help in going from 4th to 5th jhana

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Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii, modified 9 Years ago at 8/14/13 3:18 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 8/14/13 3:18 AM

help in going from 4th to 5th jhana

Posts: 118 Join Date: 7/21/13 Recent Posts
Hi guys

I have been recently practising concentration states. From Tarin's insrtuctions ( http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/the-yogi-toolbox-attaining-jhana.html ) and those in MCTB I found after a few days I was able to get up to the 4th Jhana, which corresponded to what I think I had experienced as the vipassana jhana of equanimity.

I did this by using the object of meditation as the sensations of breath around the nose, then transitioning the object of meditation into the qualities of the jhana themselves.

But I am having no luck trying to get out of the 4th jhana into 5th, boundless space. I am trying to place attention on space, or launch or catapult upwards, but not even sure what space is. Sometimes when I think I have been getting there, there are some strange warping or fear sensations... perhaps I have some sense that I'm almost afraid to leave the body and breath behind...?

Would maybe having a different object of meditation help? eg visualising light? not ever made a concerted effort at visualising lights...

thanks for any help, Anthony
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katy steger,thru11615 with thanks, modified 9 Years ago at 8/14/13 6:34 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 8/14/13 5:23 AM

RE: help in going from 4th to 5th jhana

Posts: 1740 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi anthony,

But I am having no luck trying to get out of the 4th jhana into 5th, boundless space. I am trying to place attention on space, or launch or catapult upwards, but not even sure what space is. Sometimes when I think I have been getting there, there are some strange warping or fear sensations... perhaps I have some sense that I'm almost afraid to leave the body and breath behind...?

Would maybe having a different object of meditation help? eg visualising light? not ever made a concerted effort at visualising lights...

After the 3rd concentrated state, (third jhana, sukha) I think one's provision direct action (meditative determinationism (e.g., "I will get to 2nd jhana"...)) must be released into just sitting (this is deliberate, applied equanimity which IMO cannot be forced, but is grown over the practice up to this point); it is now intention prior to/surrounding one's practice and still wholesome conduct that enables the mind to enter 4th jhana and thereafter arupa jhanas on its own, naturally. A practitioner is, as they say, just setting up the prior conditions for that jhana and the arupa jhanas to happen. (Wholesome conduct has many benefits, but one of them is one can sit and not be dealing instead with remorse or other troubles that one brings to oneself.)

Fear around the body is very natural. In fact, breathing here can get very, very reduced and maybe the medulla oblongata in the lower brain stem is detecting lower o2 and co2 in the arterial blood: the natural body response here in a healthy person is for a sympathetic nervous response to "sympathize" with low, vital nutrition (02) and to make you "nervous" and increase breathing rate. So anxiety may be coming up naturally and with practice, you will not prioritize that occurrence and the mind will continue to sink. (NOTE: I like anapanasati for the full jhana study and it worked for Gotama...) [1]

So the fear commonly reported here may be a natural response to respiratory reduction and the mind getting used to it, to not panicking (and an indicator that your mind is approaching suffusive equanimity, where the driver (you/me/the practitioner) is very much dormant, not directing any thought or creating "deterministic meditation", which would be wanting and trying to get 4th jhana and the consequent arupa jhanas).

That's a theory I have emoticon I would add: mentally, I have lurched out of this practice area unable to move or re-start breathing. The body was very, very calm so there was the ability to see the body kicking in its physical response to non-breath, the me-mind rising-up suddenly saying "Why can't I move and breath?", and then there was neutral awareness about all of it. "I" quickly subsided again calmly (hey, if you can't move or breath there's not much to do) and the mind re-entered equanimity and then emergence from the state was gradual and calm.

Just a reminder: insights in 4th jhana and the arupas can be particularly useful, but it's important to know also that these are just dhammas releasing dhammas (a created object (insight) is arising to release a prior created object (let's say a deluded behavior)). It's really easy to get attached to insight from the arupas...

Best wishes

____
[1] I am not dismissing fear/anxiety here as a mere physiological phenomena. It is key to pay attention to the fears here. It is by closely attending the emotional arisings that the mind eventually calms, like a muscle relaxing naturally. After pracitice one may spend hours investigating how one is living, one's goals, one's choices. So this is a stage one would not want to try to blitz through by just thinking, "It's only emotion" because if one ignores an aversive residue of mind here (or a craving one, too), there's lateral movement, not depth in the practice, and who wants siddhis coming up in a fearful mind? So this anxious area is very useful as much of daily life involves acting out fear/anxious concern in regards to one's own survival/death/status/well-being...
Christian Calamus, modified 9 Years ago at 8/14/13 3:01 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 8/14/13 3:01 PM

RE: help in going from 4th to 5th jhana

Posts: 88 Join Date: 10/23/10 Recent Posts
anthony g:

But I am having no luck trying to get out of the 4th jhana into 5th, boundless space. I am trying to place attention on space, or launch or catapult upwards, but not even sure what space is. Sometimes when I think I have been getting there, there are some strange warping or fear sensations... perhaps I have some sense that I'm almost afraid to leave the body and breath behind...?


