A Review of "The Jhānas and the Lay Disciple According to the Pāli Suttas"

"Yesterday I came across an article by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi titled “The Jhānas and the Lay Disciple According to the Pāli Suttas”, which happens to accurately disprove the contemporary idea that the jhānas are indispensable for stream-entry, and should also make lay followers of this day and age who think of themselves as jhāna-attainers seriously re-consider whether they are right in assuming themselves to be capable of a superhuman attainment that the enlightened lay followers, who had been receiving direct instruction from the Buddha for many years in his time were not capable of (the point is implied throughout the article as well, not just in this Sutta).

It seems the author does not realize this, but his conclusions also implicitly add weight to the argument that samādhi is not “concentration” on an object. This is because the recollections of the Triple Gem, virtue and generosity, the “pleasant abidings here and now”―a term for samādhi―cannot be taken as “objects” to give one’s fixed attention to in any meaningful way.

We have in the past spoken about how the recollection of the Triple Gem is a form of “pleasant abiding here and now” that would be accessible to a noble lay disciple who has gained unshakable confidence in the Buddha’s teaching (stream entry), and that the jhānas require a higher degree of restraint, specifically celibacy. This is further supported by the article, which proves the point that sammāsamādhi is not limited to the four jhānas, despite them usually making up the factor of samādhi in the Noble Eightfold Path. This fits perfectly with AN 6.73 that we often quote: attaining those 4 establishments of mind is impossible for one who has not fully discerned the danger in sensual pleasures, which would necessarily be the case for whoever continues to partake in them on the coarsest level of sexual intercourse.

There exists a custom of using either “buddho”, “dhammo” or “saṅgho” as individual “mantras” in the name of recollection of the Triple Gem, but hopefully, no one who has studied the suttas would claim that the world fails to realize the Deathless owing to a failure to perform this mechanical, mental repetition of a mere sound properly.

The word translated as “recollection” in this case is just the word “sati” with the prefix “anu”, so, to argue based on logic alone, whatever can be called a “recollection” should be very close in its manner of practice to what “anapana-sati” is. It would be ludicrous to suggest that the theme of one’s practice of samādhi would completely change how it is developed, and what it even is.

The contemporary “breath observation” and the associated techniques used to aid it such as “counting”— and just the general idea that sati of the breath is to be centered around the awareness of body parts and sensations—form a completely different approach to practice than what would be done by recollecting, for instance, your conviction in the righteousness of the noble saṅgha, or the qualities of the Dhamma being “well taught, visible here and now, timeless, etc.”. Such direct-attention and sensation-observation practices not taught in the Suttas— unlike this recollection of the Triple Gem, or the understanding of the breath that is the authentic ānāpānasati (“breathing in long, he understands (pajānāti :: paññā) [the action of] breathing in long” —Ānāpānasatisutta)—result in an entirely different mental state.

This is a fundamental crossroads, as these two forms of practice are so divergent that only one of them can be “sammāsati”—and only one claims support from the Suttas. The fact alone that both result in feelings of pleasure is a very tenuous link. Yet the most important consequence of following either is the radically different sort of “knowledge and vision” that will be attained. As the Buddha makes sure to tell us, incorrect samādhi does result in knowledge, and even in a type of “liberation”.

As evidenced by AN 10.106, the liberation that is not of the right kind leads to unskilful states. Here it must be kept in mind the fact that “liberation” is by definition always pleasant and unburdening, and frees one from one’s issues (or at least so it will seem). Also, the previous factor of “knowledge” resulting in “liberation” will always by nature appear as enlightening and earth-shattering when it arises. This danger is made worse by the fact that the ordinary person does not see unskilful as unskilful, and is said throughout the texts to be “untrained and unseeing of the noble Dhamma”, which of course includes sammāsamādhi.

Finally, it should be clear that we would, of course, choose to disagree every single time the word “concentration” as a translation for samādhi occurs in the article, and with commentarial notions such as “mundane jhānas”, “access concentration”, and Visuddhimagga-biased, etymologically unjustifiable renderings such as “one-pointedness”. Apart from this, the author’s conclusions, someone whom we can at least give due credit for having studied the Suttas more than nearly anyone else on the planet, are mostly solid and well-supported.

On nearly all other instances apart from this paper we would disagree with the author, including even the footnotes on his translations of the Nikāyas, and his renderings of many crucial terms in the translations themselves, where he sides with modern/commentarial interpretations.

Notable excerpts:

The texts sometimes speak of the worldling jhāna-attainer as “an outsider devoid of lust for sensual pleasures.” [This connects with what I’ve alluded to in my latest essay and Dhamma talk: that one who learns to abide in and develop the jhānas taught in the Suttas would have to become free from sensuality, even without noble attainments].

