A Skillful and Rigorous Practice

meditation-in-green
I imagine I’ll be referring to the phrase “skillful and rigorous meditation practice” over and over again, since this is the baseline for harnessing meditative absorption as a “divine locomotive” to transport the contemplative Home.

Here, then, is my friend and teacher, Jeffrey Brooks (aka, Jhanananda), laying out his own daily sadhana… which is what I emulate to the best of my ability:

A practice regimen that can lead to Enlightenment in this lifetime

March 28, 2005

By the contemplative recluse monk Sotapanna Jhanananda (Jeffrey S, Brooks)

(copyright 2005 all rights reserved)

Someone intent upon enlightenment in this very lifetime recently asked me to prescribe for him a practice strategy that would bring him to enlightenment in this very life.  I can only speak about my contemplative practice strategy.  This is it:

In meditation (sati) practice:

In the morning arise when your awareness first becomes aware of the physical world.  Wash your face and mouth out, empty your bladder and drink a little water, then sit in meditation as if you will never get up again.  Do not end any absorption.  Let the absorption end on it’s own.  Often times an absorption will appear to be ending, but I have found if I just sit with the absorption until I am sure it is done, then occasionally there has been a second wave front that was many, many times more power than the first.  So, stick with it until you really know it is done.

When in meditation remain observant of the signs of absorption (jhana-nimitta).  Once jhana-nimitta arises sensory phenomena is no longer relevant.  Allow yourself to become utterly and completely saturated in the jhana-nimitta.  This is relevant for jhanas 1-4.  Allow all absorptions to sweep you away as far as they will take you.  Cling to nothing. Sometimes the absorption is of such intensity that it feels as though the body will be destroyed, good, let the body die, because you are done with it anyway and you are not coming back.

You will eventually find while in meditation the signs of absorption will efface the physical phenomena (rupa-nimitta) this will bring you to the non-material absorptions (arupa-jhanas).  Cling to nothing.  There is a transitional phase in absorption that is neither material absorption, nor is it absorption in an infinite dimension.  This transitional phase is characterized by a single luminous sphere that is often called a kasina.  Do not try to resolve it into anything. If it becomes a tunnel then you will be propelled out of body.  If so, just fly wherever it takes you. Cling to nothing.

When you eventually enter infinite space (5th jhana), it will be because the kasina opened into an infinite domain. At this time give up all attachment to ever having had a body, or ever having another one.  If you can remain in infinite space for a considerable amount of time, then absorption into Infinite time will occur. The infinite time dimension, has not yet been assigned a name.

When you enter into the infinite time dimension then let go of ever having been born at any time or ever returning again.  From the infinite dimension of time and space you may see an ocean of stars.  You may realize these stars are all beings.  This is the infiinite psyche (6th jhana). Open yourself up to them.  Resist noting. If you can remain in infinite time and space for an infinity, then you may become all of those infinite beings of light, if you do this is the 7th jhana.  When you become all of those light beings (7th jhana), then let go of ever having been a being or ever becoming one again

If you can let go of ever having been a being or ever becoming again, then you arrive at no longer being able to tell who you are, this is the 8th jhana, then give up ever having been someone.  When the universe collapses around you into a black hole, that will swallow both you as an individual and as an infinite being from which you can never escape, then love it utterly and completely, because this is called nibbana .  If you return from that my friend, you will be the Maitreya.

Each time you sit, you sit with no agenda, no intention to ever get up again.  Only rise from meditation when the body is fatigued, or sore, or hungry.  Meditate thus at least 3 times a day, or more often.  Only keep track of the beginning time and ending time, and never, ever set an end time for the session.  If your sessions gradually increase to more than an hour to 2 hours, or more, then you are doing well.

You are now ready for death to occur at any time.  If you have any loose ends, then tie them up. Leave nothing pending for the next day.  You are now finished, you are ready to die

Lying down meditation:

If your body feels fatigue during the day, then lie in shivassana and allow absorption to take you away.  When you lie down day or night, say silently, “I am ready, take me now.”  When you rest the body endeavor to remain conscious at all times. Deal with sleep as if it is simply a long period of lying down meditation.  Gradually you will become conscious throughout the sleep cycle.  When you no longer lose consciousness during the sleep cycle then you can say, “The holly life has been lived, death has been conquered there is no more coming to being.”

Daily mindfulness:

Endeavor to remain mindful and alert at all times.  If any of the signs of absorption persist after your sitting session is over then be mindful of them throughout the day.  Endeavor to keep the signs of absorption (jhana-nimitta) present with you at all times.  This is what is called “saturation.”  If you can maintain the signs of absorption (jhana-nimitta) throughout the day, then you can say, “I have arrived in the joyful home of the dhamma (Di.t.thadhammasukhavihaaraa).

