My only gripe with Buddhism is that it seems to place emptiness over Bliss in some places, and in other places hint that this is not the case. With the jhanas as they advance from the 3rd, there seems to be no mention of love, bliss, or the metaphorical heart, which based on my Advaita Vedanta/Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga bias, I think "heart-consciousness" is an important aspect of full enlightenment based on Advaita Vedanta and Yoga.
But then contradictory to the descriptions of Jhanas and the description of Nirvana as cessation rather than having to do with bliss, love, or the heart in some sense.. Buddhists have the Dharma which goes along with bliss, in that it seems to be about being compassionate as a result of meditative consciousness, and likewise being compassionate to bring about such consciousness, and while The Heart Sutra seems to praise emptiness or consciousness its still has the word "Heart" in the title. Whereas the highest awareness in Advaita Vedanta includes all bliss and emptiness as illusions in consciousness, or as consciousness itself without words attached; so Buddhism has always confused me on not highlighting this speechless bliss as being emptiness, cessation, or consciousness, and highlighting emptiness or consciousness without words attached instead.
If there are Buddhists that do consider merging all bliss with consciousness to be part of Nirvana, it could be that they speak less of it because to identify something that is part of the meditative or non-dual experience is generally an attack on that experience, unless the experience, or some of the experience, can be kept seperate from the identifying mind. Whereas Advaita Vedanta acknowledges bliss but then says it does not exist, which in this latter case its talking about the word and concept, not the speechless feeling beyond the identifying or linguistic mind. My problem is that based on the anecdotal lack of progress of a lot of meditators in discovering or sustaining bliss and the serious focus that is sometimes required for sustaining it, I think consciousness has to be directed in the right way, and a focus on emptiness or cessation alone, and even sometimes Metta/loving-kindness or the Dharma if it strengthens the identifying or linguistic mind thus weakening the capacity for bliss, doesn't seem to work as well.
I have heard of Buddhist monks who go decades without advancing, or feeling like they are advancing, and I think there is a lack of the study of bliss in meditative circles, and that this is made worse by it somehow being disconnected from speech in the brain. And I think the focus on emptiness, and the Dharma and Metta from a place of too much duality or identification, however well-intentioned, are hurting the capacity for progress, bliss, and positive emotion coming out of meditation in Buddhism. I could be wrong, but I think its important for the growth of Buddhism to change this, so I'm curious to hear thoughts from people here about this.
I accidentally posted this in /r/Buddhist instead of /r/Buddhism, but nothing wrong with more eyes on it. I got an interesting reply there which I will add here:
>Nibbana is often called "the ultimate bliss" in the Pali canon. But the no-soul interpretation gets in the way of taking it seriously. Its clear enough to me that originally Buddhism believed that there is a soul and the liberated soul goes to nibbana. But then some materialist faction came in and decided to ban that and turn Buddhism into nihilism. So ultimately if you want to get anything out of it, you have to just ignore the nihilist layer and ignore what all the purveyors of "orthodoxy" are screetching. Anatta to me just means the body is not the self because the soul is, and I believe that understanding will allow for more progress than the silly "I don't even exist" nihilism you normally here in Buddhism.
I'm personally not for or against pushing the concept of a soul, I'm for maximizing the growth of meditative experience for the individual that wants it.
Again I'd love to hear people's thoughts on this stuff.
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