The Pali Line

Part III
Samma Samadhi

High Serenity
or
High
Get'n
High

Ever'a Trick Inni Book

Pur'n'ear

Wa-d'e sa?

'e sa stica Nibbananna inni e-ae-a 'anna eda da Bannana!

The Art of Cultivating One State of Consciousness
By
Abandoning Another

Contents

Introduction
Sit
Attain Balance
Get Rid of the Bindups
The First Burning
The Second Burning
The Third Burning
The Fourth Burning

Introduction

There are two reasons for the practice of 'sitting': for the seeker it brings to fulfillment the two-sided effort at obtaining freedom: calm and insight; for the master it is a pleasant way to pass the time in this seen thing.

Serenity in this system is described as:

Appaṇihita: having no point, aimless
Animitta: leaving no traces, signs, tracks, signatures
Suññatta: being empty of lust, anger and blindness

The highest stages of serenity are called 'jhānas,' a word which means 'burning' or 'shining' with knowledge. It is the root of the English word 'knowing', of the Chinese word 'Chan', and of the Japanese word 'Zen.'

There are different jhānas in different systems, and there are eight or nine or ten jhānas in this system depending on how one classifies certain states of mind. 'Jhāna' is just a word used to act as a guide through a progression of changes which actually have no clear-cut boundaries. One should not get too hung up on terminology.[1]

In the eighth dimension of the Aristocratic Eight Dimensional High Way, High Serenity is defined in terms of four jhānas which describe a progression from just above worldly involvement to complete detachment. In one form or another, this is the end point of every practice in the system. Every 'Dhamma' or unit of the system, worthy of the term ends in the detachment defined in the fourth of these jhānas.

The single most important thing to keep in mind in thinking about or practicing jhāna is that it is a progression where letting go is the mechanism of action. As the subtitle of this section indicates, in a quote from Sariputta, this is the practice of cultivating higher mental states by way of letting go of lower mental states.[2]

For the seeker aiming at bringing to fulfillment the two-sided effort at obtaining freedom: calm and insight, the purpose of this form of mental culture is that hinted at in the term "getting high".[3] From a height a wide view is possible — this is the condition allowing for insight that we are seeking — from the highest height one can step off or out of it all, let it all go — letting go is the establishment of calm we are seeking.

With a wide view, above it all, it is easy to see the essential point of the Buddha's Teaching: That there is nothing there that is not inconsistent, constantly changing; that Pain (DUKKHA) is the consequence of change where one is attached to things the way they are, and that, because it changes and is painful, there is nothing there that can justify being called the 'Self' of one. So seeing letting go is not difficult. [He said.]

 


 

So then, finally,
there comes a time,
after a long long time,
but sooner or later,
that you know,
it is time to get down to business,
and on this day,
after waking up,
getting up,
attending to bowl and robes,
leaving your hut,
going to town,
going on your beggars rounds,
eating,
chewing,
tasting and swallowing,
leaving town,
urinating and defecating ...

... resolving to separate yourself from the grosser sorts of involvements:

wanting and wishing for pleasure
anger at disagreeable situations
indulging in lazy ways and being downbound by inertia
indulging in fear and terror
indulging in doubts and uncertainties

not bringing the attention to giving,
not bringing the attention to ethical culture
not bringing the attention to self-control
not bringing the attention to high working hypothesis
not bringing the attention to high principles
not bringing the attention to high talk
not bringing the attention to high works
not bringing the attention to high lifestyles
not bringing the attention to high making effort
not bringing the attention to the body
not bringing the attention to sensation
not bringing the attention to mental states

Having set up guard over the senses.

Having previously fully developed high memory, by

living in body overseeing body, ardent, self-aware, recollected, having put away worldly ambition and disappointment,

living in sensation overseeing sensation, ardent, self-aware, recollected, having put away worldly ambition and disappointment,

living in the heart overseeing the heart, ardent, self-aware, recollected, having put away worldly ambition and disappointment,

living in the Dhamma overseeing the Dhamma, ardent, self-aware, recollected, having put away worldly ambition and disappointment

Having set up a balance between being over excited and being too lax by using The Seven Dimensions of Self Awakening,

And then, separating yourself from your more disturbing surroundings by finding a place to be alone:

deep, deep, deep in some forest pasture,
at the root of soma tree,
on the side of a mountain,
in the wilderness,
in a cave,
in a cemetery,
out in the middle of an open field,
on a heap of grass and leaves,
or in some empty hut.

And then, sitting down, sitting down upright,
legs bent-across-lapwise,
and bringing the memory[4] to the area of the mouth
and taking in

1,sign #1

2,sign #2

3,sign #3

one, two, three,

deep, deep, deep

satisfying inniinhalationsa soma fresh air,

Letting It All Go,

Let It Go.

