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Let's talk about Jhana!

That’s fair to say and I respect your perspective.

I’m not sure how you enter Jhana’s, but Jhana’s are mental states existing in the 16 rupa realms and the four arupa realms.

Not really liking to use some of the current English translated materials from the Tipitaka, but this will have to do.

In the first big paragraph, it states that one who attains the first jhana and dies, they would be born with the “Brahmakāyikānaṁ” (highest 1st Jhanic state) which is part of the lowest rupa loka. This show’s the connection in regards to Jhana’s and rupa, arupa realms of existence.

The question we need to answer is, do Brahma’s / deva’s in the rupa loka have the indriya’s (sense faculties)? From my own understanding, the Brahma’s / deva’s in the rupa loka still have the eyes (cakkhu) and ears (sota) indriya’s (sense faculties) plus the mind (mano). Only the Brahma’s in the arupa loka doesn’t have the 5 indriya’s sense faculties. They only have the mano (mind) or the hadaya vatthu.

I can’t say with 100% certainty that I know exactly what you mean by “in Jhana you cannot even access the five senses and the will”

But from what I can understand base on what your saying. One is still accessing 2 (eye, ear) out of the 5 senses plus the mind (if that’s what “will” is to you) since the first jhana belongs to the rupa loka.

If someone attained the fifth level of jhana’s and higher which correlates to the arupa loka. Then I would agree that person wouldn’t be able to “access the five senses” but they would still access the mind (or will if that’s what you mean by “will”).

with Metta,

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You may youtube “Ajahn Brahm Meditation retreat” to get the answers. You’ll have to listen to the whole thing. Or get Happiness through meditation book by Ajahn Brahm. Alternative title is Mindfulness, bliss and beyond.

Jhanas used here means the state of absorption meditation attained by humans, and it’s what humans experiences when entering Jhanas.

For Ajahn Brahm’s standard of Jhanas,

1st Jhana, 5 senses are not accessible, thus the body disappears.

2nd Jhana, the will disappears, due to the initial and sustained application disappears.

It’s very very high standards. Basically, absorption is a good description.

As for Brahma realms, I dunno the exact physics of it, but since Brahma beings can move about, talk to people, ask the Buddha to teach, they seem not to be in the jhana absorption states all the time. That’s the extend of my speculations on it.

I think a better way to think about this is that those who attained to Jhanas (and maintain their virtue) can be reborn in rupa loka in their next life.

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How is this consistent with what is said here?

“Quite secluded from sense pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, he enters and dwells in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought and filled with the rapture and happiness born of seclusion. He drenches, steeps, saturates, and suffuses his body with this rapture and happiness born of seclusion, so that there is no part of his entire body which is not suffused by this rapture and happiness."

By the way, I’m not the biggest fan of English translated Sutta’s.

How is consistent with what the Buddha taught? From my own understanding / knowing / learning of the Buddha Dhamma, the doer (not 100% certain what is implied by this word) only disappears when one has completely remove avija or has stop all abhisankhara’s (punnabhisankharo, apunnaabhisankharo, anenjabhisankhara). I’m not 100% exactly sure what is meant by a “doer” or “will” here, but I’ll take it at face value. Sankhara’s can even be consider as a “doer”.

Meditation and entering jhana’s are done with sankhara’s or abhisankhara’s. If there’s no doer (sankhara’s or abhisankhara’s), how does one meditate or enter jhana’s? How is one going to enter higher levels of jhana’s if there’s no doer?

with Metta,

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The visuddhimagga assumed that it’s mental body that is referred here furthermore if you research out of body experience or astral projection the majority of cases stated that they were being of light and if they see other being of light they looks like a human body

Take these with a pinch of salt, I speak from speculations mostly.

Mental body.

In Abhidhamma, mindfulness is classified as part of sankhara, but mindfulness in the teaching style of Ajahn Brahm is said to be the knower. In meditation, one lets go of doing, all the energy goes into the knower, and it all happens by itself. So the doer is more of craving, the controller, the sense of controlling etc. Practically speaking, it does requires one to abandon all doing, all will to attain to 2nd Jhanas. Jhanas are not attainments, things you get, but stages of letting go. So letting go of the controller to that extend it disappears completely is 2nd Jhana stages.

To enter deeper stages, one has to develop the momentum of letting go from before entering the Jhanas, so one goes sliding into the 3rd Jhana, 4th and so on from the start, letting go of more and more. We cannot do letting go, it’s letting go of doing. So the doer is not required for further letting go. I think this seems logical.

Also, this seems out of topic, moderators may choose to break this into new topic, or refer you to the many Jhana discussions already present in the forum.

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Am I wrong to say that jhana is a state of letting go of selves ?

Theruwan Saranai NgXinZhao,

Thank you for your response NgXinZhao.

The reason why I said/asked “I’m not sure how you enter jhana’s” because there are different ways of entering jhana’s. The basis is the same though which is “temporary” suppressing the five hinderances or “removal” of the five hinderances.

People can enter jhana’s through breathing or kasina meditation or other meditation techniques. Or one can simply go straight into insight meditation on Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta, Four noble truths, etc . . . and enter jhana’s from that way as well.

From my own understanding / knowing/ seeing of the Buddha dhamma any jhana’s that’s below the 5th jhana would still be able to access at the very minimal 2 out of the 5 senses. (Cakkhu and sota) plus the mind.

Not the Brahma’s in the arupa loka because they don’t have any of the “5 senses” where they can “read or listen” to the Buddha Dhamma. They only have the mind.

