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Curious about the Jhanas?

TorTor California New

Jhana will be absolutely unmistakable from your prior meditations. If it's jhana, you'll be talking about your fortunate achievement for a long, long time and you will be so very amazed at what your mind was able to do! (When teachers interview students to help them distinguish a very deep meditation from the still deeper jhana, a first criteria they look for is the student's excitement level - when it's jhana, the student can't stop talking about it!)

A.Brahm's online description and DIY guide was exactly right for me. He helped me to fall into the first jhana, so perhaps his instructions will speak to you, too! I won't detail my personal jhana experience (because your mileage may vary, just as your mind's imagery or lack of imagery will vary). So here I'll put out just the barest information that defines the common experience of the jhanas.

Timelessness is experienced in all of the jhanas. This is because no clues remain to signal time's passage. So time ceases to have meaning. To get this deep in the first place we had to first stop stringing words into sentences in our head near the start of our meditation. And with that inner dialog gone, that's one less clue that time continues to pass. Just prior to falling into jhana, hearing & sight & smell & taste have long since been shut down. So any external input from these sources aren't marking time any longer, either. It's only your breath-object marking time, and your breath is by now so light that you don't hear it; you're detecting it through touch-sense only. Your breath-object (or whatever other meditation-object you're using) has served you well to help get you to this point, but now is when you let even that go in order to fall into the first jhana. And when you do finally lose track of the breath,

HANG ONTO YOUR HATS !!!! WHOA !!!

Since your breath-object was the final thing marking time, you instantly gain the insight of what it would be like to live in a timeless realm since you are indeed in a timeless realm. (This is why your sitting time will likely be longer than usual too - my jhana experience was a 2hr sit whereas my usual sit is 1hr). This experience of no-time, coupled with that of the mind having detached from the burden of the other 5 senses, can be likened to having dropped a 100lb backpack you've been lugging around your whole life. This is the minimum shared common experience, and you will likely experience even more, as I did. And the profound liberty you feel after being freed from the 5 senses will give you the insight of knowing how deeply we all suffer just because of those senses. It is truly amazing! So you know you've experienced jhana if there was timelessness and liberation -- and it is markedly different from anything you've experienced before -- if your previous meditations are like a trip to Mars, then jhana takes to you to the outer gas giants!

Please don't confuse jhana with the one-pointedness of breath that occurs just prior to jhana (although this latter is a fantastic place to dwell too). It's a high-energy blissful state where you're so focused upon the breath that sight + smell + hearing + taste have shut down; only the touch-sense remains, which is marking time with the breath. A.Brahm calls this stage the "beautiful breath" and you need to generate tons of "piti" to get this deep. A.Brahm's procedure for elevating piti ever higher and higher using a sort of contentment-feedback-loop is what helped me to achieve this one-pointed state, and then fall into first jhana.

If you are at all interested in these deeper levels of meditation I do whole-heartedly recommend you search "ajahn brahm jhana pdf" to learn more!

TiggerJaySonlobstereggsaviorDhammaDragon
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Comments

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    There's also a yt video when searching. Is that any good?

  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    I've learned a ton from Brahm, especially in his book Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond.

    But his way isn't the only way to access first jhana. Leigh Brasington, student of Ayya Khema, wrote a book called Right Concentration that helped me access first jhana.

  • @Tor said:
    Jhana will be absolutely unmistakable from your prior meditations. If it's jhana, you'll be talking about your fortunate achievement for a long, long time and you will be so very amazed at what your mind was able to do! (When teachers interview students to help them distinguish a very deep meditation from the still deeper jhana, a first criteria they look for is the student's excitement level - when it's jhana, the student can't stop talking about it!)

    Timelessness is experienced in all of the jhanas. This is because no clues remain to signal time's passage. So time ceases to have meaning. To get this deep in the first place we had to first stop stringing words into sentences in our head near the start of our meditation. And with that inner dialog gone, that's one less clue that time continues to pass. Just prior to falling into jhana, hearing & sight & smell & taste have long since been shut down. So any external input from these sources aren't marking time any longer, either. It's only your breath-object marking time, and your breath is by now so light that you don't hear it; you're detecting it through touch-sense only. Your breath-object (or whatever other meditation-object you're using) has served you well to help get you to this point, but now is when you let even that go in order to fall into the first jhana. And when you do finally lose track of the breath,

    HANG ONTO YOUR HATS !!!! WHOA !!!

