jhāna

The Bringing into Being of Form-Frequenting Concentration: A translation of Ācariya Buddhadatta’s Entrance to Abhidhamma, Chapter 14

Ācariya Buddhadatta is accounted one of the three great commentators of the Theriya tradition, along with Buddhaghosa and Dhammapāla. He probably lived around the same time as Buddhaghosa, during the fourth or fifth century A.D. Indeed, an account from many centuries later claims that Buddhadatta left Ceylon just as Buddhaghosa was arriving. Their boats are said to have met halfway between Ceylon and India. Certainly, the writings of both are based upon the same ancient commentaries from the Great Monastery (Mahāvihāra) in Anurādha-pura, the then capital of Ceylon.

On earth and material form

In the life-story of the Buddha, certain interesting indications are given as to how one should relate to the material aspect of existence. Firstly Gotama, prior to his Buddhahood, was stimulated to begin his spiritual quest by seeing an aged person, a sick person and a dead person (and a calm renunciant.) That is, he met with and was agitated by concrete examples of the frailty and mortality of the human body, so as to set out to find that which is free from ageing, sickness and death.

On earth and material fom

In the life-story of the Buddha, certain interesting indications are given as to how one should relate to the material aspect of existence. Firstly Gotama, prior to his Buddhahood, was stimulated to begin his spiritual quest by seeing an aged person, a sick person and a dead person (and a calm renunciant.) That is, he met with and was agitated by concrete examples of the frailty and mortality of the human body, so as to set out to find that which is free from ageing, sickness and death.

Realms of the devas-and others

Within the chanting of the Triple Gem, one of the attributes of the Buddha is that he is 'devamanussanam' — teacher of gods (devas) and men. There are various materials within the tradition that provide more detail about the nature of devas and of the Universe as a whole, and over the years a number of different Samatha groups have used them as a basis for research and investigation. These teachings describe the Universe as being organised into different levels of existence or bhūmi.

Travelogue to the four jhānas

The first part of a talk given by Ajahn Brahmavamso during a retreat at his monastery in Australia and printed here with his kind permission.

How long does it take?

Each day awareness of where hindrances might lead stirs and arouses the mind. There is contact with the subtle qualities which extend in all four directions. The thirty-three are gathered together and the body is refreshed and renewed.

Travelogue to the Four Jhānas

The second half of a talk given by Ajahn Brahmvamso during a retreat at his monastery in Australia and printed here with his kind permission. The first half of the talk appeared in issue 5 and describes the experience of the jhāna factors and of the first jhāna itself. Ajahn Brahmvamso, originally from England, practised Samatha meditation many years ago with Nai Boonman.

Your Letters

Dear Journal
I want to move on in my practice to a higher level but in the settling, the nimita won't settle! Like the moon in the rainy season, it comes and goes. Whenever I try to concentrate on it, it disappears. Please help!
A. C., Oxford

Maintenance and Development of Jhāna

A group of meditators at the Manchester centre has been studying the Paṭisambhidāmagga (the Path of Discrimination). One of the passages studied was taken from the Treatise on Knowledge' section (vi - ix). It describes for each jhāna; what makes it fall away, what makes it remain steady and what takes it toward the next jhāna.

The following extract from the text is a sample as it relates to first jhāna:

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