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Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 9:38 AM
RE: Jhana FTW Nikolai . 9/23/11 10:14 AM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 10:28 AM
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RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 11:29 AM
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RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 11:43 AM
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RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 12:00 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 12:01 PM
RE: Jhana FTW Nikolai . 9/23/11 12:09 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 12:15 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 12:12 PM
RE: Jhana FTW Nikolai . 9/23/11 12:14 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 12:24 PM
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RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 1:08 PM
RE: Jhana FTW Steph S 9/23/11 2:01 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 3:54 PM
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RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 6:59 PM
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RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 8:14 PM
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RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/24/11 9:09 AM
RE: Jhana FTW bill of the wandering mind 9/24/11 9:08 AM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/24/11 9:10 AM
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RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/24/11 1:06 PM
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RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/26/11 5:43 PM
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RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/27/11 1:32 PM
RE: Jhana FTW bill of the wandering mind 9/27/11 3:20 PM
RE: Jhana FTW Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/27/11 5:03 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/27/11 5:33 PM
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RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 10/10/11 9:55 AM
RE: Jhana FTW Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 10/10/11 10:02 AM
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RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 10/29/11 3:08 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 10/29/11 3:20 PM
RE: Jhana FTW katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 10/31/11 8:17 AM
RE: Jhana FTW . . 9/24/11 11:58 AM
RE: Jhana FTW Tommy M 9/23/11 2:09 PM
RE: Jhana FTW Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/23/11 2:27 PM
RE: Jhana FTW Tommy M 9/23/11 2:47 PM
RE: Jhana FTW Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/23/11 3:00 PM
RE: Jhana FTW Nikolai . 9/23/11 3:11 PM
RE: Jhana FTW Tommy M 9/23/11 5:43 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 4:07 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 4:02 PM
RE: Jhana FTW Tommy M 9/23/11 6:01 PM
RE: Jhana FTW Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/23/11 1:54 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 3:52 PM
RE: Jhana FTW Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 9/23/11 5:06 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 5:54 PM
RE: Jhana FTW Nikolai . 9/23/11 2:39 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 4:13 PM
RE: Jhana FTW . . 9/23/11 1:32 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 1:41 PM
RE: Jhana FTW . . 9/23/11 2:33 PM
RE: Jhana FTW . . 9/23/11 1:52 PM
RE: Jhana FTW Nikolai . 9/23/11 1:57 PM
RE: Jhana FTW . . 9/23/11 2:05 PM
RE: Jhana FTW Nikolai . 9/23/11 12:03 PM
RE: Jhana FTW . . 9/23/11 12:20 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 11:20 AM
RE: Jhana FTW . . 9/23/11 2:44 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 4:26 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 4:41 PM
RE: Jhana FTW . . 9/23/11 5:53 PM
RE: Jhana FTW . . 9/23/11 8:29 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/23/11 11:49 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 9/24/11 12:39 AM
RE: Jhana FTW Eric B 9/26/11 11:29 AM
RE: Jhana FTW katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 10/29/11 10:55 PM
RE: Jhana FTW katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 10/30/11 2:33 AM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 10/30/11 9:30 AM
RE: Jhana FTW katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 10/30/11 12:42 PM
RE: Jhana FTW End in Sight 10/30/11 9:00 PM
RE: Jhana FTW katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 10/31/11 12:40 AM
RE: Jhana FTW katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks 10/31/11 12:44 AM
Jhana FTW
Answer
9/23/11 9:38 AM
This is a continuation of a subject that came up in "Nirodha Samapatti FTW".

Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
End in Sight:
Out of curiosity, do you experience absorption as exaggerating 'being', or ameliorating 'being'? I wonder if there are two different styles of jhana corresponding to this difference. I was familiar with the latter from my previous practice, and it's in this sense that I'm making a comparison with my experience now.


it transforms 'being' into the particular jhana. the deeper the jhana, the more total the transformation. in a sense it exaggerates it to be far more obvious (which makes it easier to pick apart and see through). in another sense it ameliorates it to be far more tame and pleasant (which also makes it easier to pick apart and see through).


I myself have noticed that there are two forms of jhana; one is an exaggeration of 'being' (where 'I' would become the jhana, 'I' would be piti / sukha / equanimity / formless stuff / whatever), the other is an amelioration of it (where my experience would lose a sense of located-ness or a sense of consciousness inhabiting my head, and would become very sensuous).

This may be linked to the insistence in the suttas that jhana is important and must be cultivated, and why "right concentration" is part of the eightfold path. The 'ameliorating' form of jhana is like PCE-lite. (Perhaps it could become a full PCE with strong concentration.)

I don't have detailed advice for how to attain the 'ameliorating' form of jhana, but the basic thing is, if you're paying attention to breath, attend to the physical breath rather than any nimitta, and, at the point at which you feel that you might be at some kind of transitional point, just "let go" while you keep noticing the breath effortlessly.

On this thread, I'd like to hear about other yogis' experience with jhana, whether jhana exaggerates or ameliorates 'being', how others have attained one or both forms, whether the above advice is useful for attaining the latter form of jhana, etc.

If I had been really really good at the 'ameliorating' form of jhana, I would have done it all the time, and I have no doubt that it would have been very beneficial for attaining AF...just as the pali suttas say.

EDIT: I experienced the 'ameliorating' form of jhana long before I had understood or become interested in AF, and always considered it to be much better than the 'exaggerating' form, though I didn't have any sort of clear model or theory of what was going on and what the difference was. Occasionally I wondered if I was slipping into some kind of "3rd gear" practice in those cases, as, when 'being' is lessened, there is a very different experience of the world and of consciousness.


EDIT 2: Another kind of advice that I could give for 'ameliorating' jhana is to notice whatever pleasant tactile sensations come up in the body, and pay attention to those. (Notice the actual sensations, not the affective sensations.) This may be similar to Leigh Brasington's advice; I am unsure.

EDIT 3: The suttas often say that jhana makes one invisible to Mara, or blinds Mara...this is quite a good metaphor for the 'ameliorating' form, in my opinion, as when 'being' is suppressed, there is no 'you' for Mara to see. At the transitional moment, there is a clear experience that, suddenly, you have become temporarily immunized to all the defilements, as 'you' are not around to suffer them / be them, and so there is no way for Mara to afflict you so long as the jhana continues.

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
9/23/11 10:14 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com/2011/06/yogi-toolbox-pceaf-like-approach-to.html

This practice helped refine (ameliorate) 'me' immensely.

Nick


This method of practice can be done either with eyes open or closed, sitting, lying down, standing or pacing slowly up and down a walking path. Any interested yogi should try it in all positions. In fact, if you can, try following the instructions at the same time as reading them.


Here is the set up:


Important Pre-requisite Preparation


1) First thing to do and the most important aspect of this method is the following: One must take on the notion that "I" am my feelings and my feelings are "me". Any feelings that have arisen in any given moment also give off a sense of existing as a felt sense of "being". They also apply to the form and formless jhanas. So one could equally say "I" am the arisen form and formless jhanas as well. You need to get a sense or "feel" for a sense of "being" that permeates the current moment before attempting this practice. If you are not in PCE mode, there will always be a sense of presence or "being" there to feel and sense.


If you have gotten to MCTB 4th path, it might be easier to sense the felt sense of "being". It's not the centre point pattern of sensations previously misread as "self". It is a sense of presence or "being" or inner world or feeling "me" or felt sense of flow of becoming. When you get a sense for it, BE it! That is to say, don't step back and observe it with equanimity as something dis-identified from, like what is taught by some insight teachers. Rather, claim that sense of being as "you". Of course, after 4th path, one can see there really is no "you" there. Yet, tendencies and habitual patterns continue to arise. They just continue to arise sticky-free. But still, they continue.


So for this method of jhana practice to really bring the results I'm pointing to, one must claim that "continuance of such habitual tendencies" as the very sense of "being", as a persisting flow of "you", even without a centre point if you are at MCTB 4th path. It has a different feel to it than a dis-identified viewpoint which is often taken by insight meditators. We are not immersing ourselves in and believing an illusion. Ultimately the sense of "being" is just smoke and mirrors. For this practice to work, one must accept that there is still the illusion of "being" arising and use it as a means to end suffering.


Thanissaro in The Paradox Of Becoming states:

Because any desire that produces becoming also produces suffering, the Buddha was faced with a strategic challenge: how to put an end to suffering when the desire to put an end to suffering would lead to renewed suffering. His solution to this problem involved a paradoxical strategy, creating a state of becoming in the mind from which he could watch the potentials of kamma as they come into being, but without fueling the desire to do anything with regard to those potentials at all. In the terms of the field analogy, this solution would deprive the seed of moisture. Eventually, when all other states of becoming had been allowed to pass away, the state of becoming that had acted as the strategic vantage point would have to be deprived of moisture as well. Because the moisture of craving and clinging would have seeped into the seed even of this strategic becoming, this would eventually mean the destruction of the seed, as that moisture and any conditioned aspects of consciousness the seed might contain were allowed to pass away. But any unconditioned aspects of consciousness—if they existed—wouldn’t be touched at all.

This is precisely what the Buddha attempted, and he found that the strategy worked. Becoming could be allowed to end through creating a specific state of becoming—the condition of mental absorption known as jhana—watered by specific types of craving and clinging. This type of becoming, together with its appropriate causes, is what constitutes the path he later taught. Once the path had done its work, he found, it could be abandoned through a process of perceptual deconstruction, and the quest for the end of suffering would be complete. Freed from both suffering and becoming, the mind would be totally released from the limitations of any identity or location—a freedom that beggars the imagination, but captures it as well.


2) Once you get a palpable feel for this sense of "being", notice how it doesn't really feel 100% satisfactory. Notice how there is a slight or obvious push and pull of desire at any given moment; the desire to follow a thought, a feeling or an urge. It doesn't matter how subtle it is. Notice how these mental movements are ultimately unsatisfactory. They are not conducive to peace. They don't allow for this sense of "being" to be 100% satisfactory. Also, notice how as this mode of "being", there is always the potential to experience any and all of the five hindrances.


The five hinderances are:

Sensual desire (kāmacchanda): Craving for pleasure to the senses.
Anger or ill-will (byāpāda, vyāpāda): Feelings of malice directed toward others.
Sloth-torpor or boredom (thīna-middha): Half-hearted action with little or no concentration.
Restlessness-worry (uddhacca-kukkucca): The inability to calm the mind.
Doubt (vicikicchā): Lack of conviction or trust.


Even if they haven't arisen, notice how the natural default sense of "being" has the potential to manifest AS these hindrances. If a hinderance is presenting itself, notice how unsatisfactory this sense of "being" is as the hinderance. Here we are equating the sense of "being" to whatever feeling or mind state that has arisen in any given moment. For the purpose of this method of practice, any affective quality of experience and the sense of being are taken and seen as one and the same thing. Thus, "I" am my feelings (five hinderances included) and my feelings are "me" is an important notion to understand experientially before attempting this practice.

1st Jhana

3) Now, after noticing how unsatisfactory the default state of the sense of "being" is while not in any jhanas due to having the potential to manifest as the hinderances, will yourself as that sense of "being" into the 1st jhana. Take your time. Really get a sense as yourself being that sense of "being" now manifesting as the 1st jhana with all its factors.

Notice how as that sense of "being" that you now ARE the 1st jhana. The sense of "being" is now manifesting with all the 1st jhana factors. Notice how the sense of "being" has a sense of effort there; a sense of applied and sustained thinking. Notice how the sense of "being" feels like it is based in the body.

The sense of "being" is now manifesting as the bliss and rapture of 1st jhana. Also notice that there is now no potential for the five hindrances to arise. Temporarily, the sense of "being" is now free of those hinderances somewhat. The hindrances have been suppressed temporarily. Notice that the 1st jhana is a slightly more refined sense of "being" than pre-1st jhana. It is slightly more satisfactory due to the hinderances being suppressed. Yet, it is not 100% satisfactory. In fact, it could be experienced as a little uncomfortable. The sense of effort can seem a little too much and same with the blissful sensations. Notice that this mode of "being" is unsatisfactory. Allow the fact that the mind has become aware of this unsatisfactoriness to generate dispassion for this mode of "being". Allow that dispassion to become the dominant view of this mode of "being".

2nd Jhana

4) Now, from the dispassion for the 1st jhana as that felt sense of "being", move to the 2nd jhana. Here, we are NOT moving INTO a jhana. We are actually manifesting the factors of the jhana AS the sense of "being" still. The sense of "being" IS the jhana. It is now a more refined sense of "being" manifesting the factors of each jhana. So now, as that felt sense of "being", become the 2nd jhana.

Notice how that sense of effort or applied and sustained thinking drops away. "I" as that sense of "being" am now more relaxed, unified, and tranquil compared to being the 1st jhana. Notice how "I" as that felt sense of "being" am based in the body. Also notice how, although more satisfactory than the 1st jhana, this slightly more refined mode of "being" is still not 100% satisfactory. Notice and focus on the qualities of this mode of "being" that seem unsatisfactory Allow for the natural arising of dispassion due to seeing the inherent unsatisfactoriness in this mode of "being". Allow the fact that the mind has become aware of this unsatisfactoriness to generate dispassion for this mode of "being". Allow that dispassion to become the dominant view of this mode of "being".

3rd Jhana

5) Now, from the dispassion for the 2nd jhana as that felt sense of "being", allow the factors of the 3rd jhana to become that sense of "being". Notice how, the focus moves to the periphery of the body. Notice how "I" as that felt sense of "being" am bliss manifesting. Notice how the feeling of rapture has dropped away and that sense of "being" is now a felt sense of happiness and bliss. Notice how this mode of "being" is more satisfactory than the previous mode, the 2nd jhana. Notice how the sense of "being" seems focused on and based on the periphery of the body.


Now allow the mind to notice this mode of "being" as not 100% satisfactory still. Perhaps the bliss is too much, or there are subtle mental movements to cling to the pleasurable experience. Allow for the natural arising of dispassion for this mode of "being" as the unsatisfactory qualities come to light. Allow the fact that the mind has become aware of this unsatisfactoriness to generate dispassion for this mode of "being". Allow that dispassion to become the dominant view of this mode of "being".

4th Jhana

6) Now, from the dispassion for the 3rd jhana as that felt sense of "being", allow the factors of the 4th jhana to become that sense of "being". Notice how the factors of bliss and happiness drop away to leave the sense of "being" panoramic, wide, open, calm, cooled and equanimous. Notice how "I" as that felt sense of "being" AM equanimity. Notice how the sense of "being" is based within the body still. Notice how much more satisfactory it is compared to the previous mode of "being" , the 3rd jhana. "I" AM EQUANIMITY.

Now, allow the mind to pick up on any sense that this mode of "being" is not 100% satisfactory. Perhaps there are slight mental movements to "enjoy" the pleasure and calm of this mode of "being". See how these subtle movements to cling to these factors are themselves unsatisfactory. If you can't figure out what is unsatisfactory about the 4th jhana, ask yourself which you'd prefer to exist as: a normal "being" exposed to the potential 5 hinderances versus a "being" forever equanimous. Is there still a clinging to that "equanimity"? A sutta quote from Aneñja-sappaya sutta conveys the dangers of clinging to equanimity.

