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Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneously

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Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneously Jay Douglass 11/1/16 2:20 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo CJMacie 11/1/16 2:22 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Jay Douglass 11/1/16 2:29 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Jay Douglass 11/1/16 2:33 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo CJMacie 11/1/16 3:10 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Stick Man 11/2/16 7:13 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo MangaDesuYo 11/3/16 3:12 AM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo MangaDesuYo 11/11/16 3:01 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Nicky 11/15/16 7:00 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Matt 11/12/16 12:43 AM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo CJMacie 11/3/16 7:41 AM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Noah D 11/3/16 8:31 AM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo CJMacie 11/4/16 7:08 AM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Stick Man 11/4/16 8:29 AM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo CJMacie 11/5/16 3:39 AM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Stick Man 11/5/16 9:44 AM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Noah D 11/4/16 12:48 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Nicky 11/15/16 7:02 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Nicky 11/16/16 10:32 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo CJMacie 11/4/16 7:12 AM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Stick Man 11/2/16 7:05 AM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo CJMacie 11/3/16 7:35 AM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Stick Man 11/3/16 7:36 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Jay Douglass 11/7/16 8:33 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo MangaDesuYo 11/4/16 9:54 AM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Stick Man 11/4/16 1:41 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo MangaDesuYo 11/4/16 1:54 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Stick Man 11/4/16 2:11 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Noah D 11/4/16 3:19 PM
RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo Stick Man 11/4/16 8:14 PM
I am consistently experiencing a pleasuable state while focused on the breath, typically while seated during my everyday activities. As I have developed my concentration, I tend to focus on the breath all the time-- mostly because it just feels good. I automatically do it, I don't have to think about it. When I sit down on a chair, typically at my office cube, I can spontaneously enter this state and hold it and strenghten it somewhat. It is not super intense, but I can feel it pulsate sometimes to higher levels. Focusing on it and the breath can strengthen it. I would not describe it as bliss, because I would expect that to feel more intense.

However, I can not replicate this for some reason on the cushion. I'm not sure why. It may be because at the times I formally practice, in the morning and/or before bed, my energy levels are lower-- I'm not "turned on" yet by the events of the day, or I'm drained.

Is this Jhana? 

RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo
Answer
11/1/16 2:22 PM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
Jay Douglass:


Is this Jhana? 

No

Ok, well, at least I'm making progress. This is definitely the result of my meditation practice, because I haven't felt this before.

Also, can you elaborate? My novice understanding of Jhana is that it is a pleasureable state, born of attention. What about my description of the experience rules out Jhana?

RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo
Answer
11/1/16 3:10 PM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
Jay Douglass:
Also, can you elaborate? My novice understanding of Jhana is that it is a pleasureable state, born of attention. What about my description of the experience rules out Jhana?

Yes, what you describe might be progress.

1) It corresponds to piti / rapture that is an important component, for many, in approaching absorption, in that it suspends the hindrance of ill-will / aversion; but it's also prone to overwhelm into sensual pleasure, which is itself another hindrance. All five hindrances need to be distanced (if only temporarily) so the mind is well-balance and can become "secluded".

2) Occuring out-of-control, and somewhere but not during intentional meditation -- jhana has an element of, is a form of mastery, of intentional mental skill.

Others here may disagree, and there are variations relative to individual temperament, but so far, IMO, it's perhaps on the way, but not there yet.

RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo
Answer
11/4/16 7:12 AM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
Jay Douglass:
...I can not replicate this for some reason on the cushion. I'm not sure why. It may be because at the times I formally practice, in the morning and/or before bed, my energy levels are lower-- I'm not "turned on" yet by the events of the day, or I'm drained.

Is this Jhana? 

Taking a closer look at what you wrote:

1) That experience could be close to "access concentration" – where the mind is relatively free of muddying distractions (~ "hindrances") and can simply float, not doing much, which can be very pleasing. That's an important step, the gateway to jhanic absorption, or also to strong "momentary" concentration as used in vipassana / insight activity.

