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I don't understand 'jhanas'

HamsakaHamsaka goosewhispererPolishing the 'just so' Veteran
edited January 2014 in Philosophy
What I do know is they are a series of experiences that occur in meditation, and are extremely pleasant and all that.

Are they really important, or significant? Are they something that naturally occurs as meditation matures?

Anyone here have jhana experiences to share, or is that a TMI kind of question?

Thanks in advance.

Gassho :)
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Comments

  • fivebellsfivebells Veteran Veteran
    If you want to understand jhanas in terms of someone's personal experience, this thread is a good place to start.
    Hamsaka
  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran
    This video is very illuminating

    Hamsakawangchuey
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran Veteran
    There are many different ideas and opinions on what jhana is?
    IMHO jhanas are states of mind that has come to stillness(samadhi) when the 5 hindrances are absent. The different levels come from the degree of stillness that is achieved. The mind that has achieved this is bright and clear.
    "For a person whose mind is "concentrated"(still), there is no need for an act of will, 'May I know & see things as they actually are.' It is in the nature of things that a person whose mind is concentrated knows & sees things as they actually are."

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an11/an11.002.than.html
    JeffreyInvincible_summercvalue
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    @Sova, what a wonderful intro to Ayya Khema! And she made the jhana states make sense. I've bookmarked the personal jhana experience @Fivebells, thanks for that. I've read the first two 'sections' and will read the rest.

    I've read some of Leigh Brasel-somthing's websites/writings, and just couldn't get into his way of explaining them.

    I don't know how many different ideas or opinions on jhana states there are. I suppose like the rest of the core teachings, they've accumulated good stuff and crap over the centuries. It seems as though they are central to the core teachings, and are a means by which 'a person whose mind is concentrated knows and sees things as they actually are'.

    A few brief personal descriptions of jhanic states I've read remind me of Jill Taylor Bolte's stroke experience, where she had a brain hemorrhage that shut down her brain's left hemisphere. Apparently, the right brain neural structures have capacities to perceive much, much more than we realize. Maybe it contains the primal urge toward the divine or transcendent which all humans have, more or less.

    Meditation cultivates concentration (samahdi) and calmness (samatha) which might be another way of saying they calm and focus the incessant left brain chattering. Then perhaps other sorts of perception can be 'heard' in the silence.

    I've definitely experienced something like access concentration, where the breath is so light I almost can't sense it, and the yammering thoughts are just kind of back there behind a curtain, instead of in my face. So far, my experience is lining up with what I'm hearing about the progression into jhanic states, in some ways.

    Gassho :)
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran
    Sounds promising @ahamsaka. It's nice to feel as if one is making progress in terms of ones meditation experience insight and mindfulness.

    Mettha
  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran
    Guru Shakyamuni often stressed (haha) that one of noble birth should dwell in nature.. I have found that in the modern day it is possible to be very skillful and helpful even in a city setting, but it is usually (for whatever reason) very conducive to meditational equilibrium to take walks through groves and forest, at the very least parks and by lakes..

    I suppose what I'm getting at is not to view meditation as a separate part of your life and experience, and by reminding your mind of the lovely abundance of plants and foliage on the earth one can connect more easily to natural.

    Not that I am any expert, but Jhana is foundational in the teachings. Like Ayya Khyema says in the video, people have more-or-less neglected or forgotten their practice. Honestly, It would be surprising to find decent coverage on them since people truly interested are few and far between. But it would be best to ask someone who has direct experience. Visit a monastery, ask around, call up some places. People are so happy to help with this stuff, because it is truly more valuable than gold, than anything transient.

