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First samatha jhana or A&P???
Answer
6/28/11 1:14 PM
Hi everyone,

About a year ago, I had my first spiritual experience ever, which was incredibly intense, and after doing tons of research to figure out what the hell happened to me, I figured that it was the first samatha jhana. However, Daniel recently suggested that it could have been A&P, so now I'm really confused. : P So I figured I'd describe the experience and settle this once and for all!

Some might be wondering, well, what does it really matter? I guess I'd just like to know where I am on the map, especially since I had what I thought really was A&P much more recently, but it felt completely different.

A&P "symptoms" I experienced:
bliss, rapture, concentration
explosion of consciousness
incorrectly think that they are enlightened
evangelical

Common A&P symptoms I did not experience:
visions of light
increased perceptual abilities [I was too blissed out to notice]
spontaneous physical movements and strange jerky breathing patterns
equanimity, mindfulness


First jhana symptoms I experienced:
applied and sustained effort or attention, rapture, happiness and concentration
great fun, feels good, but takes consistent effort to sustain
cultivate it again and again in their sitting practice at home

First jhana symptoms I did not experience:
N/A


Thoughts?

Thanks all emoticon

Morgan

RE: First samatha jhana or A&P???
Answer
6/28/11 2:56 PM as a reply to Morgan Taylor.
The two territories (early nanas and first 2 samatha jhanas) are very similar. It's probably impossible to give any definite diagnosis with certainty, even harder to do that online.

I suggest you look at the feeling of ambiguity and your reaction to it. This may prove much more helpful in your practice than pin-pointing your location on the maps. In some ways this practice is about realizing that there is no safe harbor. There is no solid ground to stand on. This uncertainty is just one manifestation of that.

Eran.

RE: First samatha jhana or A&P???
Answer
6/28/11 4:23 PM as a reply to Eran G.
Eran G:
I suggest you look at the feeling of ambiguity and your reaction to it.


I know this is a popular thing to say in the Buddhist world, but given that it is such, I think it's safe to say that most people on here are already examining any feelings that come up in meditation. Imo, there's nothing wrong with asking a question in a conventional sense and getting an answer in a conventional sense instead of in the form of a (metaphorical) Zen-master slap.

I'm sorry if that response sounds rather curt, but I just think that this is the place for these kinds of questions. If all questions could be answered with "just sit with it," then there would be no need for this forum; we could just delete all the threads and have one page saying "just sit with it." (Fans of Zen, I'm sure, might actually think this is a good idea.)

And if one person says "I suggest you look at your need to answer curtly...." >: P

RE: First samatha jhana or A&P???
Answer
6/28/11 4:59 PM as a reply to Morgan Taylor.
Morgan Taylor:
Eran G:
I suggest you look at the feeling of ambiguity and your reaction to it.


I know this is a popular thing to say in the Buddhist world, but given that it is such, I think it's safe to say that most people on here are already examining any feelings that come up in meditation. Imo, there's nothing wrong with asking a question in a conventional sense and getting an answer in a conventional sense instead of in the form of a (metaphorical) Zen-master slap.

I'm sorry if that response sounds rather curt, but I just think that this is the place for these kinds of questions. If all questions could be answered with "just sit with it," then there would be no need for this forum; we could just delete all the threads and have one page saying "just sit with it." (Fans of Zen, I'm sure, might actually think this is a good idea.)

And if one person says "I suggest you look at your need to answer curtly...." >: P


Actually, I would second such advice, Morgan. If you are side stepping doing this, then I ask why?

RE: First samatha jhana or A&P???
Answer
6/28/11 5:05 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
Actually, I would second such advice, Morgan. If you are side stepping doing this, then I ask why?


I don't see how my response is side-stepping it. I guess I could have been more specific, but basically I already investigate any thoughts and feelings that come up during meditation, including doubt, frustration, expectation, etc., and so because of that, I find this standard response redundant and therefore unhelpful.

RE: First samatha jhana or A&P???
Answer
6/28/11 5:13 PM as a reply to Morgan Taylor.
Morgan Taylor:
Nikolai .:
Actually, I would second such advice, Morgan. If you are side stepping doing this, then I ask why?


I don't see how my response is side-stepping it. I guess I could have been more specific, but basically I already investigate any thoughts and feelings that come up during meditation, including doubt, frustration, expectation, etc., and so because of that, I find this standard response redundant and therefore unhelpful.


It's nicer to be non-confrontational. This was a good answer. Keep on trooping!


The disharmony you’ve observed is the human condition, and it has ‘been there’ (naturally) since time immemorial. It is ‘both sides of this coin’ and the stress perceived to be between them as well … after all, ‘I’ am the ‘human condition’ and the ‘human condition’ is ‘me’.

