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Using Metta to enter Jhana?

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Using Metta to enter Jhana? Matt 0983 8/7/19 4:15 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Jim Smith 8/7/19 7:42 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Matt 0983 8/7/19 8:26 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Jim Smith 8/7/19 8:49 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Matt 0983 8/7/19 8:57 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Jim Smith 8/7/19 9:06 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Matt 0983 8/7/19 9:25 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Jim Smith 8/7/19 9:31 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Matt 0983 8/7/19 9:47 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Jim Smith 8/7/19 10:02 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Shaun Steelgrave 8/7/19 7:41 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Matt 0983 8/7/19 8:13 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Shaun Steelgrave 8/7/19 8:16 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Jim Smith 8/7/19 8:53 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Matt 0983 8/7/19 9:06 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Jim Smith 8/7/19 9:17 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Jim Smith 8/7/19 9:35 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? pieva 8/9/19 3:22 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Jim Smith 8/9/19 6:11 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Matt 0983 8/9/19 9:45 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Matt 0983 8/10/19 6:43 AM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? pieva 8/10/19 8:10 AM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Matt 0983 8/11/19 5:21 AM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? pieva 8/11/19 2:08 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Jim Smith 8/11/19 2:29 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Matt 0983 8/13/19 11:35 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Jim Smith 8/7/19 10:49 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Matt 0983 8/7/19 11:27 PM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Blue Jay 8/11/19 8:46 AM
RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana? Gunnar Johansson 8/12/19 7:24 AM
Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 4:15 PM
Hi all,

I have recently started meditating again after a year or two break and to my surprise, found I have developed a very strong access concentration. I can essentially sit for 2+ hours without a single thought entering my mind. I have always used the breath as my meditation object, but recently I started to experiment with Metta.

What I am finding is that when I meditate, I get feelings of relaxation, bliss and pleasure that come in waves, which I believe is Piti. Whilst not overwhelming, the feeling is definite, and at first it did have a feeling similar to sexual pleasure, but now it is more of a bliss/love type feeling. I still find I am straining myself every so slightly in order to continue experiencing the waves of Piti, and to hold my meditation object on the breath or Metta.

I read up on how to enter the first Jhana and found that switching the meditation object to this pleasure and developing a feedback loop can be a way to achieve this. So I started trying this and I found that if I focused on cultivating Metta, or feelings of my love for God, then this love/piti would start to grow like a feedback loop indeed, only slowly as it came and went in waves.

My problem is this - I spend 3+ hours easily sitting, and although the piti does become stronger I am not reaching any sort of transcendence and I continue to strain myself (in a relaxing way) in order to keep the piti growing.

Is this a normal occurrence? Does the piti deepen with each individual sit, so with time I will be able to access and deepen it faster and easier? What is the process for entering Jhana from here, and can I use Metta as my meditation object, in order to create these feedback loops of pleasure and enter the first Jhana?

Thanks for any help.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 7:42 PM as a reply to Matt 0983.
Are you referring to insight jhanas or concentration jhanas, soft jhanas or hard jhanas, why do you think you are not in the jhanas, what are you expecting, what kind of transcendence are you looking for?

Piti comes in waves? Do you mean it goes to down to zero between peaks?

Without more info, I'll guess what you are asking, and suggest you stop pushing the bliss to extremes and let it calm down to just a mildly pleasant relaxed contented state - see what happens then.

This might sound strange, but it might also help not to concentrate so hard. Occasionally I make the transitions (soft jhanas) during  distracting thoughts. In the sutras the first jhana has some thought going on.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca4/samma-samadhi/jhana.html

[FIRST JHANA]
"There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation.


I am getting out in the fringes now but I wonder if the quantum zeno effect (observation prevents a quantum system from changing), has macroscopic effects on the brain.  It could explain cessation.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 7:41 PM as a reply to Matt 0983.
2+ hours without thought!!! are you God?

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 8:26 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Sorry if I didn't explain myself well, although I have been meditating for close to a decade all these terms are still very new to me.

I am referring to the concentration jhanas. I am not exactly sure of the difference between a soft/hard jhana, but the way I understand them is how they are described by Ajahn Brahm in the following text, which I believe is hard jhana: http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books/Ajahn_Brahm_The_Jhanas.pdf So essentially one is fully absorbed in the meditation object and can't really hear outside noises, radiant in bliss etc. I have not reached that stage of absorption yet I am quite sure of it, and that is the kind of transcendence I am looking for/expecting in meditation.

