Asher Topaz

Are the Four Jhanas the equivalent of jing, chi, shen and emptiness transformation in Daoist Alchemy(Nei Dan)

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I started as a Buddhist practicioner cause I read on a reddit forum how Jhanas could increase human intelligence. For some reason as young as I could remember I always felt humans could be better and we were not using our full mental power. At some point I came across Daoism. I found their extremely datailed and logical approach quite fascinating. And in studying daoism I came across Bill Bodri who seemed to equate the 2 different traditions.

It almost seems like they are doing the same thing through different approaches. Someone said the buddhism achieves freedom from karma or enlightenment by making ones consciousness egoless while daoism seems to make ones consciousness so powerful that its karma cant pull it back to earth what they would call the yang shen.

Furthermore the jhanas and the transformation of the three treasures were seen as the same thing were first jhana body is full of jing hence the pleasure or what they call piti and sukkha. In second Jhana the jing transforms into chi. Hence the feeling of joy and loss of body awareness, By third jhana the chi turns to shen. Hence the contentment. By fourth jhana you reach emptiness. Hence the equanmity. Then the immaterial jhanas where one breaks the emptiness. And finally enlightenment where one unites with the Dao. What do you giys think?

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since you put this in Buddhist section I won't say much except for the idea of someone being "so powerful" (or sounding like more powerful) than karma doesn't sound kosher for any school or being...!?  For one's karma would still land them somewhere in the wheel, meaning maybe not in the earth realm; but a common teaching is that even most angels and god level beings are still in the wheel...(as clearly depicted in Tibetan Buddhism)   

Edited by old3bob
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On 2/9/2022 at 9:25 AM, Asher Topaz said:

 

Furthermore the jhanas and the transformation of the three treasures were seen as the same thing were first jhana body is full of jing hence the pleasure or what they call piti and sukkha. In second Jhana the jing transforms into chi. Hence the feeling of joy and loss of body awareness, By third jhana the chi turns to shen. Hence the contentment. By fourth jhana you reach emptiness. Hence the equanmity. Then the immaterial jhanas where one breaks the emptiness. And finally enlightenment where one unites with the Dao. What do you giys think?
 


Maybe you could say that. 

I like the characterization of the development of chi in the classics:


With this method of circulating ch’i (Tai Chi), it overflows into the sinews, reaches the bone marrow, fills the diaphragm, and manifests in the skin and hair.

 

(“Master Cheng’s Thirteen Chapters on T’ai-Chi Ch’uan”, translated by Wile, 1st ed pg 17)
 

That, I think, corresponds to the first four jhanas.


 

 

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On 2022-02-09 at 6:25 PM, Asher Topaz said:

 

Someone said the buddhism achieves freedom from karma or enlightenment by making ones consciousness egoless while daoism seems to make ones consciousness so powerful that its karma cant pull it back to earth what they would call the yang shen.

 

So yes, for example nei dan works on energetics. 

And being powerful is better than being weak, if all other things are equal. 

 

The question is, what does one do with that energetics? 

Hoard it, like Smaug? 

Or transmute it, like a Xian? 

How does one reach the state described in DDJ ch 50?

 

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On 2/9/2022 at 9:25 AM, Asher Topaz said:

I started as a Buddhist practicioner cause I read on a reddit forum how Jhanas could increase human intelligence.

 

I'd be curious to read the source for that. While that might happen somehow it is far from what jhanas really do - which is give us a temporary experientially similar taste of what true insights into the nature of reality are. 

 

Buddhism is intended to reduce our discontentment (suffering) in the world, and with any luck help precipitate a moment where we see things as they are. Cherishing ourselves, or becoming better "performers" is just delusion - a trap. 

 

Quote

Furthermore the jhanas and the transformation of the three treasures were seen as the same thing were first jhana body is full of jing hence the pleasure or what they call piti and sukkha. In second Jhana the jing transforms into chi. Hence the feeling of joy and loss of body awareness, By third jhana the chi turns to shen.

 

These might seem metaphorically similar, but experientially are different. We can see through their reality by experiencing their emptiness of intrinsic reality through the jhanas. The jhanas do not ultimately become or lead to enlightenment, but can be a slightly distorted taste - only temporary as states. Enlightenment is first-hand, indelible knowledge/wisdom about the nature of things that can't be unseen.

 

This is my experience.

