You Are Not Ready for the Answer…

“You are not ready to accept the fact that you have to give up. A complete and total surrender. It is a state of hopelessness which says that there is no way out. Any movement in any direction, on any dimension, at any level, is taking you away from yourself.” – UG Krishnamurti

This is one of those statements from UG that I like quite a lot.

There are hundreds of thousands of one form or other of Buddhist monk and magi across the globe. They’ve given up their family, their friends, their old ways. In many cases, they’ve promised in hundreds of vowels to give up other things and focus on themselves, on what is inside the mind. Their goal is, of course, to reach liberation. To reach nirvana, nibbana, whatever you want to call it. They want to do what the Buddha did.

Thing is… Buddha didn’t do that. Buddha, like the statement above, gave up everything. Gave up himself.

The real secret, and the one that nobody seems to want to hear is, you must give up everything – including anything to do with your self – to reach the higher states of meditation like jhana – and to reach nibbana.

One of the main focuses I use when meditating is this “giving up” idea. I also call it “letting go” – which might be more descriptive and appropriate. It’s a letting go of anything that the mind is focusing on. A letting go of comfort needs, of emotional attachment, of being anything, doing anything special, of acquiring anything…

As you meditate there is really precious little to “do” at all. Most people don’t get that. Many of those that get it, don’t want to do it. I don’t know how to tell convince people that letting go is 100% essential to progress… to break the bounds of the mind.

If you are getting into anything resembling the jhana states during meditation, try “letting go” of everything as you become aware of it… this is what I did, and all the jhana states came easily (relatively, I mean) as I did so…

 

What is the Point of Nirvana? 9-27-07

Meditation history (7.1Mb) MP3 audio format

9-27-07 Today I climbed the steps at the mountain at Wat Tham Suea again. A Thai boy of 8 years old kept up with me as we sort of raced to the top from steps 300 to 1200. At maybe 30 steps away from the top he was exhausted and had to stop to rest. I stopped a little ahead of him and waited for him to catch up so he could be the “winner”. I stayed at the top for a couple hours, at times sitting… and other times standing and walking around… I decided to climb into the rocks that the monk showed me the other day. (Video link at bottom of page). There were a few too many people at the top of the mountain and I thought I’d try that quiet spot in the rocks.

As I climbed over through the jagged limestone rocks someone called out in Thai, “Tum Mai Dai kup”. I called back, “mai chai, die kup”. (You cannot do that) and I responded, “Not true, I can do this”… To which he didn’t respond. I’m sure he was concerned about my safety as the rock peaks are treacherously sharp.

I reached the place and folded my long-sleeved shirt underneath me. I took off my shirt because I wasn’t visible from the Chedi observation area and it was quite warm in the sun.

I sat about an hour and the mind was very calm. The body, while still “there” felt very relaxed and comfortable. As I sat I realized that some questions were on my mind.

WHY MEDITATE to reach nirvana? What good is it? Is there a point? Is it a good thing?

I decided to study that question in the state I was in… attention and concentration came quickly and I reasoned out an answer within maybe 30 minutes.

There really is no point to any of it. Yeah, surprisingly that’s the conclusion that I came to. There’s much too much to write about it – but, I’ll create a video or at least some audio to explain how I came to that conclusion.

Here are the 3 files that explain all of it… The first is my history of meditation – what happened in the past and what exactly I did. What the jhanas were about, and why I stopped meditating for about 9 years.

Meditation history – (7.1Mb) MP3 audio format – not edited, but maybe should have been a little bit…

This next file is a video I took in mid-September where I was unsure what I’m doing by restarting meditation. I am not sure WHY meditation or reaching nirvana is a good goal. What is the reality of it? I couldn’t reason it out that well here, but I had a lot of questions about “WHY”.

WHY? Video (24Mb)

The file above explains what the thought process was at the top of the mountain as I asked myself “WHY” in the relaxed, concentrated state of mind… and the answers that I reached…

The last file, another MP3 audio file looks at why I believe there’s no point in reaching enlightenment, and what I’ve learned by having jhana come… how the mind and ego have changed…

Enlightenment, no point… Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

I don’t believe thatmeditating at this point is a good thing for me. For others, it may be… If you meditate and you reach a point where you are relaxing the mind and you are not going into jhana much or at all you may find meditation very relaxing and a positive thing to do and keep up with.