I have tried not pushing the bliss/not concentrating as hard a few times and just focusing on the breath the whole time instead and basically the same thing tends to happen - I get waves of pleasure that build, and my concentration barely deepens no matter how long I sit for. In the text above it says that one should reach a stage where focusing on the breath is extremely delightful/calming and then the nimitta arises, but what I am finding is no matter how long I sit I can't get to that stage and I can't seem to go any deeper into the meditation either. I'm just wondering what exactly is going on, it may be impatient of me but I feel that some guidance here would still be beneficial.

Leigh Brasington has some instructions online that say, once you can hold your focus on the meditation object for an extended period of time (without breaks), to then switch the meditation object to the feelings of pleasure that arise in the meditation, and to let that pleasure or Piti grow until it completely submerses you into the first jhana (at least that's how I understood it). So that is essentially what I have been trying to do.

Thankyou and I hope that answers your questions.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 8:13 PM as a reply to Shaun Steelgrave.
Shaun Steelgrave:
2+ hours without thought!!! are you God?


Lol yes, although there is some wispy chatter occasionally, my access concentration is really that strong.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 8:16 PM as a reply to Matt 0983.
Matt 0983:
Shaun Steelgrave:
2+ hours without thought!!! are you God?


Lol yes, although there is some wispy chatter occasionally, my access concentration is really that strong.

wow...

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 8:49 PM as a reply to Matt 0983.
Matt 0983:
Sorry if I didn't explain myself well, although I have been meditating for close to a decade all these terms are still very new to me.

I am referring to the concentration jhanas. I am not exactly sure of the difference between a soft/hard jhana, but the way I understand them is how they are described by Ajahn Brahm in the following text, which I believe is hard jhana: http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books/Ajahn_Brahm_The_Jhanas.pdf So essentially one is fully absorbed in the meditation object and can't really hear outside noises, radiant in bliss etc. I have not reached that stage of absorption yet I am quite sure of it, and that is the kind of transcendence I am looking for/expecting in meditation.

I have tried not pushing the bliss/not concentrating as hard a few times and just focusing on the breath the whole time instead and basically the same thing tends to happen - I get waves of pleasure that build, and my concentration barely deepens no matter how long I sit for. In the text above it says that one should reach a stage where focusing on the breath is extremely delightful/calming and then the nimitta arises, but what I am finding is no matter how long I sit I can't get to that stage and I can't seem to go any deeper into the meditation either. I'm just wondering what exactly is going on, it may be impatient of me but I feel that some guidance here would still be beneficial.

Leigh Brasington has some instructions online that say, once you can hold your focus on the meditation object for an extended period of time (without breaks), to then switch the meditation object to the feelings of pleasure that arise in the meditation, and to let that pleasure or Piti grow until it completely submerses you into the first jhana (at least that's how I understood it). So that is essentially what I have been trying to do.

Thankyou and I hope that answers your questions.

Have you tried the soft jhanas? Maybe if you got into, for example, the third jana soft, then went hard?

What your ultimate ambition is might suggest alternate routes. Are you trying to get through all the jhanas (8 and beyond) as a means of awakening? If you can get to the 8th soft, then go hard that might be an efficient alternative to going through all of them hard. 

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 8:53 PM as a reply to Matt 0983.
Matt 0983:
Shaun Steelgrave:
2+ hours without thought!!! are you God?


Lol yes, although there is some wispy chatter occasionally, my access concentration is really that strong.

I find that sometimes when I try to concentrate strongly I get tense and irritable, like I am suppressing thoughts and emotions. But not always. Do you have any thoughts on how to concentrate correctly?

Can you explain to someone else how to develop such good concentration? Or do you think it is just an innate talent you have?

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 8:57 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
Matt 0983:
Sorry if I didn't explain myself well, although I have been meditating for close to a decade all these terms are still very new to me.

I am referring to the concentration jhanas. I am not exactly sure of the difference between a soft/hard jhana, but the way I understand them is how they are described by Ajahn Brahm in the following text, which I believe is hard jhana: http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books/Ajahn_Brahm_The_Jhanas.pdf So essentially one is fully absorbed in the meditation object and can't really hear outside noises, radiant in bliss etc. I have not reached that stage of absorption yet I am quite sure of it, and that is the kind of transcendence I am looking for/expecting in meditation.

