Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:You’re going off to (a meditation retreat) where you want to have something to show for it, something you can talk about when you return. It’s hard to tell your friends, “You know, I maintained my mind in a state of normalcy for the entire week.” It doesn’t impress anybody. But you’re not here to impress people; you’re not here to impress yourself. You’re here to see things clearly. The best way to see things clearly is to get the mind into a state of stillness.
We tend to think of the stages of jhana as very strong trance states, but actually they’re the mind in a state of genuine normalcy where it’s very perceptive, very clearly perceiving things as they are, as they come as they go, able to see distinctions. That’s what we’re working on, trying to keep the mind in a state of normalcy, as with all the elements of the
path. The qualities of the path are things we’ve already experienced, things we’ve already tasted. It’s simply that we haven’t seen the strength they can develop if they’re made
continuous, if they’re made all-around. This state of centered, clear normalcy in the mind, if you could really maintain it, would build up a lot of strength.
So what we are doing is something very normal. What’s unusual about it is that we’re trying to maintain this state of normalcy as consistently as we can throughout the day.
That’s really extraordinary. It’s the consistency that makes it special.
From: Normalcy by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
starter wrote:I've been wondering about the following:
"We tend to think of the stages of jhana as very strong trance states, but actually they’re the mind in a state of genuine normalcy where it’s very perceptive, very clearly perceiving things as they are, as they come as they go, able to see distinctions."
I wonder if such state of normalcy will generate strong bodily energy (which is one of the enlightenment factors) and piti/sukha or not. To my immature understanding, the stages of real jhana can not only refresh/recharge the mind and give it strong concentration, but also generate strong bodily energy (which can unblock our bodily energy channel) and lasting sukha. If not, then such state of normalcy might not really lead to the enlightenment factors of bodily energy and lasting bodily/mental tranquility?
Majjhima 119 wrote:"Furthermore, quite withdrawn from sensuality,
withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities,
he enters & remains in the first jhana:
rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal,
accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.
He permeates & pervades, suffuses & fills this very body
with the rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal.
Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice
would pour bath powder into a brass basin
and knead it together, sprinkling it again & again with water,
so that his ball of bath powder —
saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within & without —
would nevertheless not drip;
even so, the monk permeates...
this very body with the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal.
There is nothing of his entire body
unpervaded by rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal.
And as he remains thus heedful, ardent, & resolute,
any memories & resolves related to the household life are abandoned,
and with their abandoning his mind gathers & settles inwardly,
grows unified & centered.
This is how a monk develops mindfulness immersed in the body."
From: Kayagata-sati Sutta: Mindfulness Immersed in the Body
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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