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Advanced Jhana Classification Daniel M. Ingram 1/27/12 3:10 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Daniel M. Ingram 1/27/12 3:13 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Nikolai . 1/27/12 8:47 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Change A. 2/2/12 4:14 AM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Change A. 2/2/12 9:56 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Change A. 2/2/12 10:56 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Change A. 2/5/12 9:42 AM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Jeff Grove 2/5/12 2:20 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Change A. 2/6/12 1:13 AM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Nickolas Grabovac 1/27/12 8:46 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Tarver  1/28/12 4:06 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Daniel M. Ingram 1/28/12 3:52 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Nikolai . 1/28/12 7:38 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification End in Sight 1/28/12 9:47 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Nikolai . 1/28/12 9:59 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification End in Sight 1/28/12 10:06 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification josh r s 1/29/12 8:43 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Tommy M 1/30/12 4:49 AM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification josh r s 1/30/12 6:21 AM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification End in Sight 1/30/12 8:31 AM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Tommy M 1/30/12 4:28 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Daniel M. Ingram 1/31/12 12:22 AM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification End in Sight 1/31/12 9:00 AM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification tarin greco 1/30/12 1:26 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 1/31/12 3:58 AM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Tommy M 1/29/12 6:25 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Stian Gudmundsen Høiland 1/29/12 1:21 AM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Nikolai . 1/29/12 3:59 AM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification End in Sight 1/29/12 7:41 AM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Johnny Froth 1/27/12 3:12 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification josh r s 1/27/12 3:13 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Daniel M. Ingram 1/27/12 3:12 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification End in Sight 1/31/12 8:36 AM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Daniel M. Ingram 2/1/12 1:05 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification End in Sight 2/1/12 6:26 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem 2/1/12 8:14 PM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification nicolas C 2/2/12 2:17 AM
RE: Advanced Jhana Classification Nikolai . 2/2/12 2:23 AM
Advanced Jhana Classification
Answer
1/27/12 3:10 PM
This topic has been much on my mind recently, so I decided to post something about it and did so on the wiki here:

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/Advanced%20Jhana%20Classification?p_r_p_185834411_title=Advanced%20Jhana%20Classification

This is obviously serious meditation geekery, and I realize that many people are not into this stuff, and if that is you, please just leave those who are into it to our fun, and if you are into it: post away!

Thanks,

Daniel

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
Answer
1/27/12 3:13 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
For those who won't click on the link, here is the text:

Advanced Jhana Classification, by Daniel M. Ingram

Here is a proposed method of classifying the jhanas that is more sophisticated and flexible than the original simple classification system found in the Pali texts and commentaries. It is basically the system I use in my head, and yet I realized that I haven't written it down anywhere in quite this fashion. I hope that one day something like this system is converted to something more secular, such that it can serve as a technical shorthand or language for discussing meditative attainments in general. Until then, here goes with the serious geekery:

The basic building blocks of the system are the jhanas, which briefly noted are as follows:

1. First Jhana: involved narrow attention, sustained effort
2. Second Jhana: involved slightly wider attention, more motion of objects, and is significantly more effortless
3. Third Jhana: involves wider field of attention with center of attention out of phase, and has distinct phase problems in general
4: Fourth Jhana: involved more naturally spacious attention and has a much more balanced sort of attention than the previous ones
5: Boundless Space: a byproduct of noticing the spacious aspect of the 4th jhana
6. Boundless Consciousness: a byproduct of noticing the conscious aspect of the 5th jhana
7. Nothingness: like the 3rd jhana version of the formless realms in that it is like Boundless Space except that the phase of attention is tuned to anything but that and also not to anything else, so it notices that there is nothing there in that space, sort of like the advanced phase problem version of 3rd jhana taken to an extreme
8. Neither Perception Nor Yet Non-Perception: what happens when you detune even from the already very strangely off-tuned 7th jhana and don't even notice that: the pinnacle of phase out-ed-ness without even attention to that
Add to this the notion that these 8 jhanas can fall on a continuum from hard to soft, meaning that you can be really, really into the jhana or in a softer, less absolute version of that same territory that is still different from what I will loosely call "ordinary" consciousness, whatever that is, and yet not in it as hard as is possible. This falls into shades of grey and may often involve transitioning from one way of perceiving things to the other.

Add to this that these 8 hard or soft jhanas can also be more analog or digital, more smooth or vibratory/fluxy, and thus there is an axis of development that relates to how samatha or how vipassana they are, how concentration heavy or how insight heavy, how seemingly stable vs how discontinuously they are perceived.

Add to this the notion that you can actually be in a sub-jhana aspect of each of those 8 jhanas, such that you could be in the 4th subjhana of 3rd jhana, for instance, or the 8th subjhana aspect of 1st jhana, just to take it to extremes, which can easily occur in those with strong concentration.

Add to this the notion that you can actually split this finer, into sub-subjhanas, meaning, for instance, that you could be in the 7th subsubjhana of the 3rd subjhana of the 4th jhana, just to make it interesting, or the 4th subsubjhana of the 1st subjhana of the 3rd jhana, which just happens to be Dissolution, which is an insight stage, which brings me to the next layer of complexity, adding in insight stage, or ñana terminology.

