“Initiation” Meditation 26-04-2009

Here is my journal entry.

In the meditation today a little trouble settling. Then I said the new moon affirmation. Taking consciousness up to the very top, way above the top jewel and then slowly back down.

Chanted to accompany the opening to Shamballa and a few were waiting there for me. They ushered me in and showed me around to bring me in front of an altar. They took their places two behind me and one on the other side of the altar.

Then the triangle lit up and became imprinted. The one the other side of the altar came round and stood close in front of me. The triangle lit again and rotated. Two triangles forming a three-dimensional six-pointed star with me at the centre of inversion.

Then I had a vision of myself as a thickset man in saffron robes with no hair. I was traveling in space and time; this was to show me the meaning of time and all those palaces and temples.

My consciousness drifted in time and in space, back here to home, to physical plane “reality”. I chanted myself back there. I asked if I was allowed to leave, not yet. Then, back to that place deeper into it. Again, triangles and a shift in the materiality of home. Deeper still with huge swathes of dreaming colour pervading. Next the image of the second contact with the void, that night on Sinai and the yellow rose perfect and embodied in space floating above the floor of the Toltec Temple and in the middle of the inverted triangle insignia.

Floating again in time and space, back to the void to see the thread of my lives reaching out of it and coming towards me. The sparkle silver lightning thread out of the very fabric of the beckoning void.

The was THAT sense of all-encompassing consciousness.

Back now into the fabric of the building and that sense of companionship. There they comforted with arms around be. D, H and L ushered me with two others towards the portal at Shamballa.

There was only NOW and a deep profound a sense of duty and of sanctity. I have seen things few others have, there was an in swelling of gratitude.

The pervading sense of utter peace at that water drop from the ceiling into the cavern of existence. A sense of beingness and consciousness extending out and rippling towards infinity.

They are now all my brothers. A shiver ran through me that I am loved by my brothers. Again, consciousness expanding out towards infinity. I could see things with my eyes closed, there was no need to use my eyes. There was wave after wave of it.

Then the rod, three times in all. The electric lightning shocks drawn down from the apex of the pyramid on to my back and between my shoulder blades.

Then they opened an ornate and filigree door into another chamber.

There was a spot of light on the floor illuminated by a beam. They asked me to stand in the spot of light and the white brilliant light shone down upon me.

They gave me a ball of energy for each hand, and it surged through me several times.

There was an intuition that “I am the Buddha are in one sense one”.

Three concentric blue circles were around me. They rippled up and down my body.

The Christ was there as was the Buddha, I have never seen a being so brim full of love as the Christ, so utterly benevolent. DK was there and yes, I told him that I can withstand.

“This is the inner chamber, and your place is here now. That is your spot.”

“Do you have ideas for me?”

“Yes, but let this pass first.”

“Can I go now?”

“Yes”

Then I “saw” the brightest spark of electric turquoise blue that I had to date seen. Next there was a swirl of kaleidoscope colours.

And then I found myself sat in my meditation chair in Buckinghamshire.

The Yellow Rose and The Soular Lotus

When it comes to models, it is wise to remember that they are just that. It is easy to fall into the trap of imagining the model to be reality and the sum total of reality at that.

When I first started doing the dreaming practice which involves a rājā yoga visualisation of a yellow rose, I was like a duck to water. This was because I can visualize multiple dimensions and things like symmetry operations easily.

Here is an annotated Toltec version of Otz Chiim. In blue are my suggestions.

Visualizing the yellow rose invokes the lightning strike from “on high” and this is an invigorating thing to do. One is intending union with the dreamer the Soul. As a part of the dreaming practice one can ascertain the dreaming colour or in other words upon which ray the egoic or Soular lotus is to be found. The idea is to fully open the heart, the lotus. After eight years of several times a day I switched to the Master in the Heart meditation which builds the Antahkarana {in red} up to the Soular lotus and beyond. In other words, this meditation builds Jacob’s ladder.

The two models do not coincide completely but there are correspondences.

What one has to bear in mind is that these two-dimensional flat representations are in fact at least three dimensions. Visualizing both of these diagrams in 3d should help.

The idea is to bring about complete fusion of Soul and personality, cooperation between the dreamer and the dreamed. This is the first goal of yoga or union.

In effect one hands the steering wheel of the physical plane entity over to the Soul or the Dreamer. Union is the true meaning of yoga.

Personnel of the School – Future Schools of Meditation

October 7th, 1920

We deal today with that portion of our third point in the letter on “Future Schools of Meditation,” which deals with the Personnel of the School.

This term includes both those who supervise and those who are under supervision, and the subject is necessarily large. As said in the earlier parts of this letter, the schools will be in two divisions wherever situated:

  1. A preparatory school for the earlier grades in occult instruction, and situated preferably near some large expanse of water and near some central city.
  2. An advanced school for the later grades, which will definitely prepare the way for initiation, and train pupils in occult lore.

As you will consequently see, the personnel of both schools will necessarily differ, as will the curriculum. We will deal with each type of school separately, and lay down certain fundamentals which must be looked for in instructors and instructed.

