NOT another Jhana Thread

Zafutales
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NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by Zafutales » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:30 pm

...well........

I have seen reference at times to Shikantaza being likened to the Fourth Jhana - can someone elucidate the rationale for this please?

My understanding is that the Fourth Jhana is really a rather lofty aspiration.

Thanks,

:namaste:

Matylda
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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by Matylda » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:36 am

Zafutales wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:30 pm
...well........

I have seen reference at times to Shikantaza being likened to the Fourth Jhana - can someone elucidate the rationale for this please?

My understanding is that the Fourth Jhana is really a rather lofty aspiration.

Thanks,

:namaste:

What do you mean by the fourth jhana?

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by Astus » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:15 am

Zafutales wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:30 pm
I have seen reference at times to Shikantaza being likened to the Fourth Jhana - can someone elucidate the rationale for this please?
There can be three reasons for that assumption: not understanding shikantaza, not understanding dhyanas, not understanding either.

If it's the first one, then one mistakes a stable and calm mind as the proper mental state of zazen. In other words, the ghost cave of liberation.
If it's the second one, then one mistakes only a little bit of concentration as a dhyana.
If it's the third one, then one is completely lost in one's own ideas and fails to rely on the correct teachings.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

Zafutales
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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by Zafutales » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:44 am

Matylda wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:36 am
Zafutales wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:30 pm
...well........

I have seen reference at times to Shikantaza being likened to the Fourth Jhana - can someone elucidate the rationale for this please?

My understanding is that the Fourth Jhana is really a rather lofty aspiration.

Thanks,

:namaste:

What do you mean by the fourth jhana?
I suspect its more to do with what they mean by the 'Fourth Jhana'

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by Zafutales » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:47 am

Astus wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:15 am

There can be three reasons for that assumption: not understanding shikantaza, not understanding dhyanas, not understanding either.

If it's the first one, then one mistakes a stable and calm mind as the proper mental state of zazen. In other words, the ghost cave of liberation.
If it's the second one, then one mistakes only a little bit of concentration as a dhyana.
If it's the third one, then one is completely lost in one's own ideas and fails to rely on the correct teachings.
Thanks Astus....

Blimey! Thats a right old minefield then isn't it?

How would one unravel that then? I mean if one was sitting in Zazen and specifically Shikantaza how would one be able to rely upon or validate ones experience?

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by Astus » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:44 pm

Zafutales wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:47 am
I mean if one was sitting in Zazen and specifically Shikantaza how would one be able to rely upon or validate ones experience?
There are two sides here. First, the typical answer is that it is for the teacher to validate the disciple. As it is stated in the Platform Sutra:

“That was acceptable before the time of the Buddha called the Awesome-Voiced King. But since the coming of that Buddha, all those who ‘self-enlighten’ without a master belong to other religions which hold to the tenet of spontaneity.”

Second, shikantaza is itself the practice of verification, whereby one directly recognises that all experiences are ungraspable, hence there is no experience to be validated.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by LastLegend » Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:56 am

Not being high again
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Bodhidharma [my translation]
―I come to the East to transmit this clear knowing mind without constructing any dharma―

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by DGA » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:55 pm

Zafutales wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:44 am
Matylda wrote:
Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:36 am
Zafutales wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:30 pm
...well........

I have seen reference at times to Shikantaza being likened to the Fourth Jhana - can someone elucidate the rationale for this please?

My understanding is that the Fourth Jhana is really a rather lofty aspiration.

Thanks,

:namaste:

What do you mean by the fourth jhana?
I suspect its more to do with what they mean by the 'Fourth Jhana'
You said "I have seen reference at times to Shikantaza being likened to Fourth Jhana."

Who made such a claim, and in what context? Matylda's question is very sensible. If you want an answer to your question, I suggest you give the quote so that we can discuss it intelligently.

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by Anonymous X » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:00 am

Zafutales wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:30 pm
...well........

I have seen reference at times to Shikantaza being likened to the Fourth Jhana - can someone elucidate the rationale for this please?

My understanding is that the Fourth Jhana is really a rather lofty aspiration.

Thanks,

:namaste:
According to Ven. Payutto, from his opus 'Buddhadhamma':

"With the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous disappearance of joy and grief, he enters upon and abides in the 4th jhana, which has neither pleasure nor pain and purity of mindfulness due to equanimity (upekkha)."

Perhaps there may be a time where someone who practices Shikantaza may experience entering the 4th jhana, but I don't think it would be accurate to say Shikantaza is likened to the 4th jhana.

