Buddhism FAQ0 >> 2.What is Enlightenment
(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.)
Bliss of First Trance(Jhana/Dhyan/Zen/Samadhi)-First Awakening Within Self
A monk quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from harmful(akushala) qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana(trance): with bliss(pitisukham) born from withdrawal, but remaining with directed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: With practice of meditation focusing on body & mind with equanimity, awareness is detached from senses & from body , withdrawn within spine & brain where a great light is perceived along with great bliss.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.)
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
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
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)
Original Words of Buddha , Pali Version(Devnagari)