Author Topic: Preparation for Entering Jhanas  (Read 128 times)

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Preparation for Entering Jhanas
« on: October 29, 2017, 05:10:59 am »
Identification & purging of metal factors, which bind us to this samsaric realm is beneficial for advancing, progressing through the purification process, which facilitates entry into nibbana.

This process is described here:

The Jhanas in Theravada Buddhist Meditation

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/gunaratana/wheel351.html

Using this commentary as a study guide I would like to invite practitioners to study aspects of it, ask questions, share our personal understanding with others who wish to participate, put it into direct practice, and to share our experience.

I would like to begin with a discussion, which includes classical definitions of the issues identified within the commentary and to share our personal experience with these issues.

Hopefully this process will help us with our progress in meditation  & mindfulness practice with particular focus upon our personal experience while in the states of mind referred to as "The Jhanas" as Buddha explained them.

Notice:  This is a study and participation thread.  Contribution and  sharing will be limited to that sent to the original poster (OP) via personal message.  Appropriate and helpful, on topic additions will be added by the OP with appropriate credit.

Thank you for your participation.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 05:19:22 am 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 Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Preparation for Entering Jhanas
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2017, 09:14:31 am »
Source:  https://what-buddha-said.net/library/Buddhist.Dictionary/dic3_s.htm


Definition:    Samadhi:

Quote
Samādhi: 'concentration'; lit. 'the mental state of being firmly fixed' sam+ā+Ö hā is the fixing of the mind on a single object.,One-pointedness of mind cittass ekaggatā Brother Visakha, this is called concentration; M. 44. Concentration - though often very weak - is one of the 7 mental properties inseparably associated with all consciousness. Cf.nāma, cetanā.
Right concentration sammā-samādhi as the last link of the 8-fold path see: magga is defined as the 4 meditative absorptions jhāna. In a wider sense, comprising also much weaker states of concentration, it is associated with all kammically advantageous kusala consciousness. Wrong concentration micchā-samādhi is concentration associated with all kammically disadvantageous akusala consciousness. Wherever in the texts this term is not differentiated by 'right' or 'wrong', there 'right' concentration is meant.
In concentration one distinguishes 3 grades of intensity:
1 'Preparatory concentration' parikamma-samādhi existing at the beginning of the mental exercise.
2 'Neighbourhood concentration' upacāra-samādhi i.e. concentration 'approaching' but not yet attaining the 1st absorption jhāna, which in certain mental exercises is marked by the appearance of the so-called 'counter-image' patibhāga-nimitta.
3 'Attainment concentration' appanā-samādhi i.e. that concentration which is present during the absorptions. App.
Further details, see: bhāvana, Vis.M III and Fund. IV.
Concentration connected with the 4 noble path-moments magga and fruition-moments phala is called supra-mundane lokuttara having Nibbāna as object. Any other concentration, even that of the most sublime absorptions is merely mundane lokiya.
According to D. 33, the development of concentration samādhi-bhāvanā may procure a 4-fold blessing: 1 present happiness through the 4 absorptions; 2 knowledge and vision ñāna-dassana - here probably identical with the 'divine eye' see: abhiññā through perception of light kasina 3 awareness or mindfulness and clear comprehension through the clear knowledge of the arising, persisting and vanishing of feelings, perceptions and thoughts; 4 ceasing of all fermentations āsavakkhaya through understanding the arising and passing away of the 5 groups forming the objects of clinging see: khandha
Concentration is one of the 7 factors of enlightenment bojjhanga, one of the 5 spiritual abilities and powers see: bala and the last link of the 8-fold path. In the 3-fold division of the 8-fold path morality, concentration and understanding, it is a collective name for the three last links of the path see: sikkhā.
Samādhi-parikkhāra: 'means, or requisites of concentration', are the 4 foundations of awareness or mindfulness satipatthāna. See M. 44.
Samādhi-samāpatti-kusalatā: thiti-kusalatā-utthānakusalatā skilfulness in entering into concentration, in remaining in it, and in rising from it. Cf. S.XXXIV, llff.
Samādhi-sambojjhanga: 'concentration as link to Awakening' see: bojjhanga
Samādhi-vipphārā iddhi: the 'power of penetrating concentration', is one of the magical abilities iddhi.

