The Four 'Jhanas' and their Qualities in the Pali Tradition
Keywords:jhāna, vitakka, vicāra, pīti, sukha, somanassa, domanassa, breathing, hearing, masteries, insight
A strong strand of the scholarship of Lance Cousins focussed on the jhanas and related matters, and he was also a practitioner and teacher of samatha meditation, which aims at the jhanas. In this dual tradition, this paper explores subtle questions about the nature of each jhana as dealt with in the Pali Nikayas, Abhidhamma and commentaries. Its aim is to help illuminate what it is like to be in any of these jhanas: what is going on in them, and what has been transcended? What do the similes for each jhana convey about the overall situation in them? What kind` of thought and feelings are understood to occur in them? To what extent does breathing stop in deep jhana? To what extent is hearing transcended in them? What happens in moving between them? How are they related to developing insight?
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