That’s why Gotama Buddha couldn’t repay two of his teachers (can’t remember the names) who taught him before he attained Enlightenment. Because they attained the highest anariya (mundane) jhana’s. They were born in the arupa loka and don’t have the “sense faculties” to be able to read or listen to the Dhamma.

Fair enough :slight_smile:

By the way, I use to listen to some of Ajahn Brahm’s youtube video’s, as well recommended them to my patients.

with Metta,

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Dunno. What Ajahn Brahm said is: Ajahn Brahm cannot enter Jhanas, Ajahn Brahm has to disappear for Jhanas to happen.

Also the hot air balloon analogy: Throw out everything, even the basket to get higher, once everything is gone, you see that you’re still hanging onto the balloon, let even you go, then it goes all the way up.

Seriously, it’s all in his retreat talks, go listen to them. Again and again. Especially during lockdowns, you can do home self retreat.

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Can you state your sources ?

with Metta,

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Can you see physical reality without physical eye but only using your mental eye during jhana ?

I totally agree and I don’t think much more benefit will come out of this if we continue this discussion here. The only recommendation that I would make is that if you ever have an opportunity to speak with Ajahn Brahm personally. Might be a good idea to ask him what Pali word he would use to define “doer” and “will”. It would help tremendously if one knows the Pali word’s so that we can possibly see things from Paticca Samuppada perspective.

Paticca Samuppada helps tremendously with understanding of the Buddha dhamma. I can’t over emphasize it.

Thank you for your time, answering my questions NgXinZhao, and this opportunity to discuss about the Buddha Dhamma. May you and all the living beings attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana.

Maybe see you around.

with metta,

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3 posts were split to a new topic: Sorry for the misunderstanding!

Does anyone know about the Thai Forest Master Ajaan Thate? He was very skilled at the Jhanas, and he gave a lot of good answers to your questions raised by you guys here. So I have gathered all books attributed to him available in English and put them here:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1HHzuD2Ioc_ytalA__AbP-ARFtyf1l_5v

Most of your questions should be answered in the book “Meditation in Words”. But I highly recommend that you read all of the books, especially his autobiography to gain some faith. With metta :pray:t3:

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Here’s my speculation:
1st Jhana seems to refer to pleasure & relaxation in the body (form) so it can be left alone in peace.
2nd Jhana seems to refer to one-pointedness state, still accompanied with pleasure (feeling)
3rd Jhana seems to refer to setting aside even pleasure - enjoying upekkhā (equanimity, maybe like disinterest in whatever arises in the mind)
4th Jhana seems to refer to complete fading of all feeling that’s left

Loosely based on AN 4.123

The arupa Jhanas are really out there man, not sure how to even interpret but descriptions in MN 121 seem to do something with seclusion. Maybe that’s why it’s not possible to become an arahant as a lay person, higher level of seclusion is required to reach the end of the path.

(sorry guys, pretty sure there’s a sutta where it’s flat out stated only first 3 stages are possible but arahantship isn’t but instead all I can find is cases where attainments for lay people are listed and

“had realized the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life, having realized it with his own insight due to the ending of defilements”

only seems to apply for monks - DN 16 & MN 68)

Thank you UttamaSanti for your work on putting the books together in one place, as well your recommendation. Much merits to you.

I highly recommend though not to spend to much time and effort in learning / seeking jhana’s. There’s more important things for us to learn and realize such as Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta, Four noble truths, Paticca Samuppada, etc . . .

May you and all of us living beings attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana.

Yes Arupa jhana’s are out there. One can experience them in the human realm. There were two teachers who taught Siddhattha the Bodhisattva before he was enlighten whom had attain Arupa jhana’s. To the Buddha, it was unfortunate that these two teachers had attain Arupa jhana’s and were born in the Arupa loka after they died. The Buddha wasn’t able to pay them back by teaching them the Dhamma.

Living beings in the Arupa loka don’t have the 5 sense faculties. They only have the mind, so they are not able to “read or listen” to the Dhamma. This is why it’s so dangerous attaining arupa jhana’s before attaining magga phala. If one dies during in arupa jhana’s, they would instantly be born in the arupa loka. If they haven’t attained magga phala, they would not be able to learn and contemplate on the dhamma. But if one had attained magga phala and died in arupa jhana’s. Then they would be able to still learn and contemplate on the Dhamma in the arupa loka.

One can become an arahant as a lay person, but they would have to ordain within 7 days or else they would die. Because their attainment would not be suitable for the life style of a lay person.

From:

https://www.online.buddhistcc.com/books/guide-to-the-study-of-theravada-buddhism-2-detail.html

“In the fifth year after Enlightenment, when the Buddha was residing in the (kutagara) Pinnacle Hall near Vesali, he heard that king Suddhodana was nearing death. He went to the death chamber and delivered a sermon. Having listened to it the king attained Arahantship. As he was too old, he did not join the order but enjoyed the bliss of Emancipation for seven days and passed away, (if a person attains the final stage of Sainthood that person cannot remain a lay person but either pass away or join the order).”

(Note: I’m not the biggest fan of using any materials outside of the Pali canon Tipitaka)

As well it’s not necessary for higher level of seclusion for one to attain higher levels of magga phala (as you can see in the above example), although it would make it much easier.

with metta,

1st Jhana already has the physical body disappears.
3rd Jhana, please do distinguish between rapture (piti) vs bliss (sukha)
4th Jhana, then there’s neither pleasant nor unpleasant feelings. That’s still a feeling. It’s not the same as cessation of perception and feeling, where there there’s no feelings.

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But Bhante, how is this

(kāya) to be understood as mental and not physical?