Samatha:
Quote
'tranquillity', serenity, is a synonym of samādhi coneentration, cittekaggatā one-pointedness of mind and avikkhepa undistractedness. It is one of the mental properties in 'advantageous consciousness. Cf. foll. and bhāvanā

« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 09:17:41 am 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 Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Preparation for Entering Jhanas
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2017, 09:21:57 am »


Definition:     AAsavaa From aa-savati "flows towards" (i.e., either "into" or "out" towards the observer), thus lit. either "influx" or "secretion." The most generally accepted translation today is "cankers." [Another meaning is "fermentation," hence "intoxicants" is a possible alternative rendering.] 

Quote
The four cankers are those of (1) sense-desire (kaamaasava) (2) desire for continued existence (bhavaasava) (3) wrong views (di.t.thiaasava: cf. SN 12.15, n. 1): and (4) ignorance (avijjaasava) though (3) is often omitted, being doubtless included in (4). The destruction of the cankers is equivalent to Arahantship, and an Arahant is sometimes called khiinaasava.

Definition:  Defilements: 

Quote
SN 27.1: Cakkhu Sutta — The Eye

At Savatthi. "Monks, any desire-passion with regard to the eye is a defilement of the mind. Any desire-passion with regard to the ear... the nose... the tongue... the body... the intellect is a defilement of the mind. When, with regard to these six bases, the defilements of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing."

SN 27.2: Rupa Sutta — Forms

At Savatthi. "Monks, any desire-passion with regard to forms is a defilement of the mind. Any desire-passion with regard to sounds... aromas... flavors... tactile sensations... ideas is a defilement of the mind. When, with regard to these six bases, the defilements of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing."

SN 27.3: Viññana Sutta — Consciousness

At Savatthi. "Monks, any desire-passion with regard to eye-consciousness is a defilement of the mind. Any desire-passion with regard to ear-consciousness... nose-consciousness... tongue-consciousness... body-consciousness... intellect-consciousness is a defilement of the mind. When, with regard to these six bases, the defilements of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing."

SN 27.4: Phassa Sutta — Contact

At Savatthi. "Monks, any desire-passion with regard to contact at the eye is a defilement of the mind. Any desire-passion with regard to contact at the ear... contact at the nose... contact at the tongue... contact at the body... contact at the intellect is a defilement of the mind. When, with regard to these six bases, the defilements of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing."

SN 27.5: Vedana Sutta — Feeling

At Savatthi. "Monks, any desire-passion with regard to feeling born of contact at the eye is a defilement of the mind. Any desire-passion with regard to feeling born of contact at the ear... feeling born of contact at the nose... feeling born of contact at the tongue... feeling born of contact at the body... feeling born of contact at the intellect is a defilement of the mind. When, with regard to these six bases, the defilements of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing."

SN 27.6: Sañña Sutta — Perception

At Savatthi. "Monks, any desire-passion with regard to perception (naming, labeling) of forms is a defilement of the mind. Any desire-passion with regard to perception of sounds... perception of aromas... perception of flavors... perception of tactile sensations... perception of ideas is a defilement of the mind. When, with regard to these six bases, the defilements of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing."

SN 27.7: Cetana Sutta — Intention

At Savatthi. "Monks, any desire-passion with regard to intentions involving forms is a defilement of the mind. Any desire-passion with regard to intentions involving sounds... intentions involving aromas... intentions involving flavors... intentions involving tactile sensations... intentions involving ideas is a defilement of the mind. When, with regard to these six bases, the defilements of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing."

SN 27.8: Tanha Sutta — Craving

At Savatthi. "Monks, any desire-passion with regard to craving for forms is a defilement of the mind. Any desire-passion with regard to craving for sounds... craving for aromas... craving for flavors... craving for tactile sensations... craving for ideas is a defilement of the mind. When, with regard to these six bases, the defilements of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing."

SN 27.9: Dhatu Sutta — Properties

At Savatthi. "Monks, any desire-passion with regard to the earth property is a defilement of the mind. Any desire-passion with regard to the liquid property... the fire property... the wind property... the space property... the consciousness property is a defilement of the mind. When, with regard to these six bases, the defilements of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing."

SN 27.10: Khandha Sutta — Aggregates

At Savatthi. "Monks, any desire-passion with regard to form is a defilement of the mind. Any desire-passion with regard to feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness is a defilement of the mind. When, with regard to these five bases, the defilements of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing."