    >

    Dhyāna states are distractions my friend. What state are you aiming at and why? How many Dhyāna states are there? When will you be satisfied?

    Is it psychic power you crave? Omniscience? Omnipotence? Omnipresence? Timelessness? Infinity? Eternity?

    I don't want to bring you down, but there is only one way you can go when you enter the door to the deva realm - are you still on the bhavachakra when you feel the ecstasy?

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited January 21

    * deleted

    Not my monkeys, not my circus

  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    @satcittananda said:
    Dhyāna states are distractions my friend. What state are you aiming at and why? How many Dhyāna states are there? When will you be satisfied?

    Is it psychic power you crave? Omniscience? Omnipotence? Omnipresence? Timelessness? Infinity? Eternity?

    I don't want to bring you down, but there is only one way you can go when you enter the door to the deva realm - are you still on the bhavachakra when you feel the ecstasy?

    This is a really good point and I've come to the same conclusion.

    I'm glad I'm able to access first jhana, only because it's helping me concentrate on analytical meditation and single pointed meditation on virtuous objects.

    I care not whether I advance in the jhanas.

    In fact, I'd really prefer NOT to have psychic powers and experience weird things.

    I only want freedom from suffering.

  • TorTor California New

    @satcittananda
    My hyperbole "HANG ONTO YOUR HATS !!!! WHOA !!!" was just meant as an emphatic restatement of my first sentence: "Jhana will be absolutely unmistakable from your prior meditations." Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    dhammachick
  • TorTor California New

    I have to disagree with the statement that jhanas are distractions (with the unsaid implication that craving will arise in pursuit of them).

    Being able to regularly fall into jhana is a skillful practice for the simple reason that you cannot fall into jhana with craving present -- the "doer" in your mind must surrender completely to the "knower" for jhana to even occur. All will must be eliminated. So if you happen into jhana one day and then try to repeat the experience because you want it so badly, you simply cannot do it. You have to train to surrender completely in order to repeat the experience regularly.

    And the reason to repeat the experience regularly is because the Buddha himself reached enlightenment in this way (although he was careful to explain that there are other alternative routes you can take too).

    So there's no harm in striving for jhana, except maybe if it remains elusive for such a long time that it does become a distraction (then it might be wise to try one of Buddha's other suggestions).

    But for the person who has already experienced Jhana I, there will never be any harm in continually striving for Jhanas II-VIII because that person already knows that craving prevents jhana.

    I share my original post with the intention of instilling a little enthusiasm in anyone who might be feeling that their meditation practice has stalled. Some interesting and insightful experiences do indeed exist beyond just watching the breath, and I'm looking forward to exploring more.

    lobsterJaySondhammachickDhammaDragon
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    Not any more.

  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    All valid points, though Ajahn Chah taught that jhana is like putting a rock over the grass.

    It temporarily liberates you from the defilements, but only wisdom uproots the grass.

    That's why I think jhana meditation is really no big deal.

    It's a way to temporarily purify the mind in order to penetrate wisdom, and for me, penetrate virtuous objects with single pointed concentration.

    person
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @JaySon said:
    All valid points, though Ajahn Chah taught that jhana is like putting a rock over the grass.

    It temporarily liberates you from the defilements, but only wisdom uproots the grass.

    That's why I think jhana meditation is really no big deal.

    It's a way to temporarily purify the mind in order to penetrate wisdom, and for me, penetrate virtuous objects with single pointed concentration.

    This has been my impression as well, they aren't an end in themselves. I remember reading that at the 4th Jhana you're supposed to use it to penetrate reality and liberate yourself, just jhana for the sake of jhana only leads to long lasting (but ultimately impermanent), blissful samsaric happiness.

    JaySonlobsterDhammaDragon
  • I am not putting you down my friend. I have been there. And been there and been there...

    Why did I choose the name satcittananda for this site?

    ssssshhh now...