When this was said, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One: "There is the case, lord, where a monk, having practiced in this way — 'It should not be, it should not occur to me; it will not be, it will not occur to me. What is, what has come to be, that I abandon' — obtains equanimity. Now, would this monk be totally unbound, or not?"
"A certain such monk might, Ananda, and another might not.'
"What is the cause, what is the reason, whereby one might and another might not?"
"There is the case, Ananda, where a monk, having practiced in this way — (thinking) 'It should not be, it should not occur to me; it will not be, it will not occur to me. What is, what has come to be, that I abandon' — obtains equanimity. He relishes that equanimity, welcomes it, remains fastened to it. As he relishes that equanimity, welcomes it, remains fastened to it, his consciousness is dependent on it, is sustained by it (clings to it). With clinging/sustenance, Ananda, a monk is not totally unbound."
"Being sustained, where is that monk sustained?"
"The dimension of neither perception nor non-perception."
"Then, indeed, being sustained, he is sustained by the supreme sustenance."
"Being sustained, Ananda, he is sustained by the supreme sustenance; for this — the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception — is the supreme sustenance. There is the case where a monk, having practiced in this way — 'It should not be, it should not occur to me; it will not be, it will not occur to me. What is, what has come to be, that I abandon' — obtains equanimity. He does not relish that equanimity, does not welcome it, does not remain fastened to it. As he does not relish that equanimity, does not welcome it, does not remain fastened to it, his consciousness is not dependent on it, is not sustained by it (does not cling to it). Without clinging/sustenance, Ananda, a monk is totally unbound."


Allow for the natural arising of dispassion for this mode of "being" as the unsatisfactory qualities come to light. Allow the fact that the mind has become aware of this unsatisfactoriness to generate dispassion for this mode of "being". Allow that dispassion to become the dominant view of this mode of "being".

5th Jhana of Infinite Space

7) Now, from the dispassion for the 4th jhana as that felt sense of "being", allow the factors of the 5th formless jhana to become that sense of "being". "I" am now the 5th jhana and its manifesting factors. Notice how the body as the base of the sense of "being", as the previous four jhanas, drops away. Notice how the felt sense of "being" is mental rather than body based. Notice how "I" as that felt sense of "being" am now the space all around the body.

Notice how "I" am still equanimity but also the space all around the body if the eyes are open, or all the mental space everywhere, if eyes are closed. There is an up and out feel to this mode of "being". Notice that it is slightly more satisfactory than the previous jhanas, as "I" as the felt sense of "being" am no longer confined to the body. Yet, it still isn't 100% satisfactory.


Like the 4th jhana, see how there may be subtle mental movements to grasp and cling to the pleasure and calm that arises as this formless realm manifest as the sense of "being". Allow for the natural arising of dispassion for this mode of "being" as its unsatisfactory qualities come to light. Allow the fact that the mind has become aware of this unsatisfactoriness to generate dispassion for this mode of "being". Allow that dispassion to become the dominant view of this mode of "being".


6th Jhana of infinite Consciousness

8) Now, from the dispassion for the 5th jhana as that felt sense of "being", allow the factors of the 6th formless jhana to become that sense of "being". "I" am now the 6th jhana and its manifesting factors. Notice how "I" as that felt sense of "being" am now a felt sense of consciousness filling up all perceived mental space. Notice how "I" am still equanimity but also the a sense of infinite consciousness permeating within and all around my head if the eyes are open, or all the mental space everywhere up and out if the eyes are closed.


Like the 4th jhana, see how there may be subtle mental movements to grasp and cling to the pleasure and calm that arises as this formless realm manifest as the sense of "being". Allow for the natural arising of dispassion for this mode of "being" as its unsatisfactory qualities come to light. Allow the fact that the mind has become aware of this unsatisfactoriness to generate dispassion for this mode of "being". Allow that dispassion to become the dominant view of this mode of "being".


7th Jhana of No-thingness

9) Now, from the dispassion for the 6th jhana as that felt sense of "being", allow the factors of the 7th formless jhana to become that sense of "being". "I" am now the 7th jhana and its manifesting factors. Notice how "I" as that felt sense of "being" am now a felt sense of nothing yet everything yet nothing in particular. Yet there is still a sense that "I", as that felt sense of "being", is still present. "I" am no-thingness. Notice how "I" am still equanimity but also a sense of no-thingness permeating within and all around my head if the eyes are open, or all the mental space everywhere up and out if eyes are closed.


Like the 4th jhana, see how there may be subtle mental movements to grasp and cling to the pleasure and calm that arises as this formless realm manifest as the sense of "being". Allow for the natural arising of dispassion for this mode of "being" as its unsatisfactory qualities come to light. Allow the fact that the mind has become aware of this unsatisfactoriness to generate dispassion for this mode of "being". Allow that dispassion to become the dominant view of this mode of "being".


8th Jhana of Neither Perception Nor Non-perception

10) Now, from the dispassion for the 7th jhana as that felt sense of "being", allow the factors of the 8th formless jhana to become that sense of "being". "I" am now the 8th jhana and its manifesting factors. This mode of "being" gets quite weird and difficult to explain. For me, it's like that felt sense of "being" flickers on and off initially, but then evens out to become almost like there isn't a sense of "being" there at all yet there is still a more refined sense of "presence". Neither there not not there. Perhaps neither perceived nor not perceived. Yet there still is a sense of "being". It is now just an extremely refined mode of "being".

Notice how "I" am still equanimity but also a "thinned out" sense of "being"/presence/inner world. For me, it seems like "I" am flicking back and forth very quickly from a mode of experience where there is no felt sense of "being" to one with a very "thinned out" version of the sense of "being". It's like it is on the very edge of dropping away.

Like the 4th jhana, see how there may be subtle mental movements to grasp and cling to the pleasure and calm that arise as this formless realm manifests as the sense of "being". Allow for the natural arising of dispassion for this mode of "being" as its unsatisfactory qualities come to light. Here, it is much easier to cultivate dispassion for "being". Notice how this extremely refined mode of "being" is still not 100% satisfactory. Really get a feel for the fact that it isn't. It is peaceful indeed yet there is something missing or not quite right. Take your time to really see the unsatisfactoriness of this mode of "being". Are you 100% satisifed as this mode of "being"? When the unsatisfactoriness of "being" is seen, allow the dispassion that arises to take over. Allow the fact that the mind has become aware of this unsatisfactoriness to generate dispassion for this mode of "being". Allow that dispassion to become the dominant view of this mode of "being". Then allow that sense of thinned out extremely refined sense of "being" to drop away naturally as the dispassion for "being" grows and grows and grows. Let it happen naturally as a result of the generation of dispassion.

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
9/23/11 10:28 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai:
This practice helped refine (ameliorate) 'me' immensely.


Nikolai:
Any feelings that have arisen in any given moment also give off a sense of existing as a felt sense of "being". They also apply to the form and formless jhanas. So one could equally say "I" am the arisen form and formless jhanas as well.


Could you please clarify whether you are using 'ameliorate' in the same sense that I am? Again, what I am referring to is a "PCE-lite" experience; one goes through the jhanas with very little or no sense of 'being' at all (no 'I' to be the jhanas). For example, you wrote

The sense of "being" is now manifesting as the bliss and rapture of 1st jhana.


The characteristic of the 'ameliorating' form of jhana I'm describing is that this would not be true, or would be barely true; piti/sukha would simply be instances of tactile contact.

Also, keep in mind that I claim that this 'ameliorating' form can be cultivated pre-AF, and I attained it many times in the past (though not always reliably) in such a condition.

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
9/23/11 10:37 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
I am using the term 'ameliorate' in the sense of refining the sense of 'being' so that it is easier to discern, investigate, see cause and effect easily. I think I do not know what you mean. I did not experience a 'PCE-lite' jhana. I am not even sure what it means exactly in an experiential sense.

If you are referring to a possible result of the actualising of jhanas, where the felt sense of 'being' gets quite refined even more,while being juxtaposed with certain actual aspects of certain jhanas, then perhaps I know what is meant by 'PCE-lite'. Yet how something can be 'lite' or the opposite of 'lite' when it has no 'levels' or 'grades' is confusing to me. The PCE, a full blown one, did not have any distinct grading to it. There was no experience that was more a PCE or less a PCE. If it was seen as less, then it was an EE. Clarification of such terms for the benefit of others is needed, End. Nothing can really be 'PCE-lite' in my opinion. Am I alone with this opinion? Others' thoughts?

Nick

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9/23/11 10:49 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
I am using in the sense of refining the sense of 'being' so that it is easier to discern, investigate, see cause and effect. I think I do not know what you mean. I did not experience a 'PCE-lite' jhana. I am not even sure what it means exactly in an experiential sense. If you are referring to a possible result of the actualising of jhanas, where the felt sense of 'being' gets quite refined even more being juxtaposed with certain actual aspects of certain jhanas, then perhaps I know what is meant by 'PCE-lite'. Yet How something can be lite or the opposite of 'lite' when it has no 'levels' or 'grades' is confusing to me. The PCE, a full blown one, did not have any distict grading to it. There was no PCE that was more a PCE or less a PCE. If it was seen as less, then it was an EE. Clarification of such terms for the benefit of others is needed, End. Nothing can really be 'PCE-lite' in my opinion. Am I alone with this opinion? Others' thoughts?


"PCE-lite" probably just means "EE". The consensus for the meaning of PCE has (unfortunately?) seemed to become "PCE or EE", and I appear to have adopted that usage. Maybe I should go back to the more absolute meaning.

In any case, it appears to me that you're describing the 'exaggerating' form of jhana, where one 'becomes' the jhana, and it can be discerned clearly.

The 'ameliorating' form is something like, one concentrates in a certain way, and gets some kind of EE / jhana combination. 'Being' simply disappears or is barely there. Mara is blinded.

In some ways it is very much like my ongoing moment-to-moment experience, right now.

EDIT: I think it is hypothetically possible, with good concentration, to practice the 'ameliorating' form of jhana and get a PCE (an experience with absolutely no attention wave).

EDIT 2: Keep in mind that my experience right now includes the attention wave (shadow-being). Given the absolute definition of PCE (an experience with no attention wave...with no attention wave, there are no gradations possible), one's experience can be free of 'being' and still not be a PCE. My basic claim here is that I experienced a form of jhana that completely or almost completely lacks 'being', and I attained it many times in the past.

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9/23/11 10:44 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Hi Nick and End in Sight,

I don't understand the 'being' awareness when 'nothing' is happening. For example, the sound of a truck going by and the feeling of chest energy is not-separable.

From sense-base, this is true: sound-perception and feeling-perception are both originating from sensory perception (this living body capable of sensory perceptions). Pitch of airplane in sky above may as well be nothing, too. It is absent now, too.

Being-feeling requires an emotion to arise and acquire the senses. Does that makes sense? :o)

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9/23/11 10:54 AM as a reply to . ..
Katy, is this a question in context of an experience of jhana? Can you explain your question in a more detailed way?

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9/23/11 11:02 AM as a reply to . ..
katy s:
Hi Nick and End in Sight,

I don't understand the 'being' awareness when 'nothing' is happening. For example, the sound of a truck going by and the feeling of chest energy is not-separable.

From sense-base, this is true: sound-perception and feeling-perception are both originating from sensory perception (this living body capable of sensory perceptions). Pitch of airplane in sky above may as well be nothing, too. It is absent now, too.

Being-feeling requires an emotion to arise and acquire the senses. Does that makes sense? :o)



What is "'being' awareness", Katy? I do not understand this term. And what s 'nothing is happening' pointing to exactly?

Emotions or affective feelings can come in highly refined manifestations as well as gross emotions. An affectively felt equanimity being an example. Can you elaborate on your query as it is not quite clear what is confusing for you in the context of jhana.

Nick

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9/23/11 11:19 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Can you elaborate on your query as it is not quite clear what is confusing for you in the context of jhana.

Hi Nick - to be clear, I am not experiencing confusion in the context of this thread.

What I intended in my initial post is to express that both ameliorative and exaggerated being (terms introduced and explained by End in Sight in regards to meditative states (jhana)) are emotive states.

The feeling of 'Being' is a separative form - separation from "own" senses. Living is sensory. To be "being" (in meditation or in any action) is a mind-state (a self-forming and aggrandizing one) that distinguishes itself from the nose smelling, the ears hearing, the eyes seeing, the tongue-nose tasting, the nerves feeling.

So, in jhanas - like any activity - 'being' is an example of ignorance.


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9/23/11 11:20 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
To put my cards on the table...this post is meant to be an exploration of whether one form of jhana is 'right concentration' and the other form is 'wrong concentration'.

One of the Buddha's main claims is that he first discovered or understood jhana (in his time-period). On the other hand, he claims that his previous two teachers taught him absorption in the dimension of nothing and in the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception (7th and 8th jhana). How are these claims consistent? It occurs to me that perhaps what he's claiming is that he discovered the 'ameliorating' form of jhana, which does not cause one to 'be' the jhana (or does so minimally). The 'ameliorating' form of jhana is experienced very similarly to a PCE / EE.

I don't really know whether anyone else has experienced 'ameliorating' jhana...hence this thread.

It occurs to me that, if my guess about the two forms of jhana is right, then your 'actualizing jhanas' method works, but because it offers a very clear and refined experience in which to practice discernment, and not because it is anything like the 'right concentration' of the eightfold path.

(The 'actualizing jhanas' method does genuinely work, and works very well.)

It also occurs to me that, if 'ameliorating' jhana can be taught to others, it could be a very quick way to AF, as it offers the ability to attain a PCE or EE or something like it at will.

We need more data!

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9/23/11 11:29 AM as a reply to . ..
katy s:
What I intended in my initial post is to express that both ameliorative and exaggerated being (terms introduced and explained by End in Sight in regards to meditative states (jhana)) are emotive states.


My experience of 'ameliorative' jhana is that it is not an emotive state or is barely an emotive state. The most distinct characteristic it has is its emphasis on sense-contact rather than feelings / 'being'.

Imagine a jhana and an EE or PCE at the same time.

It is similar in some ways to my experience right now (in which there is no 'being').

Does that help?

EDIT: If you cannot imagine a jhana combined with an EE or PCE, perhaps you would be interested in following my basic instructions (concentrate on the actual breath, or the actual pleasant experiences of tactile contact in the body, ignoring 'being', ignoring any nimitta, and try to let go while continuing to notice the object) and letting us know what happens. Perhaps try numerous times over a few days if you want to participate in this experiment.

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9/23/11 11:41 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
My experience of 'ameliorative' jhana is that it is not an emotive state or is barely an emotive state. The most distinct characteristic it has is its emphasis on sense-contact rather than feelings / 'being'.


What is "contacting" the senses?
A conception of self is contacting the senses. (What are the conceptions forming self? Observe babies. Look at the formation of self-preservation.)

The difference between a barely emotive state and a non-emotive state is significant.
_______
Edit: added below this line:

Imagine a jhana and an EE or PCE at the same time.

It is similar in some ways to my experience right now (in which there is no 'being').
I can't do this at the moment, but see your edit and instructions. In doing this now (your breathing instructions), there is no 'pleasant'. I understand the reason for using 'pleasant' and 'delight' and other descriptions when discussing meditation as a means to experience contrast-to-suffering/liberation.

However, I do not understand the use of 'pleasant' in this thread. What being is experiencing pleasant?