    Be well and be bright. :)
    Hamsaka
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran
    Not all streams emphasize jhana. The tibetan stream for example encourages to use jhana as a means rather than an end.
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    edited January 2014
    Ayya Khema (in that video) talked about how the first jhana happens spontaneously, especially in children. I had an experience that sounds 'jhanic' when I was ten or eleven, and it was deep in the wild rose bushes and scrub along the banks of a bay, where my grandparents lived. I was far away from the house and by myself. It seemed to last for several minutes, and I still remember what I was looking at; the 'bowl' shape of three birch tree trunks as they grew out of the ground, a natural kind of sitting place facing the bay. I didn't have the words to describe the experience back then, but I still remember this pure calm joy that included the trees and the bay and everything around me.

    @Jeffrey, from what little I've read (not to mention understand) about the jhanas, they definitely are a means, not an end. Ayya Khema calls them mundane, the first few jhana states are not transcendent at all.

    She says they feel a lot like 'finding home' in your own being. They aren't awakening itself, but a natural function of the human mind when concentration skills improve to a certain point. Sounds great to me. Also sounds like a 'lesser evil' than indulging in sense pleasures, which we will do until we die or become an arahant.

    Gassho :)
    JeffreyKeyouse
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran
    The word focus is good and maybe awareness and abiding. Being present in (the breath, the moment, the activity). Concentration can lead to us looking for tightness. No no.

    So Jhana is allowing a beneficial manifest to become conscious. The presence of Jhana is always there, other monkey mind stuff too. Jhana is paradoxically dualistic but also a singular experience that deepens.

    Hope that is helpful and now back to one hand clapping . . .
    with another one hand clapping . . .
    :clap:
    Hamsaka
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    Jeffrey said:

    Not all streams emphasize jhana. The tibetan stream for example encourages to use jhana as a means rather than an end.

    That's true, and even in Theravada there are widely differing opinions on the importance of developing jhana.
    Invincible_summer
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    Hamsaka said:

    What I do know is they are a series of experiences that occur in meditation, and are extremely pleasant and all that.

    There are some useful discussions on jhana over at the Dhamma Wheel forum.
    HamsakaInvincible_summer
  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran
    Yo just stumbled onto something that might be awesome

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/jhananumbers.html


    May you find amazing materials and quickly traverse the paths! :)
    Hamsaka
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    sova said:

    Yo just stumbled onto something that might be awesome
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/jhananumbers.html

    Yes, that's a very good resource for Theravada Buddhism.
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    sova said:

    Yo just stumbled onto something that might be awesome

    http://www.

    accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/jhananumbers.html


    May you find amazing materials and quickly traverse the paths! :)

    Thanks, I love Thanissaro Bhikku, more good reading!

  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran
    @Hamsaka

    Grace be with you.


    http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/four_sublime_states.php

    May love, compassion, empathic joy, and equanimity grow and grow and grow and grow!


    and grow :)
    Hamsakaupekka
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    sova said:

    @Hamsaka

    Grace be with you.


    http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/four_sublime_states.php

    May love, compassion, empathic joy, and equanimity grow and grow and grow and grow!


    and grow :)

    Thank you, thank you, thank you :) I physically felt your blessing.

  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran
    @Hamsaka

    with the aspiration that this may become a deep reference thread for future seekers,

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an09/an09.035.than.html
    "Suppose there was a mountain cow — foolish, inexperienced, unfamiliar with her pasture, unskilled in roaming on rugged mountains — and she were to think, 'What if I were to go in a direction I have never gone before, to eat grass I have never eaten before, to drink water I have never drunk before!' She would lift her hind hoof without having placed her front hoof firmly and [as a result] would not get to go in a direction she had never gone before, to eat grass she had never eaten before, or to drink water she had never drunk before. And as for the place where she was standing when the thought occurred to her, 'What if I were to go where I have never been before... to drink water I have never drunk before,' she would not return there safely. Why is that? Because she is a foolish, inexperienced mountain cow, unfamiliar with her pasture, unskilled in roaming on rugged mountains.

