The Jhana states compared to Yoga Samadhi

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turiya
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The Jhana states compared to Yoga Samadhi

Postby turiya » Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:43 pm

Interview with Richard Shankman, you folks may have already read this from some time ago. I found it clarifying both the interviewer and Richard make good points. I find the Buddhist Jhana states very similar to surat shabd yoga without the trappings of form clinging. I guess the question I always ask is : are you most fundamentally changed by any this? That is no matter how subtle, expanded, dissolved, are you still exactly the same upon entering ordinary life (outside of the meditative setting) at root after any change of state? Anyway food for thought.

http://www.nondualitymagazine.org/nondualitymagazine.4/nonduality_magazine.4.richardshankman.interview.htm

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No_Mind
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Re: The Jhana states compared to Yoga Samadhi

Postby No_Mind » Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:58 pm

turiya wrote:I guess the question I always ask is : are you most fundamentally changed by any this? That is no matter how subtle, expanded, dissolved, are you still exactly the same upon entering ordinary life (outside of the meditative setting) at root after any change of state? Anyway food for thought.


Whether in Hinduism or Buddhism, you are not going to enter a subtle state while living a completely ordinary life / householder's life. You need not be a complete ascetic or monk but you need some degree of dissociation from ordinary world (which is why I guess people in West go to three month meditation retreats).

One can hardly work to earn a living during day and reach subtle states at night. Even if possible, the duality of existence will tear the person apart.

In modern recorded history of Hindu yogis (which covers about last 400 years) there is only one householder sadhak (someone who meditates seriously). In that case too, he had attained rare stages in his previous life - Lahiri Mahasaya whose disciple's disciple was Paramahansa Yogananda mentioned in the interview you quoted.

I am only writing of those doing hard core meditation and have attained at least lower jhanas, not the 40 minute a day meditator. In 10 day Goenka retreats one meditates up to 10 hours a day and maintains complete silence rest of the time. So there is not much "ordinary life" to reenter during those 10 days. Obviously if one can keep that up for five years (presumably in a monastery or cave) one can enter subtle states.

Only one person has (in a forum conversation) told me he had once entered first jhana (it slipped out during conversation; not something he would normally share). It was during a three month meditation retreat. He could not hold on to it after the retreat.

Btw, wonderfully informative link. Learned a lot from the interview. Thanks.

:namaste:
May the Force be with you

turiya
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Re: The Jhana states compared to Yoga Samadhi

Postby turiya » Wed Aug 10, 2016 2:00 am

Whether in Hinduism or Buddhism, you are not going to enter a subtle state while living a completely ordinary life / householder's life. You need not be a complete ascetic or monk but you need some degree of dissociation from ordinary world (which is why I guess people in West go to three month meditation retreats).


One can hardly work to earn a living during day and reach subtle states at night. Even if possible, the duality of existence will tear the person apart.

In modern recorded history of Hindu yogis (which covers about last 400 years) there is only one householder sadhak (someone who meditates seriously). In that case too, he had attained rare stages in his previous life - Lahiri Mahasaya whose disciple's disciple was Paramahansa Yogananda mentioned in the interview you quoted.

I am only writing of those doing hard core meditation and have attained at least lower jhanas, not the 40 minute a day meditator. In 10 day Goenka retreats one meditates up to 10 hours a day and maintains complete silence rest of the time. So there is not much "ordinary life" to reenter during those 10 days. Obviously if one can keep that up for five years (presumably in a monastery or cave) one can enter subtle states.

Only one person has (in a forum conversation) told me he had once entered first jhana (it slipped out during conversation; not something he would normally share). It was during a three month meditation retreat. He could not hold on to it after the retreat.

Btw, wonderfully informative link. Learned a lot from the interview. Thanks.


Thanks for getting back to me on that No_Mind, we come from very different schools of thought so I appreciate hearing your point of view. I guess I belong to the modern non-duality school (and more radical even), that tends to posit, that we are in a 'Realm' already, a waking bardo, if you like. so in that sense we are already in a low grade-subtle ( or spirit made) state. I think the Tibetan Book of The Dead is where I first came across this in the Buddhist view. That it's a mind based reality, very dense, what we view as the waking state.

The idea that subtler states exist in 'reality' outside of mind or as 'places' or somewhere you go to, seems strange to me. A little bit like christian or hindu heavenly 'places'. Seems more probable that people experience these states based on cultural/mental background. I think research in Near Death Experiences seems to suggest this.

