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4th jhāna in detail



mn 140 simile with goldsmith

 360. “athāparaṃ upekkhāyeva avasissati parisuddhā pariyodātā mudu ca kammaññā ca pabhassarā ca. seyyathāpi, bhikkhu, dakkho suvaṇṇakāro vā suvaṇṇakārantevāsī vā ukkaṃ bandheyya, ukkaṃ bandhitvā ukkāmukhaṃ ālimpeyya, ukkāmukhaṃ ālimpetvā saṇḍāsena jātarūpaṃ gahetvā ukkāmukhe pakkhipeyya, tamenaṃ kālena kālaṃ abhidhameyya, kālena kālaṃ udakena paripphoseyya, kālena kālaṃ ajjhupekkheyya, taṃ hoti jātarūpaṃ VAR sudhantaṃ niddhantaṃ nīhaṭaṃ VAR ninnītakasāvaṃ VAR mudu ca kammaññañca pabhassarañca, yassā yassā ca piḷandhanavikatiyā ākaṅkhati — yadi paṭṭikāya VAR yadi kuṇḍalāya yadi gīveyyakāya yadi suvaṇṇamālāya tañcassa atthaṃ anubhoti; evameva kho, bhikkhu, athāparaṃ upekkhāyeva avasissati parisuddhā pariyodātā mudu ca kammaññā ca pabhassarā ca.

(thanissaro transl)

 [On attaining the fourth level of jhana] there remains only equanimity: pure and bright, pliant, malleable and luminous. Just as if a skilled goldsmith or goldsmith's apprentice were to prepare a furnace, heat up a crucible, and, taking gold with a pair of tongs, place it in the crucible. He would blow on it periodically, sprinkle water on it periodically, examine it periodically, so that the gold would become refined, well-refined, thoroughly refined, flawless, free from dross, pliant, malleable and luminous. Then whatever sort of ornament he had in mind -- whether a belt, an earring, a necklace, or a gold chain -- it would serve his purpose. In the same way, there remains only equanimity: pure and bright, pliant, malleable, and luminous. He [the meditator] discerns that 'If I were to direct equanimity as pure and bright as this toward the sphere of the infinitude of space, I would develop the mind along those lines, and thus this equanimity of mine -- thus supported, thus sustained -- would last for a long time. (Similarly with the spheres of the infinitude of consciousness, nothingness, and neither perception nor non-perception.)'

He discerns that 'If I were to direct equanimity as pure and bright as this toward the sphere of the infinitude of space and to develop the mind along those lines, that would be fabricated. (Similarly with the spheres of the infinitude of consciousness, nothingness, and neither perception nor non-perception.)' He neither fabricates nor wills for the sake of becoming or un-becoming. This being the case, he is not sustained by anything in the world (does not cling to anything in the world). Unsustained, he is not agitated. Unagitated, he is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.' 

-- M.140







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