    "In the same way, there are cases where a monk — foolish, inexperienced, unfamiliar with his pasture, unskilled in being quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, and entering & remaining in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation — doesn't stick with that theme, doesn't develop it, pursue it, or establish himself firmly in it. The thought occurs to him, 'What if I, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, were to enter & remain in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance.' He is not able... to enter & remain in the second jhana... The thought occurs to him, 'What if I... were to enter & remain in the first jhana... He is not able... to enter & remain in the first jhana. This is called a monk who has slipped & fallen from both sides, like the mountain cow, foolish, inexperienced, unfamiliar with her pasture, unskilled in roaming on rugged mountains.

    "But suppose there was a mountain cow — wise, experienced, familiar with her pasture, skilled in roaming on rugged mountains — and she were to think, 'What if I were to go in a direction I have never gone before, to eat grass I have never eaten before, to drink water I have never drunk before!' She would lift her hind hoof only after having placed her front hoof firmly and [as a result] would get to go in a direction she had never gone before... to drink water she had never drunk before. And as for the place where she was standing when the thought occurred to her, 'What if I were to go in a direction I have never gone before... to drink water I have never drunk before,' she would return there safely. Why is that? Because she is a wise, experienced mountain cow, familiar with her pasture, skilled in roaming on rugged mountains.

    "In the same way, there are some cases where a monk — wise, experienced, familiar with his pasture, skilled in being quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, and entering & remaining in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation — sticks with that theme, develops it, pursues it, & establishes himself firmly in it.

    with perfect elucidation of more subtle states and their accomplishment to follow :) [in the above link]
    Hamsakaupekka
  • anandoanando Explorer Explorer
    Hi,
    in Dighanikayo, Pali-Canon, there are eight Jhanas ( Freeings) mentioned.
    All the Jhanas are like a checklist, how far you advanced in the meditation of the 8fold
    Path. Some said, there would be nine, but i looked it up in Dighanikayo and found there were only eight. If you have reached the 8th one you have changed your consciousness to the highest point.
    It´s up to you to go further, because there is no instruction, what you can do there.
    Be nosy, it might help.

    anando
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    anando said:

    Some said, there would be nine, but i looked it up in Dighanikayo and found there were only eight.

    The suttas describe 4 rupa jhanas and 4 arupa jhanas. I've heard people talk about a "9th jhana" but I'm not sure what they're referring to?
  • anandoanando Explorer Explorer
    Hi,
    the Jhanas are a measuring istrument in how far you have advanced on the spritual path.
    The most interesting one are the last three. 6. Realm of nothing here, 7. is the borderline of possible perception and 8. ist dissolving all perception.

    anando
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    anando said:

    Hi,
    the Jhanas are a measuring istrument in how far you have advanced on the spritual path.
    The most interesting one are the last three. 6. Realm of nothing here, 7. is the borderline of possible perception and 8. ist dissolving all perception.

    I've never got beyond infinite space. ;)
  • atiyanaatiyana Explorer Explorer

    @Hamsaka said:
    What I do know is they are a series of experiences that occur in meditation, and are extremely pleasant and all that.

    Are they really important, or significant? Are they something that naturally occurs as meditation matures?

    Anyone here have jhana experiences to share, or is that a TMI kind of question?

    Thanks in advance.

    Gassho :)

    They are very important if you are practicing the path of renunciation (theravada/mahayana), more so in the theravada than in the mahayana. In the theravada there is great emphasis on the practicing all four 4 concentration jhanas and the 4 sub extensions of the fourth (sometimes called the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th jhana). There is a somewhat fringe approach where one only practices insight practice without concentration jhana, this is practicing insight jhana cycles and it is called dry insight, it is generally considered harder and tougher during the parts that are not very pleasant, like the knowledge of fear, misery, and disgust, which in dry insight can last for very long periods of time, where one cannot push past them. While if practicing the inseparability of concentration jhana with insight jhana OR practicing concentration jhana and then insight jhana, then these harder portions can go by in less than an hour with one progressing through them smoothly.

