with hard jhana i have been able to get just inside the first jhana. or so i think. it was utter silence, no senses functioning, no info from the outside world, couldn't hear my breathing, just a nimitta, no thoughts whatsoever, just the act of knowing. i've done this twice for about thirty minutes or forty each time. as far as going up to the 4th jhana i have no idea whether or not i've been anywhere near it. seems to me what i experienced could have been the fourth as there was no pleasant or painful feelings. just equanimity. but that being such a high state i am inclined to assume i was only in the first.Modus.Ponens wrote:I understand from your posts that you can attain both kind of jhanas. Well, at least you can attain hard jhana. Am I correct? If you are capable of doing so, attaining sutta jhana should be much easier.
May I suggest an experiment? Go to the 4th hard jhana and come out. Right after coming out try to remember as many past lives as you can. Then go to 4th sutta jhana and try to remember as many past lives as you can while in jhana. Give each kind of jhana one month and then evaluate which one makes you remember more past lives. This will be a way of measuring the power of your mind in each aproach. Then stick with the one which gives better results.
working with other methods i get into the first super easy and after emerging i usually am very confident that the experience resonates with the sutta description of jhana. rarely do i meditate with non nimitta/absorption methods and not get into the first jhana. going higher i get shaky and start to think sometimes as the overall concentration is not cultivated to the extreme as it is in absorption jhana.
as far as past lives go i don't know that that's something i'm even looking to know about. kind of a side track that i imagine must take a ton of effort. unless you know otherwise? is it easy or something?