Concentration (dhyana)

The meditation practice of focusing the mind uninterruptedly upon an object
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    Absorbed in the Breath Paid Member

    The first jhana has five factors: (a) Directed thought: Think of the breath until you can recognize it clearly without getting distracted. (b) Singleness of object: Keep the mind with the breath. Don't let it stray after other objects. Watch over your thoughts so that they deal only with the breath until the breath becomes comfortable. (The mind becomes one, at rest with the breath.) (c) Evaluation: Let this comfortable breath sensation spread and coordinate with the other breath sensations in the body. Let these breath sensations spread until they all flow together. Once the body has been soothed by the breath, feelings of pain will grow calm. The body will be filled with good breath energy. These three qualities must be brought to bear on the same stream of breathing for the first jhana to arise. This stream of breathing can then take you all the way to the fourth jhana. Directed thought, singleness of object, and evaluation act as the causes. More »
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    Seeing for Yourself Paid Member

    When I first went to study with my teacher, Ajaan Fuang, he handed me a small booklet of meditation instructions and sent me up the hill behind the monastery to meditate. The booklet—written by his teacher, Ajaan Lee—began with a breath meditation technique and concluded with a section showing how the technique was used to induce the first four levels of jhana. More »
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    A Mind Pure, Concentrated, and Bright Paid Member

    Leigh Brasington, 55, has been a Buddhist practitioner since 1985 and is the senior American student of the German-born Theravada teacher Ayya Khema. Raised in Mississippi the son of a Presbyterian minister, Brasington lost faith in the family religion at the age of 18, while reading James Michener's The Source, an epic novel that traces the history of Judaism. "Basically, God died that summer." A decade later, he "awakened to the spiritual dimension of life" while traveling through Asia on a round-the-world tour. Actual practice, however, didn't begin until several years later, when he attended a meditation retreat led by Ayya Khema, who eventually helped Brasington map his way through the jhanas and urged him to teach. [Khema died in 1997—see Tricycle, Spring 1998.] Today he spends several months of the year traveling the United States, Western Europe, and beyond, leading meditation retreats—most of which include jhana practice. More »
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    The Path of Serenity and Insight Paid Member

    There's no jhanafor one with no discernment, no discernment for one with no jhana. But one with both jhana and discernment: they're on the verge of Unbinding. -The Buddha, Dhammapada 372, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu More »
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    The Jhanas: Perfect States of Concentration Paid Member

    At the heart of the Buddha's teaching there are doctrines and strategies that dharma students must learn, and internalize, in order to understand his map to liberation. But few strategies are as central to the Buddhist path, and as little known to Westerners, as those called the jhanas. Jhana is the Pali word for mental or meditative absorption, and refers to a set of states of deep and subtle concentration focused on a single object. In the Pali suttas, the Buddha described four jhanas, each a more profound and refined state of consciousness than the preceding one, and each building on the preceding one. The fourth jhana, in turn, can be refined even further into four more states of ever deepening concentration. These latter jhanas are called the nonmaterial jhanas because perception of the material world fades and disappears. More »
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    Mindfulness and Concentration Paid Member

    20 Years, 20 Teachings: The Tricycle 20th Anniversary E-Book. It's free to all Supporting and Sustaining Members. Get the e-book.                         More »