Jhana experience

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Jhana experience

Postby TravisGM » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:33 pm

Hello everyone, I've been doing Anapanasati meditation and I had something interesting happen recently... I was hoping someone might be able to tell me if this is jhana.

I was focusing on the anapana spot when all of a sudden I felt like I was growing in size. I continued to grow, or felt like it until I stretched across my room and started to bolt off somewhere. I attempted to continue to focus on the anapana spot but found it to be very difficult. Is this jhana? Again, thanks for the replies.
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby bodom » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:47 pm

Experiences like this in meditation are quite common and not indicative of jhana.

The following from Bhante G. may be helpful to you:

Problem 3
Odd Sensations


People experience all manner of varied phenomena in meditation. Some people get itches. Others feel tingling, deep relaxation, a feeling of lightness or a floating sensation. You may feel yourself growing or shrinking or rising up in the air. Beginners often get quite excited over such sensations. As relaxation sets in, the nervous system simply begins to pass sensory signals more efficiently. Large amounts of previously blocked sensory data can pour through, giving rise to all manner of unique sensations. It does not signify anything in particular. It is just sensation. So simply employ the normal technique. Watch it come up and watch it pass away. Don't get involved.


:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby TravisGM » Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:04 pm

Experiences like this in meditation are quite common and not indicative of jhana.


Thank you :)
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby marc108 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:12 am

bodom wrote:Experiences like this in meditation are quite common and not indicative of jhana.

The following from Bhante G. may be helpful to you:

Problem 3
Odd Sensations


People experience all manner of varied phenomena in meditation. Some people get itches. Others feel tingling, deep relaxation, a feeling of lightness or a floating sensation. You may feel yourself growing or shrinking or rising up in the air. Beginners often get quite excited over such sensations. As relaxation sets in, the nervous system simply begins to pass sensory signals more efficiently. Large amounts of previously blocked sensory data can pour through, giving rise to all manner of unique sensations. It does not signify anything in particular. It is just sensation. So simply employ the normal technique. Watch it come up and watch it pass away. Don't get involved.


:anjali:


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Re: Jhana experience

Postby black hole » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:12 am

Sorry Bodom, could you tell me who is Bhante G. and what's the article or the book you quote ? Thank you.
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby thaijeppe » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:24 am

The book is Mindfulness in plain English

http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/mindfuln ... nglish.pdf

:anjali: jeppe
If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you
let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely,
you will know complete peace and freedom.
Ajahn Chah
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby black hole » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:31 am

Thank you :anjali:
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:27 am

It might be indicative of access concentration coming on, but it's not something associated with jhana.
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

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby TravisGM » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:35 pm

It might be indicative of access concentration coming on, but it's not something associated with jhana.
I'm curious, does the anapana spot move often too during access concentration? Because I find it difficult to locate an exact pOint for the spot and I'm not sure why...
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:06 pm

TravisGM wrote:I'm curious, does the anapana spot move often too during access concentration? Because I find it difficult to locate an exact pOint for the spot and I'm not sure why...

That probably just an indication that concentration has not fully developed. I'd recommend trying to focus more on the breath itself, rather than searching for a sensation spot. Anapana is mindfulness of breath, not mindfulness of sensation on the upper lip!

Just pay attention to the breath as it passes into your nostrils and soon a anapana will show up. But if you want to progress to Jhana, it's important to move attention from the coarse physical pressure or tingling or coldness and onto the actual breath itself. A good analogy is when you're trying to nail something into a wall. You have to hold the nail with your hands for a bit until you've got the nail deep enough into the wall that you can let go and the nail will stay there without support. In the same way, after you focus for a period on the anapana spot and concentration gets stronger, try and start focusing on the more abstract breath instead of just the feeling. Does that make sense? I hope it does. It's a hard concept to get but if you try it it'll make sense.

Good luck!
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

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby daverupa » Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:53 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Anapana is mindfulness of breath, not mindfulness of sensation on the upper lip!

Just pay attention to the breath as it passes into your nostrils...


It's interesting to say that anapanasati isn't mindfulness of a sensate-spot, and then to recommend a sensate-spot...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby TravisGM » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:10 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
Anapana is mindfulness of breath, not mindfulness of sensation on the upper lip!

Just pay attention to the breath as it passes into your nostrils...


It's interesting to say that anapanasati isn't mindfulness of a sensate-spot, and then to recommend a sensate-spot...

I think, respectfully, he is advising to first focus on the spot or sensation until concentration increases then to focus on the breath. Is this correct or have I mis-understood what you've said?
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:21 pm

TravisGM wrote:I think, respectfully, he is advising to first focus on the spot or sensation until concentration increases then to focus on the breath. Is this correct or have I mis-understood what you've said?

