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Meditation and the Formless Jhanic States Options
 
Icyseeker
#1 Posted : 3/20/2019 11:48:00 PM

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I am making this thread to explore the jhanic states talked about in Buddhism. I am very interested in enlightenment and the means to achieve this state. Therefore my journey has largely been based off of the achievements of the Buddha. Buddha achieved these states before he attained to the highest state. There are many schools of thought pertaining to enlightenment and whether the formless realms are needed. My opinion is that if one wants to make serious progress in this lifetime they should strive to attain the formless jhanas. I have this opinion because in order to reach these jhanas you need to develop diligence,perseverance,honesty, and most of all patience. Also when the mind experiences the more tranquil states of the jhanas, enlightenment seems more attainable. Buddha ultimately said that even the jhanic states were suffering and so I am inclined to follow his guidance. Based on experience I think that I have reached all nine jhanas but I acknowledge that I could be wrong because I seem to skip past the 7th jhana of infinite nothingness to the 8th jhana of neither perception nor non-perception. I am going to use some of my own perception to explain what I think that these states mean in terms of a normal state of mind.
May wisdom permeate through your life.

"The only past which endures lies wordlessly within you." God Emperor Leto ii
 

Good quality Syrian rue (Peganum harmala) for an incredible price!
 
Icyseeker
#2 Posted : 3/21/2019 12:03:51 AM

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Fifth Jhana of Infinite Space

Through extensive non-object meditation the practitioner can reach the fifth jhana of infinite space. This is the first formless jhana and is characterized by waves going in and out of perception. Its is my thought that this realm is where dreams are experienced. During my earliest exploration of this realm it would take everything I had to get to this state and immediately after I was done meditating I would lie in my bed and begin to lucid dream. This is why I think that this is where your dreams take place. As you begin to abide more and more in this realm you lucid dream more because you are more comfortable in it.
May wisdom permeate through your life.

"The only past which endures lies wordlessly within you." God Emperor Leto ii
 
brewster
#3 Posted : 3/21/2019 12:15:00 AM

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Wow, that's some advanced stuff. This shall be interesting.

I am nowhere near as proficient in my meditation to have experience with the jhanas. As far as I know, they can be seen as the highest achievements in Shamatha meditation.

Small info for non-Buddhist nerds: Shamatha is the meditation of calm abiding, focus, concentration, which is differentiated from Vipassana meditation, which is insight meditation. This means, one observes the workings of consciousness to understand the nature of reality. Easy, right? Wink Normally, one will want to cultivate both together, but the ideas on how much importance each part should play vary wildly. Zen Buddhism, for example, doesn't really entertain this distinction, Zazen is structured differently altogether.

I'm thrilled to read more about your experiences. What form of meditation do you practice, do you practice with a teacher? And of course, how do psychedelics play into your jhanic work?

See you Smile
 
Icyseeker
#4 Posted : 3/21/2019 12:20:21 AM

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Sixth Jhana of Infinite Consciousness

Initially when I first realized this jhana I thought it was enlightenment. I was definitely mistaken and its my fault for not doing enough research. It takes a lot of meditation to get here but eventually with practice this state of consciousness becomes permanent. While in the formless realm of infinite space think of the awareness that is witnessing the space. Eventually you will see yourself as both formed and formless. In this state you will be able to see the godhead (your true self) through the fog of Maya. I believe that this is what Buddha meant by a stream enter will have lost all doubt in Buddha. While this is not enlightenment I do think that this state has a lot to tell you about yourself and how you treat others. If you are actually the the sphere of infinite consciousness (or are of it) than so is everyone else. If you treat every one else with kindness and respect you really are treating yourself with it.
May wisdom permeate through your life.

"The only past which endures lies wordlessly within you." God Emperor Leto ii
 
Icyseeker
#5 Posted : 3/21/2019 12:42:11 AM

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brewster wrote:
What form of meditation do you practice, do you practice with a teacher? And of course, how do psychedelics play into your jhanic work?


My form of meditation is can be characterized as shutting myself in a dark room and watching thoughts form. I began to realize after the initial drivel was done (stuff like what to eat for dinner or recent news) that I started having thoughts that needed examining. Odd things like various fears, aspirations and relationship things started to rise. I began to think that these thoughts would continue to surface until I dealt with them. This is how I started penetrating deeper realms. Deal with the fears. My own particular fears included driving in the city, getting bad grades, and an ultimate fear that this realm is nirvana and when we die we could enter into a realm of infinite stress. The only way that I could deal with the last fear was the through the use of LSD and a lot of personal growth. I have never thought about getting a teacher I think one of my old thoughts on the matter was that I was going to enlighten myself.