Focusing on the completeness, wholeness, integrated-ness aspect of the 4th jhana could help open up a way to the 5th. At least, this has worked for me: As soon as you are firmly established in 4th jhana territory, become aware of the fact that the boundary between inside and outside is gone (or at least strongly subdued). You can do this by noticing where sounds seem to be located. Usually, sounds seem to come from "out there", but in 4th jhana territory, they are simply part of the integrated field of experience, i.e. they are located in the same place as the breath, thoughts, tactile sensations etc. Try to become aware of this. Look for the boundary between the "out there", where sounds are supposed to be located and the "in here", where awareness seems to be. Notice that there is no clear boundary, in fact no boudary at all; notice the continuum between everything that is out there and everything in here. Tuning into this complete & integrated field aspect can be a basis for the experience of boundless space.

Try first becoming strongly aware of this flavor of the 4th jhana and from there, do the "launching" or "catapulting" thing. At the beginning, this kind of investigation may lead you more towards the vipassana side, but once you have clearly identified the completeness/integrated-ness aspect, you can learn to solidify it again into a samatha state.

Best wishes
Christian
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Dream Walker, modified 9 Years ago at 8/14/13 3:22 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 8/14/13 3:22 PM

RE: help in going from 4th to 5th jhana

Posts: 1459 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
anthony g:
But I am having no luck trying to get out of the 4th jhana into 5th, boundless space. I am trying to place attention on space, or launch or catapult upwards, but not even sure what space is. Sometimes when I think I have been getting there, there are some strange warping or fear sensations... perhaps I have some sense that I'm almost afraid to leave the body and breath behind...?

Close your eyes and put your hands over them to block light.....see that? darkness? good. That is 2D space. You are trying to get to 3D space. That means that the blackness will "zoom" out into boundlessness. You do not launch or catapult.
Warping and fear sensations are totally normal as you are trying to attenuate/whatever to NON-Material reality. You do not have a body there. This is very scary at first but I'll tell you a secret, you are not "in" your body right now. You have information that tells you stuff, like hey look a body....must be me. It is just information. You are turning the channel of information to another program. 5th jhana info. Body and breath information will still be there when you get back out of the alternate state. When you get to 7th jhana - nothingness it's really freaky as there is no space or anything....but the state itself is recognizable and then the fear calms down...to recognition...
Hope it helps,
~D
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Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii, modified 9 Years ago at 8/14/13 3:40 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 8/14/13 3:40 PM

RE: help in going from 4th to 5th jhana

Posts: 118 Join Date: 7/21/13 Recent Posts
wow, thanks all for the amazing and varied responses! I will give it a try over the next few days and let you guys know!
Anthony
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Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii, modified 8 Years ago at 9/12/13 2:44 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 9/12/13 2:44 PM

RE: help in going from 4th to 5th jhana

Posts: 118 Join Date: 7/21/13 Recent Posts
Hey guys thanks for all the help (I changed my username btw). I have not had much chance to practice concentration states, I have maybe had about 7 goes since you wrote. I think I got first path about a month and a half ago and things still seem to be changing a lot, so my practice is quite unstable.

But I think the 6th samatha jhana, boundless conciousness, has snuck up on me twice. Both times I was contemplating the nature of awareness. Tonight I was sitting on the sofa and trying to abide in 'my' unchanging stillness capacity that is awareness, trying to see objects in my visual field as my own awareness, that sort of thing, and disbelieving thoughts which arose.

I was trying to see how everything in the world could be me-as-being/awareness, and only me-as-being/awareness. The thought came to my mind, "awareness isn't localised in me or from me" and I experienced a dropping of boundaries outwards from me, it felt like my consciousness was expanding outward, and at that point, anything I could sense or conceive was MY consciousness . I experienced a lot of fear sensations, which made think that maybe an insight moment was coming. the sense of my body went kind of dim, I lost hearing a bit in my left ear especially, and the was a sense of being lifted, the body becoming lighter, then felt my whole senses of anything pushed up sort of above my third eye area.

felt amazingly unitive, believing the whole world as I can conceive it is without boundaries, my conciousness. Was expecting maybe a fruition but then came down from it and felt ordinary, back to baseline. no existential relief. I can see how these arupa jhanas trick people into thinking it's enlightenment! I read in daniels book that the state is still dual, but the dualism is subtle, which I really couldn't get, can anyone explain that?

