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Buddhadharma : Fall 2015
fall 2 0 1 5 buDDhaDharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 79 piti is what I usually refer to as full- blown piti. The correct translation is “all-pervasive piti.” This is the piti that is everywhere. It’s present, it’s sustained, and you experience it throughout your body. It’s the piti necessary for the first jhana; the other four types are pre- jhana piti, and they may or may not show up as you progress toward access concentration and then to the arising of the first jhana. Piti can manifest as rocking or sway- ing, or it can be intense so that you are actually vibrating to the point where it is visible to others. It can manifest as heat and get very, very warm. Hopefully it has a pleasant aspect to it. Most often, it manifests as an upward rush of energy, often centered up the spine. I’ve talked with people who practice kundalini yoga, and it seems that piti is the same energy. I’ve talked with people who practice tummo, the Tibetan practice of generating heat, and I was told that this practice also involves generating first time you experience piti is in the evening before going to bed, you will probably have trouble getting to sleep. It will wire you up. That’s okay. You’re learning, and missing a little bit of sleep is worth figuring out how to work with these valuable mental states. These are the instructions for enter- ing the first jhana. But don’t expect the necessary concentration to show up anytime soon. In fact, don’t expect anything! Expectations are the absolute worst things you can bring on a retreat, and they are equally detrimental when practicing while not on retreat. Simply do the meditation method. And when access concentration arises, recognize it, sustain it “long enough,” and then shift your attention to a pleasant sensation. Don’t try to do the jhanas. You can’t. All you can do is generate the conditions out of which the jhanas can arise. Rec- ognize when you’ve established these conditions, then patiently wait for the jhana to come find you. the same sort of energy. It’s a known, widespread phenomenon that is used in different ways. Here, it is used to grab your attention and take you into a con- centrated state. The arising of piti also has the nice side effect (for most people) of generating sukha, and, as one comes to see, sukha is the principal component of the second and third jhanas. So, you hang out in the first jhana for a bit, depending on how strong the piti is: if it is very strong, a half minute or so; if it is weaker, then maybe up to five or ten minutes. It should also be mentioned that when piti first arrives, you may not have any control over the strength of it. It may come on ridiculously strong, or it may come on weak. Just go with what- ever shows up. The reason it can come on very strong the first time is somewhat like a can of soda pop. If you shake it for four or five days and then pop the top, it goes all over. The good news is that the next time piti comes on, it won’t have built up so much pressure. If the New course starts January 2016 TIBETAN MEDICINE ONLINE COURSE WWW.TIBETANM EDICINE-EDU. ORG facebook: TME.tibetanmedicine TME TIBETANMEDICINE E DUCATIONCENTER Take advantage of this rare opportunity to study traditional Tibetan Medicine under the tutelage of a prominent senior Tibetan doctor Prof. PASANG YONTEN ARYA A specially designed course with textbooks, video and audio teachings, Question & Answer sessions in an online interactive classroom-like setting. Optional workshops in Europe personally supervised by Dr. Pasang Yonten Arya, offer practical hands-on training.