Nanas / Jhanas. Notes from a call with Kenneth Folk

Bill T, modified 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 5:53 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 3:24 AM

Nanas / Jhanas. Notes from a call with Kenneth Folk

Posts: 108 Join Date: 11/22/19 Recent Posts
Was going to try summarising my understanding of Kenneth's take on the nanas / jhanas, but then found he's already done it in this brilliant short article:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/Jhana+and+%C3%91ana

Just perfect.

The one detail I might add from our call, is that his current theory on what changes throughout ALL the nanas, is that "perceptual resolution increases". This is contrary to the MCTB model, where resolution drops during dissolution & dukkha nana phases.

Very interesting. Any thoughts on this?
thumbnail
Bardo, modified 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 5:50 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 5:50 AM

RE: Nanas / Jhanas. Notes from a call with Kenneth Folk

Posts: 260 Join Date: 9/14/19 Recent Posts
Your link goes back to this thread.
Bill T, modified 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 5:53 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 5:53 AM

RE: Nanas / Jhanas. Notes from a call with Kenneth Folk

Posts: 108 Join Date: 11/22/19 Recent Posts
Thanks Bardo. Fixed!
shargrol, modified 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 6:01 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 5:57 AM

RE: Nanas / Jhanas. Notes from a call with Kenneth Folk

Posts: 1760 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Just a quick note - and I think this is important because everyone seems to make this mistake...

People assume that things like vagueness, confusion, uncertainty, dullness etc is not "perceptual resolution". This is one of the core misunderstandings human have about their own mind. They think only certain mind objects are indicators of perception.. They assume that attention is always clear and vivid and precise, right?

But what the dark night teaches us is that when the mind is clearly and vividly vague, or clearly and vividly confused, or clearly and vividly uncertain, or clearly and vividly dull ------  we have perceptual resolution, it's simply perceptual resolution of things that normally suggest a lack of perceptual resolution. In other words, vagueness, confusion, uncertainty, and dullness are perfectly fine mind objects, too. 

Perception/awareness is more powerful than any mind object. 

If people don't really get this, they will be on an endless chase for a particular kind of clarity and vividness and will basically become more and more averse and repressed to normal occurances of dark night mind states/mind objects. This is in part what makes the dark night so dark nightish, people hating their mind and being averse to it.

So anyway, be careful when searching for "perceptual resolution", don't turn it into aversion.
Bill T, modified 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 6:13 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 6:13 AM

RE: Nanas / Jhanas. Notes from a call with Kenneth Folk

Posts: 108 Join Date: 11/22/19 Recent Posts
That makes a lot of sense shargrol! Thanks. Also the impression I was left from talking to Kenneth.
Olivier S, modified 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 6:20 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 6:16 AM

RE: Nanas / Jhanas. Notes from a call with Kenneth Folk

Posts: 758 Join Date: 4/27/19 Recent Posts
If there are no things, how can there be perception ?

Not trying to be sly...

If awareness is not "consciousness" in the sense of one thing here perceiving another over there - ie, intentionality -, if the sensate world is just that, sensate always, alive and awake in essence, then what is that notion of perceptual resolution ?

It's a real question. Isn't that increase just the slow breakdown of the illusion of objective knowledge, of consciousness in the sense of a dual relationship ?

Is that why the mahasi method produces crystal clear nanas, because it is based on using "objective" knowledge, reinforcing the sense of conscious observation before breaking it down ?
shargrol, modified 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 7:35 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 7:33 AM

RE: Nanas / Jhanas. Notes from a call with Kenneth Folk

Posts: 1760 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
Yes, meditaton on mind objects, all mind objects, shows the fabrication of the subject-object model of perception. 

Experience itself is fundamentally a mystery. Where is it? What is it? We think we know, but then we start meditating...