The insight stages of specific relevance are the first 11, namely:

1. Mind and Body
2. Cause and Effect
3. The Three Characteristics
4. The Arising and Passing Away
5. Dissolution
6. Fear
7. Misery
8. Disgust
9. Desire for Deliverance
10. Reobservation
11. Equanimity
Note that you can break these down by subjhanas and subsubjhanas and also subñanas and subsubñanas. Beyond about 3 levels it gets less useful, but I can really see distinct uses for those 3 levels of complexity.

Add to this that different focuses of practice, namely different objects, can really color how these present, with mantras and visualization objects producing really different effects or experiences of these variously classified stages and states than, say, vibrations or the breath or bliss, or whatever.

Thus, for instance, to really use this, one might have been really applying effort on the breath and gotten into something that was highly effortful but the breath became abstract and then vanished along with the body and all that was left was some sort of slowly shifting vague thing in space that is now nearly entirely formless and yet there is still somehow this really heavy first jhana effort, narrow vibe to the thing and it happened early in a retreat. You could classify this numerous ways, but I would tend to call that something like the moderately balanced insight/concentration part of the 7th subjhana of the 1st jhana.

When I tend to think in shorthand about these things, I tend to use notation in my brain that looks like this:

bj1.j7: meaning balanced (b) samatha/vipassana 7th subjhana part of 1st jhana

Or, to give another example using alternate notation for another experience:

ñ5.sj3.ñ11: meaning the Equanimity part of the 3rd samatha jhana part of Dissolution, where ñ demarcates that the number that follows it is a ñana, and the sj demarcates that the number that follows it refers to the smooth or samatha aspect of the 3rd jhana.

Or, to give another example:

ñ11.vj4.vj6: meaning the Boundless Consciousness sub sub aspect of the 4th vipassana subjhana aspect of Equanimity, which sounds needlessly picky until you notice enough to realize that that sub sub aspect can easily be found and experienced.

Or, to give another example:

sj4.sj8: meaning the 8th subjhana of the 4th jhana, which would be distinguished from proper 8th jhana in my mind by the continued presence of form, or, to get even more precise:

hsj3.hsj4: meaning the hard (h) 4th subjhana aspect of hard 3rd samatha jhana, as opposed to:

ssj3.ssj4: meaning the soft (s) 4th subjhana aspect of soft 3rd samatha jhana.

Or even:

h!sj6: meaning simply really hard straightforward Boundless Consciousness

Or, to get more simple:

hsj8: meaning the hard samatha jhana version of the 8th samatha jhana, which I personally consider redundant for a few reasons: one, you can't investigate the 8th jhana, as isn't possible if it really is 8th, and two, because true 8th is always hard if it is actually 8th as I think of it, and if it wasn't, then it probably was j4.j8 or something like that.

Or, you could be fluxing way up in the formless aspects of Equanimity, something I might label:

ñ11.hvj7 for really hard versions of the fluxing of the Nothingness aspect of Equanimity, and by hard I mean really well developed, not stable, just so there is no confusion about this.

Or, if you managed to get one of the Three Doors off of that, those 3 moments would be:

ñ12.hvj7, ñ13.hvj7, ñ14.hvj14, with the h's being redundant, as the 12-14th ñanas (Conformity, Change of Lineage and Path) being always hard, meaning fully developed by definition, and the designations of subñana actually meaning something slightly different here, as they don't have subjhanic aspects, being only one moment as they are, but referring to the object they took to see the full truth of completely.

Yes, there are the Pure Land jhanas, which I tend to label 9, 10, etc, depending on how many you think there are, which is debated, but let's keep those numbers open.

There is also a special place I refer to as the post-8th junction point, a nexus of options that open once you have been to some version of the 8th jhana or perhaps after j4.j8, which seems to do it pretty well also, but not quite as well.

In this system, you can say things really quickly, like the instructions for getting Nirodha Samapatti would be to rise naturally from sbj1 to sbj7, enter j8, come out, resolve and enter NS, meaning that you should use a softer version of the jhanas 1-7 with a balance of samatha and vipassana aspects without having either predominate, enter 8 proper, come out to the post-8th JP, and enter NS.

You can also detail nuanced aspects of certain phases of practice, such as the different phases of the A&P, Dissolution, and Equanimity, which have many little aspects to how they develop and where you can take them.

Or, you can add the object, such as:

light.hñ4.sj2 Meaning that, at that moment or phase of practice, the light that some see in the hard version of the insight stage of the A&P was taken as object and practice took on more of a 2nd samatha jhana feel, meaning the light showed itself and wasn't vipassinized or seen as pulses, but instead was more of a concentration object at that phase and the light showed itself on its own and didn't require sustained attention to manifest.

And you can add duration, such that you might note light.hñ4.sj2.5minutes: meaning that you stared at the white light for 5 minutes in that subjhanic phase of the A&P.

There are numerous pitfalls in thinking about things in this way, and one can easily make really large mistakes, such as mistaking 1.7 for 7.1 and things like that, but realizing that this sub-aspect nature of things is even possible allows one to ask the question and hopefully also provides a way to sort out 1.7 from 7.1, which are developmentally really, really different and have profoundly different implications for practice.