    Interestingly, there is a growing consensus among Theravada scholar concerning how the suttas that emphasis insight practice seem to be a later addition, and that the the truer representation of the pali school teachings may in fact be on more so emphasizing concentration than we expect now a days (thus striving for the diamond-like samadhi).

    Really it is important in this path, learn to go through all of them and then achieve nirodha-samapatti (the "9th jhana", it is the absence of all experience, feeling, perception) as cycling between the 8th and 9th jhana is often very helpful to finally achieve the fruit.

    In Mahayana there is much greater emphasis placed on merely the first jhana, in that thinking is still present but in the form of directed thinking, while past that like in the second jhana, thinking has ceased completely. Mahayana placed great emphasis on valid cognition and understanding emptiness so this first jhana is extremely useful. Not that it isn't useful in theravada though, as the majority of insight work (some might argue ALL insight work) stems from a fluid non-attached attentiveness to the arising and fleeting phenomena of mind while in the first jhana, as one usually involves thinking capacities in recognizing the three marks of existence.

    With that said, tantrayana and Dzogchen to not emphasize the jhanas at all. They focus on the energy-volume and the panoramification of awareness it brings. Tantrayana for example has a sub branch which is essentially a path of bliss, opposed to a path of clarity or non-duality between them, which seeks to liberate oneself through the wisdom of extreme bliss, called the total pleasure. The total pleasure glimpses Rigpa and the true nature of reality. Dzogchen, no artifical or contrived meditations are used in the essential practice, just non-meditation in the true nature of reality (this can only be done once one has had a direct glimpsing of the true nature, which is the very starting point to practicing actually dzogchen and not just the preliminary practices).

    With that said, the early masters of Tantrayana and Dzogchen DO still place emphasis on concentration and mastering the levels, but it seems as time went on, tantra evolved to place greater emphasis on the essentials, which is the energy-volume-determining-the-scope-of-awareness (thigle).

    However, you are likely practicing the path of renunciation (with good reason, as the qualifications for the other two paths are a lot stricter, tantrayana requires the attainment of the emptiness of self to even begin actually practicing it), so with this in mind, I would say yes, practice the jhanas.

    lobster
  • atiyanaatiyana Explorer Explorer

    @anando said:
    Hi,
    the Jhanas are a measuring istrument in how far you have advanced on the spritual path.
    The most interesting one are the last three. 6. Realm of nothing here, 7. is the borderline of possible perception and 8. ist dissolving all perception.

    anando

    They are not a measuring instrument at all actually. For example in the Thai forest tradition there is discussion of monks who naturally achieve the formless states and have to learn to stay OUT of them because real insight happens from the first jhana (as it entails thinking still).

    Furthermore, the higher you go, you are just going to more refined states of conditioned existence (read:delusion), which isn't going further in one's spiritual path, because nirvana isn't found at the peak or just past the peak of conditioned existence, it is found AT THE BASE of the mountain!

    Lastly, your list is misleading! The 5th Jhana is the realm of infinite space, the 6th is the realm of infinite consciousness, the 7th is the realm of infinite nothingness, and the 8th is the realm of neither perception NOR NON-perception. There one cannot say that the 8th entails the dissolving of all perception..

    You seem to be confusing the 8th for the "9th jhana", which isn't really a jhana but a temporary attainment called nirodha-samapatti, where all perception, feelings, and experience completely turn off, but it isn't like sleep because one can learn to go in and out of such a state and extend the length for which one is spending in it, but is a total NON-experience, not a mere blank experience, but rather a complete absence of the entire sense-data continuum. Furthermore it is unlike sleep because there is a glorious afterglow that lasts anywhere from a few hours to 2 days or so that follows coming out of the state.

  • atiyanaatiyana Explorer Explorer

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Some said, there would be nine, but i looked it up in Dighanikayo and found there were only eight.

