Reply To: Useful Essays from DRARISWORLD and Other Websites

#48670
Gad
Participant

EXPERIENCE IN PREVIOUS LIVES MAY AFFECT MEDITATION PRACTICE IN THIS LIFE

A handsome young man who was the son of a goldsmith was ordained as a monk by Venerable Sāriputta, the chief disciple of the Buddha. Venerable Sāriputta instructed the young monk to meditate on the loathsomeness of the dead body. Having received meditation instruction from Venerable Sāriputta, the young monk went away to reside and meditate in a forest. There, he started meditating on the loathsomeness of the dead body as instructed by his teacher but made very little progress in meditation. He had to return to his teacher on two occasions to receive further instructions on how to meditate, but still made very little progress.

As the young monk was not making any progress in meditation despite the repeated instructions he was given, Venerable Sāriputta decided to take him to the Buddha. So, one day Venerable Sāriputta took the young monk to the Buddha and reported the young monk’s inability to progress in his meditation despite the repeated instructions given to him. The Buddha knew that the young monk was the son of a goldsmith in this life and through His supernormal vision saw that the young monk had been born in the family of goldsmiths during his past five hundred births. The Buddha decided to change the object of meditation and instead of meditating on loathsomeness, he was instructed to meditate on pleasantness. The Buddha, through the Buddha’s supernormal power, created a beautiful lotus flower as big as a cartwheel and asked the young monk to stick it on the mound of sand just outside the Jetavana monastery and meditate by focusing on the lotus flower. The young monk began meditating by concentrating on the beautiful lotus flower and was able to develop concentration of the mind by getting rid of the mental hindrances. His mind was filled with rapture (pīti) and gradually progressed through the first mental absorption (Jhāna) up to the fourth mental absorption.

  • Lord Buddha provided the young bhikkhu with a suitable object to develop Jhanas to achieve a higher stage of Nibbāna (according to his gatī). He instructed the bhikkhu to maintain focus on the object, and through the Jhanas he developed, he was able to comprehend the short verse with ease and attain the arahant stage. However, it is unknown whether he was a sotapanna or puthujuna before practicing meditation. What is certain is that Jhanas greatly facilitate the attainment of higher stages of Nibbāna, as a peaceful mind is essential for reaching such a high level. Jhanas are the most obvious means of achieving this state of mind, but it is important to note that having Jhanas is not mandatory to become an anagami or arahant. It is an effective way to calm the mind and destroy Kāma ragā in combination with a proper understanding of Tilakkhana.