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @satcittananda said:
    I am not putting you down my friend. I have been there. And been there and been there...

    Why did I choose the name satcittananda for this site?

    ssssshhh now...

    William Blake. God Judging Adam.
    Interesting illustration.... :)

  • You got It

  • Or did you?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    What is it I'm supposed to 'get', exactly....? O.o

  • Nothing! It was just an interesting illustration.

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    I didn't even bother. It MAY have been a good message but a shit medium to chose.....

    Short memories and all that......

  • @dhammachick

    If you had bothered with the piece it was called the dictator and it was by Charlie Chaplin. It Is quite a profound speech if you have any respect for either history or wisdom.

    However, if you choose not to listen to the master of the silent screen when he actually talks, well that's your choice, and your loss.

    When you put down others you put down yourself. At least @federicas put down had a sense of humor attached.

    I realize you have had a rough time after reviewing your Posts historically - but so do many others who choose not to publicly share their upsets and failures.

    Here is Paola Nuttini - perhaps his soulfulness can warm both our hearts and still get C. C.'s message across partly at least

    Here are the lyrics if you don't want to watch the video!

    We are proud individuals living on the city
    But the flames couldn’t go much higher
    We find gods and religions to
    To paint us with salvation
    But no one
    No nobody
    Can give you the power

    To rise over love
    And over hate
    Through this iron sky
    That’s fast becoming our minds
    Over fear and into freedom

    Oh, that’s life
    Left dripping down the walls
    Of a dream that cannot breathe
    In this harsh reality
    Mass confusion spoon fed to the blind
    Serves now to define our cold society

    From which we’ll rise over love
    Over hate
    From this iron sky
    That’s fast becoming our minds
    Over fear and into freedom

    You just got to hold on!
    You just got to hold on!

    Oh oh oh oh

    (To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair
    The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed
    The bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress
    The hate of men will pass, and dictators die
    And the power they took from the people will return to the people
    And so long as men die, liberty will never perish
    Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men
    Machine men with machine minds and machine hearts!
    You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men!
    You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful
    To make this life a wonderful adventure
    Let us use that power!
    Let us all unite!)

    And we’ll rise over love
    And over hate
    Through this iron sky
    That’s fast becoming our minds
    Over fear
    And into freedom
    Into freedom!

    From which we’ll rise over love
    And over hate
    Through this iron sky
    That’s fast becoming our minds
    Over fear and into freedom
    Freedom!

    Oh, from which we’ll rise over love
    And over hate
    Through this iron sky
    That’s fast becoming our minds
    Over fear and into freedom
    Freedom!

    Freedom!
    Rain on me!
    Rain on me!

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited January 24

    HEAVILY EDITED:

    @satcittananda - I'm sorry but I'm not interested in bonding over soulfulness with you. In fact, I would respectfully ask that you do not address me here again on the forum. Given we have no block feature in existence here, I will certainly refrain from any direct interaction from now on.

    Steve_BlobsterDhammaDragon
  • TorTor California New
    edited January 24

    I feel bad now since it was my post that started this. So I'll claim it. "My monkeys. My circus.!"

    Let's see if this "dialogue-killer" has enough magic in it to still work....

    @satcittananda said:

    ssssshhh now...

    Tigger
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Tor said:
    I feel bad now since it was my post that started this. So I'll claim it. "My monkeys. My circus.!"

    Don't feel bad Tor. It's not your fault at all
    _ /\ _

  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    @satcittananda said:

    When you put down others you put down yourself.

    Correct.
    So it would be good if you'd stop, please.

  • When you put down others you put down yourself.

    ... a lot of people think I should be put down, or at least barbecued ...

    In a similar way with sufficient concentration or py-jhanas we can elevate ourselves as an example of being ultra-spiritual (one of my hobbies)

    Yep I can be a real dick
    OM MANI PADME WELL HUNG o:)

    ... and now a message from my sponsors:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20040530075432/http://pages.britishlibrary.net/edjason/eight/

    dhammachickDhammaDragonTor
  • TorTor California New
    edited January 24

    @lobster said:
    In a similar way with sufficient concentration or py-jhanas we can elevate ourselves as an example of being ultra-spiritual

    Agreed! And it's bad that we assign so much weight to "right concentration" and consider that to be "ultra-spiritual". What about the other 7 parts to the path?

