Bliss in Mahayana

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Bliss in Mahayana

Postby spiritnoname » Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:40 pm

I'm not really at the point in my life that I am learning Mahayana in any detail at all, but do they have much in terms of meditation bliss? Definitely Tantra and Shravaka vehicles have bliss, but what about the Mahayana vehicle?

I know like in the 10 Bodhisattva Bhumi's it mentions bliss in the body,.. Dunno much about that though.
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby fragrant herbs » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:42 am

spiritnoname wrote:I'm not really at the point in my life that I am learning Mahayana in any detail at all, but do they have much in terms of meditation bliss? Definitely Tantra and Shravaka vehicles have bliss, but what about the Mahayana vehicle?

I know like in the 10 Bodhisattva Bhumi's it mentions bliss in the body,.. Dunno much about that though.


I have no idea about other Mahayana groups, but I was in a Zen group that was Mahayana, and they were very against states of bliss. I am now in a Tibetan group that is not against them in the least. These states happen during meditation once in a while, depending upon the person, perhaps all the time for others. Your consciousness goes into a higher state and you feel bliss or love, whatever you want to call it. Tibetan Buddhism, at least the sect I am in, is also Mayahana. Someone smarter than me can explain this much better and can correct me if I am wrong.
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby spiritnoname » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:21 am

:coffee: Yeah, well that's Zen for you.

Zen people don't know what they're talking about. Time and time again I am disappointed by their hearing their bad advice and teaching nonsense. :crazy:

Of course I'm always up for changing my opinion of them, I just don't think their teachings and practices are worth pursuing, much less teaching to others.
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby remm » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:23 am

In the Shurangama Sutra, a key sutra that acts as a guideline for practitioners who are practicing meditation, it will tell you not to cling on to any sort of state. Whether its bliss, or seeing the Buddha in front of you. These are all states that are not conducive to awakening.
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby spiritnoname » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:46 am

Rem, umm,.. well whatever, Buddha Shakyamuni said different, he praised monks practicing jhana, he called the pleasure of concentration blameless because it harms no one. He mentions a concern, and that is is someone clings to jhana and does not continue to liberation they will not be liberated but will end up in the higher god realms which is not "bad", but until you have jhana it is something to develop, and that means that you must apply right effort and right resolve, taking joy and making an effort in doing what is good, in this case jhana.

To tell someone not to develop jhana, to avoid or not pursue meditation bliss (which is how the concentration is developed) is wreckless, dangerous, blame worthy, seriously seriously, the people that say that are so sick in the head, Buddha Shakyamuni would have ripped them a new one because it is a total misrepresentation of his teaching, it's slanderous.

Bliss is conductive to awakening, Buddha Shakyamuni describes it as food, first jhana being like clean water, second like rice, third like beans, and fourth like honey and ghee. Meditation bliss, sukkha piti and an plethora of different joys that come about, they allow us to leave the worldly joys behind, this is the joy of renunciation and sustains us to liberation, no longer reliant on worldly joys.

So don't anyone go knocking jhana or meditation joy, it shows your abject and horrendous acceptance of misinformation, usually taught by ignorant malaise Chinese and Japanese with no attainments at all, stupid people raised with the Christmas tree of Buddhism rather than what the Buddha taught, who are not worthy of respect and not qualified to teach even a child.
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby remm » Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:14 am

Rem, umm,.. well whatever, Buddha Shakyamuni said different, he praised monks practicing jhana, he called the pleasure of concentration blameless because it harms no one. He mentions a concern, and that is is someone clings to jhana and does not continue to liberation they will not be liberated but will end up in the higher god realms which is not "bad", but until you have jhana it is something to develop, and that means that you must apply right effort and right resolve, taking joy and making an effort in doing what is good, in this case jhana.


I don't see how that's an argument to what I stated above. Dhyana is one of the six paramitas that a bodhisattva has to perfect in his/her path towards full blown awakening. You stated exactly what I mentioned above when you said: "He mentions a concern, and that is is someone clings to jhana and does not continue to liberation they will not be liberated but will end up in the higher god realms which is not bad."

I think in your rage you've missed interpreted what I said. Meditative absorptions are definitely something that should be perfected, there is nothing wrong with it at all. But, one who does not move onto search for full Annutarasamyaksambodhi but just decides to stay in the Dhyanas does not reach awakening, especially if you reside on the first dhyana, you will reborn in the lower heavens--thus still in desire realm, and still subjected to birth and death.

