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Alex Wynne argues that Uddaka Ramaputta belonged to the pre-Buddhist tradition portrayed by the Buddhist and Brahmanic sources, in which the philosophical formulations of the early Upanishads were accepted, and the meditative state of "neither perception nor non-perception" was equated with the self. Evidence in the Chandogya Upanishad and the Taittiriya Upanishad suggests that a different early Brahminic philosophical tradition held the view that the unmanifest state of Brahman was a form of non-existence.

It appears that in early Brahminic yoga, the formless spheres were attained following element meditation. Wynne claimed that Brahminic passages on meditation suggest that the most basic presupposition of early Brahmanical yoga is that the creation of the world must be reversed, through a series of meditative states, by the yogin who seeks the realization of the self.


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One such stratification is found at TU II. Mbh XII. In Brahmanical thought, the meditative states of consciousness were thought to be identical to the subtle strata of the cosmos. On this point, it is thought that the uses of the elements in early Buddhist literature have in general very little connection to Brahmanical thought; in most places they occur in teachings where they form the objects of a detailed contemplation of the human being. The aim of these contemplations seems to have been to bring about the correct understanding that the various perceived aspects of a human being, when taken together, nevertheless do not comprise a 'self'.

The Brahmanical texts cited by Wynne assumed their final form long after the Buddha's lifetime. The Mokshadharma postdates him. One solution to this contradiction is the conjunctive use of vipassana and samatha. In the Mahasaccaka Sutta Majjhima Nikaya 36 , which narrates the story of the Buddha's awakening, dhyana is followed by insight into the four noble truths.

The mention of the four noble truths as constituting "liberating insight" is probably a later addition.

This scheme is rejected by scholars as a later development, since the arupas are akin to non-Buddhist practices, and rejected alsewhere in the canon. The emphasis on "liberating insight" alone seems to be a later development, in response to developments in Indian religious thought, which saw "liberating insight" as essential to liberation.

According to Alexander Wynne, the ultimate aim of dhyana was the attainment of insight, [91] and the application of the meditative state to the practice of mindfulness. According to Frauwallner, this may have been the Buddha's original idea. Both Schmithausen and Bronkhorst note that the attainment of insight, which is a cognitive activity, cannot be possible in a state wherein all cognitive activity has ceased.

Buddhagosa's Visuddhimagga considers jhana to be an exercise in concentration-meditation. His views, together with the Satipatthana Sutta , inspired the development, in the 19th and 20th century, of new meditation techniques which gained a great popularity among lay audiences in the second half of the 20th century. According to Henepola Gunaratana , the term "jhana" is closely connected with "samadhi", which is generally rendered as "concentration".

The word "samadhi" is almost interchangeable with the word "samatha", serenity. In this sense, samadhi and jhana are close in meaning. The overcoming of the five hindrances [note 17] mark the entry into access concentration. According to Tse-fu Kuan, at the state of access concentration , some meditators may experience vivid mental imagery, [note 20] which is similar to a vivid dream. They are as vivid as if seen by the eye, but in this case the meditator is fully aware and conscious that they are seeing mental images. According to Venerable Sujivo, as the concentration becomes stronger, the feelings of breathing and of having a physical body will completely disappear, leaving only pure awareness.

At this stage inexperienced meditators may become afraid, thinking that they are going to die if they continue the concentration, because the feeling of breathing and the feeling of having a physical body has completely disappeared. In this state the investigation and analysis of the true nature of phenomena begins, which leads to insight into the characteristics of impermanence, suffering and not-self arises. While Theravada-meditation was introduced to the west as vipassana -meditation, which rejected the usefulness of jhana , there is a growing interest among western vipassana -practitioners in jhana.

While groundbreaking research on this topic has been done by Bareau, Schmithausen, Stuart-Fox, Bucknell, Vetter, Bronkhorst, and Wynne, Theravada practitioners have also scrutinized and criticised the samatha - vipassana distinction. The Visuddhimagga , and the "pioneering popularizing work of Daniel Goleman," [] [note 23] has been influential in the mis understanding of dhyana being a form of concentration-meditation.

The Visuddhimagga is centered around kasina -meditation, a form of concentration-meditation in which the mind is focused on a mental object. Bhante Henepola Gunaratana also notes that what "the suttas say is not the same as what the Visuddhimagga says [ According to Vetter, dhyana as a preparation of discriminating insight must have been different from the dhyana -practice introduced by the Buddha, using kasina -exercises to produce a "more artificially produced dhyana", resulting in the cessation of apperceptions and feelings.

