Introducing Buddhist Abhidhamma
Meditation and Concentration
Chapter 10 - The Superconscious Mind
The expression, "The Super-Conscious Mind", is used because many Buddhists will say that the term "Transcendental Concentration" is a contradiction in terms in that there’s no Transcendental Mind in Concentration but only in Vipasssanā Meditation and that is when you are nearing Magga Wisdom.
Yet, as you are transcending the different Jhāna factors of Applied Thought, Sustained Thought, etc., in Jhāna Concentration, as will be explained later, it should not be wrong in using the expression, "Transcendental Concentration".
The Superconscious Mind is mostly latent till called upon to function.
In the system of Jhāna training, it is called upon for the first time to function when your Mind achieves the first Jhāna with the elimination of the Five Hindrances simultaneously, as explained later.
These 5 Hindrances (nīvaranas) are:
- Craving or Lust for Sensuous Desires, kāmachanda
- Ill-will, vyāpāda
- Sloth and Torpor, thīna-middha
- Restlessness and Worry uddhacca-kukkucca
- Sceptical Doubt vicikicchā.
There are many different forms of Concentration, but it is not every form of concentration that will induce Jhāna. For example, it’s no use concentrating on a picture of a horse, for it will not induce Jhāna.
But if you concentrate on a picture of your brother, it will give you somewhat good concentration, but it will be difficult to eliminate all the 5 Hindrances simultaneously.
If you are going to concentrate on a picture of your sweetheart, you will not be able to surmount the first of the 5 Hindrances, which is craving or Lust for Sensuous Desires.
When you have transcended the Realm of Sensuous Desires, you proceed thereafter to the second Jhāna, where you will have to transcend Applied Thought and Sustained Thought.
As you proceed to the third Jhāna, you transcend Joy, as explained later.
As you proceed to the 4th Jhāna, you transcend Bliss, as explained later.
If you die whilst you are concentrating in the 1st Jhāna, as you have transcended the Realm of Sensuous Desires, you will be born in the Realm of Pure Form.
From the 1st Jhāna onwards through the Second and Third and Fourth Jhāna, you will be born as beings of radiant light, beings of boundless aura, beings of infinite radiance, and beings of the abodes of purity.
In the Realm of non-Form, where only the mental faculty is present, we have beings corresponding to the 4 stages of Non-Form Consciousness.
You may wish to achieve Transcendental Concentration in the Realm of Non-Form. Here you concentrate on formless objects, and the procedure is to transcend one stage before the next stage is achieved.
But after the 4th Jhāna, without going to the Realm of Non-Form, there are many supernormal powers in the Realm of Pure Form that can be attained.
There is the super-normal power of the Celestial Ear, which hears sounds, both human and divine, practice after attaining the 4th Jhāna. You have to develop the capacity step by step so that you hear sounds at a great distance by means of Jhāna Concentration.
There is the super normal power of the Celestial Eye by which you see material things and places from afar regardless of the distance and you can penetrate others’ minds and read the nature of their thoughts.
Then there is the super-normal knowledge of the rebirth of beings. Here you develop the medium of light to such an extent that even night appears as day and makes the mind radiant. Then you can see beings passing away and beings born in happy or miserable circumstances according to their former deeds, good or bad.
Then there is the super-normal knowledge of recollecting your previous existences. After the 4th Jhāna, you should develop the faculty of memory, first recollecting the events of present life from the present moment up to the moment of birth and tracing its relation to your previous birth. You continue your concentration so that you can recollect as many former births as possible.
Then there are the 4 Arūpa Jhānas, namely,
- The conception of the infinity of space,
- the conception of infinite consciousness,
- the conception of nothingness,
- the conception of neither-perception nor-nonperception.
The above are mentioned, but it is doubtful whether you will go in for these 4 Arūpa Jhānas.