Right Concentration is defined as Samadhi in Theravada teachings. What I haven't been able to either figure out or come across is a clear definition of the difference between jhanas and samadhi. Samadhi is listed as one of the enlightenment factors, not jhanas. Perhaps samadhi is defined as the result of the jhanas, 'one pointedness' of mind. Can anyone help?

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by anjali » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:47 am

Anonymous X wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:00 am
What I haven't been able to either figure out or come across is a clear definition of the difference between jhanas and samadhi. Samadhi is listed as one of the enlightenment factors, not jhanas. Perhaps samadhi is defined as the result of the jhanas, 'one pointedness' of mind. Can anyone help?
Check out this thread, What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?, over on Dhamma Wheel, our sister site.

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by Anonymous X » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:47 am

anjali wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:47 am
Anonymous X wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:00 am
What I haven't been able to either figure out or come across is a clear definition of the difference between jhanas and samadhi. Samadhi is listed as one of the enlightenment factors, not jhanas. Perhaps samadhi is defined as the result of the jhanas, 'one pointedness' of mind. Can anyone help?
Check out this thread, What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?, over on Dhamma Wheel, our sister site.
After I posted here, I thought to myself, just google the difference between samadhi and jhana. Voila.
While there are different explanations that are put forth, the clearest to me is jhanas are different degrees of samadhi, with samadhi being the umbrella and full manifestation of one pointedness. This must be why samadhi is said to be one of the factors of enlightenment rather than jhanas. Sujato explains this clearly in 'A Swift Pair Of Messengers'.

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by SunWuKong » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:41 am

The Abhidhamma Fourth Jhana differs from shikantaza in several ways:

1. Jhanas are "psychic" phenomena; see "iddhi" and "siddhi" in your Google search. The fourth jhana isn't a practice, per se, it's a transition from perfect concentration (upon one of the 40 objects mentioned in the Nikayas), to rapture, the bliss consciousness, then going beyond all those things to perfect equanimity.

2. Shikantaza, as I understand it, is a practice as such, there isn't an object. It springs from a deep understanding of Shunyata, Bodhicitta, etc., e.g. it's a formless form. Activity in the psychic or spiritual planes is just seen in the same way any other activity is seen, a passing phantom which arises, then falls. To me that's pretty cool.

3. According to the history I've found, Dogen adopted it from Tiantai monks, who in turn practiced 2 forms of what they call "Lotus Samadhi" - the first being a detailed inventory of repentence, the second, being a samadhi "devoid of characteristics." In Mahayana texts "samadhi" would be roughly translated into our English language misunderstandings as "meditative practice." Its the Second Lotus Samadhi which I assume is the one he adopted. But who knows.

That's the working understand i have of it currently. There is currently a group claiming that they are Arahants/Arhants, that do these jhanas. They equate Kundalini practices with "Dark Night of the Soul" and attain trance states, and exhibit depression, hallucinations, and other psychiatric conditions that appear to be nothing more than ordinary serotonin poisoning.

That's why I'll add here that I could always be wrong.
"Cast off body and mind" (身心脱落 shēn xīn tuō luò)

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by SunWuKong » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:47 am

but i'll add that Mahayana texts are exhaustive on the topic of Absorption just as much as anyone's. It happens, and i suppose its worth knowing about on some level since many practitioners will always experience it somewhere on their journey. But I'd not want to only practice absorption.
"Cast off body and mind" (身心脱落 shēn xīn tuō luò)

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by SunWuKong » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:10 am

anjali wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:47 am
Anonymous X wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:00 am
What I haven't been able to either figure out or come across is a clear definition of the difference between jhanas and samadhi. Samadhi is listed as one of the enlightenment factors, not jhanas. Perhaps samadhi is defined as the result of the jhanas, 'one pointedness' of mind. Can anyone help?
Check out this thread, What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?, over on Dhamma Wheel, our sister site.
The header is Samatha Bhavana - but samatha to the tune of about an hour per day minimum, maybe a few retreats, trying to follow the precepts, having good posture LOL
"Cast off body and mind" (身心脱落 shēn xīn tuō luò)

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by Tolya M » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:17 am

Dhyanins are very rare. Many claim they are in the fourth or even arupa dhyanas but for some reason without lightness, elasticity, adaptability, the ability to keep the subject, explaining factors and clairvoyance... This profanation is mainly from the Theravada side. :?

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by SunWuKong » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:32 am

Tolya M wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:17 am
Dhyanins are very rare. Many claim they are in the fourth or even arupa dhyanas but for some reason without lightness, elasticity, adaptability, the ability to keep the subject, explaining factors and clairvoyance... This profanation is mainly from the Theravada side. :?
Well, that's just the thing, if what one offers is of little help what can you say? But if we collectively build skillful means, then we will care enough to be able to make a commitment to understand, and study, what we experience, in a context that communicates to others. That moves beyond cheap thrills to valuable treasures we can share and impart.