AlexMcLeod
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Re: The Jhana states compared to Yoga Samadhi

Postby AlexMcLeod » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:22 am

No_Mind wrote:
turiya wrote:I guess the question I always ask is : are you most fundamentally changed by any this? That is no matter how subtle, expanded, dissolved, are you still exactly the same upon entering ordinary life (outside of the meditative setting) at root after any change of state? Anyway food for thought.
One can hardly work to earn a living during day and reach subtle states at night. Even if possible, the duality of existence will tear the person apart.

No_mind: Why would you think that the duality would rip you apart? You just have to work more slowly so that the strain on the body from training doesn't exceed the physical benefit.

turiya: Of course you are the same going in as coming out. The point is not to change who you are, but to purify the way your mind interacts with the world. It rarely happens all at once, so asking what benefits achieving x state once will give is the wrong question.
There is no Emotion, there is Peace;
There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge;
There is no Passion, there is Serenity;
There is no Death, there is the Force.

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No_Mind
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Re: The Jhana states compared to Yoga Samadhi

Postby No_Mind » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:43 am

AlexMcLeod wrote:No_mind: Why would you think that the duality would rip you apart? You just have to work more slowly so that the strain on the body from training doesn't exceed the physical benefit.


Alex, I have come to value your opinion quite a lot but in this case I differ. It is like being a professional athlete. To reach the states turiya is speaking of requires full time dedication.

Any work (from being a bus driver to Supreme Court judge) requires argument or difference of opinion. Bus driver has difference of opinion with cyclists and judges have difference of opinion with fellow jurists, judges and lawyers. That hurts practice.

Moreover higher jhanas to which the article refers requires isolation to attain.
May the Force be with you

turiya
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Re: The Jhana states compared to Yoga Samadhi

Postby turiya » Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:51 am

turiya: Of course you are the same going in as coming out. The point is not to change who you are, but to purify the way your mind interacts with the world. It rarely happens all at once, so asking what benefits achieving x state once will give is the wrong question.


Hey Alex, I'm not talking about "who you are" changing, either. The test is always outside of the meditative state in relations with others, anyone can be peaceful on retreat, no demands on the body mind. Anyone can feel periods of bliss, ease, contentment away from the pedestrian life. I guess the clarification was coming from No_Mind that the common world is not engaged except from a distance perhaps by people who do Jhana meditation and would move seriously through these states. My confession after many years of spiritual practice and meditation ( in one form or another) is that on a daily basis I can be quite calm and experience a fair bit of general equilibrium but come the hard unexpected test ( driving is always a good proving ground) I may loose all equilibrium and become the same angry ass I was 30 years ago ) this is a common experience among my more honest friends who have taken similar paths. Nor is this a problem, it is more a pithy observation, and a useful one in deflating spiritual ego.

SarathW
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Re: The Jhana states compared to Yoga Samadhi

Postby SarathW » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:00 pm

Jhana states very similar to surat shabd yoga without the trappings of form clinging.


According to Buddhist teaching, there are four aspects of Samadhi.
I am not familiar with surat shabd yoga, but I have no doubt it does not cover the last aspect of Samadhi describe in Buddhist teaching.
That is:
' There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents.'


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

AlexMcLeod
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Re: The Jhana states compared to Yoga Samadhi

Postby AlexMcLeod » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:45 pm

turiya wrote:Hey Alex, I'm not talking about "who you are" changing, either. The test is always outside of the meditative state in relations with others, anyone can be peaceful on retreat, no demands on the body mind. Anyone can feel periods of bliss, ease, contentment away from the pedestrian life.

I understand this. Your question was whether a practitioner is fundamentally changed by the experience of these states, and I say the answer is definitely yes.

Before I began my Shaolin practice, I was a very angry person. Now, I am at peace most of the time. The only thing that seems to rouse my anger these days are bad drivers. So obviously, I took a job as a postal service mail carrier in a busy tourist trap with all the worst drivers in America.
There is no Emotion, there is Peace;
There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge;
There is no Passion, there is Serenity;
There is no Death, there is the Force.