The quality of nanas is more dependent on the meditator. If the meditator avoids things like emotions and thoughts as mind objects in their noting, then they are so focused on body sensations that they never quite "see" these psycho-emotional stages. And if no one has heard of nanas, they may not see them so clearly, but they'll probably come up with different names for phases of practice... This is the woowoo stage (A&P), this is the lazy stage (Dissolution), this is the haunted house stage (Fear), this is the wimpering baby stage (Misery), this is the irrate teenager stage (Disgust), this is the trying to get my life in order stage (Desire for Deliverance), this is the psychological basket case stage (Reobservation), this is the easy groovin' stage (Equanimity)...

  emoticon
thumbnail
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 8:07 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 8:07 AM

RE: Nanas / Jhanas. Notes from a call with Kenneth Folk

Posts: 6424 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
That description of the nanas made me giggle. So very spot on! 
thumbnail
Chris M, modified 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 8:37 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 8:37 AM

RE: Nanas / Jhanas. Notes from a call with Kenneth Folk

Posts: 4417 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Is that why the mahasi method produces crystal clear nanas, because it is based on using "objective" knowledge, reinforcing the sense of conscious observation before breaking it down ?

When you drive down the road in the summer you often see a shimmering pool of water on the road ahead of you. As you drive along you continue to see the water but you never seem to get there. Is there water out there? After all, you can see it!

emoticon


thumbnail
Che Guebuddha, modified 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 8:47 AM
Created 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 8:46 AM

RE: Nanas / Jhanas. Notes from a call with Kenneth Folk

Posts: 65 Join Date: 8/19/11 Recent Posts
I had a feeling that Ingram also describes Dissolution as something that looses its Center focus and everything moves into the PERIFERY of the focus. Hence the breath disapears for many like me and if you dont know about the Maps you can like me easily get freaked out and PANIC emoticon 

When seen for what it is the Dissolution actually feels only as the Pre-Dark Night as an indicator (if you know about the Maps). I enjoy Dissolution now as that Outbreath has a quality of letting go of a burden like "aaahhhhhhh" (how nice) just when coming back home from a jogging and then sit down and you say "aahhhhhh" emoticon

Also very importnat when talking or pondering "Dark Night" is that its made of a few different stages that can culminate in the Re-observation. Each of those are very interesting and each deserve to be investigated as they appear (and disappier).

Kenneth looks at the Dissolution as the 3rd Vipassana Jhana if I remember correctly.

He tried to teach me how to focus and defocus my eyes so to easier master the Vipassana Jhanas and get to EQ without all the Dark Stuff inbetween but me being me I always go through the mud emoticon Thats ok.

Still, eventhough Folk's teaching could appear different to Ingram's I see them as very much the same. Look at Ingrams Model called Simple Model (or was it a Mode). Thats very much in the same zone as Folk's 3 Speed Transmition. 
One might go too fast in Kennet's Model to get to that 2nd Gear and be tempted to "look down one's own pipe and look at the Doer" but this could lead to so much frustration and getting off the actuallity of what is going on hence getting lost in stories about what is being looked at.

However Kenneth does say that one should try and feel when things go up the hill and change to the 1st Gear as that is the only way you will get up the steep hill. It seeks to really judge your own "perceptual resolution".

Gears in the car are there to use them. As Shinzen sais "We dont feel like driving our fancy Rolss-Royce in a 1st gear up the hill, who is to tell me that I cant do that in the cruise mode" emoticonemoticonemoticon 

I see both Kenneth Folk and Ingram being "my teachers". I draw from both depending on the situation. The Maps are great. The 3 Speed Trasmition is great. Henck, even Folk's use of the 6 Tibetan Realms is a usefull Model to get oneself back into the Human Realm as that is the ONLY Realm that can do Vipassana emoticon (this was the first slap in my face I received from Kenneth to get me on the right track so to keep on the task of Noting/Noticing all sensations and keep coming back to the Human Realm as soon I would percieve my ind going someplace else).

Kenneth uses Lenses to describe where the Mind. Ingram uses (I assume these days he does) Modes in form of a Cultural Conditioning and "Generation" one belongs to. I ought to listen to that interesting podcast of Imperfect Buddha again as it is very interesting but NOT neccessery for those concerned with awakening really.

BTW, as I was not interested in "Lenses" Kenneth dropped that as he is tuned into what I was showing interest for and things I would mention from my actual practice to reinforce that.

