✅☸EBT jhāna, is a different type of samādhi than ⛔ABRJ and ⛔VRJ (vism.).
All of those samādhi systems work as advertised, but they have distinct qualitative differences.
It's not ok for ⛔VRJ (vism.) to redefine jhāna and then claim it's the same jhāna the Buddha teaches.
And it's definitely not ok for Ajahn Brahm to claim ⛔ABRJ is what the Buddha meant by ✅☸EBT jhāna.
It's really quite shocking that those claims are tolerated at all.
The problem isn't that some Buddhists prefer a different samādhi system than the one the Buddha taught.
The problem is that by inappropriately naming it the same as ✅☸EBT jhāna, it's horribly confusing to the rest of the world,
If one prefers ⛔ABRJ, that's fine, but one should be clear it's not the same as ✅☸EBT jhāna.
The Simile of jhāna mountain
Based on the simile from MN 125. (these are clickable hyperlinks)
MN 125 Danta-bhūmi (Tamed-level)
- (prince J. doesn’t think that teaching can lead to ekagga citta)
- (simile of well trained elephants)
- (simile of standing on mountain seeing clearly)
- (simile of training wild elephant)
- (Buddha is like the wild elephant trainer)
⛔VRJ (Vism. Re-definition of Jhāna)
⛔ABRJ (Ajahn Brahm Re-definition of Jhāna, same as Vism. Redefinition without abhidhamma theory)
Ajahn Brahm (Brahmavamso)
The way Vism. goes about redefining jhāna is explored in great detail here, with pali + english audit.
To explain it with an original simile, on the path to the ancient city of Nirvana, The Buddha has a sign that points to ✅🌄jhāna mountain of MN 125. The Buddha promised a gradual path, and this includes jhāna samādhi. So the mountain has switchbacks, a gradually elevated path that spirals around the mountain, gently leading to the mountain peak. Anyone can climb this trail - young, old, experienced, inexperienced.
Buddhaghosa comes along, swaps out the sign that points to ✅🌄jhāna mountain to point to a different mountain, which we'll call ⛔VRJ 🌄. Now this VRJ mountain is an identical twin to the Buddha's. Identical in every way, except without the gradual spiraling path. Instead, it's a steep, direct and treacherous ascent up the face of the mountain. Only one in a million people can make it up to even first jhana, which is only 25% of the mountain height.
A thousand years pass, and then Ajahn Brahm comes along. He purports to follow the EBT (Early Buddhist Texts), and not the Abhidhamma. So he removes Buddhaghosa's counterfeit sign, and replaces the Buddha's sign that points to the genuine ✅🌄jhāna mountain. Yay Ajahn Brahm!
Then Ajahn Brahm is seen maniacally laughing, driving a backhoe, which is a mechanical excavation vehicle, up ✅🌄jhāna mountain, and he proceeds to destroy the switchbacks, the gradual spiraling path that leads to the top of the mountain. When he's done, it looks identical to ⛔VRJ 🌄. Meaning one has to take the steep, direct and treacherous ascent up the face of the mountain. Only one in a million people can make it up to even first jhana, which is only 25% of the mountain height.
Do you see the problem now?
Trust in ✅☸EBT jhāna. Don't believe the counterfeits.