Have I just solved what mindfulness and jhana is for good?

Check this out: www .dhammawheel .com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=28113&p=400920#p400920

Jhana / Buddha back pains/ What mindfulness is - solved

Yes, I was able to just solve all these hard questions. I recently experienced a headache. So, I asked myself: what should I do to experience less pain ? I realized buddhist advice should be to try and distant yourself from all of this through the method advised in the pali canon.
Normal reaction that I had all the time until now was to somehow run from this pain by focusing on other things, trying to somehow be less conscious of the pain in order to suffer less. This is the normal reaction of the uninlightened brain in front of pain: to somehow become less conscious in order to experience less pain. This is also what the focusing on a fixed spot methods do in front of pain. They move focus to another object and indeed reduce pain by a little by doing the normal human reaction with bigger concentration power caused by mindfulness and effort. But this is why they do not lead to jhana. It’s simply not the way you do jhana.

But since I’ve become a little more enlightened lately - through reading the suttas by myself and not relying on others - I knew that sutta advice is to remain mindful and detach yourself by contemplating how this is just part of the 5 aggregates witch are always changing and not me. This is what mindfulness is. It’s not just bare awareness, it means been mindful for the sake of detaching yourself from the aggregates by keeping in mind they are impermanent, always changing and most important: not self. Most people think that no-self is something to be understood theoretically and that’s it. But what is keeping a sotapanna from been an arahant is conceit. And this is what mindfulness (7th step) and the result of doing this long enough - jhana (8th step) are supposed to mean. The goal of mindfulness, witch leads to jhana if practiced long enough, is to get more detached from the 5 clinging aggregates because they are not self. It is explained innumerable times in the suttas that you contemplate impermanence in order to experience revulsion, revulsion leads to dispassion, dispassion leads to liberation:

“Bhikkhus, form is impermanent, feeling is impermanent, perception is impermanent, volitional formations are impermanent, consciousness is impermanent. Seeing thus, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple experiences revulsion towards form, revulsion towards feeling, revulsion towards perception, revulsion towards volitional formations, revulsion towards consciousness. Experiencing revulsion, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion his mind is liberated. When it is liberated there comes the knowledge: ‘It’s liberated.’ He understands: ‘Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.’”
https ://suttacentral .net/en/sn22.12

And then… I remembered Buddha advice for entering jhana witch I have practiced a little but without been able to attain jhana yet:

“’I tell you, the ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana.’ Thus it has been said. In reference to what was it said? There is the case where a monk, secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, feeling, perception, fabrications, & consciousness, as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessnes: ‘This is peace, this is exquisite—the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.’
https ://suttacentral .net/en/an9.36

And this is how I made the connection. This is how I understood why Buddha practiced jhana in order to not experience pain.
And this finally solves the problem of why such an enlightened person like the Buddha needed to practice jhana in order to not suffer from pain.

This also explains us what jhana is and that the state of been of an arahant is not that of a person in constant jhana. That is idealism and divinization of Buddha. An arahant is a person who has gained a lot of wisdom through contemplating things while in jhana and this better knowledge of him + general detachment causes him not to make volitional formations that would lead in rebirth. Also, such a person as an arahant is required to have mastered the first 4 jhanas according to the suttas, jhana been the 8th factor of the eightfold path. Because non-returners+ have mastered jhana, they are able to enter jhana at will even during the day and all they have to do to escape pain is enter jhana. But it seems that they are not in jhana as a default mode because of been a non-returner+.

PS: Have I seriously solved what mindfulness is, what jhana is, what been an arahant feels like through having a headache and thinking about the recent topic about Buddha pack pains ???


I doubt that this is easily solvable, the complexity of interrelated concepts and suttas with fine variations in detail is just too high for an easy solution. But I for once like original theories. We take them as far as possible until they don’t apply anymore, and then adjust them. That’s pretty much the scientific process - We just don’t take our new insight too seriously and start to grow tissue around it…

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While I cannot confirm or say much about what you realised yourself I can confirm that indeed it is a liberating and reassuring experience to find in ourselves the power of stillness-based and empowered equanimity.
Keep up with it and be happy! :wink:

Hahaha, I’m not from US/UK and speaking like that is normal over here but people look at it strange if they’re from US/UK. I probably sound like that guy Trump witch would be a normal guy in continental europe : D It was mainly in order to make a point about importance of reading suttas by yourself and not relying on commentaries or famous bhikkhus, issues I had in other topics there recently.

It may not be a big discovery for some, but I have just recently started reading the Pali canon and had not reached the part about meditation yet so I had no strong opinion about what jhana or mindfulness is and how they should be practiced. I only knew about the popular “focusing on a fixed spot” (top of nostrils or abdomen) type of meditation before and did not know the method for entering jhana described in the suttas.

In any case, the example with Buddha practicing jhana in order not to be disturbed by back pain can be used as a good point for sutta type of meditation. A point I haven’t heard been made before.