    The suttas describe 4 rupa jhanas and 4 arupa jhanas. I've heard people talk about a "9th jhana" but I'm not sure what they're referring to?

    THe 9th jhana is just a term describing what the suttas call nirodha-samapatti, which is the complete non-experience, totally devoid of awareness, experience, perception, feeling, it isn't nirvana, but it is really interesting.

  • atiyanaatiyana Explorer Explorer

    @anando said:
    Hi,
    in Dighanikayo, Pali-Canon, there are eight Jhanas ( Freeings) mentioned.
    All the Jhanas are like a checklist, how far you advanced in the meditation of the 8fold
    Path. Some said, there would be nine, but i looked it up in Dighanikayo and found there were only eight. If you have reached the 8th one you have changed your consciousness to the highest point.
    It´s up to you to go further, because there is no instruction, what you can do there.
    Be nosy, it might help.

    anando

    When you reach these things, you are not "changing" your consciousness really, it is just a temporary conditional state which lasts for the length of time you can hold it, it isn't some permanent change.

    Further the texts don't lack teachings or instruction concerning what can and cannot be done there, in fact in many respects each jhana is explained as a basis for various phenomena or siddhis. Generally the Buddha would guide someone through the jhanas and then to nirodha-samapatti from the 8th, and then back to the 8th, as this in many cases would lead to nirvana. When it didn't the Buddha advised practicing insight and observing the three marks of characteristics.

    What is important to understand is that the three usually described are introductory:
    anicca, dukkha, and anatta, if observing those AND going through all the jhanas with mastery of them as well as mastering the nirodha-samapatti, then the Buddha would teach the three finer characteristics of reality: sunnata, tathata, and atammayata.

    Insight meditation on these with the commensurate concentration jhana/nirodha-samapatti mastery should lead to nirvana.

    There are indeed many teachings related to the 8th and beyond.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    nirvana isn't found at the peak or just past the peak of conditioned existence, it is found AT THE BASE of the mountain!

    Well said. So near and yet so far cical. Or should we say we are always at the base of the mountain, no matter how high we climb . . . It is why in many ways the 'Beginner Mind' is so highly respected in Zen. It is not convoluted and twisted by jarring jhanas and blooming Bhumis. It is almost as if our Buddha Nature is a butterfly that stops flitting.

    Sit!

    anatamanBuddhadragon
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    The problem within these kind of analyses of the meditative state is that a settling but fluid process is turned into something mechanical and clunky. Mechanical things break down. Beginner's mind. lol When do we stop being beginners?

    Buddhadragon
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    Out of interest who can truly say they've experienced these Jhanas? Everyone seems to be quoting from this or that source, but not really talking from experience...

    I too can talk about them in great depth, but just a little nod that you've honestly been there and got the badge would be welcomed. Perhaps Lincoln can give us 8 or 9 more badges- yeah!

  • atiyanaatiyana Explorer Explorer

    @anataman said:
    The problem within these kind of analyses of the meditative state is that a settling but fluid process is turned into something mechanical and clunky. Mechanical things break down. Beginner's mind. lol When do we stop being beginners?

    The Buddha is said to have talked about it in such mechanical terms. He seemed to deny the fluid process of it because he advised everyone completely master each one, totally know each quality of each jhana and be able to clearly differentiate between them, being able to cycle in and out each one at will. It sounds very mechanical and precise.

    Hamsaka
  • atiyanaatiyana Explorer Explorer

    @anataman said:
    Out of interest who can truly say they've experienced these Jhanas? Everyone seems to be quoting from this or that source, but not really talking from experience...

    I too can talk about them in great depth, but just a little nod that you've honestly been there and got the badge would be welcomed. Perhaps Lincoln can give us 8 or 9 more badges- yeah!

    I have, I spent two years in retreat focusing on concentration jhanas and insight jhanas. Furthermore, plenty of people on dharmoverground and kennithfolk (spelling?) directly practice jhanas and speak about them in terms primarily of personal and direct experience.

