Could someone please provide a list of suttas that say that the abandoning of the five hindrances is a requirement for entering jhana. I tried unsuccessfully to search SC with “hindrances AND jhana” or “hindrances AND samadhi”.
The definitive text is Digha Nikaya 2.
This table may be useful:
You want the columns “4H” and “J1”, “J2”, etc.
The standard formula is
It’s when a mendicant, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption
sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities
vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṁ savicāraṁ vivekajaṁ
sensual desire is the first hindrance, and akusala dhamma covers ill-will and the remaining hindrances.
Iti110 and 111 also show the connection
Suppose a mendicant has got rid of desire and ill will while walking, and has given up dullness and drowsiness, restlessness and remorse, and doubt. Their energy is roused up and unflagging, their mindfulness is established and lucid, their body is tranquil and undisturbed, and their mind is immersed in samādhi. Such a mendicant is said to be ‘keen and prudent, always energetic and determined’ when walking.
Seeing that the hindrances have been given up in them, joy springs up. Being joyful, rapture springs up. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil. When the body is tranquil, they feel bliss. And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed.
Tassime pañca nīvaraṇe pahīne attani samanupassato pāmojjaṁ jāyati, pamuditassa pīti jāyati, pītimanassa kāyo passambhati, passaddhakāyo sukhaṁ vedeti, sukhino cittaṁ samādhiyati.
Quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, they enter and remain in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected.
So vivicceva kāmehi, vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṁ savicāraṁ vivekajaṁ pītisukhaṁ paṭhamaṁ jhānaṁ upasampajja viharati.
Just answering the title of requisites for entering Jhana. There’s a lot of things other than the 5 hindrances removed.
Stinginess as to one’s monastery [lodgings], stinginess as to one’s family [of supporters], stinginess as to one’s gains, stinginess as to one’s status, and stinginess as to the Dhamma. Without abandoning these five qualities, one is incapable of entering & remaining in the first jhana.
Sensual, malicious, and cruel thoughts; and sensual, malicious, and cruel perceptions. Without giving up these six qualities you can’t enter and remain in the first absorption.
Desire for sensual pleasures, ill will, dullness and drowsiness, restlessness and remorse, and doubt. And the drawbacks of sensual pleasures haven’t been truly seen clearly with right wisdom. Without giving up these six qualities you can’t enter and remain in the first absorption.
Bonus, even if it doesn’t explicitly says Jhāna, it’s part of the many things to give up: AN10.76
Is there a scale - on one side there is the agitation of the obstacles of the mind, and on the other side there is the absence of obstacles of the mind? The jhana of the clumsy pony and the jhana of the noble horse? When I approach meditation and don’t manage to completely absorb it, I would still be better off in meditation, which is limiting nivaranas, than to engage with the world and not see my mind. Because whenever I watch the mind I can more easily push it towards absorption meaning I am closer to jhana? I don’t know if this is what the Buddha meant, but I’m curious about your opinion and if your experience shows that it’s better to sit even bored in meditation, sometimes drifting off into dreams, than to do worldly things like playing games, watching movies or listening to music.
These things are already encapsulated by the 5 hindrances, so they’re not “other than”, but “within”. For example you quoted the 3 types of unwholesome thoughts, which the noble factor of Right Thought/Intention is supposed to replace with thoughts of renunciation, which is required for overcoming the 5 hindrances and attaining samma samadhi. So by default overcoming the 5 hindrances also overcomes the 3 types of unwholesome thoughts.
And further zooming out a level, the 5 hindrances are “encapsulated” within improper attention, which is encapsulated within ignorance (not hearing true dhamma), and this the meaning of idappaccayatā.
Thank you everyone for the comprehensive replies. With Metta.
The Seven Factors of Awakening spring to mind. If bored in meditation, at least the first three should be cultivated: mindfulness, investigation, energy.
Do you think it’s better to be bored in a larger void than engage in the world? When I meditate and get bored, am I closer to jhana than when I don’t meditate but expose myself to more sensory stimuli?
Wikipedia has this interesting correlation:
- vitakka (“applied thought,” “coarse examination”) counteracts sloth-torpor (lethargy and drowsiness)
- vicāra (“sustained thought,” “precise investigation”) counteracts doubt (uncertainty)
- pīti (rapture, well-being) counteracts ill-will (malice)
- sukha (non-sensual pleasure) counteracts restlessness-worry (excitation and anxiety)
- ekaggatā (one-pointedness, single-pointed attention) counteracts sensory desire
The last two seem flipped to me…
The Wikipedia scheme is how it’s given in the Dhammasangani commentary, citing the Petakopadesa as its source.
However, though the Petakopadesa has four different schemes of opposition between the five hindrances and various sets of kusala dhammas, the text as we have it now no longer contains any one-to-one opposition between the five hindrances and five jhāna factors. Nor does the Nettipakarana.
These are the Petako’s four:
- Tattha nīvaraṇānīti ko vacanattho, kuto nivārayantīti? Sabbato kusalapakkhikā nivārayanti. Kathaṃ nivārayanti? Kāmacchando asubhato nivārayati, byāpādo mettāya nivārayati, thinaṃ passaddhito nivārayati, middhaṃ vīriyārambhato nivārayati, uddhaccaṃ samathato nivārayati, kukkuccaṃ avippaṭisārato nivārayati, vicikicchā paññāto paṭiccasamuppādato nivārayati.