The Preparatory Occult School

This – to the outer world – may appear not so different from an ordinary college. The differences will not be recognizable at first to the man of the world, though the differences will be there, and will demonstrate themselves in the school work, to the pupils, and on the inner planes. The fundamentals as regards the instructors are as follows:

  • The Head of the school will be an accepted disciple; it is essential that the Master, Who is back of the work of any particular school, should be able at all times to tap the consciousness of that school as focused through the disciple. This Head will be able to act as a medium of communication between the students and the Master and as a focal point for His force to flow through to them. He must be consciously able to function on the astral plane at night and to bring the knowledge through to the physical brain, for part of his work will be with students on the astral plane, guiding them to the Master’s ashram at certain intervals for specialized work. He will have to train them too in this conscious functioning.
  • Under him will work six instructors, of whom one at least must be a conscious clairvoyant, and able to assist the Head with his information as to the auric development of the students; he must be able to gauge the colors and expansion of the students’ vehicles, and cooperate with the Head in the work of expanding and attuning those vehicles. These instructors must be on the Probationary Path and earnestly devoted to the work of assisting evolution and devoted to the service of some one Master. They must and will be carefully chosen so as to supplement and complement each other, and in the school will form a miniature hierarchy, showing on the physical plane a tiny replica of the occult prototype. As their work will be largely to develop the lower mind of the pupil and to link it up with the higher consciousness, and as the focal point of their endeavor will be the rapid building-in the causal body, they will be men of erudition, and of knowledge, grounded in the knowledge of the Hall of Learning, and able to teach and to compete with the trained teachers of the world universities.
  • In every college the work of these trained seven men will be aided by that of three women chosen for their capacity to teach, for their intuitive development and for the spiritual and devotional touch they will bring to the lives of the students. To these ten teachers will be entrusted the work of grounding the students in the important essentials, in superintending the acquirement of the rudiments of occult lore and science, and their development in the higher psychism. These ten must be profound students of meditation, and able to superintend and teach the pupils the rudiment of occult meditation, as taught, for instance, in this book. Occult facts will be imparted to these pupils by them and the basic laws that – in the advanced school – will be the subject of definite practice by the would-be initiate. Exercises in telepathy, causal communication, reminiscence of work undertaken during the hours of sleep, and the recovering of the memory of past lives, through certain mental processes, will be taught by them, – themselves proficient in these arts.
  • As you will see here, all these teachers will be devoted to the definite training and inner development of the threefold man.
  • Under these will work various other teachers, who will superintend other departments of the pupils’ lives. Exoteric science will be taught and practiced by proficient teachers, and the lower mind will be developed as much as possible, and kept in check by the other ten teachers who watch over the proportional development, and the aptitude for correct meditation of the student.
  • Along with all this will be the life of world-service, rigidly demanded of each and every pupil. This life of service will be carefully watched and recorded. One thing to be noted here is that in this there will be no compulsion. The pupil will know what is expected of him and what he must do if he is to pass on to the more advanced schools, and the school’s charts (recording the condition of his vehicles, and his progress and his capacity to serve) will all be available for his personal inspection, though to no one else. He will know clearly where he stands, what he must do and what remains to be done, and it rests then with him to aid the work by the closest cooperation. A certain amount of care will be taken in the admittance of pupils to the school, and this will obviate the necessity of later removal for inability or lack of interest, but this I will deal with later, when taking up the grades and classes.
  • You have, therefore, ten superintending teachers, composed of seven men and three women, including a Head who is an accepted disciple. Under them will work a set of instructors who will deal largely with the lower mind and in the emotional, physical and mental equipping of the pupil, and his passing into the advanced school in a condition to profit by the instructions there to be imparted. Here I would point out that I have planned out the ideal, and pictured for you the school as it is hoped it will eventually be. But as in all occult development, the beginning will be small and of little apparent importance.

Tomorrow we will take up the rules governing the admission of students and the personnel of the more advanced school.

Personnel of the Advanced School

October 16th, 1920

…Today we will take up the personnel of the advanced school, and the rules of admission to both the preparatory and advanced. This latter part will be largely technical.

The first point I seek to make here is that these advanced schools will be numerically small, and this for a very long time to come, and the personnel will be correspondingly small… At the head of the school will always be found an Initiate of the first or second degree, the aim of the school being to prepare pupils for the first initiation. This necessarily requires an Initiate head. This Initiate head will be definitely appointed by the Master Who has the school in charge, and he will be – within the confines of the school – sole judge and autocrat. The risks of occult training are too great to permit of trifling, and what the Head demands must be obeyed. But this obedience will not be compulsory but voluntary, for each pupil will realize the necessity and will render obedience from spiritual recognition. As aforesaid, these different occult schools will be practically ray schools, and will have for their personnel teachers on some one ray or its complementary ray, with pupils on the same ray or complementary ray. For instance, if the school is a second ray school – such as the one in Ireland is purposed to be – teachers and pupils on the second, fourth and sixth rays will be found in it. At least one fifth ray teacher will be found in every school of occultism. If a first ray school, the personnel and pupils will be first, third and seventh ray, with again a fifth ray teacher among the others.

Under the initiate Head will be two other teachers who will be accepted disciples, and every pupil under them must have passed through the preparatory school, and graduated from all the lower grades. Probably these three will comprise the entire teaching staff, for the pupils under them will be relatively few in number and the work of the teachers is supervisory more than didactic, for the occultist is always esoterically self-taught.

Much of the work done by these three will be on the inner planes, and they will work more in the seclusion of their own rooms than in class room with the students themselves. The pupils are – it will be presumed – ready to work for themselves and to find the way to the portal of initiation alone. The work of the teachers will be advisory, and they will be available to answer questions and to superintend work initiated by the pupil himself, and not compelled by the teacher. Stimulating vibration, aligning the bodies, superintending the work on inner planes, and the pouring in of force with the shielding from danger by occult methods, will be the work, in part, of the Teachers, added to the supervision of definite and strenuous meditation. At intervals they will conduct the pupils to the Master, advise as to their passing into the different grades of discipleship, report at intervals on the quality of their life service and assist them in building their buddhic vehicle, which has to be in an embryonic condition when the first initiation is taken. The teachers likewise superintend the working out in practice of the theories anent the other evolution, the deva evolution, laid down in the preparatory schools; they watch over the manipulation of matter by the pupil and his demonstration of the laws of construction; they safeguard him as far as may be in his contact with subhuman and superhuman evolutions, and teach him to wield the law and to transcend karma. They enable him, through their instructions, to recover the knowledge of past lives and to read the akashic records, but as you will see, the pupil is the one in this school who initiates and does the work, superintended and guarded by the teachers, and his progress and the length of his residence within the school depend upon his own effort and initiatory powers.