In this classification scheme, you can allow for all sorts of things, such as Alan Wallace's 1st jhana, which might be written h!!!sj1.24hours, meaning that it is really, really, really hard and lated 24 hours, or certain people's versions of the formless realms which also are really light and actually contain form, and I think of as s!!!sj1.7, meaning the really, really, really soft version of some formed version of the Nothingness aspect of 1st jhana, as they are making effort to see it and are so light they can talk in it.

Anyway, you get the idea, and hopefully some of this nuance of aspects and terminology will help people describe and categorize their experiences, as well as utilize the standard advice for various phases and aspects as they apply to those experiences for deepening in them and also realizing what is possible beyond them.

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
Answer
1/27/12 3:12 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel, I wouldn't be here if I wasn't interested in finding out more and didn't think that your message may be the real deal. Still, you may want to fix the Freudian typo in the thread title, to avoid making people like me even more likely to believe this all sounds too good to be true emoticon

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
Answer
1/27/12 3:13 PM as a reply to Johnny Froth.
Johnny Froth:
Daniel, I wouldn't be here if I wasn't interested in finding out more and didn't think that your message may be the real deal. Still, you may want to fix the Freudian typo in the thread title, to avoid making people like me even more likely to believe this all sounds too good to be true emoticon


LOL

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
Answer
1/27/12 3:12 PM as a reply to Johnny Froth.
Thanks for that. For those who missed it: it was Advanced Jhana Classifiction, and should have been Advanced Jhana Classification.

Well, I can see this is going to get far...

Daniel

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
Answer
1/27/12 8:47 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel,

Upon getting the 1st cessation of the senses (1st path) on a goenka retreat over 2 years ago, I have had automatic will of mind access to all of the jhanas according to your descriptions and your descriptions match them to a tee.

However, these days I have been approaching the jhanas as they are described in the suttas, especially the rupa jhanas being completely fullbodied rather than having attention narrow or less narrower etc. (for lack of a better term I'll call them 'sutta jhanas'). Each rupa jhana is experienced instead as a fullbodied awareness with each of the factors presenting within that fullbodied awareness.

I have been playing around with the differences between the 1st jhana you describe above (MCTB 1st jhana) and the 1st jhana as described in the samadhanga sutta:

"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. This is the first development of the five-factored noble right concentration.


What I do is will the mind into the 1st jhana you describe with the narrow attention, and then let attention move to become fullbodied. From there, the pleasure of the jhana is paid attention to physically and exclusively throughout every corner of the body. This pleasure is paid attention from this very wide perspective and what results is a big reduction in attention wave and sense of (for me) shadow-being (a mental residual which took a sense of gross 'being's' place) as the fullbodied awareness seem to cut out the factors that are giving rise to it.

The other rupa jhanas also are all fullbodied and attention is not allowed to attend the field of experience in such a narrowly attentive way, as they do in the versions of the jhanas you have talked of. This other way of expericning the factors of each jhana seems very very much what attentiveness to sensuouness of the actualist approach is like as it seems to lead to PCE territory but within a jhana factor context. If a sense of 'being' shadow or gross, exisiting , affective mood, is arising within the jhana, it will be interfered with when the rupa jhana is a fullbodied one, for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. This does not happen in the versions you talk of in my own experience.

1. First Jhana: involved narrow attention, sustained effort

Sutta version: Fullbodied awareness, physical pleasure is given full priority throughout the whole body with the flow of attention directed and sustained from a very wide fullbodied focus.

2. Second Jhana: involved slightly wider attention, more motion of objects, and is significantly more effortless

Sutta version: Fullbodied awareness, physical pleasure still is part of the field of experience but the flow of directed and sustained attention (towards the pleasure felt within the whole body) drops away, and the mind is able to rest attention on the sense of lightness/relaxed wellbeing/joy pervading the mind and the whole body.

"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. This is the second development of the five-factored noble right concentration.


3. Third Jhana: involves wider field of attention with center of attention out of phase, and has distinct phase problems in general

Sutta version: Fullbodied awareness, the physical pleasure is still part of the field of experience but the sense of lightness in the mind/relaxed wellbeing is replaced with a different mental focus, that of one that smacks of equanimity and non-reactivity (unlike the slight reactivity that results in joy/sense of lightness or wellbeing in the 1st two rupa jhanas)

"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. This is the third development of the five-factored noble right concentration.


4: Fourth Jhana: involved more naturally spacious attention and has a much more balanced sort of attention than the previous ones

Sutta version: Fullbodied awareness, the physical pleasure drops away to become more uniform to the point that the mind is not pulled to take it as object, but rather the equanimity pervading the 3rd jhana takes over the whole body where the pleasure was. This version may resemble much more the 4th jhana you are describing than any of the other jhanas and there sutta versions. However I think one can have two experiecnes here. One might be experiencing the whole body as just a mass of vibrations and nothing is really distinguished in that blob or mass of vibrations all percieved from a very chilled out eqaunimous angle. Or another experience could be that the vibrations fall away as part of the focus and it is the recognition of 'awareness' that pervades all the nooks and crannies of the body, and there is still no parts distinguished. A mass or blob of fullbodied 'awareness', pervading the whole body with a wonderfully still, equanimous colour.

"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. This is the fourth development of the five-factored noble right concentration.


One way of accessing each version and comparing the differences, is by willing the mind into the 1st jhana as you describe and then allowing the attention to widen to include the whole body, and then intentionally focusing the mind from that whole body angle on physical pleasure that can then be allowed to pervade the whole body. This will then lead to a sense of lightness in the mind or a sense of wellbeing or joy. Thus you will see a difference in the two versions of the 1st jhana. You can do the same for each of the rupa jhanas and their different versions.