•“What is noteworthy about this list is that samādhi, as a faculty, does not determine a class of its own until after the fruit of stream-entry has been realized. That is, facility in [composure] determines a distinct type of disciple among the arahants (as the both-ways-liberated arahant) and among the aspirants for the higher stages (as the body-witness), but not among the aspirants for stream-entry. In this lowest category we have only the faith-follower and the Dhamma-follower, who owe their status to faith and wisdom, respectively, but there is no type corresponding to the body-witness.”

•[…] the thesis that jhāna is necessary at every stage of enlightenment claims powerful support from the canonical account of the Noble Eightfold Path, which defines the path factor of right [composure] (sammā samādhi) with the stock formula for the four jhānas. From this definition, it might be argued that […] the jhānas are indispensable from the first stage of awakening to the last.
This conclusion, however, does not necessarily follow. […] It could be that attainment of jhāna is necessary to complete the development of the path, becoming mandatory at a relatively late point in the disciple’s progress."

•…since the passage simply inserts the formula for the four jhānas without qualification into the definition of the [composure] faculty, we would have to conclude that all noble disciples, monks, and lay followers alike, possess all four jhānas, not just one. Even more, they would have to possess the four jhānas already as faith-followers and Dhamma-followers, at the very entry to the path. This, however, seems too generous, and indicates that we need to be cautious in interpreting such formulaic definitions.

•At AN 5:179/III 211, the Buddha speaks, with reference to “a lay follower clothed in white” (gihī odātavasana), of four “pleasant dwellings in this very life pertaining to the higher mind” (cattāro ābhicetasikā diṭṭhadhamma-sukhavihārā). Now in relation to monks, the Nikāyas invariably use this expression to mean the four jhānas.[25] If it were considered commonplace, or even paradigmatic, for a lay noble disciple to attain the four jhānas, one would expect the Buddha to explain the above expression in the same way as he does for monks. But he does not."

-By Bhikkhu Anīgha

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It’s kind of weird how you can be confused about meditation if you read the pali canon at all.
There are 4 Satipattana:

  1. Kaya - anupassana - Body/foam related meditation(awareness)
  2. Vedana anupassana - Feelings related meditation
  3. Citta anupassana - Mind related meditation
  4. Dhamma anupassana - Dhamma related meditation

Dhammanupassana - Dhamma meditation

Since we don’t usually talk much about dhamma meditation people might be ignorant about it. In this mediation the object of awareness/focus is a dhamma or a concept.

  1. 5 hindrances
  2. seven factors of enlightenment
  3. Noble 8 path
  4. Triple gem
  5. etc

In Mil 8 (https://suttacentral.net/mil8/en/tw_rhysdavids) it is said to use discernment to contemplate, and after putting doubts away they will arrive at Tranquility
Faith → Analyze of Qualities → Tranquility → Mindfulness → etc

4 Satipattana

The view that other 3 satipattana are not satipattana is clearly a wrong view. Some people can easily be attached to ideas while some people are attached easily to objects(foam),vedana or mind itself. The teaching is to be mindful of all the factors not just one.


SN 12.23 Upanissata Sutta
Truly knowing and seeing.’ I say that truly knowing and seeing has a vital condition. And what is it? You should say: ‘Immersion(Samadhi).’ I say that immersion has a vital condition.
And what is it? You should say: ‘Bliss.’ I say that bliss has a vital condition. And what is it? You should say: ‘Tranquility.’ I say that tranquility has a vital condition. And what is it? You should say: ‘Rapture.’ I say that rapture has a vital condition. And what is it? You should say: ‘Joy.’ I say that joy has a vital condition. And what is it? You should say: ‘Faith.’ I say that faith has a vital condition

It’s easy to see that one who has faith will try to implement the teachings and achieve joy. Joy would lead to Rapture and Tranquility and Bliss. Bliss makes them keep doing it more and more and one arrives at Samadhi.
It is wrong view to think that only Jhana(Samadhi) gives pleasure and bliss. In some practices it is the other way around. First bliss then Jhana or sometimes it is Jhana first then bliss.

Mundane Jhana

The idea that jhana is necessary to achieve enlightenment is indeed a false view. Although Jhana is feature prominently in teachings it is only to give a basis for the enlightenment.

How does Jhana give a basis for enlightement?
Through the absence of 5 hindrances, mind is calmed and pliable enough to be apply knowledge about freedom.
Through the awareness developed, practitioner attains a thorough understanding of the workings of 5 aggregates. → leads to dispassion and clarity

What is dhamma?