Psychedelics have played huge part in my journey so far. Initially they were the thing that "started the journey". Or in other words got me to realize different states of mind. After my initial trip I have used it as a way of checking in on my progress as well as seeing what is to come. The particular trip that got me to break the ultimate fear of the ultimate stress. Involved me thinking that I was entering the stress realm and than realizing that life is about being calm and collected. After that on another trip I tasted a brief taste of bliss while at a concert.

Regarding DMT I have done it once and once is all I need to know what nirvana looks like Razz also I got the perception that I would use DMT as a crutch and would not develop as an individual if I continued using it.

May wisdom permeate through your life.

"The only past which endures lies wordlessly within you." God Emperor Leto ii
 
Icyseeker
#6 Posted : 3/21/2019 1:00:58 AM

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Seventh Jhana of Infinite Nothingness

I don't have that much to say about this jhana expect that during my (brief time?) time in this realm it was pretty peaceful. Recently during a lucid dream my consciousness was ejected out of the sixth jhana of infinite consciousness into the seventh jhana of infinite nothingness. Its like leaving a sphere that you recently thought was infinitely large and entering a sphere so much larger. Where all of formed consciousness is but a spec of larger sphere of static space. The sphere itself is black.
May wisdom permeate through your life.

"The only past which endures lies wordlessly within you." God Emperor Leto ii
 
Icyseeker
#7 Posted : 3/21/2019 1:12:24 AM

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Eighth Jhana of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception

This is the hardest state to articulate. It involves residing within a deep state of rest while being aware. My best way of describing this sphere is the awareness of deep rest. I really have nothing else to add to this. However it is really easy for insight to come to you in this state.
May wisdom permeate through your life.

"The only past which endures lies wordlessly within you." God Emperor Leto ii
 
Icyseeker
#8 Posted : 3/21/2019 1:23:25 AM

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Ninth Jhana of Cessation of Feeling and Perception

Abiding in the eighth jhana Buddha found a one more Jhana called the cessation of feeling and perception. Essentially the body is complete shutdown mode. Consciousness comes to a shut down. Thoughts stand still. Basically everything comes to a halt. I have experienced this state twice with a great afterglow. Afterglow is just a feeling of being really well rested. The actual Jhana is the moment that the body is shut down. Some people think that enlightenment might be the permanent cessation of feeling and perception however I disagree with this sentiment as most of my insight has led me to face life with greater and greater amounts of awareness. How can you do this if your body is in constant shut down?
May wisdom permeate through your life.

"The only past which endures lies wordlessly within you." God Emperor Leto ii
 
Icyseeker
#9 Posted : 3/21/2019 1:31:03 AM

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My overall perception of the jhanas is that we enter into these states while sleeping. I think that if you do not work on your meditation you will stay in the dream stage. I could be wrong but I think if you achieved a great rest in the morning you went deep into the formless jhanas. I am still shaky on some of these perceptions and would gladly listen to any ones else's opinions on the matter.
May wisdom permeate through your life.

"The only past which endures lies wordlessly within you." God Emperor Leto ii
 
brewster
#10 Posted : 3/21/2019 1:54:28 AM

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Well, enlightenment sure is an elusive term. There are secular, psychologically-based definitions, and more mythological (religious) ones which refer to the older texts, including different realms to be reborn into, etc. These are quite hard to understand if one isn't really well-versed in traditional Buddhist mythology and terminology, as well as the cultural implications. I'm pragmatic in these matters and only interested in the first approach, so I can't much comment on the traditional perspective.

In any way, the same goes for jhanas. For some, they are merely products of a rather regular meditation practice, for others, they are a supreme achievement of a highly trained mind. I tend towards the latter, and my level of achievement, and of ambition, are far from this, so I'm not directly concerned.

But, in both cases, realizing and manifesting jhanas does not always coincide with supreme insight. And, I'd go so far as to say that equating enlightenment with a constantly shut down body is a misunderstanding. Again, the question depends on the definitions one will base it on. Modern and traditional answers will differ, as do the different schools of Buddhism.

