Author Topic: Meditation does not lead to enlightenment.  (Read 4140 times)

Offline vinasp

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Meditation does not lead to enlightenment.
« on: April 15, 2010, 07:13:23 am »
Hi everyone,

 The Buddha makes it quite clear that 'meditation' is not the way to enlightenment. Consider this passage from MN 52:

"There is the case, householder, where a monk, withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He reflects on this and discerns, 'This first jhana is fabricated & intended. Now whatever is fabricated & intended is inconstant & subject to
cessation.' Staying right there, he reaches the ending of the mental fermentations. Or, if not, then — through this very Dhamma-passion, this Dhamma-delight, and from the total wasting away of the first five Fetters1 — he is due to be reborn [in the Pure Abodes], there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world."

Link: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.052.than.html

 What this passage is really saying, is that the monk understands that jhana practice just constructs a fabricated mental state. But nibbana is the unconstructed, the not-fabricated. How can you get to the unconstructed by making further constructions? You can't! So this monk gives up on the jhanas. He looks for another way, and finds it. He finds the noble eightfold path. This
leads to the ending of the mental fermentations (asava's), which is enlightenment.

 So the Buddha makes it perfectly clear that the jhana's have nothing to do with the real path to enlightenment. They are in fact 'wrong concentration' a factor of the 'wrong eightfold path'. This is the path which puthujjana monks are on ( ie. the majority of monks). Only noble disciples (ariya savaka's) are on the noble eightfold path.

 Best wishes, Vincent.

Offline Karma Dondrup Tashi

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Re: Meditation does not lead to enlightenment.
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2010, 07:30:43 am »
?

Wisdom, ethics and meditation are the 8FP. Certain jhanas are rupa, compounded, but some are not. Buddha's only talking about the first here.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Meditation does not lead to enlightenment.
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2010, 06:58:21 am »
Hi everyone,

 The Buddha makes it quite clear that 'meditation' is not the way to enlightenment. Consider this passage from MN 52:

But if meditation isn't the way to enlightenment, what is?

Spiny

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Meditation does not lead to enlightenment.
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2010, 08:26:56 am »
Actually all Jhanas are samsaric states. 

source:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/jootla/wheel414.html

The Way to Enlightenment is by living one's life in accordance with The Noble Eight Fold Path.

Meditation is a means develop the skill of mindfulness.  Mindfulness leads to  Wisdom (Right View, Right Thought), Morality ( Right Action, Right Speech, Right Livelihood), and Concentration (Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration)

source:  sacca

http://what-buddha-said.net/library/DPPN/wtb/s_t/sacca.htm

One cannot follow the path in ignorance, especially of how our minds work, and the fact, "Mind leads the heart as the oxen lead the cart."  IOW if we are lusting after "stuff and things" our mind is leading us on the route to the hell realms and not along the path of unbinding and release.
_/\_Ron

Offline Karma Dondrup Tashi

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Re: Meditation does not lead to enlightenment.
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2010, 08:32:25 am »
Actually all Jhanas are samsaric states. 

source:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/jootla/wheel414.html

The Way to Enlightenment is by living one's life in accordance with The Noble Eight Fold Path.

Meditation is a means develop the skill of mindfulness.  Mindfulness leads to  Wisdom (Right View, Right Thought), Morality ( Right Action, Right Speech, Right Livelihood), and Concentration (Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration)

source:  sacca

http://what-buddha-said.net/library/DPPN/wtb/s_t/sacca.htm

One cannot follow the path in ignorance, especially of how our minds work, and the fact, "Mind leads the heart as the oxen lead the cart."  IOW if we are lusting after "stuff and things" our mind is leading us on the route to the hell realms and not along the path of unbinding and release.


True, but nirvana is sometimes referred to as "ninth jhana".

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Meditation does not lead to enlightenment.
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2010, 09:25:35 am »
Interesting!  Never heard that one before.  Source?


True, but nirvana is sometimes referred to as "ninth jhana".
_/\_Ron

Offline catmoon

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Re: Meditation does not lead to enlightenment.
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2010, 10:14:44 am »
'Gone, gone, gone beyond, completely gone beyond"
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline gregkavarnos

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Re: Meditation does not lead to enlightenment.
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2010, 10:30:01 am »
Dear Vincent,

I get the feeling you are throwing out the baby with the bath water.  If a practitioner does not enter the jhana then how can they know that the jhana are merely compounded and thus liberate themselves from the constructed mental states known as jhana?

