Jhanas - what for?

go for it! :slight_smile::penguin: Would be fun to have an in-depth discussion regarding the nature and use of emoji. Perhaps, start with the origin of the word which came from ?japan?. Does that mean ‘emojis’ is a corrupt plural? :rose::rabbit:

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So the idea is if a person attained stream entry and they maintained jhana until death, they would be born in deva or heavenly realms and not come be born as a human again as they would reach full enlightenment in those realms.

With metta

The vajrayanists, mahayanists, taoists, also came up with their own various samadhi gradual training systems that have merit, are workable, and can be practiced by someone who is following the EBT to good effect.

But as long as Ajahn Brahm claims his jhana system is what the Buddha taught in the EBT, every time I come across an EBT passsage that contradicts his claim, I will point it out. I will keep pointing out contradictions and inconsistencies until he modifies his position to be in line with the EBT, or he stops claiming to be EBT compliant in his jhana classification.

This is too important of a topic to leave unspoken. Here’s what’s at stake. Imagine a child growing up with well meaning but overly strict parents. They raise the child in a way, not intentionally, but in a way where the child believes s/he is not smart enough, not skilled enough, doesn’t have the merit to enter a four year university.

So the child doesn’t enroll in the university because mentally they’re already defeated, they don’t even think its even possible they could qualify.

I’m here to tell the child the good news. You are smart enough. You are talented enough. You do have enough merit, you just have to be willing to work hard and practice in accordance with the EBT everyday as much as you can, and you will do fine in a four year jhana university. Not everyone will graduate with mastery of all four jhanas, but everyone will at least have the ability to do first jhana reasonably well, and most people would have at least stumbled into 2nd jhana accidentally a few times. But everyone who graduates has the confidence that they will be able to do all four jhanas in the future if they keep up the EBT practice. After the four year jhana program you can then work in the graduate program for your masters and Phd, where you then delve in to the imperturbable version of fourth jhana where the body disappears and sounds can not be heard, and refine the perception of light for knowledge and vision.

But in Buddhaghosa’s university, and Ajahn Brahm’s university, they do things differently than a standard straightforward EBT university. They require a Phd and masters before they let you in the first year jhana bachelors program. That is, you need to have perception of light and an imperturbable 4th jhana before they will certify and give you accreditation for first jhana. How sustainable is this kind of university? How many generations will this last when you make entrance requirements like that?

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I think the core teaching is to escape from Samsara. The idea is to be a stream entry or at least a faith follower or a dhamma follower so one can make an end to suffering. Jhannas don’t define an Ariya person. One can be liberated withoutJhannas, for example, one who liberated by faith (saddhavimutto). One can obtain the highest meditation but have not heard of the Buddha teaching will not make an end to suffering.

As far as, one can make an end to suffering here in this world or in heavenly realms does not really matter. It just depends on what one is aiming for. For example, one who is Ekabiji this life can make an end to suffering the next life in this world (liberated in < 200 years) AN3.87. Or, a Buddha disciple who dwell and firmed in 1st Jhanna until death will be liberated next life in brahmakayikanam devanam in 1 Aeon (liberated in the next billions of years) AN4.123.

“But, Bhante, if both attain arahantship, would there still be some distinction or difference between them after they have attained arahantship?”

“In this case, Sumanā, I declare, there would be no difference between the liberation of one and the liberation of the other.”AN5.31

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It is probably a genitive/dative singular, “for him”, and in this case it could be the subjective genitive, which is quite common in Pali. The grammatical subject of the second part of the sentence is āsavā , which is in the nominative case. And so the person to whom this happens must be in a different case.

“For him/by him having seen with wisdom, the corruptions are ended.”


“When he sees with wisdom, the corruptions come to an end.”


The only thing that matters is that you interpret the jhānas correctly. If you don’t, you won’t graduate at all.


Thanks for much Bhante! Pali pronouns are so irregular, and it wasn’t until I popped into Ven Nanatusita’s tables that I found assa!

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Thanks Frank for pointing out this great sutta (in fact it is AN 7.67).
WIthin it the Buddha says about each Jhana “for his own delight, relief, and comfort, and for entering upon nibbana”.
This goes well with Bhikkhu Bodhi essay where he postulates that Jhanas becomes useful, at least to the lay practioner, after once returner status is gained.
At that stage one has to overcome some left over cravings such as sexuality and attachment to food and if one discovers that Jhana is much more pleasurable than those cravings then Jhana is of great help to let go of these cravings and reach non returner status.
Jhanas are thus a good tool for letting go of lesser things as well as a perfect place of refuge.
By the way one cannot get addicted to Jhana as one doesn’t do Jhana, Jhana comes to us when all causes and conditions are met.

In MN, one of the suttas Maha kaccana warns about “not getting stuck internally” (in jhanas). Ajahn Maha Boowa, regarded by many as an Arahant, in one of his books talked about one of the mistakes he made in his practice, that for 5 years he was stuck indulging in the bliss of samadhi, rather than using the power of his samadhi to cut off all defilements.

And he was practicing under directions of Ajahn Mun (Ajahn Chah’s teacher, Ajahn brahm’s grand-teacher), so there can be debate on what “addicted” means, but the real life example above should illustrate some principles clearly.

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