Pleasant is relatively fine experience, however, this feeling (emotive state) is not the recommended stopping place in buddhist study (or actualism).

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9/23/11 11:43 AM as a reply to . ..
Instead of sense-contact, think "sense-experience" or "sense-consciousness".

"Sense-contact" is some kind of dependent-origination jargon that I shouldn't have used. Nothing is *experienced* as if contacting the senses. The experience is...just the senses. I think we are talking about the same thing.

EDIT:

katy s:
However, I do not understand the use of 'pleasant' in this thread. What being is experiencing pleasant?


No being.

Do you notice that there is pure tactile experience in a PCE which is pleasant, without 'you' to enjoy it or feel its pleasantness? That is what I mean.

As for the breathing instructions, you will need to build a good amount of concentration before you see the shift to this hybrid state of jhana and PCE / EE that I describe.

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9/23/11 11:54 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
Do you notice that there is pure tactile experience in a PCE which is pleasant, without 'you' to enjoy it or feel its pleasantness? That is what I mean.
The reason to use words like 'pleasant' in describing pure consciousness is because it is a means to describing absence-of-suffering. Other, less-emotive words (like 'emptiness') tend to alarm emotive minds.

So, no in pure consciousness, there is no pleasantness. This term is a mind-state that fingers, ears, eyes, tongue lack. Only mind-self has this ability for aversion/attraction. And the basis is self-preservation (a generic nature inherent to all living species).

As for the breathing instructions, you will need to build a good amount of concentration before you see the shift to this hybrid state of jhana and PCE / EE that I describe.
In pure consciousness, what is available to experience jhana (or a hybrid state)? This is like dividing emptiness: a comic effort.


[edit: in bold]

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9/23/11 12:03 PM as a reply to . ..
katy s:
Can you elaborate on your query as it is not quite clear what is confusing for you in the context of jhana.

Hi Nick - to be clear, I am not experiencing confusion in the context of this thread.

What I intended in my initial post is to express that both ameliorative and exaggerated being (terms introduced and explained by End in Sight in regards to meditative states (jhana)) are emotive states.

The feeling of 'Being' is a separative form - separation from "own" senses. Living is sensory. To be "being" (in meditation or in any action) is a mind-state (a self-forming and aggrandizing one) that distinguishes itself from the nose smelling, the ears hearing, the eyes seeing, the tongue-nose tasting, the nerves feeling.

So, in jhanas - like any activity - 'being' is an example of ignorance.



One can focus the mind in certain ways while in a PCE that correspond to the mental focus of each of the jhanas. Here, the jhanas are not experienced with 'being' as it is in abeyance. This is always the case at AF. One can direct the mind in a certain focus, and one of the jhanas can become apparent. Yet each jhana has a PCE quality to it. An absence of absorption.

One can experience the jhanas via absorbing the flow of 'being', making it one pointed so as not to manifest as the 5 hindrances and 'being' begins to become more light, malleable, seeable, investigable, refined. But Katy is correct to say that in this context there is still ignorance in place if the sense of 'being' is manifesting within or as the jhanas, perhaps feeling like 'I' am in jhana or 'I' am jhana or maybe even jhana is in 'me'. All fueled by ignorance of the sequence that gives rise to 'being' via a lack of apperceptive awareness.

So there appear to be two types of jhana. One that is of the 'being' kind, no matter how subtle and EE like it is. And the other is just the actual aspects/mental focuses that are apparent or can be focused on in a PCE or at AF. There is no absorption quality to them then as there is an absence of the 'thing' (1) that needed to absorbed, tamed and refined in order for certain mental structures (that are always present) to become more apparent.

(1) The flow of 'being'.

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9/23/11 12:00 PM as a reply to . ..
katy s:
Do you notice that there is pure tactile experience in a PCE which is pleasant, without 'you' to enjoy it or feel its pleasantness? That is what I mean.
The reason to use words like 'pleasant' in describing pure consciousness is because it is a means to describing absence-of-suffering. Other, less-emotive words (like 'emptiness') tend to alarm emotive minds


When I made a similar claim on my practice thread some months ago, it was pointed out to me that many descriptions of PCEs on the AF website include an explicit claim that there is tactile pleasure in such states. After considering that, I realized that my understanding of "pleasure" was limited (I understood it to mean "affective pleasure"), and so I changed it to include tactile, non-affective pleasure as well.

Perhaps, if you consider the issue, you will reach a similar conclusion.

Similarly, consider: can an AF person have sex? Is it pleasureless? Or is it affectless?

How does an AF person know that their body is injured? Is it painless? Or affectless?

katy s:
In pure consciousness, what is available to experience jhana (or a hybrid state)?


The actual body.

In pure consciousness, what is available to experience the senses?

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9/23/11 12:01 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Nick, please say explicitly whether you can experience any jhana factors right now.

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9/23/11 12:09 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
I experience only the mental focus of the jhanas when the mind is directed to them. The affective factors of the four rupa jhanas, such as 'happiness, rapture, bliss and equanimity, are absent. Just the way the eyes are focused is what informs me of the jhana that this mind body organism is taking as focus. This is the same for the arupa jhanas. The jhanas have lost all their meat. (absorption quality/affective factors)

At any given time I may be taking on an arupa focus. At the moment as my hands are seen to type by themselves, the space around them is being taken as the focus. The 5th jhana focus is dominant. At times, it may be the 6th jhana focus, as an object is looked at and the details are seen in crystal clear detail.

It is clear we can talk about two types of jhana.


Nick

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9/23/11 12:15 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nick, when you had the flu, how did your experience of your body change?

If you eat a spoonful of hot sauce, what would happen?

If you have sex, how is that different from the prior two experiences?

On my practice journal some months ago, someone quoted tarin (I believe) claiming that, as an AF person, he has a nearly-constant sense of tactile pleasure in his body that was similar to 3rd jhana. How is that possible? (I will dig up the quote if you like)

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9/23/11 12:12 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Perhaps what I'm saying would be clearer if I were less wordy. So, I will make my claim in brief.

I have experienced a form of jhana (pre-AF) in which the attention wave is reduced. If it is reduced enough or reduced completely, that is an EE / PCE by definition. It is also jhana because there are jhana factors such as sukha involved.

An addendum to my claim is, sukha is affective if one is not AF, but if one is AF, sukha is a tactile experience with pleasant physical vedana and no mental vedana whatsoever.

Who has experienced a form of jhana that has a reduction of the attention wave, pre-AF?

If you follow my instructions and are pre-AF, do you experience a form of jhana that has a reduction of the attention wave?

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9/23/11 12:14 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Nick, when you had the flu, how did your experience of your body change?

If you eat a spoonful of hot sauce, what would happen?

If you have sex, how is that different from the prior two experiences?

On my practice journal some months ago, someone quoted tarin (I believe) claiming that, as an AF person, he has a nearly-constant a sense of tactile pleasure in his body that was similar to 3rd jhana. How is that possible? (I will dig up the quote if you like)


There is such a thing as affectless pleasure. It is sensuousness. It is affectless. Perhaps it was /is in the 3rd jhana and it was covered over by the affective happiness that is a factor of the 3rd jhana. Is the factor of the 3rd jhana 'sukkha' affective or affectless?

There is also the opposite affectless unpleasantness. There is preference for the pleasant sensuousness. I am currently investigating as to why there still is a slight preference. It is easily seen to be connected to sensations.

Nick

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9/23/11 12:24 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai:

There is such a thing as affectless pleasure. It is sensuousness. It is affectless. Perhaps it was /is in the 3rd jhana and it was covered over by the affective happiness that is a factor of the 3rd jhana. Is the factor of the 3rd jhana 'sukkha' affective or affectless?


Now we're talking!

There is a form of jhana that I experienced pre-AF that has either affectless pleasure only, or almost only. That form of jhana is connected with the reduction of the attention wave. It is a different form of jhana (as far as I can see) from the kind that involves 'being' the jhana factors.

The 3rd jhana will be experienced affectively by a feeling-being, or affectlessly by someone who is AF or someone who is a feeling-being but can attain this 'ameliorative' jhana I've been talking about. One who attains 'ameliorative' jhana has an experience that is a hybrid of jhana (because it contains affectless jhana factors) and a PCE / EE (because it has a reduction of the attention wave).

One who attains 'ameliorative' jhana has an experience that is similar to my current experience right now (and, I assume, to yours).

EDIT: Theoretically, even commonly affective experiences such as piti / sukha are fundamentally affectless, because the affective experiences can only be produced by craving / clinging / becoming in relation to sense-consciousness. So, speaking purely theoretically, I would say that these factors are always affectless, and merely distorted in the experience of one who still experiences affects.

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9/23/11 12:20 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
So there appear to be two types of jhana. One that is of the 'being' kind, no matter how subtle an EE like it is. And the other is just the actual aspects/mental focuses that are apparent or can be focused on in a PCE or at AF. There is no absorption quality to them then as there is an absence of the 'thing' (1) that needed to absorbed, tamed and refined in order for certain mental structures (that are always present) to become more apparent.

The consequence of this paragraph is that each sense has its own pure consciousness. For example, digits pressing keys are neurologically signaled into the formation of touch consciousness (brain synthesis may convey 'heaviness' at location of what is signaled by sight (neurosynthesizing the visual components of moving fingers, keys, letters, screen,etc).

For further example and specifically for the comment excerpted above, mind-sense would have mind-consciousness (aka: thinking) for concepts referencing both a) the senses (which the mind knows and manipulates into aversion/attraction as directed by its connection to self-preservation) and b) mind's conceptual history. Mind-consciousness is found in buddhist outlines.

Because of mind-consciousness's self-referential nature (above a) and b)), can it be pure consciousness? That which knows 'jhana', is it pure or tainted by its own awareness?

There is a difference between pure consciousness and relatively light, but encumbered and referential mind-consciousness.

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9/23/11 12:31 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Nick, if you haven't tried it yet, you might find it interesting to try to cultivate 3rd jhana. Don't expect something affective, just advert to the mental focus associated with 3rd jhana, and observe your breath in a concentration sort of way (whatever that currently means to you). Try 15 minutes at least.

My experience is, it is perfectly possible to cultivate affectless sukha. (For me it is accompanied by a wisp of shadow-affect sukha too; maybe also for you, maybe not.)

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9/23/11 1:08 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
To return to theoretical musing...

In the suttas, everyone can always practice jhana.

In the suttas, the Buddha claimed he had some kind of new or different understanding of how to practice concentration, different from his teachers who could become absorbed in the 7th and 8th jhana.

There is evidence to suggest that AF is anagami or arahant. Theoretically, AF people should be able to practice jhana.

In AF-land, people claim not to be able to practice jhana, but when queried closely, they claim not to be able to practice absorption.

Similarly, when queried closely, one will find that they claim to be able to experience the jhana factors, affectlessly. They can certainly experience affectless dukkha (e.g. from hot sauce), and this will lead to clarity about how they can also experience the jhana factor of sukha.

I state that there is a form of jhana that is not absorptive, and is affectless or relatively affectless, which I experienced pre-AF. I state that I have no problem practicing it right now, as it is merely the cultivation of the jhana factors.

Given all that, what do you think about my original theory, that absorption is a form of wrong concentration, and there is a unique form of concentration other than that which the Buddha thought highly of?

To return to practical musing...

Perhaps we (the pragmatic dharma community) fucked this up too? If one can learn a form of jhana that is like an EE / PCE, wouldn't that make the path to AF potentially very easy, just like the suttas say regarding the value of jhana?

To the extent that anyone here is interested in attaining AF, that ought to be some strong motivation for them to figure out whether they can attain 'ameliorative' jhana, or whether my experience with this form of jhana is unique to me.


EDIT: Also note that all the stuff about absorption is in the Visuddhimagga only, as far as I know. The suttas do not mention absorption as far as I have seen. The suttas do not mention nimittas. The suttas mention simple concentration practices, such as noticing the breath, or noticing the body, without non-sensory nimittas. Anupada sutta appears to describe something non-absorptive. Descriptions of 3rd jhana often describe one "feeling bliss with their body". There are very reasonable grounds to consider that we have simply been very, very confused about what jhana is about and how it relates to the path.

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9/23/11 1:32 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
When I made a similar claim on my practice thread some months ago, it was pointed out to me that many descriptions of PCEs on the AF website include an explicit claim that there is tactile pleasure in such states. After considering that, I realized that my understanding of "pleasure" was limited (I understood it to mean "affective pleasure"), and so I changed it to include tactile, non-affective pleasure as well.
Then "pleasure" is being employed in this context to express (in a misleading manner) being in an environment that is comfortable for the self-preserving body (from which the mind is formed) at a given moment.

That someone can say "sleep is pleasant" (or can form the concept of "non-affective pleasure" requires the use of a referential mind. As such, a speaking toddler does not say, "non-affective pleasure", because the mind-consciousness of such a toddler has not been exposed to, formed or grasped this reference. Yet, in the same manner as an adult learning, forming and keeping "the concept of non-affective pleasure", that toddler may be able to say, "square" and "blue" and other shapes, colors, and identities.

Is a mind-consciousness (with referential pointing) pure consciousness?

Where mind-consciousness is different from person to person (age, experience, references), then pure consciousness is also subjective.

Like ameliorative 'being' and exaggerated 'being' are of the same source, "pleasure" arises from a self-preserving, reference-keeping mind. This is not bad or good.

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9/23/11 1:41 PM as a reply to . ..
Katy, you may investigate this issue to your own satisfaction when you are next in a PCE or when you are AF.

Both I and Nick claim no experience of 'being', yet both I and Nick claim there is such a thing as affectless tactile pleasure. As I recall, Tarin has as well. You may want to keep that in mind.

Perhaps we have been talking about different things (regarding the definition of "affectless pleasure") in this conversation.

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9/23/11 1:52 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
The actual body.

In pure consciousness, what is available to experience the senses?


Actual freedom (as exhibited anywhere online or in any communication whatsoever) apparently shares with buddhist practitioners posting from within or experienced in jhana the mind of self-reference-and-concepts. They share a subjective state of "being" which is personalized by drawing upon its collection of unique lifelong references and forming new references upon those earlier references, which are then employed to maintain, for example, a thread like this. Such mind-consciousness is required for coherent interaction and any pure consciousness is set-aside by mind-consicousness for the duration of coherent (directional) communications.

So, when a reference point (such as personal experience or buddhist scripture or words from the AF site) is provided by a poster in a post on the DhO (or mere directionality of practice is provided), this is skillful mind-consciousness perhaps assisting someone to abate their perception of suffering (or to apperceive, generally), but it is not pure consciousness. It is evidence that no experience of "pure consciousness" is needed to abate the sense of suffering. Hence an emphasis on practical, bodily aids in humanitarian work (i.e., food, water, mental and bodily well-being)

This implies that mind-consciousness interrupts pure consciousness, and I intend this point. As we post (here now and all those before) and explain and clarify, mind-consciousness draws upon its own references (subjective), and this is other than pure consciousness. As dampness shows the presence of water, mind-consciousness shows the presence of a self, no matter how generic a being.

[Edit: a mind in pure consciousness has no non-immediate reference; is this a permanent state?]

[Edit: "directional"]

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9/23/11 1:54 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Nick, if you haven't tried it yet, you might find it interesting to try to cultivate 3rd jhana. Don't expect something affective, just advert to the mental focus associated with 3rd jhana, and observe your breath in a concentration sort of way (whatever that currently means to you). Try 15 minutes at least.

