Author Topic: Another questions on jhana  (Read 2272 times)

overmyhead

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Another questions on jhana
« on: December 29, 2009, 10:44:34 pm »
I was wondering, how much effort/time does it take to graduate to the 2nd jhana from the 1st jhana, as opposed to achieving the 1st jhana for the first time?  How quickly is a motivated individual able to progress all the way to the eighth jhana?

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: Another questions on jhana
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2009, 11:50:23 pm »
There are only 4 Jhanas - not 8.  Beyond the Jhanas, there are the arupa states - the immaterial realms.  Rupa means form.  Arupa means formless.  In speaking to Ajahn Brahmavamso he's said that by the time you get past the immaterial realms, you're enlightened (that's if I understood him correctly - so don't quote me on that one) - so it's waaaay advanced - that's already graduate school.  How many people are enlightened in this world?  If you're going to go that far, I'd definitely recommend learning under a teacher you respect and admire.

As for how long it takes to get into the Jhanas, how easily can you let go?  How still can you allow your mind to be?  Have the 5 Hindrances already been overcome in your meditation - or are they still lurking there somewhere?

One thing to be aware of is that the actual desire to get into Jhanas is actually an obstacle itself to getting into Jhanas because it creates tension in the mind.  It's like someone who wants to win or succeed so much that it affects their performance detrimentally - it makes them perform at a suboptimal level because they are too attached to the outcome.

One simile that Ajahn Brahm gives is if you hold a cup of water still in your hand - how still can you get it?  Even if you try to hold it as still as you can, it's still going to move - it's impossible to hold that cup of water still in your hand.  So how can that cup of water be absolutely still then?  You put it down.  Lay it down on the table and leave it be - that way the water can be still.

It's the same with your mind - if you're trying to hold it still, it's still going to move.  But if you just let go of all the controlling, you will notice that there is a stillness in the mind that is already there.

So those are some points to ponder and chew upon.

overmyhead

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Re: Another questions on jhana
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2009, 01:38:23 pm »
I wouldn't say I have a desire for jhana.  It's more like they are an objective.  I don't care about the experience, I just am aware that it is the probably the most efficacious method of developing samadhi.  At least this is the way I try to think.

The reason I asked is because it seems like, from what I've read, that the jump to the first jhana is by far the biggest, and then progressing onto each subsequent jhana, and then the arupa states, are done by methodical manipulation of only one or two factors at a time, and by that time the practitioner already has intense focus.  I'm inferring from your response that it takes a lot more work than that, though.

Offline dhammaseeker51

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Re: Another questions on jhana
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2009, 04:25:51 pm »
I dont think the jhanas are clear cut jumps, like the quantum states in atoms, discrete and separated distinctly. They are only recognisable by the feelings they evoke (in my limited experience) first jhana feels amazingly and profoundly peaceful, and still, "peaceful abiding" the most relaxed you've ever been!
its beautiful. I believe its what Jesus Christ described as "the peace which passes all understanding".
Second jhana is very peaceful but also there is a feeling of deep knowledge, a sense of knowing, which feels quite "godlike" when you experience it. I dont know how to put it any other way.
You get the feeling that everything thats worth knowing, you know!
Can't say I've experienced anything beyond that. Just wish I could experience them more often, but that
would be craving I suppose!
with Metta.

   

Offline ABC

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Re: Another questions on jhana
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2010, 01:52:04 am »
I was wondering, how much effort/time does it take to graduate to the 2nd jhana from the 1st jhana, as opposed to achieving the 1st jhana for the first time?  How quickly is a motivated individual able to progress all the way to the eighth jhana?
A better question is how much effort/time does it take to graduate to the first jhana?

Regarding graduating from the first to the second, this generally will be possible in the same sitting.

Kind regards

ABC
Therefore, Ananda, engage with me friends and not as opponents. That will be for your long-term well-being & happiness - MN 122

overmyhead

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Re: Another questions on jhana
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2010, 01:46:13 pm »
"How much time does it take to graduate to the first jhana?" - "It depends."   :cheesy:

As soon as I figure out this whole "letting go" thing ...

Offline dhammaseeker51

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Re: Another questions on jhana
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2010, 11:14:13 am »
Maybe its not so much the "letting go thing" as coming to realise that we are clinging...
Letting go is how Ajahn Brahm describes it but you could also describe it as the deep relaxing of body and mind.
I've found that exercise before sitting helps. The breath quietens more quickly, and the pulse and heart with it.
Using mindfulness and quieting the mind the rest of the time also helps for when you sit.
Its really not complicated, and is within everyones reach.
with Metta