I take it this is samatha jhana 6? I will keep trying to go from 4 to 5, I have deffo got closer since your advice.

Thanks, Anthony
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katy steger,thru11615 with thanks, modified 8 Years ago at 9/12/13 3:34 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 9/12/13 3:08 PM

RE: help in going from 4th to 5th jhana

Posts: 1740 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
felt amazingly unitive, believing the whole world as I can conceive it is without boundaries, my conciousness. Was expecting maybe a fruition but then came down from it and felt ordinary, back to baseline. no existential relief. I can see how these arupa jhanas trick people into thinking it's enlightenment! I read in daniels book that the state is still dual, but the dualism is subtle, which I really couldn't get, can anyone explain that?
Well, you would/will eventually describe this for yourself, but here's my take:
1 --- there is a mental state in meditation that one could call "single-pointed" just because focus is strong and tracking well one object; this is the mental state in which there is still a subtle duality of one's own being distinct from another being. It can get very, very subtle. This can happen clearly in first jhana with vicara when one first gets a taste of sustained attention, for example, and is also clear in 2nd and 3rd jhana and in mastered moments of those jhanas.

2 --- then there is another experience of "single-pointedness" that could be called, as you wrote, "unitive", or which I call "magnetic", equanimous, but there is still an locatable awareness and its attention object(s), and this to me also relates to jhanas, particularly from 4th on. A unitive experience can be awesome, and...it requires an self-aware awareness to experience it.

3 --- Then (and I prefer the term "gradientlessness" sometimes or classic translations like "dhammas" and "no self" to "non-dual", but these can just be semantics) from my experience, when phenomena become truly gradientless (meaning, there is absolutely no mental faculty arising to make distinctions of even the phenomena of nothingness, not even the knowledge of which sense-door is receiving phenomena) and yet there is still awareness -- but it has no reflective capacity for itself (it is not aware of itself in that moment; an abidhammic explanation of how one even knows this event has happened is that the first moment of consciousness (a "citta") after this moment of "no-self" imprints memory or "knows" its causal contributing, preceding citta and then the NEXT cittas (moments of consciousness) carry this into the awareness-of-awareness and self-aware state --- a state being a causal stream of moments of consciousness (bhavanga-sota)), AND in that no-self moment (awareness happens without any reflective capacity for "itself") there is no sense of separation (between or of observer nor awareness ands objects are) nor sense of unity. One could say it is utterly neutral and devoid of sense of "awareness-of-awareness". It is unforgettable and also somewhat "bland" in the first hindsight citta (and it's waaaaay "bland" (completely without a being's capacity to create gradients between and with phenomena (dhammas)) compared to unitive exerience) as there is nothing sensing experience for itself/with itself at all. Somehow this experience starts to change one's self, how one lives, untangling the complex skein of beingness (initiates and causes as you say, "existential relief").

<sighing> To put any of this into words is to create a whole new set of phenomena: our concepts of each other's words.

Anyway, one practices.



Best wishes.


[phew: maybe 11 edits, hope it's clear...]
Matthew, modified 8 Years ago at 9/12/13 4:02 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 9/12/13 3:55 PM

RE: help in going from 4th to 5th jhana

Posts: 119 Join Date: 1/30/13 Recent Posts
katy steger:

3 --- Then (and I prefer the term "gradientlessness" sometimes or classic translations like "dhammas" and "no self" to "non-dual", but these can just be semantics) from my experience, when phenomena become truly gradientless (meaning, there is absolutely no mental faculty arising to make distinctions of even the phenomena of nothingness, not even the knowledge of which sense-door is receiving phenomena) and yet there is still awareness -- but it has no reflective capacity for itself (it is not aware of itself in that moment; an abidhammic explanation of how one even knows this event has happened is that the first moment of consciousness (a "citta") after this moment of "no-self" imprints memory or "knows" its causal contributing, preceding citta and then the NEXT cittas (moments of consciousness) carry this into the awareness-of-awareness and self-aware state --- a state being a causal stream of moments of consciousness (bhavanga-sota)), AND in that no-self moment (awareness happens without any reflective capacity for "itself") there is no sense of separation (between or of observer nor awareness ands objects are) nor sense of unity. One could say it is utterly neutral and devoid of sense of "awareness-of-awareness". It is unforgettable and also somewhat "bland" in the first hindsight citta (and it's waaaaay "bland" (completely without a being's capacity to create gradients between and with phenomena (dhammas)) compared to unitive exerience) as there is nothing sensing experience for itself/with itself at all. Somehow this experience starts to change one's self, how one lives, untangling the complex skein of beingness (initiates and causes as you say, "existential relief").