(1) This Dhamma is for one with few desires, not for one with strong desires.
(2) This Dhamma is for one who is content, not for one who is discontent.
(3) This Dhamma is for one who resorts to solitude, not for one who delights in company. (4) This Dhamma is for one who is energetic, not for one who is lazy.
(5) This Dhamma is for one with mindfulness established, not for one who is muddle-minded.
(6) This Dhamma is for one who is concentrated, not for one who is unconcentrated.
(7) This Dhamma is for one who is wise, not for one who is unwise.
(8) This Dhamma is for one who delights in non-proliferation, who takes delight in nonproliferation, not for one who delights in proliferation, who takes delight in proliferation.’”

Hi. This statement sounds confusing & contradicting to me because Bhikkhu Anīgha also said:

What’s been said so far will also serve to shed some light on a familiar controversy among modern Buddhists, which is whether jhāna is necessary for the attainment of stream-entry, given that a sotāpanna is said to possess sammāsamādhi, which is defined as the four jhānas. The solution to the seeming conundrum is that a stream-enterer, due to having first and foremost seen the danger in sensuality (see AN 6.73 above & MN 14) on account of seeing the origin of dukkha , and furthermore due to being able to recognize the hints of their mind (cittassa nimitta) , which is the basis for any mind-development as per SN 47.8, has the faculty to meditate on the nature of sensuality correctly, in its full extent, and no longer confuses playing around with ideas and right reflection. Such a person has developed the concrete thinking described earlier, which is essentially the enlightenment factor of dhammavicaya 12. Hence, when they [the stream-enterer] reflect on the nature of sensuality and unwholesome states, or on the fundamental truths they understood, they are practicing jhāna


The long established article by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi sounds to refute the article of Bhikkhu Anīgha.

In addition, seeing the danger in sensuality is not stream-entry. There are alcoholics, porn-addicts or even KFC lovers who come to see the danger of their dangerous sensual habit yet are not stream-enters. What defines a stream-enterer is having foretasted Nibbana from the absence of craving. They directly experience the absence of craving is happy, peaceful & liberating.

It is AN 5.179, which is about laypeople, that says what is written above. However, recollections of the Triple Gem, virtue and generosity are not “jhana”. Also, the jhana “pleasant abidings here and now” are an “object”, just as jhana is reached by meditating on an “object”. SN 48.9 which Ajahn Brahm has emphasized, says:

And what is the faculty of immersion/concentration?
Katamañca, bhikkhave, samādhindriyaṁ?
It’s when a noble disciple, relying on letting go [as object], gains immersion, gains unification of mind.
Idha, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako vossaggārammaṇaṁ karitvā labhati samādhiṁ, labhati cittassa ekaggataṁ—
This is called the faculty of immersion.
idaṁ vuccati, bhikkhave, samādhindriyaṁ.

New Concise Pali English Dictionary


  1. basis, starting point (for producing or initiating activity), footing; basis of meditation; object, object of consideration, sense-object

We have in the past spoken about how the recollection of the Triple Gem is a form of “pleasant abiding here and now”

AN 4.41 AN 6.29 DN 33 MN 107 says the four jhana are pleasant abiding here and now. AN 1.575–615 SN 54.11say mindfulness of the body/anapanasati is a pleasant abiding here and now. SN 22.122 SN 22.123 say realizing emptiness leads to a pleasant abiding here and now.

… not found in the Suttas.

Bhikkhu Bodhi is correct here, as my own post demonstrated. The happy abiding in AN 5.179, which is about laypeople, is not about jhana.

What is most important is “samadhi” is “concentration” or “collectedness” (“to bring together”).

From Sanskrit समाधि (samādhi, “placing together”), from सम (sama, “together”) + आ (ā) prefix + धा (dhā, “to place”) .

“Samadhi” does not mean Bhikkhu Anīgha’s “composure”. Also, the term “ekaggata” found in all Sutta jhanas (MN 43; MN 111) means “point-pointedness” or “unification”.

Idhāvuso, paṭhamaṁ jhānaṁ samāpannassa bhikkhuno vitakko ca vattati, vicāro ca pīti ca sukhañca cittekaggatā ca.

When a mendicant has entered the first absorption, placing the mind, keeping it connected, rapture, bliss, and unification of mind are present.

MN 43

Sujato footnote: These five absorption factors are found only here, and with other factors appended, MN 111:4.1. Nonetheless, the first four are all mentioned as part of the first absorption, and all absorption or samādhi is characterized by unification of mind (eg. MN 20:3.3).

