Supreme Buddha

Daily Dhamma. Meditation Techniques. Contentment. Compassion.  Wisdom. Awakening

Purifying and Preparing the Mind Through the Four Jhanas

 "So when I had taken solid food and regained strength, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, I entered & remained in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain. With the fading of rapture I remained equanimous, mindful, & alert, and sensed pleasure with the body. I entered & remained in the third jhana, of which the noble ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain. With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — I entered & remained in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain." (Maha-Saccaka Sutta)

Additional Details Found In Another Sutta On How the Buddha Struggled to Find His Way Back Into His Childhood First Jhana Experience.

The Upakkilesa Sutta further show how the Buddha struggled with numerous obstacles to penetrating the sign when he tried to find his way back into the first Jhanas experienced during childhood. He then built up the rest of the states from there,  which he later considered as “samma samadhi” :

" Before my enlightenment, while I was still only an unenlightened Bodhisatta, I too perceived both light and a vision of forms. Soon afterwards the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I thought: ‘What is the cause and condition why the light and the vision of forms have disappeared?’ Then I considered thus: ‘Doubt arose in me, and because of the doubt my concentration fell away; when my concentration fell away, the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I shall so act that doubt will not arise in me again.’

 “As, Anuruddha, I was abiding diligent, ardent, and resolute, I perceived both light and a vision of forms. Soon afterward the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I thought: ‘What is the cause and condition why the light and the vision of forms have disappeared?’ Then I considered thus: ‘Inattention arose in me, and because of inattention my concentration fell away; when my concentration fell away, the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I shall so act that neither doubt nor inattention will arise in me again.’

 “As, Anuruddha, I was abiding diligent…Soon afterward the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I thought: ‘What is the cause and condition why the light and the vision of forms have disappeared?’ Then I considered thus: ‘Sloth and torpor arose in me, and because of sloth and torpor my concentration fell away; when my concentration fell away, the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I shall so act that neither doubt nor inattention nor sloth and torpor will arise in me again.’

“As, Anuruddha, I was abiding diligent…Soon afterward the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I thought: ‘What is the cause and condition why the light and the vision of forms have disappeared?’ Then I considered thus: ‘Fear arose in me, and because of fear my concentration fell away; when my concentration fell away, the light and the vision of forms disappeared.’ Suppose a man set out on a journey and murderers leaped out on both sides of him; then fear would arise in him because of that. So too, fear arose in me…the light and the vision of forms disappeared. [I considered thus:] ‘I shall so act that neither doubt nor inattention nor sloth and torpor nor fear will arise in me again.’

 “As, Anuruddha, I was abiding diligent…Soon afterward the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I thought: ‘What is the cause and condition why the light and the vision of forms have disappeared?’ Then I considered thus: ‘Elation arose in me, and because of elation my concentration fell away; when my concentration fell away, the light and the vision of forms disappeared.’ Suppose a man seeking one entrance to a hidden treasure came all at once upon five entrances to a hidden treasure; then elation would arise in him because of that. So too, elation arose in me…the light and the vision of forms disappeared. [I considered thus:] ‘I shall so act that neither doubt nor inattention…nor fear nor elation will arise in me again.’

“As, Anuruddha, I was abiding diligent…Soon afterward the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I thought: ‘What is the cause and condition why the light and the vision of forms have disappeared?’ Then I considered thus: ‘Inertia arose in me, and because of inertia my concentration fell away; when my concentration fell away, the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I shall so act that neither doubt nor inattention…nor elation nor inertia will arise in me again.’

“As, Anuruddha, I was abiding diligent…Soon afterward the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I thought: ‘What is the cause and condition why the light and the vision of forms have disappeared?’ Then I considered thus: ‘Excess of energy arose in me, and because of excess of energy my concentration fell away; when my concentration fell away, the light and the vision of forms disappeared.’ Suppose a man were to grip a quail tightly with both hands; it would die then and there. So too, an excess of energy arose in me…the light and the vision of forms disappeared. [I considered thus:] ‘I shall so act that neither doubt nor inattention…nor inertia nor excess of energy will arise in me again.’

 “As, Anuruddha, I was abiding diligent…Soon afterward the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I thought: ‘What is the cause and condition why the light and the vision of forms have disappeared?’ Then I considered thus: ‘Deficiency of energy arose in me, and because of deficiency of energy my concentration fell away; when my concentration fell away, the light and the vision of forms disappeared.’ Suppose a man were to grip a quail loosely; it would fly out of his hands. So too, a deficiency of energy arose in me…the light and the vision of forms disappeared. [I considered thus:] ‘I shall so act that neither doubt nor inattention…nor excess of energy nor deficiency of energy will arise in me again.’

 “As, Anuruddha, I was abiding diligent…Soon afterward the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I thought: ‘What is the cause and condition why the light and the vision of forms have disappeared?’ Then I considered thus: ‘Longing arose in me, and because of that longing my concentration fell away; when my concentration fell away, the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I shall so act that neither doubt nor inattention…nor deficiency of energy nor longing will arise in me again.’

 “As, Anuruddha, I was abiding diligent…Soon afterward the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I thought: ‘What is the cause and condition why the light and the vision of forms have disappeared?’ Then I considered thus: ‘Perception of diversity arose in me, and because of perception of diversity my concentration fell away; when my concentration fell away, the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I shall so act that neither doubt nor inattention…nor longing nor perception of diversity will arise in me again.’

