Saturday, May 29, 2021

what does energy blockage feel like? many concrete examples

 this article is part of a series: 🔗📚: collection of articles for an eventual book, "Jhāna Passaddhi Baselines"

Some examples:

1. you need to fart and you can't fart, or it comes out with difficulty. before you fart, there are parts of the body that feel tight, even sharp pain sometimes. Remember those bodily sensations. That's a baseline for jhana blockage.  Now how does it feel after you fart? The body is much softer, smoother, pain is gone, body feels lighter. Remember those bodily sensations. That's a baseline for jhana blockage removal. 

2. Sometimes some people stutter when they talk. There are energy blockages. If the energy is going smoothly, unhindered, they won't stutter.

3. How many pushups, pull ups, squats, or situps can you do? What does it feel like as your doing them? How does the body sensation change? Someone like Jack la lanne, a fitness expert from the 20th century, he could do pushups effortlessly hundreds at a time, smooth, no muscle stuttering. 

How do pushups look and feel for most people? After 5 or 10, you can see their muscles stuttering, their body shaking. 

Here's a personal example. When I try to do pullups from a cold start, no warmup, I can do about 3 or 4. But if I warm up with some shake and bake easy cardio exercise, for about 20 minutes so that my body is warm and soft, I can do about twice as many. If I do a little more intense cardio and get my body even warmer and softer, I can can do more than 10 pullups. 

In each case, cold start with 3, warmed with with 6, or really warmed up with 10, I'm putting the same amount of muscular energy into it. But with the cold start, body cold, qi doesn't flow well, muscles start to tighten up and stutter by the 2nd or 3rd pull up. When I'm really warmed up, I can crank out 4 or 5 pull ups effortlessly, almost no muscle tightness and no stuttering, by by pullup 7 or 8 muscles are really tight and starting to stutter. 

That's what energy blockage does to you, it makes you shake and stutter. 

For jhana to work, energy blockages need to be dissolved, melted, removed. 

4. Another example. Piano player or musician on a cold day with cold hands. When they try to play the instrument, their reflexes feel slow, sluggish, they feel clumsy, not like themselves. That's energy blockage. Heat up the hands, heat up the body, and they're back to their normal selves. 

Actually the whole body is connected, so if any part is cold, there's going to be suboptimal performance somewhere in the body that's going to cause a domino effect on the rest of the body.

When you do pullups, the back muscles are the major player, but what keeps me from doing more pullups, is not my back muscles, it's not getting enough energy into my hands and forearms, that's the linkage that breaks and sets the limit. 

5. what does your mind feel like the moment you wake up in the morning?

what it feels like for me, having many years of jhana experience, I wake up sharp as a tack. Mind totally clear, quick, lucid. I never really got into coffee or caffeinated drinks, so I just rely on exercise, healthy diet, and taking naps to keep things in good working order. 

But I remember what it felt like when I used to live more like an ordinary worldling. I wake up, mind feels tired, sluggish, want to go back to sleep, sleep a few more hours, still want more sleep, etc.

Energy blockage feels like that. Lack of blockage allows your mind to be fast, sharp, clear. 

6. when you chant suttas, is it tiring? When I first started on my own independent voluntary morning chanting practice, I remember after 10 to 15 minutes, my voice would feel somewhat tired, I'd want to and take a break. Energy blockages causes you to tire out quickly.

Now I could probably could chant 2 hours without getting tired. I limit myself to about 20 min. of vocal morning chanting, because talking drains the jhana battery. Thinking also drains the jhana battery, so I limit my evening chanting to 15 min or so of just mental recitation of vitakka and vicara, also moving the lips to practice correct pronunciation. 

7. when you chant suttas, do you know if you're chanting accurately? Are you pronouncing correctly, do you understand the words of what you're reciting as you're reciting them? The less energy blockage you have, the more jhana power you have, the more accurately, quickly, and productively your chanting becomes. Things I've chanted everyday for 10 years, I still get sudden insight and a deeper understand of certain passages and words, even though I keep thinking I must have milked all the insight out of those passages already. 

8. when you get that feeling of wanting to crack your knuckles, there's that feeling of pressure in your joints (fingers, toes, ankles, elbows, knees, etc.). And then the desire to relieve the pressure. What does it feel like (physical sensations)  before you crack, after you crack? How loud was the crack? The bigger the energy blockage, the louder the crack. Those are all jhana and jhana blockage baselines. 

I remember my hips, knees, shoulders, used to be crackable all the time. Like every 5 minutes it would reload and be crackable again. Over the years, as blockages dissolve with jhana practice and taiji exercise, it's diminished quite a lot. Now mostly just fingers and toes are crackable. I can see a day when nothing is crackable. 

9.  boneless-ness: This example comes from taiji practice,  and I'd estimate an average person needs 10 years of at least 2 hour a day practice to really start to be able to do  this, but it makes a super clear example, through direct experience, of what energy blockage feels like and what it feels like after it's cleared. 

when you have heavy blockage and lack of training in how to fully relax, which is the 'normal' state of most people, your arm for example feels like you have a glob of pressure in the shoulder joint area, a mass of pressure where the elbow, wrists, finger joints are. In between those masses of pressure, it's relatively more loose, relaxed, empty feeling.  

But if you master kaya passadhi (bodily pacification/relaxation awakening factor), and enough of your blockages have dissolved, you experience your arm, and your whole body as a boneless-bag of water, a contiguous gumby of gooey magnetic energy, with no shoulders, elbows, knees, etc. separating you into segments and joints. You just feel like a bag of water, or a bag of air, or just a bundle of light and energy. It's not metaphorical description, it's literally exactly how you feel, so light, soft, boneless, weightless.

Jhana in sitting meditation should feel like that too, eventually. 


Those are all jhana and jhana blockage baselines. If you put in many hours of jhana practice everyday, some of your main blockages may take years to go away and not seem to make any day to day progress, but you'll always notice, if you practice awareness and sensitivity, changes in other areas in the body that are getting less blocked, more comfortable, etc. 