Samadhi meaning "placing together” or “concentrating/ion” is most clearly described in MN 117:

“And what is noble right immersion with its vital conditions and its prerequisites?

“Katamo ca, bhikkhave, ariyo sammāsamādhi saupaniso saparikkhāro?

They are: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, and right mindfulness.

Seyyathidaṁ—sammādiṭṭhi, sammāsaṅkappo, sammāvācā, sammākammanto, sammāājīvo, sammāvāyāmo, sammāsati;

Unification of mind with these seven factors as prerequisites

yā kho, bhikkhave, imehi sattahaṅgehi cittassa ekaggatā parikkhatā—

gerund or present participle: concentrating

gather (people or things) together in a common location.

“the nation’s wealth was concentrated in the hands of the governing elite”

Oxford Languages

In conclusion, I find most, if not all, of Bhikkhu Bodhi’s important points to be correct. :buddha:

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Instead of saying for example things like ‘breath focus’ techniques, with an implication of furrowed brow concentration, what if we say something like the following.

When mindfulness that apprehends the breath arises, it protects the mind from struggling against disturbance and laziness.

As beginners we don’t have the skill in appropriate mental conduct in terms of giving rise to and fueling aforesaid type of mindfulness.

Then again the above might not be sensible English, it’s not my first language.

Mindfulness does not “apprehend” the breath. Mindfulness is “remembering” the Teachings & instructions. The Pali “sati” means “remembering” rather than “apprehending”.

hi friend
been following HH super closely for many years and am very familiar and it seems like you are reading a bit into what the bhikhu is saying, i reply to you hoping you really reading with an open mind…

what he was saying here is that any stream enterer possessess ability to “develop jhāna for a fingerSNap” as the suttas he quoted below say (found in the “fingersnap” chapter of the anguttara 1 towards the end…

as sn 47-8 they reference often says, person who does not see sign of their mind, which sotapana does according to A.N. 6-68 they also mention a lot, cannot practice mindfulness correctly and thus cannot abandon defilements… thus, stream enterer can practice jhana even for one fingersnap by contemplating nature of sensuality, or even any satipatthana because culavedallasutta says cultivating satipatthana is samadhi, and the “fingersnap” suttas say one fingersnap of satipatthana means not lacking jhana also… makkatasutta also say that 4 satipatthana is for abandoning sensuality…

so this is not at all what this bhikhu or HH in general say, and is more like a strawman sounds like… people read they talk about danger in sensuality and they think he knows what they mean, but they dont… is not superficial thing, is much deeper than that… like M.N.-54 and M.N.-75 and S.N. 35-244 talk about… and like i quoted if you dont see cittanimitta wich naturally make you sotapanna then whatever you contemplate is not correct… even if some pleasure focusing experience come…

nobody can argue with that… however they would disagree that “foretasted Nibbana” means the result of concentration practice on an object, which is common idea and nobody can show proof in the suttas. when people give suttas it is clear they have their own views and are putting them in what buddha said, and a newbie buddhist reading would not have such ideas… plus at least this bhikhu anigha always show evidence in the contrary quoting from all over the canon. Ajahn nyanamoli is the main but he has less scholarly sutta experience it seems… bhikhu anigha makes exactly same points but with more good knowlege of pali.

nobody says they are jhāna, but they are samādhi, and bhikhu bodhis article says that too. if you read A.N. 3-70, you see that for noble stream enterer laypersons with perfect saddha, the tripple gem recollection leads to

As they recollect the teaching, their mind becomes clear, joy arises, and mental corruptions are given up. This is called: ‘A noble disciple who observes the sabbath of Dhamma, living together with Dhamma. And because they think of the Dhamma their mind becomes clear, joy arises, and mental corruptions are given up.’ That’s how a corrupt mind is cleaned by applying effort.

(HH made video on this called “mind cleansing method”, link is if you go to the reddit post I linked in my original post here. also have a look there because he put some links on the text itself, which i think didn’t bring over here when i copy paste…)

mind clean from corruptions and becoming happy is always meaning of samadhi, and wholesome joy lead to knowledge and vision like many suttas say… so this sutta and A.N. 6-25 also show that this recollection lead to samadhi which is purification from defilement but not insight yet.