2) The energy level issue is crucial. For some (e.g.. in my experience) the times best conducive to serious concentration are mid to late morning, or early to mid afternoon. You might, if feasible, try (a) finding a secluded place during a workbreak to "sit" at such times, or (b) at the office cube, when not overly pressured by work, and relatively free of distractions, just play with, get more familiar with that experience ("access" concentration). That should strengthen it, make it easier to reproduce (technically, on the way to "mastery"); help prepare for rapid progress when you do have opportunity to sit with stronger energy.

Jay Douglass:
My novice understanding of Jhana is that it is a pleasureable state, born of attention. What about my description of the experience rules out Jhana?

What rules out jhanic absorption is that you would definitely know it, an unmistakable quasi-quantum shift into a special, very solid mental state. (Some will disagree about the absorption issue, but this (my) view is a traditional  one.)

A crucial distinction is between "sensual" pleasure and "mental" pleasure. That special state of absorption is "secluded from", free of the distraction of sensual pleasure, i.e. sights, sounds, tastes, etc. that arouse wanting to do something to get more. (Dis-pleasures, or, more extreme, "pain" have a similar effect – arousing desire, but to get away or push away.) Mental pleasure happens when the mind isn't being pushed or drawn towards or away from sensate stimulation (or the mind's imagining such). It then experiences a certain stillness. Maybe hard to explain, but when the mind is brightly alert but isn't compelled to "do something", that becomes very enjoyable; the more you do it, the easier it becomes and it slowly grows stronger. At some point, with a single-pointed object of attention, this could arrive at absorption, where the stillness suddenly becomes very solid but enveloping, as if surrounded by a protective shield. Even without that, getting to "know" what that  stillness is like and letting it grow stronger, then when the mind eventually "starts-up" again, responds to stimulus (sensual ormental), and moves into doing something, the mind can "see" more exactly why and how this happens – that is to say, with sharpened insight.

That idea "wellbeing" that John mentioned could be appropriate to describe what that still mind (tranquil, "samatha") experiences. The Buddha considered jhana-samadhi (a special deep form of samatha) to be a "blameless" and "pleasant" abiding. But gross sensual pleasantry are "blameworthy" because they dull and addict the mind – wanting more and more that becomes less and less durably satisfying (for instance, good food but over-eating).

Unfortunately, some proponents of "dry"insight, which is vipassana or insight practice without the "moisture", the nourishment of jhana (and in iself a perfectly legitimate form of practice), characterize the pleasantness of that absorbed concentration as dangerous, exaggerating it as a temptation to just "blissing-out". Falling into such practice, however, means doing it without mindfulness, which in any situation is simply bad practice. Some even teach that insight practice involves necessarily lots of unpleasantness (what John refers to as "badbeing"?. That too is often exaggerated, and in the non-dry form of practice gets naturally balanced out by intermittently refreshing and clearing the mind with "pleasant abiding".

Scholars say that earlier Vedic,Brahmanic practitioners also practiced jhana (dhyana inSanskrit), but more to just "bliss-out", to temporarily escape worldly suffering. The Buddha, however, took the same practice and infused it with strong mindfulness – not just wallowing in the experience but observing, knowing it clearly, using it as a tool to strengthen, hone mental clarity (in a pleasant way), to enable stronger insight.

Sorry for the long essay, but it seems that you are headed in the right direction,and this is intended to offer some perspective on further possibilities.

(What happened to John's post?)

20161103 edited-out some premature line-breaks.

[I cut my post to avoid diverting the thread and complicate things. soz]

Paweł K:
CJMacie:
2) Occuring out-of-control, and somewhere but not during intentional meditation -- jhana has an element of, is a form of mastery, of intentional mental skill.

Intentionality is serious hindrance, especially for Jhanas.

Proper mind state for Jhanas is cessation of mind. To enter Jhana on object means complete cessation of mind and experiencing objects from only perspective left in mind: this object own perspective.
...Hmm, Pavel, that's not what Leigh Brasington says. He concedes that in the first jhanas there will still be mental activity. So is it that there are different degrees of mastery within jhanas, and that the degree of mental activity varies from some to none, but is best to master it and gain total absorption to exclude thinking ?

From Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas

"....The thinking which was in the background of both access concentration and the first jhana, subsides when one enters the second jhana and is replaced by inner tranquility and unification of mind.....
 ....[ re: 2nd jhana ] Your mind collects around the experience of happiness and settles into it, so that it's much less likely to go wandering off. This unification of mind occurs as the thinking subsides and fades away. you may not experience a level of concentration where the thinking shuts off totally on a retreat of less than a month (or perhaps even longer)..."
So it might be good to aim for a silent mind, but not to be discouraged, or think it's all gone wrong, if it doesn't come straight away ?

Paweł K:
CJMacie:
2) Occuring out-of-control, and somewhere but not during intentional meditation -- jhana has an element of, is a form of mastery, of intentional mental skill.

Intentionality is serious hindrance, especially for Jhanas.

Proper mind state for Jhanas is cessation of mind. To enter Jhana on object means complete cessation of mind and experiencing objects from only perspective left in mind: this object own perspective. This is neither in-control not out-of-control and there is no such description from mind which could properly capture sense of it despite details of it all being known with very fine details. That said when sitting fastest way to enter jhana is immediately doing cessation of mind and experience perspective of object which is immediately jhanic rather than trying to intentionally keep awareness on object which is hindrance and waste of time because keeping this mind and this perspective is unskillful and not the point. Concentration states born out of concentration are artificial and while interresting to experience are not very skillful, one could not experience them all the time. Goal is to experience bliss all the time thus : cessation -> jhana is the only proper way.

Ofcourse OP description is not jhana. Not yet. Few more years and who knows... =)


How do you immediately do cessation of mind?

CJMacie:

...A crucial distinction is between "sensual" pleasure and "mental" pleasure. ...

In getting carried away explaining that statement, I neglected to make the important point that a prime purpose of cultivating the "mental" pleasure ("pleasant abiding"), in jhana (or otherwise), is to provide a reliably alternative to having to seek out sensual pleasures. The former are blameless and strengthening; the latter degrade mental clarity, and end up in just more frustration. As Thanissaro Bhikkku puts it, it's like trading candy for gold.

Paweł K:

Intentionality is serious hindrance, especially for Jhanas.
...
Concentration states born out of concentration are artificial and while interresting to experience are not very skillful, one could not experience them all the time. Goal is to experience bliss all the time thus : cessation -> jhana is the only proper way.


The statements of mine you quoted are from the perspective of Theravada practice. These statements in response are from some other perspective, which don't pertain, carry no authority with respect to Theravada context. In Theravada, all actions (other than on the part of arahants) are kamma, carry intention. States of concentration are, of course, fabricated, and transient. Jhana in the Theravada Buddhist meaning can not be experienced all the time, even by the Buddha.

From your statements, it might appear you attribute some kind of absolute authority to your own experience and viewpoint. Asserting that into other contexts is a bit of an incredulous leap.

Leigh Brasington's opinions about "thinking" and 1st Jhana are also a particular viewpoint that doesn't represent traditional Theravada; the sources he cites as supporting background for his views are also s/w dubious when closely examined.

Chris:
Leigh Brasington's opinions about "thinking" and 1st Jhana are also a particular viewpoint that doesn't represent traditional Theravada; the sources he cites as supporting background for his views are also s/w dubious when closely examined.

Assuming this means you disagree with Brasington's definition of Jhana, does that mean you fall into the Pa Auk Sayadaw camp?  Or would you definition be somewhere in the middle?

Also, just out of curiosity (since you started to write about your practice on another thread), on a good day, can you get into a Pu-Auk-style access concentration?

Really good writing about Jhana, thanks.  

CJMacie:
CJMacie:

...A crucial distinction is between "sensual" pleasure and "mental" pleasure. ...

In getting carried away explaining that statement, I neglected to make the important point that a prime purpose of cultivating the "mental" pleasure ("pleasant abiding"), in jhana (or otherwise), is to provide a reliably alternative to having to seek out sensual pleasures. The former are blameless and strengthening; the latter degrade mental clarity, and end up in just more frustration. As Thanissaro Bhikkku puts it, it's like trading candy for gold.
I'm glad you put this explicitly like that, because this social aspect of jhanas isn't brought out very much from what I've seen.