O_O

To get into 5th jhana, imagine looking out into the distance to the end of the universe or as far as you can possibly look. You may have a sense of the "boundary of space" as the surface of a sphere expanding outward. When the mind feels "space is too big to comprehend", the boundary disappears like a bubble popping. The mental state of unbounded space which remains immediately after the boundary disappears is the 5th jhana.

Awareness of the consciousness or knowing of this state of unbounded space causes entry into boundless consciousness, the 6th jhana.

The absence of boundless consciousness is nothingness, the 7th. Imagine the disappearance of the consciousness or knowingness. Nothingness is what remains.

The absence of nothingness is neither-perception-nor-non-perception, the 8th. When even nothingness is gone, this state is what remains. The faculty of perception is frozen at the interstitial stage between dropping one object and taking up another.
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Dream Walker, modified 8 Years ago at 9/12/13 4:48 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 9/12/13 4:48 PM

RE: help in going from 4th to 5th jhana

Posts: 1459 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Matthew Horn:

The absence of nothingness is neither-perception-nor-non-perception, the 8th. When even nothingness is gone, this state is what remains. The faculty of perception is frozen at the interstitial stage between dropping one object and taking up another.

Love that Matthew....where did you get it???
~D
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katy steger,thru11615 with thanks, modified 8 Years ago at 9/13/13 6:41 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 9/12/13 4:53 PM

RE: help in going from 4th to 5th jhana

Posts: 1740 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
Hi Matthew,

Is that a reply to me for some reason? The excerpt of my reply which you cited refers to sadalsuud B-Aquarii's query regarding how a unitive meditation experience is still subtly "dual"; it does not regard how to trigger 5th jhana (which seems already answered for the OP poster). So I answered "where" I think the experience of actual no-self occurs in response to

sadalsuud B-Aquarii.:
"I read in daniels book that the state is still dual, but the dualism is subtle, which I really couldn't get, can anyone explain that?"
and a no-self experience (which experience I think people also may describe with the word "non-dual", though maybe people use that word in a variety of ways. I don't know.) results within cessation/re-igition events, post perception-non-perception.



But if you meant that for me then I can reply to your comment here:
Matthew Horn:
To get into 5th jhana, imagine looking out into the distance to the end of the universe or as far as you can possibly look.
in this way: For me, there is no useful training reason to invite imagination into arupa jhana training. Instead I let that wind down in the first three jhanas. Then the mind presents dhammas (phenomena), including the arupa jhanas triggered by just preceding intention (which can take minutes or months to then occur on their own after setting the intention, especially depending on if it's the first experience of arupa jhana) but I do not "imagine". To do this is to conjure and focus on the picture you described ("the end of the universe"), which is an object, a rupa (form), versus arupa jhana.

[one edit 9/13/13 in this color]
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Nikolai , modified 8 Years ago at 9/12/13 6:10 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 9/12/13 5:46 PM

RE: help in going from 4th to 5th jhana

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
One way to get from 4th to space is to generate thoughts of metta and karuna. Where does attention go when generating thoughts of metta and karuna? Up and outward towards all beings? If so, drop focus on 'all beings', and focus on where attention initially goes to reach said 'all beings'.

The following sutta talks of the 4 subilme abodes having the 4th , 5th, 6th and 7th jhanas as there excellence. They relate to each corresponding subilme abode. So a sublime abode can be a handle for its corresponding jhana. For the formless, karuna with infinite space, mudita with infinite consciousness and uppekha with nothingness.