    It's only thanks to my prior life that I started the practice with a bit of skill in "right concentration". It happens to be easy for me to focus. It took me awhile of paying closer attention to learn that other people weren't having as easy of a time meditating. But the other 7 parts to the path are poorly developed in me, like, er um, "right speech" and others. :( I'll do better :)

    And although we all easily and freely support each other in all the other aspects of the path, we give so much prestige to "right concentration" that it puts anyone wanting to share knowledge on the subject in a a rather awkward bind.

    But the purpose of the thread is done, we have not one, but two resources for anyone wanting to follow up on jhanas: Leigh Brasington and A.Brahm

    lobster
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @JaySon said:
    All valid points, though Ajahn Chah taught that jhana is like putting a rock over the grass.
    It temporarily liberates you from the defilements, but only wisdom uproots the grass.
    That's why I think jhana meditation is really no big deal.
    It's a way to temporarily purify the mind in order to penetrate wisdom, and for me, penetrate virtuous objects with single pointed concentration.

    There isn't really a consensus in Theravada about whether the jhanas are essential, though they do seem to occupy a central place in the suttas. Perhaps they represent a glimpse of enlightenment?

    lobsterDhammaDragon
  • The will of the people here has spoken. Apologies @dhammachick for any offence I've caused, however, you've cold-shouldered me from the moment I arrived here. I'll just shut up...

    Steve_B
  • Back on track and after some reflection, and trying not to offend anyone in particular:

    Dhyana (jhana for the Theravadan school) is a meditative state which aims to cultivate a state of 'no mind', whatever that may be.

    Because I don't want to offend anyone, receive harsh comments or personal messages of moderation, I feel I now have to clarify myself to you as the reader of these comments - result: boring text, yet I delight in it!

    it calls out haiku
    just for you, only you
    so here's the poem:

    blinking cursor stop!
    I can't think of anything
    really profound now.

  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    when in a hole
    first, stop digging

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Samsara Loop Veteran

    @satcittananda said:
    @dhammachick

    If you had bothered with the piece it was called the dictator and it was by Charlie Chaplin. It Is quite a profound speech if you have any respect for either history or wisdom.

    However, if you choose not to listen to the master of the silent screen when he actually talks, well that's your choice, and your loss.

    When you put down others you put down yourself. At least @federicas put down had a sense of humor attached.

    I realize you have had a rough time after reviewing your Posts historically - but so do many others who choose not to publicly share their upsets and failures.

    Here is Paola Nuttini - perhaps his soulfulness can warm both our hearts and still get C. C.'s message across partly at least

    Here are the lyrics if you don't want to watch the video!

    We are proud individuals living on the city
    But the flames couldn’t go much higher
    We find gods and religions to
    To paint us with salvation
    But no one
    No nobody
    Can give you the power

    To rise over love
    And over hate
    Through this iron sky
    That’s fast becoming our minds
    Over fear and into freedom

    Oh, that’s life
    Left dripping down the walls
    Of a dream that cannot breathe
    In this harsh reality
    Mass confusion spoon fed to the blind
    Serves now to define our cold society

    From which we’ll rise over love
    Over hate
    From this iron sky
    That’s fast becoming our minds
    Over fear and into freedom

    You just got to hold on!
    You just got to hold on!

    Oh oh oh oh

    (To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair
    The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed
    The bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress
    The hate of men will pass, and dictators die
    And the power they took from the people will return to the people
    And so long as men die, liberty will never perish
    Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men
    Machine men with machine minds and machine hearts!
    You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men!
    You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful
    To make this life a wonderful adventure
    Let us use that power!
    Let us all unite!)

    And we’ll rise over love
    And over hate
    Through this iron sky
    That’s fast becoming our minds
    Over fear
    And into freedom
    Into freedom!

    From which we’ll rise over love
    And over hate
    Through this iron sky
    That’s fast becoming our minds
    Over fear and into freedom
    Freedom!

