Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

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Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby Thomas_Pynchon » Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:56 am

Are there parallels between how the Buddha describes his experience of Jhana, as the very vehicle of his enlightenment, and how that is understood within non-dual traditions such as Dzogchen or Advaita?
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby Zhen Li » Thu Feb 27, 2014 3:06 am

I can't say anything about Dzogchen, but as far as I know there's no such thing as a parallel to Buddhist Dhyāna/Jhāna in Advaita. Dhyāna fundamentally isn't a realisation or perception, so it has nothing to do with dualism or non-dualism: it's a way of describing what mental factors arise and disappear and in what order in regular meditation.
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:36 pm

Thomas_Pynchon wrote:Are there parallels between how the Buddha describes his experience of Jhana, as the very vehicle of his enlightenment, and how that is understood within non-dual traditions such as Dzogchen or Advaita?



Dhyanas are defined by the presence or absence of specific mental factors.

The Dhyanas were not the vehicle of Buddha's awakening, rather he coursed through them in order to remove traces of rebirth associated with the form and formless realms associated with the dhyanas.
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby Thomas_Pynchon » Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:38 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Thomas_Pynchon wrote:Are there parallels between how the Buddha describes his experience of Jhana, as the very vehicle of his enlightenment, and how that is understood within non-dual traditions such as Dzogchen or Advaita?



Dhyanas are defined by the presence or absence of specific mental factors.

The Dhyanas were not the vehicle of Buddha's awakening, rather he coursed through them in order to remove traces of rebirth associated with the form and formless realms associated with the dhyanas.


That's interesting to hear, what was the vehicle then?
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby rob h » Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:03 pm

Malcolm wrote:The Dhyanas were not the vehicle of Buddha's awakening


Surely they were, seeing as they're the central part of right concentration?

There's no jhana for one with no discernment,
no discernment for one with no jhana.
But one with both jhana & discernment:
he's on the verge of Unbinding.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... jhana.html

As for jhana and non-dualism, (made the mistake of suggesting this recently too.) I'd guess that it'd have fallen under right view if it was so closely related, and not concentration.

Edit - they're more related to emptiness though : http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby Son of Buddha » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:11 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Thomas_Pynchon wrote:Are there parallels between how the Buddha describes his experience of Jhana, as the very vehicle of his enlightenment, and how that is understood within non-dual traditions such as Dzogchen or Advaita?



Dhyanas are defined by the presence or absence of specific mental factors.

The Dhyanas were not the vehicle of Buddha's awakening, rather he coursed through them in order to remove traces of rebirth associated with the form and formless realms associated with the dhyanas.


yes the Dhayana's are the vehicle of the Buddha's awakening, without them the three knowledge's are not a attained and no Enlightenment can be had.
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:14 am

To be fair to Malcolm, I think what he meant was that one does not actually "travel on" or "with" a Dhyana as one does with a vehicle. It's a state that you pass through. Which would mean that they are more akin to cross-roads on a journey, than a vehicle.
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby plwk » Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:27 am

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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby Son of Buddha » Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:42 am



good suttas......this post actually opened up a 2000 year old debate on if one can "think during Jhana.

Tupussa Sutta

"So at a later time, having seen the drawback of directed thought, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of being without directed thought, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at being without directed thought, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, I entered & remained in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance.

"As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with directed thought. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with directed thought that beset me was an affliction for me.

[3] "The thought occurred to me: 'What if, with the fading of rapture, I were to remain in equanimity, mindful & alert, to be physically sensitive to pleasure, and to enter & remain in the third jhana,

how does a thought and the evaluation occur in this sutta going into the third jhana when the second Jhana says such things have ceased and only "bare awareness "remains?
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby xabir » Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:57 am

Thomas_Pynchon wrote:Are there parallels between how the Buddha describes his experience of Jhana, as the very vehicle of his enlightenment, and how that is understood within non-dual traditions such as Dzogchen or Advaita?
Nope.

First of all, Dzogchen and Advaita's non-dualisms are not the same.

Secondly, jhanas are states of experiences, that come and go. Both Dzogchen and Advaita emphasize realization, insight, and that can never be lost. They are vastly different. Dzogchen and Advaita places no emphasis on Jhanas as far as I know.
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby Anders » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:36 am

Having not coursed through the 8 dhyanas, nor trained in advaita, to give authoritative answers, I would nevertheless imagine there are some similarities in the experience of them, based on what I've studied of it and also from discussions with yogins.

