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the WHY of why all this stuff leads to less suffering

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Hey all,

I would be interested in any opinions as to why all this stuff leads to less suffering, more happiness.  I would especially be interested in any scientific/ biological explanations. For instance..

1. Why is Jhana and deep concentration so pleasurable, from a biological standpoint?
2. Why does non-duality lead to less stress? So far the best answer I have gotten is that it rewires the brain to turn down, or completely turn off the attraction/aversion aspect of experience. That normally we feel a constant pull towards objects that we think will give us pleasure and a push away from things that will cause pain, but this mechanism through meditation is quieted, leading to an acceptance of things as they are. Would you agree with this?

RE: the WHY of why all this stuff leads to less suffering
Answer
5/25/14 2:08 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Hi Jinxed,

I have a feeling that many of these questions are red herrings, the Buddha's teaching was a pragmatic, practical teaching, he embraced what worked, it was not a metaphysical all-encompassing framework religion. His sole purpose was to alleviate suffering, which for him was both physical and mental, and he saw his path as the direct path that lead to the end of suffering.

I am consequently weary to answer these questions, that's assuming an answer even exists!

However it would be hypocritical of me to answer this question without answering your questions and so here is my attempt:

1) The experience of jhana is not a mental one, it is a physical one, the experience of jhana is deeply physical and is often described in the Pali Canon as a deeply physical experience. All authentic experiences of jhana, according to the Pali Canon are accompanied by 'states' and these states are overall states... in other words they are full on experiences by the meditator of deep physical relaxation, deep mental relaxation, touching the Deathless with the body etc.

The experience of jhana is compounded, i.e created, however I cannot answer as to why it is so pleasurable.

2) Non-duality as I see it... I'm guessing you mean anatta? For me anatta is more of a strategy, instead of a ontological statement, it's a strategy that allows one to let go of painful clinging, it's purely pragmatic, hell if the Buddha thought that letting go of sharp knife blades would lead to less suffering he would have taught that!

And yes, letting go of sharp knife blades leads to less suffering, but I assume that the Buddha never taught that explicitly because he assumed that we all had common sense.

I hope this post makes sense.

Sincerely,

James

RE: the WHY of why all this stuff leads to less suffering
Answer
5/25/14 3:33 PM as a reply to Jinxed P.
As for why jhana is so pleasurable, it releases dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain in larger than usual output. I heard leigh brasington speak about this once. Perhaps a google search would turn up more results. 

As for the second point, I think when one no longer experiences reality as filtered through the idea of separation, i.e- a me who has to contend with all of the experiences that are bouncing against me, the painful dissaosication that comes through the process of separation is weakened. In my experience this weakening continues to happen in a conitnuous way and when one is no longer living life through the filter of subjectivity there is much more the experience of life experiencing itself in all its vividness, and this vividness lack the tension of anxiety, anger, suffering, etc.

RE: the WHY of why all this stuff leads to less suffering
Answer
5/25/14 4:27 PM as a reply to Bill F..
William Golden Finch:
As for why jhana is so pleasurable, it releases dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain in larger than usual output. I heard leigh brasington speak about this once. Perhaps a google search would turn up more results.


 Thanks, I think I found the original study. This is just what I was looking for in regards to jhana..

http://www.hindawi.com/journals/np/2013/653572/

RE: the WHY of why all this stuff leads to less suffering
Answer
5/27/14 8:16 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
[quote=Jinxed P]1. Why is Jhana and deep concentration so pleasurable, from a biological standpoint?
2. Why does non-duality lead to less stress? So far the best answer I have gotten is that it rewires the brain to turn down, or completely turn off the attraction/aversion aspect of experience. That normally we feel a constant pull towards objects that we think will give us pleasure and a push away from things that will cause pain, but this mechanism through meditation is quieted, leading to an acceptance of things as they are. Would you agree with this?


1. It gives you momentary relief of habitual negative thinking (less cortisol) plus it gives a goal reward system that is simple (dopamine).  If you look at jhana attainments in a status way then you'll probably release serotonin/pride.

2. I agree that it's the push and pull of objects in perception that causes the stress.  By relaxing the perception and clinging then you wean yourself off of objects becoming freer to pursue goals that are more difficult AKA goals that don't have instant gratification.