So the idea of teaching people jhanas is a way to skirt the results of the reproductive process (babies, mouths to feed, populations to control, families to defend, resources to fight over etc).
It starts to look a bit like just a way to avoid economic problems.
Or, like some say, whether it just reflects a way to avoid the down side of an orgasm centred sexuality.
Or maybe a result of sexual repression in the society forcing people to seek pleasure in other ways.
Or a way to avoid priest of (say, Brahminism) telling you when, where and with whom you can have pleasure.
Or a way to avoid being manipulated by the potential of a pleasure reward (important way to motivate armies).
Or a way to cope with the lack of internal stimulation caused by the advance of agricultural civilisation with it's surpluses of food and reduction in physical demands compared with hunter-gatherer lifestyles.
I could even conceive that teachers are like jealous lovers, wanting people to find bliss their way, and not with someone else in bed.
If it's about sex, then the idea that secluded meditation is the only way to jhanas doesn't really hold up to study as surveys show people go through A&P type events more often through sex than through meditation.

.... but what happened to make love not war ?

....and condoms, pills... no procreation needed.

.... or why not just give the buddhist masters special breeding rights so their kids are brought up in an enlightened environment and have a head start ? Wouldn't that be an apt diversion of resources away from the turmoil-wracked masses to where it would benefit mankind ?
Shouldn't it be the duty of meditation masters to breed, rather than be celibate ?

...OK forget sex for a moment, what about other sensual pleasures. It says here in the blurb for thich Nhat Hanh's Plum village
"We have all come together to form this wondeful meal"..."Let us enjoy every morsel of our food and the presence of the dharma brothers and sisters around us."..."Eating in silence, the food becomes real with our mindfulness and we are fully aware of it's nourishment"

What is all that but sensual pleasure, intensified by mindfulness beyond what we would normally experience ?

They never say anything like "We are going to dissect the experience of eating into it's component parts until it becomes a meaningless experience. We will eat mindfully, totally indifferent to the taste of what we are eating because we are beyond sensual pleasures now, it's a mere function that is performed to aid our mission, in fact we will only promote monks who can eat a disgusting red hot curry in a state of equanimity."

And the breath is often described as an intense pleasure - another basic, pleasure driven activity like food and sex that is made more vivid and intense by mindfulness.

etc.

Buddhists are  emoticonextremely emoticonconfusing emoticon people emoticon.

Noah D:
Chris:
Leigh Brasington's opinions about "thinking" and 1st Jhana are also a particular viewpoint that doesn't represent traditional Theravada; the sources he cites as supporting background for his views are also s/w dubious when closely examined.
Assuming this means you disagree with Brasington's definition of Jhana, does that mean you fall into the Pa Auk Sayadaw camp?  Or would you definition be somewhere in the middle?

Leigh's endeavor is well-meaning, and in the right direction, but has some limitations. Almost two years ago I attended a retreat taught by him (and Gil Fronsdal). His talks seemed as much argumentational as inspirational. "The commentaries got it WRONG!", or, in his book, Part II (which is heavily polemical) the Visuddhimagga and common traditional approach as "appalling!". After a couple of talks, I asked about "absorption" – why he hadn't mentioned it? His answer was something like "the Buddha didn't teach that – a fabrication of the commentaries" i.e. Buddhaghosa (Mr. "Bugaboo" for many modernists). (I have the recordings of those talks and Q/A, but it would take a while to search-out the exact wording.)

On the other hand, in interviews with him we got along famously – both having background in computer software, and scholarly and other shared interests. I asked what basis he had for his "sutta-jhana" notion. He directed me to his teacher Ayya Khema, and an essay by Rod Bucknell, both of which I later researched. Ayya Khema, it turns out, uses the term "absorption" constantly in discussing jhana, virtually defining it that way. (Other aspects of her teaching do resemble his, i.e. methods of beginning with it.) And Rod Bucknell, and (in the chain other sources) his s/t co-author Martin Stuart-Fox, and the scholar Paul Griffiths – I searched-out and read just about everything they wrote (a graduate-student habit – cover all the sources). Long story short, the "sutta-jhana" notion is properly an hypothesis, not conclusively proven, in fact standing on several rather shaky legs. (I've often promised here in DhO to lay out my analysis of all that, but it's a big job, and who would read it?) Meanwhile, I've also come across, for instance, a passage where Rupert Gethin more or less demolishes Paul Griffiths' authority in adequately understanding abhidhamma and the commentaries, and an extensive critique by another acknowledged expert of Rod Bucknell's essay.

