By Ajahn Brahmavamso
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Extra resources for The Jhanas
One-pointedness (Ekaggatha). The third factor of jhana is onepointedness, Ekaggatha. One-pointedness describes the mindfulness that is so sharply focused on a minute area of existence. It is onepointed in space because it only sees the point source of bliss, together with a small area surrounding the bliss caused by the first jhana wobble. It is one-pointed in time because it only perceives the present moment, so exclusively and precisely that all notion of time completely disappears. And it is one-pointed in phenomena because it only knows the mental object of pitisukha, and is totally oblivious to the world of the five senses and one’s physical body.
At a stretch, one may say that the bliss of the third jhana, the sukha, has a greater sense of ease, quieter and more serene. In the suttas, it is accompanied by the features of mindfulness (sati), clear knowing (sampojanna) and equanimity (upekkha), although these qualities are said in the Anupada Sutta (MN 111) to be present in all jhanas. Perhaps these features are emphasized in the sutta as qualities of the thirds jhana in order to point out that in these very deep jhanas, one is exceptionally mindful, very clear in the knwing, and so still that one looks on without moving, which is the root meaning of equanimity (upekkha).
What one is left with is an absolute still knower seeing absolute stillness. The perfection of Peace. From the perspective of the fourth jhana, the bliss of the previous jhanas is seen as a residual movement of the mental object, and an affliction obscuring something much greater. When the bliss subsides, all that is left is the profound peace that is the hallmark of the fourth jhana. Nothing moves in here, nothing glows. Nothing feels happiness or its opposite, discomfort. One feels perfect balance in the very center of the mind.