On the mental jhana blockage baselines, notice how your memory, clarity of thinking, sharpness, quickness (for example spontaneous insights seems to occur much more frequently), how you more easily get a real and visceral sense of dukkha in existence, how you genuinely prefer the pleasures of seclusion, simplicity, and becoming disenchanted with socializing, 5 cords of sensual pleasure, etc.

Friday, May 28, 2021

The most important First Jhana baseline of all, the one you should be checking for progress every day


this article is part of a series: 🔗📚: collection of articles for an eventual book, "Jhāna Passaddhi Baselines"

Notice the title of sutta AN 6.73 : (hint: the title is not "access concentration")

73. Paṭhamata-j-jhāna-sutta
73. First jhāna (1st)
“Cha, bhikkhave, dhamme appahāya abhabbo paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharituṃ.
“monks, without giving up these [bad] dharmas you can’t enter and remain in the first jhāna.
Katame cha?
What six?
1. Desire for sensual pleasures,
2. ill will,
3. dullness and drowsiness,
4. restlessness and remorse,
5. doubt,
kāmesu kho panassa ādīnavo
6. And the drawbacks of sensual pleasures
na yathā-bhūtaṃ samma-p-paññāya su-diṭṭho hoti.
have not been {well-seen}, as-they-actually-are, (with) right-discernment.

#6 is The most important First Jhana baseline of all. Not the ability to be completely still, or free from any thoughts,  but the ability to see the first noble truth of dukkha to a certain degree.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

🔗📚: collection of articles for "Jhāna 🌊Passaddhi Baselines "

 Link to this article: 🔗📚: collection of articles for an eventual book, "Jhāna Passaddhi Baselines"

articles in this series:

(read intro and remainder of this article first before following the linked series)

The most important First Jhana baseline of all, the one you should be checking for progress every day

what does energy blockage feel like? many concrete examples


Read this sutta. The whole book is essentially a long commentary with detailed ideas on how to put it into your practice, moment by moment, activity by activity.

● SN 47.8 - 🔗🔊 9m, sūda: 👩‍🍳 🍳 The cook:
simile of cook: how to use 4sp🐘 (learning the sign (nimitta))to take you into jhanas. Obtaining pleasant abiding here and now is a code phrase for the first 3 jhānas (AN 6.29), or all 4 jhānas (AN 4.41).

Passaddhi = pacification, relaxation, the same as "fang song" ("release tension") that taiji quan teachers tell students for decades. Most of them think they're relaxed, but they're not relaxed enough.

It's the same thing with jhana meditation. Students ask the teacher, how come I don't have jhana? The short answer is you don't know how to relax and maintain the relaxation (passadhi sambojjhanga awakening factor, deep pacification of body and mind). 

The student says, "But I am relaxed. I've been doing it for over 10 years."

The teacher says, "if you were relaxed, you'd have jhana and taiji skill."

People think the teachers must be withholding some deep secret, something they're not telling the public. 

There's no secret. Just relax, and maintain that relaxation, as much as possible, all the time. Sitting still with eyes closed, standing still, standing with eyes open, walking, exercising, you'll find you can maintain 30-70% of the passaddhi that you can in a sitting position if you put enough practice into it. 

Jhana is as easy as this:

squirrel passadhi demo: video of squirrel teaching jhana and passaddhi.

The trick is, it won't feel like jhana until you charge up the battery.

There are two things, that most taiji teachers and jhana meditation teachers don't explain clearly if at all. 

1. Everyone has an internal  jhana battery that powers the whole operation. Jhana is really easy, but if you don't spend enough time charging the battery with enough PIE (precious internal energy), there won't be enough heat to melt existing blockages, and not enough force to circulate internal energy pervasively, that causes the characteristic second jhana hydraulic sensation of orgasmic piti sukha juice permeating every cell of your body.

2. If you want to be a billiionaire, you have to save more money than you spend. If you want to charge up your jhana battery, you have to sacrifice coarse pleasures for higher sublime pleasures. Most people can't do this, i.e. they can't give up sex, drugs, rock and roll, under sleeping, all kinds of debauchery to drain their jhana battery. It doesn't have to be debauchery, if you spend too much time thinking deeply about dharma, that drains your jhana battery too. So if you want to charge up the jhana battery, it has to be genuine celibacy and noble silence most of the time. 

I discuss a lot of the issues here:

See Jhāna-constipation ⛜🌊 for comprehensive details.

If you make the commitment to jhana, and cure your constipation, then jhana is available on demand, and as easy as doing this: squirrel passadhi demo

Jhāna 🌊Passaddhi Baselines

So now we get to the main idea for the book.

SN 47.8 says, if you practice 4sp correctly, you will remove 5 hindrances (upa kilesa is a synonym for nivarana), obtain samadhi and pleasant abiding (sukha vihara, a code phrase that the samadhi is 4 jhanas quality). 

A skillful cook will lucidly discern and remember what he did to line up the causes and conditions for that 4sp practice to result in jhana. Those are the samadhi nimitta (signs) that he remembers. 

A foolish cook doesn't pay careful attention, doesn't remember and doesn't notice exactly what causes and conditions  he used to produce 4sp that resulted in 4 jhanas, or what he did to fail to produce jhana, and fail to remove 5 hindrances. 

So it's not just the nimittas for successful jhana samadhi that the meditator has to remember, it's also remembering all relevant things, what worked, what didn't work, and figuring out why.

So I'm calling these markers and reference points for success and failure baselines:


1. a minimum or starting point used for comparisons.

Keep a journal

Even if you have a great memory, it's a great idea to keep a detailed journal and track all of these baselines.

A big secret to success that most people don't know

 Jhāna-constipation ⛜🌊  phase can take a long time. Months, years, 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, and it's a relative term. What constipation blocked you from first jhana might only take a few months, but 2nd jhana might take years, etc. 

