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I am studying the jhanas and it says you can enter jhana without fully purifying the hindrances. I thought you can't reach the jhana without first fully suppressing the hindrance. How does one do that?

Here's what the book said.

When a bhikkhu enters upon a jhána without [first] completely suppressing lust by reviewing the dangers in sense desires, etc., and without [first] completely tranquillizing bodily irritability37 by tranquillizing the body, and without [first] completely removing stiffness and torpor by bringing to mind the elements of initiative, etc., (§55), and without [first] completely abolishing agitation and worry by bringing to mind the sign of serenity, etc., [152] and without [first] completely purifying his mind of other states that obstruct concentration, then that bhikkhu soon comes out of that jhána again, like a bee that has gone into an unpurified hive, like a king who has gone into an unclean park.

  • We need a full resource. – Bonn Oct 8 '17 at 23:48
  • The quote is from the Visuddhimagga, probably. – ChrisW Oct 8 '17 at 23:59
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I'm going try to answer one of the five hindrances, Kāma or the 5 sensual pleasure. Buddha talked a lot about 5 sensual pleasures;

Kāma chanda = satisfaction in 5 sensual pleaures

Kāma sanna = perception in 5 sensual pleasures

Kāma sankappa = intentions for sensual pleasures

All of above is called Kāma raga or joy in sensual pleasures.

Jhanna helps suppressed Kāma chanda, and Kāma sanna. However, intentions for them are still there. Buddha said that those who are not an Ariyan would not know a method to remove Kāma sankappa or intentions for sensual pleasures.
Buddha also gave an example of jhanna is like a deer avoiding farmer's vegetation (sensual pleasures) and go in the forest to eat wild berries or roots (absorption in meditation), so that deer would be safe from farmer trying to protect his field. But as soon as wild berries are gone (out of Jhanna), it would think about farmer's that and starting to get pulled that way. This is because kamma sankappa is there. And only when 4th fetter is broken, then one is free from 5 sensual pleasures for good.

Method to remove kamma raga is called nisarana which is one of two; meditation of an Ariyan level which as strength to remove defilement or see raise and fall of all nature of things.

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    Kāma (Sensuality), Kamma (action). – Samana Johann Oct 10 '17 at 22:48
  • another analogy that might interest you is that someone who still consumes 5 sensual pleasure but know a right way (my own word: "a trick") to remove self from them (nisarana) is like a dear feeding around trap set by a hunter or poacher but smart enough not to get trapped. And it would jump away as soon as a hunter or poacher approaches. and thank you Tan Samana Johann. – user5056 Oct 11 '17 at 18:57
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It depend on whether you practice Samatha or Vipassana. In Samatha practice you suppress the hindrances. They are fully eradicated by Vipassana practice and following Noble Eightfold Path.

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There won't be any hindrances while you are in jhana. But it doesn't mean that once you come out of jhana, the hindrances are completely gone. They will be back every now and then, with full force. What would happen is once you have tasted the jhanas, the sensual pleasures will become less and less interesting. Because the pleasures of jhana seem much more refined, and you become more interested in what jhana has to offer.

Ajahn Chah used to teach lay women - simple Thai villagers, these women were able to attain jhana. So yes, a householder can reach jhana.

May you be well and happy.

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As long it is seen that "even this state is fabricated, subject to decay and therefore suffering", (e.g. leads to disenchantment, no-craving at least) doing Jhāna in excess gives release. Note, that for this "simple" approach, all Jhānas need to be inspected, all kinds of places of existance, even the most refine, should be known, so that what ever kind of being is not confused with release.

Upāli Sutta as one of many example.

It would not be ease for a householder to ever reach Jhāna, since he/she is by nature stingy in many regards, grasping after a home, not able to travel far and get the world known as it actually is. A feartue that is prerequisite even for the first Jhana.

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial purpose or other low kinds of gain by means of trade and exchange.]

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