BUT, for all the polemic bluster and some-time simplistic aspects of his method of teaching jhana, he indisputably is expert at it. At one point in the retreat he related that attending that 3-month retreat several years ago at IMS with the Pa Auk Sayadaw, at one point, he (Leigh), for the first time, experienced the 4th jhana exactly as the Buddha described it – totally enveloped in pure white cloth,… His teaching is perhaps a bit facile at the beginning stages, but becomes more right-on at it advances. Other way to see it is that there are various valid, each from it's own perspectve, viewpoints on jhana.

That's all not quite a direct answer to your question, but provides some information that might contribute.

Noah D:

Also, just out of curiosity (since you started to write about your practice on another thread), on a good day, can you get into a Pu-Auk-style access concentration?


My training was ca. 6 years (10 or so retreats) with Shaila Catherine, who was trained in-depth by the PAS (Pa-Auk Sayadaw), with co-teacher Ven. U. Jagara at 3 of those retreats, who was ordained by Mahasi Sayadaw, spent a decade or so then with Goenke, and the last 20 years working with the PAS (was translator/co-teacher with him at that big IMS retreat -- all the talks from which are on Dharmaseed). My training paid off, but well short of "3 hours solid nimitta", and hours-days of solid 4th jhana etc. All that, and the famous Visuddhmagga passage that jhana is only possible for 1-in-a-million or billion – that's all a function of things like 1) the tendency in ancient writing to use huge numbers for emphasis, 2) the PAS's stature and purpose to uphold the highest standards to preserve the highest tradition, 3) and sour-grape exaggeration by the critics.

The experience I learned (confirmed by the teachers) I recognize also in the teachings of Than-Geoff (and particularly his teacher's teacher Ajahn Lee), and many other (mostly monastic) writers and (1st hand) teachers. So it's not quite accurate to put in the box of "the Pa Auk Sayadaw camp".

Not to repeat the pragmatically descriptive stuff I've posted elsewhere, but important to repeat that, IMO, "hard" jhana is not superhuman, isattainable by virtually everyone (a point Ayya Khema stresses), given proper training and dedicated work (like any valuable skill). I believe, however, that there's a line to be drawn: those who imagine they can walk around all day in jhana, or converse (e.g. skype dialogs) while in jhana – their "jhana" is a different animal.

P.S. I couldn't find any detailed descriptions I wrote here in DhO (at least in 2016), but several in another venue:
Is it possible to attain the first jhana outside of a retreat?
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=26795&p=392591&hilit=first+jhana+outside+of+retreat#p390179
Re: Pali Term: Nimitta (#p40164)
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2770&hilit=Pali+Term%3A+Nimitta&start=20#p396768
Does practicing vipassana meditation make jhana more difficult or different? (#p397210)
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=27868&p=397286&hilit=make+jhana+more+difficult+different#p397254
Re: Breath as concept vs breath as touch and movement?
(#p397411)
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=27877&hilit=Breath+as+concept+vs#p397411

What a level headed and erudite man you are emoticon

Interesting point you made on dhammawheel - there is still mental activity in jhana.

"Subsequently, along lines that Thanissaro teahces, the mind naturally combines it with vipassana. During absorption, something happens, often some 6-door stimulus (coming from not from external sensation, but from the mind itself) arises; the mind moves slightly out of fixation and looks closely at what came up - often seeing it in a totally new way. then the mind can easily drop back into absorption."

If we are talking of a mind clear of activity, this is something found also doing demanding and complex things like sports - flow states. A still mind isn't exclusive to sitting down jhanas, would you agree ?

RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo
Answer
11/4/16 9:54 AM as a reply to Jay Douglass.
In jhana it's IMPOSSIBLE for thoughts to exist, nor can you think, or have any desires in that state, the only thing you are aware of is being blissed out "a bath of bliss" ITS REAL unwordly BLISS.

