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Buddhism FAQ0 >> 2.What is Enlightenment

Buddhism FAQEdit

(Frequently Asked Questions About Buddhism)


2. What is Enlightenment? What are the Trance States? Edit


Ans : Achievement of Enlightenment means achieving Trance States. Buddha has described 9 Trance states (sometimes also divided in 4 jhanas[zen] ) which are achieved through 1.intense meditation & 2.following celibacy & other moral principles(non-violence,non-stealing, no-lies, non-intoxication etc.)

see : SN_36.19_Pancakanga_Sutta, Vibhanga-Scanned-Chap.12, Vibhanga-Scanned-Chap.10 etc.

see : What is Buddhism & What is Buddhist Awakening

Bliss of First Trance(Jhana/Dhyan/Zen/Samadhi)-First Awakening Within Self


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Initial 1-4 stages of awakening/ trance/ enlightenment

A monk quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from harmful(akushala) qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana(trance): with bliss(pitisukham) born from withdrawal, but remaining with directed thoughts & (savittakam savicharam) & discernment (vivekajam).

(Note : With practice of meditation focusing on body & mind with equanimity, awareness is detached from senses & from body , withdrawn within spine & brain where a great light is perceived along with great bliss. Here mind is with thoughts. Buddha, as Prince Siddharth, was already born with this state from childhood , being an advanced being who had been meditating in past lives.)


Bliss of Second Trance(Jhana/Dhyan/Zen/Samadhi)-Thoughtlessness


A monk, with the (tranquility) stilling of all (types of) thoughts (avittakam avicharam) , enters & remains in the second jhana (trance) of meditation (samadhi), with bliss(pitisukham) born of meditation, unification(singularity, Ekodibhavam) of awareness(chetaso) free from all (types of) thoughts & with internal assurance.

(Note : With state similar to earlier, tranquility of mind is also achieved along with greater bliss. Here mind is without thoughts)

Bliss of Third Trance(Jhana/Dhyan/Zen/Samadhi)-Equanimous(beyond Likes & Dislikes)


A monk, being equanimous(Upekkho) to bliss(Piti), he remains knowing-wholly(sampajano) about sensations(patisamvedeti) of the body(Kaayein) in meditation(Sato). He enters & remains in the third jhana (trance), of which the Noble-Ones (Ariya) declare, 'Equanimous(Upekkho) & mindful/meditating(Satima), he has a blissful abiding(Sukhvihari).

(Note : With state similar to earlier, equanimity of mind & body is also achieved along with greater bliss.)

Bliss of Fourth Trance(Jhana/Dhyan/Zen/Samadhi)-Detachment


A monk, with the abandoning of pleasure & stress/suffering — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — enters & remains in the fourth jhana(trance): purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain(detachment).

Bliss of Fifth Trance (Jhana/Dhyan/Zen/Samadhi)-Perception of Infinite Space


A monk, with the complete transcending(samatikamma) of (worldly) form-perceptions(Rupa-sannanam, sanskrit:sangyanam), with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance(patigha-sannanam), and not heeding perceptions of diversity(nanatta-sannanam) (within self), (now perceiving) 'Infinite space is this(ananto akasoti),' enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space (akasa-ananch-ayatanam; sanskrit : anant akash ayatanam) (fifth trance state).

(Note : Can perceive into infinite space. I see all.)

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Stages 5 & 6 of awakening/ trance/ enlightenment







Bliss of Sixth Trance (Jhana/Dhyan/Zen/Samadhi)-Omnipresence


A monk, with the complete transcending (samatikammam) of the dimension of the infinitude of space (akasa-ananch-ayatanam), (now perceiving) 'Infinite consciousness(anantam vinnananti) ,' enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness(vinnan-ananch-ayatanam; sanskrit: anant vigyan ayatanam)  (sixth trance state).

(Note : Realizing Nothingness/Emptiness of Worldly Dimension. Awareness expands out of body in all directions upto infinity, silently, being everywhere, perceiving all, omnipresence but in worldly plane. I am everywhere)


Bliss of Seventh Trance (Jhana/Dhyan/Zen/Samadhi)-Nothingness/Emptiness


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Nothingness : Stages 7 & 8 of awakening / trance / enlightenment.

A monk, with the complete transcending(samatikammam) of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness (vinnan-ananch-ayatanam), (now perceiving,) 'There is nothing(natthi kinchiti),' enters & remains in the dimension of nothingness(akinchan-ayatanam) (seventh trance).

(Note : Realizing Nothingness/Emptiness of Worldly Dimension. This like a paper on which picture of universe is on one side and on when turned 90 degrees one sees only the edge i.e. the picture disappears from view )



Bliss of Eigth Trance (Jhana/Dhyan/Zen/Samadhi)-Transcendence


A monk, with the complete transcending (samatikammam) of the dimension of nothingness (akinchan-ayatanam), enters & remains in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception (nev-sanna-na-asanna-ayatanam; sanskrit : nev-sangya-na-asangya-ayatanam) (eigth trance).

(Note : All worlds fade away)


Bliss of Ninth Trance (Jhana/Dhyan/Zen/Samadhi)-Final Enlightenment-Nirvana


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Nirvana : Final stage 9 of awakening / trance / enlightenment.

A monk, with the complete transcending(samatikammam) of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception (nev-sanna-na-asanna-ayatanam), enters & remains in the cessation of perception & feeling (sanna-vedayit-nirodham; Sanskrit : sangya vedana nirodham) (ninth final trance - state of nibbana).

(Note : Realizing Final , transcendental, non-worldly state of timelessness,super-consciousness, omnipresence, eternal life & eternal Bliss- The Nibbana State- after realizing which , there will be no rebirth therefore, hence no suffering ever i.e. supreme bliss for eternity.)



see : SN_36.19_Pancakanga_Sutta

Original Words of Buddha , Pali Version(English)

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Original Words of Buddha , Pali Version(Devnagari)

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