Also love how Kenneth talks about the Samatha Jhanas emoticon He said to me "being in Jhanas for 4 hours is same as being 4 hours closer to Death" emoticon meaning not beneficial to awakening. I think Shinzen also thinks along these lines.

Still all this (according to Kenneth) is very good to master if one is willing to teach others as of course you never know what the student might come up with. Some might start with dry Noting and develop some fine concentartion and such experiences so why throw the baby out with the bath water, instead use it as ALL experience on the sensate level is worth of investigation.

Good man both Ingram and Folk are! I jokingly see them a bit like our modern days Maha Moggallana and Sariputta emoticon not sure which one is which tho emoticon 

p.s. (shhh Im sure Daniel would prefer to be Saripputa as he seems to be his hero ... accroding to his book) emoticon 

BTW, sorry if I went off topic
Bill T, modified 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 12:13 PM
Created 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 12:13 PM

RE: Nanas / Jhanas. Notes from a call with Kenneth Folk

Posts: 108 Join Date: 11/22/19 Recent Posts
Cool Che, interesting. 

The bit I found most telling in Kenneth's article was this :


"Once a yogi, whether American, Asian, or otherwise, reaches the fourth ñana, it is imperative that the teacher recognize this and change the instruction from effort to concentration. A post 4th ñana yogi is in no danger of becoming "lost in concentration." He or she has all the tools to deconstruct whatever object presents itself to the mind. The important thing now is to access the relevant mental strata. These strata are accessed through concentration. There are various techniques to encourage the development of concentration. Two of my favorites are counting the breath from one to ten, and kasina practice."

Certainly seems to line up with my recent practice anyhow. Still finding a more concentration focused meditation very useful. 

thumbnail
Che Guebuddha, modified 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 1:15 PM
Created 2 Years ago at 2/2/20 1:15 PM

RE: Nanas / Jhanas. Notes from a call with Kenneth Folk

Posts: 65 Join Date: 8/19/11 Recent Posts
I see your point there and it does agree with my experience. I did feel more need to shut up in EQ and just be aware of the panoramic awareness , all inclusive. Then the whole thing got filled with Boredom and then I kept NOTING THAT Aloud again with zest I might add emoticon which helped counteract the mind maybe stopping or even being lost in some parts of nice EQ especially after some ravaging Dark Night. 

If one indeed is in EQ than effort will be no more and concentration, or better yet All-inclusivness will take place without the need of Noting/Efforting. It might be that some folks need the remonder to let go of effort dunno about that it just could be.

In my experience (I must emphasise IME) Freestyle NOTING ALOUD did turn into a Mantra at some stage and was flickering in dynamics and intensity depending on the stage mind was in (or perception was in). Concentartion was getting stronger with it also Noting Aloud and Samatha were working together. 

As you know I show great respect for Kenneth but I see no difference in Counting breath from 1 to 10 vs. Noting Aloud (which actually includes the breath A LOT emoticon 
In my case even the Noting Aloud (lets look at it as Mantra for now) would in EQ sound more equinimous which was very different to the prevoius Re-Observation where in my case it sounded uttery Disqusted and Miserable vs again the very fast Mantra like with certain rhytm to it in the A&P. All these can be percieved clearly which can be investigated. Also helpful to recognise where one is on the Map without much doubt. For example in Dissolution I would only be able to ote aloud very slow and kind of heavy almost tired. All these changes can be investigated and compared/judged/discerned. "When this was that was, when that was not this was not, when this is that is not, when that ...." / Syd the Man emoticon 

One thing that Kenneth told me and it still sticks with me very well is that eventually I will need to create my own Map. Obviously he did not mean to make up something entirelly different (I hope). 



We all are different and unike in the bagage department (call it Karma or Psychology/Cultural conditioning or else) so going through it will need some adjusting in some ways as it all can depend on the Mode our Mind is in, or Lens our perception is experiencing through. That being said, the mechanics of this Mind/Perception seems very much the same as our Bones and Musscles etc are ... made of human DNA, again with those individual DNA signatures which show the diversity among us in so many ways. We all the same yet very different emoticon Ha! 

Breadcrumb