“Released Through Discernment (Pañña)” by Steve Lin
[Udayin:] “‘Released through discernment, released through discernment,’ it is said. To what extent is one described by the Blessed One as released through discernment?”
[Ananda:] “There is the case, my friend, where a monk, withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. And he knows it through discernment. It is to this extent that one is described by the Blessed One as released through discernment, though with a sequel.
“Furthermore, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana… the third jhana… the fourth jhana… the dimension of the infinitude of space… the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness… the dimension of nothingness… the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. And he knows it through discernment (panna). It is to this extent that one is described by the Blessed One as released through discernment, though with a sequel.
“Furthermore, with the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, he enters & remains in the cessation of perception & feeling. And as he sees with discernment, the mental fermentations go to their total end. And he knows it through discernment. It is to this extent that one is described by the Blessed One as released through discernment without a sequel.”
INSIGHTS FROM SUTTA
“vimutto” means released, set free, or emancipated
“pañña” means insight, wisdom, or discernment
The Buddha says the “āsavas” are mental defilements that perpetuate samsara, the beginningless cycle of rebirth, dukkha, and dying again. These are ended (vimutto) through discernment (pañña) during the stages of immaterial Jhana absorption meditation.
Seek to “clearly know” and understand the nature and impact of the three āsavā mind conditions.These three mental defilements are “sensual pleasures, craving for existence, and ignorance, which perpetuate samsara, the beginningless cycle of rebirth, dukkha, and dying again.”
“Withdraw from sensual pleasures… first Jhana“
“Still the directed thoughts and evaluations … observe… second Jhana, third Jhana…”
Observe the mental formations (āsavā) end. “And as he sees with discernment, the mental fermentations go to their total end. And he knows it through discernment. It is to this extent that one is described by the Blessed One as released through discernment without a sequel.”
PREPARATION FOR GUIDED MEDITATION
🧘🏽♀ MEDITATION PLACE
Find a comfortable place that is quiet to sit and meditate with few interruptions and distractions to the senses.
After sitting comfortably on a cushion or pillow or floor, place hands in lap and close the eyes.
🧘🏽♀ TRIPLE GEM (1-2 min)
Prepare the mind and concentration by taking “Refuge in the Triple Gem”.
Visualize each one in the mind (as an object) and generate faith and warm feelings with each one. Don’t rush this.
I take refuge in The Buddha.
I take refuge in The Dhamma.
I take refuge in The Sangha.
🧘🏽♀ SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)
Begin to focus in the breathing without attaching or stressing about it. Just relax and observe the breath.
As you breath in… observe it and release.
As you breath out… observe it and release.
Observing the rhythm of the breath is essential to relax the body and to practice releasing.
Use the out breath to practice releasing.
Relaxed smiling is good to use to help relax.
I often will use the phrase “Peace” (in breath)
“Release” (our breath)
Continue observing breathing until it becomes very subtle or almost unnoticeable.
🧘🏽♀ SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)
As the breath fades, the mind relaxes, the body also begins to relax.
Observe the body as a (body) form. It’s not self, but only a shell, a rupa, that temporarily supports consciousness.
As observing, the body, let the breath and body fade.
🧘🏽♂ SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)
As the breath fades and the body relaxes, the mind tends to become active or stay busy.
As thoughts arise, don’t engage with them. Observe them and then let them fade.
They will rise and they will fall unless there is engagement to feed the thoughts.
Observe how sensual pleasures fuel craving and clinging.
Observe how the desire to exist complicates and fuels rebirth and samsara.
Observe how ignorance fuels and feeds choices for sensual pleasures and existence.
Use discernment (pañña) to observe understand these and to release these three āsavā mental defilements.
Release “sensual pleasures” and enter into deep First Jhana concentration. Observe Piti (joyful freedom) arise.
Release “need for existence” and enter into deep Second Jhana concentration. Observe deep joy and equanimity.
With further “observing and releasing” comes deeper Jhana levels… and ending of all three āsavā.