I have had one distinct shift in the rupas (the 2nd) while doing this approach. All other shifts where in the arupa soft versions (according to your descriptions). Paying attention to any sense of 'being' in any form (affect in any form) seeing if there is a gross vibration acting as a factor in its arising and allowing such vibrations to be 'consumed' and 'mashed' with the sensuousness of the physical factors of each rupa jhana can lead to 'being', shadow or gross, dropping away and resulting in permanent brain changes/suffering levels dropping, in my own experiecne.

Nick

Edited a few times for flow, spelling and extra sentences.

EDIT: To link it to how you are classifying jhanas and subjhanas, and seemingly trying to come up with a novel way of everyone talking about jhanas, how would you factor in or describe with your terminology the experiences of those of us practicing the 'sutta versions'?

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
Answer
1/27/12 8:46 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Using this classification scheme, what would you say, in your experience, is the minimum level of development of the samatha jhanas required to attain 4th path? For example, something like ssj1, ssj2, ssj3, hsj4, ... etc.

Also, is clearly discerning the sub and sub-sub samatha and/or vipassana jhanas a requirement for 4th path?

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
Answer
1/28/12 4:06 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Reminds me of chess notation. Path could be notated as "#" which is the symbol for "check-mate".

"s" is ambiguous; is it "soft" or "samatha"? "Hard" and "soft" are pretty fundamental distinctions. How about using capitals for strong and lower-case for moderate manifestations of a given feature? Thus "h" would be hard, "H" would be very hard, "HH" extremely hard, and "HHH" for outrageously hard. Perhaps "ss" would be at the borderline of conscious perception, and "sss" would be so soft as to be subliminal, which may for example be relevant for describing the dynamics of off-the-cushion Dark Night experiences, and the reconstruction of the states of mind immediately preceding spontaneous satori phenomena? Obviously, how one notices "sss" states as such is problematic, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

I am backing myself into a corner here with x vs. xx vs. X vs. XX, etc. Could a real geek please step in and improve further on this?

If "b" is for "balanced" what is the opposite, "u" for "unbalanced"? No... In that example you seem to have meant something like "s/v" for samatha/vipassana by which you mean how "analog or digital... smooth or vibratory/fluxy" and "how concentration heavy or how insight heavy, how seemingly stable vs how discontinuously they are perceived". This is also a hugely important axis, of course. Is this all the same axis, or several closely related axes? Maybe use "i" for insight and "c" for concentration, so that "s" is reserved for "soft" above? "Balanced" would thus be "ic" or "i/c". Is there such a thing, or is this in practice a moving target or even an unattainable ideal?

...or is "b" for "breath"? I would say pick a type of bracket, brace, or parenthesis for the object and spell it out: something like (sensations) <visualization> or {mantra} ...but pick one type. Something should be chosen that doesn't conflict with mark-up and HTML. A description of a session could start with (breath) and abbreviate that to (b). As there are gazzillions of (objects) that could be relevant for practice, but not directly relevant for distinguishing progress in the quality of the experience of them per se, this would contain that variability within the notation language. (Or, am I making an assumption about the fundamental nature of objects and the experiencing of them that breaks down at some point further along the path?)

Once one kind of bracket or brace is reserved for (object) of concentration, another kind could be used for {posture}, ie, {sitting} {walking} etc. On the one hand, this is tangential to the jhana; but on the other hand it is frequently documented information in practice reports, and might be especially relevant if the posture changes significantly during a single session. Also, once this dimension of practice has a space within which to be expressed, postures beyond the traditional four (sitting, walking, standing, and reclining) could be conveniently notated, such as {driving}. (See ! and ?? below.)

Using "ñ" for ñana is a pain because I am not sure how to type an ñ without copy-and-pasting one already encountered. Better just use "n", in my judgment. (Exercise in the first training in morality -- fight the hegemony of ASCII, or keep our heads down and make it easier on ourselves?)

I really like the dot notation jhana.subjhana.subsubjana. I am taking your word for it "that that sub sub aspect can easily be found and experienced."

I think that "!" should be used for commentary about the situation as a whole (as in chess notation) where something is surprising or unexpected or just downright brilliant, rather than to modify specific factors. Similarly "?" can be added to query something or flag blunders, again allowing !!, !!!, ??, and ???.

Skill level (or perhaps more accurately something like quality-of-my-practice-right-now level) could also be included, perhaps as per the Hierarchy of Vipassana Practice Level.

What are we going to call this classifiction scheme? Perhaps Ingram Notation?

I would love to see a table defining this, like a specification of any formal language, articulating the consensus on what the relevant axes are, and how they may be succinctly expressed. All hail the geeky convergence of engineering and spirituality!

I am sure that at least half of what I am suggesting here won't be helpful or useful. I am not sure, however, which half. YAGNI?

By the way, nobody can "click on the link" to the wiki because it isn't a link. Facebook has made us all lazy by parsing our posts and making links "just work", but the DhO is an example of the old saying that the shoemaker's children walk barefoot, in this regard. emoticon

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
Answer
1/28/12 3:52 PM as a reply to Tarver .
Very Nice! That is exactly the sort of thing I was looking for!

