[jhana] Leigh Brasington lecture on jhana practice (1h22m)

At the end he asserts that stage 10 samatha - the culmination of samatha practice - would be considered merely "access concentration" in Visuddhimagga terms. I laughed out loud when he said it, but upon further consideration, it does seem like at minimum only the highest stages of samatha would grant access to the Visuddhimagga jhanas.

Culadasa's TMI stages, though - which are based on the traditional nine samatha stages, suggest "light/nimitta jhanas", which I'm assuming are the Visuddhimagga jhanas, as they require the same access object, namely the light nimitta - become available a stage or two prior to the culmination of samatha - stage 8 I think. My own experience leads me to think Culadasa's estimation is more on the mark.

Brasington consistently suggests that pacification of sound and body sensations require nearly preternatural amounts of concentration, beyond the reach of most people unless they are in an extended retreat setting. While I agree that it would be far more easy to do in a retreat setting, I do believe - in fact, I know from personal experience - it is also possible cultivate these pacification effects with a dedicated home practice - and by that I mean no less than an hour per day, every day.

Perhaps that is asking too much of many practitioners. But it seems to me that characterizing these states as so unattainable may convince many that they aren't worth pursuing to the depths possible without access to retreat time, and I simply don't believe that is true.

/r/streamentry Thread