What are the Requisites for Attaining the 1st Jhana Absorption?

The proximate acute momentary causes:
Absence of sense desire.
Absence of ill will.
Absence of lethargy & laziness.
Absence of restlessness & regret.
Absence of doubt & uncertainty.
Presence of directed thought.
Presence of sustained thinking.
Presence of thrilled joy.
Presence of pleasurable happiness.
Presence of unified single-pointed focus.

The preliminary long-standing requisites:
Expressed as one single factor: Happiness ... !

Expressed as 10 factors:

Full self-control gained by purifying Morality!
Guarding the Sense Doors..
Moderate Eating..
Wakefulness at night..
Prior life preliminary work with an meditation object..
Mastery in directing mind to the sign of absorption.
Mastery in attaining first calm, then unified focus.
Mastery in determining the duration in advance.
Mastery in emergence from this exalted state.
Mastery in reviewing the qualities of this state.

The additional supporting qualities:
Clean body & dwelling place.
Skill in remembering & extending the sign.
Skill in restraining the distracted mind.
Skill in calming the agitated mind.
Skill in encouraging the bored mind.
Skill in observing the well working.
Avoiding scatter-brained persons.
Frequenting well focused friends.
Reviewing the Liberations & Jhanas.
Resolute determination to succeed.

These are the necessary, sufficient & enabling factors
acting as preliminary requisites for attaining the 1st Jhāna. 


So guard the sign or count the cost!
And what is gained will not be lost!
Who fails to have his guard well maintained,
Will lose each time, what he has gained.... Vism


Some core Canonical References on attaining the Jhāna absorptions:

Sutta Pitaka:
Digha Nikāya: sutta 2 [i 73-77], 9 [i 182-184].
Majjhima Nikāya: sutta 8 [i 41-2], 39 [i 276-8], 77 [15-7], 111 [iii 25-9], 119 [iii 92-4].
Samyutta Nikāya: The two whole Jhāna Samyuttas no: 34 and 54.
Anguttara Nikāya: II [125-8, 193-6], III [22-6, 311, 427-8], IV [34, 406-40], V [207-9, 342-258].

Abhidhamma Pitaka:
The Book of Analysis: Vibhanga: Chapter XII Analysis of Jhana pp 319-56, [244-275].
Points of Controversy: KathaVatthu: The questions on hallucinations, hearing,
talking, transitions, and intervals in between and while in jhana. a.o...
Conditional Relations: Patthāna: Jhāna is the 17th out of the 24 relations.
The Classification of States: Dhammasanghani: 160-364, 505-555, 996

Some excellent commentarial explanations on the Jhāna absorptions:
The Path of Purification: Visuddhimagga. 5th century AC. Chapter III-XI
The Path of Freedom: Vimuttimagga ~ 1st century BC. Chapter IV-VIII

Back Home Index Next

Updated: 22 December 2016