I have tried not pushing the bliss/not concentrating as hard a few times and just focusing on the breath the whole time instead and basically the same thing tends to happen - I get waves of pleasure that build, and my concentration barely deepens no matter how long I sit for. In the text above it says that one should reach a stage where focusing on the breath is extremely delightful/calming and then the nimitta arises, but what I am finding is no matter how long I sit I can't get to that stage and I can't seem to go any deeper into the meditation either. I'm just wondering what exactly is going on, it may be impatient of me but I feel that some guidance here would still be beneficial.

Leigh Brasington has some instructions online that say, once you can hold your focus on the meditation object for an extended period of time (without breaks), to then switch the meditation object to the feelings of pleasure that arise in the meditation, and to let that pleasure or Piti grow until it completely submerses you into the first jhana (at least that's how I understood it). So that is essentially what I have been trying to do.

Thankyou and I hope that answers your questions.

Have you tried the soft jhanas? Maybe if you got into, for example, the third jana soft, then went hard?

What your ultimate ambition is might suggest alternate routes. Are you trying to get through all the jhanas (8 and beyond) as a means of awakening? If you can get to the 8th soft, then go hard that might be an efficient alternative to going through all of them hard. 

If you think this would work, I could only give it a try.. Where would I find good instructions/description of the soft jhanas?

My ambition is to essentially get into the first hard concentration jhana and take it from there. I do have a strong intent and desire to pursue full enligtenment too, but I also believe in a creator and I want to use meditation as a means to connect to God. I believe in feeling all things out and experimenting and seeing what works. Taking a scientific approach to the Buddha's teachings if you will and using it as a means to test my theory on a creator.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 9:06 PM as a reply to Matt 0983.
Matt 0983:

If you think this would work, I could only give it a try.. Where would I find good instructions/description of the soft jhanas?

My ambition is to essentially get into the first hard concentration jhana and take it from there. I do have a strong intent and desire to pursue full enligtenment too, but I also believe in a creator and I want to use meditation as a means to connect to God. I believe in feeling all things out and experimenting and seeing what works. Taking a scientifical approach to the Buddha's teachings, if you will and using it as a means to test my theory on a creator.

As far as I know Brasington teaches soft jhanas, he says you only need access concentration. Your level of concentration is far beyond access concentration.

http://www.leighb.com/jhana3.htm

http://www.leighb.com/jhana2a.htm


I feel an increased connection to God from the soft jhanas.

I developed a similar technique to Brasington's on my own and found Brasington's site when trying to research what I had devleoped.
https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/meditation-1#meditation_serenity
With more practice, the feelings experienced may include unconditional love, a connectedness to all things, and those who are religious may feel a closer connection to God.


Can you say more about the waves of piti you mentioned. Does it go to zero between peaks? How frequent are the waves? How long do they last?

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 9:06 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:
Matt 0983:
Shaun Steelgrave:
2+ hours without thought!!! are you God?


Lol yes, although there is some wispy chatter occasionally, my access concentration is really that strong.

I find that sometimes when I try to concentrate strongly I get tense and irritable, like I am suppressing thoughts and emotions. But not always. Do you have any thoughts on how to concentrate correctly?

Can you explain to someone else how to develop such good concentration? Or do you think it is just an innate talent you have?


Ok, well I on the other hand really enjoy being able to concentrate strongly, I get a real buzz out of emptying my mind and it makes the meditation itself quite addictive.

I always felt that this kind of access concentration was normal for practitioners, especially if practicing hard jhana. What I did for years was put my focus on the breath and continually guide it back there if my focus broke. Just practice, practice and eventually after 9 years (with occasional breaks), I have reached this point.

One thing I have found important in my practice is not to push too hard, I find it best to work with the natural flow of things and not really push against any pain etc. I am lucky I suppose that I find meditation so addictive and I am naturally drawn to practicing, but on the other had I am terrible at doing things I don't want to do and that is a real flaw in my personality.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 9:17 PM as a reply to Matt 0983.
Matt 0983:
I am lucky I suppose that I find meditation so addictive and I am naturally drawn to practicing, but on the other had I am terrible at doing things I don't want to do and that is a real flaw in my personality.


Do you enjoy walking meditation?

