As i read text from canon. It seem like in the budda day jhana was a lot easier and highly recommended for the fold path. But now it seem like this rare thing only a handful of people can attain. If it was so easy how can we find the path to enter it without all the complication?

6 Answers 6


One thing has to be understood that people who joined the Buddha many of them were already trying on different ways to attain liberation. Like Mahakasapa and Sariputta were already asectics practising elsewhere. And that time in India was really a peak for people trying attain Nirvana. So many people must have been ready psychologically to attain jhnana. They just needed right instructions.

Even for today you need right teacher to get there and a firm practise. I have heard in some youtube talk by Ajahn Brahm that a retreat participant with him attained jhnana. I am just not able to find that video atm.

Besides, so many Buddhist monks meditating everywhere must be achieving jhnana they just have no need or even bother about putting it on internet and tell everybody about it. They might not even have the resources.

Besides, its very important for advancing on the path that your spiritual experiences should be kept secret and should only be discussed with your teacher. This rule is like 101 of practising spiritual path.

That leaves us with rest of us internet noobs who have recourse to internet and can discuss such things and who dont attain it.

So the point is, you just dont hear it. The difficulty level is left unchanged by the system.


All my teachers without exception said that the idea of "goal" that you are striving to "attain" is THE final obstacle to attainment.

To that aim, one is advised to completely eradicate the idea of goal from one's mind. As in, on the deepest emotional level you have to give up any slightest hope, dream, or intent to attain jhana - and keep meditating on the resulting state.

  • But even then isn't it still considered hard? Like something very difficult to obtain yet it seem everyone who wanted jhana in the budda era got it?
    – DeusIIXII
    Jun 13, 2018 at 2:45
  • 1
    I guess it's because they were drinking directly from the spring and we are drinking from the bottles?
    – Andriy Volkov
    Jun 13, 2018 at 2:47
  • Guess i must find that spring haah
    – DeusIIXII
    Jun 13, 2018 at 2:56
  • No, we are also drinking from the spring, the spring hasn't dried up, it's just that we are not thirsty enough. Meaning that it's not our priority if the first thought you will have when you open your eyes in the morning is Jhnana and if you will talk about Jhnana on your date, if you have that level of obsession or commitment, along with the right instructions from right teacher like for e.g. Ajahn Brahm, you must not need to find another spring.
    – user13135
    Jun 18, 2018 at 15:59

There is probably lots of propaganda in the Pali suttas. For example, if the core of the Pali suttas are actually understood then the doctrinal perversions in Buddhism that arose less than a few hundreds years after the Buddha's passing (including doggy suttas placed into the suttas) give the impression there could not have been as many arahants as the suttas claim.

Also, at least in the West, many people with jhanic potential are Christians.

As for reaching jhana, it is not complicated. SN 48.10 refers merely to "letting go of craving" as the way to reach jhana (which includes letting go of craving for jhana).

  • When i meditate i just try to keep my mind interest maybe thats a craving as well
    – DeusIIXII
    Jun 13, 2018 at 2:46
  • Deus, well, The Buddha said that one should be "ardent, alert and mindful" with regards to one's breathing, so I would say that keeping the mind interested (in the object) cannot be wrong.
    – Val
    Jul 10, 2018 at 6:40

It has not become harder. These things have always been hard.

Even to be born as human and getting the chance to listen to the Dhamma is also rare and hard.

From Dhammapada 182:

Rare it is to gain birth as a human being.
Difficult is the life of mortals.
Hard is the hearing of the Sublime Truth (Dhamma).
Rare is the appearance of the enlightened ones.

Kiccho manussa patilābho
kiccham maccāna jivitam
Kiccham saddhamma savanam
kiccho buddhānam uppādo


I guess it was equally equally achievable. Hard or Easy is only relative. From my personal opinion, the reason for less and less to achieve jhana or even Arahant-hood, is because the effectiveness of teachings of the dharma is gradually less as 'original' as time passes.


Entering jhana, or dhyana is facilitated by merit and virtue. The elders had ALOT more merit and virtue (they had accrued much more blessings, generally speaking). That's why they only needed to hear the Buddha say a couple of phrases to get enlightened.

Personally, I strive for cultivating blessings and morality as the foundation for entering dhyana. It's hard.

  • I marked this answer down because there is no evidence for the 1st paragraph. It is merely a speculative opinion. As for jhana, merit is required for jhana but merit does not guarantee jhana. Being ale to let go is required for jhana and its letting go of ego and animalistic lust that makes jhana difficult. Sep 2, 2018 at 23:23
  • Ajahn Buddhadasa said: As for samadhi, an empty mind is the supreme samadhi, the supremely focused firmness of mind. The straining and striving sort of samadhi isn't the real thing and the samadhi which aims at anything other than non-clinging to the five khandas is micchasamadhi (wrong or perverted samadhi). You should be aware that there is both micchasamadhi and sammasamadhi (right or correct samadhi). Only the mind that is empty of grasping at and clinging to 'I' and 'mine' can have the true and perfect stability of sammasamadhi. One who has an empty mind has correct samadhi. Sep 2, 2018 at 23:25
  • Thanks for the comments. You may disagree but I am repeating what I read from other virtuous Mahayana masters. Even your comment seems to agree with it though. Sep 4, 2018 at 9:23

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