My experience is, it is perfectly possible to cultivate affectless sukha. (For me it is accompanied by a wisp of shadow-affect sukha too; maybe also for you, maybe not.)

ok, only after reading the thread up to this point do i think i finally see what you're getting at...

can you describe this affectless sukha more? could you also describe affectless piti? Nick seems to be saying that in his current experience, the first four jhanas only differ in eye focus, but in no other way. but we'll see what he says after he tries that exercise.

i have to admit, all the ways i've been practicing jhana have been totally affective. i would focus on the breath until pleasant affective sensations started arising all over the body, then i'd focus on those, increase them, let go of them, etc., but always affective.

i'll see if i can try to get an 'ameliorating' form of jhana..

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9/23/11 1:57 PM as a reply to . ..
@ Katy, mind-consciousness is a thought coming in contact with the mind to give rise to mind consciousness?

Thoughts can be apperceived.

Nick

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9/23/11 2:01 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Nick, End:

I think what I have been doing lately is similar to what you're doing with jhanas... however, I had never paid attention much to tagging the terminologies of jhanas and haven't not spent a lot of time sitting down on my butt with eyes closed to formally practice them either.

I have, however, for quite some time noticed aspects of experience that seem similar to what is discussed by people who are very familiar with jhanas.

After having a full blown PCE, I now incline my mind towards what aspects I remember from the PCE as my on-going practice. Some of this does involve paying attention to stillness, spaciousness, lightness, the sense that sensations are somehow all equal, etc. Some of it also involves paying attention the actual sensations of the sense doors. Sound has been especially helpful to tune into because it lends very well to the panoramic, directionless quality of the PCE.

I can get more detailed if you like, but before I do, does the above description appear similar to what you've done?

Steph

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9/23/11 2:33 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Both I and Nick claim no experience of 'being', yet both I and Nick claim there is such a thing as affectless tactile pleasure. As I recall, Tarin has as well. You may want to keep that in mind.
Leaves form part of a tree and the forest and words form part of a concept and a mind-self**. So, in terms of pure consciousness, what are the concepts that you want keep in mind?*


[Edit:*none]
[Edit: **so many voices/words of a concept to not make a concept more true or false, they make many voices/words]

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/23/11 2:05 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
@ Katy, mind-consciousness is a thought coming in contact with the mind to give rise to mind consciousness?

Mind-consciousness is referential to prior mind-consciousness (as exhibited in dialogues engaging concepts like 'jhana' and 'pleasure'), or mind-consciousness is non-referential apperception of immediacy through senses and its own sense.

Thoughts can be apperceived.
Yes, and a non-referential mind can perceive a referential thought, and it is meaningless.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/23/11 2:09 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
I state that there is a form of jhana that is not absorptive, and is affectless or relatively affectless, which I experienced pre-AF.

This is hugely interesting as I know exactly what you're talking about here, I noticed it really clearly the other week while lying on the couch practicing jhanas. It was as close to a PCE as I've gotten through jhana practice since first using Nick's approach to actualizing the jhanas so I assumed it was a high-EE, for want of a better phrase, and left it at that. What stood out most was the fact that it was definitely jhanic but did not have the absorbed quality that I would normally experience through samatha practice, I assumed that it was just a sign of success with actualizing the jhanas (It occurred in 7th, for the record) and moved on.

The fact you go on to mention the difference between the Visuddhimagga jhanas and the sutta jhana confirms a suspicion I've had about this but had nowhere near the experience or knowledge to talk about it openly. Something just doesn't sit right with it, and this also goes for the descriptions of nirodha samapatti, particularly when you translate the other name for it, saññā-vedayita-nirodha:

Sañña = perception or ideation. The definition of the term ideation involved emotion based thought.
Vedayita = feeling. Defined as an emotional state, an affective state of consciousness.
Nirodha - No explanation necessary.

I'm no Pali expert and I don't know the suttas inside out, these are just cobbled together bits and pieces so I'll make it quite clear that I don't really know what I'm talking about when it comes to the old texts and translations. All I do know is that there's a lot of very interesting possibilities showing up, it's an exciting time for the dharma and I'm fascinated by what's still left to be done.

I'll do some work with this affectless jhana thing and see what I can see, I'll report back after a few sits and hopefully by that time there'll be some more data to look at too.

Veeeerrrrryyyy interesting.....

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/23/11 2:27 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
I state that there is a form of jhana that is not absorptive, and is affectless or relatively affectless, which I experienced pre-AF.

This is hugely interesting as I know exactly what you're talking about here, I noticed it really clearly the other week while lying on the couch practicing jhanas. It was as close to a PCE as I've gotten through jhana practice since first using Nick's approach to actualizing the jhanas so I assumed it was a high-EE, for want of a better phrase, and left it at that. What stood out most was the fact that it was definitely jhanic but did not have the absorbed quality that I would normally experience through samatha practice, I assumed that it was just a sign of success with actualizing the jhanas (It occurred in 7th, for the record) and moved on.

to add to my post, i knew this happens with 5th-8th jhanas, and i think this is what nick talks about when he says he is always in an arupa jhana. but i am curious as to End in Sight's claims about the 1st-4th jhanas in particular, as i thought those were solely becoming-based and had no actual qualities behind them (besides eye focus). affectless sukha + affectless piti in particular.

i did try just now to concentrate without becoming absorbed and it seemed to work.. didn't notice heavy-handed being-based absorptive qualities, but i was attempting to feel pleasantness throughout the whole body. it wasn't as head as usual. not sure if it was affective or not, or if i was doing arupa stuff or not. will have to play w/ it more.

wrong concentration all this time... that'd be a good one

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/23/11 2:39 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Nick, if you haven't tried it yet, you might find it interesting to try to cultivate 3rd jhana. Don't expect something affective, just advert to the mental focus associated with 3rd jhana, and observe your breath in a concentration sort of way (whatever that currently means to you). Try 15 minutes at least.

My experience is, it is perfectly possible to cultivate affectless sukha. (For me it is accompanied by a wisp of shadow-affect sukha too; maybe also for you, maybe not.)


Ok, as I sit here while my students take their quiz, the mind was inclined to the 3rd jhana focus. Out to the periphery, the edges of the eyes, while the middle of the eyesight unfocuses. It is like the donut. And the surface of the limbs becomes part of the peripheral focus. The inner body is ignored. And the surface of the limbs are ablaze with sensuousness.

There are uniform subtle vibrations that, if paid attention to are arising and passing quite fast throughout the entire body. They are just uniform buzziness if not really paid close attention to.But when they become the main focus of the 3rd jhana focus, they are seen with more clarity, or experienced with more clarity, as they are the main focus. They exhibit a very pleasant experience of sensuousness at the periphery. But that pleasant uniform buzzy sensuousness is always occurring. It is just sometimes not paid full attention to. Perhaps the eye sight is dominating or sounds at the ear drum or the inner body sensations are.

But here we are sectioning off part of the field of sensuousness, and sensuousness seems always to be 'pleasant' or affectlessly pleasurable if pain is not dominating. But even pain can be seen as pleasant. if one is good at hacking vedana. The sectioned off physical pleasant sensuousness of the surface limb uniform vibrations could be termed 'affectless sukkha'. They are given a chance to be seen up close and they 'seem' automatically to be perceived as pleasant. With 'being' present they could definitely trigger 'affective sukkha' in my opinion.

Nick

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/23/11 2:44 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
To put my cards on the table...this post is meant to be an exploration of whether one form of jhana is 'right concentration' and the other form is 'wrong concentration'.

One of the Buddha's main claims is that he first discovered or understood jhana (in his time-period). On the other hand, he claims that his previous two teachers taught him absorption in the dimension of nothing and in the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception (7th and 8th jhana). How are these claims consistent? It occurs to me that perhaps what he's claiming is that he discovered the 'ameliorating' form of jhana, which does not cause one to 'be' the jhana (or does so minimally). The 'ameliorating' form of jhana is experienced very similarly to a PCE / EE.


End, would you provide the sources for these two claims you mention above so that the same can be read?

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9/23/11 2:47 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Just a thought here, but what if the eye focus and the sensations Nick describes here are the actual aspects of the rupa jhanas? The actual aspects of the arupa jhanas are different styles of mental focus, would that be an accurate way to describe them? If so, it would make sense to consider the aforementioned aspects as being "formed", and the mental aspects being "formless".

Speculation, of course, but I figured I'd throw it in the ring and see how it stands up. emoticon

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9/23/11 3:00 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
Just a thought here, but what if the eye focus and the sensations Nick describes here are the actual aspects of the rupa jhanas? The actual aspects of the arupa jhanas are different styles of mental focus, would that be an accurate way to describe them? If so, it would make sense to consider the aforementioned aspects as being "formed", and the mental aspects being "formless".

Speculation, of course, but I figured I'd throw it in the ring and see how it stands up. emoticon

hmm ya perhaps. i draw the distinction cause each of the arupa jhanas has an object (space, consciousness, nothingness, neither-perception-nor-non-perception), whereas it sounded like the rupa ones didn't anymore (just eye focus, but nothing changing - so perhaps it's just a habit and not even anything happening differently in the brain?). will have to investigate more thoroughly.

to AFers - can you change the eye focus as if in the first 4 jhanas, while in the arupa ones? if you can do all 4 rupa eye focus in each of the 4 arupa jhanas then perhaps there is nothing to it (roughly speaking)...

can you compound the arupas? try to get 6th arupa jhana in the 5th, etc... just some stuff to try out if you are in the mood to experiment

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/23/11 3:11 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Hey Tommy

Check this link out on the jhana factors. Notice the rupa jhanas have affective components, happiness, rapture etc. The only affective component that an arupa jhana will have might be the affective equanimity 'being' is manifesting as. Perhaps this is what the buddha is pointing to in the sutta reference in my 1st post concerning getting attached and not getting unbound but stuck on the 8th arupa jhana's equanimity. Perhaps that equanimity is what needs to be investigated for any clinging in the arupas. Is there an idea that the jhana factors may all be present in an affectless way covered up by clinging? Or perhaps they no longer present as they once did? Perhaps inherent in a particular mental focus there is a quality that is affectless? This seems to be the case with the arupa jhanas. Affectless inclusion/5th jhana, appreciation/6th jhana, eqaunimity-no mind/7th jhana, and signlessness/8th jhana.


http://the-wanderling.com/jhana_factors.html

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/23/11 3:52 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
can you describe this affectless sukha more? could you also describe affectless piti?


There is an actual experience underlying every affective experience. Go cultivate some affective piti / sukha, and see what the actual thing underlying it is.

There is no special way to cultivate affectless sukha. When the attention wave is reduced (when 'being' recedes), affectless sukha peeks out from the cloud of affective sukha.

All you need to do is figure out how to minimize the attention wave in jhana.

Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
Nick seems to be saying that in his current experience, the first four jhanas only differ in eye focus, but in no other way. but we'll see what he says after he tries that exercise.


If you advert to the jhanas right now, without cultivating them in any way, isn't the major thing that changes between them the "mental focus" / eye focus? Wouldn't you need to cultivate more concentration to see the affective differences between them? Why should it be different for us, non-affectively?

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9/23/11 3:54 PM as a reply to Steph S.
Steph S:
Nick, End:

After having a full blown PCE, I now incline my mind towards what aspects I remember from the PCE as my on-going practice. Some of this does involve paying attention to stillness, spaciousness, lightness, the sense that sensations are somehow all equal, etc. Some of it also involves paying attention the actual sensations of the sense doors. Sound has been especially helpful to tune into because it lends very well to the panoramic, directionless quality of the PCE.

I can get more detailed if you like, but before I do, does the above description appear similar to what you've done?



I would need more detail in order to comment.

Is your question whether this is an example of an affectless jhana, or whether this is an example of a useful practice?

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9/23/11 4:02 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
This is hugely interesting as I know exactly what you're talking about here,


How did you cultivate it?

The best way to characterize this form of jhana, for me, was that the "locus of consciousness", usually in my head (the feeling of 'me' being located there) would disappear, leaving a body and sense experience that were relatively un-located. Just like entering a PCE if one does it rapidly (i.e. coming from a highly affective experience).

A secondary characterization is simply the fundamental change that I assert is possible...the attention wave is reduced.

Tommy M:
Something just doesn't sit right with it, and this also goes for the descriptions of nirodha samapatti,


Yes, there is an experience accessible post-AF which we have been calling SVN and which is completely different than NS (as described by MCTB, as described by Kenneth, etc.). Another place where the Visuddhimagga appears to have gotten it wrong in relation to the suttas.

Tommy M:
I'll do some work with this affectless jhana thing and see what I can see, I'll report back after a few sits and hopefully by that time there'll be some more data to look at too.


This is super-important, and it is only you non-AF people (Claudiu, Steph, katy, you, whoever else joins in) who can do this experiment at the moment. If we as a community missed the boat on this, we missed it big time.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/23/11 4:07 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
but i am curious as to End in Sight's claims about the 1st-4th jhanas in particular, as i thought those were solely becoming-based and had no actual qualities behind them (besides eye focus).


You think in the rupa jhanas, the only experience left for an AFer is something mental? No sense-contact? Just voidness, apart from some mind-objects (focus), but no physical sense-objects to focus on?

There is nothing unique about the rupa jhanas in terms of actuality, but that is entirely different.

Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

i did try just now to concentrate without becoming absorbed and it seemed to work.. didn't notice heavy-handed being-based absorptive qualities, but i was attempting to feel pleasantness throughout the whole body. it wasn't as head as usual. not sure if it was affective or not, or if i was doing arupa stuff or not. will have to play w/ it more.


Tell us precisely what you're doing, as I was never an expert at attaining these states, so I can't provide an enormous amount of advice...there should be some kind of public conversation about the nuts-and-bolts of the practice.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/23/11 4:13 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
There are uniform subtle vibrations that, if paid attention to are arising and passing quite fast throughout the entire body. They are just uniform buzziness if not really paid close attention to.But when they become the main focus of the 3rd jhana focus, they are seen with more clarity, or experienced with more clarity, as they are the main focus. They exhibit a very pleasant experience of sensuousness at the periphery. But that pleasant uniform buzzy sensuousness is always occurring. It is just sometimes not paid full attention to. Perhaps the eye sight is dominating or sounds at the ear drum or the inner body sensations are.

But here we are sectioning off part of the field of sensuousness, and sensuousness seems always to be 'pleasant' or affectlessly pleasurable if pain is not dominating.


So, it seems that, as I do, by default you have some experience of sukha.

Do you expect that, if someone snuck up behind you and injected you with morphine, that would produce more sukha?

I have noticed that, as with any sense-experience, the quantity of sukha I experience varies based on unknown physiological factors. And there is a way to cultivate it via jhana if desired (but I have not examined that very much).

What if you just incline towards having more sukha, in context of watching your breath? Or watching sukha and inclining towards more?

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/23/11 4:26 PM as a reply to . ..
katy s:
To put my cards on the table...this post is meant to be an exploration of whether one form of jhana is 'right concentration' and the other form is 'wrong concentration'.