Yeah, that's kinda what I meant. Sorry if I wasn't clear!
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

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby TravisGM » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:29 pm

:namaste: that's ok :)
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby daverupa » Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:09 pm

:anjali:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby manas » Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:19 pm

Hi Travis, all,

it might be good to remember that jhana involves quite a bit more from us in our daily life, than we might think. In the 'Samaññaphala Sutta: The Fruits of the Contemplative Life', after exhaustively describing how an aspirant becomes accomplished in virtue, sense restraint, mindfulness and alertness, and contentedness (it is worth reading what these involve: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html), it then reads:

"Endowed with this noble aggregate of virtue, this noble restraint over the sense faculties, this noble mindfulness and alertness, and this noble contentment, he seeks out a secluded dwelling: a forest, the shade of a tree, a mountain, a glen, a hillside cave, a charnel ground, a jungle grove, the open air, a heap of straw. After his meal, returning from his alms round, he sits down, crosses his legs, holds his body erect, and brings mindfulness to the fore.

"Abandoning covetousness with regard to the world, he dwells with an awareness devoid of covetousness. He cleanses his mind of covetousness. Abandoning ill will and anger, he dwells with an awareness devoid of ill will, sympathetic with the welfare of all living beings. He cleanses his mind of ill will and anger. Abandoning sloth and drowsiness, he dwells with an awareness devoid of sloth and drowsiness, mindful, alert, percipient of light. He cleanses his mind of sloth and drowsiness. Abandoning restlessness and anxiety, he dwells undisturbed, his mind inwardly stilled. He cleanses his mind of restlessness and anxiety. Abandoning uncertainty, he dwells having crossed over uncertainty, with no perplexity with regard to skillful mental qualities. He cleanses his mind of uncertainty.


So the aspirant is 'endowed with' virtue, sense-restraint, etc, before he seeks out a secluded place to tackle the five hindrances. Now I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade, rather just putting it out there that jhana, afaics, requires quite a lot from us, in terms of how we live out life as a whole. I used to sit each session 'trying for jhana', and it's little wonder I was always so far from it. It's a cultivation, not something we can grab hold of straight off the bat. If we wish to attain jhana, we should be patiently improving the factors that support it: well-established virtue, sense-restraint, mindfulness and contentment in daily life, at all times. And I freely admit I've got a way to go before this is accomplished. I'm no jhana expert, just a fellow-striver. But I wish to pass on what has taken me years of struggle to arrive at: if you wish to cultivate jhana, purify your whole life. Don't imagine you can do goodness knows what during the day, then sit that night and attain jhana. Everything we do leaves an impression, a kind of subtle (or not-so-subtle) vibration, in the mind, and it is this mind we are trying to let become calm, still, steady. So unless we care for & guard the mind throughout all our activities during the day, how is it going to grow calm and steady that night, or the next morning, when we sit meditation? Even watching a movie can leave so much residual garbage in the mind that, ime, a mind even approaching stillness becomes, well, challenging... (One begins to appreciate why eight precepts are required on meditation retreats.)

Once again, I'm not being down on myself or anyone else, just saying that as laypersons, we should get things in perspective. For example, we could ask, can we do without any entertainment at all, and be content with that, too? I'm not quite there yet myself, but I am acutely aware that, that would be one quality of a mind fit for properly overcoming the hindrances. So imho we laypersons should have a reality check here. Jhana can be attained, yes, but we have to give up quite a lot if we really want to attain it. So for now, I'm content with the training; I see each meditation as 'just another training session', training the mind so that, when the time is right, it will have the qualities required to enter and remain in jhana, for the sake of seeing things clearly. (Supported by gradually improving virtue, sense-restraint, mindfulness and contentedness in daily life too, of course.) So, I see this as a long-term cultivation, but one that we must not give up on. Just patiently keep at it, day after day, pulling out weeds, cultivating the soil, planting good seeds, watering them...when the time is right, we will have the fruits of all this labour. (And I don't mean 'labour' as in 'hard work', although it might feel that way sometimes; but rather in the sense of 'a labour of love' - work undertaken as part of caring for oneself, because it needs to be done, not that it is always going to be easy, though.)

:anjali:
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby marc108 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:10 pm

manas wrote:if you wish to cultivate jhana, purify your whole life.


solid Wisdom... Beautiful post. Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu! :bow:
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby Nyana » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:31 pm

manas wrote:Don't imagine you can do goodness knows what during the day, then sit that night and attain jhana. Everything we do leaves an impression, a kind of subtle (or not-so-subtle) vibration, in the mind, and it is this mind we are trying to let become calm, still, steady. So unless we care for & guard the mind throughout all our activities during the day, how is it going to grow calm and steady that night, or the next morning, when we sit meditation? Even watching a movie can leave so much residual garbage in the mind that, ime, a mind even approaching stillness becomes, well, challenging... (One begins to appreciate why eight precepts are required on meditation retreats.)

Indeed.
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Re: Jhana experience

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:37 pm

Greetings Manas,

Yes, well said.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Jhana experience

Postby daverupa » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:00 am

:reading:

:hug:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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