If you can meditate doing other tasks you might find "I don't want to do" becomes less of an obstacle because "I don't want to do" is a thought. If your mind is clear, the thought is absent, and the mind is not a hindrance.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 9:35 PM as a reply to Matt 0983.
Matt 0983:

Ok, well I on the other hand really enjoy being able to concentrate strongly, I get a real buzz out of emptying my mind and it makes the meditation itself quite addictive.

I always felt that this kind of access concentration was normal for practitioners, especially if practicing hard jhana. What I did for years was put my focus on the breath and continually guide it back there if my focus broke. Just practice, practice and eventually after 9 years (with occasional breaks), I have reached this point.

One thing I have found important in my practice is not to push too hard, I find it best to work with the natural flow of things and not really push against any pain etc. I am lucky I suppose that I find meditation so addictive and I am naturally drawn to practicing, but on the other had I am terrible at doing things I don't want to do and that is a real flaw in my personality.
This is off topic and unasked for advice but I'll risk it anyway. ... Have you ever done any kind of insight meditation? In Buddhism concentration and insight are both considered important. Concentration meditation is often seen as a way of preparing the mind to then do insight meditation

The way I define insight is that you watch the mind and see how it produces suffering. Concentration slows and quiets the mind so you can see what is going on, but you can't observe the activity of the mind it it is totally still - without activity.

If you are interested, these articles discuss the relationship between concentration and insight:

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/concmind.html

https://accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/onetool.html

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 9:25 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Jim Smith:

Can you say more about the waves of piti you mentioned. Does it go to zero between peaks? How frequent are the waves? How long do they last?

 It basically does go to zero between peaks, but there is still a natural sort of depth to my concentration that remains. The waves come every few minutes and they last around a minute each as far as I can tell.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 9:31 PM as a reply to Matt 0983.
Matt 0983:
Jim Smith:

Can you say more about the waves of piti you mentioned. Does it go to zero between peaks? How frequent are the waves? How long do they last?

 It basically does go to zero between peaks, but there is still a natural sort of depth to my concentration that remains. The waves come every few minutes and they last around a minute each as far as I can tell.

This is a personal issue so don't reply  ...  I can't say if it applies to you so no one should take this as any kind of implication or diagnosis ... but one possibility is that you might not be producing enough serotonin in your brain. If you get depressed that could be an indication of it.

It might help to understand how diet effects serotonin levels. There is a lot of informaiton on the web. I don't like to say too much because everyone is different and what works for one person could cause problems for another.

Do you ever feel sleepy or sepecially good or contented after a big meal?  That is usually due to increased tryptophan uptake by the brain which can increase serotonin production. The next time you experience that try meditating and see if the piti is more continuous. 

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 9:47 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
 - I do enjoy walking meditation though I haven't done it since I was at a nearby monastery and that was years ago. The problem is this feeling becomes part of my body and is so deeply rooted I am not able to overcome it just yet.

 - I have tried insight before but I believe it best to practice insight once one has learned to enter jhana. 

 - Yes it is true that I suffer from depression but I don't quite understand how that relates to my meditation practice, anyway.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 10:02 PM as a reply to Matt 0983.
Matt 0983:
 - I do enjoy walking meditation though I haven't done it since I was at a nearby monastery and that was years ago. The problem is this feeling becomes part of my body and is so deeply rooted I am not able to overcome it just yet.

 - I have tried insight before but I believe it best to practice insight once one has learned to enter jhana. 

 - Yes it is true that I suffer from depression but I don't quite understand how that relates to my meditation practice, anyway.


In order to produce the intense emotions of the jhanas the brian has to  produce the necessary brain chemicals (neurotransmitters like serotonin). If the brain can't produce the chemicals needed for bliss, it can't enter the jhanas and it might also cause depression.

One possible explanation for why piti would occur in waves rather than continuously is that the brain is unable to produce enough neurotransmitters to maintain a continuous experience.

I don't believe consciousness is produced by the brain. I believe we are souls or spirits. But I believe while we are in the body we are limited by the brain.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 10:49 PM as a reply to Matt 0983.
Matt 0983:
Hi all,

I have recently started meditating again after a year or two break and to my surprise, found I have developed a very strong access concentration. I can essentially sit for 2+ hours without a single thought entering my mind. I have always used the breath as my meditation object, but recently I started to experiment with Metta.

...


When  you meditate, do you sit still? In some of these deep states you need to lose awareness of the body and that comes from sitting totally still. The brain tends to ignore unchanging sensations. Like if you stare at something without moving your eyes, after a while everything becomes gray. If you don't move, you can lose awareness of the body in a similar way. 

