Attainment of Jhana?

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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LonesomeYogurt
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Attainment of Jhana?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:13 pm

I recently posted a thread about how my concentration was beginning to fail me but now I realize that it was simply an adverse reaction to what seems to be an approaching Jhana state. I'm not big on Jhana as an intergral part of practice, but as it is definitely approaching, so to speak, so I feel like I shouldn't ignore it. I begin to feel an intense tingling, pleasant sensation in my arms, hands, and chest as I sink into a deeper state of concentration. However, when this happens, I have been told/have read that the best idea is to switch to observing the sensation mindfully instead of the breath in an attempt to almost "coax" it over you. I'm having trouble with this. It seems that when I am not breathing, I can do this easily; however, when I do take a breath, I have a lot of trouble focusing on the feeling. It's almost like my mind is still tethered to the breath and can't help but notice it.

Is this a sign that I should continue watching the breath, and that I'm switching to observing the phenomenon of access concentration too early, or am I doing it "right" so to speak and that I'm just not giving it enough time? I'm a little lost on this whole thing as my tradition is fairly ambivalent towards Jhana. It's scary, really. I'm equal parts afraid of spending too much time following the Jhana and afraid of losing my progress if I don't follow through. Any advice from those who have a little more experience would be wonderful. Thanks!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


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reflection
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Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby reflection » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:53 pm

The mind will notice the breath because it is moving. So it's no problem, focus on the breath, breath can take you to jhana. People have used different objects to get into jhana, breath being one of them.

Anyway, don't get overly focussed on jhana as a target, a goal-focussed approach may not be the fastest approach. Right now you are probably overthinking things.

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Ben
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Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:00 pm

Greetings LY,
I urge you to re-examine the instructions from within the tradition you are practicing as your first port of call. Having said that, in your situation I would continue to remain focused on the primary meditation object. If you are practicing the samatha variant of anapana, then try to maintain unbroken awareness of the breath for as long as possible. Whatever artifacts of concentration arise, do not become distracted by them.
Wishing you all the best,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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marc108
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Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby marc108 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:47 am

"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

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retrofuturist
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Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:43 am

Greetings,

If in doubt, let go of fabrications.

:meditate:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Goofaholix
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Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:49 am

If you were approaching jhana you wouldn't be having all this turmoil over it. Just relax notice the breath, notice thoughts and feelings, notice sensations and watch them all arise and pass away, when you can do this consistently without reactivity over years or months then start thinking about jhana.

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reflection
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Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby reflection » Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:33 am


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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:46 pm

Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


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reflection
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Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby reflection » Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:46 pm


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Goofaholix
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Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:28 pm


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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:24 pm

What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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manas
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Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby manas » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:28 pm

Hi LY,

if you have a particular tradition you are working in, and a particular instructor, and if you have conviction in those, then as Ben pointed out earlier, the best option might be consulting them first. But I will offer some modest insights from a fellow traveller, for what it's worth.

Jhanas 1-4 are just 'limb number eight' of the N8FP. It's good to remember that we need all eight 'limbs' to be developed in tandem. I used to focus too much on my daily sitting meditation in a way that was out of balance with the other path factors. That's one thing to remember.

As for jhana, I'm getting the idea lately that there needs to be a gradual but real 'whole lifestyle shift' for it to become part of our lives. Take a look at the 'Samaññaphala Sutta: The Fruits of the Contemplative Life'. Now I cannot pretend to be following everything in this sutta in all it's details, or else i would be a forest monk with few possessions, and not a householder with two kids to look after! But there is this well-known sequence / order to things. First the Buddha describes the perfecting of Virtue, then sense restraint, then Mindfulness and Alertness, then Contentedness, then Abandoning the Hindrances, and then the Four Jhanas! I notice this kind of order elsewhere in the suttas, also (eg, Virtue -> Jhana -> Insight). I don't know if the Buddha is saying we have to perfect each one before moving on to the next, but possibly that we need to give importance to all of these things if we really want to practice jhana / Insight, and that the previously elucidated things (virtue, contentedness etc) are supports for jhana practice.

So I respectfully ask, how's your virtue? How's your mindfulness in all activities, throughout the entire day? How content are you? I'm not saying type an answer to this here hehe, just that this is how I am looking at things myself now. I'm asking myself those questions through the day, trying to develop all eight limbs of the Noble Path as best as I can (and it's a pretty humble level but better than nothing at all), and not letting the morning meditation sit be this huge thing that I get too obsessed with. Will it be blissful? Will it be frustrating, or boring? Will it be painful? It's been all of these things, and will be again, ime! But I believe that more balance in the whole of our life, would also very positively affect that time we do spend on the meditation cushion. As for the tingling, I say just enjoy it. But remain mindful and alert through it. If your mindfulness gets lost, then you need to work on that.

Hope something here was of assistance

:namaste:
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:20 am

Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


rowyourboat
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Location: London, UK

Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:38 pm

Hi Ly

I agree with your analysis. As our samadhi develops we experience all kinda of strange new phenomena which we can mistake for jhana. Equally I suggest you stay with the breath as with developing samadhi the mind turns inwards towards deeper states of mind and to turn it outwards towards the body to feel sensations is counter productive if your aim is 'samatha' jhana. there is nothing to fear in jhana as long as you don't suffer from psychotic mental illness :) (it can adversely impact on it). At worst you will get a headache (impermanent). At best you will have jhana which is like rocket fuel for the Path. Good luck!

With metta
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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icyteru
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Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby icyteru » Tue May 08, 2012 11:41 pm

The most complete english tipitaka on the internet world.

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bodom
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Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby bodom » Tue May 08, 2012 11:46 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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manas
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Re: Attainment of Jhana?

Postby manas » Wed May 09, 2012 2:18 am

Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."


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