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11 hours ago, stirling said:

 

I'd be curious to read the source for that. While that might happen somehow it is far from what jhanas really do - which is give us a temporary experientially similar taste of what true insights into the nature of reality are. 

 

Buddhism is intended to reduce our discontentment (suffering) in the world, and with any luck help precipitate a moment where we see things as they are. Cherishing ourselves, or becoming better "performers" is just delusion - a trap. 

 

 

These might seem metaphorically similar, but experientially are different. We can see through their reality by experiencing their emptiness of intrinsic reality through the jhanas. The jhanas do not ultimately become or lead to enlightenment, but can be a slightly distorted taste - only temporary as states. Enlightenment is first-hand, indelible knowledge/wisdom about the nature of things that can't be unseen.

 

This is my experience.

 

Is it not  clearly recorded and written in well known  Buddhist doctrine that the historic Buddha spoke of, used and went through the jhanas as he left this world?  

Edited by old3bob
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7 hours ago, old3bob said:

Is it not  clearly recorded and written in well known  Buddhist doctrine that the historic Buddha spoke of, used and went through the jhanas as he left this world?  

 

Yes, that sounds possible. It would be an easy way (if you are familiar with the states) to get yourself as deep in emptiness as you could so that you could easily recognize the clear light in the bardo state. What I am saying is that the jhanas themselves are not insight, they are training - learning to recognize experientially what the nature of mind/emptiness is.

 

Jhanas are commonly held up to be almost unobtainable, but we commonly pass through some of the jhanas accidentally, not realizing what they are. Leigh Brassington (jhana expert) described them as like radio frequencies we learn to tune into. Our ability and range comes with dropping levels of obscuration and practice. I am, at best, average and I know a number of enlightened teachers with middling jhana skills at best. It isn't any kind of prerequisite for anything.

 

The jhanas also resonate with levels of understanding in the Four Stages of Awakening model from the Sutta Pitaka. 

 

Quote

 

In the 4th Stage, the Arhat no longer has:

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_awakening#The_four_stages_of_attainment

 

There is no attachment because the Arhat understands that the absorptions (jhanas) are only states, not insight itself.  True insight is not temporary, and can be seen in any other mind state.

Edited by stirling
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2 hours ago, stirling said:

 

Yes, that sounds possible. It would be an easy way (if you are familiar with the states) to get yourself as deep in emptiness as you could so that you could easily recognize the clear light in the bardo state. What I am saying is that the jhanas themselves are not insight, they are training - learning to recognize experientially what the nature of mind/emptiness is.

 

Jhanas are commonly held up to be almost unobtainable, but we commonly pass through some of the jhanas accidentally, not realizing what they are. Leigh Brassington (jhana expert) described them as like radio frequencies we learn to tune into. Our ability and range comes with dropping levels of obscuration and practice. I am, at best, average and I know a number of enlightened teachers with middling jhana skills at best. It isn't any kind of prerequisite for anything.

 

The jhanas also resonate with levels of understanding in the Four Stages of Awakening model from the Sutta Pitaka. 

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_awakening#The_four_stages_of_attainment

 

There is no attachment because the Arhat understands that the absorptions (jhanas) are only states, not insight itself.  True insight is not temporary, and can be seen in any other mind state.

 

took a little time but I found the sutta I had come across before:

 

Maha-parinibbana Sutta: Last Days of the Buddha
translated from the Pali by
Sister Vajira & Francis Story

 

"How the Blessed One Passed into Nibbana

9. And the Blessed One entered the first jhana. Rising from the first jhana, he entered the second jhana. Rising from the second jhana, he entered the third jhana. Rising from the third jhana, he entered the fourth jhana. And rising out of the fourth jhana, he entered the sphere of infinite space. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of infinite space, he entered the sphere of infinite consciousness. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of infinite consciousness, he entered the sphere of nothingness. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of nothingness, he entered the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. And rising out of the attainment of the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, he attained to the cessation of perception and feeling.

 

10. And the Venerable Ananda spoke to the Venerable Anuruddha, saying: "Venerable Anuruddha, the Blessed One has passed away."

"No, friend Ananda, the Blessed One has not passed away. He has entered the state of the cessation of perception and feeling."

