The 7th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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The fifth through the eighth jhanas are the “absorptions without form.” This is because they refer to states of consciousness where there is no perception of a form or body. They correspond to heavenly realms which also have no form or body. That is, beings re-born to the formless realms, which are some of the heavenly planes, do not have a body, but do have pleasant existences.
You enter the fifth jhana by remaining in the utter peacefulness state and then shift your attention to the boundaries of your being. You focus your attention outward as if you are watching yourself from above. You may feel like you are floating above your body at first. You put your attention on your body so that it feels like you are filling the room. This is expanded further and further so that you fill your whole neighborhood, city, country, continent, and then to space itself. You find yourself in this huge expanse of empty space.