Early Buddhist Jhana & Modern Buddhist Vipassana

Although Theravada claims to be the most orthodox Buddhist tradition, modernists within that tradition have promoted vipassana or insight meditation as the Buddha’s unique meditation practice.  In the Pali Canon, however, insight generally comes after mastery of the jhanas. Modern understandings of the word “vipassana” appear to differ from the understanding of the Early Buddhists who transmitted the Sutta Pitaka.

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I find the absence of mental disturbance that sometimes happens during meditation to be a pleasant experience. Sometimes I can induce it by visualising the spaciousness of open moorland or the vast interior of a medieval cathedral, for example. A useful insight arising from such deep concentration is the conditionality of the tranquillity…


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