 

11. Then the Blessed One, rising from the cessation of perception and feeling, entered the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, he entered the sphere of nothingness. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of nothingness, he entered the sphere of infinite consciousness. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of infinite consciousness, he entered the sphere of infinite space. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of infinite space, he entered the fourth jhana. Rising from the fourth jhana, he entered the third jhana. Rising from the third jhana, he entered the second jhana. Rising from the second jhana, he entered the first jhana.

Rising from the first jhana, he entered the second jhana. Rising from the second jhana, he entered the third jhana. Rising from the third jhana, he entered the fourth jhana. And, rising from the fourth jhana, the Blessed One immediately passed away."

Edited by old3bob
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And rising out of the fourth jhana, he entered the sphere of infinite space. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of infinite space, he entered the sphere of infinite consciousness. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of infinite consciousness, he entered the sphere of nothingness. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of nothingness, he entered the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. And rising out of the attainment of the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, he attained to the cessation of perception and feeling.

 

Here, without labels, are what many call the further 4 of 8 total jhanas. Really these are refinements of the 4th jhana in my opinion, and take a practitioner with insight to discern.

 

 

Edited by stirling
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12 hours ago, old3bob said:

 

Is it not  clearly recorded and written in well known  Buddhist doctrine that the historic Buddha spoke of, used and went through the jhanas as he left this world?  
 


If you hadn't found it, old3bob, I would have sourced it for you!

Indeed, a fascinating passage.  The assumption is that some of the order were psychic enough to discern the particular jhana the Gautamid was in, at the time of his demise--that seems doubtful to me.  The second assertion in that passage, that Gautama returned to the fourth of the material jhanas and was in that state at the moment of his demise, I think is the reason for the inclusion of this paragraph.

Actually, as far as the first four volumes of the Pali Nikayas are concerned, the jhanas were the way Gautama surpassed the jhanas.  How's that.   

The record says he studied under two of the foremost teachers of his day.  He attained "the plane of no-thing" under one and "neither perception and sensation nor yet not perception and sensation" under the other.  He was unsatisfied with these attainments, and succeeded in arriving at "the cessation of perception and sensation" on his own.  I have no doubt that this arrival was synonymous with his enlightenment, and that his insight into dependent causation and the four truths came from this experience.

Cessation being the cessation of action based on determinate thought (AN III 415), what Gautama experienced was the falling away of habit and volition in perceiving and feeling, the cessation of habit and volition in the action of the mind (and what was left was "the disturbance" of the six sense fields, MN III 108-109).

Why did the elders posit that Gautama was in the fourth of the material jhanas when he died?  The attainment of the fourth jhana is synonymous with the cessation of (habit or volition in) action of the body, and that cessation I believe was Gautama's daily touchstone.  In many of his lectures, he recounted the four material jhanas, and then spoke of "the survey-sign of the concentration", leaving off the non-material jhanas entirely. 

I believe the fourth jhana was the primary cessation in his own practice of mindfulness, the fifteenth of the sixteen elements of his mindfulness.  At one point in his teaching career, Gautama emphasized the sixteen elements of his own practice to his followers, as a thing "peaceful and calm, and a pleasant way of living besides".  I think he understood that even though he taught "lack of desire" as the means to attain and transcend each of the jhanas, his followers focused their intent solely on attainment, to their own detriment.  

That would be why the elders had him deceasing in the fourth of the material jhanas, to lay the emphasis on something more attainable, so the monks and nuns wouldn't knock their brains out thinking they must arrive at "the cessation of perceiving and feeling" at the moment of their death.

The details of his teaching as far as I've been able to gather, are here.

 

 

 

211130_ducks-on-the-lake_DSC00920.jpg



 
 

Edited by Mark Foote
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7 hours ago, stirling said:

 

It would be an easy way (if you are familiar with the states) to get yourself as deep in emptiness as you could so that you could easily recognize the clear light in the bardo state. 

 

... we commonly pass through some of the jhanas accidentally, not realizing what they are. Leigh Brassington (jhana expert) described them as like radio frequencies we learn to tune into.

 


In the dissolution process of the bodily elements as outlined previously, consciousness progressively relies on less elements [dissolution of the elements and three subsequent stages of creative energies are described].  After this comes the Clear Light Dharmakaya experience which can be had at death, falling asleep, fainting or in advanced tantric meditations.

