There is no jhana for one who lacks wisdom,
No wisdom for one without jhana.
But for one with both wisdom and jhana,
He, truly is near Nibbana.
Natthi jhanam apannassa
panna natthi ajhayato
yamhi jhananca panna ca
sa ve nibbanasantike.
I wanted to get the group’s insight into the dichotomy of wisdom-samadhi. This false dichotomy has convinced large numbers of Western practitioners that samadhi is superfluous (and unattainable). And given the importance of jhana on the Path, this aberration in the teaching has likely led to a significant vulnerability.
Furthermore, it appears that mindfulness (sati) is often conflated with wisdom (vipassana) which also seems inaccurate. Sati as an enlightenment factor contributes as much to the development of samadhi as it allows investigation of dhammas. Vipassana is the culmination of inner knowledge that comes when the 8 fold path is mature (of which sati is just one component).
It can take one years to unravel these incorrect teachings. Secular Buddhist teachers are a significant force that teaches in this manner.
In Asia, there is an exhortation to develop samadhi. However, there is sometimes the idea that wisdom comes only later. The Buddha seems to say that at least a modicum of wisdom is necessary even for samadhi. This is part of right view and also helpful in setting aside hindrances. Most senior Thai masters do teach that blended growth is the right approach.
What is the viewpoint of senior Western monastics?
We have a long way to go to re-educate the “mindfulness masses”!