Whenever anxiety arises, let it go, be ever mindful of any arising of tension, stress or anxiety, and become skillful in letting them go as soon as they first appear.  Live your life in such a way that you have no stress, no anxiety, and no tension even if that means dumpster diving for subsistence and sleeping under a tree at night.

Ethics:

Live your life for the benefit of all beings.  Do nothing for yourself.  Harm no one in body, speech or mind.

Study:

Read the teachings of all enlightened ones.  Read the Discourse of the Buddha until you have read all 5 volumes.  Then read the Christian mystics, then the Sufi mystics, then the Kabbalists, then the Yogis, then the Taoist masters, then the Shaman, etc.  Keep reading the teachings and biographies of the enlightened ones, and keep living the ethics and keep meditating as described above until this body is dead.  Do not ever assume that you need not maintain the Noble Eightfold Path after you have had all of these absorption experiences listed above.  Because if you stop living the Noble Eightfold Path your absorptions will eventually dissipate.

If you diligently engage in the contemplative life you will become enlightened in this very life-time,

Jhanananda (Jeffrey S. Brooks)



Let me just say, this will keep you busy, eat into your television consumption, and cause your friends to wonder.

To say it’s worth it is a gross understatement.

Imagine living in constant 24/7 bliss, joy and ecstasy without resorting to drugs or alcohol….

Seems like a no-brainer, yes?

And yet, most humans would rather entertain their neuroses, pretending they will be able to gain succor and satisfaction through external means. Only on their death beds will they find that it was never going to happen.

True succor and satisfaction is self-arising, and it is your birthright.

I promise.

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14 responses to “A Skillful and Rigorous Practice

  1. Hi Friend , that is certainly a tough practice, the concepts seem to be original correct ? I mean the terms for the achieved states . The description he gives seems to be similar in some respects to the Indian ascending subtle sound and light practice. I may check it out a bit more because I find it interesting to see what people are up to on these levels. Is it linked to a Buddhist school ? pardon my ignorance ..

  2. Congratulations, Mike, on launching another informative and creative venue to share with your readers. Perfect timing, too, considering the auspicious planetary alignments of Valentine’s Day 2009! The Saturn-Jupiter conjunction in your natal/transit chart augurs well for balancing the contractive-expansive interplay of cosmic energies.
    In combination with the Lunar South Node, the Tao’s “path of least resistance” comes to mind for comprehending the laws of the natural universe.
    Thus I am honored to offer the first comment at the Samma-Samadhi portal of Divine Love.

    ONWARD!

    Your pal in THE GREAT WORK,
    John

  3. Hello Nitram,

    The basic canonical material behind Jeffrey’s suggested practice regimen comes from the Buddha’s discourse found in the Pali Canon, which are the oldest extant records of Buddhist teachings. Specifically, there is a section of the discourses known as the Phala Nikaya, to which I link on the right sidebar. These suttas give us everything we need to know about skillful meditation and the fruit thereof.

    Thanks so much for offering a comment at this brand new venture.

    Blessings,
    Michael

  4. Hello dear friend John,

    Indeed, I see it as auspicious that you are the first to leave a comment here, as you go back further into my Internet experience than anyone else. I think we encountered each other on this or that Yahoo group six or seven years ago, at least.

    Thanks, also, for the astrological perspective. I do sense that the time has arrived to slip into some new shoes, so to speak — for me to expand a little further into the realm of spiritual discussion, as I’ve spent the past 18 years putting serious time and energy into my practice. Sink or swim, he says!

    Warmly,
    Mike\

  5. Yes, Nitram, is correct, the suttas are remarkably similar to sound and light practice of mystical Sikhism (Sant Mat) and various Yoga Schools. The ‘both-ways-liberated one’ (ubhato-bhága-vimutta) (D 6, MN 70, ANII.30) is the name of one class of noble disciples (ariya-puggala, q.v.). It is a term that was only used a few times in the Suttas, so it is not completely clear what this term means.

    Most important to this discussion of charismatic light and sound being paths to or manifestations of liberation can be found in the Mahàli Sutta (DN 6), which presents the ‘double object of absorption’ (samadhi) as one in whom both charismatic vision and sound arises. There is thus a suggestion that the idea of ‘both-ways-liberation,’ might relate to the dual attainment of charismatic vision and sound, in the same sense as Sat Mat emphasizes “light and sound.” And, this visual component might just be seeing the charismatic sphere, or kasina.

