Furthermore, a mendicant, giving up pleasure and pain, and ending former happiness and sadness, enters and remains in the fourth absorption, without pleasure or pain, with pure equanimity and mindfulness.
And why do you call it feeling? It feels; that’s why it’s called ‘feeling’. And what does it feel? It feels pleasure, pain, and neutral. It feels; that’s why it’s called ‘feeling’.
Strangly, AN9.31 says:
For someone who has attained the fourth absorption, breathing has ceased.
This does not seem like much of an achievement, but right after it there is a lot of good stuff, that I can’t help but think were part of the fourth jhana, unless not breathing is more of an achievement than I thought:
For someone who has attained the dimension of infinite space, the perception of form has ceased. For someone who has attained the dimension of infinite consciousness, the perception of the dimension of infinite space has ceased. For someone who has attained the dimension of nothingness, the perception of the dimension of infinite consciousness has ceased. For someone who has attained the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, the perception of the dimension of nothingness has ceased. For someone who has attained the cessation of perception and feeling, perception and feeling have ceased.
Does MN119 imply that the fourth jhana includes the cessation of feelings?
Thanks in advance.
Rather than speculating on distant attainments, it is more relevant to examine the immediate situation. Feelings are centrally important in the path as experienced at the western level of practice, as they are actually cultivated and examined in the second tetrad and foundation of mindfulness. This should be the focus.
For example it is sometimes questioned why the first tetrad concludes with calming the body. The answer is that the arising of pleasant feeling required by the second tetrad cannot occur unless the body is calm. Later the discrimination between feelings is a crucial process.
Yes cessation of pleasure and pain feeling. But the neutral feeling is still there. So the “I” is still there due to neutral feeling. One will have a perfect equanimity at 4th jhana. The whole body activity is also slow down considerably, hence the breathing can stop. Because you dont need lot of energy to sustain the body. One will have a very cool body.
If they hear the true teaching especially the three characteristics (such as Anattalakhana sutta or fire sermon) from other nobles at 4th jhana, they may become an Arahant or at least non returner. This perfected one is free by wisdom. (Panna Vimutti). A short cut taught by Buddha.
To get rid of the neutral feeling, one needs to enter cessation of perception and feeling (from infinite space, infinite consciousness, nothingness, and neither perception & no perception). Then the whole mind stops. At that time, the neutral feeling is also gone.
If they can comprehend the whole process (like Dependent of origination), they may also become perfected one or at least non returner. This perfected one is called Free by both way (free of mind and wisdom). Not easy to reach this level. Your mind needs to let go everything.
But before all this, one need to let go the five hindrances to enter a samadhi/jhana. Without let go hindrances, there is no jhana. To let go hindrances, one need to practice precepts daily and has right view.