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Jhana and Dhyāna in Buddhism

In Buddhism, Dhyāna (Sanskrit) or Jhāna (Pali) is a series of cultivated states of mind, which lead to "state of perfect equanimity and awareness (upekkhii-sati-piirisuddhl)."

Jhanas appear very frequently in the discourses of the Buddha (suttas) like in Anguttara Nikaya 9.36 . Several directions of  Vipassanā teach similar steps of Vipassana(Vipassanā-Nyānas).

== Rupa Jhanas ==

The rupajhanas are described in the Mahā-Assapura Sutta, the chapter 39 of the Majjhima Nikaya iin the verses 15 to 18. The shapely  rupajhanas are :

1, paṭhama-jhāna (Skt: prathamadhyāna, wörtlich 'erstes jhana') - retreat from sensuality

2. dutiya-jhāna (Skt: dvitīyadhyāna - silence of thoughts and ratings

3. tatiya-jhāna (Skt: tṛtīyadhyāna) - contentment

4. catuttha-jhāna (Skt: caturthadhyāna) - utter peacefulness

In the fourth rupajhana exist already Upekkha( equanimity ) and Ekkagata (pointedness, concentration ). But concentration still refers to things like color and shape.

== Arupa Jhanas ==

The arūpajhānas are a part of the kammatthanas(the first 10 Kammaṭṭhāna are the 10 Kasina-exercises) and are referred to as the four formless states.

While rupajhanas  differ considering their characteristics, arupajhanas are connected with formless meditations and differ as their object is determined by the level of the jhana:

  • fifth jhāna: infinite space (Pali ākāsānañcāyatana, Skt. ākāśānantyāyatana),
  • sixth jhāna: infinite consciousness (Pali viññāṇañcāyatana, Skt. vijñānānantyāyatana),
  • seventh jhāna: infinite nothingness (Pali ākiñcaññāyatana, Skt. ākiṃcanyāyatana),
  • eighth jhāna: neither perception nor non-perception (Pali nevasaññānāsaññāyatana, Skt. naivasaṃjñānāsaṃjñāyatana).

== Nirodha Samāpatti ==

After overcoming of the eighth  Jhana the state of the saññāvedayitanirodham (' Extinction of perception and feeling ') and then of an Arhat is reached.

These higher steps of consiousness have similarities to the Samadhi - steps of Ashtanga Yoga.

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