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/7/19 11:27 PM as a reply to Jim Smith.
I must admit I would be surprised if my brain didn't have the right chemicals to go into jhana, everything else (exercise, emotions etc.) seems to work fine apart from the fact that I do suffer from a mild depression.

And yes I do sit completely still when I meditate.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/9/19 3:22 PM as a reply to Matt 0983.
Matt 0983:


Ok, well I on the other hand really enjoy being able to concentrate strongly, I get a real buzz out of emptying my mind and it makes the meditation itself quite addictive.

<...>

One thing I have found important in my practice is not to push too hard, I find it best to work with the natural flow of things and not really push against any pain etc. I am lucky I suppose that I find meditation so addictive and I am naturally drawn to practicing, but on the other had I am terrible at doing things I don't want to do and that is a real flaw in my personality.

I am a complete opposite to you. I can hardly concentrate and I have very limited meditation experience. But on my first 10-day Vipassana retreat, I reached one of the advanced insight stages that corresponds the 4th jhana. Having Vipassana teaching in mind, I think I can see couple flaws in your practice (pardon if I misjudge). I see a strong attachment to the pleasant meditation state. You write that you do things you like and avoid things you do not like. Can you be reacting with craving and aversion? Vipassana practice is build upon stopping these reactions. During these 10 days I put myself through a lot of missery (boredness and pain were two biggest ones) but trying to stop myself reacting to them was what made my progress incredibly fast. Do you think it is worth trying some different approach to meditation? What if your meditation practice has became a bit too comfortable and too blissful?

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/9/19 6:11 PM as a reply to pieva.
pieva:

I am a complete opposite to you. I can hardly concentrate and I have very limited meditation experience. But on my first 10-day Vipassana retreat, I reached one of the advanced insight stages that corresponds the 4th jhana. Having Vipassana teaching in mind, I think I can see couple flaws in your practice (pardon if I misjudge). I see a strong attachment to the pleasant meditation state. You write that you do things you like and avoid things you do not like. Can you be reacting with craving and aversion? Vipassana practice is build upon stopping these reactions. During these 10 days I put myself through a lot of missery (boredness and pain were two biggest ones) but trying to stop myself reacting to them was what made my progress incredibly fast. Do you think it is worth trying some different approach to meditation? What if your meditation practice has became a bit too comfortable and too blissful?
If someone is depressed, I think they are entitled to take their bliss where they can find it.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/9/19 9:45 PM as a reply to pieva.
pieva:
Matt 0983:


Ok, well I on the other hand really enjoy being able to concentrate strongly, I get a real buzz out of emptying my mind and it makes the meditation itself quite addictive.

<...>

One thing I have found important in my practice is not to push too hard, I find it best to work with the natural flow of things and not really push against any pain etc. I am lucky I suppose that I find meditation so addictive and I am naturally drawn to practicing, but on the other had I am terrible at doing things I don't want to do and that is a real flaw in my personality.

I am a complete opposite to you. I can hardly concentrate and I have very limited meditation experience. But on my first 10-day Vipassana retreat, I reached one of the advanced insight stages that corresponds the 4th jhana. Having Vipassana teaching in mind, I think I can see couple flaws in your practice (pardon if I misjudge). I see a strong attachment to the pleasant meditation state. You write that you do things you like and avoid things you do not like. Can you be reacting with craving and aversion? Vipassana practice is build upon stopping these reactions. During these 10 days I put myself through a lot of missery (boredness and pain were two biggest ones) but trying to stop myself reacting to them was what made my progress incredibly fast. Do you think it is worth trying some different approach to meditation? What if your meditation practice has became a bit too comfortable and too blissful?

Well, I've always felt that insight practice should come after jhana attainment and I'm not sure how comfortable I am with changing that approach. I am indeed open to trying new things and hearing new ideas however, if you would like to explain further what you mean. Does your suggestion correspond with what is said in MCTB? I need to re-read it as it's been years and my memory isn't so great these days, but I've always thought jhana attainment comes before insight. I will however continue practicing and see what happens as I develop my approach anyway.

