The jhanas and chastity

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

The jhanas and chastity

Postby Inge » Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:25 pm

To your knowledge, is it necessary to be chaste to enter the jhanas?

If yes. For how long before?
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Re: The jhanas and chastity

Postby spiritnoname » Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:45 pm

No, it's not necessary, but you cannot enter jhana while lusting for things in the world. To enter jhana you must renounce at least for the moment, the things of the world. Jhana is a joy of renunciation. Renouncing is not all there is to jhana however.
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Re: The jhanas and chastity

Postby 5heaps » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:20 am

for actual dhyana, yes
for shamata (preliminary to dhyana), no you dont need to restrain entirely, but you do need a lot of renunciation
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Re: The jhanas and chastity

Postby Huifeng » Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:34 am

Sensual craving (including the sexual) is an obstruction to entering dhyana.
However, this is referring to the actual time when one is trying to cultivate dhyana.
Naturally not engaging in any of this sort of activity would thus reduce the craving, but "how long before" totally depends on the individual in question. Some people may not be chaste but have many sensual thoughts, others may engage in it, but when meditating be able to not have these thoughts arise. No certain answer.
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Re: The jhanas and chastity

Postby ground » Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:25 am

The Buddha recommended seclusion. Seclusion invariably entails chastity and other forms of renunciation.

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Re: The jhanas and chastity

Postby 5heaps » Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:28 pm

Huifeng wrote:Sensual craving (including the sexual) is an obstruction to entering dhyana.
However, this is referring to the actual time when one is trying to cultivate dhyana.
Naturally not engaging in any of this sort of activity would thus reduce the craving, but "how long before" totally depends on the individual in question. Some people may not be chaste but have many sensual thoughts, others may engage in it, but when meditating be able to not have these thoughts arise. No certain answer.
remember that the time in-between meditation sessions are just as important as actually sitting down and meditating. in dhyana the cessations (which include craving for sense objects) are present both off and on the cushion -- its just like renunciation.. actual realization of renunciation is a "pathway mind" which the previous moment of mind itself becomes due to insight at that time.

such a mind is always "a mind of renunciation" even when it is sleeping, talking, etc. likewise with dhyana since the mind has become "a mind of the form realm" it is always such even during sleeping, talking, etc. this is because of the technicalities of how the paths work.. this is a topic of study called "paths and grounds".

with shamata on the other hand, its not a path mind. it is just the cultivation of good qualities, a necessary preliminary to actual realization (dhyana).
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Re: The jhanas and chastity

Postby Individual » Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:12 am

Huifeng wrote:Sensual craving (including the sexual) is an obstruction to entering dhyana.
However, this is referring to the actual time when one is trying to cultivate dhyana.
Naturally not engaging in any of this sort of activity would thus reduce the craving, but "how long before" totally depends on the individual in question. Some people may not be chaste but have many sensual thoughts, others may engage in it, but when meditating be able to not have these thoughts arise. No certain answer.

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Re: The jhanas and chastity

Postby Inge » Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:34 pm

For anapanasati practice, when one comes to a point where bliss arises in the body, is this jhana?
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Re: The jhanas and chastity

Postby Huifeng » Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:49 am

Inge wrote:For anapanasati practice, when one comes to a point where bliss arises in the body, is this jhana?


"The state which has applied and sustained thought, with the arising of bliss and happiness from forsaking evil, unwholesome mental states" - the standard definition of the first dhyana.
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Re: The jhanas and chastity

Postby Indrajala » Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:21 pm

Huifeng wrote:
Inge wrote:For anapanasati practice, when one comes to a point where bliss arises in the body, is this jhana?


"The state which has applied and sustained thought, with the arising of bliss and happiness from forsaking evil, unwholesome mental states" - the standard definition of the first dhyana.


I'd add that there is debate as to whether or not you are aware of your senses while in jhana. Can you hear anything when you enter a jhana?

Ajahm Brahm is adamant that if you can hear or sense anything then it isn't jhana. There is no exception to this. There is bliss while in jhana, but there is no sensory input. He bases his claim on personal experience and sutta citation.

However, there are abhidhamma treatises and teachers that state otherwise.
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Re: The jhanas and chastity

Postby Inge » Sun Nov 28, 2010 8:10 pm

Huifeng wrote:
Inge wrote:For anapanasati practice, when one comes to a point where bliss arises in the body, is this jhana?


"The state which has applied and sustained thought, with the arising of bliss and happiness from forsaking evil, unwholesome mental states" - the standard definition of the first dhyana.


Is it correct that applied thought, is to bring the attention to the meditation object?
And sustained thought, to keep it there?
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Re: The jhanas and chastity

Postby Inge » Sun Nov 28, 2010 8:23 pm

Huseng wrote:I'd add that there is debate as to whether or not you are aware of your senses while in jhana. Can you hear anything when you enter a jhana?

Ajahm Brahm is adamant that if you can hear or sense anything then it isn't jhana. There is no exception to this. There is bliss while in jhana, but there is no sensory input. He bases his claim on personal experience and sutta citation.

However, there are abhidhamma treatises and teachers that state otherwise.


For me, what has happened, only three times while doing breath awareness meditation, is that at some point concentration is improved and I find that I can follow the breath properly for a few complete breaths, then there are a strange shift in the mind, I saw a blink of light, the heart beat strongly, I get warm and start to sweat on the underarms and in the palms. Right after that bliss arises and waves through the body. When this happen I start to laugh and cry in a mixture.

Now I find that when I come to the point right before arising of bliss, I get so excited that I loose concentration completely.

I don't know if what I experienced was the first jhana, but would very much have liked to know if it was so, and also how to go on without being distracted by the expectation of blissful experiences.
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Re: The jhanas and chastity

Postby Huifeng » Mon Nov 29, 2010 4:18 am

Inge wrote:
Huseng wrote:I'd add that there is debate as to whether or not you are aware of your senses while in jhana. Can you hear anything when you enter a jhana?

Ajahm Brahm is adamant that if you can hear or sense anything then it isn't jhana. There is no exception to this. There is bliss while in jhana, but there is no sensory input. He bases his claim on personal experience and sutta citation.

However, there are abhidhamma treatises and teachers that state otherwise.


For me, what has happened, only three times while doing breath awareness meditation, is that at some point concentration is improved and I find that I can follow the breath properly for a few complete breaths, then there are a strange shift in the mind, I saw a blink of light, the heart beat strongly, I get warm and start to sweat on the underarms and in the palms. Right after that bliss arises and waves through the body. When this happen I start to laugh and cry in a mixture.

Now I find that when I come to the point right before arising of bliss, I get so excited that I loose concentration completely.

I don't know if what I experienced was the first jhana, but would very much have liked to know if it was so, and also how to go on without being distracted by the expectation of blissful experiences.


Best to reflect on this experience as being impermanent, nothing so monumental.
This will help you to just be calm in the face of it.
Once you get these experiences, but they don't shake you at all, then there is the possibility of developing depth in them, and deeper states.
By saying "reflect on them as impermanent", I do NOT mean to say that they are useless and shouldn't be cultivated. Just that you need to have some equanimity towards them.
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