Most people lose faith and give up, because jhana constipation can feel like it's permanent, that nothing is changing day to day. 

Here's the big secret: things are always changing, and if you learn to notice that, you'll never feel like your practice is stuck and going nowhere. Your body condition is constantly changing, the force and heat built up from a charged up jhana battery are constantly working it's way and dissolving all blockages in the body. It's just that  your lucidity and body sensitivity have probably not been trained  to be subtle enough to notice it. If you invest the time and energy to develop the subtle body awareness, then whatever level of attaining jhana you're in, overcoming 5 hindrances, entering first jhana, etc., you'll be able to notice improvement, regression, changes daily, even within the day. 

It certainly doesn't help when many Theravada lineages teach meditation methods that, instead of teaching subtle whole body awareness, they teach brute force samatha techniques of being one pointedly focused at the nostril, and ignoring pain and whatever is going on everywhere else in the body. This is not what the Buddha taught in the suttas. Brute force samatha methods may produce some desirable results for certain stages, for example if someone is just overrun with distracted thoughts, one pointed nostril attention may be useful. But as MN 20 states, this kind of mind crushing mind brutality, is the 5th and last option, for when the previous 4 more desirable solutions are failing.  And this 5th method is meant is just a short term stop gap measure to prevent worse outcomes (for example stopping thoughts in your mind that would want to commit a crime), not as a normal long term operating procedure. 


repeat: The big secret is,

repeat: The big secret is, if you practice step 3 and step 4 of breath meditation correctly, becoming very soft in mind and body, subtle in awareness of every cell in your body, and how to calm the co-activities of the body (breath, posture, etc.), even if jhana constipation lasts months or years, if you track your baselines you'll see improvements and changes every day, and even within the day. 

Some personal examples so you get a clear idea:

The first major blockage I had, was this intense lower backpain

The first major blockage I had, was this intense lower backpain that was contained in a tiny area, let's say for simplicity a 1 inch diameter sphere. The pain would only flare up when I meditate, when I didn't meditate, no pain. It was extremely mystifying, and western medical doctors would be baffled, I wouldn't even try to ask them. They would  probably say it was my imagination. 

Now in hindsight, 30+ years later, with most of my energetic blockages dissolved (any blockages that would prevent a decent experience of the four jhanas), I can tell you that even at this beginning of my meditation journey, I was already doing jhana. The thing is, intense lower back pain doesn't feel like jhana, it feels horrible and you makes you want to stop meditating. 

Do you understand the point? Jhana is super easy to do, but it's not going to feel like jhana until you clear up jhana constipation blockages. 

Luckily, I had strong will, desire, and probably collective past life instincts to know that samadhi and jhana was worth fighting for, and to stick it out and fight it. But it really would have helped if someone knowlegable and experienced would have explained to me I was already doing jhana correctly, I would just need to keeping pressing on and the pain would pass. It wouldn't make the physical pain any less, but it would have gotten rid of 75% or more of any doubts about myself or whether I was practicing correctly. 

So I'm telling you now, jhana is super easy, but depending on your preexisting health conditions, sila, jhana constipation may be painful or require a long time to overcome. But the benefits of jhana are so worth it, more than you can imagine. 

This lower back knot lasted maybe 5 years? But back then I was meditating between 60-120 min. a day, and not every single day. If you have chronic pain, you try to ignore it, and it just becomes a normal part of you. I don't even know when the back pain disappeared, I just know that one day, I noticed it was completely gone, not even a trace of any soreness where it had resided for so many years. 


Chest constipation: Energy blockage that probably every meditator has to deal with 

There are all kinds of weird shaking, vibrations, ants crawling on your face sensation, leg pain, hip pain, knee pain, forces, winds, heat moving through loops of energy channels and trying to dissolve their way through, and we could fill books with the various kinds of experiences people have. 

The chest constipation is probably universal, so it's worth spending some time on this one.

I'm going to talk about a 10 year period where I transitioned from having no jhana, to having some first and second jhana, and what the chest blockage felt like so you can get an idea of what many people go through.

For the first 5 years of the period, I was doing a lot of volunteer Dhamma work, so my meditation was inconsistent not by choice. If I could, I would have meditated 10 hours a day, but Dhamma work meant that instead of charging my jhana battery 10 hours a day, maybe I could only charge it for about 3 hours a day on average, and sometimes less if the Dhamma work was intense and using up my reserve energy. 

The second 5 years, I was meditating 6-10 hours a day, living a monastic lifestyle with much of the day in noble silence (no thinking and evaluation which drains the jhana battery, not just vocal silence).

First, what does energy blockage feel like? (many concrete examples)

The thing about blockages, is that if you weren't pay attention to them forming in the first place, and don't have reference points (jhana and passaddhi baselines) that you have a clear memory and comparison with, to you that just feels like normal, you probably don't even realize you have knots, blockages.

One more concept you should be familiar with, that's fundamental to describing the energy flow of first and second jhana. The microcosmic orbit needs to be open and flowing. 

Watch the first 45 seconds of video at the beginning of this article:

🔗Jhana constipation explained by Qigong Gorilla

In someone whose body isn't ready to do jhana, the microcosmic orbit, the two energy reservoirs are disconnected. Instead of PIE (precious internal energy, qi) flowing in that orbit as shown in the video, an ordinary person just draws on those first two energy channels as reservoirs of energy to perform thinking, seeing, hearing, moving the body, etc, and the flow of energy is often in the wrong direction.

Doing correct jhana practice does two things to open the microcosmic orbit:

1. Proper pacification/relaxation/passaddhi cultivates energy. Charging up the jhana battery, collecting qi, baking PIE.  

2. The force and heat generated by correct relaxation over time melts the blockages, and then when you have enough PIE, you can feel the current of energy circulating the microcosmic orbit like a surge of piti sukha juice.

