Author Topic: From shamatha to jhana?  (Read 3507 times)

Jacky

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From shamatha to jhana?
« on: February 11, 2014, 01:47:46 AM »
Hi guys!
Im new to the forums, so dont be too rough  :D

I like Matthews shamatha intructions. It really calms the mind down and relaxes the whole body. But as i understand, in order to get jhanic factors, concentration needs to be one pointed. And this is the reason why jhana teachers like Leigh Brasington, Bhante guatemala and Shaila Catherine suggest that if you use breath as object, one should concentrate attention on the nostrils. If asked i can gladly give citations.
So, my question is:
Does full-body Shamatha lead to jhanic factors?

Matthew

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Re: From shamatha to jhana?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2014, 02:12:23 AM »
Hi Jacky,

Glad you found that instruction useful. I don't recommend nose-meditation - it comes from a mistranslation of a Pali word, you can read more about why in this post.

Welcome to the forums :)

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Jacky

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Re: From shamatha to jhana?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2014, 02:35:10 AM »
Thanks for the warm welcome Matthew. And oh boy! Your shamatha does do its job!  :)

Perhaps this could be complete new topic, but you say that its mistranslation. Hoewer that is highly debeted topic among scholars. So i would not be so bold as to assert that so freely.

"Herein, monks, a monk who has gone to the forest, or to the foot of a tree, or to an empty place, sits down cross legged, holding his back erect, arousing mindfulness in front of him." - Anapani Suttra

Joseph Golstein said this in his latest book:

"Most literally, in front suggest using the nostril area-the nose tip or upper lip--as the place to focus our attention."
- Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening p:48

Joseph said that this is opinion of masters like  Analayo(scholar) Ajahn Maha Boowa and Ajahn dhammadaro. Perhaps you Matthew know better than these thai masters, but as i said. It is debated topic.

Anyway, let the scholars do the fighting. And hope they find answers.  :)

Matthew

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Re: From shamatha to jhana?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2014, 02:41:56 AM »
Many teach nose-meditation. It comes from an error in translation from Pali, the word 'Paramukham' - meaning "to fully face" (oneself, whatever is arising, mindfully) - usually it is mistranslated to mean "around the face". Thus people end up focusing on noses and upper lips and where the air hits, but the Buddha expressly teaches awareness of the entire body as sensations are created by the process of breathing - it's important as it reconnects and calms body and mind.

Go deeper into that relaxed awake awareness you have discovered through the Shamatha technique, ensure you are working on your moral foundations (the five precepts), and forget about goals such as Jhana - they'll find you when you're ready Jacky :)

The scholars are possibly the least likely to find the answers :D ... many scholar monks in traditional Therevadin schools know the Suttas from head to toe but rarely meditate ....
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Jacky

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Re: From shamatha to jhana?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2014, 02:53:06 AM »
"..know the Suttas from head to toe but rarely meditate ...."
That is so true!  :D And as Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu (youtube monk) said it nicely "most monks cant agree on anything!" (half jokingly)


Matthew

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Re: From shamatha to jhana?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2014, 02:57:46 AM »
Had a couple of Indian Bhikkus staying at a meditation centre I sort of lived at a while back .... one of my roles was maintaining the computer systems. We used to keep getting viruses on the library computers .. couldn't work out what was happening, until I found them trawling porn websites one evening :)
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Jacky

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Re: From shamatha to jhana?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2014, 03:05:57 AM »
Not sure the relevance on topic, but monks do need their fix too, right?  :D

Must have been easies to "maintain" monks on Buddhas times. Its not easy to draw Playboy on stone tablets.  :angel:

Matthew

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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: From shamatha to jhana?
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2014, 03:12:07 AM »
Monks don't necessarily know or live by the rules was the point .... and no, it wasn't easier in the Buddha's time ... the Vinaya (rules of conduct) were continually being updated ... sexual misconduct included masturbation .. there are rules about not indulging, not using your robe to rub against, not putting yer bits in holes in the ground .. holes in trees ... animals .... rubbing against another person .. the list goes on, and on as every time a new way of , erm, "achieving that end", was found they had to add new rules prohibiting it :D
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Jacky

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    • A bit Zen. And little bit more Theravada.
Re: From shamatha to jhana?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2014, 03:21:48 AM »
" not putting yer bits in holes in the ground .. holes in trees"
They actually needed rule for that? Jesus.... I was 1 month "patrolling" mission when i was in army. With 20 guys. And never i thought holes in the ground or trees to be appealling...

Re: From shamatha to jhana?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2014, 05:15:24 AM »
hi jacky,

here is my understanding.

Concentration on the tip of nostrils is to develop concentration. But to do so properly and enter jhannas one has to be able to accept all the sensations and the thoughts that are avoided to appear on the surface of the mind with equanimity. Or its better to say one has learnt the technique of letting go. This is very important because even though they dont come up on the surface when concentration techniques are practiced, our mind keeps reacting behind and one cant enter jhannas.


So i would suggest get a strong holding in samatha and then do any concentration meditations.

I think these masters are born with very little resistant mind and forget that we all are not like them.  :D
 

floyd

Re: From shamatha to jhana?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2014, 09:28:00 AM »
"Herein, monks, a monk who has gone to the forest, or to the foot of a tree, or to an empty place, sits down cross legged, holding his back erect, arousing mindfulness in front of him." - Anapani Suttra
I've found that after following the breath in my abdomen for a while, breath sensations become more subtle and my awareness spreads to a space seemingly located in the upper front half of my head - a spaciousness more then a space. I've often wondered why this happens and why my whole head/body doesn't feel so spacious and I suspect it's to do with our senses being predominately forward facing. Anyway, it certainly feels like mindfulness in front of me.

 

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