As to the very useful comment about the width of attention in each jhana, I completely agree that there is flexibility in those, but I would make a subtle point about how they do differ regarding how much of the widely blissful or equanimous body or whatever you can attend to at each moment and how the center is somewhat out of focus in the 3rd, but anyway, good points.

So, how to incorporate something of that point about bodily, wider, full, rich jhanas, which I have also played around with, BTW, having spent a lot of time pondering those and similar other descriptions in the notation?

That's the question, and a good one. Other useful refinements to propose?

As to how to produce the tilda, alt-n followed by n does it, but I agree, slightly clunky.

As to "Ingram Notation", eponymous terms drive me crazy in medicine all the time, so would prefer to try to avoid that.

Daniel

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
Answer
1/28/12 7:38 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
but I would make a subtle point about how they do differ regarding how much of the widely blissful or equanimous body or whatever you can attend to at each moment and how the center is somewhat out of focus in the 3rd, but anyway, good points.


I have done some experimenting with comparing the 3rd jhana versions. It would seem if one allows the manner in which attention freezes into position (out edge of donut) for the jhana version you mention then making it more fullbodied experiecne but at the same time allowing part of that positioning to the outer edges in attention to still influence the fullbodied version will look as you say above, 'the centre somewhat out of focus'.

I find it quite insightful to see why the centre is out of focus and seeing from different angles (meaning seeing the traditional 3rd jhana factors until they 'pervade the whole body') until even the centre comes into focus along with the outer edges. It would be like applying a 4th jhana (according to your descriptions) perspective in the 3rd jhana with all its factors in a wide 'everything in the field of experience' focus. It would appear that the 'attention wave', that seems to be the narrowing of attention and causing parts to unfocus, is interfered with when the 'unfocused centre' is included, mashed with, consumed by a whole bodied nothing left out of focus perspective.

In fact when I did this recently it led immediately to the dropping away of the residual shadow 'dust on the lens' (former fullblown 'being') and resulted in a fruition and a nice reboot period. I think it is worth seeing why attention is being positioned like so and attempting to allow the 3rd jhana to appear more like the sutta description. If something is 'out of focus', to me, this would be the result of 'not' interfering with the attention wave. In the suttas the 3rd is described as having nowhere untouched by piti devoid of sukkha. An unfocused centre would be untouched, I think.

I remind myself that the objective of such 'sutta version jhana' is to immerse the entire field of experience, the whole mind/body organism, in the sensuousness of each rupa jhana's factors.
Nick

Edited a few times.

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
Answer
1/28/12 9:47 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
My experience of (non-MCTB ) 3rd jhana has no phase problems at all. (And that's just the beginning...)

Dan, in a previous thread about jhana, I mentioned a way that you might be able to go from orgasm-y, overwhelming MCTB 2nd jhana to something very different that's still clearly 2nd jhana. Have you tried it?

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
Answer
1/28/12 9:59 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
My experience of (non-MCTB ) 3rd jhana has no phase problems at all. (And that's just the beginning...)

Dan, in a previous thread about jhana, I mentioned a way that you might be able to go from orgasm-y, overwhelming MCTB 2nd jhana to something very different that's still clearly 2nd jhana. Have you tried it?


Can you link or re-post those instructions, End here in this thread?

Nick

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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1/28/12 10:06 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
I'm not sure where the thread is, so from memory, it was something like:

1) Get the orgasm-y, overwhelming thing
2) See how the orgasm-y, overwhelming quality is separate from the pleasure, and is a manifestation of the attention wave
3) See if you can calm the attention wave down by relaxing and letting go of whatever things are exacerbating it, while keeping the pleasure around

If one can do this successfully, then, moving to 3rd jhana and examining its out-of-phase characteristics (or lack of them) may also be worthwhile.

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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1/29/12 1:21 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Can someone please mention the wave/particle dichotomy?

Oh, did I say that out loud?

Something about the
left/right brain functions (now kinda defunct),
narrow/wide focus,
dots/lines,
digital/analog,
syntax/semantics,
denotation/connotation,
separation/context,
particle/wave,
vipassana/samatha.

There's just something about this...

The 'attention wave' is the disturbance/turbulence created as a result of the constant re-application of 'focus' necessary to keep a section of the 'wave-of-experience' seemingly-separate.

What? Who said that?

Be the wave...

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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1/29/12 3:59 AM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
Be the wave...


This is also another way of approaching the jhanas my taking on the notion that 'I' am my (affective) feelings and my (affective feelings are 'me'. You can become aware of the sense of exisiitng and allow it to manifest as the very factors of each jhana.
The experience of 'being the jhanas' is a much fuller and more 'in control' experience as far as I have experienced in the past.

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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1/29/12 7:41 AM as a reply to Stian Gudmundsen Høiland.
Stian Gudmundsen Høiland:
Can someone please mention the wave/particle dichotomy?


It's the attention wave that makes experience appear to be either wavelike (when not analyzed) or particlelike (when analyzed from the perspective of MCTB impermanence).

Without it, experience seems to be neither.

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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1/29/12 6:25 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
As to how to produce the tilda, alt-n followed by n does it, but I agree, slightly clunky.

I do it by using Alt+164 - Hold down the Alt key they type 164 on the keypad = ñ (I don't know if this is PC specific)

Here's a list of alt codes which may be useful for notation.

