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November 1-30: Rupa jhana practice in G hangouts: A Pleasant Abiding

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Hello,

We will continue this month with our samatha jhana practice. Katy set up both the initial September and the October discussion threads. Since she is away for the weekend, she has asked that one of us do the set-up for November.

So be it! Thank you Katy for providing such a unique way of allowing geography to not be a factor when we wish to sit in meditation. Thanks to Daniel Ingram, who has made available to us a Google Hangout “virtual meditation” space. And a special thank you to Bruno Loff who has made the meditation room available throughout the day by providing a calendar so anyone can check if there is a “curator”, i.e. a person who has confirmed his or her availability for at least 30 minutes for a given block of time.

What this means is that anyone can be a curator and block a given period of time from any time zone – nice ☺. Bruno’s thread is called “Online Meditation Room (looking for curators)" and can be found at this link Online Meditation Room (looking for curators).

For those of us who have been sitting regularly in our Eastern Time Zone, we continue as usual by clicking the following link Rupa Jhana Meditation Room to enter the virtual meditation room at the times indicated below:

At our regular Rupa Jhana thread we will continue to host two daily sits in the Eastern Time Zone:
Morning sit: 05:30 - 07:00 (In the UTC time zone that is 10:00 - noon) – Vijay will be curator
Evening sit: 20:00 - 21:30 (In the UTC time zone that's crazy-early) – Georges will be curator

There are curators for each sit as indicated above. But there are no teachers in the group; this is basically a 90 minute personal "lab period" with peers. Sometimes there's sharing after some sits depending on what people want to do. At other times not.

The purpose of the jhana practice is to train the mind in temporarily abating mental difficulties in order to develop an ability to know arising and passing phenomena with more understanding and with a relaxed, stable concentration as a result of gently tempering five identified mental movements that can hinder relaxed, stable concentration of the mind.

These five hindering movements of mind are said to be: sensory desire, ill-will, sloth-turpor, restlessness-worry, and doubt.

November’s meditation theme is called “a pleasant abiding”.

The Buddha frequently made reference to this wording a pleasant abiding in his discourses when speaking of the four developments of concentration – the four jhanas. He speaks thus:

“"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in the here & now? There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in the here & now.”

AN 4.41, Samadhi Sutta: Concentration: translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

RE: November 1-30: Rupa jhana practice in G hangouts: A Pleasant Abidi
Answer
11/4/13 3:06 PM as a reply to Georges Drouin.
In the October 1-31: Rupa jhana practice in Google hangouts, Tom O directed me to a video interview Leign Brasington did w Willoughby Britton here.

I've provided a couple of links on both Soeur Ayya Khema and Leigh Brasington at a wonderful blogspot run by MARGUERITE MANTEAU-RAO, who really enjoys both teachers immensely. Here you can see the results of two searches I conducted on her blogspot that take us into one person's deep appreciation of these two teachers.

1. Soeur Ayya Khema's search results

2. Leigh Brasington's search results

There is a whole series of blog posts here that one can take slowly one at a time, no rush, just read and listen, as the case may be.

I like how Marguerite expresses her path and some of the fruits she has received from her own practice. She calls herself a student of mindfulness meditation, regards Soeur Khema as her preferred teacher. Her language is simple, penetrating and reflects on her following the path that has been set out for her.

One big plus, if you scroll thru the posts she has provided on Leigh Brasington, they are often in the context of her impressions while attending one of LB's retreats earlier last year - done on a day to day basis. This is a most enriching experience to read her comments, which often are of a very practical nature and which provide those of us who wish to attend one of his retreats in the future, wonderful insights into his teachings.

I will also post this comment of mine on our October 1-31: Rupa jhana practice in Google hangouts thread.

What are Jhanas? ~ Leigh Brasington with Stephanie Nash
Answer
11/4/13 4:53 PM as a reply to Georges Drouin.
Here is the link to a four part interview LB did in 2011: What are Jhanas? ~ Leigh Brasington with Stephanie Nash.

Tranquil body, floating mind
Answer
11/15/13 6:35 AM as a reply to Georges Drouin.
Tranquil body, floating mind
within the breath rising, without still and frigid
moments pending in the ebb & flow of it
time without past, time without future
become mindful, become pure, become …
the bodhisattva is waiting to be awakened
breath and mind unite and permeate this moment
angels sing birds float within moment to moment
suspended moments, suspended becoming
let be that which is becoming
let be absorbed that which is perfectly concentrated
people, me you us, pause and listen, pause and be mindful
treasure what arises, release what passes, no striving, letting go
all is there and always has never gone never becoming
sense it, see it, become it. Dhamma permeating all
i go on into the day ahead
i come from the deep moments of meditation
where breath is absorbed in body and mind
release occurs now
never before never after
be mindful be ...

