What do they say about cultivating and maintaining the first jhana, in Vipassana and Suttanta?
I am not confused about the entry into the first jhana, only about how it can re-arise and be maintained once it has arisen.
Would you agree:
- A relaxed, undisturbed mind and environment is a prerequisite to entry.
- If one desires for it to arise or is averse to its arising, it will not arise. (So, allow it to arise.)
- Once it has arisen, if you desire for it to stay or are averse to its leaving, it will leave. (So, when it has arisen, allow it to stay or leave.)
- If you engage in conceptual proliferation, it will not arise. If it has already arisen, conceptual proliferation will cause it to leave. (So, pay attention to it and do not allow the mind to wander aimlessly, not even on thoughts of "Buddhism" and "helping other people".)
- Once having entered the first jhana, contrary to the prerequisite for entry, one's environment should be irrelevant to its maintenance. The factors of the first jhana should be independent of the surrounding environment. So, it is an inner sense of happiness and intelligence born of concentration, independent of circumstances. Otherwise, it is not jhana at all.
1. Of course, the mind needs to be calm, and an undisturbed environment is conducive. For those proficient, the environment will be less important.
2. Depends exactly what one means by desire or aversion. One needs to be rid of sensual level desire and aversion, but higher forms of wanting to reach it may not be that restricting.
3. Again, depends on what one means by desire or aversion. One can desire for it to stay, and it won't necessarily cause it to be lost. That is form level desire, not sensual level desire.
4. If you mean "prapanca", then it depends on the level of depth of that. There is very subtle prapanca which won't be much of a problem. However, a lot of discursive thinking will be a disruption.
5. Changes in environment will influence it, eg. sharp sudden loud noise. The factors are depend on a number of things. As one goes deeper, though, and is more proficient, these become less of a problem, and it will be more voluntary. Not sure what you mean by "intelligence" at the end.
The question of whether or not "jhana" is a "thing" is an interesting matter. Is it a case of generating various conditions such that jhana actually "arises", ie. jhana itself is something other than the jhana factors; or is the term "jhana" just a name for the presence of all those factors together. Personally, I go for the latter, but many would disagree.