I would keep away from teachers or ANYONE that tell you otherwise,

There is no such thing as light jhana.

turn to teachers like ajahn brahm or pa-auk, they know what they are talking about,

those are truly absorption states.

Chris, thank you for linking your writing from DhW.  It is always helpful or inspiring to read individual accounts of Jhana, particularly how people utilize it for Vipassana.  
Other way to see it is that there are various valid, each from it's own perspectve, viewpoints on jhana.

This perspective is satisfactory for me, at this time.  Linked with that, I've been doing some thinking about the idea of a "Supramundane Dhamma" system.  In this case, 'Supramundane' simply means it actually works for deep transformation.  The 'system' part refers to a core character, spirit, or flavor that suffuses all aspects of a given approach to the Dhamma, including conduct modification, emotional regulation, conceptual understanding, attentional techniques (meditation), etc.  

There are obviously multiple, possible seamless & integrated approaches (as indicated by the 3 Yanas, but also within each Yana).  I believe this is what separates a path from a toolbox (to riff off of David Chapman's "Approaches To Religion").  I do worry sometimes that many modern yogis take only the toolbox approach to attentional techniques, while setting aside all the other types of effort.  This is probably a false separation between "religious" and "secular," as things like behavioral and attitude change are integrally linked to attentional techniques on a very secular/pragmatic level (in my opinion).

But, I digress.  My main point was that Ayya Khema would have been teaching one type of Supramundane Dhamma which would integrate her brand of Jhana.  Pa Auk was teaching a separate, but equally internally consistent system, with his own brand of Jhana.  Both teachers would have been able to "decode" the Pali Canon to derive their instructions.

The point for me, personally, is that I do very well with techniques involving persistent, momentary concentration and light access concentration, but not so well with techniques involving heavy access concentration, verging on absorption.  As such, I have missed out on certain healing effects that occur with a powerfully unified mind.  

RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo
Answer
11/4/16 1:41 PM as a reply to MangaDesuYo.
MangaDesuYo:
In jhana it's IMPOSSIBLE for thoughts to exist, nor can you think, or have any desires in that state, the only thing you are aware of is being blissed out "a bath of bliss" ITS REAL unwordly BLISS.

I would keep away from teachers or ANYONE that tell you otherwise,

There is no such thing as light jhana.

turn to teachers like ajahn brahm or pa-auk, they know what they are talking about,

those are truly absorption states.
The test is whether people can get enlightened without having spent months sat in perfect jhanas. As people seem to get enlightened via all sorts of means, and some spontaneously, then isn't it questionable whether it's even necessary to perfectly master this ?
Alternatively, does everyone who perfectly masters the jhanas become enlightened ?

RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo
Answer
11/4/16 1:54 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
According to both teachers jhana is a must to get enlightened .

I think ppeople that have a hard time hitting full absorption jhana are just looking for excuses and try to argue that insight practice alone will lead to enlightenment ...

Anyway not everyone cares about that part... Some people just want to meditate and get blissed out just like some people do anything else that gives them pleasure... 

Everyone should do what they feel like

RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo
Answer
11/4/16 2:11 PM as a reply to MangaDesuYo.
MangaDesuYo:
According to both teachers jhana is a must to get enlightened .

I think ppeople that have a hard time hitting full absorption jhana are just looking for excuses and try to argue that insight practice alone will lead to enlightenment ...

Anyway not everyone cares about that part... Some people just want to meditate and get blissed out just like some people do anything else that gives them pleasure... 

Everyone should do what they feel like
Well, yeah, that's me. But sometimes I get a surprise instead.
Folk who want to master jhanas can master jhanas if they desire.

RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo
Answer
11/4/16 3:19 PM as a reply to Stick Man.
John:
The test is whether people can get enlightened without having spent months sat in perfect jhanas. As people seem to get enlightened via all sorts of means, and some spontaneously, then isn't it questionable whether it's even necessary to perfectly master this ?

If you define enlightenment as having had one contact with the unconditioned, then many variations are possible.  Although spontaneous experiences are much more likely to be knowledge of arising and passing away.

If you consider enlightenment to be a global measure of satisfaction with experience, that necessitates purposeful training on a variety of levels, over a course of months and years.  One of these levels would be the ability to reign in the attention, and generate the various effects that result from that (the factors of jhana).  There are wonderful, healing results of having a unified mind.  

