Is attaining Jhāna an inevitable part of the practice?
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No it’s not but some tranquillity is required. The seven factors of awakening are the essential elements of the path, and are divided into two opposing groups, calm and insight which have the attributes of water and fire respectively. Just like any physical process such as metalwork, cooking or pottery, which are often used as similes by the Buddha, a controlled combination of elements is necessary for a profitable outcome. Calm arises as a result of sila, morality which requires an effort of will. The position of morality preceeding jhanas is listed in Majjhima Nikaya 27, and the whole process is described in the Sequential Training which is currently being presented in an online course:
Yes. It is in N8FP (last part is Samma Samadhi = Jhana). Not any other jhana though. No jhana = no Nibbana knowledge or even any lower than that.
These 2 sentences are in conflict. One is saying NO, the next one is saying YES.
Because 7 factors of awakening has samadhi in it. This samadhi is samma samadhi = jhana that lead to Upekkha (look to inside, perfect balance, knowledge of free, matured wisdom)
Upekkha is 4th jhana. Only by perfected 4 jhana or higher with wisdom can have upekkha (aka let go all 6 senses).
" “And what is the food for the arising of unarisen serenity as a factor for Awakening, or for the growth & increase of serenity… once it has arisen? There is physical serenity & there is mental serenity. To foster appropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen serenity as a factor for Awakening, or for the growth & increase of serenity… once it has arisen.”
—Samyutta Nikaya 46. 51
In September and October there will be lessons on the seven factors of enlightenment:
but arent jhanas mentioned in the noble eightfold path?
Because the suttas usually teach at an arahant level right concentration is associated with jhana, but samma samadhi covers all wholesome concentration, and lesser levels are more appropriate to lay practice. One of the approaches to pursuing the path is through insight where tranquillity is necessary, but not at jhana intensity:
"“Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity preceded by insight. As he develops tranquillity preceded by insight, the path is born. He follows that path, develops it, pursues it. As he follows the path, developing it & pursuing it — his fetters are abandoned, his obsessions destroyed.”
—Anguttara Nikaya 4.170
In the seven factors of awakening divided into two elemental groups (Samyutta Nikaya 46.53), insight precedes the tranquillity produced as a result of the causal sequence. Also in the Buddha’s own pre-awakening path related in Majjhima Nikaya 19, insight is the method of progress, and samadhi purely a means of resting the mind. No jhana is mentioned there.
" sukkha-vipassaka: ‘one supported by bare insight’, is the commentarial term for one who, without having attained any of the meditative absorptions (jhāna, q.v.), has realized only by the support of insight (vipassanā, q.v.) one or several of the supermundane paths (s. ariyapuggala ). In Vis.M. XVIII, he is called suddha-vipassanā-yānika , as distinguished from ‘one who has tranquillity as vehicle’ (samathayānika, q.v.)."
but the path of the arahant has 10 factors, why would the buddha include the arahant level in the 8 fold, when the arahant level is 10 fold?
I find it hard to read this interpretation into the suttas.
Wouldnt every level of wholesome concentration involve a seclusion from the unwholesome, therefore some level of jhana?
And also, what about this:
If a mendicant meditates by observing an aspect of the body … feelings … mind … principles—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of covetousness and displeasure for the world, even for the time of a finger-snap they are called a mendicant who does not lack absorption[bhikkhu arittajjhāno viharati], who follows the Teacher’s instructions, who responds to advice, and who does not eat the country’s alms in vain. How much more so those who make much of it!”
I think you might be putting “the jhana on a pedestal”
In conflict apparently. The conflict arises because they don’t use the word “jhāna” to mean the same thing.
Yeah so true.
And possibly confused.