In jhana constipation stage, where you're doing jhana practice correctly, but you haven't baked enough PIE (charged up the battery with enough juice), blockages in the microcosmic orbit will start to become obvious. The stronger the force, the more intense the reaction. My lower back pain for example. But when the ice (energy blockage) melts from the force and heat of the jhana, it likely will be more intense and obvious also.

In my case,  sometime during the first 5 years of the 10 year period I'm covering, my chest felt like a block of ice, literally, except it wasn't painfully cold like a real block of ice, probably just slightly cold, but felt like a big mass that was obstructing flow of the microcosmic orbit.

For many years, it didn't really feel like the blockage was getting any smaller or feeling any smoother.

But probably around the time I started spending a lot more time meditating, I finally had a major breakthrough. It felt like a very thin thread of water was going from my mouth and throat area and flowing into my stomach. Felt kind of like if you had one drop of sweat on your chest, it slowly crawled down to your stomach. Or if you take a tiny sip of water the sensation of it flowing down into your stomach. You might be asking, how do I know it wasn't either of those two? 

Because when you swallow saliva, or water, you know it. There are muscle contractions, and if you have tight energy channels and blockages in the mouth throat area, which most people do prior to first jhana, swallowing saliva can be pretty loud. When sweat drips, gravity and friction on the skin also governs the speed of it such that it has a distinct sensation. And after sweat drops, there's an after effect itch of skin where it passed through. 

The energy channel opening up was not neither of those two options. Felt similar to both in some respects, but energetically felt different. It had a different velocity and pathway. Felt below the skin, but not saliva or fluid. It was like the block of ice in my chest had a tiny hole and pathway drilled to connect my mouth to my stomach. 

It wasn't a continuous thread of flow, it wasn't just one drop of qi going down either, but the sensation lasted just a few seconds. 

After this very distinct incident, I didn't immediately feel a current loop of energy flowing continuously around the microcosmic orbit, but it marked a point where in hindsight I could say this was the day the microcosmic orbit was open for business. 

With continuous years of meditating 6-10 hours a day, after this point I could not always tell day to day, but probably months at a time where I could feel the block of ice was shrinking, and a distinct sensation of current flow became discernible. When you get a pleasant buzz that's affecting 20% of the cells of your body, you don't know if it's jhana, but you're pretty sure you're heading in the right direction.

In hindsight, I can definitely say that was jhana, just as even when I had that intense lower back pain at the beginning of my meditation journey,  that also was genuine correct practice of jhana, just that the jhana was constipated. 

Take heed! I'm giving you an incredibly valuable piece of information I wish I had back then. If knew what I know now back when I started? I had the intense lower back pain blockage in my early 20's, was meditating at most 1-2 hours a day. If I knew the secret that I know now, that I was practicing correct jhana all along and just needed to put in the time? I would have made it a priority to  meditate 6-10 hours a day right at the beginning of the long journey, knowing the pain would pass. Instead of taking several years to fix that first back pain blockage, I would guess I could pass it in a few months, and instead of taking 10-15 years before getting a full blown first and second jhana experience, it probably would have taken 1-2 years at the most. 

Unfortunately we in modern times have  all been groomed by Vism. and LBT (late buddhist teachings) with their redefined jhana propaganda to some extent, so we lack the correct information and confidence to pursue meditation with complete dedication free from doubts. Doubts cause tension, tension blocks correct jhana relaxation, so blockages won't melt very quickly and PIE won't bake on time, jhana battery will be slow to charge.

back to the chest blockage

As I said earlier, after the chest blockage finally opened up, it's not like right in that very moment the angels started singing and 90% of my body was flooded with piti sukha juice just like the jhana similes in AN 5.28. At least it wasn't in my case, mine took several more years. Everyone is different, has different health issues etc., so for some people it will be faster and more dramatic, especially if they fully commit to correct jhana practice in the prime of youth. 

But one great benefit for all of mankind from my slow jhana progress, was that I could chart the progress and see things develop distinctly and clearly, personally validating exactly what many of the great meditation masters of the past described. 

So gradually what was a huge block of ice in my chest became smaller over time.

Also, instead of being one solid block of ice, it started to become several chunks of ice.

Then instead of being a bag of ice cubes, it became a bag of part ice cubes and part snow.

Then just a bag of snow.

In the bag of snow blocking my chest stage, for example once I start meditating, my chest would still feel somewhat blocked and congested, but after 20-30 minutes the snow would melt and the energy was flowing  mostly freely, though the passage was still somewhat congested compared to parts of the body that were more completely penetrated by jhana sukha. 

After a few more years, it would just take a few minutes for the snow to melt.

After a  few more years, no more snow. The instant I turn on jhana, my body just expands like a balloon with no congested feeling in the chest. 

During the many stages I just described, the force and area of the current of flow gradually started to expand. It was like before jhana, it felt like rush hour traffic that comes to a standstill, and occasionally moving as fast as someone walking or casually biking. But after you open up the microcosmic orbit, it's like you discover the car pool autobahn lane that has no traffic and no speed limit. Then the more you meditate, the regular roads all get replaced by car pool autobahn lanes, and they just keep adding more lanes and you keep adding more cars and drivers to follow you on the microcosmic orbit highway.

Also instead of just the belly area feeling like a buzzing beehive sometimes, your entire torso and chest start to connect and you feel like every cell in your torso, and the enntire body will feel like magnetic gooey force that keeps growing and adding more layers the more you meditate.   

conclusion of chest blockage section:

If you just compare day to day, it's hard to see change in major blockages. But if you're meditating 4+ hours a day, you're more likely to notice day to day change, but certainly over a longer term. 


Is Jhana hard or easy?

What Vism. and Ajahn Brahm teach, a redefinition of jhana that contradicts the suttas, is definitely difficult. Vism. estimates maybe one in a million earnest and super diligent meditators can accomplish appana samadhi of just the first jhana. 

What about a correct jhana definition following the suttas?

Some teachers say it's hard. They're not wrong, but hard and easy is relative, so you have to examine the details of what they say and try it out yourself.