What I once noticed was that when I held no allegiances, there was nothing to defend. With nothing to defend, I grew dispassionate. Without ally or enemy, the need for 'defense' born of fear and 'offense' born of aggression became utterly redundant. I dropped all 'my' armaments and became harmless … and a delicately sweet peace settled all about. Such is the result of a mind which refuses ill-will for any and every reason it can find; which may mean simply rejecting it by principle, or perhaps because of some specific reasoning.

So the notion about whether it ‘shouldn’t be there’ is beside the point, because it is already there. 'I' am both the 'offense' and 'defense', and it is because 'I' have chosen 'sides'. A more relevant question, then, may be: what am I going to do about it? Do 'I' dare care enough about ‘humanity’ to abandon it and all of the various divisions and groups that make it up? Trent


This is vital for all paths talked of here, AF, Dharma, DhAFrma etc


:-)


Nick

RE: First samatha jhana or A&P???
Answer
6/28/11 5:33 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
It's nicer to be non-confrontational. This was a good answer. Keep on trooping!


Sorry, I tried to dial it down; it's obviously a pet peeve of mine.

Oh, and don't worry; I'm thoroughly investigating my pet peeviness at the moment....

RE: First samatha jhana or A&P???
Answer
6/28/11 3:04 PM as a reply to Morgan Taylor.
a&p. it's also very possible that the other, more recent, experience you mention could have been another pass through a&p territory. an account of it here would be helpful for a more complete diagnosis, whatever that's worth.

on a different, but related, point: 'the knowledge of arising and passing away' is a stage of insight, and it is named this for a reason. its characteristic of primary importance is the insight into the nature of the arising and passing of phenomena that occurs to a practitioner who arrives to this stage. this understanding is an integral part of a strong insight practice, and is indispensable as far as understanding the three characteristics is concerned.

tarin

RE: First samatha jhana or A&P???
Answer
6/28/11 4:14 PM as a reply to tarin greco.
tarin greco:
a&p. it's also very possible that the other, more recent, experience you mention could have been another pass through a&p territory. an account of it here would be helpful for a more complete diagnosis, whatever that's worth.


The different, mroe recent experience also didn't include visions of lights, but did include heightened perception and feelings of going through a vortex and levitation. It did not, however, include the rapture and bliss of the first one and was more sort of frightening and discombobulating than anything.


tarin greco:
on a different, but related, point: 'the knowledge of arising and passing away' is a stage of insight, and it is named this for a reason. its characteristic of primary importance is the insight into the nature of the arising and passing of phenomena that occurs to a practitioner who arrives to this stage. this understanding is an integral part of a strong insight practice, and is indispensable as far as understanding the three characteristics is concerned.


In terms of that, I guess the second one had more of that, as it felt like stimuli were rushing through me at incredible speeds, but either way, how is insight into arising and passing away different from just observing impermanence? Aren't those just two different ways of saying the same thing?

Thanks for your help. emoticon

RE: First samatha jhana or A&P???
Answer
6/29/11 9:32 PM as a reply to Morgan Taylor.
A&p is so vague. Anything that happens in meditation that hasn't happened before and may induce a what the f was that, is safe to call simply a breakthrough in meditation practice. Jhana can be for one mind moment. many a meditater experience sparks and flickers of jhana without clearly knowing what happened or how it happened. get a copy of Bhante Gunaratana's most recent book, "beyond mindfulness" chapters 9 and 10 goes through access concentration and fixed absorption with superb guidance.

Floating& vortexy feelings, visions, voices and the like are usually access concentration territory.

Quite secluded from those sensual pleasures and unwholesome states of mind i.e. greed, hatred, delusion (opposites are right intention i.e. loving-friendliness, compassion, renunciation/letting go) she enters into the first jhana. as a result of this seclusion she experiences rapture/joyful intrest and happiness/pleasure not of the senses. all the while applying and sustaining attention. and don't forget to throw on some one pointedness/singleness of preoccupation as well.

Equanimity is indispensable when approaching 1st jhana as one has to be just right with letting go and holding on. also there does not have to be a visual sign / nimitta it can be a comfortable physical touch feeling, or a glowing feeling at the spot you are directing the attention to ( personally i use anapanasati at the touch point at nose). when the feeling arises pay undivided attention to it and before long there should be a tiny spark/flicker or a sinking in feeling. this is the entry point and the time one needs to be careful not to question the experience. just observe and let it happen, without raising or lowering effort of attention.

Hope someone may find this helpful - Peace