I found it to be a life changing experience. The changes that came over me 9 years ago were devastating to my marriage at the time… they destroyed the ego for a time… They gave me a glimpse into nirvana and what happens when the mind stops thinking and reacting emotionally. I understood what it means to lose the ego… to find equanimity… peace… bliss…

For me, the changes that took place, and that I believe will take place again if I continue to meditate are too radical for me to take lightly. I had to really ask myself – what is the point of this…? I had to ask myself, if you really reach nirvana – WHAT THEN? Nirvana seems a very real possibility in my mind right now, considering all I’ve experienced recently… The process seems to have picked up where it left off.

Nirvana has been said to be a permanent change in the mind… a letting go to the point that there is no longer suffering because the mind doesn’t attach to anything…

That’s why I needed to question – what good is that state?

My answers are in this recording… enjoy… if you have any questions, send to:

aimforawesome@gmail.com and I’ll do my best to answer…

🙂 Vern

Video link (2nd time posted):
Secret meditation spot up Wat Tum Sua mountain – A monk shows me how to get there…
14.7Mb in size >

Enlightenment, Jhana Levels – Comments 9-11-07

I haven’t read many accounts of jhana and how the Buddhists view jhana. What I’ve read up until today seemed to be telling me that jhana was necessary in order to reach enlightenment. While glancing through Buddhadassa Bhikku’s book, “Handbook for Mankind” I learned otherwise. It says explicitly that insight is necessary in order to reach liberation… Insight can be had two ways:

1.) Meditation and jhana states. or,
2.) The natural method of introspection which is what most people use since jhanas seem rather elusive to most people.

For me – jhana came rather easily… not without effort, but within a couple months I was experiencing jhana 1-4 rather often.  A couple months after that I had spent time in all the jhanas.  I knew little of Buddhism and didn’t care to know much about it. I was experimenting with my meditation. I wanted to take the bare minimum physical activities: mindfulness and meditation on the breath and see where it led.  Where it led was in a track that mirrors the levels of jhana that I read today in Bhante Vimalaramsi’s Dhamma talk in 2006 in Joshua Tree, California.

To say I’m surprised is an understatement. My meditation was an experiment really. I wanted to take as little of the religion of Buddhism into my meditation and mindfulness experiment. I wanted to do what the Buddha was said to have done. I wanted to see if religionless meditation and enlightenment was possible.  I was pretty clueless when jhana started coming. I hadn’t read of anyone’s jhana experiences and so I had nothing to compare to. I had asked Theravadin monks in Florida where I lived what they could tell me about these experiences – were they normal or was I losing it?  I didn’t get an answer. They were completely unfamiliar with the states of jhana. Living in Thailand for 3 years now and seeing very few monks practicing meditation at the maybe hundreds of temples I’ve visited, I understand that Thai monks don’t really use meditation much as a tool.

So – as I sat and focused on the breath I started reaching these jhana states… I’ll provide video or audio here shortly – describing the states as best I can. They defy words really, but I’ll give it my best. You won’t have a 5% understanding of what the state was really like, but at least you’ll see 5%!  They are so hard to put into words – impossible really.

In 2004 I went to see the Australian abbot at Wat Pah Nanachat in Warin Chamrap, in the northeast (Isaan or e-sarn) region of Thailand to see what he thought. As I talked to him and he asked me many qualifying questions… he said that it sounded like I was experiencing what all the monks at Wat Pah were trying to reach… levels of jhana…

He gave me a couple pamphlets and invited me to stay at the wat for as long as i wished – but the desire wasn’t there and I left the next morning.  As I read the pamphlets, wow, yes, it seemed that I’d had all of the jhana states as Buddhists believe them to exist.

Today as I read through the vivid description of jhanas by Bhante Vimalaramsi I couldn’t believe that FINALLY I was reading a very similar account of my own jhana experiences. It was really cool to see it after so many years – and knowing, “wow, someone else believes this is how it happens”.  Not only did the levels correspond very well to what happened to me, but some other things he said were RIGHT ON and what I believed from the start about meditation.

One of the things he said was that in order to progress in meditation and in jhana is to just note every experience and let it go. Everything must be let go. There’s nothing else to do during the states except watch, note, and let them go like every other piece of mind-candy that appears.  Other Buddhists seem to teach that certain ideas need to be focused on while in jhana.  I don’t think so – because I didn’t, and it appears that I’ve seen all of the 8 jhanas… It was just nice to see someone else collaborate my belief. Better still that he’s a well-respected Buddhist monk.

Well, I could write about this all night. I’m sure I’ll get some audio up here and comment directly on the statements he made and make my own comments sometime.

🙂