Herein, as to “hindrances”, what the word-meaning? What do they hinder from? They hinder from all the profitable side. How do they hinder? Will-for-sensual-desires hinders from [perception of] ugliness, ill will hinders from Loving-kindness, lethargy hinders from tranquillity, drowsiness hinders from instigation of energy, agitation hinders from quiet, worry hinders from non-remorse, and uncertainty hinders from understanding as [that of] dependent arising.
- Aparo pariyāyo. Kāmacchando alobhato kusalamūlato nivārayati, byāpādo adosato nivārayati, thinamiddhaṃ samādhito nivārayati, uddhaccakukkuccaṃ satipaṭṭhānehi nivārayati, vicikicchā amohato kusalamūlato nivārayati.
Another way: Will-for-sensual-desires hinders from non-greed as a root of profit, ill will hinders from non-hate, lethargy-and-drowsiness hinders from concentration, agitation-and-worry hinders from the foundations of mindfulness, and uncertainty hinders from non-delusion as a root of profit.
- Aparo pariyāyo. Tayo vihārā dibbavihāro brahmavihāro ariyavihāro. Dibbavihāro cattāri jhānāni, brahmavihāro cattāri appamāṇāni, ariyavihāro sattatiṃsa bodhipakkhiyā dhammā. Tattha kāmacchando uddhaccaṃ kukkuccañca dibbavihāraṃ nivārayati, byāpādo brahmavihāraṃ nivārayati, thinamiddhaṃ vicikicchā ca ariyavihāraṃ nivārayati.
Another way: Three abidings, namely the heavenly abiding, the divine abiding, and the noble abiding. The heavenly abiding is the four meditations. The divine abiding is the four measureless states, and the noble abiding is the thirty-seven ideas that side with enlightenment. Herein, will-for-sensual-desires and agitation-and-worry hinder from the heavenly abiding, ill will hinders from the divine abiding, and lethargy-and-drowsiness and uncertainty hinder from the noble abiding.
- Aparo pariyāyo. Kāmacchando byāpādo uddhaccakukkuccañca samathaṃ nivārayanti, thinamiddhaṃ vicikicchā ca vipassanaṃ nivārayanti, ato nīvaraṇanti vuccante.
Another way: Will-for-sensual-desires, ill will, and agitation-and-worry hinder from quiet, and lethargy-and-drowsiness and uncertainty hinder from insight.
Thanks for this! But this doesn’t seem (directly?) to be the source, as none of these mentions the jhana factor ekaggatā specifically. Do you have the Dhammasangani commentary handy by chance?
Yes, it’s near the beginning of the Rūpāvacarakusalavaṇṇanā, though it merely quotes the Petakopadesa without any discussion:
Tathā hi ‘‘samādhi kāmacchandassa paṭipakkho, pīti byāpādassa, vitakko thinamiddhassa, sukhaṃ uddhaccakukkuccassa, vicāro vicikicchāyā’’ti peṭake vuttaṃ.
“Mendicants, without giving up these six qualities you can’t enter and remain in the first absorption. What six? Desire for sensual pleasures, ill will, dullness and drowsiness, restlessness and remorse, and doubt. And the drawbacks of sensual pleasures haven’t been truly seen clearly with right wisdom. Without giving up these six qualities you can’t enter and remain in the first absorption.
So, in addition to abandoning the five hindrances as has already been mentioned in this thread, the drawbacks of sensual pleasures must be truly seen clearly with right wisdom. Combined with stock descriptions of jhāna where the meditator is described as being “secluded from sensual pleasures,” this seems to indicate that, practically, one must be highly withdrawn from sensual lifestyle, attitudes, resolves, etc. (through engaging in total celibacy, refraining from entertainment, being secluded from company and socializing, guarding the sense doors, moderation in eating, basically 8 precepts + Gradual Training) in order to be capable of dwelling in the jhānas.
Should you avoid food that is tasty and appetizing?
Hey @keller, great to read your posts. What’s your thoughts on Ven. Nanamoli’s new Jhana book released this week? Is it better for beginners compared to his previous book “Dhamma within reach”? Because “Dhamma within Reach” is a lot more reader friendly than the earlier book “Meanings”.
You could DM if you feel this isn’t the right thread for that discussion, but I think others may benefit from the unique caveat information found in that book regarding Jhana.
Whether or not the food is tasty or appetizing should be, ideally, irrelevant. What matters is maintaining the proper attitude towards the food that we eat: “Wisely reflecting, I use almsfood not for fun, not for pleasure, not for fattening, not for beautification, but only for the maintenance and nourishment of this body, for keeping it healthy, for helping with the holy life” etc.
Blindly adopting a rule that stipulates that you cannot eat food you enjoy maintains the attitude that the sensuality is in the tastes themselves and not in the lust that you have towards them (enjoyment != lust). Such an attitude is simply an extension of sensuality itself. It’s an attitude that wants to take security in an observance rather than feel the weight of still being liable to suffering via sensuality and not knowing the way out; it’s a distraction from the real problem. Keeping that in mind, if you’re a layperson and thus forced into making the choice of what you eat, just eat healthy food in moderation, all the while treating eating as a chore because that’s what it is. If the fundamental attitude that it’s a chore is maintained, then agonizing over choices at the grocery will come to seem rather silly. If it’s nutritious and appetizing enough that it doesn’t make you want to vomit then it’s good enough; on to focusing on more important things like suffering and the end of suffering. An arahant could eat and enjoy gourmet meals everyday and not experience any lust on account of that enjoyment. That it is possible to enjoy something while not experiencing lust towards it may seem unfathomable but, well, disambiguating the difference is precisely the understanding we’re all seeking.