Kevatta Sutta – Part 13

1st Jhana

 Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, he enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation

2nd Jhana

Furthermore, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters and remains in the second jhana: rapture and pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought and evaluation — internal assurance.

3rd Jhana

And furthermore, with the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana

Kevatta (Kevaddha) Sutta: To Kevatta” (DN 11), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (BCBS Edition), 30 November 2013, .

The 3rd Jhana is a further “stillness” of the mind fromthe 2nd Jhana. A further settling of our minds. The rapture, fades into the background.

In 1st jhana, we are elated and feel extreme rapture. That 1st experience is mind blowing because, we had been trapped by our sensory inputs. That disengagement, is therefore liberating. That could result in the mind losing balance due to excitement of the experience. That is why, 1st time experience of entering Jhana is usually short-lived. The mind becomes excited and try to formulate a description of the experience. But once we are familiar with 1st jhana, we try to “go deeper” or “go higher” or “increase the stillness”. In short take it a notch higher.

The oxymoronic trick about navigating into further stillness is like playing a balancing game. If we “want” jhana, we cannot reach it (because, then the mind is troubled by “wanting”). Yet we are used to having a goal when doing something in our daily life. It’s almost like those Kungfu movie where the master tells the disciples, “you need to forget in order to learn.” Or “you have to move without moving”…

Once we are accustomed to entering the 1st Jhana, and we can still the mid further, it leads to 2nd Jhana. That increased stillness leads to a state of composure.

By getting the mind to be further stillness, that rapture fade away. That leaves us with a pure, contented, luminous state of awareness. The mind is not sleeping and not dozy.

Here’s how Buddha described 3rd Jhana.

Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.‘ He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the pleasure divested of rapture. Just as in a lotus pond, some of the lotuses, born and growing in the water, stay immersed in the water and flourish without standing up out of the water, so that they are permeated and pervaded, suffused and filled with cool water (a coolness) from their roots to their tips, and nothing of those lotuses would be unpervaded with cool water; even so, the monk permeates… this very body with the pleasure divested of rapture. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded with pleasure divested of rapture.

Personally, I found that all these states of “letting go” as described in Theravada sutta and Samadhi in Mahayana Sutra or “dissolving” our sense of being into light to be the same. There is no conflict.

Happy practicing.

May all be well and happy.

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