I think Jim has a point too, I am finally getting a fairly significant relief from depression with my meditation practice, I can even feel the pleasant sensation when I am not sitting and doing things like walking, reading etc. So it would seem contradictory to stop that now.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/10/19 6:43 AM as a reply to Matt 0983.
I feel it is worth continuing and experimenting with my practice as it is, because I am enjoying holding a still mind. On further examination, I have also been finding that after about 2 hours of meditating, which is a fairly long time for me personally, the piti becomes much more stable and constant. I've not been able to push past this point yet due to a few interruptions and general endurance, but I have noticed it becoming more stable and constant. I'm open to trying new things and practices etc. but I would like to have an understanding of what I am doing first. Once again I thankyou for the replies and help offered so far.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/10/19 8:10 AM as a reply to Matt 0983.
Matt 0983:
Well, I've always felt that insight practice should come after jhana attainment and I'm not sure how comfortable I am with changing that approach.

I am afraid I am not the best preson to comment on this one. Did you get this idea from MCTB?

As Jim has suggested, your concentration is far beyond access concentration. So you have probably entered jhana already, and might have rprogressed to even higher states.

I have just looked back at MCTB and in the chapter about the concentration states, Daniel writes that from the first (concentration) jhana you can 1) get stuck there, 2) progress to 2nd jhana and 3) progress into insight. I can't see a clear warning in this chapter that you should not go into insight meditation before you reach some definite concentration state.

Let me ask you another way, what are you working on while meditating? Is maintaining concentration has become pretty effortless, are you diverting your efforts into anything else?

[Last sentence deleted after posting, sorry]

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/11/19 5:21 AM as a reply to pieva.
pieva:
Matt 0983:
Well, I've always felt that insight practice should come after jhana attainment and I'm not sure how comfortable I am with changing that approach.

I am afraid I am not the best preson to comment on this one. Did you get this idea from MCTB?

As Jim has suggested, your concentration is far beyond access concentration. So you have probably entered jhana already, and might have rprogressed to even higher states.

I have just looked back at MCTB and in the chapter about the concentration states, Daniel writes that from the first (concentration) jhana you can 1) get stuck there, 2) progress to 2nd jhana and 3) progress into insight. I can't see a clear warning in this chapter that you should not go into insight meditation before you reach some definite concentration state.

Let me ask you another way, what are you working on while meditating? Is maintaining concentration has become pretty effortless, are you diverting your efforts into anything else?

[Last sentence deleted after posting, sorry]

I thought that I had seen this idea in MCTB, although I am sure it is a part of what is taught by Ajahn Brahm and in traditions like thai forest, though I may be wrong. I do however believe jhana should be a state of deep absorption where one cannot hear outside sounds, full of other worldy bliss, nimitta etc. and I have not reached that stage yet.

I am just working on deepening my concentration and deepining the sensations of piti, as both seem to increase the more I practice. I thought what would happen is that the piti would become somewhat more overwhelming to the point that meditation becomes effortless and full of delight/joy.

I will re-read MCTB and also have a look around to see if I can confirm what I am thinking about jhana, and so I can gain better understanding. In the meantime, what is the process you would recommend for taking up insight meditation?

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"The form of rapture most conductive to the attainment of jhana is all-pervading rapture, which is said to suffuse the whole body so that it becomes like a full bladder or like a mountain cavern inundated with a mighty flood of water."

"In the description of the first jhana, rapture and happiness are said to be "born of seclusion" and to suffuse the whole body of the meditator in such a way that there is no part of his body which remains unaffected by them:"

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/gunaratana/wheel351.html#ch3

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"Concentration can also lead to very pleasant states referred to as “jhanas”. These can be extremely blissful and peaceful. Being able to access these states of mind can be ridiculously enjoyable and profound. These states are valuable in and of themselves and serve the important function in the Buddhist tradition of providing a disposable foundation for insight practice, in that you can build those states up and then tear them down with investigation of the sensations that make them up, which is the third training."

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-i-the-fundamentals/3-concentration-the-second-training/

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/11/19 8:46 AM as a reply to Matt 0983.
A good booklet on Metta Bhavana is http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/allmetta.pdf

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/11/19 2:08 PM as a reply to Matt 0983.
Matt 0983:

 In the meantime, what is the process you would recommend for taking up insight meditation?



There are many traditions and approaches. I would recommend you to find a teacher who you would like to follow (or who is available to you in your area). I have been practicing Vipassana as taught by Goenka, you might know that they have hundreds of centres around the globe (another advantage being his non-sectarian approach). You might have a Bhuddist monastery somewhere near you and it could be a good place to go for advice and place to meditate. If you can afford to book time off, go on a retreat and you will get a quick launch into the practice.

