Stage 10. Difficulties to access pleaure jhanas

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    Pleasure jhanas was big part of my practice at stage 7 and begining of stage 8. They was very helpful for my insight practice. But since I reached stage 10 I can not access then anymore. I am doing all as before, but piti do not rise anymore. Sensations are really pleasant and unification increases, but not piti. Quote from TMI from stage 9 chapter – “the same energy that once caused disruption now gets channeled into stabilizing the entire mind-system”. I guess something similar happening here. There is opening of a channels, that help transform frenetic energy of piti into unification. What do you think?


    Hi Boris,

    There’s a couple of things you can try:

    1) Use the pleasant sensations (or the sense of pleasantness) as your exclusive object of attention to enter the 1st pleasure jhana, then proceed as usual to the 2nd, 3rd, etc.

    2) When in stage 10, take the sense of equanimity as your exclusive object of attention and use it to enter the fourth pleasure jhana (without first going to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd). Then from there, you can downshift to 3rd, 2nd, 1st, or go up to 5th, 6th, etc.

    Hope this helps =)

    I’ll be on retreat for the next couple of weeks, so will be out of internet range until I get back. Feel free to contact me after Oct 23rd if you need any clarification or assistance with this.


    Tom Kennedy

    Hi Boris, just jumping in here to share my own experience of what Nick is suggesting.

    I was in a similar boat as you earlier this year. I was not at stage 10, but I had ‘lost’ the ability to enter pleasure jhana once I got to stage 8. On a jhana retreat I applied Nick’s first suggestion. I found it elusive at first, probably because I was trying to pin it down.

    Once I got the hang of focusing on the ‘quality of pleasantness’ rather than the sensation that gives rise to it (p271), I grew accustomed to recognising it as a very vivid, delicious sense of peace, before the tranquility of Stage 9 kicked in. I was careful to be alert to subtle dullness (not a problem for you) and also to not ‘help it along’ (once again, not a problem for you).

    As the retreat went on and my attention grew increasingly stable, I grew more adventurous. I found other sensations to practice entering jhana with. After a few false starts it worked. I discovered that I could use a very pleasant, persistent external sound (in one case, raindrops) to enter 1st jhana. The actual object of my attention was not the sound itself, but the feeling of pleasantness it produced. That surprised me, but hey – if attention is stable enough – why not?

    I haven’t tried Nick’s 2nd suggestion, but I will next time. He’s always got something up his sleeve. I can’t imagine taking equanimity as an object of attention, but why not? I expect it would be a bit slippery at first, but it would give me a lot to play with, and playing with new things is always fun.

    I’d love to hear how you go.




    I tried today one more time and it worked. Enter in the 1st jhana was very smooth and piti did not have these jarring quality. I quess my problem was that I expect to enter jhana very quickly in stage 10 and lose patience soon. I did not practice jhanas for last several weeks, so I just forget the attitude I need to have to enter them.

    About Nick’s 1st suggestion – I always do exactly that. I focus on sense of pleasantness, usually in my arms, as L. Brasington advice in “Right concentration”. About 2nd suggestion – I will definetly try it, sounds fun.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by  Boris.
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