The rules of admission into the preparatory school will be somewhat as follows, but I only indicate probabilities and not ascertained and fixed facts:

  1. The pupil must be free from obligatory karma and able to take the course without neglecting his other duties and family ties.
  2. There will be no fees or money charged, and no money transaction. The pupil must be somewhat self-supporting and able to earn the means of livelihood whilst in the school. The schools in both their divisions will be supported through the voluntary contributions of people, and through a knowledge of the laws of supply and demand occultly interpreted.
  3. The pupil must be able to measure up to the average educational standards of his day and generation and must show aptitude for some line of thought.
  4. He must be seen clairvoyantly to have a certain amount of coordination and alignment and the causal body must be of a certain grade or quality before he is admitted. Teachers of occultism waste not time on those not ready. Only when the inner light shines forth, only when the causal body is of a certain capacity can the pupil profit by the curriculum. Therefore, with the Head of the school will the final verdict lie as to whether a pupil may enter or not. That word will be final, and will be passed after due inspection of the pupil by the Head of the school through clairvoyant and causal vision, and after reference to the man’s own Master.
  5. He must have demonstrated, by a previous period of service, his ability to work in group formation and to think in terms of others.
  6. His past incarnations must be somewhat looked up, and the indications given through their study will guide the Head in his final decision.
  7. The pupil must be over twenty-one and under forty-two years of age.
  8. His etheric body must be in good condition and be a good transmitter of prana, and there must be no physical disease or handicapping physical deformity.

These are the fundamental rules which it is at present possible to give. There will be others and the problem of selection may pass through some vicissitudes in solving.

The rules for admission into the advanced school are far more esoteric and fewer in number. The pupils will be chosen from out of the preparatory school, after having passed through the graded courses. But selection will depend not on the mental development and the assimilation of concrete knowledge, but upon the inner comprehension and the occult understanding of the student, upon the quality of the tone of his life as it sounds forth in the inner world, upon the brilliance of the indwelling light, and upon his power in service.

This suffices for today; tomorrow we will deal with the final division of this third point, the buildings of the school.

——

Excerpted from

Letters on Occult Meditation – Letter IX – Future Schools of Meditation

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul

The Crown Chakra Heart Chakra Channel

I’ll talk about a thought from which I built as a part of a raja yoga meditation. I’ll make the comment that this form was augmented in its construction using several mantras, OM AH HUM and OM MANE PADME HUM {the Jewel in the Centre of the Lotus}. It might seem strange, but I am able to chant and visualize simultaneously.

——————————–

Sit comfortably, breathe easy and close your eyes.

To begin with visualize a closed golden lotus bud, free in space around six inches in front of your Anja centre. Build this form with care, the lotus is situated on an auric pin, made of gold. Neither the lotus nor the pin has the lustre of physical plane gold it is slightly more yellow and imbued with an almost pastel gentle radiance.

Hold the lotus in space and slowly rotate it, “drink it in” with your inner eye. Behold, is a good phrase for this.

Now strike a rotating sea of blue electric fire such that it forms a complete, vivacious and radiant ring around the auric pin. The bud of the lotus floats gently on this blue electric sea.

{Think the rings on a gas cooker, ignited and without the kitchen lights on as a seed image for building this blue electric fire}.

Stabilize the image.

Now allow the lotus bud to rise slightly such that one has room to open the petals.

Om Mane Padme Hum

Begin to open the golden bud such that there are three petals open, do this slowly and with anticipation much like a time lapse photograph. Open the petals such that they are just above the blue electric sea but not immersed or wet by it.

Om Mane Padme Hum

Begin to open the next set of three petals in a similar manner to above. Noting that they fall between the first set of petals.

Om Mane Padme Hum

Repeat for the next set of petals.

Behold resplendent the Jewel in the Centre of the Lotus.

Visualize a multi-facetted diamond of brilliant clarity and a feeling of white sparkle.

{Note I said feeling not image here.}

Start to rotate the diamond around its axes very slowly. Enjoy the flashes of sparkle as it rotates.

Allow the diamond to rise slightly so that it is above the layers of petals and positioned on the auric pin.

Strike the blue electric fire so that it forms an additional circulating sea sat on top of the golden petals and upon which the diamond rotates.

Stabilize the image and increase slightly the speed of rotation. Let the image imprint slightly via the Anja centre. You may start to become sensationally aware of the Anja centre.

Now via the Anja centre allow your consciousness to rise up above the rotating diamond and “you” are now looking down on the top face of the diamond.

Slow the diamond down to a stop.

Check that the blue electric fire is still circulating on the lotus petals and underneath them. Bring your consciousness back to above the diamond.

You are now ready to circulate an electric fire on the top of the diamond. “Call” or “invoke” that fire from above.

{It may take many goes at building this form until it works.}

When the first hint of Monadic flame arrives circulate it with care.

{The colour you generate will inform you.}

You only need a very small circulation something like one tenth of the radius of the diamond.  Allow this circulation to stabilize, noting that although it is more energetic it is much less substantial.

Place your consciousness in the exact central axes of the diamond above the circulating fire.

Then will your consciousness upwards. You will hit what feels like a manhole cover and the fontanelle may start to tingle.

