Samanadipa Forest Buddhist Monastery

New book: The Only Way to Jhāna by Ajahn Nyanamoli

Meditation according the early Suttas

This book offers a practical guide on how virtue and sense restraint, paired with ‘concurrent attention’, result in what the Buddha described as jhāna meditation or an experience elevated from any obstructive states. The early Suttas explicitly repeat that the only way to this purification is through the taming of the mind by withdrawing it from unwholesome actions and intentions. This is known as the Gradual Training: keeping the precepts, sense restraint, guarding the senses, moderation in eating, wakefulness, recollection and awareness, seclusion, overcoming the five hindrances (lust, aversion, sloth, agitation, doubt), and living in jhāna.

The author goes into detail on how the Gradual Training differs from what is commonly understood as meditation, and how the contemporary meditation techniques that revolve around ‘focusing’, ‘concentration’ and ‘observing sensations’ completely miss the mark. It offers detailed instructions on how to practice khanti – the correct ‘endurance’ of things on the mental level after establishing oneself in the lifestyle of the precepts and sense restraint – and how to dig up the roots of lust and aversion towards any discomfort and pressure that sensual desires create, without ever needing to give in or distract oneself from it.