Theory and realisation?

Sama-Samadhi is not something that we do - we fall into it when we stop controlling and remain aware. When we are calm and peaceful, when the mind is effortlessly at rest and wakeful, a beautiful and sweet joy arises, this is where the attention goes.

Everything calms down by itself if we remain aware and non-reactive when we sit in silence. The beautiful and, formless absorptions are not produced by directing and sustaining attention on anything. Many causes and supportive conditions bring us to the threshold of Samadhi but at the point of transition there is only a vanishing. We are lost to the beauty as the sense of self dissolves. This cannot be understood from a conventional frame of reference. The shift into absorption has nothing to do with what we have heard or believe.

We can think about these matters but that has nothing to do with the actual event - the lived reality. The Dhamma - all the vital and profound aspects of the teachings - need to be lived to be understood.

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There are different kinds of discoveries and ways to discover. We may search for something and then find it - we can make accidental discoveries. We can discover a new theory or technique by reading, listening to others or, taking a course at a meditation centre, a school or university. Absorption - and Nibbana - are not ‘things’ we can find by looking here, there or, anywhere. They are not that kind of discovery.

We may undertake a noble search for the truth which liberates. In the process we learn how to relax and let go, be content with little. Those who expect nothing are never disappointed, and are often, pleasantly surprised! Nibbana is a true cessation not a true acquisition.

There is nothing to prevent us from looking for Nibbana. There is a lot of searching that has gone on and, may continue until the cows come home! The good thing about searching is if we don’t find anything we may have to think carefully about what we are doing and why? When it comes to liberation, the crux of the issue is whether there is anything to find?

The Buddha used similes to help us to understand these teachings. There is the simile where he asks: where does the fire go - when it is extinguished? Does it go in any direction? No, it just goes out!

The other ‘telling’ story is the one where he gets the psychic who can tell where beings are reborn - by tapping on their dead skulls - to tap on an Arahants skull. The Buddha gave him a skull that had been on the shoulders of an Arahant - who ceased without remainder. The psychic could not identify a place where the Arahant had reappeared.

“Suffering exists, but no sufferer can be found.
Actions exist, but no doer of actions is there.
Nirvana exists, but no one who enters it.
The Path exists, but no traveler can be seen.”
(Visuddimagga, 513)

When we enjoy the deep peace, joy and happiness that is present in absorption we don’t discover this, as something that has entered our field of attention. Instead, we have relaxed, we are not self conscious, we are not busy ‘doing’ something. This gives deep joy and peace the opportunity to fill that opening. The space we had previously monopolized - as self-conscious observers - ‘opens up’ so we can breath easy - Ahh! Once the meditator drops out of the picture absorption moves in - a unique joy appears.

The Time spent in different states of absorption varies. We may be in the ambit of unique joy and happiness for a short while and then vanish in formlessness. We cannot consciously decide when to enter jhana, how long we wish to stay there or, decide that it’s time to leave.

Initially, when we meet the Dhamma, we may see it as a belief system - a religion from Asia. We can take on the teachings of the Buddha as something we believe in and leave it at that. It becomes our philosophy of life - an ideology we identify with. As we practice we begin to see more clearly - we begin to (see) the Dhamma first hand. Our practice gains momentum and we rely less on our teachers and more on what is revealed through direct experience.

This is a shift from theory to realisation - from belief to insight. This is why the Dhamma is so compelling and beautiful. This is what makes it a unique and priceless jewel - among the 3 jewels! The Dhamma comes alive for us as inquiry deepens. It is not a dusty old philosophy or, an ideology we identify with. That would be ‘missing the forest for trees’ - theories do not release the heart, they do not put an end to dukkha.

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The way I understand we know that there is Nibbana so we search for it.
Then we realise we have to practice and discover it.

The way I understand we can enter jahan how long we wish to stay there and decide a time to leave.

We do not ‘know’ what Nibbana is - do we? We have heard that Nibbana is realised by awakened beings. We have faith that this attainment is possible. The awakened beings don’t know Nibbana - either. “Nibbana is the stilling of all formations” - the Buddha

In order to know something requires a formation - a mental formation. When all formations are ‘stilled’ what is there to know or, be known? If there is no observer-subject and no observed- object we run in to difficulty when it comes to the perception of things and processes. Nibbanic release is not some kind of information that Aryans possess and others have not learned. Nibbana means extinction - the extinction of desire! Nibbana is not something we can find or get - it has no location. You can get some ‘thing’ or many things. Nibbana is not any kind of thing so where are you going to look for it and where are you going to find it?

Regarding your comment about absorptions as a ‘choice’ i.e. ‘I will now enter absorption, I will remain for this period of time in absorption, I will now leave absorption’, we may not be talking about the same kinds of happenings? The time spent in absorption depends on Viriya - the amount of energy that is present before absorption. A lot of energy, a sustained absorption and vice versa. Absorptions as timed events? I think this is something talked about in the Visuddimagga - or somewhere else? I cannot recall the Buddha talking about ‘making a determination’ to stay in absorptions for a fixed period of time? You might want to share what it is you have in mind? :heart_eyes:

When there is a fire I know that can be extinguish.
When it is extinguish I know that.

Yes, when the fire has been extinguished the insight arises - no desire! Before this insight arises - there is desire and its consequences. As inquiry proceeds we are less feverish - the fire is less intense and uncomfortable. We may infer from this that the fire can be put out - permanently?

When there is ignorance there is phenomena, arising.
When insight arises, phenomena ceases!
(according to the DO)

When phenomena are seen as impermanent the need to crave for them also fades away.

With metta

Yes, some kind of liberating insight makes all the difference. Insight that is related to Anatta is astonishing. The repeated vanishing and reappearance of the sense of self in meditation throws a new light on the ordinary state of waking consciousness. The insight arises: who I ordinarily take myself to be comes and goes! It is not something substantial - it is an inference or an assumption that is taken for granted.