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No_Mind
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Re: The Jhana states compared to Yoga Samadhi

Postby No_Mind » Thu Aug 11, 2016 1:29 am

turiya wrote:The idea that subtler states exist in 'reality' outside of mind or as 'places' or somewhere you go to, seems strange to me. A little bit like christian or hindu heavenly 'places'. Seems more probable that people experience these states based on cultural/mental background. I think research in Near Death Experiences seems to suggest this.


I seem to have caused some confusion with my statement "the duality of existence will tear the person apart."

I do not mean dual/non-dual in the metaphysical sense. I meant living a normal life by day and trying to reach subtler states by night (or other way around depending on your work) is quite impossible.

Whether in Buddhism or in Hinduism, I have found that reaching higher stages of meditation requires silence and freedom from distractions and squabbles (which are bound to occur in a householder's life .. whether while driving or with spouse or at work).

Few minutes back I was trying to pay my utilities bill online and found the payment gateway was down. This means I will have to make a detour on my way to work and pay it physically at the utility cash office. It is a botheration I could have done without and a reason for annoyance (at the payment gateway).

Such things happen everyday. I can hardly begin meditating at 3 AM .. attain first jhana at 4 AM and at 7 AM reenter "this" life and prepare for petty matters which make the ego (I-ness) stronger and is therefore detrimental to meditation. Usually we all take this type of botheration in our stride but if we where to try and reach higher stages I do not think we could have survived the onslaught of daily small irritations.

This duality of mind would tear anyone apart, is what I meant. Can one read Hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit" in a crowded train station? No .. one needs silence .. to understand what he means. Same here.

:namaste:
May the Force be with you

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No_Mind
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Re: The Jhana states compared to Yoga Samadhi

Postby No_Mind » Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:17 am

The popular Theravada Buddhist retort to my position on this issue is the example of Dipa Ma, a householder and master of meditation who is said to have attained all eight jhanas.

Dipa Ma, was born in 1911 in Chittagong, Bangladesh (at that time a part of India). Her actual name was Nani Bala Barua. Dipa Ma is actually Dipar Ma, Bengali for Dipa's Mother (Ma is Bengali for mother and Dipar Ma was mispronounced by her American disciples as Dipa Ma). After marriage she moved to Rangoon (modern Yangon) in Burma.

She went through a period of great loss and bereavement .. death of two of her three children and husband between 1935 - 57. This resulted in depression and chronic illness. Someone suggested she begin to meditate and she attended the school where Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw (a great Buddhist meditation master) taught. She had rare ability at meditation. In the first or second session itself she went into such deep state that she did not notice a dog had bitten her!!

In early 1960s, Anagarika Munindra, another great meditation teacher and student of Mahasi Sayadaw, became her guide. In 1967, she moved to Calcutta where she began to informally teach meditation. Her reputation as a master of eight jhanas (and considerable siddhi powers of walking through walls, bilocation etc) reached US. Her American students included Sylvia Boorstein, Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Jack Engler, Michelle Levey, Sharon Salzberg (veritable who's who of American Vipassana movement).

Dipa Ma never became a full time ascetic. She insisted that we should be able to reach jhana while doing what we are doing .. but it is clear that she had rare inborn ability to reach deeper states and she had a great teacher.

One story tells that she insisted her maid Malati would be able to reach jhanas while nursing her newborn .. that any act can be turned into an act of mindfulness and lead to higher states.

For greater details read

article on Dipa Ma by Amy Schmidt

article on Dipa Ma by Sharon Salzberg

Dipa Ma wikipedia

P.S - my bad luck that one of the greatest meditation masters in last fifty years lived few miles from my home .. but she died when I was in mid-teens and no one here knew her then and nor was I interested in meditation in my mid-teens. Last year I wanted to go and meet her daughter Dipa (who is now in her sixties) .. but then decided against it .. her daughter has moved to a new house .. and Dipa Ma's Buddha shrine in front of which she meditated is lost .. what is the point of visiting

:namaste:
May the Force be with you

turiya
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Re: The Jhana states compared to Yoga Samadhi

Postby turiya » Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:28 am

thanks for the info on Dipa Ma, I will read up on her, very impressive! :candle:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G3qjKS2hjA

turiya
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Re: The Jhana states compared to Yoga Samadhi

Postby turiya » Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:46 am

I read your link with interest, thank you, SarathW , perhaps there is something lost in the translation, "effluents" may not be the correct word??

"There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents."


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