Monday, March 18, 2019

Guide to First Jhāna

(article work in progress, will update periodically)

Jhanas are not an exact science. 

This article by B. Thanissaro will help, one of the best pieces of advice you'll ever get.
"Jhana not by the numbers" ... ndex.html
The 4 jhanas are not an exact science, that's part of the reason there's controversy over exactly what it entails. 
AN 5.28, the 4 jhana similes gives a good description of what jhana can feel like, but not everyone gets bliss as intensely as the similes imply, they aren't completely reliable as markers. 
It's best to learn from qualified teachers who are EBT compliant. 
Good references would be anything Thanissaro wrote, Bhante Gunaratana's more recent work (not his early stuff where he still believed Abhidhamma and VRJ). 

You really don't want to get advice from Dhamma forums, too many wrong views to filter out that you can't see which ones are actually useful. 

Bliss factors very variable

detailed answers in articles below,
but the quick answer, is it's like eating food. 
If you're really hungry, then your body will give you lots of pleasure chemicals in the brain.
That would be sukha - bodily pleasure.

piti would be like people who get an emotional thrill or high from eating food, they get excited and feel mental and bodily pleasure from a mentally created excitement. It's all just mentally created, somanassa, but it can result in both mental and physical pleasure.

with food, you can't control how much sukkha you get from the food high - you only get those pleasure chemicals when the body needs those nutrients.

similarly, for one who generally is a fourth jhana meditator, they can't really get a classic AN 5.28 second jhana bliss bomb unless they stop meditating for a while (8 hours for example), to drain their jhana battery of energy. Then the next meditaiton, they'll get a sukha bliss bomb for 5 min, 10min, 20min, etc, however long it takes for the battery to charge back up. Then it's just a-dukkham-a-sukham after that.

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  5. Comparison: Pīti and Frisson

Beyond first jhana

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