And then, from there
in just the same way as you did when you brought your memory from wherever out there it was wandering around to the area around your mouth, in the same way
recollect the in-breath
recollect the out-breath
becoming single-mindedly intent
focus on attaining knowledge, understanding, wisdom and freedom of heart, and

maintaining detachment from
wanting and wishing for pleasure
anger at disagreeable situations
indulging in lazy ways and being downbound by inertia
indulging in fear and terror
indulging in doubts and uncertainties

stilling,
calming,
tranquillizing the body
and focusing the mind,

Pervade the entire universe
above, below, in every direction all-round with
friendly vibrations,
sympathetic vibrations,
happiness at the happiness's of others, and
objective detachment.

And then separated from pleasures of the senses,
separated from gross envolvements,
still engaged in the internal dialog,
still engaged in rambling thoughts,
with the interest, enjoyment, and sense of ease
that come with solitude,
enter into[5] the first burning
and make a habitat of that.

Soak,
Permeate,
Suffuse,
and
Saturate
that heap of shit there[6]
you call: "My Body"
with the interest, enjoyment, and sense of ease
that come with solitude.

In the same way
as the Bath Attendant of Old,
or his skillful apprentice,
whenever he wishes to make a soap-ball
takes a copper pot
adds his soap flake
and sprinkles it with a little moisture
and then he rolls that soap-ball
round and round and round and round
til it's
soaked,
permeated,
suffused,
and
saturated
with
but does not ooze any
moisture!

In the same way,
separated from pleasures of the senses
separated from gross envolvements
still engaged in the internal dialog,
still engaged in rambling thoughts,
with the interest, enjoyment, and sense of ease
that come with solitude,
enter into the first burning
and makes a habitat of that.

And
Soak,
Permeate,
Suffuse,
and
Saturate
that body there
with the interest, enjoyment, and sense of ease
that come with solitude.

 

§

 

And then, separated from the internal dialog and meandering thoughts,
with impassivity and having become focused in mind,
bringing the attention to the interest, enjoyment, and sense of ease
that come with getting high,
without internal dialog and meandering thoughts,
enter the second burning
and make a habitat of that.

Soak,
Permeate,
Suffuse,
and
Saturate
that body there
with the interest, enjoyment, and sense of ease
that come with getting high.

In the same way
as a spring-fed pond
with no in-let from the East
with no in-let from the South
with no in-let from the West
with no in-let from the North
and no rain com'n down from the gods above
is nevertheless
soaked,
permeated,
suffused,
and
saturated
with the moisture arising
from the spring
which feeds it from below,

In the same way,
separated from the internal dialog and meandering thoughts,
with impassivity and having become focused in mind,
bringing the attention to the interest, enjoyment, and sense of ease
that come with getting high,
without internal dialog and meandering thoughts,
enter the second burning
and make a habitat of that.

And
Soak,
Permeate,
Suffuse,
and
Saturate
that body there
with the interest, enjoyment, and sense of ease
that come with getting high

 

§

 

And then, separated from interest and enjoyment,
with impassivity, detachment, and clear consciousness
bringing the attention to the pleasure
that comes with that sense of ease
the Aristocrats describe as:
'Detached, recollected, he's got the sweet life!'
enter The Third Burning
and make a habitat of that.

And
Soak,
Permeate
Suffuse,
and
Saturate
that cracked pot there
with the pleasure
that comes with a sense of ease

In the same way
as in a water-lilly pond
filled with white water lillies
filled with blue water lillies
filled with red water lillies
some white water lillies
some blue water lillies
some red water lillies
are born in the water
grow up in the water
reach maturity in the water, and
without rising above the water
come to flower below the surface of the water, and are
soaked,
permeated,
suffused,
and
saturated
from the tops of the tips of their flowering heads above
to the bottoms of their roots below
with that water

In the same way,
separated from interest and enjoyment,
with impassivity, detachment, and clear consciousness
bringing the attention to the pleasure
that comes with that sense of ease
the Aristocrats describe as:
'Detached, recollected, he's got the sweet life!'
enter The Third Burning
and make a habitat of that.

And
Soak,
Permeate
Suffuse,
and
Saturate
that body there
with the pleasure
that comes with a sense of ease

 

§

 

And then, letting go of pain
letting go of pleasure
sending home their precursers in
mental pleasures and discomforts,
without pain,
without pleasure,
clearly conscious, detached,
satisfied with the
bright
shiny
clean-clear-through
radiance
of
detachment
enter The Fourth Burning
and make a habitat-a-that.

And
Soak
Permeate
Suffuse
and
Saturate
that body
with the bright, shiny, clean-clear-through
radiance of detachment

In the same way
as it comes to pass that the body gets wrapt
from the tops of the tips of the hairs of the head above
to the bottoms of the soles of the feet below
in a bright, shiny, clean-clear-through radiant white cloth
so that there is no part of that body
that is not covered
by that bright, shiny, clean-clear-through radiant white cloth,

In the same way
letting go of pain
letting go of pleasure
sending home their precursers in
mental pleasures and discomforts,
without pain,
without pleasure,
clearly conscious, detached,
satisfied with the
bright
shiny
clean-clear-through
radiance
of
detachment
enter The Fourth Burning
and make a habitat-a-that

And
Soak
Permeate
Suffuse
and
Saturate
that body
with the bright, shiny, clean-clear-through
radiance of detachment.

