2 Comments

  1. m.miller on September 18, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks again for doing these videos. This was a big one for me and I’ve been looking forward to it because this seems to be where my practice is stalled the most. Part of the hurdle that I’m running into is it’s very difficult to understand these states without having directly experienced them. The other factors of the eightfold path seem easier to grasp at an intellectual level and then apply, but this one feels different. It may be that I simply can’t get to those jhanas without formal training in meditative techniques but I will make sure to check out the book you mentioned in the video.

    I have experienced states that I would describe using similar phrases during sports or concentration games, but Bhikkhu Bodhi (2010) specifically states that this is not the same as the jhanas described in the Buddha’s teachings. Bodhi states the “right concentration meditative factor in Buddhism is a state of awareness without any object or subject, and ultimately unto nothingness and emptiness.” I’m not sure I understand how to concentrate on nothingness and emptiness.

    • Doug Smith on September 18, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, whatever the jhānas are (and as I say in the video there is some controversy or at least disagreement over what constitutes jhāna), they are not the same as “flow” one feels while playing sports, though they are similar in certain ways. They are states of awareness of certain pure feelings, those mentioned in the formulae.

      The states relevant to “nothingness” or “emptiness” are the so-called formless jhānas in particular, which I did not discuss in this video since they are not really part of the Eightfold Path per se. However I did actually record material about those states, and that video will come out next as an “extra” … 🙂

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