 “As, Anuruddha, I was abiding diligent…Soon afterward the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I thought: ‘What is the cause and condition why the light and the vision of forms have disappeared?’ Then I considered thus: ‘Excessive meditation upon forms arose in me, and because of excessive meditation upon forms my concentration fell away; when my concentration fell away, the light and the vision of forms disappeared. I shall so act that neither doubt nor inattention…nor perception of diversity nor excessive meditation upon forms will arise in me again.’

 “When, Anuruddha, I understood that doubt is an imperfection of the mind, I abandoned doubt, an imperfection of the mind. When I understood that inattention…sloth and torpor…fear…elation…inertia…excess of energy…deficiency of energy…longing…perception of diversity…excessive meditation upon forms is an imperfection of the mind, I abandoned excessive meditation upon forms, an imperfection of the mind.

“As, Anuruddha, I was abiding diligent, ardent, and resolute, I perceived light but I did not see forms; I saw forms but I did not perceive light, even for a whole night or a whole day or a whole day and night. I thought: ‘What is the cause and condition for this?’ Then I considered thus: ‘On the occasion when I do not attend to the sign of forms but attend to the sign of light, I then perceive light but do not see forms. On the occasion when I do not attend to the sign of light but attend to the sign of forms, I then see forms but do not perceive light, even for a whole night or a whole day or a whole day and night.’

 “As, Anuruddha, I was abiding diligent, ardent, and resolute, I perceived limited light and saw limited forms; I perceived immeasurable light and saw immeasurable forms, even for a whole night or a whole day or a whole day and night. I thought: ‘What is the cause and condition for this?’ Then I considered thus: ‘On the occasion when concentration is limited, my vision is limited, and with limited vision I perceive limited light and limited forms. But on the occasion when concentration is immeasurable, my vision is immeasurable, and with immeasurable vision I perceive immeasurable light and see immeasurable forms, even for a whole night or a whole day or a whole day and night.’

 “When, Anuruddha, I understood that doubt is an imperfection of the mind and had abandoned doubt, an imperfection of the mind; when I understood that inattention is an imperfection of the mind and had abandoned inattention…abandoned sloth and torpor…abandoned fear…abandoned elation…abandoned inertia…abandoned excess of energy…abandoned deficiency of energy…abandoned longing…abandoned perception of diversity…abandoned excessive meditation upon forms, an imperfection of the mind; then I thought: ‘I have abandoned those imperfections of the mind. Let me now develop concentration in three ways.’

 “Thereupon, Anuruddha, I developed concentration with applied thought and sustained thought; I developed concentration without applied thought but with sustained thought only; I developed concentration without applied thought and without sustained thought; I developed concentration with rapture; I developed concentration without rapture; I developed concentration accompanied by enjoyment; I developed concentration accompanied by equanimity. “When, Anuruddha, I had developed concentration with applied thought and sustained thought…when I had developed concentration accompanied by equanimity, the knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘My deliverance is unshakeable; this is my last birth; now there is no renewal of being.’”- MN 128 Upakkilesa Sutta

Note: A person who actually practice the two formless states should have no trouble entering Jhana 1 . However,  from his memory he was only aware that he is too physically depleted to slip into that state as he did when he was a child sitting in physical comfort. Other than that, if we look at the Upakkilesa Sutta which provides further details showing how the Buddha tried to get back into the state he experienced during his childhood, it was a struggle, he had to struggle with numerous obstacles. It was not the case that he remembers his childhood Jhana level 1 experience and then immediately know ‘Oh! that is a Level 1 Jhana, I ‘ve been doing that for so many times and even went many stages beyond that. I will simply enter that state now.’ There were much struggles to actually be able to find his way back into Jhana 1 experienced in childhood. We should not assume that the Buddha practice the form jhana as an adult when he himself never said that. He only mentioned Jhana 1 in childhood. The claim that he practice the form jhana as an adult is an assumption.

Awakening under the Bodhi Tree in Uruvela by the banks of the River Neranjara ( Bodh Gaya)

Arousing Wisdom : Directing the Mind Toward Past Lives Knowledge

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives. I recollected my manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two...five, ten...fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, many eons of cosmic contraction, many eons of cosmic expansion, many eons of cosmic contraction & expansion: 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus I remembered my manifold past lives in their modes & details.
"This was the first knowledge I attained in the first watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain. "
(Maha-Saccaka Sutta)

Arousing Wisdom: Directing the Mind Toward the Knowledge of Passing Away & Reappearance of Beings.


"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings. I saw — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: 'These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech, & mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech & mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.' Thus — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — I saw beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma.
"This was the second knowledge I attained in the second watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain.
"(Maha-Saccaka Sutta)

Arousing Wisdom: Knowledge and Vision of the Four Noble Truths


"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the ending of the taints. I discerned, as it was actually present, that 'This is dukkha... This is the origination of dukkha... This is the cessation of dukkha... This is the way leading to the cessation of dukkha ...( Four Noble Truths).

These are the taints... This is the origin of the taints... This is the cessation of the taints... This is the way leading to the cessation of the taints.' When I knew and saw thus, my mind was liberated from the taint of sensual desire, from the  taint of becoming, released from the taint of ignorance. ( Ignorance is the first of the 12 factors of Dependent co-arising)

With liberation, there was the knowledge, 'Liberated.' I directly knew that 'Birth is ended,  the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for any state of being.'


"This was the third knowledge I attained in the third watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain." (Maha-Saccaka Sutta)

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