Friday, January 3, 2020

Easy pleasure path to nirvana (Ajahn Brahm)

Ajahn Brahm; Ven. Nyanatiloka; Dhr. Seven, Pat Macpherson, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

(Ajahn Brahm, BSWA) Talk 5: Leaving the World Through the Jhanas ("Meditative Absorptions")

What is "jhana"?

What the enlightened (noble) ones know
Jhāna: "absorption" (literally, "meditation") refers chiefly to the first four meditative absorptions of the fine-material form sphere (rūpa-jhāna or rūpāvacara-jhāna, avacara).

They are achieved through the attainment of full or "ecstatic concentration" (appanā, samādhi), during which there is a temporary suspension of fivefold sense-activity and suppression of the Five Hindrances (pancha-nīvarana).

These states of absorbed consciousness is one of full alertness and lucidity. This high degree of concentration is generally developed by the practice of one of the 40 subjects of tranquility meditation (samatha-kammatthāna, bhāvanā).

Often also the four immaterial spheres (arūpā-ayatana) are called absorptions of the immaterial sphere (arūpa-jhāna or arūpā-avacara-jhāna). The stereotype text, often met with in the sutras, runs as follows:

(1) "Detached from sensual objects, O meditators, detached from unwholesome consciousness, attached with vitakka and vicāra, born of detachment (vivekaja, letting go) and filled with rapture (pīti = bliss, rapture) and joy (sukha = happiness) one enters [one is pulled in, is absorbed into] the first absorption.

(2) "After the subsiding of vitaka and vicara [initial and sustained application of mind], and by gaining inner tranquility and one-pointedness of mind, one enters [is absorbed] into a state free of vitaka and vicara, the second absorption, which is born of samādhi (concentration) and filled with rapture (pīti) and joy (sukha).

(3) "After the fading away of rapture [effervescent bliss] one dwells in equanimity, mindful, and clearly conscious. One experiences in one's person the feeling of which the noble ones [people who are enlightened at any stage of the path from stream-entry to full enlightenment] say, 'Happily abides the person of equanimity and attentive mind,' thus one enters [is absorbed into] the third absorption.

(4) "After having transcended both pleasure and pain, and through the disappearance of previous joy and grief, one enters [is absorbed] into a state beyond pleasure and pain, into the fourth absorption, which is purified by equanimity (upekkhā) and mindfulness (sati). More

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