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Infinite space and all that.... - Dhamma Wheel

Infinite space and all that....

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Spiny Norman
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Infinite space and all that....

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:12 am

Has anyone had any practical experience of the bases of infinite space, infinite consciousness, nothingness and perception-nor-non-perception? Is it about taking these as meditation objects, and if so what is involved?
Thanks.

P
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

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Goofaholix
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Re: Infinite space and all that....

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:06 pm


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SDC
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Re: Infinite space and all that....

Postby SDC » Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:14 pm

To anyone on this planet, let alone on this forum, who has attained these levels... :bow: :bow: :bow:

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mikenz66
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Re: Infinite space and all that....

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:45 pm


upekkha
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Re: Infinite space and all that....

Postby upekkha » Sat Jun 12, 2010 12:59 am

Yes it's better to wait until after stream-entry to play with the jhanas (material and immaterial), the access is simply much easier afterwards, it's as if the mind is naturally drawn towards jhanas, and they come one after another naturally.

Goofaholix: Why do you think the immaterial jhanas are a mahayana subject?

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fig tree
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Re: Infinite space and all that....

Postby fig tree » Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:54 am


Kenshou
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Re: Infinite space and all that....

Postby Kenshou » Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:03 am


nathan
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Re: Infinite space and all that....

Postby nathan » Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:55 am

Last edited by nathan on Sat Jun 12, 2010 8:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

rowyourboat
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Re: Infinite space and all that....

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Jun 12, 2010 8:15 am

The practitioner needs to attain the form jhanas first to get to the formless (at least initially). Through 1 to 4 form jhanas there is an increase in one-pointedness of the mind which needs to be developed. However in the formless jhanas the one-pointedness level is as the same as in the fourth form jhana (there is no gradual increase). So unless a person can tap into this level of unification of mind it is unlikely they are going into formless jhana. So IMO practice of form jhanas (which is difficult enough) must be performed before formless jhanas are attempted. It makes sense to get to the fourth jhana and then try for the 5th (ie -formless) jhana.

There is a main experiential difference between the form and formless jhanas. The one-pointedness of mind in the form jhanas are inward directed. In the formless jhanas it is out ward directed (Hence descriptions such as infinite space, consciousness etc). While these can be used as objects (using the 4th jhana as a base) it maybe easier to intentionally focus on the breath (which you can do) and this will take you to the 5th jhana, and so on for the higher jhana.

I find that one of the main advantages of formless jhana is understanding that increasingly higher levels of peacefulness is what we are searching for in the path. At the 8th jhana there is still some arising and passing away- hence there is unsatisfactoriness even in that. By seeing arising and passing away constantly (hours,days- when doing vipassana) we become able to let go of even that little bit of phenomena- hence reaching a perfect peace of nibbaana. It is said in the suttas that even the first jhana is enough to become an arahanth. There is probably no extra advantage in going beyond the fourth jhana in terms of it helping the mind through samadhi/suppression of hindrances.

Another thing that comes to mind is that mastery of the rupa jhanas has been praised by the Buddha.

with metta

RYB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

nathan
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Re: Infinite space and all that....

Postby nathan » Sat Jun 12, 2010 8:24 am

But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Spiny Norman
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Re: Infinite space and all that....

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:34 am

Thanks for your replies so far. My experience of the "basic" jhanas is still very limited but I was curious about the formless ones, having seen references to them in the suttas, where it does appear to be a progressive thing. I have a sense of the basic jhanas being about single-pointedness whereas the formless states are about expansiveness...sort of. :smile:

P
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

rowyourboat
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Re: Infinite space and all that....

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:31 am

Hi Nathan,
With the development of samadhi the mind progressively retreats from the senses (sense sphere) and becomes inwardly focused- as you say turned inwards towards the body. This is continued in the rupa jhana. However with the arising of arupa jhana the concentration turns outwards and is expanded outwards. The object is vast so the samadhi or mind is like the beam of a flashlight (spreading outwards) rather than like light coming through a magnifying glass (which is focused inwards to one point).

The inward turning nature of rupa samadhi is noticed (perhaps for the first time) when the nature of the arupa samadhi is noticed (the nature or character is different even though the strength of samadhi is the same). This noticing may not happen until one decided to actually focus on this aspect of the experience. Otherwise the experience is just of the arupa jhana.

The outward focused nature of the mind in arupa jhana is not intentional. It simply switches to that at a point on the 'jhana ladder'.

with metta

RYB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

nathan
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Re: Infinite space and all that....

Postby nathan » Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:00 pm

But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}


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