(“The Mahamudra:  Eliminating the Darkness of Ignorance”, Wang Chug Dor-je, Alexander Berzin, Beru Khyentze Rinpoche; p.142; commentary by Beru Khyentze Rinpoche; bracketed summary mine)

 

I write about the practice of falling asleep (and waking up), here

More from the commentary on the Mahamudra (above):

 

Normally consciousness relies on all the bodily elements as its basis. During the death process, however, the elements as bases progressively fail and consciousness relies on less and less of them. This is what experiences the Clear Light of death and passes into the in-between or “bardo” state and on into your next rebirth. Thus meditation on the mind with no object is similar to the tantric ones of taking the Dharmakaya as a pathway for death, in which you simulate in meditation the dissolution process of death and focus finally on the space-like mind itself in the Dharmakaya Clear Light experience.

 

(Ibid, pg 51-52)

 

"Meditation on the mind with no object"--how about this:

 

Gautama emphasized “one-pointedness of mind” as a characteristic of concentration, and what I experience is a complete freedom of the singular location of self-awareness to move in space, with the coordination of the body following autonomically from the location of “mind”. 

 

(from my post, Meditation Manuals)

 

More from the same post:

 

The location of that mind is often in the “hara”, but the aim is to allow for experience like that Gautama described for the fourth of the initial states of concentration:

 

Again, a (person), putting away ease… enters and abides in the fourth musing; seated, (one) suffuses (one’s) body with purity by the pureness of (one’s) mind so that there is not one particle of the body that is not pervaded with purity by the pureness of (one’s) mind. … just as a (person) might sit with (their) head swathed in a clean cloth; even so (one) sits suffusing (their) body with purity…

 

(AN III 25-28, Pali Text Society Vol. III pg 18-19)

 

I don't often experience an orderly progression of states of concentration, more like a jumble, but I keep an eye on "freedom of the singular location of self-awareness to move in space", which to me is "purity by the pureness of (one's) mind, so that there is not one particle of the body that is not pervaded with purity by the pureness of (one’s) mind".  

And I keep in mind the "head swathed in a clean cloth".  In several sermons, Gautama spoke of the entire body so swathed, not just the head--I look more to that.  My explanation:  "a heightened ability to feel dermatomes, as a consequence of the relaxed nerve exits from the sacrum and spine provided by an even stretch of ligaments".   I wrote that to describe how ch'i "manifests in the skin and hair" (here), but I think it applies to the "clean cloth" as well.

As Gautama said about each of the jhanas:

 

"... for whatever (one) imagines it to be, it is otherwise.”

(MN III 42-45)

 

Edited by Mark Foote
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四禪和煉精化氣,煉氣化神,練神還虛之間的關係

 

首先你要能清楚知道,四禪定到底包含什麼內容,然後你還要知道精氣神虛包含什麼,你才有辦法比對,否則只是一堆誤解而已。

 

四禪當中的初禪特徵,一心境,喜覺支,有尋有伺,這個特徵就是你練到一個地方,開始專心,產生喜悅的感覺,通常大概在練精練氣的階段會達到初禪的程度。

 

二禪的特徵也是有一心境,無尋無伺,但是二禪也有光的特徵,所以二禪的程度大概是在烏肝的狀態,烏肝就是日魂,根據周易參同契和悟真篇,烏肝=日魂=陽神,因此二禪的程度是在練神。

 

三禪的特徵是捨念的開始,也就是心竅開啟的開始,這個階段屬於兔髓,根據周易參同契和悟真篇,兔髓=月魄=陰神,所以三禪的程度在練神的階段。

 

二禪在練神的前段,三禪在練神的後段。

 

二禪屬於練氣化神的化神階段,三禪屬於練神還虛的練神階段。

 

為何這樣分,因為心竅開啟與否,是一個很大的分界點,實修者如果心竅沒開,練功的程序是從氣練到烏肝光。如果實修者的心竅有開,練功的程序是從烏肝光到兔髓光到二階段陽生,所以程序會不太相同,因為程度造成起點不同。

 

四禪則是捨念的後段穩定期,因此最後會有涅槃的現象,也就是二階段陽生以上的現象,屬於練神還虛的層次。

 

 

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5 hours ago, awaken said:

 

四禪和煉精化氣,煉氣化神,練神還虛之間的關係

 

首先你要能清楚知道,四禪定到底包含什麼內容,然後你還要知道精氣神虛包含什麼,你才有辦法比對,否則只是一堆誤解而已。

 

