rhayes at unm.edu
Mon Jan 28 09:27:01 MST 2008
On Monday 28 January 2008 08:16, Jackhat1 at aol.com wrote:
> Does jhana refer to general meditation in some places in the canon?
I don't know, but I hope someone answers this.
> For instance, the Buddha was feeling tired so he entered a
> jhana state for a few minutes to rest.
The Sanskrit dhyaana is derived from dhyai, which can mean, among other
things, to think. Dhyaana in general Sanskrit usage covers such activities as
working out algebra problems, thinking about metaphysics, contemplating
beauty and so forth, and I think it has this same sense in Pali. When one is
working on a differential equation, then one is in first jhaana.
Aristotle argues in various places that God's only activity is to contemplate
the Good, and since God is the greatest good, God's only activity is to think
about God. Human beings are closest to being like God when they are
contemplating for the pure sake of contemplating, and that happens when one
is thinking about metaphysical issues. I think he was right. I have always
held that either Aristotle was a Buddhist without knowing it or that Gautama
was an Aristotelian without knowing it.
Richard P. Hayes
Department of Philosophy
University of New Mexico
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