B. Subhuti, an American monk in Pa Auk system following Vism. claims success rate of people able to accomplish VRJ (vism. redefinition of jhana) is actually high, producing hundreds, maybe over a thousand people who can do "jhana".
Ven. Dhammando points out a huge statistical problem, based on Vism text:
by Dhammanando »
bksubhuti wrote: ↑Sat Nov 28, 2020 7:53 am1 in 1000 as stated in the vsm is probably "run of the mill population selected at random"This is just a baseless conjecture and not the Theravada view. The text of the Visuddhimagga offers no support for it, while Dhammapāla's Visuddhimagga-ṭīkā actually contradicts it, for it limits the scope of the term "beginner" (ādikammika) to yogāvacaras who are "regularly/habitually engaged in mental development" (bhāvanaṃ anuyuñjanto). Clearly this doesn't mean, "Any Tom, Dick or Harry."
And and earlier post of his:
by Dhammanando »
bksubhuti wrote: ↑Fri Nov 27, 2020 4:45 pmI asked Ajahn Brahm "How many Theravada Monks has he trained start to finish to be successful up to 4th Jhana with repeatability. He said, "Not many, I have not counted."Bhante, if a teacher is teaching authentic Visuddhimagga jhāna, isn't a reply like Ajahn Brahmavamso's exactly the sort of reply we should expect to hear from him?
In asking this, what I have in mind is Path of Purification XII 8:
Ādikammikassa hi kasiṇaparikammampi bhāro, satesu sahassesu vā ekova sakkoti. Katakasiṇaparikammassa nimittuppādanaṃ bhāro, satesu sahassesu vā ekova sakkoti. Uppanne nimitte taṃ vaḍḍhetvā appanādhigamo bhāro, satesu sahassesu vā ekova sakkoti. Adhigatappanassa cuddasahākārehi cittaparidamanaṃ bhāro, satesu sahassesu vā ekova sakkoti.If we go with the more optimistic figure (one in a hundred), then it means that one in a million can become a Visuddhimagga-style jhānalābhī. If we go with the more pessimistic figure, then it will be one in a thousand million. And so for Ajahn Brahmavamso to produce, say, ten jhānalābhīs, he would need to have at least ten million meditating disciples according to the optimistic figure, or a thousand million meditating disciples according to the pessimistic figure.
“Now, the kasiṇa preliminary work is difficult for a beginner and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it. The arousing of the sign is difficult for one who has done the preliminary work and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it. To extend the sign when it has arisen and to reach absorption is difficult and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it.”
Though I've been told that Ajahn Brahmavamso has even more followers on Facebook than the Dalai Lama, I'm pretty sure that they don't number in the tens of millions. Certainly not the thousands of millions. And so the fact that he replies: "Not many," would not serve to cast any doubt at all on whether his teaching was an efficacious one by Visuddhimagga criteria. For even when Visuddhimagga standards are maintained to the last dot and comma, at best only one meditator in a million can expect to enjoy success.
I'd like to end this post by asking you, bhante, have you ever put to Pa-Auk Sayadaw the question that you put to Ajahn Brahmavamso? If you have, what was the sayadaw's answer?
by bksubhuti »
... if "so little for A. Brahm to count" .. I wonder who is he teaching past lives to? Probably a little less than those who get jhana from him.
1 in 1000 as stated in the vsm is probably "run of the mill population selected at random"
Parami is a big factor and since there are billions in the world, that demographics might still be true.
We would hope that a successful person who is interested in vinaya/meditation monkhood and ordains in a foreign country* and interested in abhidhamma and pa-auk would have more parami than someone who has a headspace app on their phone. And we would hope that the person who has headspace on his new iPhone 12 Pro has more parami than someone who is struggling to survive and eat.
Past lives is off topic, but listed in Pa-Auk Saydawgyi's book "Knowing and Seeing" and his meditation manuals.
I might guess about 65% who were "successful" have done that too in pa-auk world.
I wrote much more on the numbers but deleted it.
I think the numbers are probably much higher than I am saying, but I want to be on the low side.
* This includes Asians from Asian countries ordaining in foreign countries
* Quality may vary even though jhana is jhana.
If you ask..
Parajika 4 Mula explains ven Mahamoggalana's jhana and hearing elephants bathing in the river
commentary says it was 4th jhana during the first 2 weeks. He was slower than average but it was worth it.
I explain this in detail in my book "Lessons in Abhidhamma" on my website.
Never the less, I have friends who have pure jhana and are not afraid to say this. That is a big deal to say when you mark it with "pure".
Two say 3 pure continuous hours is easy, but not much more.. even though they can sit much longer.. one sat for 48hr (the same one in my monk sits 24 hr jhana post). Pure or not, concentration was high enough not to stand up, eat, poop or pee for 48hrs. So "pure" jhana is a pretty high standard to claim.