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Thread: NDE, Meditation & "Jhana Practice"

  1. #11
    Administrator/ 5 Precept Keeper Senior Member Jerrod Lopes's Avatar
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    Dear Marcia and all,

    I have realized, as you may have too, that jhanas are a part of life, not exclusive to Buddhism. Many people have undoubtedly experienced this and called it by other names, attributed the experience to other things. Pre-knowledge of Buddhism is entirely unneccessary. I could write a book on this post alone but don't have an interest in it. What I am interested in is people opening further and further to actuality. What I am getting at is that you may have had such experiences and the label "jhana" is preventing further understanding. There are as many 'padas' to the Dhamma as there are people. I hesitate, with extreme gravity, to say this; I realized the first three of the Four Noble Truths before I read word one of a sutta (in this life anyway) or became interested in Buddhism for that matter. So there's an answer, if you can trust that I have no desire to lie or aggrandize myself. Be well.

  2. #12
    I thought I posted a reply earlier today but I don't see it coming up. So here is another go.
    Thank you Ed and Jerrod for your thoughtful replies.
    I agree with each of your perspectives and experiences.
    For me it is a matter of learning how much tranquility (samatha) is sufficient to form a foundation which gives rise to the necessary wisdom (vipassana) to gain Path Knowledge and Fruition. I try not to think about it much because then my concentration and effort suffer.
    I am confident that Dhamma will show the way if I just keep practicing.
    ~Marcia

  3. #13
    Senior Member Mara Pacers's Avatar
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    Dear Marcia,
    What a lovely attitude. It reminds me of something that Ajahn Brahm often says - that it is all about exploring and experimenting with ones own mind. That no-one else can prescribe exactly the right thing for you. I am so glad that you have the confidence to do so. With the Dhamma to guide you, I wish you joyful adventures..... ��

    With Metta and joy for you

    Mara

  4. #14
    Thank you, Mara.

  5. #15
    I was researching Pa Auk Sayadaw's method when I came across this article by Leigh Brasington.

    http://www.leighb.com/jhana_fr.htm

    It was helpful to me to read this, as I experienced much piti and sukha when I began present moment meditation. Was it jhana? I don't know. And I don't have the same quality of experience now, which is a relief since it seemed to be a coarse type of energy. In Ayya Khema's writings, she says that one might experience piti and sukha with lesser intensity as one progresses.

    With metta.
    ~Marcia

  6. #16
    Administrator/ 5 Precept Keeper Senior Member Jerrod Lopes's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure I homed in on the key to this method in the first sentence.

    This is my view. Both from conjecture and direct experience, I am fairly certain all sorts of wonderful spiritual things could happen if I found myself gifted with the luxury of spending a month in retreat in the forest. Few of us can get a retreat for a day, let alone to the forest for a month. The point to all of this? Renunciation. None of this is as effective and lasting as commitment to renunciation. This, I believe, is why after a dozen years of practice, nothing seems "better" to me than it did years ago. If we have the luxury of renunciation, wonderful things can happen. If we work, pay bills, go to this event, that meeting, have a boss, be someone's boss, vote, get office.. .we will suffer. All of these stories could read; I left the world...the end: this would save a whole lot of time and paper. I think if the Buddha were alive he might ask why we are trying to cook our meals with ice instead of fire? We know the cause of suffering. Not attaining jhanas is not the cause of suffering. Jhana is a reward for renouncing the things that make us suffer.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Mara Pacers's Avatar
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    Love your last sentence Jerrod. It nails it exactly for me as well. Having spent the last 7 months actively dwelling in Samsara, and interacting with all the things that cause suffering, I can attest, that it is much much harder to reach let alone maintain states of equanimity, let alone joy. However, I am sure that without having developed strategies (some wisdom) for how to better deal with this, the stress and suffering would be much worse than it is now.

    This experience is especially noticeable given my long isolation/renunciation beforehand. Can't wait to get back to it.

    This is also why I have such gratitude and appreciation for our teachers, and especially AB, who travel and teach so much, thereby exposing themselves to more suffering than they would otherwise. Perhaps the closer one draws to being an Arahant the less suffering you experience, even if you are constantly exposed to it.

    With Metta

    Mara

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