Questions About The Vipassana Jhanas

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Ident Silence, modified 10 Years ago.

Questions About The Vipassana Jhanas

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Evenin' folks,

I've been avoiding asking too many question about practice and just studying, practising and practising some more. I've abandoned any ideas I had about having stream entry and gone back to starting from scratch. I've practised magick and experimented with yoga for 12+ years now and believe that I had an experience which seemed to fit the criteria for stream entry. With no previous knowledge of Theravada and no knowledge of what the jhanas 'feel' like I realised it would be more worthwile to abandon any ideas I had about attainments and just approach this as a beginner.

I started a basic meditation routine which has gone from 15 minutes to 60 minutes over the course of the last 10 days and will continue to be increase on a daily basis. On top of this, I am actively studying the Dharma and putting the three trainings into practise in daily life while also noting or practising choiceless awareness in quiet moments in work, at home or anywhere else for that matter. In short, I've made a commitment to knowing things as they are in this lifetime.

My questions are as follows:

1. I sit down to practice samatha meditation and can fairly quickly move through the first to fourth samatha jhanas, identify where I am and in the last few days I'm beginning to be able to solidify these states to examine them. What often happens is that after I reach the 4th samatha jhana I begin noting even though I originally had no intention of doing so when I sat down. I use a candle at first then close my eyes, bring the after-image of the flame into focus before shifting through the jhanas in order but I always feel the need (which I note) to begin noting. Is this something that anyone else has encountered?

2. On Tuesday night, while engaged in vipassana meditation I believe I passed through what I think was an A&P event. This is more of a question of clarification here, basically I experienced very similar sensations to those of a Kundalini experience ie. highly sexual imagery and sensations, like flames from the coccyx (Mulahdara chakra, to use the language of that system) to my cranium (Sahasrara) accompanied by intense vibrations similar to an orgasm. All in all it was fantastic and all that but, easy as it would be, I hold no attachment to it and noted each sensation as it arose and passed. Would I be right in thinking that this is the 2nd vipassana jhana?

3. Tonight during meditation I experienced intense physical pain in my neck, back and legs which required considerable effort to note with equanimity and not simply give up the whole meditation. The feeling of being unable to keep still seemed to dominate much of the time as did the inability to drop the content from thoughts and just observe them. Aimless irritation, anger, frustration and disgust came and went with intensity and at one point I felt close to tears. I focussed on the sensations of breath but had to fight to keep the attention on each breath, noted, noted, noted and noted but by the end of the session I felt like I'd just had the shit kicked out of me. Whoever said that meditation was all sweetness and light deserves a slap in the chops!

Wednesday and tonight, 50 and 60 minutes respectively, felt like the entering the Dark Night and hitting Re-observation (if my understanding of the vipassana jhanas is correct). I say that with knowledge that I have definitely passed through the Dark Night repeatedly over fairly prolonged periods of time in the past. This statement is based on my own observations of how my perception, psychological processes and emotional reactions to phenomena changes when I enter this phase and the insights and understandings I've gained from it.

Given the previous paragraphs of ponderous prosing, would you think that I'd hit the 2nd jhana and moved onto the 3rd, or fell back into the 1st again i.e. into Three Characteristics territory?

Any advice appreciated and thanks for reading another elongated posting!

Tommy
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Beoman Beo Beoman, modified 10 Years ago.

RE: Questions About The Vipassana Jhanas

Posts: 2198 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
I'm not the most experienced meditator, but frmo what I understand...

Ident Silence:
On Tuesday night, while engaged in vipassana meditation I believe I passed through what I think was an A&P event. This is more of a question of clarification here, basically I experienced very similar sensations to those of a Kundalini experience ie. highly sexual imagery and sensations, like flames from the coccyx (Mulahdara chakra, to use the language of that system) to my cranium (Sahasrara) accompanied by intense vibrations similar to an orgasm. All in all it was fantastic and all that but, easy as it would be, I hold no attachment to it and noted each sensation as it arose and passed. Would I be right in thinking that this is the 2nd vipassana jhana?

It does sound like A&P, yeah. Good to hold no attachment to it as it fades, as you saw.

The feeling of being unable to keep still seemed to dominate much of the time as did the inability to drop the content from thoughts and just observe them. Aimless irritation, anger, frustration and disgust came and went with intensity and at one point I felt close to tears.

I bolded the parts that are close to what I have experienced. I think that is Re-Observation.

I focussed on the sensations of breath but had to fight to keep the attention on each breath, noted, noted, noted and noted but by the end of the session I felt like I'd just had the shit kicked out of me. Whoever said that meditation was all sweetness and light deserves a slap in the chops!

What helped me get through it was not to ignore it / focus away from it. That made it worse, for me, as then I wouldn't observe what I wanted to as I thought was proper and that got me even angrier. I don't know if this is good advice, as I don't seem to have had any particular "object of focus" in my meditations, but I just focused on the anger, focused on the things that caused the anger (since, for me, it was a variety of things in my daily life that I kept thinking about that got me angry), and realized that they are not me, and that they are suffering - or at least, my relating to them that way was suffering and not me. It might be obvious from all the anger but thinking about it that way helped.

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