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Concentration vs Blissful States and Dullness


Q&A: What is the proper balance between the composite of concentration and blissful states?

Master Culadasa explains the balance between concentration development and the two types of pleasant states. These pleasant states are compared to the meditation dead end of concentration with dullness.

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Student: [00:00:00] Yeah. I almost feel like it's a composite to me. If we just say it's those two things that are going to better happening, where it's either 60, 40, or 70 30, where 70 trying to do concentration. And then there's this background, every so often of a soothing the state. And they can both be going on at the same time and working together, or I slipped totally out. Let me know we need to stay with the concentration. Cause I don't think my concentration is very good. Yeah. Yeah.

Culadasa: Yes you've identified it very well. I'm going to try to restate what you said that it's

that you realize that there's on the one hand, the development of the concentration. Doing the practice and a diligent way where the focus where he, where the emphasis is on the focused attention and the other is where your experience playing a very pleasant states. So do I put that more or less correctly?

There's these two components. Okay, you put that very well. Now I want to point out to you that there's two kinds of pleasantness or there's two different causes of fuzziness that you want to be aware of now, as your mind becomes more concentrated as it, as there's more stillness. And I know you've all experienced this when you're just sitting and he found you in your body, you'll find a stillness in your body.

And if you. Notice it how pleasant it is. That's just how exquisitely pleasant it is for your body to be so completely still and peaceful and quiet. You know what I mean? Okay. Now there's no dullness in that. That's just the state of that's the relaxed state of the body, the same thing in your mind that you're meditating and you'll have those periods where.

The frenetic activity of your mind has slowed down. And there's a sort of a clarity that develops and, there's a strong sense of being really pleased with the state that you're in with this clarity in this calmness, and as your mind becomes more focused, that becomes not only this sort of pleased satisfaction, but it will begin to become tangibly joyful.

And at that point a person you might find little energy shocks moving in your body where you feel a spine vibration all of your body or something like that. It, all of those. Positive pleasant sensations, both physical and mental. What I just described are all the, some of the positive outcomes, positive benefits of improving concentration.

And you want to be aware of those and you want to use them as a tool to further deepen your concentration. They're called PT or meditative joy. These are the very first inklings that come, the plug, the Pleasants, the stability in the body and the pleasant serenity relaxness of the mind, the peace and quiet, those little bursts of joy and happiness.

You, you want to make sure that you notice these and you want to have a feeling of appreciation that yes, this is where I'm going, and this is what I want. And my concentration brings this to me. So I'm going to concentrate more while, you're not shutting these things out. You're still aware of the pleasantness and the joy and the happiness, the serenity, whatever it is, you're still aware of it while you're continuing to practice.

And the focused way that actually brought down about, and then this sets up a positive feedback. The more joy arises, the easier it is to concentrate. And then those more stable your concentration is the more joy arises. And so you can use that as a vehicle to work with to really deepen your practice.

The one you have to watch out for is the warm, fuzzy, seductive, attractive feeling that comes from dome. No, I think you all know that one, the Dolan, since it sucks, you it's like you, you want to go to that. You want to go to that place. It's like you want to fall asleep. And even if it's not falling asleep and so that's the one, the women you say, aha, I'm slipping into darkness.

Let me become full, more fully alert and Florida. And you'll feel as you draw yourself out of that, you'll feel the resistance. You feel the desire. You have to sink [00:05:00] into that. And the Sutter existence of, I, I'm not sure how to surrender to that. And so you'll know that you're in, you'll know you're doing the right thing, then you bring yourself out.

But the other that the debt refreshing. Peace and joy and comfort. It doesn't have that quality. It's just it's just there and you can you can enjoy and appreciate it. And it's not like it's trying to suck your deeper. Okay. So these are the two that you want to work with. You want to develop the one very deliberately avidly.

The other one, you want to recognize it for what it is. Okay. Even yet you can occasionally use. I gave Ken you can deliberately allow a certain amount of dullness if your mind is to adjunct. Just to bring you some peace, but you have to watch out cause he real it'll suck you down like a whole under Bill's tire

and that's in and the stages of meditation because see, we get to the fourth stage. We get the skill of we have void the strong dullness. We don't fall asleep and we avoid the gross distraction. Our awareness and meditation, doesn't slip off to the corner of our mind. Now we're ready to, and we'll already at that point, be experiencing some joy and some pleasure and some satisfaction.

Our meditations will be rewarding. Not always, it's not unmixed that there will be the reward. But it's at this point that we're able to really clearly discern this difference that you've brought up the concentration and the positive effect associated with good concentration. And then they there's still concentration and dullness actually, as your mind becomes dull, it does become more constant.

But not in the way that you want it to be. And so the fifth stage is all about recognizing the presence of that subtle dullness. And that's why it's inserted in there. And Cabela Sheila, the eighth century meditation master, he came up with this particular stages. I've always marveled at the brilliance compared to other meditation systems of putting that fifth stage in there where you focus on our retirement.

You subtle dolmas because you could skip that state. Once you get to the point where you can keep your attention on the meditation object, then you can immediately start trying to be single-pointed and dullness we'll make that really easy. So instead, Camila Sheila said at this point before we allow ourselves to even think about being single pointed.

Now we focus on the dullness. We become to recognize it. And we get in the habit of, as soon as it begins to show up, we bring ourselves out of it instead, go the other direction. We make ourselves more aware, more. And that was a brilliant, in terms of meditation technology, that fifth stage, the insertion of that fifth stage was a brilliant step, and I've always, said, wow, Scag, really, they understood the mind. He really understood the vine. So well,

Let me just I'm going on longer than I should. But since I've talked about.


