Current literature on the phenomenology of the four jhànas and their relationship with the 'practice of insight' has mostly repeated traditional Theravàda interpretations. No one to date has offered a comprehensive analysis of the fourfold jhàna model independently from traditional interpretations. This book offers such an analysis. It presents a model which speaks in the Nikàyas' distinct voice. It demonstrates that the distinction between the 'practice of serenity' (samatha-bhàvanà) and the 'practice of insight' (vipassanà-bhàvanà) – a fundamental distinction in Buddhist meditation theory – is not applicable to early Buddhist understanding of the meditative path. It seeks to show that the common interpretation of the jhànas as 'altered states of consciousness', absorptions that do not reveal anything about the nature of phenomena, is incompatible with the teachings of the Pàli Nikàyas.
By carefully analyzing the descriptions of the four jhànas in the early Buddhist texts in Pàli, their contexts, associations and meanings within the conceptual framework of early Buddhism, the relationship between this central element in the Buddhist path and 'insight meditation' becomes revealed in all its power.
Early Buddhist Meditationwill be of interest to scholars of Buddhist studies, Asian philosophies and religions, as well as Buddhist practitioners with a serious interest in the process of insight meditation.
The verses are meant to be recited each morning to remind us of how we are going to dedicate our lives to others. We all understand the importance of motivation and attitude and how they affect the quality of our work and the result that can be achieved. Rinpoche particularly emphasizes the need for us to have a very clear direction and purpose for life. The real meaning of our lives is to bring both temporary and ultimate happiness to all sentient beings and to do this we need to achieve enlightenment. Enlightenment depends on first generating bodhicitta and training our minds in the bodhisattva attitude enables us to do that.
This book is drawn from Lama Zopa Rinpoche's essential teachings given from 2008 onward. It is the first volume in LYWA's Heart Advice Series.
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So whether it's Mother Teresa's acts of charity, Gandhi's perseverance, or your aunt Betty's calm demeanor, as long as you're motivated to be better today than you were yesterday, it doesn't matter who inspires you. Regardless of religion, geographical region, race, ethnicity, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, flexibility, or vulnerability, if you do good you feel good, and if you do bad you feel bad.
Buddhism isn't just about meditating. It's about rolling up your sleeves to relieve some of the suffering in the world. If you are ready to be a soldier of peace in the army of love, welcome to Buddhist Boot Camp!