ārammaṇa here meaning is not “object”… this is what the bhikhu mean that even EBT people use commentary ideas… arammana is from a+lambati, which mean “leaning onto” like support… so with this support mind gain samādhi. also letting go cannot be “object”, because as the bhikhu say in recent thread on the subreddit ‘separating mind from the body’, if your mind think freedom is an “object” means that freedom is inside the “all” meaning mind is not truly free from defilement…

the dictionary you quote like so many material is biased for commentary and contemporary views… in suttas i never see something that arammana HAS to mean “object”, i always see it perfectly just mean support like great elephant footprint sutta where support is contemplating the four elements… if here aramanna mean one object then how can bhikhu be aware of other people insulting… that mean bhikhu is not really equanimous to insult with SUPPORT of object, only ignoring situation, and this how people practice today… and buddha never talk about focusing on one thing anyway so… even second jhana doesnt say one object, say only thinking and pondering gone… if you have on object cannot contemplate anything, so you have to "come out " of jhana like commentary say, Buddha never say this, and the word “jhana” mean “contemplation, thinking, pondering” like he say in his recent essay… obviously for second jhana that become very subtle and is not “thinking” really, but very subtle mind movement always happening… no movement mean asleep or dead…

if you agree with ajahn brahm views i suggest you try to open your mind and read more carefully… he often twists the suttas like saying those people who get stream entry after dhamma talk not really gain stream entry but only “path toward stream entry”… he is tiwsting to fit his ideas… and as bhikhu bodhi article which you seem to agree shows, jhana is not necessary for stream entry according to suttas, so ajahn brahm just try to justfiy his personal method… that is fine but he should say he is doing like that, not talk like it s the real buddha way…

see, here you are ignoring A.N. 5-179 and choose to only think about the other suttas that have exactly the same word ditthadhammasukhavihara… this is exactl what the bhikhu criticise… instead you need to accept that if one sutta contradict your view then your view is wrong… as i can see hh view does not contradict any sutta, people try to disagree but they are usually like this, not reading carefully and already have their idea of dhamma… not using sutta to understand practice but having practice fixed first and THEN reading sutta… he writen this in his jhana essay also…

what do you mean? did you read carefully? thats exactly his point… showing that buddhanussati etc is not an object focusing like mantra… that people cannot do even this simple practice properly but create random ideas…

yes, and this is the bhikhus point… is not jhana but is samadhi… his main ideA Always is people need to be celibate and abandon sensuality to get real jhana, so the point of the bhikhu is that EVEN AS sotapana like those laypeople, you cannot get jhana if you are not celibate… you only get this triple gem plleasure… that arguement is the only reason he making this review I think… they not trying about telling people that they can get easy jhana by following triple gem recollection, that is against their mission… they want people to accept real jhana is dffcult and cannot happen without indriyasamvara that very few laypeple do, but think they are getting jhanas, but somehow not getstream entry which is less difficult, according to bhikhu bodhi paper also… i see this over listening for long time… also when you not properly restrain then you think what he talk about is “just thinking” like filosophy and is easy, but its not… that would be stupid, HH is not talking oversimple nonsense or new gimmick practice like that, its a very deep teaching… see “Putting the Body First” video about what right thinking is for exmple… also “good Thoughts bad Thoughts” about M.N.-19.

sorry but i dont see your point here, it seem like you are just reading the sutta with your interpretation and then say that it automatically justify your interpretation… again what the bhikhu sop much criticise…

…it also seem like youre taking weird definition of concentration that is not important for this case…


also about ekaggata… he explain in his last essay how agga never mean “point” in any actual sentence of the suttas in pali… I think that idea not even exist in ancient India. “agga” mean “top, peak, tip” or also “room” every time, like “tip (agga) of blade of grass” i read once. he also explain “tip” mean one thing that is high while others are low, while “point” mean one thing and nothing else… so “ekaggata” is one-peak mind, and the peak is they call the “context”… thay say this lead to all the jhanas including 4 jhana where body stops breathing and everything like that, and also formless attainments and nirodhasamapatti where suttas say you look like your body die… they not rejecting samatha practice at all but people misunderstand… what they teach is more difficult and require real commitment all the time in your life than object focusing pleasure that people get in 10 day retreat but live w/ sensuality and unstrestraint rest of the time…

how then do you explain veganapurasutta in an-3-63? how can you walk and change posture while you focus on an object? please do not say no agama parallel so fake sutta or something like that… HH people accept ALL suttas and there are no contradictions, never reject suttas like that for convinience… they always say, when you find sutta that is against your idea, You are wrong, sutta is right… but people not like that because then they have to change their ideas that following for many many years… so instead they start to reject suttas…

please also read the reddit discussion. he clarify some relevant points and also discuss a newer article about jhana from another bhikhu.

