Exposing the Subvertion of Jhana by the Orthodoxy
Revealed in the Non-canonical Belief in "Supramundane" Verses "Mundane" Jhana
Correspondence from Bhikkhu Samahita 04-04,
--- Bhikkhu Samahita <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
<< Hi jeff:
You have to come with some canonical reference to support your claim that jhana is supramundana: Traditional belief flies in the face of the Buddha's dhamma. In the Sangiti Sutta DN 33 you not will find the 8 supramundane states mentioned as jhanas but paths & fruits. So also in the AbhiDhamma Vibhanga.
"The mundane jhanas, comprising the four fine-material jhanas and the four immaterial jhanas, pertain to the stage of concentration, which they fulfill to an eminent degree. However, taken by themselves, these states do not ensure complete deliverance, for they are incapable of cutting off the roots of suffering."
"Fundamental to the discussion in this chapter is a distinction between two terms crucial to Theravada philosophical exposition, "mundane" (lokiya) and "supramundane" (lokuttara). The term "mundane" applies to all phenomena comprised in the world (loka) -- to subtle states of consciousness as well as matter, to virtue as well as evil, to meditative attainments as well as sensual engrossments. The term "supramundane," in contrast, applies exclusively to that which transcends the world, that is the nine supramundane states: Nibbana, the four noble paths (magga) leading to Nibbana, and their corresponding fruits (phala) which experience the bliss of Nibbana."
Be careful with not misrepresenting.
>teaches jhana is mundane
Mundane means all three levels of existence including the formless one! The 4th Jhana leads the pure abodes which still is 'this world'. The 4th formless attainment leads to the formless state of Neither-perception-nor-non-perception which still is 'world'. The paths & fruits are supramundane. These 8 states. Honestly, Jeff you are mistaken in this particular issue. No I do not know any sanghas where they practice jhanas. You have to take the Dhamma as teacher & that's it. IMHO there is no need to look any further for teachers. No one really good or attained seems to be around, yet Ive not checked all in Asia. There might be some hidden in the forest somewhere.
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Jhanananda's Response 04-11-04
Hello Ven. Bhikkhu Samahita, it is once again a pleasure to receive a message from you. Please forgive me if you find any misunderstandings in my reply, because I have had some difficulty in deciphering your letters due to your use of incomplete sentences, that seemed to be blended with quotes from my earlier message posts and replies to you.
It sounds like you were proposing the Sangiti Sutta, DN 33, as support for a claim, that only some jhanas are supramundane. I have read the sutta and I have now just skimmed it once again, and found no clear evidence in support of your claim. Yes, the 8 Jhanas are paths or fruits of the practice, and they are supramundane, therefore the eight Jhanas are supramundane paths, or fruits, of the Noble Eight fold path.
Culagosinga Sutta, NM 3110-17. "Good, good Anuruddha. But while you abide thus diligent, ardent, and resolute, have you attained any superhuman state, a distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones, a comfortable abiding.""Why not, venerable sir? Here, venerable sir, whenever we want, quite secluded from sense pleasure, secluded from unwholesome states, we enter upon and abide in the first jhana"...(through 8th jhana)
In response to your belief that the jhanas "taken by themselves,...do not ensure complete deliverance, for they are incapable of cutting off the roots of suffering." I believe once again you are incorrect. It has been my experience that the more saturated I have become in the jhanas the less the hindrances have any effect upon me. Please also see the support for this belief below.
Jhanasamyutta SN 9.53"Bhikkhus, there are these five higher fetters. What five? Lust for form, lust for the formless, conceit, restlessness, ignorance. These are the five higher fetters. The four absorptions (jhanas) are to be developed for direct knowledge of these five higher fetters, for the full understanding of them, for their utter destruction, for their abandoning."(Samyutta Nikaya tans. Bhikkhu Bodhi, Wisdom, 2000)
I believe my canonical references have provides sufficient evidence to prove I have been very careful not to misrepresent the Dhamma. However, it seems that neither you nor your teachers are able to represent the Dhamma adequately.
Perhaps the reason why neither you nor your teachers are able to adequately represent the Dhamma, is because you "do not know any sanghas where they practice jhanas." It is a sad truth that you may be correct when you say, "there is no need to look any further for teachers. No one really good or attained seems to be around." Therefore there seems to be no reason for me to seek further, because I apparently have found what they have not.
Jhanasamyutta, SN 9.53"Bhikkhus, just as the River Ganges slants, slopes and inclines toward the East, so too a bhikkhu who develops and cultivates the four absorptions (jhanas) slants, slopes, and inclines toward nibbana."(Samyutta Nikaya tans. Bhikkhu Bodhi, Wisdom, 2000)
Jhanasamyutta, SN 34"Therein, bhikkhus, the meditator who is skilled both in meditation regarding absorption (jhana) and in attainment regarding absorption (jhana) is the chief, the best the foremost, the highest, the most excellent of these four kinds of meditators."(Samyutta Nikaya tans. Bhikkhu Bodhi, Wisdom, 2000)