You are just below the crown chakra; you haven’t entered it yet. You may note that it is somewhat offset from Ajna but directly above heart.

Do not try to enter it unless you have constructed the buddhic and atmic sheaths.

This channel above the heart and below the crown will, in time, be the exit passage at time of passing.

Now in order to return to the physical plane you must retrace your steps.

Slowly lower your consciousness so that you are just above the circulating monadic flame. Pause.

Start to slow the flame down and gradually allow it to dim.

Start to rotate the diamond.

With your Anja centre take your consciousness so that it has a side on view of the diamond.

Pause there and do the equivalent of what divers do, allow time to equilibrate.

Start to slow the diamond. Then allow the blue electric fire to stop circulating and let it dim.

Allow the diamond to rest back on to its petals.

Then with your mind’s eye wrap the diamond in the petals as if it were a most precious gift for a Maharajah.

Allow the blue electric fire to slow and dim.

Now all you have left is that closed golden lotus bud in the “space” in front of your Ajna.

Bring you mind back inside your body allowing the image to fade.

Now feel the sensation of your body, your hands your seat and hear the sounds of the room.

Clap your hands three times.

Open your eyes, you are back on planet earth…

Different Types of Meditation

I’ll introduce the various different types of meditation that I have experimented with and make some comments about them.

Gazing

I mentioned that as a child I used to gaze at distant objects and become utterly absorbed by them, no thought involved. It is possible to while away great swathes of time in this manner. It is related a little to combing the shadows or gazing at shadows. If one concentrates hard on the shadow of say a leaf, or a tree or pretty much anything one starts to open and experience what can be termed the second attention. This differs from ordinary reality and can be quite spooky at first. In particular if one does gazing at dusk or dawn, some surprising stuff can be observed. Dusk and dawn can be thought of as the gap between worlds. You never know what you may / may not encounter whilst in the second attention at these junctures, this is particularly true when one is far away from concentrations of human beings. It is possible to enter the second attention for extended periods of time. I used to do this when hiking solo in the countryside.

Focusing on an object.

People rarely look and observe with commitment or intensity unless it is their job. I bet art restorers have a fantastic attention to detail. One can train the mind to focus by focussing on an object which may be static or dynamic. This might be a painting, a candle, or a fire.  Anyone who has really concentrated on a fire say in a log burner, for a long time knows how utterly absorbing and transcendental it can be. It can be mesmerizing or engaging. Fire meditations can lead one to strange places. Again, one can focus on the shadows of a candle.

Moving Meditations

These include martial arts and possibly asana. I am not at all supple, so I don’t know about the latter. My first experience of Zen and seiza came at a karate dojo. Where most sessions would end with a ten-minute meditation sat. We also did special breathing exercises in hourglass stance. After having done 1000 high level kicks, meditating in seiza, when the sensei is prowling with a shinai to whack you with if your posture sags, is quite an experience. One can find empty mind easily after extreme exercise. As one progresses in martial arts one is increasingly present in the moment, in the zone, and there is a martial state of mind which is hyper attuned to movement and flow. This differs in flavour between arts, yet to my limited experience there is commonality. Many of these states are generative of ki/qi/chi/prana.

Sound Meditations

Do you really listen to music totally and with every fibre of your being?

If you do you will know that listening to music is a highly meditative thing. Why is there plain song chant, mantra chanting and myriad other forms of music? Because there is nothing quite like certain types of music for speaking direct the soul, not all types but more than you might think. As an art form, the pinnacle of live opera in a cathedral such as The Royal Opera House or a mass in a Cathedral is hard to beat. It touches something deep inside. And if you are a participant as opposed to a recipient the collective ritual is evocative.

Emptiness Meditations

This is the complete and utter stilling of any thought process or fleeting emotion, seeking that point of utter inner silence before any single nascent thought has even begun to stir. There is the point before mind, the void, in which no-thing stirs, no-flicker of idea, no germ of discussion, not an iota of opine, nor a flickering emotion. Total silence, sans bruit. The point before mind is empty, yet it too is impermanent for there must be in time an influx. Time stops but time must restart, that is Dao, flow cannot be held at bay. There in that point before mind one can quite literally see a tiny foetus of thought begin to impregnate the silence and one Knows that one is the thinker and not the thought. When one attains the point before mind one literally stops the world.

Constructive Thought Form Building or Imagination

I have done two of these Toltec Dreaming Practice and The Master in the Heart. One visualises a yellow rose, the other a golden lotus. We have occident and orient. One evokes the lightning strike of energy down, one builds the Antahkarana up. Unlike emptiness practice these raja yoga techniques are constructive, literally building by the focussed and intelligent use of “mind”.

The Zen and the Art of Laser Alignment / Peeling Mangoes / Laying Flooring / Cooking Dinner….

Total absorption in the action, becoming at one with the action and not rushing, having no goal orientation, just doing. No internal dialogue, the eternity of now.

There is scene in the film Fearless where the main protagonist tries to compete in planting rice, in rushing he makes a mess of it and his blind carer has to go out the next day and replant what he has planted. This is the antheses of Zen and the Art of..

His mind was in win-space and not present.

Hmnn, I am pretty sure that I could expand on these…

Daydreaming or Meditation?

I’ll start by referring back to the previous post on Dhyāna. Trying to classify quantized states of awareness using a pseudo-intellectual framework is to fail and from a Zen point of view, badly. Already one is hooked into comparison mind which is not a state of awareness rather a process of comparison.

I’ll make a bold statement; awareness is a continuum and cannot be quantized or quantified no matter how much you might like to do so! If you like intellectual masturbation, the concept of defining states of awareness might give you a boner or make you damp. Enlightenment it is not! It is at best an intellectual exercise wherein the nit pickers of the world can argue the toss with each other.