To tell someone not to develop jhana, to avoid or not pursue meditation bliss (which is how the concentration is developed) is wreckless, dangerous, blame worthy, seriously seriously, the people that say that are so sick in the head, Buddha Shakyamuni would have ripped them a new one because it is a total misrepresentation of his teaching, it's slanderous.


I didn't say this, did I? I'm not sure where you're getting this from. I said not to be attached to it. Because attachment to Dhyanas once again leads one to rebirth in the heavenly realms, thus one will not reach full blown Buddha-hood. You said so yourself.
Bliss is conductive to awakening, Buddha Shakyamuni describes it as food, first jhana being like clean water, second like rice, third like beans, and fourth like honey and ghee. Meditation bliss, sukkha piti and an plethora of different joys that come about, they allow us to leave the worldly joys behind, this is the joy of renunciation and sustains us to liberation, no longer reliant on worldly joys.


I agree here. Perfection of meditative absorptions is essential in cultivating the bodhisattva path. But once perfected move on and perfect wisdom and strive for full awakening.
One may experience bliss in meditation, but don't attach it. You will definitely experience it as you start to enter the first absorption, but if you cling onto the meditative absorption and you don't bring forth the altruistic mind and only savor that transient bliss for yourself, you will not attain any sort of awakening. That is exactly what the Shurangama Sutra will tell you. Does this contradict what you said above?

So don't anyone go knocking jhana or meditation joy, it shows your abject and horrendous acceptance of misinformation, usually taught by ignorant malaise Chinese and Japanese with no attainments at all, stupid people raised with the Christmas tree of Buddhism rather than what the Buddha taught, who are not worthy of respect and not qualified to teach even a child.


I didn't go knocking on meditation or slander it whatsoever. Out of your rage you didn't interpret what I said correctly, and you assumed I was slandering meditative absorptions which was a blind move. Secondly, may I ask--where are you in your attainments and cultivation for you to be slandering other schools of Buddhism or certain ethnic Masters? You, being a "Buddhist" need to humble yourself and lower that anger of yours. Don't point fingers at anyone, other than yourself.
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby spiritnoname » Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:34 am

spiritnoname wrote:He mentions a concern, and that is is someone clings to jhana and does not continue to liberation they will not be liberated but will end up in the higher god realms which is not "bad", but until you have jhana it is something to develop, and that means that you must apply right effort and right resolve, taking joy and making an effort in doing what is good, in this case jhana.


I'm not angry, this is a play to get a point across.

Clinging to meditative bliss, being attached to it, that is necessary for the development of concentration, that's what I've been trying to say. Bliss is something you have to be very conscious and discerning about because it is something that needs to be developed. Get attached to it, as much as you can, meditate all day and night, hold it close like you do with the training precepts, there will be a time to give them up for liberation, but until then cling, hold tight and don't tell beginners or even people with no training at all not to get attached to jhana or to avoid pleasure.

I'm not just talking to you Remm, this nonsense has been going on for a long time and if people don't make a big fuss about it it will continue.

:coffee: The more nonsense I can destroy now the less I will have to deal with later.


:reading: I've read that you shouldn't mention attainments or higher practices until they cannot be taken away (i.e. liberated or incorruptible which I am definitely not right now).
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby ground » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:01 am

spiritnoname wrote: Clinging to meditative bliss, being attached to it, that is necessary for the development of concentration, that's what I've been trying to say. Bliss is something you have to be very conscious and discerning about because it is something that needs to be developed. Get attached to it, as much as you can, meditate all day and night, hold it close like you do with the training precepts, there will be a time to give them up for liberation, but until then cling, hold tight and don't tell beginners or even people with no training at all not to get attached to jhana or to avoid pleasure.


That is not correctly expressed. It is bad advice to say "seek bliss and in order to attain it meditate".
The aim is to get rid of the afflictions to be able to benefit others and one methode to get rid of the afflictions temporarily is calm abiding and the jhanas. But it is not for the purpose of attaining bliss but for the purpose of purifying one's mind to be able to see clearer. It is for the purpose to collect insights. It is for the purpose of other's benefit. One must never give up discernment.