While the suttas connect samadhi to mindfulness and awareness of the body, for Buddhaghosa jhana is a purely mental exercise, in which one-pointed concentration leads to a narrowing of attention. Several western teachers Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Leigh Brasington, Richard Shankman make a distinction between "sutta-oriented" jhana and " Visuddhimagga -oriented" jhana, [46] [] dubbed "minimalists" and "maximalists" by Kenneth Rose. Thanissaro Bhikkhu has repeatedly argued that the Pali Canon and the Visuddhimagga give different descriptions of the jhanas, regarding the Visuddhimagga -description to be incorrect.

Keren Arbel has conducted extensive research on the jhanas and the contemporary criticisms of the commentarial interpretation. Based on this research, and her own experience as a senior meditation-teacher, she gives a reconstructed account of the original meaning of the dhyanas. She argues that jhana is an integrated practice, describing the fourth jhana as "non-reactive and lucid awareness," not as a state of deep concentration.

According to Kenneth Rose, the Visuddhimagga -oriented "maximalist" approach is a return to ancient Indian "mainstream practices," in which physical and mental immobility was thought to lead to liberation from samsara and rebirth. This approach was rejected by the Buddha, turning to a gentler approach which results in upekkha and sati , equanimous awareness of experience. The word and the practice of meditation entered into Chinese through the translations of An Shigao fl. The meditator strives to be aware of the stream of thoughts, allowing them to arise and pass away without interference.

These anecdotes give a demonstration of the master's insight. Koans emphasize the non-conceptional insight that the Buddhist teachings are pointing to. Koans can be used to provoke the "great doubt", and test a student's progress in Zen practice. The teacher may approve or disapprove of the answer and guide the student in the right direction. The interaction with a Zen teacher is central in Zen, but makes Zen practice also vulnerable to misunderstanding and exploitation.

Alan Wallace holds that modern Tibetan Buddhism lacks emphasis on achieving levels of concentration higher than access concentration. While few Tibetan Buddhists, either inside or outside Tibet, devote themselves to the practice of concentration, Tibetan Buddhist literature does provide extensive instructions on it, and great Tibetan meditators of earlier times stressed its importance. Dhyana is an important ancient practice mentioned in the Vedic and post-Vedic literature of Hinduism, as well as early texts of Jainism. There are parallels with the fourth to eighth stages of Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga , as mentioned in his classical work, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali , which were compiled around CE by, taking materials about yoga from older traditions.

Patanjali discerns bahiranga external aspects of yoga namely, yama , niyama , asana , pranayama , and the antaranga internal yoga. Having actualized the pratyahara stage, a practitioner is able to effectively engage into the practice of Samyama. At the stage of pratyahara , the consciousness of the individual is internalized in order that the sensations from the senses of taste, touch, sight, hearing and smell don't reach their respective centers in the brain and takes the sadhaka practitioner to next stages of Yoga , namely Dharana concentration , Dhyana meditation , and Samadhi mystical absorption , being the aim of all Yogic practices.

The Eight Limbs of the yoga sutras show Samadhi as one of its limbs. The Eight limbs of the Yoga Sutra was influenced by Buddhism.

The suttas show that during the time of the Buddha, Nigantha Nataputta, the Jain leader, did not even believe that it is possible to enter a state where the thoughts and examination stop. There has been little scientific study of these mental states. In , an EEG study found "strong, significant, and consistent differences in specific brain regions when the meditator is in a jhana state compared to normal resting consciousness". Dharma Concepts. Buddhist texts. Buddhism by country.

See also: Buddhist meditation and Buddhist paths to liberation. See also: Formless Realm. Main articles: Enlightenment in Buddhism and Nirvana. See also: Buddhist paths to awakening and Subitism. See also: Dhyana in Hinduism. See also: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Bronkhorst and Wynne, among others, have discussed the influence of Vedic and Jain thought and practices on Buddhism. The "burning up" of defilements by means of austerities is a typical Jain practice, which was rejected by the Buddha.

Arbel refers to the jhana as psycho-somatic experiences. Polak refers to Vetter, who noted that in the suttas right effort leads to a calm state of mind. When this calm and self-restraint had been reached, the Buddha is described as sitting down and attaining the first jhana , in an almost natural way. It is thinking in this inclusive sense that the meditator suppresses through concentration when he attains one-ness of mind and thus moves from first to second jhana. Translated into Spanish by F.

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