Retrospect has suggested to me that I began meditation at an early age, it was partially due to me having to spend large amounts of time on my own waiting for people. It was also due to me staring in a relaxed manner into the distance and sitting in near silence with my maternal grandfather on benches as he puffed on his stinky pipe and looked out across the Rhondda valley. Gazing into the distance at scenery and simply absorbing it is a fine way to calm the mind. It is not taking in every detail and having internal dialogue, it is absorbing, being in the moment and to an extent at one with the scenery.

Whenever I was caught doing this gazing thing, I was “accused” of daydreaming. I have to admit that I did do this to check out from the noise of a largely extrovert family, from time to time, it turned the volume off and there was the silence inner despite the cacophony outer.

“He is off daydreaming again…”

“ahh, peace, no noise…”

So much is written in bated breath perhaps about the zen cushion, the abstemious monks meditating, the yogis doing extreme body piercing, the rubber asana yoga people, and there is discussion as to who is the best. This “top trumps” mentality misses the point. There is no TripAdvisor guide as to which is the best path to nirvana, besides who in reality could make a cogent comment based on personal experience?

Do you know what my test would be, it goes something like this:

Could you in the middle of a painful messy divorce, with a grant application deadline looming, maintain the point of no mind from Brixton tube station to Victoria at 8:30 AM on a Monday morning in a crowded tube train?

This is the weird thing for me, there is a disconnect. Meditation is not something one does for 20 mins a day down at the dharma centre, the yoga club, the church. It needs to happen in real life context like a tube train journey into work. Until one can do it under non-ideal conditions, one does not have control.

And here is the funny bit. There is a lot of prejudice against smokers. I quit about six months ago. I was accustomed to sit, stare into space and chuff on a tab. What people saw was some vile geezer smoking. Doesn’t he know that smoking will kill him? What a vile disgusting habit! Tut, tut, tut.

What I was doing was gazing direct into infinity.

Dhyāna

From Wikipedia

In the oldest texts of Buddhism, dhyāna (Sanskrit) or jhāna (Pāḷi) is the training of the mind, commonly translated as meditation, to withdraw the mind from the automatic responses to sense-impressions, and leading to a “state of perfect equanimity and awareness (upekkhā-sati-parisuddhi).” Dhyāna may have been the core practice of pre-sectarian Buddhism, in combination with several related practices which together lead to perfected mindfulness and detachment and are fully realized with the practice of dhyana.

In the later commentarial tradition, which has survived in present-day Theravāda, dhyāna is equated with “concentration,” a state of one-pointed absorption in which there is a diminished awareness of the surroundings. In the contemporary Theravāda-based Vipassana movement, this absorbed state of mind is regarded as unnecessary and even non-beneficial for awakening, which has to be reached by mindfulness of the body and vipassanā (insight into impermanence). Since the 1980s, scholars and practitioners have started to question this equation, arguing for a more comprehensive and integrated understanding and approach, based on the oldest descriptions of dhyāna in the suttas.

In Chán and Zen, the names of which Buddhist traditions are the Chinese and Japanese pronunciations, respectively, of dhyāna, dhyāna is the central practice, which is ultimately based on Sarvastivāda meditation practices, and has been transmitted since the beginning of the Common Era.

Etymology

Dhyāna, from Proto-Indo-European root *√dheie-, “to see, to look,” “to show.” Developed into Sanskrit root √dhī and n. dhī, which in the earliest layer of text of the Vedas refers to “imaginative vision” and associated with goddess Saraswati with powers of knowledge, wisdom and poetic eloquence. This term developed into the variant √dhyā, “to contemplate, meditate, think”, from which dhyāna is derived.

According to Buddhaghosa (5th century CE Theravāda exegete), the term jhāna (Skt. dhyāna) is derived from the verb jhayati, “to think or meditate,” while the verb jhapeti, “to burn up,” explicates its function, namely burning up opposing states, burning up or destroying “the mental defilements preventing […] the development of serenity and insight.”

Commonly translated as meditation, and often equated with “concentration,” though meditation may refer to a wider scala of exercises for bhāvanā, development. Dhyāna can also mean “attention, thought, reflection.”

The jhānas

The Pāḷi canon describes four progressive states of jhāna called rūpa jhāna (“form jhāna“), and four additional meditative states called arūpa (“without form”).

Preceding practices

Meditation and contemplation are preceded by several practices, which are fully realized with the practice of dhyāna. As described in the Noble Eightfold Path, right view leads to leaving the household life and becoming a wandering monk. Sīla (morality) comprises the rules for right conduct. Right effort, or the four right efforts, aim to prevent the arising of unwholesome states, and to generate wholesome states. This includes indriya samvara (sense restraint), controlling the response to sensual perceptions, not giving in to lust and aversion but simply noticing the objects of perception as they appear. Right effort and mindfulness calm the mind-body complex, releasing unwholesome states and habitual patterns, and encouraging the development of wholesome states and non-automatic responses. By following these cumulative steps and practices, the mind becomes set, almost naturally, for the practice of dhyāna. The practice of dhyāna reinforces the development of wholesome states, leading to upekkhā (equanimity) and mindfulness.

The rūpa jhānas

Qualities of the rūpa jhānas

The practice of dhyāna is aided by ānāpānasati, mindfulness of breathing. The Suttapiṭaka and the Agamas describe four stages of rūpa jhāna. Rūpa refers to the material realm, in a neutral stance, as different from the kāma realm (lust, desire) and the arūpa-realm (non-material realm). Each jhāna is characterised by a set of qualities which are present in that jhāna.

