Profound Stillness and Concentration | Jhana Meditation

GUIDED MEDITATION |EMPTYING INTO STILLNESS | 30 MINUTES | I am offering my latest guided meditation as a support for this weeks reading. I’d love to hear your comments about your experience with this 30 minute guided meditation.

Profound Stillness and Concentration | Jhana Meditation

Jhana is a meditative state of profound stillness and concentration in which the mind becomes fully immersed and absorbed in the chosen object of attention. It is the cornerstone in the development of Right Concentration.

These are excerpts, about the deep states of meditation (Jhanas), are from the Pali Cannon, the closest accurate record we have of what the Buddha actually said. The word “practitioner” has been used instead of “monk”. And the word “he/his” has been replaced by “one/one’s”

First Stage Jhana

“There is the case where a practitioner — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation. One permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. There is nothing of one’s entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal.

“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 practitioner 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…

Second Stage Jhana

“Furthermore, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, one enters and remains in the second jhana: rapture and pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought and evaluation — internal assurance. One permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of composure. There is nothing of one’s entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born of composure.

“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 practitioner permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of composure. There is nothing of one’s entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born of composure…

Third Stage Jhana

“And furthermore, with the fading of rapture, one remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. ONe enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 

‘Equanimous & mindful, one has a pleasant abiding.’ 

One permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the pleasure divested of rapture, so that there is nothing of  one’s entire body unpervaded with pleasure divested of rapture.

“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 practitioner permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the pleasure divested of rapture. There is nothing of one’s entire body unpervaded with pleasure divested of rapture…

Fourth Stage Jhana

“And furthermore, with the abandoning of pleasure and stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation and distress —one enters and remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity and mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain.One sits, permeating the body with a pure, bright awareness, so that there is nothing of one’s entire body unpervaded by pure, bright awareness.

“Just as if a person were sitting wrapped from head to foot with a white cloth so that there would be no part of one’s body to which the white cloth did not extend; even so, the practitioner sits, permeating one’s body with a pure, bright awareness. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by pure, bright awareness.”

— AN 5.28

Mastery of the four jhana stages is a mark of wisdom

“I declare a person endowed with four qualities to be one of great discernment, a great practitioner.

 Which four?

“There is the case, where one practices for the welfare & happiness of many people and has established many people in the noble method, i.e., the rightness of what is admirable, the rightness of what is skillful.

“One thinks any thought one wants to think, and doesn’t think any thought one doesn’t want to think. One wills any resolve one wants to will, and doesn’t will any resolve one doesn’t want to will. One has attained mastery of the mind with regard to the pathways of thought.

“One attains — whenever one wants, without strain, without difficulty — the four jhanas that are heightened mental states, pleasant abidings in the here-&-now.

“With the ending of mental fermentations — one remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having directly known & realized them for oneself right in the here-&-now.

“…I declare a person endowed with these four qualities to be one of great discernment, a great person.”

— AN 4.35

Jhana and insight go hand-in-hand

There’s no jhana

for one with no discernment,

no discernment

for one with no jhana.

But one with both jhana & discernment:

one is on the verge of Unbinding.

— Dhp 372

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