    Oh, from which we’ll rise over love
    And over hate
    Through this iron sky
    That’s fast becoming our minds
    Over fear and into freedom
    Freedom!

    Freedom!
    Rain on me!
    Rain on me!

    Well, that's 30 minutes I'll never get back...

    dhammachick
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Samsara Loop Veteran

    @person said:

    @JaySon said:
    All valid points, though Ajahn Chah taught that jhana is like putting a rock over the grass.

    It temporarily liberates you from the defilements, but only wisdom uproots the grass.

    That's why I think jhana meditation is really no big deal.

    It's a way to temporarily purify the mind in order to penetrate wisdom, and for me, penetrate virtuous objects with single pointed concentration.

    This has been my impression as well, they aren't an end in themselves. I remember reading that at the 4th Jhana you're supposed to use it to penetrate reality and liberate yourself, just jhana for the sake of jhana only leads to long lasting (but ultimately impermanent), blissful samsaric happiness.

    Jhanas are not end in themselves and are a distraction if we keep ticking off boxes every time we think we have attained any or all jhanas.

    If we simply allow for the meditative experience to flow naturally, at the end of it we may find that we have attained either or all jhanas.
    The final aims are equanimity, single-mindedness, self-cultivation.
    Jhanas are not ends in themselves, but part of a cumulative process leading to right thought and eradication of defilements.

    lobsterTor
  • @Steve_B

    There is no hole.

    @DhammaDragon

    I really respected you and your comments, until now. I'm quite disappointed. Apologies for being so frank.

    What have I done that has necessitated a ganging up mentality? @federica is this really how this site functions? This is addressed not just to you as individuals but to the community btw - either you welcome people, with compassion, or don't, but please provide exclusion criteria when you sign up...

    I realise that this may well be a closed network, and you are all friends or related in some way, but the relative negativity and hostility I have received is well - shocking. Yes after reviewing my comments I may have come across as inappropriate, or may not have put my point across as I would have liked, and yes, when aggravated probably rebounded. I really thought I was engaging in a supportive sangha.

    I will be really frank here: Are you really a buddhist community? Or just a bunch of people faking it, peppered by people who are new and trying to understand buddhism?

    I am fully aware of the other over-moderated buddhist websites, many of which don't allow you to express a view unless it is that of 'the subscribed guru' - but I thought when I joined this site I would be able to have some kind of intelligent or intellectual and liberating conversation.

    @dhammachick you said you would not engage, yet you lol'd at @DhammaDragon's comment - I apologised and told you I would shut up, and I did as far as you were concerned - perhaps I'll get another personal message telling me to shut up again. I have no form of redress, as I will probably be excluded for this outrageous outburst.

    lol.

    But that is how the world works isn't it...

    DhammaDragon
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Samsara Loop Veteran

    @satcittananda said:
    I thought when I joined this site I would be able to have some kind of intelligent or intellectual and liberating conversation.

    My apologies, @satcittananda
    Though I do not know you very well yet, I find you do have very insightful comments on other threads.
    But my humble opinion is your comment here in particular is rather woolly to fit your own standards.
    I simply could not resist the joke.

    I got thrushed pretty hard too as a newbie here.
    I guess that's the way newbies learn humility and to drop all nonsense as we wipe our feet at the welcome door mat.
    We'll probably get to know each other better in months to come and even end up drinking a pint of beer together when I visit the UK some time, who knows...

    lobsterTigger
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    Lol. Talking about jhana doesn't go over so well here, as you're finding out.

    There is only one rule of jhana club.

    Can you guess what that rule is?

    federicadhammachickTigger
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @satcittananda, Congratulations!
    You seem to have successfully negotiated the Hot Coals of Newbie induction....!

    You now indeed know how the world works!

    To question whether we're 'really a Buddhist community' is kind of fatuous, because I don't really know what the definition of a Buddhist Community is.
    You say that you are aware of over-Moderated Buddhist sites.
    Yes, me too. I avoid them like the plague - full of sanctimonious, self-righteous, patronising, 'holier-than-thou know-it-alls whom you can almost see looking down their noses at 'you'.

    Well I guess pendulum swing like a pendulum do...