I would say, jhana is very easy and natural to do (if you practice correctly and ignore the wrong jhana propagandas out there), but that it requires a deep commitment in time and energy before you can do what feels like the jhanas described in AN 5.28. 

Depending on your ability to keep pure sila and preexisting health conditions, it can be as short as a few weeks, or many years. 

If you still want to say correct jhana is hard, what's really hard is whether you realize the noble truth of dukkha to the extent that you see the 5 cords of sensual pleasure (such as sex, drugs, rock and roll, feasting and socializing with friends talking about nonsense)  are a counterfeit happiness, and that the pleasure of seclusion from those coarse sensual pleasures is free from that danger, and is true pleasure.  

Note that even samatha kung fu experts who can do Vism. redefinition of fourth jhana, often fail the test in the above paragraph for a genuine first jhana. That is, when they're not in a frozen stupor trance of appana samadhi, they're still inclined and tempted as much as an ordinary person by the 5 cords of sensual pleasure.  

Real Jhana is easy, however Jhāna-constipation ⛜🌊 requires intestinal fortitude and commitment to unblock. 

Don't believe Vism.  and Ajahn Brahm redefinition of jhana, 

and  Have no excuses.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

STED 8 vimokkha, SP-FLUENT frankk translation, also hello VRJ🐍 and Jabrama🤡-jhana

 part of a series: 🔗8 vimokkha: collection of research articles 

SP fluent means I spell out some of the implications from the terse formula, pulling in information from related suttas. The result, is a sutta that you could actually follow plain English meditation instructions and not be completely baffled by code language with inscrutable meaning. 

Also very fascinating to note that VRJ🐍 (V)isuddhi-magga (Re)-definition of (J)hana and Jabrama🤡-jhana would fall under the second liberation. In other words, if they wanted to, they could have legally fit their meditation system into the EBT, without redefining important basic words like "body" and "thinking", and destroying the coherence of jhana and the suttas in general. 

So the question you should be asking VRJ and Ajahn Brahm followers, if their redefinition of "jhana" is supposed to fall under vimokkha liberation #1, then what is internal rupa and external rupa exactly, and what is liberation #2 supposed to be, if  their "jhana" is already liberation #1? The only kind of answer you'll get from them is gibberish and incoherence, yet they'll stubbornly cling to it and insist it makes sense even though their redefinitions of rupa and kaya render not only the EBT suttas incoherent, but their own Abhidhamma as well!

STED 8 vimokkha, SP-FLUENT frankk translation


(translated by frankk‍‍, SP-FLUENT abridged)

There are eight liberations. What are they?

1) from a samadhi where the mind can perceive the 5 senses, the meditator sees form internally and externally, his own body and external objects.

This is the first liberation.

[the four jhanas fall under this first liberation, but most likely only the imperturbable version of 4th jhana with strong luminosity and ability to see internal body organs and their colors as in the 8 abhi-bh-āyatana.]

2) from a samadhi where the mind is no longer connected to the 5 senses of the body, the meditator can not see his own body and internal organs, but he can see external forms and their colors.

This is the second liberation.

[strictly speaking, the four jhanas are not included in the second liberation, since one is in a formless attainment where one can not perceive the body, but it’s by means of an imperturbable fourth jhana that one can attain this formless samadhi of the second liberation.]

3) They’re focused only on beauty [from doing the four brahma viharas, divine abidings].

[directing their minds and pervading in 8 directions as in the standard 4bv☮️ formula].

[According to SN 46.54 beauty refers only to metta, friendly kindness meditation, and not the three remaining brahmavihara divine abidings, which would occur within in the next 3 liberations. However, KN Ps 1.5 explains beauty as all four divine abidings under this third liberation. When in doubt, the more versatile interpretation is preferred. ]

[The other question is whether the brahma viharas can be done from four jhanas, or must be done for the third liberation from a formless samadhi. According to SN 46.54 the latter 3 brahma viharas are done while in formless attainments, and if we are to assume the 3rd liberation starts with the second liberation as prerequisite, then they would be correct. However, KN Ps 1.5 does not impose that restriction, so one could be doing 4bv from four jhanas, as described in AN 8.63 which is closely associated with AN 8.66, the definitive source on 8 vimokkha definition].

This is the third liberation.

4) Going totally beyond perceptions of form, with the ending of perceptions of impingement, not focusing on perceptions of diversity, aware that ‘space is infinite’, they enter and remain in the dimension of infinite space.

This is the fourth liberation.

5) Going totally beyond the dimension of infinite space, aware that ‘consciousness is infinite’, they enter and remain in the dimension of infinite consciousness.

This is the fifth liberation.

6) Going totally beyond the dimension of infinite consciousness, aware that ‘there is nothing at all’, they enter and remain in the dimension of nothingness.

This is the sixth liberation.

7) Going totally beyond the dimension of nothingness, they enter and remain in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.

This is the seventh liberation.

8) Going totally beyond the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, they enter and remain in the cessation of perception and feeling.

This is the eighth liberation.

And that concludes the exposition of the eight liberations.

Monday, May 24, 2021

🔗📚: collection of studies on 5uk: pañc-upādānak-khandhā


4👑☸ → STED → 5uk 

External articles

MN 18 must vedana precede sañña?

12ps dependent origination question: why phassa is meeting of three, not just "when eye contacts visible object, eye-consciousness arises"

dhammawheel: (useful tips from assaji)

 Vedana as sense impression

🔗📚: collection of studies on 4bv☮️ brahma-vihara


4👑☸ → EBpedia📚 → 4bv☮️ 

4bv☮️: brahma-vihāra: 4 divine-dwellings.

External articles

4bv☮️ Bank🏦: Bank of Brahma viharas - inspiring stories, videos to power your practice of metta and 4bv :

Also ignites your pīti pamojja (mental joy, rapture, rejoicing in skillful Dharmas) to power your jhāna.

🔗📝 collection of notes on 'mudita' (rejoicing in skillful Dharmas)


Metta sutta Snp1.8 

Muditā as part of 4bv brahma vihara: Is it different than pamojja and piti?


