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Right Concentration - Meditation Guide

Right Concentration - Meditation Guide#

Jhānas are best learned on a ten-day or longer meditation retreat with a teacher

Abandon expectations

Abide by the 5 precepts:

  • To refrain from killing living beings
  • To refrain from taking that which is not given
  • To refrain from committing sexual misconduct
  • To refrain from wrong speech
  • To refrain from intoxicants

Guard the senses - do not get carried away by the senses.

Leading a simple life. Getting by with less than they say you need.

Daily meditation 45 minutes to an hour

The likelihood of you experiencing a jhāna is inversely proportional to the amount of desire you have for it

First jhana: secluded from unwholesome states and sense desire


  • sense desire - wanting
  • ill will - aversion
  • sloth - too little entergy
  • torpor, restlessness and remorse - too much energy
  • doubt

Access concentration - being fully with the meditation object, and if there are thoughts, they are wispy and in the background and don’t pull you away into distraction

The general method for generating access concentration is to put your attention on a suitable meditation object and when your attention wanders off, gently bring it back. Do not be upset that the mind has wandered - having a wandering mind was key to survival.

Don’t focus on what you hope or think or expect should happen - result thinking Follow each direction one by one to eventually get to the destination - do not fixate on the destination.

It is probably better if you can observe the physical sensations at the nostrils or on the area between the nose and the upper lip

  • body sweeping
  • breath meditation
  • metta meditation

Nimitas: As you start to become concentrated, you might notice various lights and colors even though your eyes are closed. These are signs that you are starting to get concentrated. There is generally nothing useful that can be done with them—just ignore them.

If you practice - ānāpānasati — mindfulness of breathing—there may possibly arise additional signs to indicate you have arrived at access concentration. You may discover that the breath becomes very subtle; instead of a normal breath, you notice you are breathing very shallowly. It may even seem that you’ve stopped breathing altogether. When noticed do not take a big deep breath - keep it shallow.

Do not try to control the breath - just watch it - observe its natural flow

You notice the breath until you arrive at and sustain access concentration, and then you let go of the breath and shift your attention to a pleasant sensation, preferably a pleasant physical sensation.

Look at most any statue of the Buddha: he has a faint smile on his face. That is not just for artistic purposes; it is there for teaching purposes. Smile when you meditate, because once you reach access concentration, you only have to shift your attention one inch to find a pleasant sensation.

Smile when you meditate.

The traditional posture is one hand holding the other, with the thumbs lightly touching. This is a quite excellent posture because it has a side effect of moving the shoulders back and lining up your spine nicely.

You may shift your attention to the smile. the hands, the shoulders or the third eye.

If the mind wanders put it back on the pleasant sensation if it happens repeatedly return to the breath (or other access concentration method)

Letting go of the breath is key. The breath is the key to the door - once you are in you can put the key down.

Observe the pleasant sensation and do nothing else. It you can it will grow in intensity. In this altered state of consciousness, you will be overcome with rapture . . . euphoria . . . ecstasy . . . delight. This is the first jhana.

  1. Sit comfortably - upright.
  2. Maintain focus on a single meditation object.
  3. Access concentration is acquired shift from breath (meditation object) to the pleasant sensation
  4. Put attention on pleasant sensation and do nothing else

The hard part is doing nothing else - do not think about results

You must become totally immersed in the pleasantness of the pleasant sensation

Become a human being, as opposed to a human doing

A positive feedback loop of the pleasant sensation

Don’t expect anything

The concentration generated by “a few breaths in a row” is far too little to sustain attention on the pleasant sensation. Wait for the access concentration to grow a bit.

Moving to a pleasant mental sensation is more likely to fade away and has a story attached to it. Remedy if this is the case is to use loving kindness.

Some students face is fear of loss of control - it is simply not possible to enter the first jhana and be in control. You have to let go and let piti take over. The first thing to realise is that one has never been in control of anything ever. You are losing the illusion of control.