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Jhana Log : The body has to go!

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Jhana Log : The body has to go!
Answer
9/7/16 6:04 PM
{Form : 4 weeks in , at least 2-3 sits per day 1-1.5 hours each. Constant one-pontedness and mindfulness as concentation during daily activites.}

There is a sobering point we must come to. That's everyone who really wants to push into the deep states (not just bounce around the edges, returning to the common mind and examining one's progress) where the body and everything attached to it must fall away.

It's 'death' without a doubt. No need to worry about locating The Three Characteristics, they are clearly in your face ( at this point). Sure, as Ajahan Brahm points out, when you drop the whole body complex, incredible bliss and relief follow. But you do have to do 'it' first. This is his acid test of true Jhana or "hard" jhana in his school.

He says you can do it quickly or slowly, as in tentatively letting the body slide into deep water and perhaps going deeper each time until full immersion, the blissfulness to follow will allow you easily to do it again and again, with increasing trust and proven faith.

I know this 'death' I've touched it before in another life, in 1986 the Master who can't be named, asked us to abide as consciousness alone and merely observe all arising ( including the body itself, as just another object in consciousness). I eventually ran like hell from this. The life loving westerner, balked at dropping what we love most, our most dear precious possession. The very reason for birth.

This time I feel I can ease myself into that deep pool, with some embarrassment, clearly not the hero practitioner. It's deeply sobering, if you look at the master Theravada monks, not a smile among  them ( Ven. Bhram the exception), I know why.

{ more on this point }

It's very difficult to let go of the body, to move passed "being embodied". That is the tough one for me. I can stretch  to the Jhanas in mind but the agitated (or even relaxed)  body anchors consciousness. There is no way around this fact. It's letting go into death or the unknown, fortunately our friend is bliss. Strong bliss allows us to let go, incrementally until we touch the water and go deeper. The body with all it's pains and itchiness and stiffness and restlessness must become still and profoundly moveless. It can be done, must become the case. We become body-less and the bliss increases, tremendously. Then we enter the "abode", the deep place. The sounds and sensations are still there, if but a seeming vast distance behind or away, we can move back to them or remain in depth. I expect over time, this movement will become easier, this transition will become smoother. 

{Other observations }

1/ Entering the Jhanic state, to me is like going into a deep cave, or familiar house, I've been there in dreams and memories many times, perhaps prior to this. The Jhanas don't belong to Buddhism or Theravada ( they are etched in everyone's consciousness similar to the universality of NDEs) but these men and women have explored and mapped them to the nth degree with an awesome clarity and refinement of discriminating inquiry that is without peer.
2/ On emerging from deep meditation, I go outside (I live in a rural area) and the natural world looks different. Tangibly and clearly "polished", or "cleaned". similar to when rain has come through and washed the dustiness off objects. Depending how you look at it, the world is purified, the senses are purified or the mind (Citta) has been polished or shined or purified.


Thanks for the opportunity (edited for more info)

Marty

RE: Jhana Log : The body has to go!
Answer
9/8/16 2:42 AM as a reply to Marty G.
With lots of practice being 'disembodied' can become default experience during all activities and jhanic bliss experienced all the time. Personally I didn't even practice it as part of jhana training but as part of synesthesia training, literally making sensual experience into pure awesomeness, unreasonably vibrant colors, experiencing all qualities of everything seen, etc. Disabling 'normal' experiences of body greatly increase these effects and remove any unpleasantness out of them. But this apply not only to jhana or synesthesia but every experience of any type.

These things are truly universal, even beyond concentration or sitting meditation.

RE: Jhana Log : The body has to go!
Answer
9/8/16 5:20 AM as a reply to Marty G.
Sounds very trippy, and a weird form of suffering, don't think we are on the same page. Sounds like you are feeding back to the senses your own mind forms. Not the same as being body-less in the sense of deep meditation. Take no offense just how it seems from here.

RE: Jhana Log : The body has to go!
Answer
9/8/16 5:42 PM as a reply to Marty G.
Hard core versus transitional equilibrium practice (consideration for today)

Both Thich Nhat Hanh and shinzen young (and others) suggest a way that knows joy, presence and beauty and a basic equanimity  in present arising states. The three characteristics are well noted  (change, suffering, egolessness) but there is equanimity or simple happiness in present conditions.

"Our true home is not in the past. Our true home is not in the future. Our true home is in the here and the now. Life is available only in the here and the now, and it is our true home. Mindfulness is the energy that helps us recognize the conditions of happiness that are already present in our lives. You don’t have to wait ten years to experience this happiness. It is present in every moment of your daily life. There are those of us who are alive but don’t know it. But when you breathe in, and you are aware of your in-breath, you touch the miracle of being alive. That is why mindfulness is a source of happiness and joy"

​​​​​​​~ Thich Nhat Hanh

https://uhs.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/article_-_five_steps_to_mindfulness.pdf

Hanh's focus and basic teaching is about locating happiness or finding equanimity in the present by concentrated present focus (not vipassana truly) he comes from a zen background and not Theravada.  This life positive approach many finding inspiring and softer and more "useful" than the hard core approach.

The problem with hard core is there is absolutely nothing to be happy about ( if taken to a serious level )! And rightly so, everything is fleeting and has an element of lack or too much, and there is no stable self only an endless vortex of shifting perceptions. What a hellish but true perception. Teachers like Than, know this ( make no mistake) but also know that if you take that raw perception with no sugar, very few can digest such a world view without terrible spiraling depression ( chronic dark night). You may argue that yes there is no lasting happiness on any level, here or in subtler realms (perhaps) but there is no lasting unhappiness either. If you go through the whole  process then there is a true unbroken equilibrium, an equanimity born of  knowing that nothing lasts but that is not so bad because the down cycle doesn't last forever either. More a purgatory than a hell. I think you can see this in the old school Arhats , they show unshakeable equanimity without any sugar, whatsoever.