My favorite analogy is that first you must limit and train a child about what is safe or not safe, permitted and not-permitted and then you can set it free knowing full well that it will not kill itself with its first encounter.  The mind is the same, if you set it free while it is in a confused and ignorant state it will just blunder from rebirth to rebirth making the same mistakes over and over.  Training it through meditation will allow you to set it free without having it blunder about blindly.
 :namaste:
« Last Edit: April 17, 2010, 01:15:38 am by gregkavarnos, Reason: spllelling erorrz »
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka


Offline KarmaPolice

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Re: Meditation does not lead to enlightenment.
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2010, 05:33:42 pm »
The Jhanas are the result of samatha (concentration) meditation, correct? My understanding was that, through samatha meditation, one can develop the concentration to succeed in vipassana (insight) meditation, which leads to enlightenment. Is that incorrect?
Breathing in, we are born
Breathing out, we die
Our life, lasting but the space between them
A mere moment, in an infinite history


Attachment is a choice. The choice to be free of attachment has existed from the moment we first made the choice to be attached. We just get so used to making choices based on attachment that we never realize that we're actually making choices at all.

Offline catmoon

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Re: Meditation does not lead to enlightenment.
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2010, 09:56:36 pm »
The Jhanas are the result of samatha (concentration) meditation, correct? My understanding was that, through samatha meditation, one can develop the concentration to succeed in vipassana (insight) meditation, which leads to enlightenment. Is that incorrect?

Sounds perfectly right to me.
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline vinasp

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Re: Meditation does not lead to enlightenment.
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2010, 02:44:16 am »
Hi Spiny,

Quote: "But if meditation isn't the way to enlightenment, what is?"

 Many passages describing enlightenment (including the Buddha's) speak of the elimination of three asava's. In MN 2 these three asava's are said to be eliminated by 'seeing'. Another thing which seems to be involved is 'yoniso manasikara', which I understand as attention to the origin of things.

 So the method seems be that through understanding how normal states of mind have arisen, one is able to bring about their cessation. The DO formula, with the links ceasing appears to describe the entire path. This could be called dependent cessation ( DC).

 Best wishes, Vincent.

Offline vinasp

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Re: Meditation does not lead to enlightenment.
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2010, 02:47:00 am »
Hi everyone,

 The following sutta (SN 12.3) is not available on some websites. This is from:
http://awake.kiev.ua/dhamma/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/3Samyutta-Nikaya/Samyutta2/12-Abhisamaya-Samyutta/0

12. 1. 3.

(3) Patipada - Method

1. I heard thus. At one time the Blessed One lived in the monastery offered by Anathapindika in Jeta's grove in Savatthi.
2. “Monks, I will teach you the wrong method and the right method be attentive and listen carefully to it.”Those monks replied: “Yes, venerable sir.”
The Blessed One said:

“Monks, what is the wrong method? On account of ignorance arise determinations. On account of determinations arise consciousness. On account of consciousness arise name and matter. On account of name and matter arise the six spheres. On account of the six spheres arise contact. On account of contact arise feelings. On account of feelings arise craving. On account of craving arise seizing. On account of seizing arise being. On account of being arise birth. On account of birth arise decay, death, grief, lament, unpleasantness and displeasure and distress. Thus is the arising of the complete mass of unpleasantness. Monks, to this is called the wrong method.

“Monks, what is the right method?

“With the fading and cessation of ignorance without a remainder determinations cease. With the cessation of determinations, consciousness cease. With the cessation of consciousness, name and matter cease. With the cessation of name and matter the six spheres cease. With the cessation of the six spheres, contact cease. With the cessation of contact feelings cease. With the cessation of feelings craving cease. With the cessation of craving seizing cease. With the ceasing of holding being cease. With the cessation of being, birth cease. With the cessation of birth, cease decay, death, grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure and distress. Thus cease, the complete mass of unpleasantness Monks, to this is called the right method."

 Best wishes, Vincent.

Offline gregkavarnos

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Re: Meditation does not lead to enlightenment.
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2010, 03:24:48 am »
Again (I would say) that the sutra you quoted does not support your statement that meditation does not lead to enlightenment, because I would ask:  how does ignorance cease or fade?  I do not think you could in any way exclude meditation form the list of methods.
 :namaste:
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka

Offline Anders Honore

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Re: Meditation does not lead to enlightenment.
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2010, 05:29:41 am »
All we can take from that quote is that meditation alone does not lead to enlightenment. Just like virtue alone does not lead to enlightenment. That does not mean they are not important components in the process.

Elsewhere the Buddha clearly outlined a progressive path of traversing all the way through the 8 jhanas and using the sphere of neither-perception-nor-nonperception as a basis for attaining liberation by recognising it as impermanent and fabricated. So I don't think the conclusion can be 'meditation is irrelevant to enlightenment'.
Deaf, he hears his own nature.
Blind, he sees his Original Mind.
The empty, clear moon
In the water rises
Where heart and mind are forgotten.


- Jungkwan Ilson (1533-1608)

 


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