in a way that I think the jhanas are not. With that, I think Tibetan Lamas would likely either be ignorant of it or consider that what they would call jhana is an obsolete method. On a somewhat related note, I was quite surprised when a Zen teacher with a Chinese lineage posted a sutta on the Buddha's birthday that pretty clearly said that enlightenment is nirodha samapatti. I'm pretty sure he didn't know what the sutta was saying and that wasn't his teaching, but somebody in the wayback of Zen clearly did.
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Tommy M, modified 19 Days ago.

RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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John H I wonder if the Tibetan version of the jhanas is Tummo.

​​​​​​​Those practices involve radically different mental postures, although they both start with samatha so I can see how you might arrive at that conclusion.
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svmonk, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: Tibetan understanding of Jhanas

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Hi John,

Tricycle has an article in the spring issue about the Heart Sutra. It was apparently back translated from Chinese into Sanskirt and due to a mistranslation, came out sounding like a metaphysical treatise, when actually, it is a description of a mediation experience. Nagarjuna called it sarvopalambhopasamah (SVP) in the Mulamadhyamakakarika. Basically what happens is that clinging to perception is weakened to the point where experience disappears though you do not lose consciousness or fall asleep. Not sure but it might be different from nirodha samapatti (NSP), though it is similar. The route to get there is different. With SVP you work using vipassana to release clinging, with NSP you focus awareness.

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