Jhana as Anti-Vipassana Compulsion

I’m unaccountably edgy and frustrated, and was so much so last night that, out of sheer perverseness, I refused to meditate. I just went to sleep, only to wake up at 4 a.m., and write this jokey thing on here [Dharma Underground] instead of meditate. Looking back over the past week’s entries, I see that jhana and powers-y stuff has overtaken every intention I had to practice insight. Now I have to consider that I actually fell back down to A&P and am in Dark Night again. I had distinct Fear last night; it actually woke me and I heard myself say aloud, “Something’s not right!”

Around and around I go. I’m curious what jhana has to do with my falling out of high EQ. It seems to be running the show, has been since Aug. 8. I have to admit that it pisses me off, stupid as that is to feel about the glorious jhana states. I just prefer Equanimity to A&P. But maybe that is the problem, since there has to be a “problem.”

[Postscript 2.4 years later—Daniel explained, in the Part 2 of MCTB2 that we nearly finished, that after stream entry concentration and insight are no longer separable practices. When I wrote this entry, January 2015, I hadn’t really gotten far into the work on Part 2. Maybe if I had, I would have relaxed more about the fact that I was not doing vipassana in the old MCTB1 fashion after stream entry. No matter what I intended, the jhanas called to me, and dry vipassana never did, and Review cessation-fruitions were so unimpressive compared with my stream entry fruition, that I completely discounted those “blips” as “fruitions.”  So, while being called away by the jhanas, I was really disturbed for a while that I wasn’t sure I was meeting Daniel’s repeat-fruition standard for having attained stream entry, but only a jhana standard that he rejected as “unreliable.” I now assert that the fruitions standard is just as unreliable. My current Tibetan Buddhist teacher recently caused me to laugh out loud in this regard by asking me if I could teach him how to have a cessation-fruition and a stream entry! (That still makes me chuckle!)  And Daniel actually does contradict himself. In MCTB2(J), he made a big change from MCTB1, in that he subsumed the insight stages completely under the jhana framework, after Bill Hamilton’s model.  He wrote that this was how he really always has thought of the insight stages. I was overjoyed at that revision, because it just makes so much more sense to have one integrated jhana-insight system instead of a two-track system with samatha jhana getting short shrift. Samatha jhana via the Thai Forest masters was my main practice modality before stream entry, not just after. Insight into the Three Characteristics would just “intrude” on my jhana practice, without my intention, without any noting practice or predetermination to notice. Indo-Tibetan teachers are fond of saying that the jhanas cannot lead to insight. They too are dead wrong. Clearly, someone needs to straighten all this mapping chaos out and integrate it into one sensible, noncontradictory path. It looks like that person will have to be me.]

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