  • First dhyāna: the first dhyāna can be entered when one is secluded from sensuality and unskillful qualities, due to withdrawal and right effort. There is pīti (“rapture”) and non-sensual sukha (“pleasure”) as the result of seclusion, while vitarka-vicara (“discursive thought”) continues.
  • Second dhyāna: there is pīti (“rapture”) and non-sensual sukha (“pleasure”) as the result of concentration (samadhi-ji, “born of samadhi”); ekaggata (unification of awareness) free from vitarka-vicara (“discursive thought”); sampasadana (“inner tranquility”).
  • Third dhyāna: upekkhā (equanimous; “affective detachment”), mindful, and alert, and senses pleasure with the body.
  • Fourth dhyāna: upekkhāsatipārisuddhi (purity of equanimity and mindfulness); neither-pleasure-nor-pain. Traditionally, the fourth jhāna is seen as the beginning of attaining psychic powers (abhijñā).

The arūpas

Grouped into the jhāna-scheme are four meditative states referred to in the early texts as arūpas. These are also referred to in commentarial literature as immaterial/formless jhānas (arūpajhānas), also translated as The Formless Dimensions, to be distinguished from the first four jhānas (rūpa jhānas). In the Buddhist canonical texts, the word “jhāna” is never explicitly used to denote them; they are instead referred to as āyatana. However, they are sometimes mentioned in sequence after the first four jhānas (other texts, e.g. MN 121, treat them as a distinct set of attainments) and thus came to be treated by later exegetes as jhānas. The immaterial are related to, or derived from, yogic meditation, while the jhānas proper are related to the cultivation of the mind. The state of complete dwelling in emptiness is reached when the eighth jhāna is transcended.

The four arūpas are:

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

Although the “Dimension of Nothingness” and the “Dimension of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception” are included in the list of nine jhānas taught by the Buddha they are not included in the Noble Eightfold Path. Noble Truth number eight is sammā samādhi (Right Concentration), and only the first four jhānas are considered “Right Concentration.” If he takes a disciple through all the jhānas, the emphasis is on the “Cessation of Feelings and Perceptions” rather than stopping short at the “Dimension of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception”.

Nirodha-samāpatti

Beyond the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception lies a state called nirodha samāpatti, the “cessation of perception, feelings and consciousness”. Only in commentarial and scholarly literature, this is sometimes called the “ninth jhāna

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And from Wikipédia

Dhyāna

Dhyāna (sanskrit : ध्यान (devanāgarī) ; pali : झान, romanisation, jhāna ; chinois simplifié : 禅 ; chinois traditionnel : 禪 ; pinyin : chán ; coréen : 선, translit. : seon ; zen (禅?) ; vietnamien : thiền ; tibétain : བསམ་གཏན, Wylie : bsam gtan, THL : Samten) est un terme sanskrit qui correspond dans les Yoga Sūtra de Patañjali au septième membre (aṅga) du Yoga. Ce terme désigne des états de concentration cultivés dans l’hindouisme, le bouddhisme, et le jaïnisme. Il est souvent traduit par « absorption », bien qu’étymologiquement il signifie simplement méditation ou contemplation. Le terme méditation est utilisé aujourd’hui comme un mot désignant de nombreuses techniques en occident, il s’apparente à la vigilance en psychologie ou en philosophie. Historiquement et pour le sous-continent indien, dhyana en est le plus proche.

Patañjali, le compilateur des Yoga Sūtra, en fait une étape préliminaire du samādhi. Les deux termes sont interchangés pour désigner ces états de conscience « transcendants ». Par exemple, les traductions Ch’an en chinois, Sŏn en coréeen, Thiền en vietnamien et Zen en japonais sont des noms d’écoles de dhyāna bouddhistes, dérivées les unes des autres, où dhyāna prend ce sens fort de samādhi.

On rencontre plus souvent, en bouddhisme, le terme pāli jhāna, parce que les enseignements qui y sont liés sont plutôt une préoccupation de l’école Theravāda.

Therāvada

Atteindre les jhānas correspond au développement de la tranquillité et de la sagesse (voir Samatha bhavana). On distingue cinq jhānas de la forme ou de la sphère physique pure, et quatre jhanas dans la méditation sur les royaumes immatériels. Anapanasati est la principale technique d’accès aux jhānas, la méditation metta en est une autre. Ces jhānas sont différenciés en fonction des « facteurs » qui les caractérisent :

  • Application initiale (mouvement de l’esprit vers l’objet de méditation) : vitakka ;
  • Application soutenue (saisie de l’objet par l’esprit) : vicāra ;
  • Joie, ravissement : piti ;
  • Bonheur : sukha ;
  • Concentration en un point : ekaggata ;
  • Équanimité : upekkha.

Pour être atteints, les jhānas nécessitent la suppression de cinq empêchements :

  • le désir des sens (kāmacchanda) ;
  • la colère ou l’animosité (vyāpāda) ;
  • la paresse ou la torpeur (thīna-middha) ;
  • l’agitation ou le remords (uddhacca-kukkucca) ;
  • le doute (vicikicchā).

Les cinq jhānas du monde de la forme comportent tous des facteurs différents ; leur nombre est souvent réduit à quatre (en ne tenant pas compte d’un état intermédiaire entre le premier et le deuxième, dépourvu de vitakka, mais avec un reste de vicāra) :

  1. premier dhyâna : vitakka, vicāra, piti, sukha et ekaggata (le monde des cinq sens est complètement transcendé) ;
  2. deuxième dhyâna : piti, sukha et ekaggata (il n’y a plus d’action, de mouvement du mental, sont seulement ressentis la joie et le bonheur).
  3. troisième dhyâna : sukha et ekaggata (seul le bonheur demeure).
  4. quatrième dhyâna : upekkha et ekaggata (pure équanimité, il y a arrêt temporaire de la respiration dans cet état).

