Jhāna1 (nt.) [from jhāyati,1 BSk. dhyāna. The (popular etym -- ) expln of jhāna is given by Bdhgh at Vism 150 as follows: "ārammaṇ' ûpanijjhānato paccanīka -- jhāpanato vā jhānaŋ," i.e. called jh. from meditation on objects & from burning up anything adverse] literally meditation. But it never means vaguely meditation. It is the technical term for a special religious experience, reached in a certain order of mental states. It was originally divided into four such states. These may be summarized: 1. The mystic, with his mind free from sensuous and worldly ideas, concentrates his thoughts on some special subject (for instance, the impermanence of all things). This he thinks out by attention to the facts, and by reasoning. 2. Then uplifted above attention & reasoning, he experiences joy & ease both of body and mind. 3. Then the bliss passes away, & he becomes suffused with a sense of ease, and 4. he becomes aware of pure lucidity of mind & equanimity of heart. The whole really forms one series of mental states, & the stages might have been fixed at other points in the series. So the Dhamma -- saŋgani makes a second list of five stages, by calling, in the second jhāna, the fading away of observation one stage, & the giving up of sustained thinking another stage (Dhs 167 -- 175). And the Vibhaŋga calls the first jhāna the pañcaŋgika -- jhāna because it, by itself, can be divided into five parts (Vbh 267). The state of mind left after the experience of the four jhānas is described as follows at D i.76: "with his heart thus serene, made pure, translucent, cultured, void of evil, supple, ready to act, firm and imperturbable." It will be seen that there is no suggestion of trance, but rather of an enhanced vitality. In the descriptions of the crises in the religious experiences of Christian saints and mystics, expressions similar to those used in the jhānas are frequent (see F. Heiler Die Buddhistische Versenkung, 1918). Laymen could pass through the four jhānas (S iv.301). The jhānas are only a means, not the end. To imagine that experiencing them was equivalent to Arahantship (and was therefore the end aimed at) is condemned (D i.37 ff.) as a deadly heresy. In late Pali we find the phrase arūpajjhānā. This is merely a new name for the last four of the eight Vimokkhā, which culminate in trance. It was because they
made this the aim of their teaching that Gotama rejected the doctrines of his two teachers. Āḷāra -- Kāḷāma & Uddaka -- Rāmaputta (M i.164 f.). -- The jhānas are discussed in extenso & in various combinations as regards theory & practice at: D i.34 sq.; 73 sq.; S ii. 210 sq.; iv.217 sq., 263 sq.; v.213 sq.; M i.276 sq., 350 sq., 454 sq.; A i.53, 163; ii.126; iii.394 sq.; iv.409 sq.; v.157 sq.; Vin iii.4; Nd2 on Sn 1119 & s.v.; Ps i.97 sq.; ii.169 sq.; Vbh 257 sq.; 263 sq.; 279 sq.; Vism 88, 415. -- They are frequently mentioned either as a set, or singly, when often the set is implied (as in the case of the 4th jh.). Mentioned as jh. 1 -- 4 e. g. at Vin i.104; ii.161 (foll. by sotāpanna, etc.); D ii.156, 186; iii.78, 131, 222; S ii.278 (nikāmalābhin); A ii.36 (id.); iii.354; S iv.299; v.307 sq.; M i.21, 41, 159, 203, 247, 398, 521; ii.15, 37; Sn 69, 156, 985; Dh 372; J i.139; VvA 38; PvA 163. -- Separately: the 1st: A iv.422; v.135; M i.246, 294; Miln 289; 1st -- 3rd: A iii.323; M i.181; 1st & 2nd: M ii.28; 4th: A ii.41; iii.325; v.31; D iii.270; VvA 4. -- See also Mrs. Rh. D. Buddh. Psych. (Quest Series) p. 107 sq.; Dhs. trsl. p. 52 sq.; Index to Saŋyutta N. for more refs.; also Kasiṇa.
-- anuyutta applying oneself to meditation Sn 972; -- anga a constituent of meditation (with ref. to the 4 jhānas) Vism 190. -- kīḷā sporting in the exercise of meditation J iii.45. -- pasuta id. (+dhīra) Sn 709; Dh 181 (cp. DhA iii.226); -- rata fond of meditation S i.53, 122; iv.117; It 40; Sn 212, 503, 1009; Vv 5015; VvA 38; -- vimokkha emancipation reached through jhāna A iii.417; v.34; -- sahagata accompanied by jh. (of paññābala) A i.42.http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... :1847.pali