But to keep it simple, to say that enlightenment is what can arise if all mental hindrances are overcome, this means a supreme level of mind training. This will still be experienced from a human perspective, and, in order to experience things from a human perspective, feeling and perception need to be present.

Then, again: I'm not for making this more mystical than necessary. To me, meditation is a rational, experience-based, psychologically describable (explainable), practically useful training. I'm not much concerned with metaphysical speculation about enlightenment or even ego-death (which is a very common topic amongst psychonauts, obviously). I'm not saying that one shouldn't pursue it, but that one dosen't have to, even as an enthusiastic meditator.
 
Icyseeker
#11 Posted : 3/21/2019 3:55:06 AM

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On the topic of enlightenment I would say my definition falls to the more mystical versions. I agree that the jhanas take a long to time to obtain but the pay off in the long run is worth the time investment in terms of novelty alone. I empathize with the thought that the shut down must be enlightenment because that afterglow is like no drug. But it does not last.

I would agree with your statement. One does not have to have enlightenment on their minds to develop the jhanas however I would say that after experiencing the 9th jhana it becomes sort of the point to life. It seems like to me that teaching others and learning from others is the point of life. So I think having your mind set on some mythical state that you will probably never reach will give you most room to grow. So even if you never reach nirvana you still become an amazing person who can bring warmth to all that you meet.
May wisdom permeate through your life.

"The only past which endures lies wordlessly within you." God Emperor Leto ii
 
332211
#12 Posted : 3/22/2019 11:20:49 AM

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hi icy,

the jhanas are totally achievable goal, with the right preparation and working instructions.

check this out:

"the mind illuminated" john yates

with diligence and daily practice the jhanas are in reach within a year, or even faster, depending on how well you can trick yourself to practice Pleased

in short:

first, you stop the "forgetting" of the meditaion object, then you remove dullness, then you achieve constant attention on the meditation object, which opens the door of the jhanas.

yates gives easy exercises that, repeated often enough, lead *everybody* to the jhanas.

good luck Smile
 
brewster
#13 Posted : 3/22/2019 3:52:18 PM

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Yes, I actually practice with TMI. They say that the access concentration is possible from stage 6 on. It is possible within a year, but I suspect that this is true for really motivated and talented practitioners. Say, 1-2 hours a day, and a lifestyle that isn't all too demanding.

Certainly, there will be exceptions, but I assume most total beginners won't reach stage 6 within a year. Most people will practice significantly less than 1-2 hours a day, though. I agree that, if one really is motivated enough to make the practice one of the top priorities in life, it will be achievable within a year.

To be honest, I'm not so sure about what exactly you're practicing, Icyseeker. I assume that watching the thoughts" isn't a typical route to achieve the higher Jhanas. But you say that you already have realized all the non-material jhanic states... allright.
 
332211
#14 Posted : 3/22/2019 6:39:49 PM

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if you have any questions, i am taking a course with the tmi guys at the moment and i am
actually getting a bit of flaming from "my" meditation teacher, cause my advice is much
more asked than his lately...

i am between stage 4/5/6 now, and that after practicing not too regularly since august 2018,
plus i sustained a bit of private average in the meantime Pleased

stage 10 is on my schedule for 2019, and this with about 1h practice per day - i found out that
meditating more at my level is actually counterproductive, so i cut back from 2h a day.

i should be able to enter the jhanas in the next few weeks, but they are not an end, but
means to deepen the practice.
 
baravara
#15 Posted : 3/22/2019 8:29:09 PM

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Nail together conditions and the unconditioned with the unobstructed clarity of Knowing.

Nail together intelligence and objects with inherent radiance.

Nail together mind and matter with the spontaneous stainless essence.

Nail together nihilism and eternalism with freedom from fixated views.

Nail together forms and the nature of forms with the transcendence of Awareness beyond forms.

Nail together excitation and torpor, liberating the totality of the senses.

Nail together appearances and Openness with the primordial perfection of the Body of Reality.
 
xss27
#16 Posted : 3/23/2019 1:10:42 PM

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Have you investigated other historical figures in relation to enlightenment? I think you will inevitably get a much more accurate triangulation if you compare and contrast all the subject matter available, and disregard the idea that Buddhism is the authority on the matter.

