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The Jhanas in Theravada Buddhist Meditation
by Bhikkhu Henepola Gunaratana


Title Page

About the Author
About the BPS

1. Introduction

The Doctrinal Context of Jhana
Etymology of Jhana
Jhana and Samadhi

2. Preparation for Jhana

The Moral Foundation for Jhana
The Good Friend and the Subject of Meditation
Choosing a Suitable Dwelling

3. The First Jhana

The Abandoning of the Hindrances
The Factors of the First Jhana
Applied Thought (vitakka)
Sustained Thought (vicara)
Rapture (piti)
Happiness (sukha)
One-pointedness (ekaggata)
Perfecting the First Jhana

4. The Higher Jhanas

The Higher Fine-material Jhanas
The Immaterial Jhanas
The Jhanas and Rebirth

5. Jhana & The Supramundane

The Way of Wisdom
The Two Vehicles
Supramundane Jhana
The Jhanic Level of the Path and Fruit

6. Jhanas & The Noble Disciples

Seven Types of Disciples
Jhana and the Arahat


Mahathera Henepola Gunaratana was ordained as a Buddhist monk in Kandy, Sri Lanka, in 1947 and received his education at Vidyalankara College and Buddhist Missionary College, Colombo. He worked for five years as a Buddhist missionary among the Harijans (Untouchables) in India and for ten years with the Buddhist Missionary Society in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In 1968 he came to the United States to serve as general secretary of the Buddhist Vihara Society at the Washington Buddhist Vihara. In 1980 he was appointed president of the Society. He has received a Ph.D. from The American University and since 1973 has been Buddhist Chaplain at The American University.

He is now director of the Bhavana Meditation Center in West Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley, about 100 miles from Washington, D.C.


The BPS is an approved charity dedicated to making known the Teaching of the Buddha, which has a vital message for people of all creeds. Founded in 1958, the BPS has published a wide variety of books and booklets covering a great range of topics. Its publications include accurate annotated translations of the Buddha's discourses, standard reference works, as well as original contemporary expositions of Buddhist thought and practice. These works present Buddhism as it truly is -- a dynamic force which has influenced receptive minds for the past 2500 years and is still as relevant today as it was when it first arose.

A full list of our publications will be sent upon request with an enclosure of U.S. $1.00 or its equivalent to cover air mail postage.

Write to:
The Hony. Secretary
P.O. Box 61 54, Sangharaja Mawatha Kandy
Sri Lanka

The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies
Lockwood Road Barre,
MA 01005 - USA
Tel: (508) 355-2347


PTS Pali Text Society edition
BBS Burmese Buddhasasana Samiti edition

A. Anguttara Nikaya (PTS)
D. Digha Nikaya (PTS)
Dhs. Dhammasangani (BBS)
Dhs.A. Dhammasangani Atthakatha = Atthasalini (BBS)
M. Majjhima Nikaya (PTS)
M.A. Majjhima Nikaya Atthakatha (BBS)
Miln. Milindapanha (PTS)
PP. Path of Purification (translation of Visuddhimagga by Bhikkhu Nanamoli; Kandy: BPS, 1975)
S. Samyutta Nikaya (PTS)
SA. Samyutta Nikaya Atthakatha (BBS)
ST. Samyutta Nikaya Tika (BBS)
Vbh. Vibhanga (PTS)
Vin.A. Vinaya Atthakatha (BBS)
Vism. Visuddhimagga (PTS)
Vism.T. Visuddhimagga Tika (BBS)

[Title Page] [Contents]
[1. Introduction] [2. Preparation for Jhana]
[3. The First Jhana] [4. The Higher Jhanas]
[5. Jhana & The Supramundane] [6. Jhanas & The Noble Disciples]

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