Re: Piti and pamojja

Post by frank k » 

I looked through the first 4 nikayas searching for 'mudit'.
I can not find anything supporting muditaa as a brahmavihara being "sympathy for others' welfare" with a different meaning than mudita (modati and pamojja).
Most places where muditaa as a bv is cited, is just stating the standard 4bv formula, or mentioning a list of the 4. The only places I could find some meaning is a couple of passages like MN 62,
purpose of 4 brahma-viharas
“mettaṃ, rāhula, bhāvanaṃ bhāvehi.
"good-will, ******, meditation; meditate (with that).
mettañhi te, rāhula, bhāvanaṃ bhāvayato
(when you) {meditate with} {good-will} meditation,
yo byāpādo so pahīyissati.
one's ill-will ** will-be-abandoned.
karuṇaṃ, rāhula, bhāvanaṃ bhāvehi.
"compassion, ******, meditation; meditate (with that).
karuṇañhi te, rāhula, bhāvanaṃ bhāvayato
(when you) {meditate with} {compassion} meditation,
yā vihesā sā pahīyissati.
one's cruelty ** will-be-abandoned.
muditaṃ, rāhula, bhāvanaṃ bhāvehi.
"appreciation, ******, meditation; meditate (with that).
muditañhi te, rāhula, bhāvanaṃ bhāvayato
(when you) {meditate with} {appreciation} meditation,
yā arati sā pahīyissati.
one's resentment ** will-be-abandoned.

upekkhaṃ, rāhula, bhāvanaṃ bhāvehi.
"equanimity, ******, meditation; meditate (with that).
upekkhañhi te, rāhula, bhāvanaṃ bhāvayato
(when you) {meditate with} {equanimity} meditation,
yo paṭigho so pahīyissati.
one's irritation ** will-be-abandoned.
The opposite of the "resentment" arati, is relishing, delight, enjoyment:
I don't agree with 'resentment' as a translation for 'arati'. That comes from either B. Sujato or Thanissaro, and they were probably influenced by preconceived notions of what mudita as a bv is supposed to be. "arati" for example, is a nutriment for sloth and torpor, so I think "dissatisfaction" is a more general meaning and what fits better here.
The opposite of arati is rati:

Rati (f.) [Classic Sk. rati, fr. ram] love, attachment, pleasure, liking for (loc.), fondness of S i.133 (˚ṃ paccanubhavati), 207; iii.256;

Not "sympathy for others welfare".
The PED dictionary entry where muditaa has the different root than modati, looks like it's citing commentaries for its definition. And even so, a couple of the things in that entry seem to be referring to modati based meanings and not mudu (pliable).

Assaji wrote: Fri May 21, 2021 12:58 am
frank k wrote: Thu May 20, 2021 9:06 amWhen I have time I'll do a DPR search for muditaa and see what I can find. What exact search patterns should I use to turn up muditaa and not mudita?
Endings won't suffice, so I would propose "mettāṃ*+muditāṃ*", "muditāsahagat*", muditācetovimutti.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Ek'agga 🔗📚: collection of studies on related terms

4👑☸ → EBpedia📚 →

Ek'agga, ekaggata: single-preoccupation;
Ekodi, ekodi-bhavā: transcended into singularity
ek[ī/i]-bhāva, ekī-bhavati: see related terms under Ek'agga
ekatta: solitude. see related terms under Ek'agga

External resources

summary of all occurrences in first 4 pali nikayas

Catalogue of Ekagga/Ekaggata Usages 

summary of all occurrences in first 4 pali nikayas

Catalogue of Ekodi Usages

"singular focus" = ekaggata, ekagga, is a universal skill, not just a buddhist thing.

Friday, May 21, 2021

☸🦍 fun with Pāḷi: A.B.H.I.J.jhā = Always Be Happy In Jhana

Other translators render abhijjha as "greed" or "covetousness".

I go with 'avarice' (violating my rule of using simple plain English as much as possible), because there are many pali words for 'greed', but abhijja and avarice both start with letter 'a' so it makes it easier to remember that connection. 

Definition of avarice

: excessive or insatiable desire for wealth or gain : GREEDINESS, CUPIDITY 

STED 4sp (famous Sati-'paṭṭhāna formula)

kāye kāyā-(a)nu-passī viharati
Body-as-body – continuous-seeing (he) abides-in,
ātāpī sampajāno satimā,
(he is) ardent 🏹, (a) lucid-discerner 👁, (a) rememberer 🐘,
vineyya loke abhijjhā-do-manassaṃ;
vanquishing worldly avarice-(and)-distressed-mental-states.
vedanāsu vedanā-(a)nu-passī viharati
Experienced-sensations-(as)-experienced-sensations – continuous-seeing (he) abides-in
ātāpī sampajāno satimā,
(he is) ardent 🏹, (a) lucid-discerner 👁, (a) rememberer 🐘,
vineyya loke abhijjhā-do-manassaṃ;
vanquishing worldly avarice-(and)-distressed-mental-states.
citte cittā-(a)nu-passī viharati
Mind-as mind – continuous-seeing (he) abides-in,
ātāpī sampajāno satimā,
(he is) ardent 🏹, (a) lucid-discerner 👁, (a) rememberer 🐘,
vineyya loke abhijjhā-do-manassaṃ;
vanquishing worldly avarice-(and)-distressed-mental-states.
dhammesu dhammā-(a)nu-passī viharati
☸Dhamma-[teachings]-as-☸Dhamma – continuous-seeing (he) abides-in,
ātāpī sampajāno satimā,
(he is) ardent 🏹, (a) lucid-discerner 👁, (a) rememberer 🐘,
vineyya loke abhijjhā-do-manassaṃ;
vanquishing worldly avarice-(and)-distressed-mental-states.

