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Stream Entry on a Goenka 10 Day Course?

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Thanks for the link, seekingnana,

It was interesting. I really have mixed feelings about this whole "maps" approach, and the culture that seems to surround it.  However, I know that these "maps" have aided many practitioners. So, if it benefits you, that's great!

As for the debate about whether one should have a "seeking" or "non-seeking" mind, I believe that both are needed, at different times for different people. We have to know ourselves, and what is skillful for us. And always remember that the only true benchmark of one's development is the depth of kindness, equanimity, and discernment that one is capable of manifesting.

With metta,

oh my , this is very wrong for me.


--- Quote from: nibs on January 05, 2011, 11:52:35 AM ---Hi Jeeprs,

There is the map of the progress of insight in the Theravada tradition that can be very helpful. There are 16 stages of insight in total. As you practice Vipassana, you make your way through the nanas as they are called (nanas=knowledges). When you get to the 11th nana (Equanimity of formations), you continue practicing your chosen technique diligently and suddenly out of the blue the following 4 nanas arise in quick succession.They are experienced as a cessation of all the senses.

--- End quote ---

Well, thanks Nibs, but I can tell you, this never happens for me, and I have been practicing for a long while.

At the last retreat I did, the teacher, who is a Theravadin,  talked at some length about the Jhanas. He said they are valuable states for those who experience them. He said that some people get them quickly, others more slowly, and some never get them at all. He also said that attachment to reaching refined states of concentration might also be a hindrance, and cause people to become recluses or avoid contact with anyone, lest it affect their concentration.  But he said they were valuable to those who were able to realize them, provided this was understood.

I thought the word 'nana' is actually from jhana, which means trance states (Sanskrit Dhyana). It is not the same as Jñāna or paññā which means wisdom or knowledge in the sense of understanding. But I will look into that text you provided on Access to Insight, it looks interesting.

Hi Jeeprs,

There are many ideas on what jhana is and isn't. In my own experience, one can experience two types. Samatha jhana is more what you seem to be talking about (trance-like states), which have the mind deeply absorbed, embedded and unmoving. From the Visuddhimagga, we have this type of jhana. According to Buddhaghosa and perhaps your Thervadin teacher on your last retreat,  the yogi must come out of it to start practicing insight.

Then we have those that say that insight can and should be practiced within the jhana itself. Some like U Pandita, a student of Mahasi Sayadaw,  call this type of jhana a "Vipassana jhana". And some, like myself,  see the first 4 material jhanas as corresponding to certain nanas. Nanas are to do with insight and  not to do with getting embedded within an non-investigative trance-like state. Not all the nanas correspond to a jhana as they are not stable strata of mind.

The nanas (knowledges/stages of insight) that are stable correspond to a material jhana.  If a yogi is investigating within this type of nana they are technically in the "Vipassana jhana". If they wish, rather than investigate the phenomena of the nana with insight practice, they can ride the vibrations/sensations and general pleasantness and get absorbed in it. They then end up in the samatha version of the jhana.

The 1st nana of Mind and Body corresponds to the 1st jhana. The 2nd and 3rd nanas do not correspond to a jhana as they are unstable strata of mind (lots of aches and pains ie. dukkha can arise thus they are unstable). The 4th nana of Arising and Passing corresponds to the 2nd jhana as it can be quite a blissful nana and easy to stabilize. The 5th nana of Dissolution can also be a pleasant experience and corresponds to the 3rd jhana. The next 5 nanas are the dukkha nanas and are often not so pleasant thus they are quite unstable and have no corresponding jhana. The 11th nana of Equanimity of Formations corresponds nicely with the 4th jhana. Directly after the 11th nana are the nanas (and cessation of nama and rupa) that result in Stream Entry, thus they do not have a corresponding jhana.

Each of the nanas that corresponds with a jhana has a similar set up as the jhana; the mental focus and vibrational experience. If one gets embedded in the pleasant phenomena, riding and soaking the mind in the pleasantness, they can become absorbed into the samatha version. One can get really really abosrbed in a "hard" version of the jhana. If one investigates the reality within it via seeing the three characteristics and remaining dis-embedded and dis-identified with the phenomena of it, then they are in the "Vipassana Jhana" or nana version. This latter type of jhana, in my opinion,  leads to the cessation of the mind and body i.e. nibbana. The great thing about having access to the samatha jhanas up to the 4th is one can quickly rise up to the 4th jhana then turn around and start practicing discernment and insight practice within it. Hang out long enough in the 4th jhana and eventually a cessation/path moment will result. But if you don't have access to samatha jhana you can practice Vipassana through the nanas (whether being aware of them or not) and end up in the 11th nana where the mind is quite naturally equanimous with all the phenomena arising and passing away,  any formation of mind and matter including the patterns of phenomena that are misread as "self". Hang out here long enough, and a cessation/path moment will result. And if you have mastered hanging out in the 11th nana, you can trun around, stop investigating and "ride" the pleasant phenomena into deep, deep , hard samatha jhana.

Confusing? Hehe! There are lot's of differing opinions on what type of jhana is valid and how to go about it.

There are those who dive into a deep "hard" jhana and remain there unmoving and do not investigate. I am doubtful that pañña results from this endeavor. The Buddha seemed to have done this 6 years prior to his awakening. This seems to be the jhana junkie trap. If there is no discernment of phenomena and no process of developing dispassion towards the phenomena that make up the jhanas, then I don't think awakening is going to occur. I could be wrong.

Then there are those who dive into samatha jhana. Then they come out of the deep absorbed state and start practicing insight. There are also those who practice insight within the jhana itself. Some refer to this as practicing within the "Vipassana Jhanas". Some, like Mahasi Sayadaw and Buddhaghosa, talk about the nanas (knowledges or stages of insight) that lead the magga/path (stream entry and beyond). These nanas can be experienced without developing any samatha jhana. Thus we have the idea of a "dry" insight practice which the Visuddhimagga talks of. Some, like myself, see how the first four material jhanas correspond to four of these nanas. I believe these are all valid ways of practicing and can all eventually lead to the cessation of nama and rupa and freedom from suffering.

Some helpful links:

Here is a recording of a myself and a couple of other yogis talking through the nanas/vipassana jhanas.

And the Anupada Sutta where the Buddha talks about Sariputta  practicing insight within the first 7 jhanas themselves. (One has to come out of the 8th jhana to investigate as its impossible to investigate within it due to the perceptual craziness that occurs.). Then resulting in the cessation of "feeling and perception" or Nirodha samapatti.

Hope this is helpful,



--- Quote from: Jeeprs on January 08, 2011, 12:03:04 PM ---
Well, thanks Nibs, but I can tell you, this never happens for me, and I have been practicing for a long while.

--- End quote ---

Hi Jeeprs,

I think it may depend on what type of practice you follow, whether a Mahasi noting practice, or sweeping method, or a more relaxed Achaaan Chah method, or even a zen method which sees all this stuff as makyo and to be ignored. So it probably depends on whether  you are aware of the nanas when they may arise, what phenomena you are focusing on, how you "deal" with phenomena as they arise and pass as well as a yogi's  concentration levels.

 I think the technique and one's orientation and focus while practicing may influence whether they are perceived or not. Here is an interesting thread on another forum that talks about these differences and why yogis may see things differently.

Hope this is helpful,




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