Reply To: Early Buddhist Meditation The Four Jhanas as the Actualization of Insight


I understand what both of you are saying.

Let me ask both of you a couple of questions before trying to give my thoughts.

1. Tobias wrote, ” after stream entry more formal meditation is required in order to get to deeper samadhi..”
– Do you mean getting to jhanas?
– You must get to deeper samadhi (anuloma, upacara) to get to the Sotapanna stage. See the last part of “Citta Vīthi – Processing of Sense Inputs
– But unless you get to a jhana AND stay there for a while, you may not realize that you got to upacara/anuloma stages. To get to a magga phala it may not take too long. Note that Upatissa (Ven. Sariputta) attained the Sotapanna stage just while hearing a verse.

2. Christian wrote: “..most suttas do not explain meditations in details..”

They do. Mahā Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta, Anāpānasati Sutta, provide the basis. However, those need to be explained in detail.
– See, for example, “Mahā Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta” and “9. Key to Ānapānasati – How to Change Habits and Character (Gati)
– Also, see, “Jhānic Experience in Detail – Sāmañ­ña­phala Sutta (DN 2)
– So, it is preposterous to say (like that book) that Tipitaka does not teach how to meditate!

Furthermore, people have the idea that one needs to cultivate formal meditation to attain magga phala.
Jhana are NOT NECESSARY to attain at least the Sotapanna and Sakadagami stages, as I explained in response to Lang’s comment.
Kayanupassana in particular and Satpiatthana in general (same as Anapanasati) are needed to get rid of kama raga/patigha and get to the Anagami stage. That is also called “Indriya bhavana” where one needs to CONSTANTLY be aware of getting attached to sensual thoughts.
– Once getting to the Sotapanna stage, one could do formal sessions.

Focusing on jhana is the wrong approach. Most people get to anariya jhana and get stuck. Some of them even think they attained Nibbana!

P.S. It is not easy to get to even anariya jhanas.
One must stay away from kama sankappa. That is hard to do for “householders” living family lives.
– That is why yogis in the old days went deep into jungles and stayed away from women.
– However, some people who had cultivated anariya jhana in previous recent lives may be able to anariya jhana without much effort. They are likely to have “less sensual desires” to begin with.