overmyhead

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Re: Another questions on jhana
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2010, 12:28:28 pm »
Thank you for the advice.  I'm making progress with my meditation.  The deeper I get the more I appreciate how much deeper there is to go.  As you say it's not so much about "letting go", so much as it is to train the mind not to cling.  And it's not something I can just will, I'm finding I have to foster the right kinds of awareness, so that the mind sees itself in the right way, so that it no longer wants to cling.  Right now I am working on developing compassion for all mental activity, becoming as aware as possible of the suffering caused by all mental activity, so that the mind can see how it causes itself pain.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Another questions on jhana
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2010, 03:17:02 pm »
According to Buddha's teachings in The Abhidhamma, a Theravadan sutta, all realms, including the highest realms are samsaric and therefore subject to Dependent Origination, therefore subject to Kamma, a propper subset of DO, and Impermanent.  According to this teaching no being in samsara, with the exception of those who have reached unbinding and release and come back of their own volition is enlightened.  Examples of such voluntary returners would be an Arahant, or a Buddha who can return for the benefit of all sentients, as did Sakyamuni Buddha at the urging of a Great Brahma, and as is predicted of Meyatreya, the next Buddha and future dispenser of The Dhamma once the current record is gone from memory.

Mahayana teachings may be different from tradition to tradition and the appropriate practitioners/venerables/sutras should be consulted.  

As this is a general forum for investigating and sharing meditation experiences the reader need be aware of that there are teaching differences, although all experiences shared need no such interpretation.  Experiences are experiences.  for the sake of clarity the writer should propperly identify their tradition when responding to interpretive beliefs and teachings, so as not to confuse others who may not be aware of such differences in teachings from tradition to tradition.

Quote
Planes of Existence
  
According to the Abhidhamma there are thirty-one planes of existence, only two of which are commonly visible to us: the animal and human planes. In order to understand the nature of the other planes of existence it is necessary to:

1.dispel the notion that there is something special in human beings that is not found in other forms of sentient life;
2.dispel the delusion that there exists even a minute degree of stability or compactness in the psycho-physical complex referred to as a "being";
3.accept that a human being is a group of five aggregates each of which is evanescent and devoid of any substantiality;
4.realize that in certain planes of existence one or more of the aggregates may not be manifest; and
5.realize that these planes do not exist at different physical heights, from an abysmal purgatory to a heaven in the sky, but appear in response to our kamma. Most do not appear to us because of variations in spatial dimensions, relativity of the time factor, and different levels of consciousness.
The thirty-one planes of existence go to form sa.msaara, the "perpetual wandering" through the round of birth and death we have been caught in with no conceivable beginning. These planes fall into three main spheres:

1.The sense desire sphere (kaama loka)
2.The fine material sphere (ruupa loka)
3.The immaterial or formless sphere (aruupa loka).
The sense desire sphere (kaama loka) comprises eleven planes as follows:

1.Four planes of misery:
A.niraya — hell (1)
B.asura yoni — demons (2)
C.peta yoni — here the beings have deformed bodies and are usually consumed by hunger and thirst (3)
D.tiracchaana yoni — the world of animals (4)
Rebirth into these planes takes place on account of unwholesome kamma. Beings reborn there have no moral sense and generally cannot create good kamma. However, when the unwholesome kamma that brought them to these planes is exhausted, some stored up good kamma can bring them rebirth in some other plane. Only stream-enterers and other ariyans can be sure they will never again be born in these planes of misery.

2.The human plane — birth in this plane results from good kamma of middling quality. This is the realm of moral choice where destiny can be guided. (5)

3.Six heavenly planes:
A.caatummahaaraajika — deities of the four quarters (6)
B.taavati"msa — realm of the 33 devas (7)
C.yaama (8)
D.tusita — realm of delight (9)
E.nimmaanarati — deities who enjoy their creations (10)
F.paranimmita-vasa-vatti — deities controlling the creations of others (11).
Birth into these heavenly planes takes place through wholesome kamma. These devas enjoy aesthetic pleasures, long life, beauty, and certain powers. The heavenly planes are not reserved only for good Buddhists. Anyone who has led a wholesome life can be born in them. People who believe in an "eternal heaven" may carry their belief to the deva plane and take the long life span there to be an eternal existence. Only those who have known the Dhamma will realize that, as these planes are impermanent, some day these sentient beings will fall away from them and be reborn elsewhere. The devas can help people by inclining their minds to wholesome acts, and people can help the devas by inviting them to rejoice in their meritorious deeds.

The fine material sphere (ruupa loka) consists of sixteen planes. Beings take rebirth into these planes as a result of attaining the jhaanas. They have bodies made of fine matter. The sixteen planes correspond to the attainment of the four jhaanas as follows:

