Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Mastering the Jhanas" (audio interview)

Buddhist Geeks, Episode BG 159: Mastering the Jhanas (Part 1, Feb. 15, 2010)
Host Vince Horn with Tina Rasmussen and Stephen Snyder
Short book review of Practicing the Jhanas (

Episode Description
This week we speak with Theravada meditation teachers Tina Rasmussen and Stephen Snyder. In 2005, while on a 2-month retreat, they were the first Western lay practitioners (i.e., non-monastics) [although Tina was ordained as a temporary nun for at least part of that retreat, as pictured below] to complete the traditional concentration practices of Pa Auk Sayadaw – a well-regarded Burmese jhana master.

Tina Rasmussen and Stephen Snyder, 2005 retreat, California

The Sayadaw encouraged them to teach what they had learned. They have, as a result, started leading retreats and have written a book entitled, Practicing the Jhanas.

In this episode they share the progressive practice they did with Pa Auk Sayadaw, which includes all sorts of traditional practices from the Pali Canon. They also make many traditional distinctions, including the distinction between three different types of concentration: momentary, access, and absorption.

While they share some of the traditional benefits that come from concentration practice, they frame the jhanas not as something to attain, but rather as a byproduct of purifying the mind.

Episode Links

Vince: Hello Buddhist Geeks, this is Vince Horn and I’m joined today over Skype with two jhana teachers, Tina Rasmussen and Stephen Snyder. Thank you guys so much for taking the time to be with me this morning. I really appreciate it.

Stephen: Thanks, Vince.

Tina: You’re welcome. More>>

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