Last Word on Serenity Practice

Serenity is not the goal. The recognition of freedom in detachment available from the fourth jhāna is the goal. This adaptation of the last section of MN 112 describes what is to be done with the fourth jhāna:

Then, with calm heart, pure, clean, debtless, without afflictions, become soft, capable, steadfast, unshakable, bent down to knowledge of the eradication of the corruptions.

Know: 'This is pain',
know: 'This is the source of pain',
know: 'This is the end to pain',
know: 'This is the way to walk to the end of pain'.

Know: 'This is corruption',
know: 'This is the source of corruption',
know: 'This is the end to corruption',
know: 'This is the way to walk to the end of corruption'.

And when you know this, see this, know you are
freed in heart from the corruption of sense pleasures,
freed in heart from the corruption of living,
freed in heart from the corruption of blindness.

In freedom think: "I am free' and know:

'Birth: left behind,
carrying on as Brahma: finished,
duty's doing: done,
no further it'n-n-at'n is to be known for me'.

Even so, my friends,
thus knowing, seeing,
with regard to this body with consciousness
and all external signs,
I say that 'Bias towards me- my-making is uprooted.'

 


 

Further Reading:

[MN 112] The Sixth Cleansing, Olds, trans. Gotama describes the various attributes of the Arahant
[MN 121] The Little Spell of Emptiness, Olds, trans., This sutta and the next describe the real meaning of the term 'emptiness' in the Buddha's system. Nothing at all to do with the conception of the Void taught by the Chinese and Zen schools.
[MN 122] A Great Spell of Emptiness, Olds, trans. The real idea of 'emptiness', this sutta also deals with method of practice.
[AN 1 394-654] The Book of the Ones, 394-654: Burnings, Olds, trans. A large number of 'one-liner's dealing with the jhānas.

 


[1] There is a huge battle in the literature concerning the issue of whether or not the jhānas are necessary for the attainment of Arahantship. The debate boils down to one side rigidly holding on to a set of terms and the instructions that appear throughout the suttas about attaining the jhānas in order to attain Arahantship, and the other side ridgidly holding on to situations found in the suttas in which Arahantship was apparently attained without the jhānas or after attaining only one of them.
There is a better way to deal with this: understanding that the term 'jhāna' and specifically the four jhānas are a description of what happens at the boarder between the world and Nibbana. Looking at that stretch of territory one way one can discriminate discrete stages and name them jhānas, looking at the same phenomena from the perspective of having gone from the beginning point to the end point in a single leap encompassing all the stages too quickly to discriminate the discrete stages one cannot apply the terms that describe the middle points. Snap fingers, no jhānas. Jhāna is just a word.

[2] The subtlest and most difficult to get rid of obstacle to attaining the jhānas is ambition to attain the jhānas. It is necessary to keep at it and that requires ambition, but if the ambition is for the attainment of the jhānas it becomes an obstacle to the goal. Just keep the mind focused on letting go.

[3] The idea and term 'High' is an old religious term adopted by the drug culture, not a drug culture term being adopted to religious use. I say this for political correctness. In fact what the drug culture is calling 'getting high' is the phenomena we are here calling 'samādhi', 'sereity'. There is the matter of content, objective, degree of refinement and the matter of the ability to attain the states without dependence on externals that makes the difference.

[4] Saṭi. There are three primary terms used in the Pali for the center of mental activity all currently being translated 'mind'. Here what is intended is the mind in its function as the memory, attention, minding, recollection, recollectedness, reflection, self-awareness, remembering, and such ideas. When the term used in English is 'mind' what is being referred to is the intellect, the ability to analyze, think, and understand through ideas, reasoning, insight, intuition. When the term used in English is 'heart' it is using this term with emphasis on the idea of 'center' over that of the organ and is mind in it's functions of experiencing mental states or conditions, moods, emotions, empathy, intuition, insight. Other terms are also used for various mental functions and there is blurring of the boundaries.

[5] 'Enter into' means, having followed the instructions to this point one has attained the jhāna — not that having done the previous one should now look for something else that is the jhāna into which one is now ready to enter. I need to say this. There are people out there who cannot take the descriptions of the jhānas at face value and looking for something that isn't there and not finding it, declare the jhānas no longer possible to attain.

[6] You going to argue about that?


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 [ The Gradual Course ]  [ I. Nidana ]  [ II.Dana — Giving ]  [ II.Sila — Ethical Culture ]  [ III. Jagarianuyoga — Self Discipline ]  [ The Second Lesson ]  [ The Third Lesson ]  [ The Fourth Lesson ]  [ The Fifth Lesson ]  [ The Sixth Lesson ]  [ The Seventh Lesson ]  [ The Eighth Lesson ]  [ TheGreatMastersSatisfactionPastures ]  [ HighGetnHigh ]  [ The 10th Question I ]  [ The 10th Question II ]


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