四禪當中的初禪特徵,一心境,喜覺支,有尋有伺,這個特徵就是你練到一個地方,開始專心,產生喜悅的感覺,通常大概在練精練氣的階段會達到初禪的程度。

 

二禪的特徵也是有一心境,無尋無伺,但是二禪也有光的特徵,所以二禪的程度大概是在烏肝的狀態,烏肝就是日魂,根據周易參同契和悟真篇,烏肝=日魂=陽神,因此二禪的程度是在練神。

 

三禪的特徵是捨念的開始,也就是心竅開啟的開始,這個階段屬於兔髓,根據周易參同契和悟真篇,兔髓=月魄=陰神,所以三禪的程度在練神的階段。

 

二禪在練神的前段,三禪在練神的後段。

 

二禪屬於練氣化神的化神階段,三禪屬於練神還虛的練神階段。

 

為何這樣分,因為心竅開啟與否,是一個很大的分界點,實修者如果心竅沒開,練功的程序是從氣練到烏肝光。如果實修者的心竅有開,練功的程序是從烏肝光到兔髓光到二階段陽生,所以程序會不太相同,因為程度造成起點不同。

 

四禪則是捨念的後段穩定期,因此最後會有涅槃的現象,也就是二階段陽生以上的現象,屬於練神還虛的層次。

 

 



(Google translate renders awaken's post as follows:)

 

The relationship between the four meditations and refining the essence and transforming the qi, refining the qi to transform the spirit, and practicing the spirit and returning the emptiness

  

First of all, you must be able to clearly know what the four meditations contain, and then you must also know what the emptiness of spirit, qi and spirit contains, so that you can compare them, otherwise it will just be a bunch of misunderstandings.

  

The characteristics of the first jhana among the four jhāna, one state of mind, the factor of joy and enlightenment, and the presence of search and service, this feature is that you practice one place, start to concentrate, and feel joyful. Usually, you will reach the first jhana at the stage of cultivating qi and qi. degree.

  

The characteristics of the second Zen are also a state of mind, without seeking and waiting, but the second Zen also has the characteristics of light, so the degree of the second Zen is probably in the state of black liver, and black liver is the soul of the sun. According to Zhou Yi Shen Tong Qi and Wuzhen, Black Liver = Sun Soul = Yang God, so the level of Second Chan is practicing God.

  

The characteristic of the three meditations is the beginning of renunciation, that is, the beginning of the opening of the mind orifices. This stage belongs to the rabbit marrow. According to Zhou Yishen Tongji and Wuzhen chapters, rabbit marrow = moon soul = yin spirit, so the level of the three meditations is the practice of spirit stage.

  

The second meditation is in the first stage of practicing God, and the third meditation is in the latter stage of practicing God.

  

The second Chan belongs to the stage of cultivating the spirit to transform the spirit into the spirit, and the third Chan belongs to the stage of training the spirit to restore the emptiness.

 

The reason for this division is that whether the heart orifice is opened or not is a big dividing point. If the heart orifice is not opened, the practice procedure is from qi training to black liver light. If the practitioner's heart orifices are opened, the procedure of practice is from black liver light to rabbit marrow light to the second stage of yang generation, so the procedure will be different, because the degree causes the starting point to be different.

 

The four meditations are the latter stage of equanimity, so there will eventually be the phenomenon of Nirvana, that is, the phenomenon above the second stage of yang rebirth, which belongs to the level of practicing spirit and returning to emptiness.

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On 2/9/2022 at 10:25 AM, Asher Topaz said:

Furthermore the jhanas and the transformation of the three treasures were seen as the same thing were first jhana body is full of jing hence the pleasure or what they call piti and sukkha. In second Jhana the jing transforms into chi. Hence the feeling of joy and loss of body awareness, By third jhana the chi turns to shen. Hence the contentment. By fourth jhana you reach emptiness. Hence the equanmity. Then the immaterial jhanas where one breaks the emptiness. And finally enlightenment where one unites with the Dao. What do you giys think?

 

I'm late to the party.  But I would think of jing, chi, and shen more in the context of energetic development - i.e. lower, middle, and upper dantiens - and the jhanas as mental states alone. 

 

And although the jhanas are interesting and attractive, they are also temporary states and do not confer lasting insight.  Thus jhana 4 may be an "emptiness-like" experience, but is not a meaningful insight into emptiness. 

 

The jhanas themselves do not lead us to enlightenment, they are but an interesting way station along the path.

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