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

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very good then… people say same thing about the lord buddha in his time… cant judge without real effort to underatand and prejudgement put aside at least temporarily… otherwise how to discuss anything.

here. need to remember that as SN 47.8 only person who sees sign of mind can practoce proper meditation, so means only stream enterer or very special people like udaka ramaputta can practice jhana for a fingersnap, or even more… other people “get jhana” but that take more pure mind than stream entry, so if they not stream enterer then what to say…

i already address your point about SN 48-9 that the idea of “object” is not justified…

whole poimt here is cannot rely on popular translations… see how bhikhu bodhi translate an 9-35…, he write “focus on” and “object” but those word are not there… nimitta mean object according to commentary, no sutta force us to interpret it like that…

MN 19 which you mention also not have any idea of object… translators are putting it there, i know bit of pali… also ANUvitakketi ANUvicareti is not same as vitakkavicara… buddha says he stopped ANU part…

I see you’re still editimg the comment… i’m sorry but it looks like you are not willing to engage with an open mind, wonder if there is some personal issue with their teaching…

also, forum only let me put 2 links, so have to edit the format of suttas.

It also seema like you just accept the mainstream view because some respected teacher says it… buddha said everything should be proven in the suttas when somebody claims it, also said don’t go by teacher or tradition… i follow hh because they prove their points, not because of special attachment to “this is my teacher”…

strawman… they completely against all eternalist ideas if you actually look closely. also this is what buddha say also in adittapariyayasutta.

Sorry friend but seems like you’re just not willing to open your mind…

i did my job to put the link here… if you have specific question the subreddit is open for anyone and he always answring questions, no matter if people disagree… like you yourself said must not be speaking for a monk…

oh, you added something to your comment…

There you go, personal issue and judge book by its cover like i said…

wow, at least HH monks don’t talk like this…

alright friend, have a really good day and may you be happy

Hi all,
I’ve temporarily set up slow mode on this thread to try to ensure contributions are kept thoughtful. There is no issue with robust well-argued discussion, but just a reminder to keep it friendly and respectful, particularly for contentious topics.
suaimhneas (on behalf of the moderators)


this is traditional way of (not) thinking.

accordimg to HH, this idea bases on a misconception of 5H… like in SN 46.38, noble disciple listening dhamma is free from 5H. in order to listen you need to think and ponder… otherwisd you only hearing pure sound.

this mean freedom from 5H is not about not thinking. HH explain in “how to calm your mind” dhamma talk and “only way to jhana” book that correct anaoanasati mean context that prevent greed aversion delusion FOR the thinking…, just like AN 6.25 say by REMEMBERING triple gem wich cant be an object, noble disciple mind is free from defilement at that time… like when you remember something any time, you dont stop doing what you doing or thinking… you have two thing happening, foreground perception and background of memory. this how HH explains…

so like AN 11.12 also saying, this real meditation (see etymology part, completely diffrnt from beginning part: this is how the today view completely twisted) has to be done ALL the time, even while working to prevent defilement… if defilement mean thought arise like how people do anapanasati then this recollection not enough to stop defilement while moving in life like buddha say, so he is saying wrong thing to mahanama… how you can live life with no thinking to have no defilement, fairytale idea… this why people never finish practice, always need less thinking and less thinking but it always come back because life is busy even for a monk in the forest…

so people read suttas but these thing just overlooked and they keep practicing same way because everyone do it… and when they practice and learn getting the "nice jhana pleasure then never want to look again and check if all this really right and fit the suttas… buddha said michasamadhi is real and also give type of “nyana” and “vimuti”: if not sure that you free from the suffering forever then practice still not right, still not see 4th noble truth, still puthujana “not seeing dhamma of the noble ones”, taking pancaskandha as mine and this concentration and focusing you can see not really helping in long term, only momentary or in retreat period…hard to admit but necessary…

HH saying this all the time but is painful to hear because welike to feel we are sure to come to nibbana some day, or that maybe we already got the “taste”. have to be really honest if the suffering decrease truly permanently in every environment, situation… or if we just more protected and careful tham before…

this is their main message repeated so many times: right meditation should make impossible to suffer any time, not special shelter to hide from suffering that only sometimes work…

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HH is not the Lord Buddha.

We have put effort into understanding the HH view & concluded it is not the Lord Buddha’s view. If HH say dogs have three legs, with an open mind, we must conclude dogs have four legs. HH is teaching the 1st jhana includes wholesome thoughts. We do not believe this is the 1st jhana. When we believe jhana is something very lofty & superhuman, we cannot believe the 1st jhana has thoughts. For many decades, elder monks, have said vitakka & vicara in the 1st jhana do not refer ordinary thinking. Remember, SN 54.11 says on personal retreat, the Buddha dwells in a samadhi developed from anapanasati. Remember, MN 119 says if a person wishes to dwell at will in the four jhanas they should develop mindfulness in relation to the body. MN 19 says the Buddha brought the mind to quiet & stillness before entering the 1st jhana. Remember, MN 79 refers to jhana as a world of pleasant feelings. Take care.