    Mahàli Sutta (DN 6)
    [153] 7. ‘Suppose a recluse, Mahâli, to have attained one-sided absorption with the object of seeing such heavenly forms in any one direction,–in the East, or the South, or the West, or the North, or above; or below, or across,–and not with the object of hearing such heavenly sounds. Then since he has attained one-sided absorption, with the one object only in view, he only sees the sights, he hears not the sounds. And why not? Because of the nature of his [samâdhi].

    [154] 8, 9. ‘And so also, Mahâli, if he have attained one-sided absorption with the object of hearing, in any one direction, the heavenly sounds. Then, and for the same reason, he hears the sounds, but he sees not the sights.

    [155] 10, 11. ‘But suppose, Mahâli, he has attained meditative absorption (samadhi) with the double object of seeing and hearing, in any one direction, those heavenly sights and those heavenly sounds. Then since he has attained meditative absorption (samadhi) with the double object, he both sees the sights and hears the sounds. And why so? Because of the nature of his meditative absorption (samadhi).’
    http://www.greatwesternvehicle.org/pali/PTS/SBB2/dob-06tx.htm

  6. Thank you

  7. Hi ,my question is :Why would we even contemplate the idea of staying in that “bliss state” for hours at the time,and forget about our five senses,when ,as far as I can tell,nature has endowed us with tools to live (the five senses and consciousness)?
    I understand and am interested in the experience,but to prolong it into your death (even symbolically) it seems to me non sensical,I would reserve my knowledge of this bliss for when my end comes,in the meantime I am busy surviving and living,as nature dictates……

  8. Hello Alberto,

    Thank you for your question.

    As the Buddha taught, the eight (or nine, if we include Nibbana itself) jhana/samadhi states ARE the contents of fold number eight of the Noble Eightfold Path. One must become immersed in the jhanas (especially the four material jhanas) on a regular basis, in order for the “fetters” that bind us to the wheel of rebirth to become uprooted once and for all. Once one has given rise to the ecstasies, one traverses the Path with more and more ease. “Unskillful” states of being, which keep us mired in the drama of existence, are gradually eradicated — with the added benefit of living in constant bliss, joy and ecstasy. One not only enjoys bliss, joy and ecstasy while in meditative absorption, but 24/7, as the phenomenon of saturation gradually increases.

    Meditating into the non-material jhanas does give rise to insight (if not direct experience) into the death realms. This is mostly to remove our basic fear of death, which lies at the root of most of our fears in this reality.

    This is the logic that the Buddha handed down to us, and many ecstatic contemplatives (myself included) can testify to the ongoing benefits of this practice.

    This is a quick answer, Alberto, but I hope it addresses your question sufficiently.

    Many blessings,
    Michael

  9. It was very well said. 🙂
    I always reach a point where there are BIG GIANT DOOR or GOLD. and they open up. and I met other people there. But its been over 3-4 years that I couldnt go back. They said we all come here to meditate together. We are sitting in different parts of the worlds.
    But Meditation is very powerful. We all should do our research before getting in to the unknown.
    IK ONG KAR

  10. I appreciate the answers,thank you!
    I am reflecting about this so called “state of bliss”,which is characteristic of near death experiences,as well as of people in deep meditation and also psychodelic experiences.
    It seems to me that this “bliss” is devoid of humanity,it is like having a solitary inmensely pleasurable experience and all by yourself,as compared,for example, with a sensual experience with a person you really love and the overwhelming bliss that this experience brings to you.
    I realize,like Jung so well said:”We ,as humans,can not understand or even conceive,an existence different from ours”,and he was referring to a hipothetical afterlife existence.
    But I can not but wonder “what is the purpose of this exercise”?
    Sorry for being so simplistic,but I can not help it.

    Alberto

  11. Hello again Alberto,

    You said in you note, “But I can not but wonder “what is the purpose of this exercise”?

    Since I already answered this question in my previous response (i.e., it is literally an indispensable feature of the Buddha’s teachings, and is backed up by virtually every other mystic from all spiritual traditions), I will just express my feeling that the Way of Ecstasy may not be for everyone (at least in their current incarnation)… and that’s okay….

    Many blessings,
    Michael

  12. Many thanks Michael! 🙂

  13. Jassy Jaura

    I think the bottom line of doing Meditation is to Enjoy everything while in Meditation and away with your busy Work life but want nothing back from it. Meditation to alot of people is a scary thought. A thought of NO THOUGHT State. But onces you get a hang of it. It really Magical.

    PLZ search page GOD IS ONE on Face Book and make sure to leave a comment 🙂

  14. Thanks Jassy,FYI I do not have a God in my conception of the universe,however,I can see clear signs,especially in the sciences,that there is an afterlife,that is what I am trying to understand right now,and I consider meditation to be fascinating and beyond my comprehension,all at the same time.
    Greetings from Vancouver,Canada

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