Is there awareness of impermanence during the formless meditations?

  • 1
    Experience of the formless-ness has no attributes, words or expectations.
    – Alex S
    Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 22:29
  • so is that a no? i'm not trying to identify anything
    – user2512
    Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 22:36
  • 3
    formless - lack of space or physical attributes to describe impermanence - lack of time - timeless-ness How are you to first become aware of them? How will you or anyone communicate such an experience to another. If you have tasted 10 kinds of fruits, I can describe to you possibly an 11th if it has some attributes that I can associate with those 10. Guna- Attributes - Nir-Guna - Without Attributes. :)
    – Alex S
    Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 22:41

3 Answers 3


If you choose to see things as they are or investigate the Dhamma. Since in the 8th Jhana there is a residue of Perception and Feeling hence you should direct your observation to understand the impermanence of feeling or impermanence of what is felt if you what to develop insight into the 3 marks of existance.

A person taking the Arupa Jhana route attains the final goal by going though Nirodha Samapathi (cessation of perception and feeling)

See: Raho,gata Sutta for further details.


In summary, to perceive the following:

  • Taste: Tongue
  • Sound: Ears
  • Sight: Eyes
  • Object: Touch (cant remember the 5th sense.. need some sleep.. will add later )

That which is formless & beyond all attributes cannot be 'sensed' or perceive using a Sense of the Body (or even an Xray or Infra red vision).

That which has no form, is infinite & all pervasive cannot be measured like an physical object with 'defined' dimensions.

It 'comes' as an experience. :) It's not something you can switch on, on demand; Unless you are enlightened - Then you already know that everything is infinite. At that point your senses & your body and everything else is just a virtual construct.

  • what is an experience without form tho? i was wondering if it was (like) waking up from a deep sleep with some important new understanding, rather than an experience at that moment with a duration beginning and end
    – user2512
    Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 23:02
  • You will know it when you experience it. Please read the link you posted - the infinite cannot have measure and measured by the framework of your mind, it is beyond mind - When you go beyond mind, form, beginning, end, attributes within & experience it, you will not have to ask this on a forum. Meditation is very personal experiential you can read all you want about it and it will not help an ounce. And if/ when you experience it, you will know but be hard pressed to describe.
    – Alex S
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 5:39
  • More for you to read about the same in different words - buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/5309/…
    – Alex S
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 5:41

I thought this might be relevant:

The formless meditations are part of the imageless realm arupa-bhava. According to Stefan Anacker in his book on Vasubandhu

formless meditation is still one pointedness of citta toward an examined range of events... the imageless realm comprises any state where all senses except the mental consciousness are suspended... the first five consciousnesses no longer perceive their object

Emphasis mine. I find the idea of citta without any sense consciousness at all completely baffling! I think that unless your canon explicitly says, probably best to make up your own mind.

You must log in to answer this question.