From serenity to the jhanas

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The text turns to training the mind on the stages of the path of advanced level practitioners. Part of a series of teachings on the Gomchen Lamrim by Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa.

  • The signs of attaining serenity
  • Different kinds of bliss
  • Four afflictions that can interfere with maintaining calm-abiding
  • Realms of existence and spheres of consciousness
  • The superknowledges and how to develop them

Gomchen Lamrim 122: From Serenity to the Jhanas (download)

122 The Gomchen Lamrim: From Serenity to the Jhanas 01-19-18

Contemplation points

  1. Consider some of the advantages of developing serenity: the body and mind become very flexible and serviceable, physical and mental pliancy arise quickly making the body and mind cooperative, the mind is spacious and can abide firmly and steadily on the meditation object so that even a loud sound doesn’t distract you, you have a feeling of great clarity, although afflictions in post meditation time, they are not as strong, sleep can easily be transformed into meditation, and meditation can be used as a form of protection. What might it mean for your practice on and off the cushion to experience these advantages? How might these advantages help you to benefit others?
  2. Consider the four afflictions that can interfere with serenity: attachment, arrogance, ignorance, and wrong views.  What is meant by attachment in this context? Why are each of these afflictions in particular considered such a hindrance to serenity?
  3. Consider the five super-knowledges: supernormal powers, the divine ear, understanding the minds of others, recollection of past lives, the divine eye, and the destruction of pollutants. In Buddhism, these are not ends in and of themselves, but attained in order to benefit sentient beings. How might each of these super-knowledges be of use to a practitioner on the bodhisattva path?
  4. Imagine being able to remember all your past lives. Why would that lead to feelings of deep renunciation and the determination to be free from samsara? Why would seeing others’ past lives lead to compassion?
  5. Better understanding the many benefits of cultivating meditative stability, resolve to begin cultivating this perfection in your meditation sessions.

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