One of the Buddha's main claims is that he first discovered or understood jhana (in his time-period). On the other hand, he claims that his previous two teachers taught him absorption in the dimension of nothing and in the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception (7th and 8th jhana). How are these claims consistent? It occurs to me that perhaps what he's claiming is that he discovered the 'ameliorating' form of jhana, which does not cause one to 'be' the jhana (or does so minimally). The 'ameliorating' form of jhana is experienced very similarly to a PCE / EE.


End, would you provide the sources for these two claims you mention above so that the same can be read?


Here is one sutta that recounts the story. I am not a Pali scholar and I do not know if there are better ones. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.036.than.html

Note that Gotama claims to realize that the 1st jhana is on the path to Awakening...and yet the experiences he had with his previous teachers (attaining the dimension of nothingness and the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception) were apparently not on the path to Awakening. Indeed, he doesn't even call those experiences "jhana". And yet, he recommends attaining concentration states based on those things (nothingness and neither-perception-nor-non-perception) in so many other suttas, and there is the implication that they are more refined or better than the 1st jhana. So, why does he prefer the 1st jhana to his experiences attaining these formless experiences with his teachers? I stated my theory, that his teachers taught absorption, whereas jhana is something else.

I have heard many Buddhist teachers try to explain this claim that the Buddha "discovered" jhana. (There may be a sutta where he explicitly says that he discovered it but I don't know of it. I may simply have been repeating the claim I heard.) Ajahn Brahm, for example, recommends absolute absorption...his explanation of how this is different from what the Buddha's teachers taught left much to be desired, as I recall it.

Apart from this...if you'd like to continue discussing the line of thinking that you brought up earlier, let's do it on another thread. Also, in that case, could we try to synchronize our terminology? I think we are having some problem understanding each other related to terminological differences.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/23/11 4:41 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
It appears there is still a way for me to reduce the attention wave via jhana. So, I'll do my part in this investigation and see whether I can get a PCE out of it. (It is a little strange-sounding to say that, but my sole definition for PCE is "no attention wave", and as I experience an attention wave and shadow-being, I see no contradiction between my mode of experience and being able to get a PCE.)

Any techniques I use will probably be useless to the rest of you, so I hope everyone else will share what they're doing and what they're finding.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/23/11 5:06 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
If you advert to the jhanas right now, without cultivating them in any way, isn't the major thing that changes between them the "mental focus" / eye focus?

yea. i can just think 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, ..., 8th, etc, one per second, and my eye/mental focus will change to each one. it's like a super super ultra light version of each jhana. though it seems to be a bit of a delay going from 8th to 1st directly, so i wonder if something is changing. and i wonder what my 'default' is...

i thought that to deepen it i needed absorption. but perhaps not!

there is no absorption when doing this rapid switching thing. might be a good place for me to start getting into it.

End in Sight:
Wouldn't you need to cultivate more concentration to see the affective differences between them? Why should it be different for us, non-affectively?

cuz yur special!! =O =O.

good point, hehe.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/23/11 5:54 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
i wonder what my 'default' is...


I am interested in the answer to this for research-related purposes. (I'm also interested in others' answers.) Feel free to PM me and tell me.

Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
might be a good place for me to start getting into it.


Start at 1, pay gentle attention to your breath or to bodily sukha, and just allow your mind to stay on the object in a gentle way. Focus on relaxing, in the sense of 'you' of control, not in the sense of feeling relaxed.

EDIT: In the sense of relaxing 'your' control. (My typing has become extremely bad recently.)

I always got the best 'ameliorative' jhana at 3 or 4 doing this, and I could go up to about 6 before I would lose it at 7 somehow. The wider focus of 3 and 4 compared to 1 and 2 helped somehow.

Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:
End in Sight:
Wouldn't you need to cultivate more concentration to see the affective differences between them? Why should it be different for us, non-affectively?

cuz yur special!! =O =O.


lolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/23/11 5:43 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
I've had that one bookmarked since I reinstalled Firefox, but I didn't think to look at it in the way you mention.

Perhaps that equanimity is what needs to be investigated for any clinging in the arupas. Is there an idea that the jhana factors may all be present in an affectless way covered up by clinging?

That's it exactly, and this also lines up with what I've found so far when doing jhana practice. The point about equanimity reminds me of getting a path, the process of investigating what's still left that hasn't been seen clearly but with that potential to solidify it i.e. clinging. Seems to be a recurring theme....emoticon

Perhaps inherent in a particular mental focus there is a quality that is affectless?

That's a far better way of putting it.

eqaunimity-no mind/7th jhana

Aye, that sums up exactly what happened before the equanimity faded out and the EE appeared.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/23/11 6:01 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
How did you cultivate it?

Focus on the breath and then actualizing the jhanas[1], or at least that's what I recall doing but I know that I've missed something in the description of it here. I'll do some more practice and get back to you on this.

This is super-important, and it is only you non-AF people (Claudiu, Steph, katy, you, whoever else joins in) who can do this experiment at the moment. If we as a community missed the boat on this, we missed it big time.

I agree completely, only empirical testing will confirm or negate your suggestion but it certainly sounds promising.

And if not, at least it's an adventure! emoticon

[1] 1. Breath.
2. Jhana (Hard)
3. ????
3. Profit.

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9/23/11 5:53 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
It is a little strange-sounding to say that, but my sole definition for PCE is "no attention wave"
This is exactly it: absence of attention, no attention wave, not attending*.

___
*attend (v.)
c.1300, "to direct one's mind or energies," from O.Fr. atendre (12c., Mod.Fr. attendre) "to expect, wait for, pay attention," and directly from L. attendere "give heed to," lit. "to stretch toward," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + tendere "stretch" (see tenet). The notion is of "stretching" one's mind toward something. Sense of "take care of, wait upon" is from early 14c. Meaning "to pay attention" is early 15c.; that of "to be in attendance" is mid-15c.

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9/23/11 6:19 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:

I would need more detail in order to comment.

Is your question whether this is an example of an affectless jhana, or whether this is an example of a useful practice?


Yeah I'm wondering if this is tuning into qualities of affectless jhanas.

I can pay attention to any of those aspects I mentioned above at will. For example, while outside I can look at the sky and notice how expansive it seems and tune into what is a slightly vibratory widening out of attention, then that drops away and there's not even a sense of space at all... no boundaries anywhere (most of my current default experience seems like "no boundaries anywhere"). I can pay attention to the sensations in the head and diffuse them enough so there's an equalization of the sensations and then there's stillness. When paying attention to the actual vibrations in the ear that occurs with sound it is noticed that there is no separation between sound sensations and ear... as in sound doesn't seem like it is coming from "out there"... directionless.

Maybe we need a roster of affectless qualities for each of the jhanas. My mind seems very pliable now, so having descriptions of the tangible qualities might allow production of those qualities, so to speak. Didn't read through all the words in this thread yet, but has the question been raised whether the PCE itself is its own entirely different affectless jhana?

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9/23/11 6:59 PM as a reply to Steph S.
Steph S:
I can pay attention to any of those aspects I mentioned above at will. For example, while outside I can look at the sky and notice how expansive it seems and tune into what is a slightly vibratory widening out of attention, then that drops away and there's not even a sense of space at all... no boundaries anywhere (most of my current default experience seems like "no boundaries anywhere"). I can pay attention to the sensations in the head and diffuse them enough so there's an equalization of the sensations and then there's stillness. When paying attention to the actual vibrations in the ear that occurs with sound it is noticed that there is no separation between sound sensations and ear... as in sound doesn't seem like it is coming from "out there"... directionless.


My best guess (and it is just a guess) is that you're deep into the out-from-control phase, or you're deep in equanimity and somewhere around the out-from-control phase, but not experiencing any special form of jhana. Your description matches my experience of both of those quite well. One walks around, space is everywhere, things lack 'locatedness', boundaries don't make sense, everything has equal weight, it's hard to say to what extent 'you' even exist.

(There is a sense in which, the more sensuousness there is, the less attention wave there is, the more that might as well be considered jhana according to definition of jhana I'm proposing...perhaps I should have said that whatever you're experiencing sounds like it's just your default experience at the moment, which is typical for equanimity or for out-from-control VF as far as I have seen it.)

Some of the qualities you're noticing are qualities that would be the focus of an arupa jhana. (They can be noticed outside of jhana, too; they're simply not the focus). However, noticing them in themselves isn't jhana.

If you want to try some concentration, pick a comfortable seat, eyes open, and just sit there and notice your actual body very clearly, while 'you' do nothing (no thinking, no controlling attention, no 'trying' to appreciate the actual world). Relax what little of 'your' grip remains, but notice your body in a very clear, non-"spacey" way despite that. Ease into it slowly and gently. See if that reduces the attention wave more. I would count the hallmark of any form of 'ameliorative' jhana to be the sudden loss or reduction of a sense of 'locatedness' (wherever attention is bouncing to, it stops doing that, or does it more minimally).

Steph S:

Maybe we need a roster of affectless qualities for each of the jhanas. My mind seems very pliable now, so having descriptions of the tangible qualities might allow production of those qualities, so to speak. Didn't read through all the words in this thread yet, but has the question been raised whether the PCE itself is its own entirely different affectless jhana?


The affectless qualities are the affectless versions of the affective qualities. Nothing special. (EDIT: The way to think of this is, absorption is an affective distortion of 'ameliorative' jhana that has totally run out of control. Like any other affective distortion, but more profound.)

My vaguely thought-out theory is that, if my speculation is true, then "maximal jhana" (no attention wave) = PCE. Every jhana maxes out as a PCE linked to that form of jhana. The PCEs would be different in the sense that they have different experiential qualities related to the jhana factors, but the same in the sense that they have no attention wave. (The difference in experiential qualities would be fundamentally irrelevant, as your PCEs and my PCEs have had different experiential qualities depending on what we were doing at the time, but both were equally PCEs). But, that is just guesswork and more speculation.

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9/23/11 6:57 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
My vaguely thought-out theory is that, if my speculation is true, then "maximal jhana" (no attention wave) = PCE. Every jhana maxes out as a PCE linked to that form of jhana. The PCEs would be different in the sense that they have different experiential qualities related to the jhana factors, but the same in the sense that they have no attention wave. (The difference in experiential qualities would be fundamentally irrelevant, as your PCEs and my PCEs have had different experiential qualities depending on what we were doing at the time, but both were equally PCEs). But, that is just guesswork and more speculation.


Actually, I think that it's also possible that, if one's concentration is extraordinarily high, other weird stuff (siddhis etc.) could happen, not a PCE. (I currently have dreams, so insofar as that continues and doesn't go away as I get rid of shadow-being, it occurs to me that it's possible to have actual sensory experiences not connected with the physical senses. Siddhis would be like this, not like experiences that happen in the mind's eye.)

There is still an open question of whether one can get rid of the attention wave entirely via jhana.

This is all really just speculation, so I will bow out of this subconversation.

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9/23/11 8:12 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
wow what a cool thread, you guys can figure it out so the rest of it can ride first-class as opposed to paddling a boat or going coach, to work with Richard's analogy

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9/23/11 8:14 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
~10 minute sit, instructions were "pay attention to the body, no thinking, no discernment, nothing other than noticing body sensations". Eyes open.

There are two distinct shifts that occurred somewhere in the middle. The first shift had the sense of "locatedness" corresponding with the remaining attention wave reduced a bit. The second shift was similar, but very extreme, like the entrance to a PCE, albeit with enough attention wave remaining for it to be obvious. To the extent that "locatedness" disappeared, the attention wave disappeared as well.

In past experiences I considered the second shift to be on the border between soft and hard jhana.

Note that (obviously) there is no absorptive quality, and no affective quality. I perceive the attention wave as a residual kind of tension ("restlessness" fetter, maybe), so as the attention wave is reduced, the residual tension is reduced. As the attention wave is reduced, actuality becomes "clearer" in a way that is somehow more sensuous than my default state. There is a clear perception of a body and a very spacious visual field.

I have no idea what jhana it was, I wasn't paying attention. Guessing 5.

Eager to hear whether anyone else can do this.

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
9/23/11 8:29 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nothing can really be 'PCE-lite' in my opinion. Am I alone with this opinion? Others' thoughts?
Yes [Edit: I agree, in my experience there is no "PCE-lite"]. To borrow from Rangjung Dorje (trans. Michael Sheehy): "It is the conceptualizing mental factor that cognizes...distinctive qualities."

Further, "Immediate mental awareness dissipates the six modes of ordinary perceptual awareness, and is the source from which consciousness arises."

Therefore, subtle conceptualization is still mind-consciousness conceptualizing and producing its own on-going potentials (waves from oneself affecting oneself), but it is an improvement from the habit of gross conceptualization (and obvious self-centering producing bigger waves for itself).

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
9/23/11 11:49 PM as a reply to . ..
OK, I have been playing with this kind of jhana for awhile, and it clarifies many things about Buddhism for me.

There was a discussion on KFD about how to line up terms from Buddhism with other stuff. Here is a sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn45/sn45.008.than.html

It appears that "discernment", mindfulness meditation, vipassana, or whatever, all goes under "right view".

Concentration obviously goes under "right concentration".

The frames of reference go under "right mindfulness".

How to reconcile the fact that all these meditation things are spread out everywhere?

The Visuddhimagga conceptualizes meditation as having two factors, discernment and concentration...one emphasizes one or the other, and practices accordingly. So, one may concentrate (in the absorptive way), and, coming out of absorption, there will be all this 'being' to be discerned and destroyed. Or, one may just start discerning things, and one's concentration will get better and kick up more 'being' to be discerned.

This does work, but it puts a person in a funny situation. How to decide which to do? If one is good at both, is it just personality preference? Should one alternate? Should one experiment? There is no clear answer. Further, to the extent that one is practicing concentration (absorption), one is specifically not practicing discernment, and vice versa. The factors underlying effective meditation don't work "smoothly" together.

The suttas, of course, paint a picture of meditation (and the whole eightfold path) where everything is connected and perfected together.

'Ameliorative' jhana (henceforth just jhana) works differently. To the extent that I have cultivated it, it appears that discernment is benefited by it. The experience is very clear, very sensuous, very precise; there is no spaceyness; the mind sees everything that happens in a high-powered way with little or no reaction of any kind and little to no discursive thinking. I see no reason that one would ever need to choose between dry insight and jhana, as jhana appears to be superior to any effort at dry insight that I could make outside of jhana (discernment appears to happen automatically within jhana). Further, applying the frames of reference (or at least some of them) seems perfectly appropriate, as, rather than being part of a "discernment" technique, they help focus the mind on the jhana state; for example, I observe "I am sitting" (first frame of reference, second part: how my body is positioned), and that is simultaneously the object of focus. (This sutta is important with respect to the frames of reference being related to jhana: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an08/an08.063.than.html).

So, with this practice, right concentration (jhana) and right view (discernment) and right mindfulness (frames of reference) are all mutually supportive and all applied at the same time. On the other hand, as I understand the Visuddhimagga's method, right concentration (absorption) is practiced at a separate time from right view (discernment), and right mindfulness (frames of reference) is supposed to guide "how" you discern (e.g. Mahasi noting), and so is not well distinguished from right view.

From reviewing my experiences using dry insight and my recent experiences with jhana and my past experiences with "affective concentration", it seems clear to me that the form of jhana I describe here has got to be what the suttas are talking about, since it fits so much better in the model of the path that is specifically found in the suttas and which is supposed to be the fundamental guide to Buddhist practice. (And this is entirely separate from e.g. the fact that AF people can't be absorbed but anagamis and arahants can practice jhana, etc.).

