Heartbeat relating to jhana

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Post Reply
roronoaroka
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:03 pm

Heartbeat relating to jhana

Post by roronoaroka » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:48 pm

Hello dharma brothers and sisters!

I had an unusual experience trying to access the first Jhana during my retreat and im wondering if anyone else has experienced this.
So a few weeks in, i decided to experiment with my own samatha technique. Basically i treated my breath like it was a song. Music generally has a continuous flow and it helped me view my breath from a very pleasant perspective. As time progressed my breath got more shallow and nearing stillness. Being aware of this i started to get a little excited (i cant recall if my heartbeat increased at this point) and so i consciously thought that this song was about to come to an end. i rested deeper with that thought until my breath finally came to a standstill . Suddenly my heartbeat started fluttering while my breath was still. I couldn't do anything to slow it nor snap out of it in any way. a minute or so passed then i suddenly got up and walked away thinking it might cause some harm.
I spoke to my teacher about it but the only answer i got was to be careful next time.
Was i onto something? I haven't had the motivation to experience that again since because i needed to know if it was safe, lol

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 5959
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: Heartbeat relating to jhana

Post by DooDoot » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:22 am

Hello friend & welcome

Your experience appears unrelated to "jhana". If jhana was approaching then the mind would be very stable & lucid.

Its sounds like your heart fluttering was related to thought/lust created "excitement" and then possibly later some "fear" of the unknown. This appears why the thought arose it might cause some harm. The excitement you experienced sounds like it was due to thinking excitedly or lustfully about the meditation; rather than being the true meditation "rapture" that arises from the tranquillising & purification of the physical-mental-body.

The above said, about your own samatha technique, it sounds like you are onto something. It appears skilful to treat your breath like it was a song; allowing it to continuously flow. This 'soft touch' or 'open listening' technique will allow the breath to calm itself.

However, I get the impression the breath got shallow and nearing stillness or non-awareness because your mind remained rigid & was pushing & narrowing itself towards the breath. Ideally, the mind should always be clearly aware of the breath; which can occur if the mind has the attitude of silent surrender. If the mind remains rigid ambitious & coarse; the breath will calm and disappear from awareness; not because of jhana; but because the mind remains too rigid & coarse. Ideally, the mind should gradually & continuously calm to the same degree the breath gradually & continuously calms. Thus, the mind will always be aware of the breath (until the eventual jhana, when the nimitta replaces the breath, that is, if it ever reaches jhana).

The above said, since you are still here to talking about this shows it was "safe". It appears you were simply meditating with too much "lust" for the meditation; very subtly & excitedly thinking: "I am doing it; I am doing it".

Try to have more equanimity next time; more surrender; less lust & less craving. The scriptures include the term "ruparaga", which means "lust for jhana". The scriptures (SN 48.10) say jhana is reached by making "letting go" or "surrender" the meditation object.

Well done, best wishes & keep practising. :smile:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

Just another Bhikkhu
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 3:54 am

Re: Heartbeat relating to jhana

Post by Just another Bhikkhu » Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:12 pm

It happened to me, long ago, twice. It can be quite a strong experience, and it is definitely related with strong concentration. At the moment it was scary, and somehow the feeling that 'I' was about to die was there. I don't think you can map it onto the jhana scheme of things, but it feels just like a different avenue that concentration can take. Looking back I would say that it happens when your samadhi deepens up very fast and the mind is suddenly faced with an unprecedented vastness where the sense of self loses any meaning or point of reference, but still there's a sense of self and it really freaks out. The stillness and possible cessation of the breath makes it worse. I have the feeling that if you somehow go thru it in the right way it may lead straight to the immaterial jhanas, but this is just speculation.

ToVincent
Posts: 692
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:02 pm
Contact:

Re: Heartbeat relating to jhana

Post by ToVincent » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:48 pm

roronoaroka wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:48 pm
...
Well, your heart was just in panic mode, telling you: "breathe or I'll die".
Period.

Don't put the ox before the cart. Or worst, don't ride the cart without the ox.
______

There is a procedure (major steps):

Body (breath) >> feeling (first body, second citta) >> establishment of (severed pristine) citta >> contemplation/investigation of dhamma (viz. "sankharized" khandhas) with the citta >> equanimity >> steady establishment of citta (totally cut off unit) >> clearly comprehending >> neither pain of pleasure >> purity of obtention due to equanimity. (End of fourth Jhāna).

