|Higher and higher jhanas are like plateaus (Nan Tien Temple by Jay Bar/flickr.com)|
["By 'perceptions of matter' (rūpa-saññā) are meant the absorptions of the fine-material sphere, as well as those objects themselves..." (Path of Purification, Vis.M. X.1).
"By 'perceptions of sense-reactions' (patigha-saññā) are meant those perceptions that have arisen due to the impact of sense-organs (eye, ear, etc.) and the objects of sense (forms, sounds, etc.) They are a name for the perception of visible objects, as it is said (Jhāna-Vibh.):
'What are here the perceptions of sense-reactions? They are the perceptions of visible objects, sounds, and so on.' Surely, they no longer exist even for one who has entered the first absorption, and so on. For at such a time the five-sense consciousness is no longer functioning. Nevertheless, this is to be understood as having been said in praise of this immaterial absorption, in order to incite the striving for it" (Path of Purification, Vis.M. X.16).
"Perceptions of variety (ñānatta-saññā) are the perceptions that arise in various fields, or the various perceptions" (ibid). Hereby, according to the Path of Purification (Vis.M. X.20), are meant the multiform perceptions outside of the absorptions.]
|The jhanas in plain English|
"Whenever the meditator enters the first absorption, there have vanished sensual craving, ill-will, sloth and torpor (physical and mental tiredness), restlessness and scruples (flurry and worry), doubts (skepticism). And there are present: initial application (vitakka), sustained application (vicāra), rapture (pīti), happiness (sukha), and concentration (samādhi).
|Meditation mala and mudra (flickr.com)|