Definitions:  Hindrances

Quote
"Monks, there are these five hindrances. Which five? Sensual desire as a hindrance, ill will as a hindrance, sloth & drowsiness as a hindrance, restlessness & anxiety as a hindrance, and uncertainty as a hindrance. These are the five hindrances.

Definitions:   Impediments:

Quote
impediments are numbered as ten: a dwelling, which becomes an impediment for those who allow their minds to become preoccupied with its upkeep or with its appurtenances; a family of relatives or supporters with whom the aspirant may become emotionally involved in ways that hinder his progress; gains, which may bind the monk by obligation to those who offer them; a class of students who must be instructed; building work, which demands time and attention; travel; kin, meaning parents, teachers, pupils or close friends; illness; the study of scriptures; and supernormal powers, which are an impediment to insight (Vism.90-97; PP.91-98).


Definitions:  Khanda: 

Quote
Khandha: the 5 'groups of existence' or 'groups of clinging' upādānakhandha alternative renderings: aggregates or clusters, categories of clinging's objects. These are the 5 aspects in which the Buddha has summed up all the physical and mental phenomena of existence, and which appear to the ignorant man as his ego, or personality, to wit:

1 the materiality group khandha rūpa-khandha,
2 the feeling group vedanā-khandha,
3 the perception group saññā-khandha,
4 the mental-construction group sankhāra-khandha,
5 the consciousness-group viññāna-khandha

Whatever there exists of material things, whether past, present or future, one's own or external, gross or subtle, lofty or low, far or near, all that belongs to the materiality group. Whatever there exists of feeling... of perception... of mental constructions... of consciousness... all that belongs to the consciousness-group S. XXII, 48. - Another division is that into the 2 groups: mind 2-5 and materiality 1 nāma-rūpa, whilst in Dhamma Sanganī, the first book of the Abhidhamma, all the phenomena are treated by way of 3 groups: consciousness 5, mental properties 2-4, materiality 1, in Pāli citta cetasika, rūpa Cf. Guide I.

What is called individual existence is in reality nothing but a mere process of those mental and physical phenomena, a process that since time immemorial has been going on, and that also after death will still continue for unthinkably long periods of time. These 5 groups, however, neither singly nor collectively constitute any self-dependent real ego-entity, or personality attā nor is there to be found any such entity apart from them. Hence the belief in such an ego-entity or personality, as real in the ultimate sense, proves a mere illusion.

When all constituent parts are there,
The designation 'cart' is used;
Just so, where the five groups exist,
Of 'living being' do we speak. S. V. 10.

The fact ought to be emphasized here that these 5 groups, correctly speaking, merely form an abstract classification by the Buddha, but that they as such, i.e. as just these 5 complete groups, have no real existence, since only single representatives of these groups, mostly variable, can arise with any state of consciousness. For example, with one and the same unit of consciousness only one single kind of feeling, say joy or sorrow, can be associated and never more than one. Similarly, two different perceptions cannot arise at the same moment. Also, of the various kinds of sense-cognition or consciousness, only one can be present at a time, for example, seeing, hearing or inner consciousness, etc. Of the 50 mental constructions, however, a smaller or larger number are always associated with every state of consciousness, as we shall see later on.

Some writers on Buddhism who have not understood that the five khandha are just classificatory groupings, have conceived them as compact entities 'heaps', 'bundles', while actually, as stated above, the groups never exist as such, i.e. they never occur in a simultaneous totality of all their constituents. Also those single constituents of a group which are present in any given body-and-mind process, are of an evanescent nature, and so also their varying combinations. Feeling, perception and mental constructions are only different aspects and functions of a single unit of consciousness. They are to consciousness what redness, softness, sweetness, etc. are to an apple and have as little separate existence as those qualities.

In S. XXII, 56, there is the following short definition of these 5 groups:

What, o Bhikkhus, is the materiality-group? The 4 primary elements mahā-bhūta or dhātu and materiality depending thereon, this is called the materiality-group.

What, o Bhikkhus, is the feeling-group? There are 6 classes of feeling: due to visual contact, to sound contact, to odour contact, to taste contact, to bodily contact, and to mind contact.

What, o Bhikkhus, is the perception-group? There are 6 classes of perception: perception of visual objects, of sounds, of odours, of tastes, of bodily contacts, and of mental contacts.

