Christian may have attained the jhanas and may be at or close to the anagami stage. This may be because he practiced jhanas in his more recent lives.
For the vast majority of lay people, focusing on jhanas may be an unnecessary hinder. I’d like to very briefly share my experience with that vast majority here, and then speculate on the possible hindrances for us of focusing on the jhanas.
I have not attained any jhanas, and I hope that I am at or near the sotapanna anugami stage.
Finding this website was like winning the jackpot for me. Since coming here, I can summarize my “practice” as:
(1) Studying the Buddha’s big picture: the wider world of 31 realms.
(2) Studying and overcoming the 10 types of miccha ditthi.
(3) Cultivating anicca sanna.
Personally, I am certain of one thing: I no longer have any of the 10 types of miccha ditthi. This does 2 wonderful things:
(1) It makes it easier to abstain from the BIG 8 consistently. The BIG 8 is discussed in the Meditation (bhavana) section.
When you learn of the apayā and the law of kamma, and are convinced of the rebirth process, you get quite motivated to abstain from the things that will land you there!
(2) It calms the mind and helps it absorb Dhamma concepts better.
There were times when I was just binge reading the posts and got absorbed in them because concepts were just clicking in the mind — naturally. It brings a natural joy — not piti sukkha since I was not in a jhana, but probably niramisa sukha.
Meanwhile, in observing the change in my personal life, I am almost certain that lobha has reduced to raga, and it is quite a relief. At the same time, I hope that dosa has reduced to patigha, and moha to avijja, but I am not sure of that.
My speculations of possible hindrances about focusing on the jhanas.
(1) It is hard!
Even to get to anariya jhanas one needs to live a secluded life. In daily life in an American metropolis, with a daily job and household responsibilities, social responsibilities, it’s next to impossible.
(2) One may go astray, depending how or from whom one learns jhanas.
A few prominent jhanas teachers come to mind:
- Leigh Brasington and Tina Rasmussen, who studied with Pa Auk Sayadaw
- Ayya Khema
I am quite reluctant to say what I am about to say about people who have attained jhanas, but I do not want to make vague claims. If you research these teachers, you will see in their teachings some contradictions with what we learn here:
Practice Samatha bhavana first to calm the mind (with breath or kasina) to bring about jhanas.
Stopping thinking. We know that this is dangerous, as Lal pointed out in the Meditation section.
They take anapanasati to be breath meditation.
I hope this helps with those in a similar situation as mine.