Starting this reply I thought I would give you some ideas about observing your body sensations, as they rise and pass away. But it cannot be told in a few words and you need a structured appraoch. You can ask in a new thread and maybe someone would be willing to guide you or give you some good links to read.

You have developed incredible skills aready so I wish you to apply them wisely to get incredible results.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/11/19 2:29 PM as a reply to pieva.
pieva:

... I have been practicing Vipassana as taught by Goenka, you might know that they have hundreds of centres around the globe (another advantage being his non-sectarian approach). 
...

Goenka vipassana might not be the best practice for someone who is depressed.

Quoting Daniel Ingram:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/6387143#_19_message_6389522
RE: Suicide after ten day Goenka retreat
...
There are a sizeable number of people who got a lot that is good out of the Goenka tradition who have posted such on this forum, just as there are probably hundreds of reports of people who did a 10-day or a number of 10-days in Goenka, crossed the A&P, didn't have it contextualized, and then either had lots of problems with the A&P kundalini stuff or the Dark Night that followed, lacked proper support, frameworks, and normalization, went on to make a mess of their lives, and finally found the maps, frameworks, and support and started putting things back together.



RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/12/19 7:24 AM as a reply to Matt 0983.

RE: Using Metta to enter Jhana?
Answer
8/13/19 11:35 PM as a reply to pieva.
pieva:
Matt 0983:

 In the meantime, what is the process you would recommend for taking up insight meditation?



There are many traditions and approaches. I would recommend you to find a teacher who you would like to follow (or who is available to you in your area). I have been practicing Vipassana as taught by Goenka, you might know that they have hundreds of centres around the globe (another advantage being his non-sectarian approach). You might have a Bhuddist monastery somewhere near you and it could be a good place to go for advice and place to meditate. If you can afford to book time off, go on a retreat and you will get a quick launch into the practice.

Starting this reply I thought I would give you some ideas about observing your body sensations, as they rise and pass away. But it cannot be told in a few words and you need a structured appraoch. You can ask in a new thread and maybe someone would be willing to guide you or give you some good links to read.

You have developed incredible skills aready so I wish you to apply them wisely to get incredible results.

I see. Well there is alot of information here to digest and I can see why things can get so confusing at times.

For some reason I have always thought that a very hard first jhana was needed to begin vipassana, but I am always open to learning and this is changing how I view things. I always thought that vipassana was practiced after exiting jhana.

I have been reading the second edition MCTB and am up to the three characteristics and there are some practices listed there which I think I will at least give a try. I also might try contacting a reputable local monastery by phone and talking to the teacher there too, so I can gain a better understanding on how to proceed and even to begin insight. Thankyou for your help.

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"Renowned and experienced masters of Buddhist meditation are generally agreed on the point that Jhana is not necessary or a prerequisite for Vipassana Meditation. For example, in the book Living Buddhist Masters (Formerly published under BPS, this book has since been retitled Living Dharma by Shambala) by Jack Kornfield, all the 12 masters written about, clearly stated or indicated that one can do Vipassana without cultivating any Jhana. Some teach Vipassana relying only on Khanika Samadhi or Access Concentration (upacara samadhi). Others teach both Samatha, Jhana and Vipassana but emphasised that one need not attain Jhana to do Vipassana. Yogis can switch to Vipassana after attaining a moderate level of concentration which is sufficient to overcome The Five Hindrances. Furthermore, most cautioned against attachment or stagnation in Jhana and emphasised the need to do Vipassana. Some of these Masters too have been monks from their early youth and are adept not only in meditation but also scholarship. They have studied the Tipitaka, Commentaries and Sub-commentaries in the original Pali and thus speak with the authority of both the scriptures and personal practice and experience. Some have practised in forests for many years and are well-versed with both Samatha and Vipassana."

"In Sri Lanka, some 30 years ago, three monks criticised the pure vipassana method taught by the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw. Subsequently, one of them, in an article to the World Buddhism magazine in 1966, again criticized the method and put forward that jhana was necessary for vipassana. Sayadaw U Nyanuttara of Myanmar in a series of replies explained the position of khanika (momentary) concentration and explained why jhana was not necessary in accordance with scriptural and commentarial evidence. Eventually, the Mahasi Organisation published both the Criticisms and Replies in a book for the benefit of posterity."
http://www.angelfire.com/indie/anna_jones1/vip-jhana.html