What, o Bhikkhus, is the group of mental constructions? There are 6 classes of intentional states cetanā with regard to visual objects, to sounds, to odours, to tastes, to bodily contacts and to mind objects.

What, o Bhikkhus, is the consciousness-group? There are 6 classes of consciousness: visual-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, and mind-consciousness.

About the inseparability of the groups it is said:

''Whatever, o brother, there exists of feeling, of perception and of mental constructions, these things are associated, not dissociated, and it is impossible to separate one from the other and show their difference. For whatever one feels, one perceives; and whatever one perceives, of this one is conscious M. 43.

Further: Impossible is it for anyone to explain the passing out of one existence and the entering into a new existence, or the growth, increase and development of consciousness independent of materiality, feeling, perception and mental constructions S. XII, 53

For the inseparability and mutual conditionality of the 4 mental groups see: paccaya 6, 7.

Regarding the impersonality anattā and emptiness suññatā of the 5 groups, it is said in S. XXII, 49:

Whatever there is of materiality, feeling, perception, mental constructions and consciousness, whether past, present or future, one's own or external, gross or subtle, lofty or low, far or near, this one should understand according to reality and true understanding: 'This does not belong to me, this am I not, this is not my Ego.'

Further in S. XXII, 95: Suppose that a man who is not blind were to behold the many bubbles on the Ganges as they are driving along; and he should watch them and carefully examine them. After carefully examining them, however, they will appear to him empty, unreal and unsubstantial. In exactly the same way does the Bhikkhu behold all the material phenomena... feelings... perceptions... mental constructions... states of consciousness, whether they be of the past, present or future... far or near. And he watches them and examines them carefully; and after carefully examining them, they appear to him empty, unreal and unsubstantial.

The 5 groups are compared, respectively, to a lump of froth, a bubble, a mirage, a coreless plantain stem, and a conjuring trick S. XXII, 95.

See the Khandha Samyutta S. XXII; Vis.M XIV.

SUMMARY OF THE 5 GROUPS

I. Materiality Group

khandha rūpa-khandha

A. Underived no-upādā 4 elements

the solid, or earth-element pathavī-dhātu
the liquid, or water-element āpo-dhātu
heat, or fire-element tejo-dhātu
motion, or wind-element vāyo-dhātu

B. Derived upādā 24 secondary phenomena

Physical sense-organs of: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, body

Physical sense-objects: form, sound, odour, taste, bodily impacts

'Bodily impacts' photthabba are generally omitted in this list, because these physical objects of body-sensitivity are identical with the afore-mentioned solid element, heat and motion element. Hence their inclusion under 'derived materiality' would be a duplication.

femininity itthindriya
virility purisindriya
physical base of mind hadaya-vatthu
bodily expression kāya-viññatti s. viññatti
verbal expression vacī-viññatti
physical life rūpa jīvita s. jīvita
space element ākāsa-dhātu
physical agility rūpassa lahutā
physical elasticity rūpassa mudutā
physical adaptability rūpassa kammaññatā
physical growth rūpassa upacaya
physical continuity rūpassa santati s.
decay jarā
impermanence aniccatā
nutriment āhāra

II. Feeling Group

vedanā-khandha

All feelings may, according to their nature, be classified as 5 kinds:

bodily pleasant feeling sukha = kāyikā sukhā vedanā
bodily painful feeling dukkha = kāyikā, dukkhā
mentally pleasant feeling somanassa = cetasikā sukhā vedanā
mentally painful feeling domanassa = cetasikā dukkhā vedanā
indifferent feeling upekkhā = adukkha-m-asukhā vedanā

III. Perception Group

saññā-khandha

All perceptions are divided into 6 classes: perception of form, sound, odour, taste, bodily contact, and mental contact.

IV. Group of Mental Constructions

sankhāra-khandha

This group comprises 50 mental phenomena, of which 11 are general psychological elements, 25 lofty qualities, 14 kammically disadvantageous qualities. Cf. Tab. 11.

V. Consciousness Group

viññāna-khandha

The Suttas divide consciousness, according to the senses, into 6 classes: eye-, ear-, nose-, tongue-, body-, mind-consciousness.

The Abhidhamma and commentaries, however, distinguish, from the kammical or moral viewpoint, 89 classes of consciousness. Cf. viññāna and Tab. 1.