I tell you, monks, awareness-release through compassion (karuna) has the sphere of the infinitude of space as its excellence — in the case of one who has penetrated to no higher release.



http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn46/sn46.054.than.html

Nick

Edited
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katy steger,thru11615 with thanks, modified 8 Years ago at 9/12/13 5:53 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 9/12/13 5:53 PM

RE: help in going from 4th to 5th jhana

Posts: 1740 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
One way to get from 4th to space is to generate thoughts of metta and karuna. Where does attention go when generating thoughts of metta and karuna? Up and outward towards all beings? If so, drop focus on 'all beings', and focus on where attention initially goes to reach said 'all beings'.
Yes, metta is such an amazing training tool at many stages, not least of which is personal pain abatement. Yes, attention starts with the phenomena of self and others as objects. But when there is no object, it is mental construction much like piti and sukha. And one is back again with letting those/that settle into equanimity and then the arupa jhanas happen from equanimity.
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Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii, modified 8 Years ago at 9/15/13 6:29 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 9/15/13 6:29 PM

RE: help in going from 4th to 5th jhana

Posts: 118 Join Date: 7/21/13 Recent Posts
All the advice here has been excellent, and I have definitely been sensing some qualities of the arupa jhanas after following the tips. J6 I went into and found it spectacular, and sensed a touch of J7 lite - "not much stuff, but more than we'd hoped" jhana

Just a quick question --- in the arupa jhanas does all sense of the body totally disappear? As in, what occurs out of the below?

- total goodbye to breath sensations
- total goodbye to any touch sensations around head, or any touch sensation?
- hearing?
- turn your attention to the body, and you're not able to detect anything?

it suddenly struck me that maybe I'm not understanding 'formless' correctly and perhaps I'm more on track in there than I thought.

For example, as I go from J3 to J4, the sense of the body gets vaguer, or less interesting somehow, and the vision field changes from a wide field in front of the head to a sort of a hemispheric field of slightly 3d space around the head, seeming above and behind it too. I have then experienced what I call J5 lite "the jhana of a few meters of space " as body sensations reducing, but certainly not disappearing, noise of the breath and breath sensations still there, but attenuated, and this 3D space now seeming like it's the size of a big room.... do I just need to lock it in harder?

thanks, Anthony
Matthew, modified 8 Years ago at 10/19/13 5:34 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 10/19/13 5:32 PM

RE: help in going from 4th to 5th jhana

Posts: 119 Join Date: 1/30/13 Recent Posts
Dream Walker:
Matthew Horn:

The absence of nothingness is neither-perception-nor-non-perception, the 8th. When even nothingness is gone, this state is what remains. The faculty of perception is frozen at the interstitial stage between dropping one object and taking up another.

Love that Matthew....where did you get it???
~D


Made it up. I need to do more experimentation, but if I take a gross physical object as the target of attention, intentionally drop that object from attention, then stabilize the perceptual state right after dropping the object, it does feel like 8th. This might not work as a practice for someone with no jhana experience. They could end up fabricating something like neither-perception-nor-non-perception and focusing on that.

Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii:
All the advice here has been excellent, and I have definitely been sensing some qualities of the arupa jhanas after following the tips. J6 I went into and found it spectacular, and sensed a touch of J7 lite - "not much stuff, but more than we'd hoped" jhana

Just a quick question --- in the arupa jhanas does all sense of the body totally disappear? As in, what occurs out of the below?

- total goodbye to breath sensations
- total goodbye to any touch sensations around head, or any touch sensation?
- hearing?
- turn your attention to the body, and you're not able to detect anything?

it suddenly struck me that maybe I'm not understanding 'formless' correctly and perhaps I'm more on track in there than I thought.

For example, as I go from J3 to J4, the sense of the body gets vaguer, or less interesting somehow, and the vision field changes from a wide field in front of the head to a sort of a hemispheric field of slightly 3d space around the head, seeming above and behind it too. I have then experienced what I call J5 lite "the jhana of a few meters of space " as body sensations reducing, but certainly not disappearing, noise of the breath and breath sensations still there, but attenuated, and this 3D space now seeming like it's the size of a big room.... do I just need to lock it in harder?

thanks, Anthony


If you enter a softer 5th or 6th, especially with eyes open, the normal sense of the body is still there, but it's not possible to focus on gross bodily sensations without dropping out of the jhana. I say normal sense of the body because the arupa jhanas (and a regular person's perceptions of space, nothingness, etc.) actually include fabricated body sensations that have an expansive, ethereal, widening quality. It's worth paying attention to where your bodily focus is in jhanas 5-8, especially what's happening around the brow and top of the head.

In hard 5th and 6th with eyes closed, the sensation of the body is totally gone, but I believe in that case the meditator is concentrating on certain body sensations implying bodyless-ness to the exclusion of all others. I haven't spent extensive time in the arupa jhanas. All of this is open to debate and I think worthy of further exploration.

It's worth reading Nikolai's "Juxtaposing 'Being' with Arupa Jhana Aspects" to learn more about how certain 'normal' body sensations and the body sensations impying the arupa jhanas cannot coexist.

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