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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1/29/12 8:43 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
My experience of (non-MCTB ) 3rd jhana has no phase problems at all. (And that's just the beginning...)

Dan, in a previous thread about jhana, I mentioned a way that you might be able to go from orgasm-y, overwhelming MCTB 2nd jhana to something very different that's still clearly 2nd jhana. Have you tried it?


this is my experience too, and in the suttas it is mentioned that the noble ones proclaim of the third jhana
Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.
, i don't think they would call something with a big phase problem a pleasant abiding, you don't abide in a phase, you pass through it.

MN 39

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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1/30/12 4:49 AM as a reply to josh r s.
i don't think they would call something with a big phase problem a pleasant abiding, you don't abide in a phase, you pass through it.

The "phase problem" mentioned here isn't meant in that way, Daniel's background is in the technical writing and he was a sound engineer at one time so I've always assumed he used the term in the way it's used when talking about signal processing. This makes more sense to me as the "phase problem" of 3rd jhana (in MCTB terms) is where attention is out of sync with the perception of the object, just like two audio tracks out of phase with one another cause a sort of "flanging" effect.

I could be wrong and hopefully Daniel will correct me if this is the case, I don't know enough about the technicalities of signal processing to say much more but the analogy seems to fit very well in my experience.

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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1/30/12 6:21 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
oh I thought phase problem meant that a state was unstable and required lots of intention to abide in, like a phase between other stable states

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1/30/12 8:31 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
I could be wrong and hopefully Daniel will correct me if this is the case, I don't know enough about the technicalities of signal processing to say much more but the analogy seems to fit very well in my experience.


In your anapanasati sutta approach, do you experience something that has a phase problem?

If so, I suggest ignoring the phase problem and seeing if that makes it go away.

If not, I would say that you have something to contribute to this thread. emoticon

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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1/30/12 1:26 PM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
i don't think they would call something with a big phase problem a pleasant abiding, you don't abide in a phase, you pass through it.

The "phase problem" mentioned here isn't meant in that way, Daniel's background is in the technical writing and he was a sound engineer at one time so I've always assumed he used the term in the way it's used when talking about signal processing. This makes more sense to me as the "phase problem" of 3rd jhana (in MCTB terms) is where attention is out of sync with the perception of the object, just like two audio tracks out of phase with one another cause a sort of "flanging" effect.

I could be wrong and hopefully Daniel will correct me if this is the case, I don't know enough about the technicalities of signal processing to say much more but the analogy seems to fit very well in my experience.

i would say that that's correct. this function in signal processing can also function in sonic processing, and in haptic processing as well if modulations in sound touch on touch and/or vice versa. if so, this is interesting for the practitioner (for whom it happens) to know, as the haptic system is the 'object' through which jhana is usually taught and trained (particularly as it is the haptic system that registers the breath), and so what one has already become habituated to identifying in sound becomes useful for identifying in touch.

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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1/30/12 4:28 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
In your anapanasati sutta approach, do you experience something that has a phase problem?

If so, I suggest ignoring the phase problem and seeing if that makes it go away.

If not, I would say that you have something to contribute to this thread.

I'm just about to write a post on tonight's sit actually, I noticed this happening tonight while practicing but you're right when you suggest just ignoring it. I think I focused a bit too heavily, there was a feeling of my eyes being crossed and things being very out of focus but paying attention to the whole body, feeling the sensations of my eyes and how they were actually positioned, cut it off straight away. It seems that the way in which attention is focused informs the quality of the state, a one-pointedness makes things more vibratory whereas the light holding of the breath, as in anapana, makes things more stable. A wee bit o' speculation, of course.

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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1/31/12 12:22 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
As to the phase thing, yes, Tommy is right, I mean as in two waves that are out of phase in some way, such that their constructive interference is peripheral and their destructive interference is central in some 2-3D sort of way.

As to playing around with various jhanas, such as 2nd, I have been all over the jhanas up and down, back and forth, with more focuses and emphases and qualities and objects than I can probably even remember at this point, this mostly being back in my ultra-obsessive jhana period, mostly in around late 1996-1999, but some after that also, such as on retreat Winter 2001 and on retreat in 2003. I would shift from bliss to rapture, from effortlessness to the focus of attention, from colored lights to massive bodily pleasure, from fine energetics and energy channels and chakras to fully formed visions of blinding lights, spirograph-like spinning mandalas and beautiful women, from opiate-like nearly time-frozen depths to explosive fireworks, from massive spasms of breathing to traveling out of body, again and again, around and around, up and down, countless times, and that is just the 2nd jhana. In short, yes, have played with the jhanas a whole, whole lot, inspired by the Visuddhimagga, the old Pali texts, The Fruits of the Homeless Life, many other books on jhana, some Magical texts, and my own broad fascinations.

As to classifying things, we need even more:

More about the fine points of objects, more about the emphases within those objects, more about the focus of attention, more about phase issues and the numerous subtleties of those, which are so intricate and important, and more detail still, and then, perhaps, we will all really get some understanding of what we are actually talking about, which is the point, as I keep feeling like people just say things like MCTB 3rd or whatever and that means nearly nothing except to the person who said it and misses so much that might be more interesting and helpful.

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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1/31/12 3:58 AM as a reply to Tommy M.