The final remaining thing to be seen is whether anyone else can figure out how to attain it. Tommy says it's familiar; Claudiu indicates that it may be...things are looking good, but let's hear something definite first.

I am not sure to what extent this can produce a big change in practice methods, as this approach to concentration is not necessarily any easier than focusing on affective stuff. I had trouble attaining it in the past...perhaps I would have worked more on improving my concentration if I had some understanding of why it was valuable. On the other hand, this form of jhana is the only "wholesome" kind of concentration state I ever experienced (the affective stuff, which I also had some experience with, is outrageous compared to this), and if I had some understanding of how it was different and separate from concentrating on affective stuff, I may have wanted to cultivate it simply because it's so nice. (It's a PCE / EE of some kind, after all.)

Anyway, I will be away for a few days, so good luck with this.

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
9/24/11 12:39 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
And here is the best I can offer for instructions. Sense-experience notices itself. 'You' do not need to be involved, 'you' muck up the noticing. Try to get the mind to tune into this auto-noticing quality of sense-experience.

Every fluctuation of the attention wave is 'you' (or shadow-you). 'You' looking, 'you' reacting, 'you' reflecting...so, pay attention to something neutral like your breath, keep the auto-noticing quality of sense-experience in the back of your mind, and slowly, gently, stop 'yourself' from doing anything.

EDIT: It occurred to me that these instructions might be suitable for getting a PCE in general. So, why do I associate this state I've been talking about with jhana? Because it is concentration (something like "imperturbability of mind") that sustains it...unlike e.g. an EE, which lives by the absence of feelings and dies when some feelings come along, these "jhana EEs" live or die by the continuation of concentration. If you think about something discursive, or stand up from sitting, that can instantly mess them up...quite different from the case of regular EEs. (It is possible to experience these jhanic states while walking around, but it doesn't come naturally.) So, the experiences are similar, but the way that the mind implements and sustains each is quite different.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/24/11 8:44 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
There are two distinct shifts that occurred somewhere in the middle. The first shift had the sense of "locatedness" corresponding with the remaining attention wave reduced a bit.

This is, in my experience, the awareness of 'emptiness' becoming sustained; there is still something that is becoming (being). Emptiness is how being/becoming/attention wave perceives this expereince: like a vast, big quiet vastness with some, as you say, "locatedness" .

The second shift was similar, but very extreme, like the entrance to a PCE, albeit with enough attention wave remaining for it to be obvious. To the extent that "locatedness" disappeared, the attention wave disappeared as well.
So, here is attention wave disappearing and pure consciousness occurring. At this transition moment (all awareness letting go) is also a blink of perceiving "purity", after which transition point there is no awareness of "purity" (pure consciousness is occurring after that blink) - the mere energetics of sensing. Actuality as vibrancy-sensory. No "locatedness"

Note that (obviously) there is no absorptive quality, and no affective quality.


I perceive the attention wave as a residual kind of tension ("restlessness" fetter, maybe), so as the attention wave is reduced, the residual tension is reduced. As the attention wave is reduced, actuality becomes "clearer" in a way that is somehow more sensuous than my default state.
That tension is being/becoming. It appears to be a "subtle" thing, but indeed it is the same-sized selfhood wearing less - it's basically curiosity-fear-desire sniffing at the edges. The reason unwinding the social identity works well is that this curiosity-fear-desire sniffing at the edges of what it perceives as emptiness has less to "go home" to. Cultivating good-will/ felicity are also part of the external dissolution.

There is a clear perception of a body and a very spacious visual field.
This perception is, to me, located in the first half you described. Body and any spacious visual field indicates becoming.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/24/11 8:54 AM as a reply to . ..
Asking, "How am I experiencing this moment of being alive" is also effective for some people. It may be a behavioural question met with a behavioural response. (I am having a bad day - I am going to have now a felicitous day).

HAIETMOBA may also be a increasingly reductive statement of experiential reflection that leads from: curiosity (being is curious about how is it experiencing this moment), to separation (being separates from identity), to no more being.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/24/11 9:09 AM as a reply to . ..
Katy, we agree, the residual attention wave is residual becoming (in the Buddhist, dependent origination sense).

Actualist 'being' has a somewhat different meaning (and this is the strength of Buddhism over actualism, that it sees and understands the fundamental problem more deeply), and the attention wave is not that. Hence why "early AF" appears merely to be anagami at best.

katy s:
There is a clear perception of a body and a very spacious visual field.
This perception is, to me, located in the first half you described. Body and any spacious visual field indicates becoming.


In the moment of "pure consciousness" sans attention wave, there is consciousness/experience; in the moment of the attention wave, there is some kind of division-recognition or conceptual dividing of experience, "that is a body / spacious visual field".

There is a body and visual field in the moment of pure consciousness (in a manner of speaking), just no division-recognition. (Talking about a body or a visual field separately is always a manner of speaking). I believe we agree.

There still may be some terminological problems. In relation to the issue of affectless pleasure from before, I would say that, in the moment of pure consciousness, there is an experience with whatever qualities; in the moment of attention wave, there is a division-recognition "that was pleasure". The division-recognition is so subdued in my case that it no longer grows to the level of an affect, but it is analogous to one in some way (hence "shadow-affect").

EDIT: Keep in mind that, with or without division recognition, words can still flow on a screen, thoughts can still flow in a mind, one can still experience affectless pleasure, it is all merely undifferentiatedly-experienced. (A pithy way of saying this...affectless pleasure is not experienced as affectlessly pleasurable.)

EDIT 2: I have been assuming that by "pure consciousness" you are referring to a PCE or the mode of experience therein, and not to SVN (consciousness without any qualities, no senses, nothing for division-recognition to apply to).

How is your "EE / PCE jhana" practice coming, if you've tried it?

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/24/11 9:08 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
EIS do you think that the 'letting go' approach to jhana Nick outlined on the BHP blog could be closer to what you are getting at?

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/24/11 9:10 AM as a reply to bill of the wandering mind.
Bill, you can ask Nick if there is less or no attention wave (if the method produces an EE or PCE) in his "letting go" approach. I have no idea, but would like to know.

(I have 50 minutes to hop on a train, and yet I am still checking the DhO and posting. Bad personality habit?)

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/24/11 11:58 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
9/23/11 6:57 PM End in Sight.
End in Sight:
My vaguely thought-out theory is that, if my speculation is true, then "maximal jhana" (no attention wave) = PCE. Every jhana maxes out as a PCE linked to that form of jhana. The PCEs would be different in the sense that they have different experiential qualities related to the jhana factors, but the same in the sense that they have no attention wave. (The difference in experiential qualities would be fundamentally irrelevant, as your PCEs and my PCEs have had different experiential qualities depending on what we were doing at the time, but both were equally PCEs). But, that is just guesswork and more speculation.



Actually, I think that it's also possible that, if one's concentration is extraordinarily high, other weird stuff (siddhis etc.) could happen, not a PCE. (I currently have dreams, so insofar as that continues and doesn't go away as I get rid of shadow-being, it occurs to me that it's possible to have actual sensory experiences not connected with the physical senses. Siddhis would be like this, not like experiences that happen in the mind's eye.)

This goes back to the beginning of the thread. You are perceiving an exaggerated and an ameliorative 'being' and corresponding jhanas.

As already noted by others, jhana allows 'being' to be clearly seen because of the simplification that being undergoes in order to enter concentration. It has also been noted that this 'being' is easy to deal with, because [being has become] so [reduced and simplified].

So, "maximal jhana", as you say, does result in no attention wave: leaving jhana and entering pure consciousness.
I am referring to pure consciousness as pure consciousness (no more coming into being).

There is still an open question of whether one can get rid of the attention wave entirely via jhana.

Jhana is the realm of selfhood: self-centered/originating mind-consciousness...from which to depart into no-centered, reference-less consciousness, pure.

[Edits: brackets]

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/24/11 12:23 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight
Katy, we agree, the residual attention wave is residual becoming (in the Buddhist, dependent origination sense).

Actualist 'being' has a somewhat different meaning (and this is the strength of Buddhism over actualism, that it sees and understands the fundamental problem more deeply), and the attention wave is not that. Hence why "early AF" appears merely to be anagami at best.

katy s:
There is a clear perception of a body and a very spacious visual field.
This perception is, to me, located in the first half you described. Body and any spacious visual field indicates becoming.



In the moment of "pure consciousness" sans attention wave, there is consciousness/experience; in the moment of the attention wave, there is some kind of division-recognition or conceptual dividing of experience, "that is a body / spacious visual field".

There is a body and visual field in the moment of pure consciousness (in a manner of speaking), just no division-recognition. (Talking about a body or a visual field separately is always a manner of speaking). I believe we agree.

There still may be some terminological problems. In relation to the issue of affectless pleasure from before, I would say that, in the moment of pure consciousness, there is an experience with whatever qualities; in the moment of attention wave, there is a division-recognition "that was pleasure". The division-recognition is so subdued in my case that it no longer grows to the level of an affect, but it is analogous to one in some way (hence "shadow-affect").

EDIT: Keep in mind that, with or without division recognition, words can still flow on a screen, thoughts can still flow in a mind, one can still experience affectless pleasure, it is all merely undifferentiatedly-experienced. (A pithy way of saying this...affectless pleasure is not experienced as affectlessly pleasurable.)

EDIT 2: I have been assuming that by "pure consciousness" you are referring to a PCE or the mode of experience therein, and not to SVN (consciousness without any qualities, no senses, nothing for division-recognition to apply to).

How is your "EE / PCE jhana" practice coming, if you've tried it?
What you are calling 'early AF' is perhaps more aptly described as Clumbsiness Experience. A 'click' (a final insight from self of itself) has occurred, yet there are loads of habitual actions launching (speech, manner, schedule, greetings), then sputtering or stopping in mid-action. Like comedic tripping and it looks as funny as it is. Time iron some of that out. However, in view of the unknown nature of every moment, an ancient habit-assumption-ignorance may arise in any moment. This is why everyone is actually free, is enlightened now - it is a matter of uncovering, doing less (adding little), simplifying.

[Edit: In simplifying, there is also ubiquitous good-will. If "good-will" or felicity feels affective, then consider "respect everything as you respects itself".]

[Edit: to answer your last question - I am alive and well, thanks. I have changed the nature of work and how I "spend time".]

[Edit: strike-through]

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/24/11 1:06 PM as a reply to . ..
Clumsiness experience...ha! Yes, very apt. Perhaps I will adopt that phrase.

Are you having a clumsiness experience as well? ("takes one to know one")

As for the rest, I am still not sure to what extent we are having terminological problems...the resolution of that will have to wait until Monday, when I again have access to a keyboard rather than my smartphone.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/24/11 8:08 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Ok I tried this out today while sitting outside at a nature reserve. It's entirely possible the sensuousness of the scenery and all senses being flooded is what triggered the PCE, though.. LOL. I also tried closing the attention gap while walking. Motion, you are correct, seems to sometimes throw the PCE back to EE. Body in motion putting mind in motion too. Movement of body allows more transference of attention to each particular movement happening, thus attention "bounces" and more readily reflects on new motion that happens.

I will have to try again sitting at home, staring at a blank white wall, or with my eyes closed. I'll let you know how that goes.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/26/11 11:29 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
And here is the best I can offer for instructions. Sense-experience notices itself. 'You' do not need to be involved, 'you' muck up the noticing. Try to get the mind to tune into this auto-noticing quality of sense-experience.

Every fluctuation of the attention wave is 'you' (or shadow-you). 'You' looking, 'you' reacting, 'you' reflecting...so, pay attention to something neutral like your breath, keep the auto-noticing quality of sense-experience in the back of your mind, and slowly, gently, stop 'yourself' from doing anything.


I'll give this a go. I have attained no paths, but have pretty decent jhana skills, and can get up to 5 (though not consistantly) via Kenneth's jhanic arc practice.

Eric

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/26/11 5:43 PM as a reply to Steph S.
Steph S:
Motion, you are correct, seems to sometimes throw the PCE back to EE. Body in motion putting mind in motion too. Movement of body allows more transference of attention to each particular movement happening, thus attention "bounces" and more readily reflects on new motion that happens.


Right...unless this is typical of your PCEs, it sounds like you've attained what I'm describing.

With respect to the question of whether jhana can completely eliminate the attention wave...are you sure it was a PCE? Absolute perfect, no attention wave whatsoever? (Not everyone is equally sensitive to how much attention wave remains. I suspect I notice it more than many people because of my history doing dry insight. If you aren't sure, but suspect it's at least close to a PCE, that would be a fine answer.)

Steph S:
I will have to try again sitting at home, staring at a blank white wall, or with my eyes closed. I'll let you know how that goes.


Please keep us updated, and also, please tell us what you're doing (as best as you can explain it) so others can try the same.

By the way, I've been playing with the idea that asking HAIETMOBA, when attention suddenly shifts to sensuousness, is an extremely mild and extremely soft form of this "affectless jhana" stuff. But I'm far from certain. Thoughts on that?

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/26/11 6:10 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:

Right...unless this is typical of your PCEs, it sounds like you've attained what I'm describing.

With respect to the question of whether jhana can completely eliminate the attention wave...are you sure it was a PCE? Absolute perfect, no attention wave whatsoever? (Not everyone is equally sensitive to how much attention wave remains. I suspect I notice it more than many people because of my history doing dry insight. If you aren't sure, but suspect it's at least close to a PCE, that would be a fine answer.)


I'm pretty sure it was PCE, could have been really maxed out EE like on the border of PCE. To be honest, sometimes it's hard to tell if alot of what I'm experiencing is EE or PCE. Mostly because of what you mentioned earlier, with my default being super EE most of the time. The last shift took quite a bit of getting used to because it was so drastically different than any other shift I had had in a long time... kinda blew the lid off things, as it were. For the past week it seems more stuff is dropping, so the baseline also seems to change day to day.

Maybe to be more clear, how exactly do you define what you think of as "attention wave?"

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/27/11 1:32 PM as a reply to Steph S.
Steph, I hope our conversation clarified what I mean by "attention wave".

Everyone else...please post your experiences with this method as you have them. I will be away for about two weeks and will look forward to seeing what you've made of things when I'm back.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/27/11 3:20 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
I'll replace my normal concentration mode with this and see what happens, will give it a while to make sure I can tell what the difference is... Thanks for the idea.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/27/11 5:03 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Everyone else...please post your experiences with this method as you have them. I will be away for about two weeks and will look forward to seeing what you've made of things when I'm back.


i played around a bit with it. it was kind of a weird experience... essentially, i was trying to get into jhana, but subduing the 'jhana' part. namely, the 'absorption' part. so i did whatever i could to cultivate the jhana factors, but without "getting into jhana" - that is how different these instructions are to me.

it's hard to tell how much success i had, cause i measured "success with jhana" previously as the level of absorption - how much of 'me' was transformed into the jhana. a really hard/"good" 7th jhana, for example, was with my eyes closed, 'being' a totally blank, calm, amorphous, black blob surrounded by nothing.

i did notice generally pleasant sensations, which did not particularly have a sense of location.. totally different from the pleasure i usually associate with jhana. far more subdued, far more skillful, it seems.

i am tending to agree that 'absorption' might just be unskillful concentration. doing jhana the EIS way, 'i' am far more restrained. not in a stressful way, but in a 'neat' way, a controlled manner. just now i was doing this, and decided to get absorbed, and i basically had to 'let go' to let the absorption happen. my body and head became fuzzy and started feeling affective pleasure. it felt like i was springing a leak, basically. back to EIS jhana, plugging the leak, the fuzziness stops, and much closer to an EE way of being.

that being said, i don't know if i'd call EIS jhana, jhana, anymore. it seems the whole point of jhana is gone, and i'm just left concentrating without absorption. which maybe is the point? but i feel that's what i do all the time anyway, when walking around, being attentive to sensuousness.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/27/11 5:33 PM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

that being said, i don't know if i'd call EIS jhana, jhana, anymore. it seems the whole point of jhana is gone, and i'm just left concentrating without absorption. which maybe is the point?