Basically, the more refined the dhyana, the more "nirvana-like" the dhyana becomes. Coupled with the incredible power that comes with dhyana practise, that's a big reason for why the Buddha of the early canon saw it as such an efficient tool for purifying the mind and developing insight.

The fourmless dhyanas in particular very much carry impressions of oneness. But, like has already been alluded to, the dhyanas are concentration based. They disappear when the samadhi absorption ends, although their power may carry into daily life and energize that. Realisation of nonduality, as posited within "nondualist" traditions within mahayana and advaita, assers a vision of nonduality that occurs without needing to resort to the apsorption of samadhi and can be experienced in daily life, eventually 24/7. And whilst the experience of the dhyanas may be "nirvana-like", the "-like" does not equate to the real thing. They are fundamentally different.
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby rob h » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:22 am

Son of Buddha wrote:how does a thought and the evaluation occur in this sutta going into the third jhana when the second Jhana says such things have ceased and only "bare awareness "remains?


It could be related to an intuitive type of thought/realization that there are more jhanas, and to keep going further. As opposed to the type of discursive and analyzing thought that looks into and examines the jhana itself. I think I've been in the first, or close to the first, but not sure if I've entered the second or not, so can't say for sure. From what I can guess though the type of feeling that you get in the first becomes a lot more blissful in the second, to the point that all coarser thought is basically shut off. Intuitive thoughts/perceptions about where to go from there are probably still possible though. So in this sense it could be more of an intuition. The actual translation of that section from the pali could be interesting, and what the word translated as "thought" (in "the thought occured to me" part.) could also be translated as. Or how the word thought was actually originally intended there.
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby rob h » Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:56 pm

Zhen Li wrote:To be fair to Malcolm, I think what he meant was that one does not actually "travel on" or "with" a Dhyana as one does with a vehicle. It's a state that you pass through. Which would mean that they are more akin to cross-roads on a journey, than a vehicle.
:anjali:


I suppose that makes sense to a degree. Or something related to the idea that the awareness is the actual vehicle, and that jhana is just a means of concentrating to get in tune with it? Or that jhana are types of signposts for the level of concentration and not the actual concentration itself, or something related.
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby Son of Buddha » Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:33 pm

rob h wrote:
Zhen Li wrote:To be fair to Malcolm, I think what he meant was that one does not actually "travel on" or "with" a Dhyana as one does with a vehicle. It's a state that you pass through. Which would mean that they are more akin to cross-roads on a journey, than a vehicle.
:anjali:


I suppose that makes sense to a degree. Or something related to the idea that the awareness is the actual vehicle, and that jhana is just a means of concentrating to get in tune with it? Or that jhana are types of signposts for the level of concentration and not the actual concentration itself, or something related.


General concentration/mindfulness happens before Jhana, then this concentration on the meditation object continues through the first Jhana....but in the second Jhana the conentration and applied thought drops off and only bare awareness remains,through this awareness the 3 knowledges/visions arise.

Some say that the 3 knowledges arise during Jhana.....some disagree and say that you must come out of Jhana and while your mind is pure and clear far removed from the 5 hinderances direct your mind toward the 3 knowledges and from there they will arise.

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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby rob h » Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:55 pm

Son of Buddha wrote:
rob h wrote:
Zhen Li wrote:To be fair to Malcolm, I think what he meant was that one does not actually "travel on" or "with" a Dhyana as one does with a vehicle. It's a state that you pass through. Which would mean that they are more akin to cross-roads on a journey, than a vehicle.
:anjali:


I suppose that makes sense to a degree. Or something related to the idea that the awareness is the actual vehicle, and that jhana is just a means of concentrating to get in tune with it? Or that jhana are types of signposts for the level of concentration and not the actual concentration itself, or something related.


General concentration/mindfulness happens before Jhana, then this concentration on the meditation object continues through the first Jhana....but in the second Jhana the conentration and applied thought drops off and only bare awareness remains,through this awareness the 3 knowledges/visions arise.

Some say that the 3 knowledges arise during Jhana.....some disagree and say that you must come out of Jhana and while your mind is pure and clear far removed from the 5 hinderances direct your mind toward the 3 knowledges and from there they will arise.

Peace and Love


Thanks, that last part is interesting too.