This code phrase in 4sp means abandon the 5 cords of sensual pleasure and the 5 hindrances

vineyya loke abhijjhā-do-manassaṃ;
vanquishing worldly avarice-(and)-distressed-mental-states.

So when you do the 4sp correctly, it puts you right at the doorway of the 4 jhanas. 

🚫💑 vivicc’eva kāmehi
🚫💑 Quite-withdrawn (from) sensuality,
🚫😠 vivicca a-kusalehi dhammehi
🚫😠 withdrawn (from) un-skillful Dhamma [teachings & qualities],
(V&V💭) sa-vitakkaṃ sa-vicāraṃ
(V&V💭) With-directed-thought, with-evaluation,
😁🙂 viveka-jaṃ pīti-sukhaṃ
😁🙂 withdrawal-born rapture-&-pleasure,
🌘 paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati.
🌘 first Jhāna (he) enters, dwells.

☸🦍 fun with Pāḷi: A.B.H.I.J.jhā = Always Be Happy In Jhana

So putting all that information together, that fun acronym helps you remember that abandoning avarice (abhijjha), leads you right into the jhanas.

Doing 4sp correctly, lands you right at the doorway of first jhana and beyond. 

Also, Always be happy in jhana means not just sitting meditation with eyes closed, but in every single posture, in any activity, you can keep at least a partial jhana fired up. 

A.B.H.I.J.jhā = Always Be Happy In Jhana

Thursday, May 20, 2021

With vitakka, but WITHOUT vicāra: samādhi in 3 ways, the 4th type of samādhi they don't talk about but is used often in oral tradition

 part of a series:  🔗collection of articles on oral tradition

Prime example:

Say you spend 20 min. every morning reciting important sutta passages.

Cetana = volition, intention, you issue an intention to recollect a particular sutta passage

sati = memory, remembering, recollecting that sutta passage

vitakka = is a superficial discursive thinking of the sutta passage you are recollecting, you think about it to the extent that you know the words you're recollecting are accurate or not according to sati's memory of it, or whether the words you recollect seem fuzzy and you're not sure if you misspelled or mis-remembered some parts.

vicāra = evaluation, pondering, exploration of the contents of the linked vitakka that directed your thoughts to a particular part of a memorized sutta passage.  Vicara is part of Dhamma-vicaya-sambjojjhanga awakening factor, it's evaluating the vitakka dhamma you recollected and determining it's meaning, considering whether that Dharma is accurately remembered, properly understood, whether it's true Dharma or corrupted Dharma. 

In the samādhi in 3 ways  (which map into 4 jhanas),  they have:

1. with both vitakka and vicara: Your superficially thinking about the sutta passage memorized, and your deeply thinking about its meaning.

2. without vitakka and some vicara: an example would be out of 4 satipatthana, you've isolated on just a small section of citta anupassana and pondering that part of 4sp. 

3. without vitakka and without vicara: You're in a samadhi where you're no longer using verbalized thinking that contains linguistic constructs, only subverbal attention (manasi karoti) to citta sankhara (feelings and perceptions for example). For example, you could perceive and know (pajānāti) whether you're in 3rd jhana or not without having to verbalize unspoken thoughts (vitakka) of, "Am I in third jhana?"

4. The fourth way to permutate V&V, is having vitakka but without vicara

The suttas don't talk about this, but in an oral tradition, you would use this quite often when you are in the process of memorizing a passage.

How do you memorize? You verbally recite, or mentally recite the passage in the form of sati (memory) containing vitakka (verbal thoughts of the words in the sutta).

And as you're reciting what you are memorizing, vitakka is thinking about what you're reciting to the extent that you know if you're reciting correctly or not (mispelling, mispronunciation, jumbled or incorrect memory, possible missing section, etc.). 

But you're not doing 'vicara', not evaluating the meaning of the passage.

Right way of using the 4th type of "samadhi in 3 ways"

In other sutta passage, the Buddha refers to the act of memorizing and reciting suttas as a samadhi practice. It's is a fundamental feature of an oral tradition, practiced in those cultures that use it, not just in Buddhism.

So this 4th type of samadhi is what you use when you are properly memorizing suttas.

People who memorize wrongly, is a sign of low quality samadhi.

WRONG way of using the 4th type of "samadhi in 3 ways"

Unfortunately, this happens a lot in the modern world.

People chant suttas in pali, and think about and understand to the extent that they're reciting accurately (superficial vitakka thinking), but they have no idea about the meaning of what they're reciting (lack of vicara and dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhanga).

Not just in buddhism, but in many religions.

People chant things in Latin, other foreign or archaic languages like a magic mantra and have no idea what they're saying. 

It's not completely useless, but it's a tragic underutilization of your time.

If you've already taken the trouble to memorize valuable teachings, and are spending time reciting it everyday, you might as well benefit fully. While you recite, evaluate and deepen your understanding each time you recite it (vicara  & dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhanga) .

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

MN 102 supports (AVS) Aviparitaka Sutra over SN 48.40

(this article is part of a series: SN 48.40 🔗de-corrupting and reconstructing ) 

I highlight in yellow the parts that contradict a straightforward interpretation based on EBT standard jhana formula, 7sb awakening factor formula (piti is somanassa, sukha is bodily sukha indriya following passadhi). 