    Which is why I support discussing them in mechanical terms, because on dharmaoverground, as well as from the Buddha's teachings, not being able to clearly distinguish each one can lead to serious problems, such as people spending twenty years in the first jhana and making no progress whatsoever, or hitting an insight cycle and experiencing the "dark night" for years because they couldn't distinguish (one man for example spoke of being in the knowledge of boredom and knowledge of misery cycles for almost 20 years, all because he presumed it wasn't important to have very clear and distinguished (read non-fluid) comprehensions of the jhanas).

    anatamanHamsaka
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    So - stop castigating and guide me, @atiyana, guide me... I've been waiting for you!

  • thegoldeneternitythegoldeneternity Veteran Veteran

    @atiyana said:
    ...not being able to clearly distinguish each one can lead to serious problems...

    Is it possible that it could also work the other way? That being too concerned about labeling your experience prevents you from moving forward?

    ChazBuddhadragon
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited April 2014

    Absolutely, I would think.... that may be classified as an attachment to a label....

    It's a bit like having a word on the tip of your tongue.... for an instant or two, all other thoughts are driven from your head, while you try to grasp at something elusive in your memory banks.
    It's when you don't think about it, that it suddenly 'pops up'.....

    Clicks fingers...."sarsaparilla!"

    Buddhadragon
  • atiyanaatiyana Explorer Explorer

    @anataman said:
    So - stop castigating and guide me, atiyana, guide me... I've been waiting for you!

    I am not "severely punishing" you, that is you and only you.

    anataman
  • atiyanaatiyana Explorer Explorer

    Of course, but you are not talking about "IT" as in the capacity to clearly distinguish each one, but rather some extreme manifestation of trying to do so, and then becoming concerned and attached to that (which shouldn't be conflated with "it"). It was the Buddha that was so very clear about the importance of being able to clearly distinguish each one, but he was clear to discuss the middle way between extremes.

    To me the danger of attachment to the extreme of being too concerned about labeling, is less so than having ignorance and skilllessness about them, as the latter is completely contrary to the Buddha's teaching, and the former is just a side-stepped misapplication of it. Furthermore, over time the person's knowledge and precision insofar as being able to accurately distinguish will become implicit knowledge, it will not require conceptual elaboration because they will have trained themselves so much, it will be implicitly known to be this or that, and then their practice can really take off. Basically, though it may be a dark tunnel for those caught in the quagmire of this extreme, there is still a naturally unfolding way forward towards the light at the end.

    While on the other hand, remaining in ignorance and having no clue about this or that experience pretty consistently stagnates practice. What is worse, is in many cases people think they progress because they have practiced for decades, all while ignorantly remaining in a lessor developed first jhana, and will think this way until being confronted by a well experienced monk or scholar. So they can mistake stagnation for progress for a long time. Considering then it often seems to require an external input to shake loose this vicious feedback loop, it often lacks a naturally unfolding way forward, and so might be viewed as a more treacherous quagmire.

    Thus, strive for a middle approach, but if one is to err, err closer to the Buddha's teachings (that is, being able to very clearly distinguish), opposed to the side of stagnating "freestyle", which often lacks direction.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    This might be of interest:
    http://www.buddhanet.net/mettab3.htm

  • footiamfootiam Veteran Veteran

    @Hamsaka said:
    What I do know is they are a series of experiences that occur in meditation, and are extremely pleasant and all that.

    Are they really important, or significant? Are they something that naturally occurs as meditation matures?

    Anyone here have jhana experiences to share, or is that a TMI kind of question?

    Thanks in advance.

    Gassho :)

    I don't understand jhanas too but since the aim of meditation is said to be enlightenment, jhanas probably is not very important. Just a consolation prize, I suppose; not the actual prize itself.

    Buddhadragon
  • upekkaupekka Veteran Veteran
    edited April 2014

    @Hamsaka said:
    What I do know is they are a series of experiences that occur in meditation, and are extremely pleasant and all that.