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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1/31/12 9:00 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
As another note about jhanas, I have found that the object is basically irrelevant to the experience (as the object does not change the qualities of the experience, but merely changes the nimittas, and may make it easier / harder to concentrate), so long as the object is a suitable one (i.e. not part of the attention wave), and if one finds that changing the object changes what the experience is like, I would say that whatever they're doing concentration-wise is different from what I'm doing.

Dan, I'm unclear on what your answer to the specific question I asked was.

My experience of 2nd jhana is this: piti, sukha, upekkha, presence of vibrations and sense of width* negatively correlated with degree of concentration, no sense experience when concentration is near-maximal.

(* The sense of width when concentration is low is panoramic / wide, which characterizes all my low concentration jhana-related experiences, including 1st, and pretty much all my experiences altogether at the moment, and is a product of my practice. When concentration is moderate, the sense of width simply fades away altogether.)

What you described (all the random incidental stuff that may or may not be present due to differences in object, focus, intention / goal, etc. is what I would call MCTB jhana, i.e. some flexible state based on 4th nana with no pre-defined shape but a lot of pre-defined tendencies.

My experience of 3rd jhana is basically the same as 2nd, minus piti. No phase problems.

There is an experience with phase problems, and it is very different, and I would call that MCTB jhana too.

In general, I find your classification scheme useful for your style of concentration, but mostly irrelevant to mine, as the features they describe are simply not there when I concentrate, or occasionally are there but are signs of poor concentration; and in fact, I would say that the Pali texts capture pretty much everything that is useful to capture about the states themselves, apart from failing to describe different levels of concentration in detail, as well as the process of concentration.

(Edited for clarity.)

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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1/31/12 8:36 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
The way I currently think about jhana is like this: maximal jhana is a form of conscious sleep, and the experience of maximal jhana is analogous to being asleep + experiencing whatever the jhana factors are, and nothing else. Sub-maximal jhana is like maximal jhana, but has more incidental stuff in it (stray cognition, visualization, sense of attention, etc,.)

(I don't know where maximal jhana is physiologically akin to sleep, it's just a way to look at things. But it might well be.)

I see the attention wave / vibrations / etc. as indications that defilements are arising, so the deeper one's concentration, the less of them there are, so classifying concentration states in terms of their absence is ultimately incorrect albeit highly practical. I think that if one classifies concentration and concentration states in terms of their presence and specific qualities, whatever practice or experience motivating such a measurement is very different from what I'm doing.

As I have experienced concentrating in both ways, my personal attestation is that the two things are different, so I call one "MCTB jhana" and the other "whatever I'm doing", though "whatever I'm doing" matches the descriptions in the suttas and the Visuddhimaggas well enough in my estimation, and in particular, for those experience, there isn't a need of the kind of elaboration that this thread is calling for, not because I don't care for it, but because there isn't anything that I see to elaborate on.

As an overall point, for one who wants an overarching theory of concentrated-related experience, that theory will have to include both types of experiences

As an aside, I would be interested to know of any major text not part of or influenced by Mahasi-style Burmese vipassana that describes the jhanas as having different attentional or phase characteristics. (There are lots of teachers who describe jhana (as full absorption, a qualitatively different state than pre-full absorption) who do not mention such things. Culadasa teaches various levels of jhana-related concentration and does not mention such things either as far as I have read.) And yet, they are the most obvious features of jhana for those who have adopted MCTB's style of practice and definitions for jhana. (It confused me for a long time that these extremely obvious features seemed to go unmentioned by so many teachers and references.) Anyone familiar with one?

(Edited for clarity.)

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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2/1/12 1:05 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
The range of issues that I think would benefit from fruther conversation is huge.

Let's try to find some more time to Skype sometime, such as Sunday afternoon, which, incidentally, is my 43rd birthday, or whenever you are free.

let me know what works for you

Daniel

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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2/1/12 6:26 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Maybe it would be better to postpone discussion here until we chat again. Let me get back to you about when would be good for me.

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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2/1/12 8:14 PM as a reply to End in Sight.
End in Sight:
Maybe it would be better to postpone discussion here until we chat again. Let me get back to you about when would be good for me.

I'm curious in what you guys figure out - don't forget to post back!

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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2/2/12 2:17 AM as a reply to Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem.
Hi everyone,
i was wondering why nobody mentioned the hard jhanas type shared by Pa auk sayadaw, snyder, or ajahn brahmavamso. Here is a text which describes thoroughly its practice.

http://www.greatwesternvehicle.org/thejhanas.pdf

The book from Pa auk is also online :" knowing and seeing".
Is it because its practice is not recognised as authentic being mainly a commentarial one ; or is it because its suppose to take an awful amount of time retreat to master.

Thanks

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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2/2/12 2:23 AM as a reply to nicolas C.
nicolas chabolle:
Hi everyone,
i was wondering why nobody mentioned the hard jhanas type shared by Pa auk sayadaw, snyder, or ajahn brahmavamso. Here is a text which describes thoroughly its practice.

http://www.greatwesternvehicle.org/thejhanas.pdf

The book from Pa auk is also online :" knowing and seeing".
Is it because its practice is not recognised as authentic being mainly a commentarial one ; or is it because its suppose to take an awful amount of time retreat to master.