Ces deux facteurs, équanimité et concentration, resteront présents dans les 4 jhānas du sans-forme ou non physiques.

Les quatre royaumes immatériels de la méditation sont :

  1. la sphère de l’espace infini
  2. la sphère de la conscience infinie
  3. la sphère du néant
  4. la sphère sans perception et sans non-perception

Yoga Sutras of Patañjali- Integration, Illumination and Freedom

Excerpted from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul

And “A Sanskrit English Translation” By Chip Hartranft

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 3 – Union achieved and its Results.

1. Concentration is the fixing of the chitta (mind stuff) upon a particular object. This is dharana.

We have now reached the part of the Yoga Sutras which deals specifically with mind control and with the effect of that control. The first fifteen sutras are given to the control of the mind and how it is to be attained and the remaining forty sutras concern the results which take place after this control has been gained. Twenty-four results are enumerated, and these are all along the line of expansions of consciousness and the demonstration of psychic faculties, both lower and higher.

The first step towards this unfoldment is concentration, or the ability to hold the mind steadily and unwaveringly upon that which the aspirant chooses. This first step is one of the most difficult stages in the meditation process and involves constant unremitting ability to keep bringing the mind back to that “object” upon which the aspirant has chosen to concentrate. The stages in concentration are themselves well marked and can be stated as follows:

  1. The choice of some “object” upon which to concentrate,
  2. The withdrawing of the mind-consciousness from the periphery of the body, so that the avenues of outer perception and contact (the five senses) are stilled, and the consciousness is no longer outgoing,
  3. The centering of the consciousness and its steadying within the head at a point midway between the eyebrows,
  4. The application of the mind, or the paying of close attention to the object chosen for concentration,
  5. The visualization of that object, imaginative perception of it and logical reasoning about it,
  6. The extension of the mental concepts which have been formed from the specific and particular to the general and the universal or cosmic,
  7. An attempt to arrive at that which lies back of the form considered, or to reach the idea which is responsible for the form.

This process gradually steps up the consciousness and enables the aspirant to arrive at the life side of manifestation instead of the form side. He begins however with the form or “object.” Objects upon which to concentrate are of four kinds:

  1. External objects, such as images of the deity, pictures or forms in nature,
  2. Internal objects, such as the centers in the etheric body,
  3. Qualities, such as the various virtues, with the intent to awaken desire for these virtues and thus to build them into the content of the personal life,
  4. Mental concepts or those ideas which embody the ideals lying back of all animated forms. These may take the form of symbols or of words.

In one of the Puranas the idea embodied in concentration is expressed most beautifully. The aspirant is told, after he has made use of the first five means of yoga (dealt with in Book II), that he “should make a localization of the mind stuff upon some auspicious support” and this localization is illustrated by a description of the fixing of the attention upon a form of God.

    “The incarnated form of the Exalted One leaves one without desire for any other support. This should be understood to be fixed, attention, when the mind stuff is fixed upon this form. And what is this incarnate form of Hari on which one should ponder, let that be heard by thee, 0 Ruler of Men. Fixed attention is not possible without something on which to fix it.” (Vishnu Purana V 1. 7. 75-85.)

Then follows a description of the incarnated form of the Exalted One, concluding with these words:

    “…upon Him let the yogin ponder; and lost in Him, concentrate his own mind until, 0, King, the fixed attention becomes firmly fixed upon Him only. While performing this or while doing, as he wills, some other action wherein his mind does not wander, he should then deem this fixed attention to be perfected.” (Naradiya Purana LXVII. 54-62.)

It is the realization of the necessity for “objects” in concentration that originated the demand for images, sacred sculptures and pictures. All these objects entail the use of the lower concrete mind and this is the necessary preliminary stage. Their use brings the mind into a controlled condition so that the aspirant can make it adjust what he chooses. The four types of objects mentioned above carry the aspirant gradually inwards and enable him to transfer his consciousness from the physical plane into the etheric realm, from thence into the world of desire or of the emotions, and so into the world of mental ideas and concepts. This process, which is carried on within the brain, brings the entire lower man into a state of one-pointed coherent attention, all parts of his nature being directed to the attainment of fixed attention or a concentration of all the mental faculties. The mind then is no longer scattering, unsteady and outgoing, but is fully “fixed in attention.” Vivekananda translates “dharana” as “holding the mind to one thought for twelve seconds.” This clear, one-pointed, still perception of an object, without any other object or thought entering into one’s consciousness is most difficult of achievement, and when it can be done for the space of twelve seconds, true concentration is being achieved.


55. When the objective forms and the soul have reached a condition of equal purity, then is At-one-ment achieved and liberation results.

That which veils the light of the soul has been rendered pure, and thus the light of God streams forth. That which proved a hindrance and an obstacle to the full expression of divinity in manifestation has been so dealt with that now it serves as an adequate expression and means of service. The soul can now function freely and intelligently in the three worlds because complete unity has been reached between the lower and the higher man.