The relevant factor of the eightfold path is translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu as "right concentration", not "right absorption" or "right jhana".

Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

but i feel that's what i do all the time anyway, when walking around, being attentive to sensuousness.


Remember what I said about "imperturbability of mind". When you max out concentration (or at least get it very high), in context of "EIS jhana" (ha!), you get a PCE / EE in which there is a bare minimum of thinking or acting. Normal behavior does not seem to be possible in context of that concentration (I doubt you'd be able to walk around).

So, try to cultivate more "imperturbability of mind" and see the difference between this and regular attentiveness to sensuousness. (It may be a difference in degree only, but it can be a very big difference in degree!)

Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

just now i was doing this, and decided to get absorbed, and i basically had to 'let go' to let the absorption happen. my body and head became fuzzy and started feeling affective pleasure. it felt like i was springing a leak, basically. back to EIS jhana, plugging the leak, the fuzziness stops, and much closer to an EE way of being.


From this description, it does seem like you've gotten the hang of it. Getting absorbed is like letting go into heedlessness, compared to "EIS jhana". So just do what you're doing, and find a way to be more imperturbable / concentrated.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/27/11 10:48 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:

When you max out concentration (or at least get it very high), in context of "EIS jhana" (ha!), you get a PCE / EE in which there is a bare minimum of thinking or acting. Normal behavior does not seem to be possible in context of that concentration (I doubt you'd be able to walk around).

you'd be surprised what is possible to walk around in (in which there is a bare minimum of thinking or acting).


Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem:

just now i was doing this, and decided to get absorbed, and i basically had to 'let go' to let the absorption happen. my body and head became fuzzy and started feeling affective pleasure. it felt like i was springing a leak, basically. back to EIS jhana, plugging the leak, the fuzziness stops, and much closer to an EE way of being.

try letting go of both forms - no holding on, no letting go. attend closer to each 'moment' a leak springs from - everything that arises has a beginning. to see that something has a beginning is to no longer grasp it - no longer grasping it, it no longer comes into existence. keep the scope panoramic.

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/28/11 1:13 AM as a reply to tarin greco.
tarin greco:

everything that arises has a beginning. to see that something has a beginning is to no longer grasp it - no longer grasping it, it no longer comes into existence.


Richard on AF trust site:

When one first becomes aware of something, there is a fleeting instant of the clean perception of sensum just before one recognises the percept (the mental product or result of perception) and also before one identifies with all the feeling memories associated with its qualia (the qualities pertaining to the properties of the form) and this ‘raw sense-datum’ stage of sensational perception is a direct experience of the actual.

http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/attentivenesssensuousnessapperceptiveness.htm

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/28/11 8:48 AM as a reply to Steph S.
Right, I think I've got a method coming along here now but I'm still working with this to figure out a better way to explain it. I've been testing this during formal sits and playing with different ways to go about it, what seems to be most effective is just simply being attentive to sensuousness as normal. It makes the actual aspects of each jhana clearly stand out from the affective overlay into which one would normally become absorbed which makes it easier to see clearly. For me, this reveals a lot of what's still not being seen clearly, the constructs of the sense of being that haven't been dismantled, which seems natural when you consider that jhana practice has a tendency to bring up, in Daniel Ingram's words, personal "stuff". Also, E.I.S.'s advice about using NS (as opposed to SVN) would seem to confirm this view i.e. it "kicks up being".

Now I think about it, doesn't this sound as if it may be a big part of what concentration practice was supposed to be about? Not just bliss outs and siddhis. Concentration as rotivator? emoticon

Claudiu's comment about "grounding" sounds similar to the direct mode practices discussed over at KFD only applied to jhana, which makes perfect sense and I'm going to incorporate this into my normal ongoing practice as well as into sittings.

I'm still working on this but wanted to add my results so far to the thread. The more I do this practice, the more it seems like the old descriptions of integrated concentration and insight practice are describing this same thing. Onwards!

RE: Jhana FTW
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9/28/11 4:30 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
nvm

RE: Jhana FTW
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10/10/11 9:55 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
Having been on retreat for awhile, I believe I figured out how to do "sutta jhana" and will post about it in the future if anyone is interested.

As far as I can see it is the practice to do...enormously pleasant, giving a foretaste of the purity of actuality unclouded by becoming, and extremely powerful in cutting through ignorance.

The suttas, while emphasizing development, often seem to describe people attaining arahantship directly (or arahantship directly after stream entry) via jhana, and I think, if one's concentration is strong enough, that this is literally possible.

RE: Jhana FTW
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10/10/11 10:02 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Having been on retreat for awhile, I believe I figured out how to do "sutta jhana" and will post about it in the future if anyone is interested.


Aye please do.

RE: Jhana FTW
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10/10/11 11:48 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
Yeah, post please.

RE: Jhana FTW
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10/10/11 5:09 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Having been on retreat for awhile, I believe I figured out how to do "sutta jhana" and will post about it in the future if anyone is interested.


Oh, yes please!

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
10/20/11 9:41 AM as a reply to Eric B.
EIS:

Having been on retreat for awhile, I believe I figured out how to do "sutta jhana" and will post about it in the future if anyone is interested.


This interests me, please post about it.

I have never really achieved the ability to be absorbed, but it turns out I am getting something like jhana nowadays when I meditate. Sensations at the skin, and the physical sense of the body, especially, seem very pleasant.

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
10/20/11 10:16 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Having been on retreat for awhile, I believe I figured out how to do "sutta jhana" and will post about it in the future if anyone is interested.

As far as I can see it is the practice to do...enormously pleasant, giving a foretaste of the purity of actuality unclouded by becoming, and extremely powerful in cutting through ignorance.

The suttas, while emphasizing development, often seem to describe people attaining arahantship directly (or arahantship directly after stream entry) via jhana, and I think, if one's concentration is strong enough, that this is literally possible.

Since that shift last week any time I try to become absorbed in jhana, even trying to get into 'hard' 1st jhana, brings me to that same affectless focus on the body that we were talking about before. I'd love to hear what you've found with this "sutta jhana" practice 'cause if does the same thing that jhanas now seem to do for me then we're onto a (path)winner here.

[Edit: For righteous justice]

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
10/29/11 3:08 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Well, I have been quite slow in actually finishing what I had been preparing to write, so perhaps I'll start by sharing an idea, and see whether the whole thing can be figured out without any further explanation.

First jhana

Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal...

Second jhana

Just like a lake with spring-water welling up from within, having no inflow from east, west, north, or south, and with the skies periodically supplying abundant showers, so that the cool fount of water welling up from within the lake would permeate and pervade, suffuse and fill it with cool waters, there being no part of the lake unpervaded by the cool waters; even so, the monk permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of composure. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born of composure...

Third jhana

Just as in a blue-, white-, or red-lotus pond, there may be some of the blue, white, or red lotuses which, born and growing in the water, stay immersed in the water and flourish without standing up out of the water, so that they are permeated and pervaded, suffused and filled with cool water from their roots to their tips, and nothing of those blue, white, or red lotuses would be unpervaded with cool water; even so, the monk permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the pleasure divested of rapture. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded with pleasure divested of rapture...

Fourth jhana

Just as if a man were sitting wrapped from head to foot with a white cloth so that there would be no part of his body to which the white cloth did not extend; even so, the monk sits, permeating his body with a pure, bright awareness. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by pure, bright awareness.


There are many things to say about these similes, but one of the most notable things is that none of them indicate anything about the qualities of attention changing. None of them indicate anything wider or narrower than the others; none of them indicate anything focused on the "center" or the "periphery". Each describes a state in which there is full-body awareness, and (crucially) no felt sense of attention being anywhere in particular.

To the extent that you perceive the attentional qualities of a state of concentration being wider or narrower than other, or (crucially) being wide or narrow at all, your experience of that state will not match these similes.

What if you concentrated in a way that avoided these perceptions of attention being wide or narrow, focused on the center or periphery? What would happen if, when these perceptions arise, you treat them as an illusion and ignore them?

When I incline my mind in a way that corresponds to "looking at" four jhanas, I notice right now that no aspect of what I am actually attending to (as a quality of experience) changes. Each state is panoramic. Panoramic attention does not have a felt or perceived quality at all. Just as sense-experience happens by itself, without any felt or perceived quality apart from the sense-experience, panoramic attention happens by itself, without any felt of perceived quality apart from the sense-experiences that are occurrring...any sense of an intermediate thing, such as the perception of wide or narrow attention, is the 'filter' that obscures the actual panoramic experience of sense-objects.

Try concentrating with this in mind, and see what happens.

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
10/29/11 3:20 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
There is also an insight practice that can be done as preliminary work.

Adverting to the 4th jhana (without concentrating), what is the feeling of attention being wide?

Then adverting to the 1st jhana (without concentrating), how do you know that attention is narrow?

Flipping back and forth rapidly, what is changing? Is it a sense-experience that is changing? Can you look "through" whatever is changing (it may seem like some kind of haze) and observe sense-experiences?

This led to a big shift for me quite some time ago (before what I called out-from control VF).

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
10/29/11 10:55 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
I myself have noticed that there are two forms of jhana; one is an exaggeration of 'being' (where 'I' would become the jhana, 'I' would be piti / sukha / equanimity / formless stuff / whatever), the other is an amelioration of it (where my experience would lose a sense of located-ness or a sense of consciousness inhabiting my head, and would become very sensuous).

Would you explain this in more detail, End in Sight?

My impression is that when the jhana factors become the jhana (when you become the piti, the sukha, the equanimity, formless stuff), this is the mind being unwilling (thus unable) to complete the jhana practice, and therefore switches from the object of concentration to the factor of the jhana (which permits a more savory location of self - a very tricky, subtle diversion which could be named "shadow self" or, more distantly, "shadow being").

This is akin to one going into fantasy thought during vipassana: all pain may seem to cease during fantasy/diverted thinking, however, when one returns to noting and breath, pains also return (if that is the aspect of vipassana one is currently in - the seemingly-unbearable-sensations-stage (which is however abated by fantasy and diverted thoughts deveoped by one's self)), the sensations (itching, spasms, burning joints) return in full force. The effort at this unbearable-sensations-stage being to stay the course, attend, and (ultimately) attend the passing away of the sensations.

In the event it is necessary to state, I am not questioning attainments you claim, I am inquiring about the nature of your experience as you describe them and relating them to other teachers and teachings.


[Edit: in brackets]
_______________
Updated edit:

End in Sight:
Also, in that case, could we try to synchronize our terminology? I think we are having some problem understanding each other related to terminological differences.
After considering your proposal for "two jhanas" in jhanic practice, mine is not a terminological point, but a point about the experience and understanding of jhana.

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
10/30/11 2:33 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
You have asked for feedback on your proposal from practitioners.

End in Sight:
I myself have noticed that there are two forms of jhana; one is an exaggeration of 'being' (where 'I' would become the jhana, 'I' would be piti / sukha / equanimity / formless stuff / whatever), the other is an amelioration of it (where my experience would lose a sense of located-ness or a sense of consciousness inhabiting my head, and would become very sensuous).


Here was my experience:

The "Exaggerated" form has engaging qualities, like "paying attention to", though not even slightly absorptive like jhana. As an engagement it required little mental process unlike jhana preparation. It takes up activity of the self (the cultivating of jhana factors (which may explain your experience of "shadow-being")).

As to "ameliorative jhana", EIS:
I don't have detailed advice for how to attain the 'ameliorating' form of jhana, but the basic thing is, if you're paying attention to breath, attend to the physical breath rather than any nimitta, and, at the point at which you feel that you might be at some kind of transitional point, just "let go" while you keep noticing the breath effortlessly.
This describes pre-jhana. Jhana is entered naturally by building a bridge upon progressive efforts.***

EDIT 2: Another kind of advice that I could give for 'ameliorating' jhana is to notice whatever pleasant tactile sensations come up in the body, and pay attention to those. (Notice the actual sensations, not the affective sensations.)
This describes a body-awareness noting practice, but "notice" is noticing, not absorption.

EDIT 3: The suttas often say that jhana makes one invisible to Mara, or blinds Mara...this is quite a good metaphor for the 'ameliorating' form, in my opinion, as when 'being' is suppressed, there is no 'you' for Mara to see. At the transitional moment, there is a clear experience that, suddenly, you have become temporarily immunized to all the defilements, as 'you' are not around to suffer them / be them, and so there is no way for Mara to afflict you so long as the jhana continues.
If you are invisible to Mara, and yet cast a shadow (as in the "shadow-bring" you report), this shadow locates you, no?


A Buddhist jhana exercise for your consideration for comparison to your "exaggerated and ameliorative jhanas" is to develop concentration on the breath at the tip of the nostrils:
- not following the breathe inside,
- not tracking the breathe passing over the skin and hairs.
- Absorbing the mind's attention in the breath at this one place at the end of the nose (above the upper lip-to-nostrils area).

This absorption may take some practice to develop even momentarily, then more practice to sustain it without break.***

On this thread, I'd like to hear about other yogis' experience with jhana, whether jhana exaggerates or ameliorates 'being', how others have attained one or both forms, whether the above advice is useful for attaining the latter form of jhana, etc.
*** What has helped me with [this Buddhist] jhana practice [in italics above] is: adjusting my breath to being very slight, abdominal, and with inhalation and exhalation linked to the heart rate.

Next, to enter the breathe with absorptive concentration, as I inhale the mind has to exert itself against the inward momentum of the breath and then pull back against the exhalation, both actions prevent the mind from moving with the breath. It is uncannily like the diaphragm fixing the breath in the abdomen (see recent sekida thread): both stabilize with counter-movements.

[Edits: in brackets]

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
10/30/11 9:30 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
On recent consideration, it seems to me that the 'exaggerating' / 'ameliorating' distinction is not the most helpful way to think about or model this. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to drop that terminology for now and explore things in a different way.

You wrote:

katy steger:
My impression is that when the jhana factors become the jhana (when you become the piti, the sukha, the equanimity, formless stuff), this is the mind being unwilling (thus unable) to complete the jhana practice, and therefore switches from the object of concentration to the factor of the jhana (which permits a more savory location of self - a very tricky, subtle diversion which could be named "shadow self" or, more distantly, "shadow being").

This is akin to one going into fantasy thought during vipassana: all pain may seem to cease during fantasy/diverted thinking, however, when one returns to noting and breath, pains also return (if that is the aspect of vipassana one is currently in - the seemingly-unbearable-sensations-stage (which is however abated by fantasy and diverted thoughts deveoped by one's self)), the sensations (itching, spasms, burning joints) return in full force. The effort at this unbearable-sensations-stage being to stay the course, attend, and (ultimately) attend the passing away of the sensations.


