Demonic Jhanas

J P P, modified 5 Months ago at 7/1/22 2:29 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/1/22 2:29 PM

Demonic Jhanas

Posts: 2 Join Date: 7/8/15 Recent Posts
Hey, everyone. I want to talk about a certain state I entered (very few times in my life) while doing samatha, it is a state, or collection of states, that I could only describe as an  "evil" or "demonic" jhana. What I mean by that is that it was a very pleasant state, but it had a sort of "sadistic" or even "perverse" sort of feeling to it, it did not feel "angelic" but "demonic" in a very pleasant way. I never did any harm to anyone because of being in it. But I wonder if any of you guys have ever had an experience like that and agree that there are states that could be called "Demonic Jhanas".
T DC, modified 5 Months ago at 7/1/22 5:51 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/1/22 5:51 PM

RE: Demonic Jhanas

Posts: 478 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
Yet another mysterious Jhana state variation - hard, soft, metta, demonic, the list goes on..

In all seriousness though, whatever you experienced sounds interesting and odd, but it is likely its own unique state.  There are basically an infinite variety of random spiritual experiences out there.  Whereas "jhana" refers to a very specific set of experiences, although the label appears to be getting more and more diluted and more broadly applied.
Matt Jon Rousseau, modified 5 Months ago at 7/1/22 7:10 PM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/1/22 7:10 PM

RE: Demonic Jhanas

Posts: 111 Join Date: 5/1/22 Recent Posts
YOU might have a shadow side that might emerge while in an altered state.  Many people are confronted with a darker side of themselves in meditative practice. Don't get overwhelmed  try ro stay in equanimity  towards it and keep meditating
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Griffin, modified 5 Months ago at 7/2/22 5:18 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/2/22 5:18 AM

RE: Demonic Jhanas

Posts: 234 Join Date: 4/7/18 Recent Posts
This reminds me of something I have read in Nida Chenagtsang's book "Karmamudra":

"Some people are so talented at just thinking and thinking – they think of everything, they never stop thinking! Of course if they don’t meditate, they get lost in all their thoughts and that becomes a problem, but
if they can integrate their talent for thinking into their meditation practice, then that helps them to wake up and to be liberated. Some people are super talented at anger. I once met an Italian man who was ninety-six years old, my oldest student, a very strong and fit man. He came to talk to me and told me that he had some health issues. So, I spoke with him and he explained,
“My main problem is anger.” I asked, “Who are you angry with?” And he said, “My wife!” I asked where his wife was and he said very angrily, “She’s DEAD!!” His wife had died thirty years prior and he was still angry with her. He told me that because of all his anger towards his wife – “You
are dead and I don’t want to die! So, I’ll eat good food, exercise!”, something like that – he actually extended his life. I thought, “How cool!”
This was his talent! At first I said to him, “It sounds like you have some kind of trauma connected with your wife? Just let it go,” and he said, “NO! I can’t let it go! Impossible!” And so I said, “Good then! I can give you
some angry mantras that will increase your anger,” and he said, “Oh! That’s great!” I gave him a wrathful Hayagriva mantra which is meant to be
chanted aggressively and he loved it. This mantra includes the repetition of the mantra syllables HULU HULU! which to him sounded like the word
culo or ‘asshole’ in Italian which helped to refine his anger even more! Through using this approach I think he was able to gain some very special meditative experiences. If I had told him to deny or to block his anger
things might have gone worse for him, he might have had a heart attack. In the same way, some people are super talented in jealousy. Jealousy is a very disturbing feeling, but if you really use and integrate that feeling then one
day you will thank your jealousy. You won’t feel bad or guilty about the arising of your jealousy, you’ll feel really grateful. “Wow, thank you
jealousy! You really helped me to understand everything – how my mind works, how my emotions work!” "
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David Matte, modified 5 Months ago at 7/2/22 7:16 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/2/22 7:16 AM

RE: Demonic Jhanas

Posts: 102 Join Date: 8/3/19 Recent Posts
I can't say I ever had a jhana experience like that, but I am not surprised as there seem to be innemerable jhana states that can be molded and crafted through one's intention and inclining the strong concentration to amplify certain feelings present. 
 
Probably not a good idea to bathe the mind in unwholesome states of mind, so my recommendation would be to get out of that state when it arises and get into a more wholesome jhana.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 5 Months ago at 7/2/22 7:22 AM
Created 5 Months ago at 7/2/22 7:22 AM

RE: Demonic Jhanas

Posts: 6857 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Daniel does warn about dark jhana in MCTB2 but I'm not sure what that refers to. 
Kevin C, modified 3 Months ago at 9/4/22 10:04 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 9/4/22 10:04 PM

RE: Demonic Jhanas

Posts: 4 Join Date: 10/30/11 Recent Posts
does the book have any mention of what to do about it?
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Bud E, modified 3 Months ago at 9/5/22 10:03 AM
Created 3 Months ago at 9/5/22 10:03 AM

RE: Demonic Jhanas

Posts: 19 Join Date: 4/29/22 Recent Posts
I got the impression Daniel was speaking of jhanas which have factors that are basically the opposite of the brahma viharas (compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity, loving kindness). Anything that is focused on in meditation tends to expand and grow, so doing dark jhana will do the same for those types of factors. In general, the advice is to not intentionally do it, and simply be mindful of it when it arises.

If what you're experiencing doesn't seem to involve a feeling of identifying with so called unskillfull qualities, probably not a big deal. If it involves identifying with feelings that in normal interactions would be considered unskillfull, probably best not to dwell in it.
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supermonkey :), modified 3 Months ago at 9/5/22 2:20 PM
Created 3 Months ago at 9/5/22 2:20 PM

RE: Demonic Jhanas

Posts: 78 Join Date: 8/11/20 Recent Posts
Specifically, if you continue to be strongly identified with content, without perceiving its true nature, and your strongly concentrated mind dives down that pathway of focusing entirely on the story, particularly negative interpretations of the story without seeing those thoughts as thoughts, then the mind can spiral down and down into madness and despair, and more madness and despair can lead to a horrid feedback loop. I call this “dark jhana”: like the exact reverse of jhana. In skillful jhana, we skillfully use positive qualities to attract and stabilize attention, which then reinforces those positive qualities in a positive feedback loop. In dark jhana, we unskillfully reinforce horrible mind states by obsessing about horrible mind states from within horrible mind states while being freaked out by horrible mind states.
If you recognize dark jhana is happening, put the brakes on it right then with everything you have. Seize control. Refuse to lose that control. Find a way to get a grip on yourself. Splash cold water on your face. Eat grounding food. Exercise or take a walk in nature. Take a warm bath. Listen to soothing music. Sing. Dance. Play a video game. Watch a funny movie or funny cat videos on YouTube. Read the section in Part One where the Buddha talked about the removal of distracting thoughts and apply those instructions with full force: this is when they really come in handy. Stand with your legs planted firmly on the ground, your hands gripping something like a sink, countertop, or the back of a chair, and figure out where the actual problem is in your body and the space in which you stand. Note physical sensations of restlessness and irritation with precision and bravery.Dark jhana sucks and should be avoided at all costs. Wire your brain in a positive way, not a negative way, and you will do much better. Go into that territory at a bare sensate level that remembers there is space and you will do much better. Go into it divorced from the senses and lost in the content, and badness will likely result.

From the MCBT2 chapter on Re-Observation.

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