We just don’t take our new insight too seriously and start to grow tissue around it…

Haha don’t worry I’m not english, that’s an englishman problem. And I have not even read the chapters on meditation such as SN “The great book” in order to say my understanding is perfect. But I remembered that sutta about how to enter jhana and saw that method is repeated over and over in the “book of aggregates” witch I did read.

[quote=“Maiev, post:1, topic:3455”]
This is what mindfulness is. It’s not just bare awareness,[/quote]
Mindfulness is not bare awareness. Mindfulness (“sati”) means to “remember” or “keep in mind”. In short, “recollection”. You go tell those DW people that mindfulness is not bare awareness.

Bare awareness can be a result of mindfulness but it is not mindfulness itself. Bare awareness is consciousness (“vinnana”) while mindfulness is recollection (“sati”). Vinnana is not sati & sati is not vinnana.

Mindfulness is certainly “keeping in mind the right view the aggregates are impermanent & not-self”. It also is “keeping in mind the four noble truths about how craving & attachment cause suffering & about how giving up craving is the path to peace”. To quote the suttas:

One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one’s right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view. MN 117

Here, a monastic is…mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world… Mindfulness is established that ‘There is a body’, to the extent necessary for knowledge & mindfulness. MN 10

The bhikkhus who were freed from passion, mindful and clearly comprehending, reflected in this way: “Impermanent are all compounded things. How could this be otherwise?” DN 16


[quote=“Maiev, post:1, topic:3455”]
The goal of mindfulness, witch leads to jhana if practiced long enough, is to get more detached from the 5 clinging aggregates because they are not self.[/quote]

The aggregrates do not cling therefore there is no such thing as the “5 clinging aggregates”. Instead, 1 aggregate clings to the 5 aggregates. What happens is there is clinging to the five aggregates or there are 5 aggregates subject to clinging but there is no such thing as 5 clinging aggregates.

As for a relationship between mindfulness, detachment (vossagga) & jhana, the suttas support this point of view. To quote:

And what is the faculty of concentration? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, making it his object to let go (vossagga), attains concentration, attains singleness of mind. SN 48.10

Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops the mindfulness enlightenment factor, which is supported by seclusion, dispassion, and cessation that ripens in relinquishment (vossagga). MN 118


The quote above from SN 22.12 is not directly related to mindfulness because the word “contemplates” (anupassi) or “seeing thus” (evaṃ passaṃ) does not mean “mindfulness”. The word “passa” means “to see” rather than to “remember” or “keep in mind”. What is quoted above is a result of concentration rather than a result of mindfulness.

How it works is, at the very beginning, mindfulness keeps in mind or remembers the right view that craving is to be abandoned & that things are impermanent & not-self. This right view mindfulness keeps in mind, in the beginning, in only intellectual or book knowedge. Using this right view, mindfulness keeps the mind detached. This detachment generates concentration or jhana. Concentration or jhana then contemplates (“observes” or “continuously sees”) directly (without recollecting or thinking) that the five aggregates are impermanent, not-self, etc. Here, as concentration develops, the book knowledge is replaced by real direct automatic insight knowledge. The quote from SN 22.12 is about direct automatic insight knowledge & is unrelated to mindfulness.

‘Jhana’ is not for the purpose of avoiding pain. It is for two purposes: (i) obtaining a pleasure that is higher than & frees a person from dependence on sensual pleasures for happiness; & (ii) unifying & purifying the mind so the mind can have the constant undistracted clear insight (vipassana) that ends all suffering. As stated in AN 9.36:

The ending of the mental fermentations depends on the first jhana.

The word “depends” above cannot mean that jhana itself ends the mental fermentations. The word “depends” here must mean that the concentration of jhana serves as a required foundation for the insight or clear seeing (vipassana) that ends the mental fermentations.

The insight that ends the fermentations/effluents (asava) is described in many text the same as below:

A monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five clung-to aggregates. ‘Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is feeling, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is perception, such its origination, such its passing away. Such are fabrications, such their origination, such their passing away. Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.’ This is the development using concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents.

AN 4.41


As for AN 9.36 quoted, to me, this is an unusual sutta. It uses the term: “samanupassati”, which seems unusual, since “samanupassati” sounds like a mixture of “recollecting” ('sati") and direct “seeing” (“passa”). This term is probably for the Pali experts.

He regards (samanupassati) whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, feeling, perception, fabrications, & consciousness, as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. AN 9.36

In conclusion, I think it is important to see in meditation itself that ‘mindfulness’ (‘sati’) means ‘keeping in mind’ rather than ‘bare awareness’ and what is kept in mind is the various wisdoms required to establish the mind in a state of craving-free non-attachment or detachment. These wisdoms include the four noble truths & the three characteristics of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness & not-self.

It is also important to learn that the suttas (e.g. SN 48.10 & MN 118) state that detachment (“vossagga”) is the method to reach jhana (rather than the popular “focusing on a fixed spot” at top of nostrils or abdomen). Here, if required, I would recommend Ajahn Brahm’s book at this link, at the very least for some affirmation that the method in SN 48.10 actually works:

Now all that needs to be done is to keep the mind constantly detached & be the next Buddha. :slight_smile:

Best wishes :deciduous_tree:

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