Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Must Not Act Impulsively

On Monday 16th August 2010, after reading an online article on meditation, especially the critical 4th stage Jhana, I realised that I must not again be following my roller-coaster emotions and tempers anymore. Otherwise it will have serious consequences on my meditation. Negative states or obstacles may manifest. Even if these does not arise, it is good to control one's emotions and not re-act impulsively. I am control. I must. There is some serious message in this realisation now. If I don't take heed, it may be too late for me when I suudenly act impulsively. Who knows what will happen and who will it affect? I hate to imagine the sorrow and regret that will ensure thereafter.

Today Tuesday 17 Aug, was a disastrous day...I didnot control my emotions properly and let it go wild. Must do a better job tomorrow. I hope you too would do that.

Today Wed, 18 Aug, I did a better job in controlling my emotions and did not re-act impulsively. I am happy. Hope to continue this on and on. This is the way!

Some people experienced it earlier and some later, but generally it is at the 4th stage that becomes critical. It's when the line between our normal world (the so-called "real" world) and another world where we can see other beings which we don't see previously. So, which is real and which is false? Moreover, if we have a problem controlling our greed and anger, the risk of misusing any super normal powers that manifest (or we think it manifested when actually there is none) is pretty high. And you know very well that HELL awaits you later should you misuse the powers to hurt anyone or to gain any advantage or indulge in sensual pleasures. There could also be great possibility of physical damage to your body should the winds in your bodily channels be uncontrollable. Some of this damage could be permanent. It's called "lung" in Tibetan. So, one who is serious in high attainments must make sure one does not carry these negative karmic baggage or harbour any subtle potential for these obstacles to arise. So, that's why the Buddha adviced that Sila (morality) starts before Samadhi (concentration) and Panna (wisdom). That's also a reason why one must not underestimate the power of doing purification and preliminary practices. These can greatly prevent or help when such states manifest. That's why I believe that before we can become a Buddha, first we must be a proper human being. If one is currently a ghost, be a proper ghost. Same for other types of beings.

I also must not let myself sink into depressive moods but deal with it, for example, listening to up-lifting songs, watch TV or movies, etc. One of the medtation side-effects it seems is something to do with mood swings between periods of bliss and depression. Even in my article on "experiencing the Lam Rim" can also result in depression and normal mood swings. But at that stage, we must lt the depression sink in a little bit so that we can use it to fuel our disgust for samsara. But not too much until it goes out of hand and you end up suffering from severe depression. There is no fixed formula for everyone, I think. You need to use your own judgement and wisdom to balance and deal with it. However, at the Jhana stage, any depressive mood is to be dealt with swiftly. You cannot let it linger on. Similarly I think I have read that we should not be attached to blissful states that arise. Just let go. Actually it is easy to say but doing it is another. That's why I am advocating meditators to prepare from now. Don't let bad habits of being a slave to your own feelings/emotions sink inside you. I tell myself must start to be able to control.

Try google "meditation effects" or "negative side-effects of meditation" or "meditation mental illness" and the article is there somewhere. I didnot exactly remember the article link. Anyway, you can read the Theravadian texts and commentaries about the various Jhanas and what to expect in each stage. I have not seen any detailed explanation on Jhana states by Tibetan masters, but know that the Theradian masters, especially Burmese "Sayadaws" are very good at this topic. You might want to explore more on these states from these sources. I think it is important to know what we are getting into and prepare ourselves so that we know how to deal with it when we are there at each state of meditation.


s said...

hi, can you give the article link? You mean you have reached fourth jhana and are in danger now or it is preparing for the future?

Mahabodhiyana said...

If I had reached that stage, it would have been too late for me, wouldn't it? I'm only preparing. Anyway, I have added another paragraph at the end.

s said...

you might like this article on Lung by Ven Paula who has done much retreat. I find it fantastic