Then you might "still" the breath to a minimum.
Nirodha does not always mean cessation. It also mean restraint.
For one who has attained the fourth Jhāna, in & out breathing has been restrained (nirodha), allayed (vūpasantā), and abated (paṭippassaddhā).
SN 36.11


RTFM (F as in Fine). :)
.
.
Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
In this world with its ..., māras, ... - In this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------

https://justpaste.it/j5o4

roronoaroka
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:03 pm

Re: Heartbeat relating to jhana

Post by roronoaroka » Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:32 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:22 am
...
My recollection isn't accurate so i cant say for sure if i lost awareness of breath in that moment. it could be what you have mentioned and i will take note of that for next time, thank you.
I know for certain that lust wasn't a factor because i understood that at the end we would have to let go of any attachment towards the jhana states to become fully realised. Its hard to form an attachment (especially of something i have no experience of) when you know you have to let that go eventually :lol: . But i will take that as an ongoing possibility.
Surrender of the meditation object. I'll take this especially into consideration, thank you.
Just another Bhikkhu wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 4:12 pm
...
I have no recollection of experiencing any of such awesome things described but it sounds fun. i feel like i missed an opportunity :lol: i do think my concentration was somewhat deep as i experienced sort of a dislocation of breath from my central axis? the physical sensation of inhalation was experienced off central significantly to the right of my body. i read somewhere that was a sign of good concentration.

Is that a regular experience during meditation?

Funnily enough i stopped experiencing that since i read it :clap:

ToVincent wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:48 pm
Well, your heart was just in panic mode, telling you: "breathe or I'll die".
Period.
I imagine that would be accompanied by some bodily struggle. In that moment i had no urge to breath nor any thought that i should breathe. Perhaps my breathing was imperceptible due to the incident hijacking all my attention.

I think the best thing, if it comes up again, is just to go with it haha. I mean, ive never heard of meditation induced death, have you? If there is death, its most likely of the ego, which is where the party's at :rofl:

Thank you all for helping me make sense of this.

SarathW
Posts: 12147
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Heartbeat relating to jhana

Post by SarathW » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:49 pm

roronoaroka wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:48 pm
Hello dharma brothers and sisters!

I had an unusual experience trying to access the first Jhana during my retreat and im wondering if anyone else has experienced this.
So a few weeks in, i decided to experiment with my own samatha technique. Basically i treated my breath like it was a song. Music generally has a continuous flow and it helped me view my breath from a very pleasant perspective. As time progressed my breath got more shallow and nearing stillness. Being aware of this i started to get a little excited (i cant recall if my heartbeat increased at this point) and so i consciously thought that this song was about to come to an end. i rested deeper with that thought until my breath finally came to a standstill . Suddenly my heartbeat started fluttering while my breath was still. I couldn't do anything to slow it nor snap out of it in any way. a minute or so passed then i suddenly got up and walked away thinking it might cause some harm.
I spoke to my teacher about it but the only answer i got was to be careful next time.
Was i onto something? I haven't had the motivation to experience that again since because i needed to know if it was safe, lol
The way I understand, you have Metta, Karuna, Mudhita and Upekkaha in first Jhana.
If you experience fear means you have the aversion in your mind hence it is not the (right) first Jhana as per Buddhist teaching.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

User avatar
salayatananirodha
Posts: 528
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:34 am
Contact:

Re: Heartbeat relating to jhana

Post by salayatananirodha » Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:24 pm

ToVincent wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:48 pm
Nirodha does not always mean cessation. It also mean restraint.
For one who has attained the fourth Jhāna, in & out breathing has been restrained (nirodha), allayed (vūpasantā), and abated (paṭippassaddhā).
SN 36.11


RTFM (F as in Fine). :)
.
.
of course, if you change the meaning of a word, it can mean a different thing, but what justification do you have to call it restraint instead of cessation
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

User avatar
salayatananirodha
Posts: 528
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:34 am
Contact:

Re: Heartbeat relating to jhana

Post by salayatananirodha » Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:25 pm

roronoaroka wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:32 pm


I imagine that would be accompanied by some bodily struggle. In that moment i had no urge to breath nor any thought that i should breathe. Perhaps my breathing was imperceptible due to the incident hijacking all my attention.

I think the best thing, if it comes up again, is just to go with it haha. I mean, ive never heard of meditation induced death, have you? If there is death, its most likely of the ego, which is where the party's at :rofl:

Thank you all for helping me make sense of this.
no, you can't die from meditation; the buddha wouldn't have taught it in such a case
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 35 guests