The soul and its vehicles form a unit and are at one; complete alignment of the bodies has been achieved and the Son of God can function freely on earth. Thus has the great objective been reached and through a following of the eight means of yoga the soul can manifest through the lower threefold man, and in its turn form a medium of expression for the spirit. Matter has been brought into a state where its vibration can synchronize with that of the soul, and the result is that – for the first time – spirit can make its presence felt, for “matter is the vehicle for the manifestation of soul on this plane of experience and the soul is the vehicle for the manifestation of spirit on a higher turn of the spiral. These three are a trinity synthesized by life which pervades them all.” To the man who has achieved this there is no rebirth. He is free and liberated, and can say with full conscious realization of the significance of the words:

    My life (the lower physical life) is hid with Christ (the soul life) in God (the spirit.) (Col., III, 3)

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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 4 – Illumination

1. The higher and lower siddhis (or powers) are gained by incarnation, or by drugs, words of power, intense desire or by meditation.

We have now come to the fourth book in which the powers and the results gained by the practice of Raja Yoga are carried forward into group realization and it is seen that they produce universal consciousness and not simply self-consciousness. It seems the part of wisdom to protest here against the use of the words “cosmic consciousness” as untrue and misleading, for even the highest adept (note this term with care) is only gifted with solar consciousness and has no contact with that which is outside our solar system. The planetary Logoi (the seven Spirits before the Throne), and the Lords of Karma (the “four wheels” of Ezekiel) have a realization beyond that of our solar system. Lesser existences may sense it as a possibility but it is not yet part of their experience.

The powers gained fall into two main groups called:

  • Lower psychic powers, the lower siddhis.
  • Spiritual powers or the higher siddhis.

The lower powers are the result of the consciousness of the animal soul in man being en rapport with the anima mundi or the soul of the world, the subjective side of all forms in the three worlds, of all bodies in the four kingdoms of nature. The higher powers are the result of the development of group consciousness, of the second aspect of divinity. They not only include the lesser powers but put a man en rapport with those existences and forms of life which are to be found in the spiritual realms, or, as the occultist would say, on those two planes which are beyond the three worlds, and which cover the entire scale of man’s evolution, human and superhuman.

The goal of the true aspirant is the unfoldment of these higher powers which can be covered by the terms direct knowledge, intuitive perception, spiritual insight, pure vision, the attainment of the wisdom. They are different from the lower powers, for they abrogate them. These latter are accurately described for us in Book III, Sutra 37:

    “These powers are obstacles to the highest spiritual realization, but serve as magical powers in the objective worlds.”

These higher powers are inclusive and are distinguished by their accuracy and infallibility when rightly employed. Their working is as instantaneous as a flash of light. The lower powers are fallible, the time element is present in its sequential sense and they are limited in their working. They form part of the great illusion and to the true aspirant constitute a limitation.

In the sutra we are considering, five means are given whereby the psychic powers are developed and it is interesting to note that we have in these words an instance of the fact that the Yoga Sutras can still be the study and teaching manual of even such advanced aspirants as the Masters of the Wisdom. These five methods are capable of application upon all the five planes of human evolution, which include the two higher planes whereon initiates of the Mysteries function.

 1. Incarnation                   The physical plane method.

2. Drugs                            The release of the astral consciousness.

3. Words of Power           Creation by speech, or the method of the mental plane.

4. Intense desire              The sublimation of aspiration or the method of the buddhic plane, the sphere of spiritual love.

5. Meditation                 The method of the atmic plane, the sphere of spiritual will.

 In this enumeration, it might be noted that just as intense desire of a spiritual kind is a sublimation of astral or emotional desire, so meditation, as practised by the initiates, is the sublimation of all the mental processes. Therefore the two final methods given as resulting in the unfoldment of the siddhis are the only ones that are practised by initiates, being the synthesis and sublimation of the realizations achieved on the astral and mental planes.

It might, therefore, be observed that (for the seeker after truth) incarnation, intense desire and meditation are the three permissible methods, and the only ones to be practised; drugs and words of power or mantric incantations are the tools of black magic and concern the lower powers.

The question might here be asked, is it not true that words of power and the use of incense form part of the ceremonies of initiation and therefore are used by initiates and aspirants. Certainly, but not in the sense understood here, or for the purpose of developing psychic powers. The Masters and their disciples use words of power in order to deal with the non-human existences, to invoke the aid of the angels, and to manipulate the building forces of nature, and they employ herbs and incenses in order to purify conditions, eliminate undesirable entities and so make it possible for those higher upon the ladder of evolution to make their presence felt. This is, however, a very different thing to their use in order to become psychic.

It is interesting to note here that the first cause producing the unfoldment of soul powers, whether higher or lower, is the great wheel of rebirth. This must ever be taken into account. Everyone is not yet at the stage where it is possible for him to unfold the powers of the soul. The soul aspect is still dormant for many because full experience and development of the lower nature has not yet been undergone. The forty years’ wandering in the wilderness with the Tabernacle and the conquest of Canaan, had to precede the rule of the kings and the building of the Temple of Solomon. Lives must be passed before the body, or the Mother aspect, is so perfected that the Christ Child can be formed within the prepared vessel. It should also be remembered that the possession of the lower psychic powers is in many cases a symptom of a low stage of evolution and of the close association of their owner with the animal nature. This has to be outgrown before the higher powers can blossom forth.

It is needless to point out that the use of alcohol and of drugs can and does release the astral consciousness, as also the practice of sex magic, but this is astralism pure and simple and with this the true student of Raja Yoga has naught to do. It is part of unfoldment on the left-hand Path. The gaining of the soul powers by intense desire (or fervent aspiration) and by meditation has been covered in the other books and need not be enlarged upon here.

32. The modifications of the mind stuff (or qualities of matter), through the inherent nature of the three gunas come to an end, for they have served their purpose.

33. Time, which is the sequence of the modifications of the mind, likewise terminates, giving place to the Eternal Now.

34. The state of isolated unity becomes possible when the three qualities of matter (the three gunas or potencies of nature) no longer exercise any hold over the Self. The pure spiritual consciousness withdraws into the One.