The moral quality of feeling, perception and consciousness is determined by the mental constructions.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 10:14:28 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 Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Preparation for Entering Jhanas
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2017, 10:08:35 pm »
Morality

Quote
The Moral Foundation for Jhana 
A disciple aspiring to the jhanas first has to lay a solid foundation of moral discipline. Moral purity is indispensable to meditative progress for several deeply psychological reasons. It is needed first, in order to safeguard against the danger of remorse, the nagging sense of guilt that arises when the basic principles of morality are ignored or deliberately violated. Scrupulous conformity to virtuous rules of conduct protects the meditator from this danger disruptive to inner calm, and brings joy and happiness when the meditator reflects upon the purity of his conduct (see A.v,1-7).

A second reason a moral foundation is needed for meditation follows from an understanding of the purpose of concentration. Concentration, in the Buddhist discipline, aims at providing a base for wisdom by cleansing the mind of the dispersive influence of the defilements. But in order for the concentration exercises to effectively combat the defilements, the coarser expressions of the latter through bodily and verbal action first have to be checked. Moral transgressions being invariably motivated by defilements — by greed, hatred and delusion — when a person acts in violation of the precepts of morality he excites and reinforces the very same mental factors his practice of meditation is intended to eliminate. This involves him in a crossfire of incompatible aims which renders his attempts at mental purification ineffective. The only way he can avoid frustration in his endeavor to purify the mind of its subtler defilements is to prevent the unwholesome inner impulses from breathing out in the coarser form of unwholesome bodily and verbal deeds. Only when he establishes control over the outer expression of the defilements can he turn to deal with them inwardly as mental obsessions that appear in the process of meditation.

The practice of moral discipline consists negatively in abstinence from immoral actions of body and speech and positively in the observance of ethical principles promoting peace within oneself and harmony in one's relations with others. The basic code of moral discipline taught by the Buddha for the guidance of his lay followers is the five precepts: abstinence from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, and from intoxicating drugs and drinks. These principles are bindings as minimal ethical obligations for all practitioners of the Buddhist path, and within their bounds considerable progress in meditation can be made. However, those aspiring to reach the higher levels of jhanas and to pursue the path further to the stages of liberation, are encouraged to take up the more complete moral discipline pertaining to the life of renunciation. Early Buddhism is unambiguous in its emphasis on the limitations of household life for following the path in its fullness and perfection. Time and again the texts say that the household life is confining, a "path for the dust of passion," while the life of homelessness is like open space. Thus a disciple who is fully intent upon making rapid progress towards Nibbana will when outer conditions allow for it, "shave off his hair and beard, put on the yellow robe, and go forth from the home life into homelessness" (M.i,179).

The moral training for the bhikkhus or monks has been arranged into a system called the fourfold purification of morality (catuparisuddhisila).[6] The first component of this scheme, its backbone, consists in the morality of restraint according to the Patimokkha, the code of 227 training precepts promulgated by the Buddha to regulate the conduct of the Sangha or monastic order. Each of these rules is in some way intended to facilitate control over the defilements and to induce a mode of living marked by harmlessness, contentment and simplicity. The second aspect of the monk's moral discipline is restraint of the senses, by which the monk maintains close watchfulness over his mind as he engages in sense contacts so that he does not give rise to desire for pleasurable objects and aversion towards repulsive ones. Third, the monk is to live by a purified livelihood, obtaining his basic requisites such as robes, food, lodgings and medicines in ways consistent with his vocation. The fourth factor of the moral training is proper use of the requisites, which means that the monk should reflect upon the purposes for which he makes use of his requisites and should employ them only for maintaining his health and comfort, not for luxury and enjoyment.

After establishing a foundation of purified morality, the aspirant to meditation is advised to cut off any outer impediments (palibodha) that may hinder his efforts to lead a contemplative life. These impediments are numbered as ten: a dwelling, which becomes an impediment for those who allow their minds to become preoccupied with its upkeep or with its appurtenances; a family of relatives or supporters with whom the aspirant may become emotionally involved in ways that hinder his progress; gains, which may bind the monk by obligation to those who offer them; a class of students who must be instructed; building work, which demands time and attention; travel; kin, meaning parents, teachers, pupils or close friends; illness; the study of scriptures; and supernormal powers, which are an impediment to insight (Vism.90-97; PP.91-98).
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.

 


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