The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby SarathW » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:36 am

Page 72 of attached says:

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhidhamma.pdf


Onthe attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.

Question: If breathing ceases, the person will not have oxygen. How does a person live without oxygen?
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby santa100 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:08 am

Maybe the meditation state significantly reduces one's metabolism rate thus allowing one to survive without breathing for some length of time..

With lots of practice an animal like ourselves can go for perhaps five minutes without breathing. Some seals can dive for an hour or so before they have to surface to breathe, and large whales have been timed at an hour and a half. ( http://www.tortoisereserve.org/sundry/H ... Body2.html )
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby James the Giant » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:01 am

There have been cases of people not breathing for up to an hour, when trapped under ice, and they have fully recovered.
Maybe deep meditation does the same.
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:20 am

James the Giant wrote:There have been cases of people not breathing for up to an hour, when trapped under ice, and they have fully recovered.
Maybe deep meditation does the same.


Either something like this, or breathing becomes so slow and shallow that it is completely imperceptible to even the most astute meditators.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:04 pm

I think it's a metabolism thing. IIRC, the metabolism in deep meditation drops about 50% while in sleep it's just 15%. Plus, you continue to breathe through the pores.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby matais » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:19 pm

Throughout the first four jhanas the perception of breath (or body, depending on ones meditation subject) remains in various degrees of subtlety. Since the fifth jhana is formless, this'd be the first jhana where breath, along with the rest of the body, becomes unnoticable. Regardless of what the body is doing, whether it's breathing deep, shallow, slow, rapid, at this point the breath ceases to exist for the meditator, along with all other forms.

That's how I'd interpret the quote, but I'm by no means an abhidhamma scholar.
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:31 pm

SarathW wrote:Onthe attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.



No, it just means that there is no experience of bodily sensations like the breath.
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby IanAnd » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:46 pm

porpoise wrote:
SarathW wrote:Onthe attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.



No, it just means that there is no experience of bodily sensations like the breath.

:twothumbsup: Finally! Someone with some common sense.

What sometimes passes for inquiry here borders on the ridiculous.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:51 pm

IanAnd wrote:
porpoise wrote:
SarathW wrote:Onthe attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.



No, it just means that there is no experience of bodily sensations like the breath.

:twothumbsup: Finally! Someone with some common sense.

What sometimes passes for inquiry here borders on the ridiculous.


Agreed for the most part. Although it is true that people who are nearly frozen but alive can go without breathing for some time. The 4th jhana is actually supposedly where the breath stops though and this is before the perception of forms cease:

"I have further taught, monk, the gradual cessation of conditioned phenomena. In him who has attained the first meditative absorption,[2] speech has ceased. Having attained the second absorption, thought-conception and discursive thinking has ceased. Having attained the third absorption, joy has ceased. Having attained the fourth absorption, inhalation and exhalation have ceased.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html


I just think it's in all probability physiologically impossible for this to be true.

:namaste:

Besides then there's this sutta which seems to contradict the one above (although there's a decent argument that it doesn't):

"If a monk should wish, 'May I, with the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — enter & remain in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain,' then he should attend closely to this very same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Anyway, another strange controversy/anomaly in the suttas.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby daverupa » Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:17 pm

IanAnd wrote:
porpoise wrote:
SarathW wrote:Onthe attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.



No, it just means that there is no experience of bodily sensations like the breath.

:twothumbsup: Finally! Someone with some common sense.

What sometimes passes for inquiry here borders on the ridiculous.


But it's mystical and sounds cool, so that's a good enough reason to check my critical faculties at the door, isn't it?

As far back as 1964, the James Bond film "Goldfinger" showed a villain painting a woman head-to-toe with gold paint as a means of killing her. When the film was shot, people apparently believed that the skin needed to be clear for respiration. Even 007 himself said in the film that the paint killed the poor woman. The filmmakers even left a patch of skin free of paint on the otherwise-painted actress, just to make sure she wouldn't die during filming.

...

Currently, the only known mammal that breathes through its skin is a marsupial mouse living in Australia, known as the Julia Creek dunnart. This little critter breathes through its skin for the first couple of weeks of its life, just until its lungs mature sufficiently to be able to take over the job.


source
    "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: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:45 pm

Wow!My teacher was wrong about that! Not only her, but, as it seems, a lot of people!
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:01 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:Wow!My teacher was wrong about that! Not only her, but, as it seems, a lot of people!


I can't tell if you're actually accepting the idea that your teacher is wrong or if you're being sarcastic but people are wrong all the time. Lots of people.

For example, either Allah is the one true God and the trinity is false or the trinity is real and the idea of Allah is false or they're both false. In any of those situations, billions of people are wrong, far more people than those who believe you can breathe through your pores.

:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby santa100 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:36 pm

Guess one will need to reach the 4th jhana to find out for themselves. Anyway, if one of the foremost teachers in the Thai forest tradition, Phra Ajahn Lee, said about the phenomenon, then it's something worth our attention instead of simply brushing it aside..

(On the fourth jhana:)...This is true singleness of object, focused on the unperturbed stillness of the breath. All parts of the breath in the body connect so that you can breathe through every pore. You don't have to breathe through the nostrils, because the in-and-out breath and the other aspects of the breath in the body form a single, unified whole. All aspects of the breath energy are even and full ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/eyeof.html )
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:07 pm

polarbuddha101 wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:Wow!My teacher was wrong about that! Not only her, but, as it seems, a lot of people!


I can't tell if you're actually accepting the idea that your teacher is wrong or if you're being sarcastic but people are wrong all the time. Lots of people.

For example, either Allah is the one true God and the trinity is false or the trinity is real and the idea of Allah is false or they're both false. In any of those situations, billions of people are wrong, far more people than those who believe you can breathe through your pores.

:namaste:


Yes, I realise now that what I wrote could be easily interpreted as sarcastic, but it wasn't. I remember my first-to-fourth grade teacher teaching us this. It seems she was wrong. And it's a widely spread idea.
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby IanAnd » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:20 am

daverupa wrote:
IanAnd wrote:
porpoise wrote:
No, it just means that there is no experience of bodily sensations like the breath.

:twothumbsup: Finally! Someone with some common sense.

What sometimes passes for inquiry here borders on the ridiculous.

But it's mystical and sounds cool, so that's a good enough reason to check my critical faculties at the door, isn't it?

Yes, indeed. I just woke up from a nap and an even better response just hit me.

Picture Chris Farley, the SNL comedian, in his best gravelly voice saying: "Yeah, you'll stop breathing, you'll asphyxiate, and you'll go to nir...vaah...naah! How 'bout that." :rofl:
Last edited by IanAnd on Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby SarathW » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:23 am

I was watching that Carl Sagan’s video on Evolution. See attached:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gl89HIJ6HDo

It appears that the first cell created was not breathing!
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby anjali » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:52 am

From Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond: A Meditator's Handbook, by Ajahn Brahm and Jack Kornfield, pages 110-111,

During my teacher Ajahn Chah's long sickness, he would often stop breathing. On one such occasion the new nurse on duty became alarmed. He knew that Ajahn Chah must die one day, but he didn't want it to happen on his shift! The attendant monks on duty that night reassured him that Ajahn Chah had done the same many time before and that it was just a sign if deep meditation. The nurse was still worried and so took blood samples every few minutes during the hours without breathing to ensure that the blood was still well oxygenated. After all, as long as there is enough oxygen available in the blood there will be no harm to the body. The nurse discovered that even though Ajahn Chah was not breathing for a long time, the oxygen level in the blood remained constant. In jhana, the metabolism is so slowed down that you are using almost zero energy. You don't need to breathe.


There are people still alive who can confirm this story and probably get more details. I've heard an abbreviated version of this directly from Ajahn Pasanno who was one of the monks assisting Ajahn Chah during the final years of his illness.
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby Mr Man » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:44 am

santa100 wrote:Guess one will need to reach the 4th jhana to find out for themselves. Anyway, if one of the foremost teachers in the Thai forest tradition, Phra Ajahn Lee, said about the phenomenon, then it's something worth our attention instead of simply brushing it aside..

(On the fourth jhana:)...This is true singleness of object, focused on the unperturbed stillness of the breath. All parts of the breath in the body connect so that you can breathe through every pore. You don't have to breathe through the nostrils, because the in-and-out breath and the other aspects of the breath in the body form a single, unified whole. All aspects of the breath energy are even and full ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/eyeof.html )


I have followed Ajahn Lee's instruction and through it developed what I would call a conceptual breath. It doesn't coincide with our normal understanding of breath. If we practice anapana sati at the nostril the focus often becomes a reflection of the breath not the actual breath.
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:05 am

santa100 wrote:Guess one will need to reach the 4th jhana to find out for themselves. Anyway, if one of the foremost teachers in the Thai forest tradition, Phra Ajahn Lee, said about the phenomenon, then it's something worth our attention instead of simply brushing it aside..

(On the fourth jhana:)...All parts of the breath in the body connect so that you can breathe through every pore. You don't have to breathe through the nostrils,


Is breathing through one's pores biologically possible? The pores aren't designed for gaseous exhange.
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Re: The attainment of the fifth Jhàna breathing ceases.How?

Postby Coyote » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:18 am

porpoise wrote:
Is breathing through one's pores biologically possible? The pores aren't designed for gaseous exhange.


There's no exchange, but there is diffusion.

http://jp.physoc.org/content/538/3/985.full

Note: Contribution of this to respiration is negligible, according to the article.
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