The jhanas are not an exact science, and there are going to be quite a range of subjective experiences that are really hard to objectively conclude which jhana one is in, or whether it can even be considered jhana.
So keep that in mind when asking anyone about their personal experiences.
I would describe first jhana, as similar to second jhana that is being interrupted at high frequency with vitakka and vicara (mental words spoken in silence). The samadhi-born pitisukha of second jhana, when you first experiencing it, can be shocking, sudden, overwhelming. In comparison to the pitisukha of first jhana, 2nd jhana can feel exponentially stronger in pitisukha, like a full body orgasm that's so intense it's hard to take. And this can last for hours. If one doesn't ever get intense orgasmic pleasure, that doesn't mean one isn't experiencing first or second jhana, so don't make that assumption. The point though, is that second jhana, relative to first, will probably feel exponentially more intense in power. Like with microphone in speakers close by that gets caught in a feedback loop and the loudness suddenly ramps up exponentially hurting your ears.
So first jhana, one will naturally have thoughts like, "wow! this is awesome! is this first jhana? " etc. And in the EBT, having vitakka and vicara in first jhana serves an important role in the learning process, in leading one into jhana. For example the instructions for metta: "with a mind infused with friendliness, in one direction, pervade..."
vaca = voice = vocally reciting those metta Dharma instructions
vitakka & vicara = vaci-sankhara = voice-fabrications = mentally reciting those metta Dharma instructions, which can concurrently happen WHILE one is in first jhana.
V&V drop out in second jhana which is why second jhana is noble silence, not first jhana.
Now for a sports example, 'flow state' is comparable to jhana quality of samadhi.
vaca would be comparable to a tv commentator describing a sports match with voice.
vitakka and vicara would be a mental commentary unspoken, similar to the vocal commentary in meaning and content.
flow state, like 2nd jhana or higher, you're just processing all the data of the sports event with no need to expend energy to form mental words and labels. If you're the participating athletes, you're operating in samadhi. And when athletes choke, make mistakes, it's usually because of mental vitakka and vicara ("can I do this? what if I lose?") that energetically disrupts them from physical relaxation for optimal 'flow', or samadhi, undistractible lucidity.
Srilankaputra wrote: ↑
Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:29 am
frank k wrote: ↑
Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:44 pm
You see a snake in front of you.
The perception (sañña of snake) arises, but before you can yell out "snake!" (vaca/speech), or think the words "snake!" (vitakka)
You've already comprehended it (pajanati, sam-pajano) on a pre-vitakka pre-verbal level it and jumped out of the way.
That's the difference between first and second jhana.
first jhana, you mentally think the thought 'snake'.
second jhana, you don't think to mentally say the words 'snake', you already comprehended/pajanati the sanna/perception and jumped out of the way.
How does this tally with the following comment you made
Jhana really is a yogic energy re-routing. For a beginner without jhana experience and competence, ordinary V&V is typically energetically disruptive enough to prevent a proper 4 jhana from happening. But for one who already is skilled in the energy rerouting, even in arupa samadhi, arguably more difficult than 4th jhana, one can be in a hyper active mental chattering mode (eg. 'wow! this is awesome! where is my hand and body? i can't find my body?!) without breaking out of arupa samadhi. So really many people who are insisting first jhana V&V needs to be a certain way, probably just have not had a broad enough samadhi experience from which to judge.
Can you describe your personal experience of second jhana. Do you still have this mental mental chattering in your experience of second jhana??