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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby Huifeng » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:22 am

spiritnoname wrote:I'm not really at the point in my life that I am learning Mahayana in any detail at all, but do they have much in terms of meditation bliss? Definitely Tantra and Shravaka vehicles have bliss, but what about the Mahayana vehicle?

I know like in the 10 Bodhisattva Bhumi's it mentions bliss in the body,.. Dunno much about that though.


Perhaps it could be summed up as follows:

There are many forms of happiness, bliss in the Mahayana path, just don't get attached to them.
This includes mundane bliss which comes from merit, the bliss of meditation, the bliss of nirvana, too.
And remember, too, the bodhisattva derives great bliss simply from their compassionate actions for the liberation of others.
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby Huifeng » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:28 am

One does not need to be attached to the bliss to develop meditation.
There are several methods of reaching meditative states, one way is to make the distinction of: 1. developing attachment for the next higher state - this is attachment; but the other is, 2. developing non-attachment for the present state - which basically leads to the attainment of the higher state.
The bodhisattva - or anyone - can use the second type of method, without attachment. Of course, one can always use the first kind, too, and just remember - very important - to drop the attachment at the end. Of course, this last point is easier said than done.
So, in short, no need to develop attachment to meditation in order to reach higher states of meditation.
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby remm » Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:23 am

Huifeng wrote:One does not need to be attached to the bliss to develop meditation.
There are several methods of reaching meditative states, one way is to make the distinction of: 1. developing attachment for the next higher state - this is attachment; but the other is, 2. developing non-attachment for the present state - which basically leads to the attainment of the higher state.
The bodhisattva - or anyone - can use the second type of method, without attachment. Of course, one can always use the first kind, too, and just remember - very important - to drop the attachment at the end. Of course, this last point is easier said than done.
So, in short, no need to develop attachment to meditation in order to reach higher states of meditation.


Praise the lord. :anjali:
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby Individual » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:09 pm

spiritnoname wrote:I'm not really at the point in my life that I am learning Mahayana in any detail at all, but do they have much in terms of meditation bliss? Definitely Tantra and Shravaka vehicles have bliss, but what about the Mahayana vehicle?

I know like in the 10 Bodhisattva Bhumi's it mentions bliss in the body,.. Dunno much about that though.

Not sure, but I would suspect that they do in the form of samatha and the initial development of vipassana. But the all-encompassing bliss, with infinite energy, and your whole body tingling with pleasure; this is just a means to an end. In the higher states of concentration, bliss is more subtle for the sake of greater mindfulness.
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby Indrajala » Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:41 pm

Strictly speaking the dhyanas are a mundane accomplishment in the sense that anyone including non-Buddhists can master them.

If the dhyanas alone brought about liberation, then Buddha's original yogi teachers would have been liberated and would have been able to teach Gautama the means to liberation. However, they were unable to do so even though Gautama had mastered his teacher's methods. Unsatisfied he sought elsewhere for liberation.

This is not to say the dhyanas and the bliss which accompany them are not necessary, but only that they are for cultivating the appropriate mental fitness which then enables one to cultivate penetrating wisdom (prajna) which eradicates ignorance and allows for liberation. They are a means to an end, but not the end itself.


Zen people don't know what they're talking about. Time and time again I am disappointed by their hearing their bad advice and teaching nonsense. :crazy:


One thing I've noticed is that from Zen practitioners they often comment on how zazen is a chore and how painful both mentally and physically it is. To them this is something that one has to just sit through and tolerate in order to do zazen properly.

Now from Theravada practitioners they often comment on the bliss and joy of meditation. It is something one looks forward to, savours, enjoys and finds great pleasure from.

I think it might be the expectation. In Japanese Zen the expectation is that zazen is not enjoyable. It is a chore rather than a joy. In Theravada doing meditation is done with the expectation of enjoying bliss which enables one incidentally to overcome sensual desires. The bliss of dhyana / jhana is infinitely more reliable and enjoyable than any kind of sensory pleasure, be it sexual or whatnot.

In my experience I would take the advice of Ajahm Brahm over any modern day Zen teacher. Ajahm Brahm, both in his lectures and in his book, constantly tells of the bliss of meditation and encourages one to abide in it. This is a man who has been a celibate monk for decades. In Zen the teachers are almost never celibate and usually are married, or have love affairs, and drinking is part of the culture. Quite often when asked why one should do zazen the usual typical response of "Just sit!" is given. Theravada is far more refreshing because they outline step by step how and why meditation is performed.