And then I compare with an excerpt from MN 102

MN 102 supports (AVS) Aviparitaka Sutra over Theravada  SN 48.40

(pavivekaṃ pītiṃ / seclusion rapture → a code phrase for 1st and 2nd jhana)
(nirāmisaṃ sukhaṃ / spiritual pleasure → a code phrase for 3rd jhana)
(a-dukkham-a-sukham vedana → a code phrase for 4th jhana)

First, note that the Te commentary agrees these code phrases are referring to specific jhanas:

pavivekaṃ pītinti sa-p-pītika-j-jhāna-dvaya-pītiṃ.
There's a direct connection, piti involves 1st and 2nd jhana:
nirāmisaṃ sukhanti tatiya-j-jhāna-sukhaṃ.
As for sukha, it is not of the flesh in the third jhana:

Idha, bhikkhave, ekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā pubbantānudiṭṭhīnañca paṭinissaggā, aparantānudiṭṭhīnañca paṭinissaggā, sabbaso kāmasaṃyojanānaṃ anadhiṭṭhānā, pavivekaṃ pītiṃ upasampajja viharati:
Now, some ascetics and brahmins, letting go of theories about the past and the future, shedding the fetters of sensuality, enter and remain in the rapture of seclusion:
‘etaṃ santaṃ etaṃ paṇītaṃ yadidaṃ pavivekaṃ pītiṃ upasampajja viharāmī’ti.
‘This is peaceful, this is sublime, that is, entering and remaining in the rapture of seclusion.’
Tassa sā pavivekā pīti nirujjhati.
But that rapture of seclusion of theirs ceases.
Pavivekāya pītiyā nirodhā uppajjati domanassaṃ, domanassassa nirodhā uppajjati pavivekā pīti.
When the rapture of seclusion ceases, sadness arises; and when sadness ceases, the rapture of seclusion arises.
Seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, yaṃ chāyā jahati taṃ ātapo pharati, yaṃ ātapo jahati taṃ chāyā pharati;
It’s like how the sunlight fills the space when the shadow leaves, or the shadow fills the space when the sunshine leaves.
evameva kho, bhikkhave, pavivekāya pītiyā nirodhā uppajjati domanassaṃ, domanassassa nirodhā uppajjati pavivekā pīti.
In the same way, when the rapture of seclusion ceases, sadness arises; and when sadness ceases, the rapture of seclusion arises.

The highlighted part is showing meditator bouncing between being knocked out of first and second jhana, and getting back in those first two jhanas. Similarly, for 3rd and 4th jhana:

Idha pana, bhikkhave, ekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā pubbantānudiṭṭhīnañca paṭinissaggā, aparantānudiṭṭhīnañca paṭinissaggā, sabbaso kāmasaṃyojanānaṃ anadhiṭṭhānā, pavivekāya pītiyā samatikkamā nirāmisaṃ sukhaṃ upasampajja viharati:
Now, some ascetics and brahmins, letting go of theories about the past and the future, shedding the fetters of sensuality, going beyond the rapture of seclusion, enter and remain in spiritual pleasure.
‘etaṃ santaṃ etaṃ paṇītaṃ yadidaṃ nirāmisaṃ sukhaṃ upasampajja viharāmī’ti.
‘This is peaceful, this is sublime, that is, entering and remaining in spiritual pleasure.’
Tassa taṃ nirāmisaṃ sukhaṃ nirujjhati.
But that spiritual pleasure of theirs ceases.
Nirāmisassa sukhassa nirodhā uppajjati pavivekā pīti, pavivekāya pītiyā nirodhā uppajjati nirāmisaṃ sukhaṃ.
When spiritual pleasure ceases, the rapture of seclusion arises; and when the rapture of seclusion ceases, spiritual pleasure arises.

(bouncing between 3rd jhana, and the first two jhanas)

Idha pana, bhikkhave, ekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā pubbantānudiṭṭhīnañca paṭinissaggā, aparantānudiṭṭhīnañca paṭinissaggā, sabbaso kāmasaṃyojanānaṃ anadhiṭṭhānā, pavivekāya pītiyā samatikkamā, nirāmisassa sukhassa samatikkamā, adukkhamasukhaṃ vedanaṃ upasampajja viharati:
Now, some ascetics and brahmins, letting go of theories about the past and the future, shedding the fetters of sensuality, going beyond the rapture of seclusion and spiritual pleasure, enter and remain in neutral feeling.
‘etaṃ santaṃ etaṃ paṇītaṃ yadidaṃ adukkhamasukhaṃ vedanaṃ upasampajja viharāmī’ti.
‘This is peaceful, this is sublime, that is, entering and remaining in neutral feeling.’
Tassa sā adukkhamasukhā vedanā nirujjhati.
Then that neutral feeling ceases.
Adukkhamasukhāya vedanāya nirodhā uppajjati nirāmisaṃ sukhaṃ, nirāmisassa sukhassa nirodhā uppajjati adukkhamasukhā vedanā.
When neutral feeling ceases, spiritual pleasure arises; and when spiritual pleasure ceases, neutral feelings arises.

(bouncing between 4th and 3rd jhana)

Does nira-misa sukha of 3rd jhana tell us about which indriya ceases in 4th jhana?

Not explicitly, not enough information within MN 102 to determine for sure.
nira misa sukha is a sukha vedana, and we know from SN 48.37 that sukha vedana contains both sukha-indriya (physical) and somanassa-indriya (mental). 

If you make the assumption, which many people do, that the Buddha in the 4th jhana is dealing a deck with 5 cards only, then the viveka-piti would have to be somanassa-indriya, and that means the nira misa sukha of 3rd jhana must be the sukha-indriya.

There are those who believe there's are a few extra surprise guest cards that get pulled into the Buddha's jhana deck, with a new somanassa appearing out of nowhere (based on KN Pe 7.72) and, rather than being the Piti-somanassa, it's a sukha-somanassa.  


1. It's clear that domanassa in MN 102 cannot be part of the first two jhanas, so the AVS aviparitaka sutra is consistent with this, and SN 48.40 is not (since it has domanassa indriya dropping out in 2nd jhana). 

2. If you make the assumption the Buddha has revealed his full deck of 5 indriya cards in 4th jhana, then we can deduce that piti must be somanassa, sukha must be sukha-indriya (physical), and upekkha-indriya is both mental and physical referring to fourth jhana. 

In this case, AVS is a perfect match again, sukha-indriya dropping out in 4th jhana, somanassa-indriya dropping out in 3rd jhana  (as the piti that gets viraga'd).

3. If you believe the Buddha is slipping in some extra cards into the original deck of 5, then MN 102 does not provide enough information to deduce which is sukha-indriya.