    Are they really important, or significant? Are they something that naturally occurs as meditation matures?

    if one can think and analyse in one's mind with closed eyes, what one heard or read as Buddha's Teaching

    after while one will go into first jhana

    there is no doubt

    because

    at that time all five defilements (pancha nivarana) in one's mind will be suppressed

    this first jhana is more than enough for one to go forward and see the Right View

    but

    if one continues one's meditation without stopping at first jhana, one can go up to 4th jhana

    4th jhana is more than enough for people like us (this is my take)

    but

    anyone can move forward for 'akasananchayathana','vinnanananthayathana', 'akincannayathanaya' 'nevasanna-nasannayathana'

    (first eight jhana states can be achieved by Buddhist and non-buddhist)

    and

    'sanna-vedaitha nirodhaya'
    (this can not be achieved by non-buddhist)

    however all these are 'volitional formations' (imperpetable for a long time)
    irrespective of their goodness

    after a while, one will fall back to one's previous states or lower than that

    therefore

    Aim should be to get the 'Right View' which never make one falls back to the one's previous states or a lower state than that

    Hamsaka
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    This might be of interest:
    http://www.buddhanet.net/mettab3.htm

    Yes that was of interest

  • shanyinshanyin Novice Yogin Sault Ontario Veteran

    I went into a bliss state before, using my breathing at the nose as the object of meditation. Someone asked me after a retreat if I had been in jhana before. I said yes. I think I have.

    Now, years later, I have a difficult time using the breath as a meditation object.
    I think if you are interested, if you want to make jhanas a practice, or as a habit, one should find a meditation teacher. You can only go so far without a trained teacher.

    Hamsaka
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @footiam said:

    ...jhanas probably is not very important.

    Really? The jhanas are frequently mentioned in the suttas, and Right Concentration is defined in terms of jhana....so maybe they are important.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    @Hamsaka said:

    Meditation cultivates concentration (samahdi) and calmness (samatha) which might be another way of saying they calm and focus the incessant left brain chattering. Then perhaps other sorts of perception can be 'heard' in the silence.

    I've definitely experienced something like access concentration, where the breath is so light I almost can't sense it, and the yammering thoughts are just kind of back there behind a curtain, instead of in my face. So far, my experience is lining up with what I'm hearing about the progression into jhanic states, in some ways.

    Gassho :)

    People express the nature of progress in different ways:

    For example this is based on the ox herding pictures

    In the concentration model of the jhanas, those practicing on their own are liable to develop tightness. Bliss outs are very seductive. Very. Initially they come from concentration. The easiest way to experience this is on disciplined intense retreats.

    People get very upset that their practice has no recognizable effects. However effects have serious karmic ramifications, usually unless guided, of 'progress'.

    It is far better if a Hedge Buddhist aka rhinoseruas sutra solo practitioner gains benefits rather than attains states . . .
    http://hedgewitchforest.com/

    anatamansova
  • anandoanando Explorer Explorer

    Hello, what i´ve read made me thinking, to write down the 8 Jhanas. I took them out of the geman translation of the Dighanikayo. In short term i would describe it as a kind of checking in how far you are advance ond the spiritual path.
    1. Your are in a kind of form and you see the outside forms
    2. Inside of you there is no perception of form but stll percieve outside forms.
    3.Freeing of the the sense for beauty
    4. Total extintion of den perception of forms and antiperception: Unlimited is the space, unlimited is the conxciousness.
    5. Overcoming of the sphere of spacesphere: Unlimited is consciousness
    6. Total overcoming od the sphere of consciousness: Realm of nothingness
    7. Total overcoming of the sphere of nothingness: is borderline of possible perception
    8. Total dissolvement of the the bordrline of possible perception.