I think Chinese Chan as well as Tibetan Vajrayana traditions are likewise far more orderly and reasonable in their approach to meditation.
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby Individual » Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:13 pm

The teachers and teachings from both schools can be very useful. I'm talking about the teachings Zen Buddhists are capable of communicating and the teachings Tibetan Buddhists are allowed to share publicly. Can't really give an opinion on what goes on in the Zen mind or among Lamas behind closed doors, because nobody I've met yet has either been capable or willing to express it. Although people often do give opinions on these things without having a direct experience. :)
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:47 pm

spiritnoname wrote::coffee: Yeah, well that's Zen for you.

Zen people don't know what they're talking about. Time and time again I am disappointed by their hearing their bad advice and teaching nonsense. :crazy:

Of course I'm always up for changing my opinion of them, I just don't think their teachings and practices are worth pursuing, much less teaching to others.

Spiritnoname, don't you think that's a sweeping generalization?

Best,
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby Jikan » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:42 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:
spiritnoname wrote::coffee: Yeah, well that's Zen for you.

Zen people don't know what they're talking about. Time and time again I am disappointed by their hearing their bad advice and teaching nonsense. :crazy:

Of course I'm always up for changing my opinion of them, I just don't think their teachings and practices are worth pursuing, much less teaching to others.

Spiritnoname, don't you think that's a sweeping generalization?

Best,
Laura


I was going to make a related comment:

There are many persons who speak on behalf of Zen who frankly don't know what they're talking about. Some of these have taken leadership roles, teaching roles; and some of these spend a lot of time online and in Second Life (!!!) promulgating their version of Zen.

My point: let's not generalize about a deep and wide tradition of Buddhist practice on the basis of a few very vocal ones.
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby spiritnoname » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:55 pm

TMingyur wrote:The aim is to get rid of the afflictions to be able to benefit others and one methode to get rid of the afflictions temporarily is calm abiding and the jhanas.


Tmingyur, jhana is not to temporarily get rid of the afflictions, you need to rid at least temporarily get rid of the afflictions to enter jhana. People with afflictions cannot enter jhana.
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby spiritnoname » Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:00 pm

Huifeng wrote:One does not need to be attached to the bliss to develop meditation.
There are several methods of reaching meditative states, one way is to make the distinction of: 1. developing attachment for the next higher state - this is attachment; but the other is, 2. developing non-attachment for the present state - which basically leads to the attainment of the higher state.
The bodhisattva - or anyone - can use the second type of method, without attachment. Of course, one can always use the first kind, too, and just remember - very important - to drop the attachment at the end. Of course, this last point is easier said than done.
So, in short, no need to develop attachment to meditation in order to reach higher states of meditation.


I'm not sure if I agree with what you said. Without right resolve and effort in meditation people become lax and enter false concentrations lacking awareness, it might be very comfortable but it is not jhana where the awareness because like a steady lamp, steady enough to read by. False concentration is more or less falling asleep.

You could be right Huifeng, but when I had done that in the past I didn't enter proper concentrations, now with directed effort I enter proper concentrations and they are very different.
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby spiritnoname » Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:10 pm

Ngawang Drolma, it is definitely a sweeping generalization. I find it is one based in reality though, and it seems unethical not to point it out when I see so many people mislead. Zen only made it into America because of "Kung Fu", I will probably never study it in the slightest of seriousness though.

I actually have a pretty interesting copy of the Surangama sutra though, I haven't really read it yet, but flipped through the pages and it seems it's worth reading.

Anywho, when I find respectable Zen teachers and see that they are benefiting their students I'll change my view.
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Re: Bliss in Mahayana

Postby 5heaps » Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:38 pm

spiritnoname wrote:Definitely Tantra and Shravaka vehicles have bliss, but what about the Mahayana vehicle?
all real meditation traditions accept the "bliss of pliancy" and explain it in great detail.

most buddhist lineages use the process known as the 9 stages/levels of meditation to get there:
The Nine Levels of Meditation by H.H.The Dalai Lama
Nine Stages of Training the Mind
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