Jhana first?

Evammesutam, modified 4 Years ago.

Jhana first?

Posts: 10 Join Date: 10/3/16 Recent Posts
Hi

I have seen Daniel suggest in some places that 1st Jhana should a prerequisite before making any serious progress in noting practise. Yet in other places I have seen him say that doing noting practise is a good way for people to get 1st Jhana if they are struggling...

Should a person be able to enter 1st Jhana first before starting noting?

 
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Noah D, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Jhana first?

Posts: 1104 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
The Pali Canon states that it can go in either order.  This is also a good discussion topic when Sila is thrown into the mix as well.  I see Sila as a form of hardcore habit formation that is meant to smoothly integrate with the goals of meditation such that it becomes difficult to talk about the 3 trainings separately.  Perhaps a discussion for another time.

Regarding OP, I personally was not able to fabricate Samatha because of the ceaseless roaming of my bipolar mind.  However, this very restlessness allowed me to practice dry insight with momentary concentration off of the cushion.  I was able to do it much more consistently than most others.  Samatha would then organically arise when insight matured at various points.  Eventually it became baked into the mind.  Now I have the freedom to fabricate Samatha when I choose to.  It is still not totally natural, but massively improved.  
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CJMacie, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Jhana first?

Posts: 863 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
Evammesutam:
Hi
...
Should a person be able to enter 1st Jhana first before starting noting?
 

Samadhi
("concentration", of which jhana is an advanced form) is necessary eventually, but can develop out of insight (vipassana) practice, of which "noting" is a place to begin.

In the system from Mahasi Sayadaw, "noting" in the sense of consciously noticing what the mind is doing, at first s/w informally, as in "labelling" whatever  comes up. With practice, it develops more continuity, drops the verbal "labels", gains intensity (concentration), and moves towards "knowing" in depth exactly what the mind is doing – where momentary pheomena come from, how they arise, their exact nature, and how they pass away. But all that emerges over time, by itself, so to speak, with sticking with it.

Some people can concentrate more easily, may be able to develop jhana, which then clears ("purifies") the mind to enable vipassana / insight to be much sharper. Other people can more easily just learn to closely observe the mind in its normal action, develop clarity out of that, and then it becomes easier to concentrate better.

Accordingn to the Buddha (and Mahasi Sayadaw), ultimately jhana will happen with "path" and "fruition" events (end stages of "awakening"), but don't expect, or try to rush for that quickly. There's lots of very rewarding times on the way there.