Jhana Saturation in an Angry and Violent World


On the collective level we have war, senseless gun rampages, aerial bombardments of populated areas, suicide bombs, blood-soaked video games and ultra-violent movies.

On the individual level we daily pass through a veil of road rage, domestic abuse, office politics, insipid gossip, senseless outbursts and cutting remarks.

The question then arises: how does one remain calm, tranquil and centered in the midst of such angst?

Most spiritual teachers will prescribe some form of meditation, affirmations, breathing exercises, mantras, yoga routines, scriptural study/memorization, prayer, or some other tactic for removing us from destructive reactivity, thereby placing us into a spiritually-centered state.

While these are all worthwhile pursuits, a further question arises from their practice: why do we repeatedly find ourselves in need of these tactics, when it is permanent transformation that we most fervently desire?

Most spiritual teachers, when asked this further question, will encourage us to stick with our practice, trusting that it will eventually bear fruit, even it if takes multiple lifetimes to “get there.”

Well, at a certain point we need some encouragement in the form of attainment — which is to say, we need our practice to bear fruit, and we need that fruit to be undeniable, so that our teachers won’t be able to shunt them aside when we try to talk about them.  The last thing we need is for someone to tell us to ignore the signs of absorption, to avoid becoming attached to them, etc.   As well-meaning as this advice may seem, it is a sure sign that the advice-giver is more interested in perpetuating dogma and doctrine than actually living the original inspiration.

In short, we need to give rise to the ecstatic… which is innate within each of us, though usually conditioned away from conscious awareness. It WILL arise, however, in response to an earnest, rigorous and skillful contemplative practice.

Then, when the ecstatic has become stabilized in our practice (i.e., it arises every time we sit in meditation), we need to return to it as often as possible, following it as deeply as possible, until such a time as we are saturated in it every moment of our life.

Wandering about within the One Mind, saturated in bliss, joy and ecstasy, we have at our disposal the deep tranquility and equanimity spoken of by the Buddha and other mystics.

Even in the midst of life’s most trying circumstances, we are able to hit the “off switch” on our mind for at least a moment — and within this glimpse of silence we are greeted by the ecstatic, which is our true nature, our constant connection with That — and we are reminded that the circumstances around us are temporary, fleeting and meaningless.

Finally, from this place of jhana saturation, we are able to focus on bringing bliss, joy and ecstasy to others, thereby doing our small part, one person at a time, to establish humanity in its innate capacity for sharing love and happiness, rather than fear and dissatisfaction.  In helping others to attain self-arising bliss, joy and ecstasy, we collectively find that the experiences related by mystics down through the ages are available to us now, without need for validation by this tradition or that guru.  We are able to bypass the official filters and go straight for the Source.

Some would say that this is the purpose of religion in its original form.

Some would say that this is the purpose of life.


6 responses to “Jhana Saturation in an Angry and Violent World

  1. The only western spiritual master that was right-on in the last 150 years was PT Barnum when he said, “A sucker is born every minute.” Every religion comes up with fantastic stories to keep the competition down. These fantastic stories are many and varied. Many are similar, but some are contradictory. Some are as follows:
    “Born of a virgin, walks on water, raises the died…”
    “Parts the seas, sends pestilences, brings water from a rock, mana falls from heaven…
    “Flies bodily through the air…”
    “Body turns into a rainbow…”
    “Body remains Incorporeal…”
    “Makes love to 10,000 women in one night”
    “Balances a blade of grass on the top of his shaved head”

    If, the Tibetans had any enlightened masters in the last few hundred years they would have a clear understanding of absorption, but all they have to offer is fantastic stories and ritual behavior. However, the west is naive, so western fools flock to them by the thousands.

    You know a tree by its fruit, and a teacher by the authenticity of his/her teaching. You know a charlatan by his/her fantastic stories, lack of lucid details, theatrical fan fair, outrageous costumes, smoke and mirrors, and none of their followers escape anxiety.

    We have to stop confusing metaphor an allegory with reality, and examine our agony in the dark night of the personal spiritual crisis.

    Wake Up!!


  2. I think we all want to believe in miracles, Jeffrey. I love the stories of Neem Karoli Baba bi-locating in order to assist his devotees — I want to believe that they are true. Perhaps he really did eat 20 hits of 300 mic acid without the slightest effect…? I want to believe in all the other fantastic things I’ve heard about this guru or that medicine man. I think it’s part of the human condition to want to transcend the laws of creation… but it wasn’t until I became “jhana active” that I could let all that go, because now when I read the sacred texts, I read it from the perspective of attainment, rather than the perspective of desperate hope. By sifting all the fantastic tales down to their essence — which is none other than what we call meditative absorption — we are finally able to receive the teachings the way they were meant to be received.

    So… I guess the Ecstatic Buddhist movement is here as an alternative, just on the off chance that an occasional rigorous contemplative will abandon his or her religious trappings and be ready to approach the Dhamma infused, saturated and absorbed with bliss, joy and ecstasy… just as the Buddha insisted we should.

  3. hi
    i want to read more plz suggest me what and where to find

  4. Akila weerasena

    I like this site very much

  5. its a wonderful article!
    Dear Jeffery..some of what you speak of might have been true in the past!!..but yes one needs to understand that these are nothing but materialistic things that makes masses to cling to miracles and the miraculous man,nobody wants to believe that these are ordinary things..but the real is still far away from all this..

  6. Thanks, dear friend Adi Jain, for your ongoing encouragement. It means more than you know!

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