For example, take Ramana Maharshi. By all accounts this Indian sage was enlightened and we also have the added benefit of him being alive only 100 years ago, so his words are still fresh and there are still people alive who met him in person who can attest to his presence. Given his Indian origin his 'teachings' (he was not really a teacher) were more aligned to the Hindu Advaita Vedanta school of philosophical thought, though he did differ in some respects. Anyway his method was very simple, known as Self Inquiry, which bypasses the need for the development of any qualities or the negation of any qualities what so ever and just goes straight to forcing the 'I' back on itself.

Compare the Vedanta school of thought to the Buddhism school of thought. Or look for some other figures aside from Buddha and see if you can't accelerate your own progress.
 
Icyseeker
#17 Posted : 3/24/2019 2:13:18 PM

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332211 wrote:
hi icy,

the jhanas are totally achievable goal, with the right preparation and working instructions.

check this out:

"the mind illuminated" john yates

with diligence and daily practice the jhanas are in reach within a year, or even faster, depending on how well you can trick yourself to practice Pleased

in short:

first, you stop the "forgetting" of the meditaion object, then you remove dullness, then you achieve constant attention on the meditation object, which opens the door of the jhanas.

yates gives easy exercises that, repeated often enough, lead *everybody* to the jhanas.

good luck Smile


Thank you so much for the material I am always down to learn new ways to meditate. I think I already have reached the nine jhanas and most of my experiences line up with traditional teachings. But who is to say that I have. When you reach the higher jhanas please post about it here so that we may discuss.
May wisdom permeate through your life.

"The only past which endures lies wordlessly within you." God Emperor Leto ii
 
Icyseeker
#18 Posted : 3/24/2019 2:24:50 PM

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xss27 wrote:
Have you investigated other historical figures in relation to enlightenment? I think you will inevitably get a much more accurate triangulation if you compare and contrast all the subject matter available, and disregard the idea that Buddhism is the authority on the matter.

For example, take Ramana Maharshi. By all accounts this Indian sage was enlightened and we also have the added benefit of him being alive only 100 years ago, so his words are still fresh and there are still people alive who met him in person who can attest to his presence. Given his Indian origin his 'teachings' (he was not really a teacher) were more aligned to the Hindu Advaita Vedanta school of philosophical thought, though he did differ in some respects. Anyway his method was very simple, known as Self Inquiry, which bypasses the need for the development of any qualities or the negation of any qualities what so ever and just goes straight to forcing the 'I' back on itself.

Compare the Vedanta school of thought to the Buddhism school of thought. Or look for some other figures aside from Buddha and see if you can't accelerate your own progress.


Good Advice. I try to use Buddhism as a base line discipline and spread my thinking out from there. I really don't have time to practice more than one discipline at the moment. But I always am trying to contrast every religion with Buddhism. The fascinating part about Buddhism is just how many different lines of thought run among it.
May wisdom permeate through your life.

"The only past which endures lies wordlessly within you." God Emperor Leto ii
 
Icyseeker
#19 Posted : 3/24/2019 2:39:19 PM

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brewster wrote:
Yes, I actually practice with TMI. They say that the access concentration is possible from stage 6 on. It is possible within a year, but I suspect that this is true for really motivated and talented practitioners. Say, 1-2 hours a day, and a lifestyle that isn't all too demanding.

Certainly, there will be exceptions, but I assume most total beginners won't reach stage 6 within a year. Most people will practice significantly less than 1-2 hours a day, though. I agree that, if one really is motivated enough to make the practice one of the top priorities in life, it will be achievable within a year.

To be honest, I'm not so sure about what exactly you're practicing, Icyseeker. I assume that watching the thoughts" isn't a typical route to achieve the higher Jhanas. But you say that you already have realized all the non-material jhanic states... allright.


Sorry that I have not been more explicit about my meditation practices. I started practicing meditation about three years ago. Watching the thoughts was really in the preliminary stages. But my point was that the practice was not just watching the thoughts but finding the root cause that made that particular thought appear. Once I found the root I took care of it. Most of what I have been doing has been trial and error meditation. Back when I was heavily meditating I would sit for 3 or more hours in the dark every day and just watch what would happen. I continued doing it if I got hungry or sleepy. Eventually after much practice I was able to cultivate a mind that was quiet unless directed thought was needed or if insight arose.
May wisdom permeate through your life.

"The only past which endures lies wordlessly within you." God Emperor Leto ii
 
332211
#20 Posted : 3/24/2019 3:42:34 PM

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congratulations!

you might find like-minded meditators here:

https://www.reddit.com/r...z7/jhanas_at_stages_910/
 
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