For myself I tend to the transitional equilibrium practice and that is what I suggest to my friends. There is a certain sanity to it and lack of extremism that may give us enough juice for the long haul and we can pick a few flowers along the way etc.

​​​​​​​Marty.

Best not to start, if started best to finish quickly!
Answer
9/9/16 6:38 PM as a reply to Marty G.
"Best not to start, if started best to finish quickly " ~ anonymous  advice, on the razor's edge path.

The modern western teacher Culadasa, proposes that we get very strong in concentration practice, before getting into full on vipassana, here is his 10 stage breathe based system.

http://dharmatreasure.org/wp-content/uploads/LightOnMeditationHandout.pdf

He also states that a committed meditator may get through to mastery  in 12 months or less. That mastery can be lost if we stop training, as we find with fitness training. Leave training for even 2 weeks and the muscles loose their edge.  It is not different with mind training, though even if this is the case and we drop the practice for some time, we should be able to get to "edge and clarity" much quicker than from scratch.

He suggests if we first find equanimity and bliss this acts as a lubricant that allows us to experience  the tough insights, without the extremes of the dark night. What a compassionate teacher, really!

This is the route I am taking, after hitting very dark periods years ago. As an astute dude once said, "Once a philospher, twice a pervert". I will take my inspiration from sources such as Culadasa (but not at all restricted to him). You may wish to consider this yourself if you are just starting out. Warnings should be given. I'm happy to give them. If you suffer from depression or have a tendency to, you may want to go this route.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5He0q5u5yY


How I find constant equanimity during the daily activities :

I engage  action mindfully for long periods ( yes I loose the thread, but recover it quickly)  this is a concentration practice not an observational one ( pure vipassana). Example, I'm doing a simple task, say watering the garden plants. I will stand as the body, rather than observe it, be it. Any movement I will do consciously, deliberately with present awareness and feeling (hint). I will not allow the mind to wander, I may use a key word to bring the mind back "to task". This can make any activity interesting and "happy" rather than a struggle with the mind scattered in thought and random feelings. The breathe is also a primary anchor, any noticed drifting  and I strengthen the breathe, increase it's force and it  tends to pull the mind back to task. There is a simple deep pleasure here. That pleasure or basic equanimity keeps the attention in the process.  Teachers like E. Tolle and  Thich Nhat Hanh and many others who emphasis the present state or being present, advocate this method in their own form. Some make it the end all practice. I see it as a happy and useful, functional daily practice in the midst of more advanced practices.

Marty.

Testing the stages ( meditation)
Answer
9/11/16 9:00 PM as a reply to Marty G.
I began reading "The Attention Revolution" by B. Alan Wallace. It's a good read, Wallace covers the same ground as Culadasa in the PDF referenced in preceding post. Wallace tends to the Tibetan flowery style. Culadasa is more Theravada Technician. Both may be learned from. According the Wallace, only full time, very committed yogis will make real progress, and then, expect years of practice. Not much hope there for the householder, getting a sitting in, while juggling life demands. On the other hand Culadasa feels that a committed householder may get to adept practitioner (stage 8 and beyond) within 12 months or so.

Testing my own stage on this map.

SAKYONG MIPHAM RINPOCHE in this article:

http://www.lionsroar.com/the-nine-stages-of-training-the-mind/

Suggests if you can perform 108 full cycle breathes without loosing focus on the breathe and drifting you are moving into the 3rd Level of practice. I tested this last night and performed 4 x 108 breathe cycles, one after other, without loosing focus and to test my limit further, stayed focused and thought free ( other than my own discursive or directed thinking) for one hour. It was tough going but clearly can be done. There is more to it than this, much subtlety of directed attention as mentioned in all the dialogues. His benchmark is way lower than Wallace, more of a happy balanced approach. I think the average meditator looking for great concentration, focus, equanimity would be very happy to get to the fourth stage. Described here in "Close Placement". If I were a meditation teacher I would not take any student beyond this point unless they were really interested in getting Liberated,truly. Without any "Romantic" Notions. It's a very rigorous and demanding trek passed the point.

"Our meditation now takes on a different twist. Previously our main concern was not to be distracted from the breath. We were worried that our mind was going to be sucked back into everyday problems. We were always wondering if we’d be strong enough to return to the breath. Now we’re more relaxed. We’re no longer wondering if we can stay on the breath because we know we can. We’re no longer concerned about outside influences pulling us away from meditation because we know they won’t. Our confidence is heightened. Now we’re concerned about the quality of our meditation—the texture, the experience. Before we were worried that we couldn’t get a cup of coffee; now we want a mocha cappuccino. How can we make our minds stronger, more vibrant? This is our new priority."

Marty

RE: Jhana Log : The body has to go!
Answer
9/12/16 12:56 PM as a reply to Marty G.
Sounds very trippy, and a weird form of suffering, don't think we are on the same page. Sounds like you are feeding back to the senses your own mind forms. Not the same as being body-less in the sense of deep meditation. Take no offense just how it seems from here.
All methods which I practiced are invented by me thus my effects are a little bit unconventional too.

I try to tune in to e8.root vibrations to be able to download Nirvikalpa Samadhi
or I was, or will be