    We are at an opposite end of the scale.
    All pretentiousness is stripped away, we do not stand on ceremony and we are neither pious or humourless.

    A strange bunch no doubt, to those unused to such disciplined mayhem and organised chaos.

    A crumb of comfort....
    Don't think for a moment you're the only one I have had a word with....
    I may seem inactive and lethargic.
    Appearances can be deceiving.

    Hang your coat up, grab a chair and pour the coffee.
    We have doughnuts. ;)

    lobsterDhammaDragonTiggerVastmind
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    Unfortunately, the only enlightened being here is @lobster. Sigh... I suppose it's better than nothing.

    dhammachicklobsterTiggerVastmind
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited January 25

    Moderator note:

    I have deleted one comment from this thread that just tipped things over the edge.

    Ok, enough is enough now.
    Foul language, and tit-for-tat spats are really pushing things a bit too far.

    Can we please quit?

    Thank you.

    Tigger
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Samsara Loop Veteran

    @federica said:
    @satcittananda, you say that you are aware of over-Moderated Buddhist sites.
    Yes, me too. I avoid them like the plague - full of sanctimonious, self-righteous, patronising, 'holier-than-thou know-it-alls whom you can almost see looking down their noses at 'you'.

    It must be one of those sites where people love to assume the imposture of perfection.
    We are all imperfect bundles of samsaric aggregates here.
    No fakes but the real thing.
    That's why we need more jhanas lighting up our meditation bulbs, by the way =)

    lobsterTigger
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Moderator note:

    I honestly feel like deleting 90% of this thread.
    I think @Tor is owed an apology for things having spread this far.

    Perhaps we could focus on the topic at hand, spread the 4 sublime states a bit, and focus on that...

    Thanks.

  • OK

    I feel I know you all slightly better now, and get the lie of the land.

    Perhaps if I am to function here it might serve me to be a little less serious (god knows why I thought I had to be serious in the first place? - pun intended)

    Hopefully I can bring my personal insights to this forum in a more 'light'-hearted way... (Perhaps I'm taking the humour too far now) anyway, Monica changed to reflect experience [yes I know its 'moniker' - but if you want to know more -> look up St Monica and her son's (St Augustine) religion - no wonder she cried every night])

    @federica - a pendulum swings both ways. Thanks for removing the comment. Fortunately, it went before I could read it, so it's like it was never there. Funny that: What you don't know doesn't offend or hurt.

    @Tor apologies for undermining your thread. It was good for me though!

    @Jayson - I always knew the rules of dhyana club - but can't help myself! I'm the Zen guy who gets 60 blows anyway...

    Newbie, becomes New Me I suppose...

    lobsterJaySonTigger
  • Hello @satcittananda <3
    Welcome to ... where is it we are again?
    I am lobster and I am enlightened [allegedly]

    @JaySon said:
    Unfortunately, the only enlightened being here is @lobster. Sigh... I suppose it's better than nothing.

    Beggars can't be choosers :p

    There are many paths and many of us have the handicap of feeling the spiritual path is solemn. It is serious but not pompous, self righteous or something where trump towers.

    In other words ... though jhana and other concentration exercise are beneficial, for example for a non grasping spurt of euphoria (very nice too) other aspects of the path are just as preparatory.

    @tor has integratory and has understanding and genuine experience of jhana. It is as I am sure he will agree, not enough. Just a confirmation of the technique being used. Jhana must be balanced by wisdom, insight, metta (heart power) and most importantly humility.

    Humility is the capacity to recognise that sometimes euphoria, righteousness, jhana and realisation has levels. For example now that I am heading for para-nirvana (heaven help you all) I am not sure if it is on the near shore, dead see [sic] or all around, straight up.

    Ay caramba!

    satcittanandaJaySonDhammaDragon
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Samsara Loop Veteran

    My apologies, @Tor, for parachuting my misplaced sarcasm in your thread.
    I know a thing or two on jhanas, but don't seem to make much progress in the Right Speech department after all these years... <3

    lobsterJaySon
  • JaySonJaySon Everywhere in the Cosmos Veteran

    @DhammaDragon said:
    but don't seem to make much progress in the Right Speech department after all these years... <3

    Join the club!