    I took it out of Dighanikayo, page: 260

    anataman
  • anandoanando Explorer Explorer

    Sorry i forgot the eight once and it´s that way: Dissolvement of the ability to percieve anything.

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    I watched my hands as I started typing a response - and left it there...

    upekka
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    I think if I was honest with myself I can get to 4 or 5 as you have stated it @anando, and tend to experience a blissful state... and then a subtle attachment/aversion must creep in, that leaves one feeling ... :-/ ..., because experienced bliss is temporary, so is conditioned.

    And the unconditioned is what one was seeking.

    And I've just provided an answer to myself - stop seeking, and let go of the bliss... :om: ...

  • upekkaupekka Veteran Veteran
    edited April 2014

    @anataman said:

    the unconditioned is what one was seeking.

    And I've just provided an answer to myself - stop seeking, and let go of the bliss... :


    and

    one is on Forth Noble Truth

    to be on Forth Noble Truth one has to achieved Right View

    to get Right View

    one has to do you 'yoniso manasikara- thinks on Buddha's Teaching, not thinking all other "this and that"'

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    Yes thank you @upekka - and if you have read and understood some other posts, I return to my point of reference (which is to reflectt on and understand the 4NTs) when I am lost or recognise the unskillfulness of my actions) and Right View unfolds naturally out of the 4th NT...), and that is what I have done ;)

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    I've been following the rebirth (lol) of my oldish thread. The issue of jhanas has continued to be one of the kids at the front of the class for me. I can read suttas and see the emphasis the Buddha put on describing them, emphasizing their importance, and their benefits (which go far beyond 'good'). There's debate about jhanas which I've read, too. What puts attaining jhanic states in the 'important' category for me is however 'empty', temporal and insignificant the pleasures of them are, they are pleasures that stimulate greater Dharma involvement. This is exactly what sensual pleasures don't do.

    I am still a horse that gets excited by a carrot. I may 'know' intellectually the carrot is not what I really want or need, but I am still only a horse.

    I think that seeking the pleasurable stuff in jhanic states gets slimed with a Puritanistic bias. If it feels good, it is bad. If you seek to feel good, you are hedonistic and base.

    I have pursued concentration and insight meditation in order to experience jhanic states, and I am beginning to experience the pleasure or bliss or lovely sensations. They started out as very subtle 'new' sensations that felt neutral, but as I focused on them, became 'nice' and once in a while, reaaaalllly nice :D. I can sort of 'call it up' by stilling myself and focusing. A work in progress.

    Why? In general, my experience has been unpleasurable, and I mean that in a sweepingly general way. I have a full on experience of the first noble truth, but for a long sad time, that was it.

    Is it .. . "okay" . . . to deliberately seek out and then manifest a wonderful happy feeling that courses through my body like blood and lightens me? My Puritan ancestors are grabbing their pitchforks as I write this :D

    The Buddha said the jhanic states was the 'one pleasure' he allowed himself. I'm not there yet, I do love spagetti and a warm late April day.

    I read somewhere (a lot of somewheres, actually) that 'if you want to have jhanic bliss, you won't get it'. That is total bullshit, and sad too.

    It's a resource we have, if we develop the conditions that give rise to it. That's the part I'm working on. It's not so much a matter of working as it is throwing stuff out of the ballast.

    If the Buddha thought it important enough to go into agonizing detail of each jhanic state, what's there and what's not in each and why, then perhaps it is important. It can be aggressively pursued and grasped after like the next thing too. I am undecided if headlong pursuit of attainments is where I need to go, but I do know I have a resource within that I can access (well, most of the time) that is a lot like a refuge and is incredibly peaceful. I know it's good for me, like eating healthy food and exercise is good for me.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I don't understand them either.

    To be honest, I have enough problems putting one foot in front of the other.
    I often criticise myself for being far too simplistic and basic in my approach to my own practice.

    I use this as a point of reference. Piling anything else on top is just too much, right now.

    anatamanNeleBuddhadragonupekka
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