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i saw bhikhu anigha reply today to explain his idea of wholesam thinkinf…

it make a lot of sense… fit perfectly with MN 19… is dificult to reach… fit all the thinks you said.

what elder monks say for many decades not important… lord buddha said, if not matching suttas and if clear that not lead to real dispassion and no dukkha then we must reject… focusing meditation remove dukkha only temporarily… you stop meditating for many time and suffering come back…

see explanation of mn 19— here by bhikhu anigha

i think you also like this person talking to him… not really paying attemtion to his idea but only support ajahn brahm view and dont want to give up…

I don’t know if this will make sense, not because of anything else than my own poverty in expression.

Jhanalabhi( in the traditional sense) quite naturally becomes Citta patisamvedi, Citta sankhara patisamvedi, without needing to split philosophical hairs so to speak. Indeed it is to such a one, that teachings on anatta and so forth will be most striking, even if it is an outsider. In my opinion.

Deep meditative experiences can be transformative in itself. Indeed I remember someone expressing the view on another forum, that after a deep experience( I don’t think this was even full on absorption) he realised that ‘I am not a body but I am a consciousness’. Actually the highlighted part I remember verbatim.

I hear what you are saying, but I really am averse to making long posts

The counting technique is found not only in Theravāda but also Sarvāstivāda and Sautrāntika, as is focusing at the tip of the nose (Mahāsāṃghika too for this one). Personally I don’t think all of these ancient masters, from different schools, were getting it wrong.

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Or at least, those who wish to argue for a non-traditional view might try to give a compelling explanation for why so many of the traditions got it wrong.

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interesting find today…

sort of person who practice focusing meditation look how they talk…

i know not everyone like this, some people really nice, but like bhikhu say ajahn brahm type practice and similarcommon today not really change mind permanently… focusing give only temporary pleasure.

see this person have very “deep insight”, do modern type practice, but then talk like this when someone show view is wrong…

that why our lord Buddha in the end not say real goal of dhamma is "I a not “I am consciousness, I am not body” or like this persom say watch consciousness “blick n flicker”…

he tell us ultimate dhamma is no raga, no dosa, no moha… but this "insight’ people not get… they get “consciousness flicker” insight and then say “ah, now this mean no ragadosamoha”… wrong way…

like HH always say, ragadosamoha come from action FIRST, not lack of special way of focusing insight that come… see this person justify raga, that why HH always saying real abandoning ragadosamoha need to be celibate… dont care how much special consciousness nature you see, if you have raga then still lacking in dhamma… very simple, raga is dukkha…

jhana wobble… nimitta… bliss… who care… still have ragadosamoha or not?

i feel jhana meditation HH teaching they say not only pleasant but also have to remove so many defilement to reach, and then this practice more also remove so many defilement until mind anagami one day… this real buddha way it sounds like, not fake teaching for selling to whole world who not want to practice nekkhamma, want to ‘have cake and eatit too’

ok friend… but who care about what tradition saying… MN 19 very clear, HH not contradict Sutta, bhikhu anigha explain MN 19 perfectly here with REAL vitakkavicara jhana…

this make sense with all other suttas, and why buddha teach wholesome thinkinf reflection like SN 12.66 sammasasutta, buddha say person do RIGHT thinking like HH teaching, not an easy philosophy papanca practice, is practice for end of jaramarana…

everyone just say “this and this teacher say like that so its the right way”, well Hillside never make that argument… they prove their idea from 0 because have to assume person will not believe them because people always dislike Hillside so much even though Hillside not criticize to say names or ad hominem like this person I showing here… they only criticize view but people get angry because so attached…

people say sometime they are “Nyanavira traditiom”, but these day HH never say “Nanavira say like this so must be right”… they not relying on tradition, not even talking Nanavira is what I see… they teaching more simpler but also more deep dhamma than Nanavira…

and i am sure some people maybe not get angry and start insulting but inside they not really pay attention and want to ignore, so they no need to change practice that doing for so many years… sad state of buddhism… no one can prove wrong, only saying this teacher this that teacher that…

people say sometime HH is cult but who is cult?

cult is person who say “our respected teacher say this” and give no real proof, say only have to believe to see for yourself… HH never say that, they show evidence for ideas and explain without saying “you have to accept”… cult is many teacher today, not them…

SEE ALSO very interesting post here, reply to western science people say dhamma maybe not real path because science… also explain about rebirth