Am actually focusing on trying to access jhana at the moment a fair bit, (the meditation I do now is mainly either jhana focused, anapanasati or satipatthana.) so hopefully in time I'll be able to post back with more about it. The problem is that although I think I've accessed at least the 1st and maybe the 2nd, it's getting back there that's the problem. Have recently quit smoking tobacco though (and think I got back to the 1st jhana shortly after.) and it seems that without the energy blockages that caused being such a problem (and which should increasingly clear up if I stay away from it.) it might be that I finally learn how to get back there pretty much at will. Hopefully anyway, because am starting to have a big feeling that I need that level of concentration now to really start moving on with meditation.
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby Zhen Li » Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:46 pm

rob h wrote:Am actually focusing on trying to access jhana at the moment a fair bit, (the meditation I do now is mainly either jhana focused, anapanasati or satipatthana.) so hopefully in time I'll be able to post back with more about it.

I am not sure what you mean by "jhana focused, anapanasati or satipatthana," since the latter two give rise to the former. I'd suggest not being so concerned about the actual jhanas themselves, they are important to understand since then you know where you are in the meditation, but they're not something that arises by aiming for them or thinking about them, they arise as a by product of proper meditation. If you practice exactly as it says in the Anapanasati Sutta, you should have no problem.
Here a bhikkhu, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty
hut, sits down; having folded his legs crosswise, set his body erect, and
established mindfulness in front of him, ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he
breathes out.
Breathing in long, he understands: 'I breathe in long'; or breathing out
long, he understands: 'I breathe out long..' Breathing in short, he understands: 'I
breathe in short'; or breathing out short, he understands: 'I breathe out short.'
He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in experiencing the whole body '; he trains thus: 'I
shall breathe out experiencing the whole body.'
He trains thus: 'I shall breathe in tranquillising the bodily formation'; he
trains thus: 'I shall breathe out tranquillising the bodily formation.'

After that the sutta goes into jhanas. But if you focus on the mindfulness of breathing in and out, understanding you breath in long, or short, experiencing the whole body and relaxing it with every in and out breath, then you should relatively quickly feel "joy and happiness" arise. That'll be the basic feeling of what the first jhana is. If you get used to accessing it daily, you eventually can manage to maintain a state of jhana throughout your daily waking life, without sitting in meditation.

The most important point to keep in mind here is that jhana is not something you "do" and it is neither a "means" nor a "vehicle." It is something you pass through, as the sutta translates it is perfectly correct "enters upon and abides in."
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby rob h » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:01 pm

Thanks Zhen, that's a great help. I think I've got too into the idea of jhanas, agreed. My main time spent in meditation has actually been with the anapanasati, so will probably stop thinking about jhanas so much and let them arise more naturally. The problem might be that I've been in certain jhanas a fair bit, I just haven't realized what they were! (I guess you'll know about the latter ones, arupas, but the first four are maybe less easy to recognize in some cases.)
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby Thomas_Pynchon » Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:00 am

rob h wrote: arupas, but the first four are maybe less easy to recognize in some cases.)


The non material jhana are just that, OOB, so you may likely know the first four before.
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby rob h » Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:09 am

Thomas_Pynchon wrote:
rob h wrote: arupas, but the first four are maybe less easy to recognize in some cases.)


The non material jhana are just that, OOB, so you may likely know the first four before.


Yeah will just keep meditating and see how things go. If enough concentration and awareness are there it should click eventually.

Have had this bookmarked for a while too, just linking incase anyone else finds it useful : http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... mbers.html
"A 'position', Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with." - MN 72
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Re: Jhana and non-dualism - parallels?

Postby Thomas_Pynchon » Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:26 am

Perhaps try turning your attention to the non-sensory tingling that is often first felt in the hands and feet. If you stay with that, it will grow, it will slowly move up the legs/arms to the body, let it circulate, keep breathing, this can sometimes take up to an hour or more. If you can do that, while relaxing deeply, you will all of a sudden swoop! into second Jhana. You will know it when it happens, there is nothing to do, it does itself.

For me (I lie down to meditate) it feels as though a huge weight is lifted off the chest, anxiety and stress vanish, it is ecstatic, blissful, THOUGHT STOPS, and inside you may feel as though you are in infinite space. This is going from 1 to 0, beginners mind.

Practice daily and you will find it shortly, good luck!
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