I was reading Piya Tan’s work Lay Saints where he says,
Those of us who are able to mindfully restrain our body and speech so that our mind can be free from all mental hindrances, whether we are lay or ordained, we would be able to attain dhyana.
This makes sense to me since proper sila brings proper samadhi, but had read dhamma talks in Stillness Flowing about how Ajahn Chah taught mediators in America that they need to work on sila as well as samadhi. I tried to do some more research and I just got the term “mitya samadhi” from dhammawheel and no more good information on it. Can you have samadhi and even jhana without proper sila? Do the suttas say anything about mitya samadhi?
There are some ascetics and brahmins who have wrong view, wrong thought, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, and wrong immersion. If they lead the spiritual life, they can’t win the fruit, regardless of whether they make a wish, –MN126
Basically, if one tries to “skip to immersion” and ignore all the seven preceding steps, one gets nowhere because without ethics (sila), one is compelled by feelings, craving this, avoiding that and imagining nonsense. For example of wrong immersion, consider “my neighbor is attractive, so I’ll meditate on how to get attached”
Ethics lead to restraint and relinquishing of greed, aversion and delusion.
There is a dynamic relationship between sila, samadhi and panna:
“At the psychological level sila brings harmony to the mind, protection from the inner split caused by guilt and remorse over moral transgressions. At the kammic level the observance of sila ensures harmony with the cosmic law of kamma, hence favorable results in the course of future movement through the round of repeated birth and death. And at the fourth level, the contemplative, sila helps establish the preliminary purification of mind to be completed, in a deeper and more thorough way, by the methodical development of serenity and insight…”—‘The Noble Eightfold Path’, Bikkhu Bodhi
“What is the purpose of skillful virtues? What is their reward?”
“Skillful virtues have freedom from remorse as their purpose, Ananda, and freedom from remorse as their reward.”—AN 11.1
To generalize on what Karl has said, I would define micchsamādhi as “jhanas practiced with wrong view”. Basically this means states of jhana or deep meditation attained by those, usually of other paths, who do not have an understanding of the four noble truths. Other path factors are relevant too, but right view is the crucial one.
A theist, for example, may get jhanas and because of their eternalist view, take the experience to be an encounter with God. The ancient brahmins, or so it seems, got jhanas and took it to be the dissolving of the atman in the divine cosmos of brahman.
It’s important to note that “wrong immersion” is not “no immersion”, just as “wrong view” is not “no view” and “wrong speech” is not “no speech”.
Wrong samadhi is not further defined in the suttas, but I would take as canonical examples the bodhisatta’s early teachers (MN 26), or the various jhana-based views mentioned in DN 1 Brahmajala.
I’d consider this more under wrong intention and wrong mindfulness; if you actually get into jhana on this basis, well, congratulations I guess?
I think sila is necessary for jhana, but not sufficient. One does have to practice meditation a lot, and do so in an environment conducive to meditation. 15 minutes of daily meditation for a layperson is not going to cut it, even if sila is very highly evolved, in my opinion. I remember reading about a stream enterer in the suttas who asks the Buddha why they still get angry and horny, and the Buddha says it is because they haven’t attained jhana. But in order to be a stream enterer in the first place, they need highly evolved ethics.
From what I’ve seen, this is the primary roadblock for serious meditators: mistaking any old jhana for sammāsamādhi. And correcting “the various jhana-based views” is so tough because the jhanas have such a deep, reliable, sure feeling to them that once such a view arises we tend to get extremely stubborn about it
I actually think I disagree with this. Doubt is what prevents us from meditating in the first place. Once we’re on the cushion, attachment to views isn’t so much a hindrance (to jhana) as it is a fetter (preventing liberation). What do you think?
Indeed. Doubt really has different dimensions at different stages of practice. The doubt that stops one from finding peace of mind—i.e. doubt as one of the five hindrances—might concern one’s ethical conduct, or the method of meditation, or more existential problems like, “What the hell am I doing this for!?” Overcoming this and entering immersion, many of these doubts are cleared. However the more subtle kinds of doubt, such as “Who is my true self?” may still remain, and these are what are overcome via right view and the attaining of stream entry.
It took me several hours to find, but yes, finally:
For a long time, sir, I have understood your teaching like this: ‘Greed, hate, and delusion are corruptions of the mind.’ Despite understanding this, sometimes my mind is occupied by thoughts of greed, hate, and delusion. I wonder what qualities remain in me that I have such thoughts.
Sensual pleasures give little gratification and much suffering and distress, and they are all the more full of drawbacks. Even though a noble disciple has clearly seen this with right wisdom, so long as they don’t achieve the rapture and bliss that are apart from sensual pleasures and unskillful qualities, or something even more peaceful than that, they might still return to sensual pleasures. But when they do achieve that rapture and bliss, or something more peaceful than that, they will not return to sensual pleasures.
so long as I didn’t achieve the rapture and bliss that are apart from sensual pleasures and unskillful qualities, or something even more peaceful than that, I didn’t announce that I would not return to sensual pleasures. But when I did achieve that rapture and bliss, or something more peaceful than that, I announced that I would not return to sensual pleasures.
Oh, I didn’t mean to suggest that it was difficult to find because of the site layout. The problem is that the text never actually uses the word stream-enterer (but instead noble disciple), and describes jhana without actually using the word It is my own fault for not making a note of the passage when I read it.