I came across the article below by Paññobhāsa Bhikkhu through an online discussion forum. This is really relevant to the current topic. Before one starts “meditating,” one needs to know what to meditate on! Furthermore, one needs to purify one’s mind to some extent by what we have been discussing in the comments above.
– I do not know Paññobhāsa Bhikkhu. I am providing his account to illustrate a serious misunderstanding that seems to be very common.
– It appears that he was doing the traditional breath meditation or something like that for many years without making much “progress.” That is the status of 99% of the people doing “Anapanasati meditation.”
– I feel very bad about the bhikkhu. He has spent years trying to attain Nibbana. But he has not understood what is meant by Nibbana in the first place. He is not alone in that. Most people engaged in “meditation” do just that. After ten, twenty years they get discouraged. I am amazed why takes such a long time to realize the futility of “breath meditation.”
– Einstein is widely credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
– But the catch here is that one can definitely experience a “calm state of mind” from breath meditation. In some cases, some people who had cultivated jhana in recent previous lives can get into jhana with breath meditation too. However, even such jhanic states can be lost. If anyone has cultivated jhana and still has sexual cravings (while watching an adult movie), that is not an Ariya jhana. I think that is a very simple “test.” Anyone can figure out that. Furthermore, one DOES NOT need to cultivate jhana (Ariya or anariya) in order to get to the Sotapanna stage.
– Anyway, I would like to hear what others think about this issue. I think it is a very critical issue.