Let's talk about Jhana!

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.


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:

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:




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.


“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.


But Bhante, how is this

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

Body is used in pali to mean many different types of things. Even breath is a form of body.

MN70, body witness, abides in immaterial liberations.

Same with AN 9.43

Even in English, we use somebody, anybody, everybody. We mean the person there, not just the physical body. Thus, given that 5 senses shut off in Jhanas, there’s only mental stuffs left to be experienced, thus the person (body) means mental body.


I agree that 5 senses are shutted off but obviously you can still hear and see something with your mental eye and mental ear for example many astral projection or out of body experience mentioned that they still can see and hear the outsides even though at that time they are just orbs or being of light flying above their body and do travelling far away

Furthermore deva means light and they are glowing I think they are just orbs too and they have luminous body of light too

I don’t think calling mind luminous is wrong because it’s mind’s true nature

You said that gods are no longer gods when they see and hear but you need to explain who are they if they are no longer they because gods are no longer gods if they don’t have jhana, jhana is their very nature, they are born with jhana due past kamma

I think you attached jhana to the realms itself not to the dwellers if you are right buddha would experience jhana when he visit the heaven and suffering when he visit the hell the facts that it’s not like that means you should attach jhana to the dwellers not the realms they dwell that means when gods visit human’s realm they don’t experience human’s suffering or a downgrade from their usual jhana pleasures

Awesome, Bhante!

After reading the recommended suttas I understand this as the mind going inside, like Ajahn Brahm would describe it with a simile of lotus petals. Physical body is the coarse petals that open up and fade away in jhana so that more refined petals inside can be seen. But would it be correct to say that even thought senses are disappearing it’s still inside the body in this way?

What’s body here ? If you mean physical I don’t think so but if you mean mental body or mind or orb or light I think it’s possible in fact all astral projection don’t involve body at all let alone jhana

Your question should be “can you see anything without eyes but just mind alone ?” The answer will solve all questions on jhana and whether contact is physical or mental too

Did I said that Brahmas are no longer Brahmas if they are not in Jhana?

Look carefully at the post: Let's talk about Jhana! - #2 by NgXinZhao

Anyway, the below is my speculation.

Just as human beings to be reborn here means our 5 precepts was good in some past life, so that’s the defining characteristics to be reborn in human realm. Does this means that all humans automatically all the time keep all of the 5 precepts perfectly?

I am projecting this basic thing onto the Brahma realms as well. Jhanas are states of mind. So the Brahmas have mind made body, they have mind too. So they could enter into Jhana meditation. They could also hang out of the Jhana meditation, they could be outside of meditative absorption. Jhanas are not equal to the Brahma realm, just as 5 precepts are not equal to human realm.

I don’t think that we should put the Jhana to the person as well. It’s the same, human beings are not automatically 5 precept keepers. Brahma beings need not be always in Jhanas.

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If that is the case the formless gods too can choose to lose their attainment and go to visit the buddha but none of them do so or can do so, what do you think ?

Good points, since we have no real data, I propose we rest this as unable to be resolved.