RE: November 1-30: Rupa jhana practice in G hangouts: A Pleasant Abidi
Answer
11/15/13 2:50 PM as a reply to Georges Drouin.
Georges,

It was so nice to see and join you all again last night and today. I am still coming and going this month (like, I won't be joining this weekend or not till Sunday morning or night anyway). After Ven. Dhammadipa's course coming up, then *I think* December looks good for me and perhaps even Vijay's thoughts on the practice periods for December.

Thank you,
Katy

RE: November 1-30: Rupa jhana practice in G hangouts: A Pleasant Abidi
Answer
11/15/13 3:38 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Katy,

it's a bit of a bumpy ride later this month for me as well. I'll be sitting in noble silence at the 8-day Thanskgiving retreat at CYM. Certainly, this is a great opportunity for new meditators to come and join the Rupa Jhana circle. On a reciprocal note, it was indeed wonderful to greet you and Chris back with us this morning and last evening.

In the meantime, safe trip back from New Haven. emoticon

Transference of Merits To All Celestial Beings
Answer
11/15/13 4:27 PM as a reply to Georges Drouin.
I know Katy will want to elaborate on this. Yesterday evening after meditation Katy recounted a conversation she had with Bhikkhu Bodhi recently at CYM. She was relating to him how we meditated within our Rupa Jhana practice circle. Bhante suggested that we share the merits of our meditation with the Devas and Nagas.

I won't elaborate more because I know Katy will want to but, at least, I'd like each of us to consider repeating the following Pali chant after our meditation.

Transference of Merits To All Celestial Beings

Âkâsathâ ca bhummathâ - Devâ nâgâ mahiddhikâ
May all being inhabiting space and earth, Devas and Nagas of mighty power,
puññam tam anumôditvâ - ciram rakkhantu lôka-sâsanam
share this merit and may they long protect the Dispensation.

Âkâsathâ ca bhummathâ - Devâ nâgâ mahiddhikâ
May all being inhabiting space and earth, Devas and Nagas of mighty power,
puññam tam anumôditvâ - ciram rakkhantu desanam
share this merit and may they long protect the teaching of the Dhamma.

Âkâsathâ ca bhummathâ - Devâ nâgâ mahiddhikâ
May all being inhabiting space and earth, Devas and Nagas of mighty power,
puññam tam anumôditvâ - ciram rakkhantu mam param
share this merit and may they long protect myself and others.

A couple of Soeur Ayya Khema articles
Answer
11/20/13 1:30 PM as a reply to Georges Drouin.
Articles and book reviews by and of Ayya Khema via http://www.gobookee.org/:

- The Meditative Mind
- [url=http://www.aqusnews.com/postings/253/Ayya%20Tathaaloka%20Talk%20with%20branches%20(2).pdf]The History of Women in Buddhism
- Five Daily Recollections
- Be Nobody
- Bikkhu Bodhi Book Review: When The Iron Bird Flies
- Book review by Amadeo Solé Leris of Ayya Khema's book: Who is My Self?

RE: Transference of Merits To All Celestial Beings
Answer
11/20/13 6:02 PM as a reply to Georges Drouin.
Georges,

Thank you for this and thank you for your links here and via email, plus why you specifically like the links. I know when you send something you will point out why you're listening to, areas you're getting things from.


All,

When I don't know the people who join in, I don't bring this "merit sharing" practice up because there's huge value in sharing a secular meditation practice and I don't want to colour the DhO meditation room with practices that seem religious. It would have put me off not long ago, for example.

So when the group has more people than Chris, Georges and I-- people with whom I've been a classmate during a Bhikkhu Bodhi retreat-- I just do this "thanks" privately when the group hangout closes.

Anyway, I'm probably not back on to practice until December 2 and will set up a session, checking in what Vijay has in mind for the hours.

Thanks,.

RE: Transference of Merits To All Celestial Beings
Answer
11/21/13 2:51 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
katy steger:


When I don't know the people who join in, I don't bring this "merit sharing" practice up because there's huge value in sharing a secular meditation practice and I don't want to colour the DhO meditation room with practices that seem religious. It would have put me off not long ago, for example.

So when the group has more people than Chris, Georges and I-- people with whom I've been a classmate during a Bhikkhu Bodhi retreat-- I just do this "thanks" privately when the group hangout closes.


I personally have no problem with this merit sharing. In fact, I have been doing it myself as well in a more non-religious way actually. I usually say something as simple as "may the merit of my practice be dedicated to all beings everywhere. May they live with ease, peace, and happiness." This can follow by some metta phrases. (These are inspired by Joseph Goldstein when I started practicing and am still doing it.)


As for the schedule, I can still join in very intermittently, but I really appreciate the room. It's nice to have someone to sit with from time to time. Thanks to everyone for setting this up.

RE: November 1-30: Rupa jhana practice in G hangouts: A Pleasant Abidi
Answer
11/24/13 11:17 AM as a reply to Georges Drouin.
Btw, is there a way to enter the meditation room directly from google hangout? I have always come to this website every time to click on the link, but it would have been really nice to be able to enter it directly if possible.

Cheers