Culadasa's Luminous Jhanas

thumbnail
Shamadhi Sam, modified 4 Years ago.

Culadasa's Luminous Jhanas

Posts: 79 Join Date: 12/27/15 Recent Posts
I've just started to read Culadasa's book and have a question regarding what he calls the Luminous Jhanas. What is clear is that the object of concentration for entry into the jhanic state is the luminous nimitta, seen with eyes closed. What I am having trouble understanding is where these luminous jhanas would fit on a MTCB map (lower-four bodily jhanas, upper-four formless jhanas and the extra jhanas out past the eight).

Culadasa seems to map four of these and relate them to the lower-four bodily jhanas, but I am having a hard time groking this mapping, as the luminous jhanas seem much more refined than what I would normally think of as the lower-four jhanas. Thanks.
thumbnail
Noah, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa's Luminous Jhanas

Posts: 1532 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
Its a graph.  Y axis are the jhanas in order.  X axis is the degree of depth/strength of absorption into them.  The luminous jhanas simply have a higher X value.  

p.s.-If we included a Z axis, we could accommodate the nanas as well, with samatha (jhanas) on one end, and vipassana (nanas) on the other.
thumbnail
tom moylan, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa's Luminous Jhanas

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
@noah...how about instead of a z-axis we contemplate a double helix y-axis where one helix is shamata and one is vipassana?
thumbnail
Psi, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa's Luminous Jhanas

Posts: 1093 Join Date: 11/22/13 Recent Posts
tom moylan:
@noah...how about instead of a z-axis we contemplate a double helix y-axis where one helix is shamata and one is vipassana?

Would that look like this?  One side being Insight, and the other being Tranquility, and the coming together?

thumbnail
tom moylan, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa's Luminous Jhanas

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
howdy psi,
well sort of.  the diagram would be right except that it is a two dimensional representation of a 3d pair.  they would never touch but spiral equidistant..but thats really stretching the analogy.  mind is not two lines but conjoined.  aspects of the same.  the shamata vipassana dichotomy is neither separate nor the same.  aspects of the same. just my take.
thumbnail
Shamadhi Sam, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa's Luminous Jhanas

Posts: 79 Join Date: 12/27/15 Recent Posts
Noah, thanks for the reply, that makes a lot of sense!
Small Steps, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Culadasa's Luminous Jhanas

Posts: 247 Join Date: 2/12/14 Recent Posts
I haven't read Culadasa's book yet, but based on what you've written, he may be trying to make a distinction regarding the nimitta and the jhana methods/qualities as described in the Visuddhimagga. Further readings from teachers who teach jhana along those lines might be "illuminating" as well (pun fully intended :-P ). If that's not what he's doing, but is describing something else with his luminous jhanas, then I look forward to reading about it.