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Buddhadharma : Winter 2009
61 winter 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly person should be fully informed of the hazards. There are two main dangers: a practitioner of jhana can get “trapped” in jhanic ecstasy, and a practitioner of jhana can build pride around the attainment. These hazards must be taken seriously. The ego can pervert and co-opt anything—even the Buddha’s path to liberation— to its own selfish purposes. Ecstasy is the prime goal of many non-Buddhist contem- plative systems. You concentrate on something—an image, a Out of the Fertile Darkness scripture, a stone—and you flow into it. The barrier between self and other dissolves and you become one with your object of contemplation. The result is ecstasy. Then the meditation ends and you are back to the same old you, in your same old life, and same old struggles. That hurts. So you do it again. And again. And again and again and again. Buddhist meditation is aimed at a goal beyond ecstasy— discovering the truth of your own existence in order to dispel illusion and give you total, permanent freedom. It is a bit like