    DhammaDragon
  • TorTor California New

    Hi @federica and everyone. This thread cannot be any more perfect as far as I'm concerned =) I started it because my sangha here at home is probably not unlike the mix of people here. We have some meditation problems that need addressing and I'm trying to find a way to help out.

    • There's the guy who can't find the silent place between the words, and dwell there.
    • The woman who's been conjuring up pastoral scenes for the past year thinking that's what she's supposed to do.
    • The young lady who was told "just watch the breath" and winds up controlling the breath by "doing" the breath.
    • The fellow who was told "just watch the breath" and has blissed out on it for 20 years but has never let it go.

    I teach Spanish, and I like to think that jhana could be taught like Spanish is taught; in a mundane way and stripping it of its misplaced ultra-spiritual prestige (shout out to @lobster for sharing that terrific video!).

    To assemble a "jhana curriculum" it might be useful to categorize all of the comments ever made in forums like this one that reference or allude to jhana and put each in one of three buckets:

    • aversion-to-jhana
    • attachment-to-jhana
    • equanimity-towards-jhana

    The results could be helpful in directing the formation of a course of study that would focus on the greatest needs of our community. As is obvious, I'm not a fan of maintaining jhana as a sequestered subject; it's too useful to keep under wraps since it marks a milestone by which we can measure our ability to surrender and let go, it can later be used to monitor our progress along all eight aspects of the path, and it helps prepare us to (yipes!) die well, and I'm sure other things I'm still ignorant of. Such are my opinion and I would like to hear more from people who would advocate more caution on the matter.

    Saludos a todos y gracias!

    dhammachicksatcittanandaDhammaDragon
  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran

    @Tor said:

    • There's the guy who can't find the silent place between the words, and dwell there.
    • The young lady who was told "just watch the breath" and winds up controlling the >breath by "doing" the breath.
    • The fellow who was told "just watch the breath" and has blissed out on it for 20 >years but has never let it go.

    Hi @Tor, can you elaborate on these points. I just want to make sure that I'm not doing these things or that I am practicing my breathing properly. I have not meditated too much yet but when I do, I breath in and out slowly and just try and focus on my breath going in and going out. I might also just relax and pay attention to my lungs expanding and contracting OR I do this thing where I breath in and imagine that all my Dukkha goes into my lungs and when I exhale the Dhukka releases and leaves me.

    Thanks

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Yes.

    Yes.

    That's more a visualisation than a Meditation, strictly speaking.
    But Metta Meditation involves some conjuring up of imagery, so it's not wrong as such; just different.

    I think, much as I like @Tor's comparison, it's important to also understand that learning a language is a precise technique. You either get it right, or you get it wrong.
    Grammar is precise, or comical lingual mistakes can happen. (speaking 3 languages as I do, I should know!)

    With regard to Meditation, I think the edges can become blurred, and if people worry too much, stress too much they're not 'doing it right', it can take an awful lot away from their experience.
    You can be a lot more laid back and relaxed about getting Meditation 'right'.

    Thanks to @Tor for laying things out in a curricular way. But I also think it important to know that there is no homework, no assessments and no Finals....

    dhammachickVastmindlobsterTor
  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran

    Thank you so much @Tor for taking the time to explain that to me in such detail. I see why you said it was for a different audience because I don't think I'm there yet but the way you explained everything makes perfect sense. I will admit that I think I have been doing just that (which is why I asked)....focusing too much on the breath and paying too much attention to it rather than just letting it be.

    Thanks again! =)

    lobsterTorDhammaDragon
  • I must say I thought @Tor post for @Tigger was outstanding.

    This forum is very diverse. It is difficult to simultaneously cater for the whole range of understandings. To a degree it can be done in a variety of ways:

    • precision, direct and simple, this I feel is the usual Buddhist way and @Tor demonstrated that method.
    • multi-layered, symbolic.
    • stimulating personal understanding by providing a knot to untie

    Ideally the range and needs of others develops the increasing combining of these and other concentrations. In a sense this forum is the jhana and breath ...

    ... lobster rambles away ... :3

    TiggerDhammaDragonShoshin
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