Best to figure out what works for you, right now.  There are too many individual variations between yogis to make reliable generalizations about what is needed for "enlightenment."  However, these discussions (playing around with ideas) may be part of what works for you.  

Thanks, yeah, probably going to go direct pointing, drop referencing and crediting anything that smacks of appeal to outer powers, seeing myself as seperate from the buddha or oneness in time and space, etc.

RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo
Answer
11/5/16 3:39 AM as a reply to Stick Man.
John:

...there is still mental activity in jhana...


In absorption, phenomena still arise (and pass), but the conscious mind doesn't do anything in reaction to them; they just pass through a steady, "still" awareness. At the multiple levels of mental processing outside of the conscious focal point (i.e. neurology that's constantly monitoring the nervous activity in the whole organism, internally and externally what touches the senses) there is "activity", i.e. that can detect phenomena, e.g. potentialt hreats and, possibly, force them into the conscious attention (except at extremely deep levels of absorption).

At the focus level in absorption there is just awareness. When it is jostled to attend to a specific phenomenon, it comes out of absorption (aka fixation), but the "feeling" of absorption is still very close, and can be readily re-entered after some "activity" of dealing with the intrusion. That's the moment when vipassana comes into play, or just evaluating the phenomenon and intending some mental action – answer the telephone or not; go to the bathroom or not. It also can work to examine (evaluate) the nature of the absorption just emerged from, to "know" the constituent qualities of the still mind. And it can observe the transition, and "know" more about how the mind reactivates. That's where insight can occur that becomes useful in "developing" the mind – seeing how conditioning, how habits work, and how they can be altered.

Thanissaro's teaching uses tha tback-and-forth between samadhi and vipassana, without formally trying to verbally conceptualize it a lot. Other teachers, like the Pa Auk Sayadaw use more methodological formalisms; e.g. he teaches students, at an advanced level, to gain skill, mastery atintentionally entering and emerging from absorption very quickly, up to many times per second. Here the work may be deconstructing how tranquility works and can be trained for, to be used even outside of absorption, as that stillness of mind (and intention) bears a similarity to some aspects of experiencing nibbana. Jhana is very often in the sutta-s termed "cetovimutti"– "deliverance of mind", albeit limited and temporary.

John:

...demanding and complex things like sports - flow states. A still mind isn't exclusive to sitting down jhanas...


The complex things happening there are at those other levels of neural activity, quasi-automatic skills that were consciously trained, but at
advanced levels don't require focal consciousness to perform. This is s/t called "momentary concentration" (khanika samadhi).

Actually, the vipassana-path method taught by the Mahasi Sayadaw uses a highly developed insight practice using this momentary concentration to track all levels of sensation and  mental reaction, and at advanced levels the intensity of the concentration can match that in absorbed concentration (jhanaor appana-samadhi). Mahasi calls that "vipassana-khanka-samadhi". It's an alternative path to full liberation available to those who aren't, by temperament ortraining, adept at absorption methods. In vipassana-khanka-samadhi the mind intensely focuses, is still, for intermittent fractions of  asecond, and then shifts to the next phenomena arising in  the flux of experience.

Interesting stuff. Regarding the unconscious processing, our man Wim Hof is lifting the lid on that. It's interesting how something very much on the sidelines, probably even within meditative culture, is right out in the open now.

Further on your point about cultivating jhana as a way to bypass potentially damaging activity, could it be said to be a social skill as much as a contemplative one ? For instance, if cultivating jhana is a way to develop the experience of epinephrine/adrenaline, then this is basically a replacement for competative activities like sport, risky actions like mountain climbing or combat. redirecting the added focus provided by the fight/flight mechanism for introspection, rather than to meet a challenge.

This seems to be more likely in an agrarian society where there is a food surplus and less need for combat, or for classes of people who don't need to stimulate their adrenal system very much.