Automated transcription

I almost feel like it's a composite to me. If we just say those two things that are going better happening where It's either sixty, forty or seventy thirty seventy trying to do concentration. And then there's this background every so often of assuming restraint the state. Yeah. And they can both be going on at the same time and working together where I slipped totally out of it. And i know we need to stay with the cops situation because I don't think the concentration are really good. Yeah. Yeah.

Well, yes. You you you've identified it very well. I'm gonna try to restate what you said that it's That you realize that there's on the one hand, the development of the concentration. Doing the practice in a diligent way where the focus where where the emphasis is on the focused attention. And the other is where you're experiencing playing very pleasant states. So did I put that more or less correctly? These two components. Okay. You you put that very well. Now I wanna to point out to you that there's two kinds of pleasant are there's two different causes of that you want to be aware of?

Now as your mind becomes more concentrated as there's more stillness, and I know you've all experienced system you're sitting that you shown in your body you'll find a stillness in your body. And if you notice it, how pleasant it is that's just how exquisite pleasant it is for your body to be so completely still and peaceful and quiet. You know what I mean? Okay. Now there's no dull in there. That's just the state of that's the relaxed state of the body. The same thing in your mind that you're meditating and you have those periods where the f phonetic activity of your mind has slowed down.

And there's a sort of clarity that develops. And, you know, there's there's a strong sense of of being really pleased with the state that you're in with this clarity in this call. Right? So and as your mind becomes more focused, that becomes not only this a sort of pleased satisfaction, but it will begin to become sort of tang joyful And at that point of operation by find, little energy shocks moving in your body or you feel fine vibration all over your body or something like that. All of those positive pleasant sensations most physical and mental, and I just described are all the some of the positive outcomes, positive benefits of improving concentration.

And you want to be aware of those. And you want to you ought to use them as a tool to further deepen your concentration. You know, they're called Pt or medi joy. These are the very first inkling that come, you know, the the pleasant the stability in the body and the pleasant serenity, relaxed of the mine and the peace and quiet those little bursts of joy and happiness come. You you want to make sure that you notice these and you want to have a feeling of appreciation, yes, this is where I'm going.

And this is what I want. And my concentration brings us to me so I'm gonna concentrate more. While you know, you're not shutting these things out. You're still aware of the pleasant and then the joy and the happiness serenity whatever is. You're still aware of it while you're continuing to practice in the focus way that actually brought down about. And then this sets up sort of a positive feedback the more joy arises the easier it is to concentrate and then there's more stable your concentration is the more joy arises.

And so you can use that as a vehicle to work with to really deep your practice. The one you have to watch out for is the war fuzzy, s attractive feeling that comes from Dull. You know, I think you all know that one. The dull, it's it sucks you. It's like you you wanna go to that you wanna go to that place. It's like you want fall asleep. And even if it's not falling asleep, and and so That's the one that when. She wanna say, u. I'm slipping hanging into dull, let me become full more fully alert and totally wait.

And you'll feel as you draw yourself out of that, you'll feel the resistance you feel the desire you have to sink into that and the the sutter is instance, you I'd I'm much rather surrender to that. And and so you'll know that you... You mean you'll know who doing the right thing then you bring yourself out. Or the other the the that refreshing peace and joy and comfort. It doesn't have that quality. It's just like it's just there and you can you can enjoy and appreciate it and it's not like it's trying to suck you deeper.

Okay. So these are the two that you want to work with you want to develop the one very very deliberately. The other one you want to recognize it for what it is even get you can occasionally use. I you can you can deliberately allow a certain amount of dull if your mind is too agitated it, you know, just to bring you some piece. But you have to watch out because it will, it'll suck you down like that hole under bills tire. And that's in in the stages of meditation, to see we get to the fourth stage and we get we get the skill of...

We avoid the strong dull we don't fall asleep and we avoid the gross distractions. So our awareness and meditation doesn't slip off to the corner of our mind. Now we're ready to... And we'll already at adapt point be experiencing some joy and some pleasure and some satisfaction, our meditations will be rewarding. Not always, you know, saw on mix, that there will be they're reward there. But it's at this point that we're able to really clearly discern this difference that you've brought up. The concentration have the positive effect associated with good concentration.

And then they... There's still concentration and dull. Actually, as your mind becomes dull it does become more concentrated, but but not in the way that you want it to be. And so the fifth stage is all about recognizing the presence of that subtle illness. And that's why it's inserted in there. And kamala sheila the eighth century meditation mastery came up with this particular stages I've always marvel the brilliance compared to other meditation systems of putting that fifth stage in there where you focus on overcoming subtle da.

Because you could skip that state. Once you get to the point where you can keep your attention on the meditation object, then you can immediately start trying to be single plated. And dull will make that really easy. So instead Kamala said at this point, before we allow ourselves to even think about being single pointed, now we focus on the dull. We we come to recognize it and we get in the habit of, you know, as soon as it begins to show up we bring ourselves out of it. Instead go the other direction, we make ourselves more aware more alert.

And that that was a brilliant. You know, in terms of meditation technology, that fifth stage, the insertion of that fifth stage was a brilliant step, you know. And I I've always, you know, said... Wow, sc, you know He understood the mind. He really understood the lion so well. Let me just... I'm going on longer than I should.

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