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Buddhadharma : Winter 2009
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly winter 2 0 09 64 Untitled 7 The first four jhanas are attained by concentration on a mate- rial form or the feeling generated by certain concepts such as loving-friendliness. Here you attain the formless states of the immaterial jhanas by passing beyond all perception of form. The immaterial jhanas are not usually numbered. Each has an individual name that describes the sphere of awareness that the mind occupies or dwells upon. We give them numbers here just to show their order. The Fifth Jhana: The Base of Infinite Space Everything that happens in the mind can be thought of as existing “somewhere,” as if in a mental space. You turn your attention away from the characteristics of whatever is in the mind and toward the “space” it occupies. This infinite space is your object of contemplation. Anything you attend to could be likened to a signal being carried on some medium of communication. You turn your attention away from the signal and toward the carrier wave that conveys it. The mind as a space, medium, channel, or vehicle is your object of awareness. Equanimity and one-pointedness now mature fully. You find yourself in a realm where all perception of form has ceased. You cannot be disturbed or disrupted from the outside, but the tiniest suggestion of the material senses remain. You ignore them totally; if you turn your attention to any of them, the jhana is lost.