Thanks


and Jhananda? The greatwesternvehicle is jhananada's take, no? I would assumme he would have disagreed with all other jhana teachers by now. Pa auk and ajhan brahm included. I could be wrong. He seems to have dissed most other teachers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--k386uMVUM&feature=youtu.be

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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2/2/12 4:14 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
Or another experience could be that the vibrations fall away as part of the focus and it is the recognition of 'awareness' that pervades all the nooks and crannies of the body, and there is still no parts distinguished. A mass or blob of fullbodied 'awareness', pervading the whole body with a wonderfully still, equanimous colour.


This is interesting stuff. I hadn't read this thread earlier because I don't have interest in jhanas. Now I know why you found my replies to Katy interesting.

See if you can drop the recognition of awareness and just be awareness without any coloration or stillness.

Cheers!

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2/2/12 9:56 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Nikolai .:
However I think one can have two experiecnes here. One might be experiencing the whole body as just a mass of vibrations and nothing is really distinguished in that blob or mass of vibrations all percieved from a very chilled out eqaunimous angle. Or another experience could be that the vibrations fall away as part of the focus and it is the recognition of 'awareness' that pervades all the nooks and crannies of the body, and there is still no parts distinguished. A mass or blob of fullbodied 'awareness', pervading the whole body with a wonderfully still, equanimous colour.


I think that the two experiences can be brought together into one.

"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. This is the fourth development of the five-factored noble right concentration.


To me, permeating in the above para means that the two experiences are one. If there is just the white cloth, that would be experience one. If there is just pure bright awareness, that would be two. But if it is white cloth permeating with awareness, that would be the union of one and two. Union of yin and yang or body (white cloth) and mind (pure bright awareness).

Nikolai .:
Paying attention to any sense of 'being' in any form (affect in any form) seeing if there is a gross vibration acting as a factor in its arising and allowing such vibrations to be 'consumed' and 'mashed' with the sensuousness of the physical factors of each rupa jhana can lead to 'being', shadow or gross, dropping away and resulting in permanent brain changes/suffering levels dropping, in my own experiecne.


Gross vibration is the factor in arising of 'being'. Pure bright awareness takes care of it and it drops away. Knowing what is giving rise to the gross vibrations plays a very important role in making the job of awareness easy. That is why experiencing the workings of instincts is important because it is the instincts which give rise to gross vibrations. Instincts which are subconscious and gross vibrations which are conscious. Getting a handle on what to do with what kind of gross vibrations is important.

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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2/2/12 10:56 PM as a reply to Change A..
Aman A.:
To me, permeating in the above para means that the two experiences are one. If there is just the white cloth, that would be experience one. If there is just pure bright awareness, that would be two. But if it is white cloth permeating with awareness, that would be the union of one and two. Union of yin and yang or body (white cloth) and mind (pure bright awareness).


As I was thinking about the union of mind and body, it occurred to me that maybe this is what Richard is saying in the latest announcement:

"..............that Tarin taps into that palpable life-force, that actually occurring stream of benevolence and benignity, which originates in the vast and utter stillness that is the essential character of the universe itself, because to be actually free from the human condition is to be that pure intent ... as in, to be that benevolence and benignity *as a flesh-and-blood body only*."

From: http://actualfreedom.com.au/announcement.htm#Addendum6

Where mind purified of all defilements (pure bright awareness) is being referred to as pure intent (benevolence and benignity) and to be a union of the mind and body is referred as 'to be that benevolence and benignity *as a flesh-and-blood body only*'. (mind/pure bright awareness/pure intent/benevolence and benignity and body/flesh-and-blood body only).

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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2/5/12 9:42 AM as a reply to Change A..
Aman A.:
As I was thinking about the union of mind and body, it occurred to me that maybe this is what Richard is saying in the latest announcement:

"..............that Tarin taps into that palpable life-force, that actually occurring stream of benevolence and benignity, which originates in the vast and utter stillness that is the essential character of the universe itself, because to be actually free from the human condition is to be that pure intent ... as in, to be that benevolence and benignity *as a flesh-and-blood body only*."

From: http://actualfreedom.com.au/announcement.htm#Addendum6

Where mind purified of all defilements (pure bright awareness) is being referred to as pure intent (benevolence and benignity) and to be a union of the mind and body is referred as 'to be that benevolence and benignity *as a flesh-and-blood body only*'. (mind/pure bright awareness/pure intent/benevolence and benignity and body/flesh-and-blood body only).



"Actual freedom: A sensate-feeling experience (sensation only) empirically experienced as a body-mind (human consciousness)."

http://actualfreedom.com.au/richard/articles/180degreesopposite.htm

The above quote clearly shows that AF is union of body and mind.

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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2/5/12 2:20 PM as a reply to Change A..
Have you ever questioned how the mind could be separate from the body in such that we invest energy in seeking the union of

mind and body. Where would this mind be located before union?.

RE: Advanced Jhana Classification
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2/6/12 1:13 AM as a reply to Jeff Grove.
Jeff Grove:
Have you ever questioned how the mind could be separate from the body in such that we invest energy in seeking the union of

mind and body. Where would this mind be located before union?.


Subconscious mind (instincts and animal nature in humans) is always at odds with the conscious mind and the conscious mind is always trying to suppress the instinctive reactions of the subconscious mind. It is the suppressing which stops the union of the body and mind.