:namaste:
"Cast off body and mind" (身心脱落 shēn xīn tuō luò)

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by SunWuKong » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:00 pm

Another concern I have about this game is why the fourth jhana or beyond are considered to be so much more important than jhana 1-3. Maybe that's why its viewed as being difficult, because the most accessable jhanas are looked down upon. I'm not seeing the wisdom of that. Especially given that most complaints about it is accessability. And quackery (imposters)

:meditate:
"Cast off body and mind" (身心脱落 shēn xīn tuō luò)

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by Anonymous X » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:34 pm

SunWuKong wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:00 pm
Another concern I have about this game is why the fourth jhana or beyond are considered to be so much more important than jhana 1-3. Maybe that's why its viewed as being difficult, because the most accessable jhanas are looked down upon. I'm not seeing the wisdom of that. Especially given that most complaints about it is accessability. And quackery (imposters)

:meditate:
As you know, jhanas are a big topic amongst Theravadins. As I've come to see, there is a lot of explanation of the jhanas by many monks and scholars. This topic is too big and intricate to lay out in a forum like this so I'll just put forth a general quote from Nanamoli & Bhikkhu Bodhi.

“The jhānas and the mundane types of direct knowledge by themselves do not issue in enlightenment and liberation. As lofty and peaceful as these attainments are, they can only suppress the defilements that sustain the round of rebirths but cannot eradicate them. To uproot the defilements at the most fundamental level, and thereby yield the fruits of enlightenment and deliverance, the meditative process must be redirected along a third line of development, one which does not necessarily presuppose the former two. This is the contemplation of “things as they actually are,” which results in increasingly deeper insights into the nature of existence and culminates in the final goal, the attainment of arahantship.”

Excerpt From: Nanamoli, Bhikkhu. “The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha.”


Without the wisdom factor and its supports, the conditions for release don't come through jhana.

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by SunWuKong » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:28 am

Anonymous X wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:34 pm
SunWuKong wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:00 pm
Another concern I have about this game is why the fourth jhana or beyond are considered to be so much more important than jhana 1-3. Maybe that's why its viewed as being difficult, because the most accessable jhanas are looked down upon. I'm not seeing the wisdom of that. Especially given that most complaints about it is accessability. And quackery (imposters)

:meditate:
As you know, jhanas are a big topic amongst Theravadins. As I've come to see, there is a lot of explanation of the jhanas by many monks and scholars. This topic is too big and intricate to lay out in a forum like this so I'll just put forth a general quote from Nanamoli & Bhikkhu Bodhi.

“The jhānas and the mundane types of direct knowledge by themselves do not issue in enlightenment and liberation. As lofty and peaceful as these attainments are, they can only suppress the defilements that sustain the round of rebirths but cannot eradicate them. To uproot the defilements at the most fundamental level, and thereby yield the fruits of enlightenment and deliverance, the meditative process must be redirected along a third line of development, one which does not necessarily presuppose the former two. This is the contemplation of “things as they actually are,” which results in increasingly deeper insights into the nature of existence and culminates in the final goal, the attainment of arahantship.”

Excerpt From: Nanamoli, Bhikkhu. “The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha.”


Without the wisdom factor and its supports, the conditions for release don't come through jhana.
Exactly. Only arhantship is not our goal. The same "Factors of Concentration" ((samadhi)) apply however to Mahayana as well as Theravada. So it is written.

:buddha2:
"Cast off body and mind" (身心脱落 shēn xīn tuō luò)

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Re: NOT another Jhana Thread

Post by SunWuKong » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:50 am

Anonymous X wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:34 pm

Without the wisdom factor and its supports, the conditions for release don't come through jhana.
The fundamental thing in realization, is realizing its not about you (me) - that self is a mentally constructed illusion, that it is kept in play by a series of misunderstandings, chiefly attachment and aversion. The other thing is that, conventionally speaking religion tends to reinforce the false notions, because we all play this game so well we know exactly how to fail at it beautifully. I'd be suspicious of someone who claims to have spent hundreds or thousands of hours on a zafu and not had extraordinary events such as the jhanas arise. It can be confusing and disorienting, and thankfully we are all now more aware of it. Jhanas arise because shackles are being broken! Some don't like to associate the factors of concentration with the specific fetters that are broken but its illustrative of a significant point. You don't break the shackles in order to practice, you practice in order to break the shackles. This wont be the first or last said on the topic, but this is my best shot at it!! :shrug:

Peace,
WuKong
"Cast off body and mind" (身心脱落 shēn xīn tuō luò)

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