In terms of practical advice aimed at exploring what I'm talking about, I would ask you whether you find it possible to simply allow the jhana factors to be there without "becoming" them. In particular, assume that there is no such mental object or experience as a jhana that one can enter or become, and simply allow the jhana factors to exist and strengthen without adding anything. If a perception of becoming something occurs nonetheless, try 1) ignoring it, and 2) paying attention solely to the breath / body / jhana factors. (Keep in mind that a perception of becoming anything, or a perception of a mental state called a jhana, is neither the breath, nor the body, nor a jhana factor.) Consider "jhana" to be a description of an experience, rather than a palpable thing in experience, or a palpable thing that comprises experience.

The way to lean towards what I consider to be sutta jhana and away from affective absorption requires the same preciseness and alertness and keen observation of experience as does noting; however, while retaining this preciseness and alertness and keenly observing mind, one doesn't try to note or break the experiences into pieces (the pieces being the experience of the attention wave, i.e. non-actual), but simply pays attention to the experience of the breath or jhana-factors in an effort-free way (the breath and jhana-factors being actual physical experiences). (Nick's recent post on HP regarding "unfabricated attention" is worth reading in this regard.) In such a state, there may be a perception that things no longer arise or pass in the normal sense...but only in the sense that they do not vibrate in and out of existence according to the dictates of the attention wave, rather than because the mind has become "blurred" and unable to observe what is going on.

One should guard oneself against thinking, fantasizing, visualizing and imagining, lapsing into a dreamy mindstate, or anything else along those lines. One must be hyperalert and hyperaware of the actual breath and actual body, but doing nothing other than remaining hyperalert (insofar as possible)...gradually reducing all mental activity other than the effort-free observation of the breath / body / jhana-factors.

It may help to forget about the idea of "absorption".

katy steger:
A Buddhist jhana exercise for your consideration for comparison to your "exaggerated and ameliorative jhanas" is to develop concentration on the breath at the tip of the nostrils:
- not following the breathe inside,
- not tracking the breathe passing over the skin and hairs.
- Absorbing the mind's attention in the breath at this one place at the end of the nose (above the upper lip-to-nostrils area).


Does this produce an experience that matches any of the sutta's jhana similes, or does it produce a different kind of experience? What is it like for you?

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
10/30/11 12:42 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
Hi End in Sight,

I respectfully reply to you with a few conclusions different from your own. This is natural as we are different people, and any divergent points afford new explorations.

The primary difference I see in our experiences is that you report a "shadow-being" (as well as "affective jhana"). Thus, my reply to your reference to being invisible to Mara: if Mara sees this casted shadow (your sense of a "shadow-being"), then you are located; there is something occupying a location, there is being which can be found.

The utility of your approach I think is to mitigate "striving for jhana" in a person who has this. I call your approach to jhana "apperceptive cultivation of the jhana factors". If one accepts apperception to be the essence of their individual uniqueness (thus, anatta), then - lacking a strong personal basis for beginning the practice of jhana - striving is mitigated.

What follows now is more of a line-by-line response to some of the specifics of your post, though in no way valuable or right, simply my own experience in response to yours.

End in Sight:
In terms of practical advice aimed at exploring what I'm talking about, I would ask you whether you find it possible to simply allow the jhana factors to be there without "becoming" them.
Yes: not becoming the jhana factors is the natural state: the jhana factors are cultivated to dispel hindrances to concentration. However, your initial instruction was about "becoming" the factors:
9/23/11
I myself have noticed that there are two forms of jhana; one is an exaggeration of 'being' (where 'I' would become the jhana, 'I' would be piti / sukha / equanimity / formless stuff / whatever), the other is an amelioration of it (where my experience would lose a sense of located-ness or a sense of consciousness inhabiting my head, and would become very sensuous).


I do not notice any strengthening of the factors:
In particular, assume that there is no such mental object or experience as a jhana that one can enter or become, and simply allow the jhana factors to exist and strengthen without adding anything.
There are simply factors arising in accordance with the mind willing them (to dispel hindrances) until equanimity - and equanimity has the quality of "being/awareness" which lacks bias. I may perceive the jhana factors without a change in "strength" as a result of actualism practice (apperception), whereas someone who personally holds to valuing (their) factors (versus apperceiving them as the inherent capacities of a mind (like discursive thought and emotion)) may experience changing "strength" (based on changing valuation).

In the same vein, the assumption you recommend:
"...assume that there is no such mental object or experience as a jhana..."
is a thinking activity that can precede jhanic factors and jhana, and, again, could be useful advice for someone who is "striving for jhana" and will progress only after releasing the desirous attachment to a concept.

Consider "jhana" to be a description of an experience, rather than a palpable thing in experience, or a palpable thing that comprises experience.....It may help to forget about the idea of "absorption"
Jhana, as concept, can be conceptualized as anything, though I find it most efficient just to consider its meaning via etymology: "The great Buddhist commentator Buddhaghosa traces the Pali word "jhana" (Skt. dhyana) to two verbal forms. One, the etymologically correct derivation, is the verb jhayati, meaning to think or meditate; the other is a more playful derivation, intended to illuminate its function rather than its verbal source, from the verb jhapeti meaning to burn up."(access to insight) As conceptualizing "jhana" only keeps one from practice and actual jhana, it is helpful (fundamental) to stop ideation and to start the practice.

The way to lean towards what I consider to be sutta jhana and away from affective absorption requires the same preciseness and alertness and keen observation of experience as does noting; however, while retaining this preciseness and alertness and keenly observing mind, one doesn't try to note or break the experiences into pieces (the pieces being the experience of the attention wave, i.e. non-actual), but simply pays attention to the experience of the breath or jhana-factors in an effort-free way (the breath and jhana-factors being actual physical experiences).
This describes noting arising sensations (including mental movements).

What is the source of your "affective jhana" idea/experience? Jhana dispels affectation due to its complete, though temporary, burn-off. I think this notion of "affective jhana" arises from abiding with the jhana factors (as noting, or apperception) versus the dissolution into jhana (complete burn-off).


End in sight:
katy steger:
A Buddhist jhana exercise for your consideration for comparison to your "exaggerated and ameliorative jhanas" is to develop concentration on the breath at the tip of the nostrils:
- not following the breathe inside,
- not tracking the breathe passing over the skin and hairs.
- Absorbing the mind's attention in the breath at this one place at the end of the nose (above the upper lip-to-nostrils area).


What is it like for you?
This exercise results in momentary jhana at present: this is the nature of my mind "muscle" at present. I was experiencing suddenly arising jhana throughout the summer without effort or preliminary practice (jhana from "out of the blue") especially during meetings (and can only attribute their arising to the commitment to apperception, although it's impossible to know why they happened).

In these spontaneous jhana events, visual field narrowed extremely, blurred peripheral view, then periphery vanished; the visual object came into intense singular focus - as if by a tunnel between what had been the location of my own head and the former "object", binding completely with what was formerly an observable object distinct from myself. So connection-to-object became one-all event. There was no bliss, no feeling at all, however, when I appeared at exit each time, I did have appreciation for its occurrence and a sense of having been in a truly benign and aligning modality.

Around the same time, two events of inexplicable mentally imagery perception occurred, one of which resulted in helpfulness to one person, and the other of which could have harmed the other person. The realization that I could have harmed a person on the basis of not understanding and mismanaging an inexplicable (but correct) mental image rendered me a frantic mess for several days. So, I decided maybe I should cultivate jhana deliberately and fortify this mind exercise. Concentration training is slow, gentle going, but good - like yoga, building gradual capacity.

Does this produce an experience that matches any of the sutta's jhana similes, or does it produce a different kind of experience?
So far, I experience equanimity in the practice. I have cultivated joy once (for the opportunity to practice and to not have harmed anyone after unexpected jhana occurrence) as I started to fall asleep. It is just like exercising the body - sometimes I have to be grateful for the opportunity to do it, in order to do it.

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
10/30/11 9:00 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
In order to sync terminology (before I respond in more detail), can you do the following?

1) Cultivate some affective bliss.

2) Look a split-second before the experience of affective bliss; what is happening then, and what do you call it?

I have this quote by Bhante G in mind, of course:

When you first become aware of something, there is a fleeting instant of pure awareness just before you conceptualize the thing, before you identify it. That is a stage of Mindfulness. Ordinarily, this stage is very short. It is that flashing split second just as you focus your eyes on the thing, just as you focus your mind on the thing, just before you objectify it, clamp down on it mentally and segregate it from the rest of existence. It takes place just before you start thinking about it - before your mind says, "Oh, it's a dog." That flowing, soft-focused moment of pure awareness is Mindfulness. In that brief flashing mind-moment you experience a thing as an un-thing. You experience a softly flowing moment of pure experience that is interlocked with the rest of reality, not separate from it. Mindfulness is very much like what you see with your peripheral vision as opposed to the hard focus of normal or central vision. yet this moment of soft, unfocused, awareness contains a very deep sort of knowing that is lost as soon as you focus your mind and objectify the object into a thing.


As I believe that every affective experience is a distortion of an actual experience, it will be helpful to see what you think of and name the actual experience that affective bliss is a distortion of.

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
10/31/11 12:40 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
In order to sync terminology (before I respond in more detail), can you do the following?
Hmm, there are questions based on your words, so terminology seems fine-ish. Nevertheless, we could actualise this unknowing and meet any unknowing of the details, to borrow from your use of Bhante G's Mindfulness definitions with "a fleeting instant of pure awareness just before conceptualizing thing... that brief flashing mind-moment experience a thing as an un-thing..


___



1) Cultivate some affective bliss.
Hmm. How do you distinguish now "bliss" and "affective bliss"? I find there is just bliss, and I was able to develop it by tweaking the following tip at this site by simply "relieving hunger in those who are hungry":
Recollection of Generosity (Dāna): When monks offer food to chaste companions who are hungry and contemplate that generosity, or when lay-persons make offerings and contemplate their generosity, bliss arises and spreads throughout the whole body, going deep into the bones. Yes, that feels very nice as it begins to pervade the body and mind.

2) Look a split-second before the experience of affective bliss; what is happening then, and what do you call it?

I have this quote by Bhante G in mind, of course:

When you first become aware of something, there is a fleeting instant of pure awareness just before you conceptualize the thing, before you identify it. That is a stage of Mindfulness. Ordinarily, this stage is very short. It is that flashing split second just as you focus your eyes on the thing, just as you focus your mind on the thing, just before you objectify it, clamp down on it mentally and segregate it from the rest of existence. It takes place just before you start thinking about it - before your mind says, "Oh, it's a dog." That flowing, soft-focused moment of pure awareness is Mindfulness. In that brief flashing mind-moment you experience a thing as an un-thing. You experience a softly flowing moment of pure experience that is interlocked with the rest of reality, not separate from it. Mindfulness is very much like what you see with your peripheral vision as opposed to the hard focus of normal or central vision. yet this moment of soft, unfocused, awareness contains a very deep sort of knowing that is lost as soon as you focus your mind and objectify the object into a thing.

I don't call this anything, it is just an unknowing or lack of recognition. It is followed by localized attention.

Several definitions are submitted in the above Bhanti excerpt, and they are personal descriptions (of a personal, actual experience) which are not words for my own actual experience. For example, I personally don't define a moment of unknowing as like periphery vision, nor hard or soft. Nor do I conclude, "you experience a softly flowing moment of pure experience that is interlocked with the rest of reality".


As I believe that every affective experience is a distortion of an actual experience, it will be helpful to see what you think of and name the actual experience that affective bliss is a distortion of.
You believe here in three things: affective distortions and an actual experience and the belief itself.

What is the actual (undistorted) experience between a synesthete and a non-synesthete. Who is distorting the actual experience? For example, is blue color, or is it chaulky-taste-blue-hue?

Do you believe an actual experience occurs at a person level,or a consensus level (i.e., Most people actually perceive their personal world as flat, yet most people also perceive now a round world (which may be as transitory a consensus perception as flatness).

At the consensus level, I do not find there is any actual experience; everything is perceived by frames of reference and is utterly unique to each being. (This is also a logical basis for empathetic and respectful action). Though this kind of consensus reflecting and input is tremendous fun.

At the personal level, I have not yet found an actual experience either. This is like saying, "there is a moment". My senses inform me differently always, such that Heraclitus' wife said to her complaining husband, "Shut up and eat your soup: you cannot eat the same soup twice!"*

Knowing that senses "distort" ...and that there is no actual, undistorted experience, I do not devalue what you call affective states. Some days glasses usefully "distorts" (forms) my actuality; some days the bliss of relieving suffering (or having it relieved) "distorts" (forms) my world. This gets into dharmapada territory: we are what we think, with our thoughts we create the world... I find this verse of "Choices" to be actual.

I do de-value an overvaluation of one's personal perceptions [when they take on any sense] of containing an absolute nature like being truly actual (versus distorted), or any imposition of those beliefs. But that is part of the human condition, no? In a social species, social members work to spread their perceptions - it is their social and self-preserving nature.

If there were no emotions as a basis of perception, then the sense faculties would form the same heirarchies of perception legitimacy (aka: discrimination): if synesthetes out number the non-synesthetes, then the sunset will be orange for a few and Orangina** for others.

__________________________
*This is an actual story (as of putting it in the post), but also (probably) a distortion of historic events

**reference to smelly orange brand of soda

EDIT: in brackets; some edits for some clarity.

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
10/31/11 12:44 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
So back to you: how does your practice generate a shadow-being?

How is your jhana (not the prepatory jhanas, like access) becoming affective?

Are you actually free (I forget if this is something you have stated)?

RE: Jhana FTW
Answer
10/31/11 8:17 AM as a reply to End in Sight.
10/10/11 End in Sight
Having been on retreat for awhile, I believe I figured out how to do "sutta jhana" and will post about it in the future if anyone is interested.

As far as I can see it is the practice to do...enormously pleasant, giving a foretaste of the purity of actuality unclouded by becoming, and extremely powerful in cutting through ignorance.

The suttas, while emphasizing development, often seem to describe people attaining arahantship directly (or arahantship directly after stream entry) via jhana, and I think, if one's concentration is strong enough, that this is literally possible.



That is the point of jhana (in my opinion and from experience I described above): i) to develop single-pointed concentration on an object so as to ii) break down (have broken down) one's idea of an inherent self-centricity and assumptions of an inherent state of anything and iii) to provide personally experienced "evidence" of no inherent nature or fixed actuality.

This of course means that there is no unclouded "purity of actuality". One can just conclude, through experience, that there is no inherent nature, no unclouded actuality, just as the sky in never unclouded.

And, just as one's personal eyesight is not jettisoned (at least I hope no one is doing that) after one sees how the visual field can, to use your word here, "distort" (i.e., through age, injury, manipulated motion or color spectrums, visual meditations, etc) one has to ask why feelings should be jettisoned or deemed more distorting than the senses? Both glasses and empathy can be applied to perception - is one application "more actual", more "pure"?

As war is founded on a supremacy of opinion about one's own frame of reference, these chats are not immune from strife when/IF there is a deemed a pure actuality to achieve. Jhana provides the personal evidence that there is no such place.

My toast has come into being, so good morning and bye for now.

[Edited: in bold and one spacing change]