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Form to Formless
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11/30/19 10:24 AM
I am looking for some info on where to go from the 4th jhana. When I sit nowdays it feels like I am able to get to the 4th jhana easily. It's almost like walking down a hall. Passing by 3 doors, getting a smell, sound or sense of them. Not having to go into them, I know them. At the end of the hall is a 4th door. Going into it feels like there are many ways to go from this place. Placing my attiention on an object, body, vision field, breath or space could take me somewhere. Many paths from here could be taken.

I have had several experiences over the years from this place of 4th jhana, of what could be discribed as absorption into 5th jhana.

My question, is this strong feeling of passing over or droping into something (absorption). Does this have to happen to be in 5th jhana or as a sign of being there. Or could I have been getting to 5th jhana and passed that without knowing it?

RE: Form to Formless
Answer
11/30/19 12:43 PM as a reply to Michial N.
Maybe try some of these approaches for jhana:  http://www.leighb.com/jhana2do.htm

RE: Form to Formless
Answer
11/30/19 1:01 PM as a reply to shargrol.
Thanks, i'll check it out.

RE: Form to Formless
Answer
11/30/19 3:16 PM as a reply to Michial N.
The mind has these pre-emptive techniques about something unknowable approaching. For me, this has been a familiar pattern with the mind especially when approaching the formless realms. It resists in the most unusual ways. It's something to consider as a possible hindrance when you're over in that region again.

From my experience, after cycling through the first four jhanas I came to see their futility early on (3C's) and so generally I ignore jhanas in meditation. They happen but I don't dwell in them seeking comfort. They can be helpful as a proxy method of deepening concentration but I appear to have maxed that out. Instead, I choose to enter jhana outside of meditation where they can be experienced at their fullest. In moving into boundless space, I place my attention on just that: the space in-between worldly objects, how I move through space and how space only exists from the presence of forms - I then emerge into boundless space. I seem to have an unusual ability to meditate with my eyes open.

In meditation the approach, I imagine, would be somewhat different. I don't have a technique for how this happens in meditation. It just seems to happen. I worked heavily on my hindrances when I first began meditating and this is why they occur so easily. When you develop a healthy and refined understanding of your hindrances moving through jhana is far easier - effortless in fact. 

Is it possible to not know that you've dropped into boundless space during meditation? Yes, it can come in subtly at first but I would find it difficult that one would not notice complete absorption into boundless space. Maybe try describing your experience of that region and cross-referencing it with other descriptions. That can be tricky territory though but it seems like you're looking for validation. This will only come from repeated and sustained visits to that region. As for passing through boundless space and moving into boundless consciousness, it would be unmistakable to not directly know this in my view. Boundless consciousness is quite something!

RE: Form to Formless
Answer
11/30/19 9:50 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Bardo Cruiser:
I appear to have maxed that out. 


So you are saying you already can manipulate jhanas at great speeds in ascending and descending order 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 and 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 changing objects and skipping some jhanas? because i think that´s what it means to "maxed out". If that´s the case, holy shit that´s nuts!

RE: Form to Formless
Answer
12/1/19 1:26 AM as a reply to Jake Frankfurt Middenhall.
Jake Frankfurt Midenhall:


So you are saying you already can manipulate jhanas at great speeds in ascending and descending order 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 and 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 changing objects and skipping some jhanas? because i think that´s what it means to "maxed out". If that´s the case, holy shit that´s nuts!

Yes, it can be done in this mechanistic linear fashion in the way you describe. Principally, the process is a little more cumbersome. The point is to experience jhana (sukkha) fall off jhana (dukkha) and learn equanimity (upekkha). We learn this by shifting high into pleasure and dropping low into suffering. From this we realize that jhana has dissatisfaction baked into its core due to its ephemeral nature and the clinging of the mind. The learning of this entire process is rooted in impermanence, suffering, and not-self. Furthermore, jhana is a small component of a bigger picture and after learning this, jhana becomes a slight annoyance. Eventually, jhana comes and you barely notice them as your consciousness has elevated beyond any lessons you could learn from them. They become entry level tuitions so you toss them aside in search of something more advanced. 

RE: Form to Formless
Answer
12/1/19 8:08 AM as a reply to Bardo.
In meditation the approach, I imagine, would be somewhat different. I don't have a technique for how this happens in meditation. It just seems to happen.


ok thanks

Is it possible to not know that you've dropped into boundless space during meditation? Yes, it can come in subtly at first but I would find it difficult that one would not notice complete absorption into boundless space.
I agree, when there is absorption into boundless space its unmistakable. 

That can be tricky territory though but it seems like you're looking for validation.This will only come from repeated and sustained visits to that region
ok i'll figure it out on my own.





RE: Form to Formless
Answer
12/1/19 10:01 AM as a reply to Michial N.
I have found tuning in to that awake, unbondaried spaciousness of the 4th opens up 5 and upwards. A kind of formless and awake quality. Feels like its something to do with disolving a subtle duality present in 4th around inside and outside. But this will tend to arise naturally usually if you hang out in the 4th. Good luck, B

RE: Form to Formless
Answer
12/1/19 11:04 PM as a reply to Bardo.
Well. You know insight is not the only axis of development. The method i described is what is needed to master concentration, to achieve the siddhis or to achieve liberation by power. You can achieve enlightenment without mastering concentration practices. My point is that i don´t think you really maxed out in the "jhana" business, but maybe is enough for your insight development.