Soccer players, for instance, often talk about goal scoring in terms of electricity and ecstasy. A buddhist view would "ah yes, but they also suffer the disappointments and depressions that are the flip side of their cravings for success." However, as this website shows, negative feelings are a part of the buddhist path anyway ? Competitive people suffer the frustrations of failure, contemplatives get the dark night, so what's the difference ?
The main difference seems to be in the effort to conquer someone else in order to achieve the rush or suffer the loss. Buddhists (in their morality) claim to want to be free of this competitive urge - at least as far as violent competitive urges go.
But is the monastic life really a retreat from competition and domination - because monasteries have had a tendency to dominate the lives of those around it. If I was cynical, I would wonder if, in the end, the abbot or master has attained his position at the head of a hierarchy by psyching out all his opponents, or outliving them by getting his thrills internally rather than on a battlefield or in revolutionary action. This would also give a means of offering safe harbour to others - refuge.
I also wonder what meditation masters have in common with those in high power, who are also at the top of hierarchies and can live a risk free life, and get there by mental skill rather than brute adrenal force ?
One difference would be the degree of paranoia about security of position ebing suffered. An enlightened abbot shouldn't have that - although Buddhism and Christianity tend to have dualistic reward/punishment cosmologies that are basically paranoid in structure.
People in higher work positions suffer less stress, mental distress and disease - do all hierarchies have this in common ?

Is the OP basically describing the feeling of a certain amount of low level combat and reward mechanism that drives it, in the form of work ?
I think I've had something similar, rushes during study, the reward for advancing my self interest or the product of meditation ?

I do believe I am rambling.

Note:

It is a sport that can hurt the strongest of men and women. Entire nations can mourn a team’s loss. Sometimes, you literally feel your life force being sucked out of you. So, then why do we put ourselves through this torture?It’s that ecstasy of scoring that goal. That winning goal. That 
thrill of victory. And it is for moments like this, we play this ‘Beautiful Game.’


Thanks CJMacie for your reply. I'm pleasantly suprised at the support on this forum, usually you don't get that on forums (especially for a first time poster).

RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo
Answer
11/11/16 3:01 PM as a reply to MangaDesuYo.
Thank you for your time writing out.... However to be honest I have a very hard time grasping what you are saying...

You are saying to practice cession of mind until you can do it, but still you are not saying how it's done... Nothing here makes sense, perhaps it's something only you can understand in your own language, but if you can't lay out steps in practical ways it won't help anyone

RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo
Answer
11/12/16 12:43 AM as a reply to MangaDesuYo.
Paweł K:
MangaDesuYo:
How do you immediately do cessation of mind?

How to immediately turn piece of iron into magnet?

You wrap a wire around the iron a bunch of times, run a bunch of direct current through the wire.  I 'do cessation' by pursuing a line of awareness, which at some moments feels like I'm directing blood flow to certain parts of the brain.  Is blood flow 'direct current' in this analogy?

Paweł K:
Buddha upon enlightenment was Stream Enterer himself. Why was he Buddha then? Because he entered The Stream.


You still posting your non-sensicalness about stream-enterers? Stream-enterers are just beginners. They do not know so much apart from letting go. 

Stream-enterer has not even experienced jhana. 

"Jhana" is another "world" thus stream-enterer has not yet returned to this other "world" otherwise the stream-enterer would be "once-returner". 

Your posts are certainly unique since only you appear to be able to understand them.

When Buddha 1st believed no-one would understand him, he chose to keep silent. 

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RE: Is this Jhana? I can't enter it while on the cushion, happens spontaneo
Answer
11/15/16 7:00 PM as a reply to MangaDesuYo.
MangaDesuYo:
Nothing here makes sense, perhaps it's something only you can understand in your own language, but if you can't lay out steps in practical ways it won't help anyone

You should not think there is anything mysterious or profound in the crazy posts you are reading. All you are reading is craziness, that is all. 

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Best to not waste your time & the time of others. 

Stream-enterer is enlightened to the four noble truths & the resultant degree of liberation but their insight is not strong enough to uproot the underlying tendency to defilement. Therefore, both defilement (craving, greed, hatred & delusion) & self-clinging can still arise in the mind of the stream-enterer when their mind lacks mindfulness. 

Also, there are many other wisdoms & understandings lacking in the mind of the stream-enterer. 

All that can be known conclusively by your posts is your mind is not fully enlightened. 

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