1.Three as a result of attaining the first jhaana:
A.brahma parisajjaa — realm of Brahma's retinue (12)
B.brahma purohitaa — realm of Brahma's ministers (13)
C.mahaa brahmaa — realm of great Brahmaa (14).
2.Three as a result of attaining the second jhaana:
A.parittaabhaa — realm of minor luster (15)
B.appamaanaabhaa — realm of infinite luster (16)
C.aabhassaraa — realm of radiant luster (17).
3.Three as a result of attaining the third jhaana:
A.paritta subhaa — realm of minor aura (18)
B.appamaanasubhaa — realm of infinite aura (19)
C.subha ki.nhaa — realm of steady aura (20)
4.Two as a result of attaining the fourth jhaana:
A.vehapphalaa — realm of great reward (21)
B.asaññasattaa — realm of mindless beings who have only bodies without consciousness. Rebirth into this plane results from a meditative practice aimed at the suppression of consciousness. Those who take up this practice assume release from suffering can be achieved by attaining unconsciousness. However, when the life span in this realm ends, the beings pass away and are born in other planes where consciousness returns. (22)
5.Five as a result of attaining the fruit of non-returning (anaagaamiphala), the third level of sanctity:
A.avihaa brahmaa — the durable realm (23)
B.atappaa brahmaa — the serence realm (24)
C.sudassaa brahmaa — the beautiful realm (25)
D.sudassii brahmaa — the clear-sighted realm (26)
E.akani.t.thaa brahmaa — the highest realm (27).
These five realms, called suddhaavaasaa or Pure Abodes, are accessible only to those who have destroyed the lower five fetters — self-view, sceptical doubt, clinging to rites and ceremonies, sense desires, and ill-will. They will destroy their remaining fetters — craving for fine material existence, craving for immaterial existence, conceit, restlessness and ignorance — during their existence in the Pure Abodes. Those who take rebirth here are called "non-returners" because they do not return from that world, but attain final nibbaana there without coming back.

The immaterial or formless sphere (aruupa loka) includes four planes into which beings are born as a result of attaining the formless meditations:

1.aakaasaanañcaayatana — sphere of infinity of space (28)
2.viññaa.nañcaayatana — sphere of infinity of consciousness (29)
3.aakiñcaññaayatana — sphere of nothingness (30)
4.neva — saññaa — naasaññaayatana — sphere of neither perception or non-perception (31).
Many may doubt the existence of these planes, but this is not surprising. Such doubt was known even in the Buddha's time. The Sa"myutta Nikaa (II, 254; SN 19.1) records that once, when the venerable Lakkhana and the venerable Mahaa Moggallaana were descending Vulture's Peak Hill, the latter smiled at a certain place. The venerable Lakkhana asked the reason for the smile but the venerable Mahaa Moggallaana told him it was not the right time to ask and suggested he repeat the question in the Buddha's presence. Later when they came to the Buddha, the venerable Lakkhana asked again. The venerable Mahaa Moggallaaana said:

"At the time I smiled I saw a skeleton going through the air. Vultures, crows and hawks followed it and plucked at it between the ribs while it uttered cries of pain. It occurred to me: 'How strange and astonishing, that a being can have such a shape, that the individuality can have such a shape!'"

The Buddha then said: "I too had seen that being but I did not speak about it because others would not have believed me. That being used to be a cattle butcher in Rajagaha."

The question may be asked how we can develop supernormal hearing and super-normal vision so as to perceive sounds and sights beyond normal range. To understand how, we must consider three factors: spatial dimensions, the relativity of time, and the levels of consciousness. Every object in our plane of existence must possess at least four dimensions. The first three are length, width, and depth. It is as if a point were to first trace a line giving length, then turn off at a level angle giving area, then turn off at a vertical angle giving volume. Each deviation from course brings not only a change of direction but also a new dimension with new attributes. But these three dimensions are not exhaustive, for no object is totally static. Even an object apparently still will reveal, at an atomic level, a turbulent mass of activity. Therefore, a fourth dimension is necessary — time. The dimension of time turns "being" into "becoming" — a passage through the phases of past, present, and future. Our sense of the passage of time does not depend on "clock time," but results from the activity of the senses and the mind. The incessant arising and passing of thoughts is sufficient to give a cue to time's movement. Even in the absence of sensory stimulation the flow of thoughts would create the sense of time and keep us geared to this plane of existence. But if thoughts could be stilled, as they are in the higher jhanaas, the sense of time would cease to exist. A different kind of awareness would replace it — a level of awareness expanded far beyond the one we are tied to under ordinary conditions. This new awareness can be called the fifth dimension. As in the case of the other four dimensions, this new one would add a new dimension, a new direction, and new attributes. For such an expanded awareness sounds and sights would be perceived, unknown and inaccessible to us locked up in our limited sense of time. [2]
  


reference:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/mendis/wheel322.html#planes
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 03:22:09 pm by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline francis

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Re: Another questions on jhana
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2010, 05:55:21 pm »
...
As this is a general forum for investigating and sharing meditation experiences the reader need be aware of that there are teaching differences, although all experiences shared need no such interpretation.  Experiences are experiences.  for the sake of clarity the writer should propperly identify their tradition when responding to interpretive beliefs and teachings, so as not to confuse others who may not be aware of such differences in teachings from tradition to tradition....


Good point Ron, I think it does depend on the tradition followed, and the terminology used. Like Dhyāna, for example.

Cheers   :)
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

 


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