The traditional approach hasn’t ignored MN 19. In order to enter Jhāna you also need Right Intention, so the 3 thoughts spoken of in said sutta. Regarding Hillside Hermitage, I have great respect for the monks there and I know decent and sincere Buddhists who like their teachings. Its not for me though. To me its important to know what the early Buddhists were teaching just as much as knowing what is in the suttas and their parallels.

but what about cows and cowherd simile? how you explain that fits with normal “no thinking” idea? do you think maybe lord buddha cannot find better simile? see this…

firstly… mn 64 say you enter jhana by upadhiviveka, so how can have attachment in jhana… mean abhijjha hindrance not overcome, this what hillside say is so wrong, and this why when you come out this jhana your life still not change… abhijjha continue because even in the jhana still there… reading buddha word but then say “oh yes but actually is a little bit not like that”… as if lord buddha lack teaching ability and today we more skill than him.

secondly… why lord Buddha not use better simile than cowherd and cows? he can say “imagine bhikkhus you see some back and forth moving like such and such”… but he not say that. also, today way of practice jhana is completely different, i never see someone say they only do wholesam thinking like buddha say and then magically ‘absorption’ happen… they always need to use “object” at some time, which is how it would be if we say beginning is about right intention amd then thinking fall away… also sutta say vittaka, not sankappa which is more subtle, so is not talkimg about the same that you say…

funny things i also find is also many places ajahn chah explaining people try to stop thinking for peace is not correct and first jhana have vitakkavicara… ajahn brahm is ajahn chah disciple and have picture behind him but say opposite thing… why… ajahn chah alone maybe we dont trust but if sutta also saying same and ajahn chah we respect then why we not go for ajahn chah who is original teacher instead of ajahn brahm…i think this way and it makes sense…

also ajahn brahm saying (and i think many other today teachers) that jhana have no control, full absorptoon, no doer, etc. i think early buddhist schools you mention already have same idea too

then why AN 3.63 saying you move around during jhana? and is lord buddha himself here, meaning not someone with “lite” jhana who cannot practice properly…

i think ajahn chah also once say you walk during jhana…

also, why early buddhist special importance… after sangha split, is clear that somebody must be wromg… especially if these monks were fighting and arguing mean their practice not correct… if you find monk who was right at that time will not be the one who made new “school” for themself, but ones who stay quiet and practice original teaching… not creating new abhidharma this and that out of nowhere…

we need try as hard as we can to follow lord buddha words… if we dont, then we die maybe still not enlightened… what to do then? jhana wobble not do anything for us at that time… no craving for whole world and wisdom of sensuality dangerous that hillside say is the jhana is what save us at that time

In the Theravādin version you can read it that these things cease before entering the 1st Jhāna. In the Sarvāstivādin version it looks like these thoughts are happening whilst in the 1st Jhāna. Personally I think some background wholesome thoughts will still be there in the 1st Jhāna, since its the weakest of the 4 and true Samādhi only begins with the 2nd. I don’t see any of that as invalidating an absorbed like state.

firstly… mn 64 say you enter jhana by upadhiviveka, so how can have attachment in jhana… mean abhijjha hindrance not overcome, this what hillside say is so wrong, and this why when you come out this jhana your life still not change… abhijjha continue because even in the jhana still there… reading buddha word but then say “oh yes but actually is a little bit not like that”… as if lord buddha lack teaching ability and today we more skill than him.

It looks like you are referring to Ajahn Brahm. I don’t follow his teachings, so I can’t really comment.

secondly… why lord Buddha not use better simile than cowherd and cows? he can say “imagine bhikkhus you see some back and forth moving like such and such”… but he not say that. also, today way of practice jhana is completely different, i never see someone say they only do wholesam thinking like buddha say and then magically ‘absorption’ happen… they always need to use “object” at some time, which is how it would be if we say beginning is about right intention amd then thinking fall away… also sutta say vittaka, not sankappa which is more subtle, so is not talkimg about the same that you say…

Its a bit hard to follow here. I would say you do need an object, or basis, for meditation. On vitakka-vicāra and saṅkappa, they are synonyms.

also, why early buddhist special importance… after sangha split, is clear that somebody must be wromg… especially if these monks were fighting and arguing mean their practice not correct… if you find monk who was right at that time will not be the one who made new “school” for themself, but ones who stay quiet and practice original teaching… not creating new abhidharma this and that out of nowhere…

The splits tended to be over Vinaya or technical Abhidharma matters. There were differences in opinion on meditation, but they seem to have been minor. That is to say some said bodily bliss is felt, others said no but they were never the main cause of a split.