When we sit down and practice samadhi we would naturally want to enter absorbtion.But what if by practicing samatha we manage to calm and refine all the five senses,to the point where all five senses dissapear.

What's left would only be the mind sense with no outer stimuli from the five senses.

If this happens then won't the mind grasp the Bhavanga State? So my question is How does the Bhavanga State relate to the Jhanas?Are you suppose to go through one before entering the Jhanas.Or are you suppose to avoid lapsing into one in the first place.

2 Answers 2


Jhana is more than just the giving up of the five senses. Each of the jhanas is the result of very strong samadhi, and has specific factors that go along with it. For example, the first jhana has five factors: rapture, pleasure, initial application of mind, sustained application of mind, and oneness of mind. As one goes deeper into the second jhana, one leaves behind initial application and sustained application of mind, and so on.

Bhavanga is very different than this however. Bhavanga is like a blank slate. All it has are the mental factors that are necessary for mind to be there and nothing else. It only occurs in the space between other kinds of mindstate. None of the jhana factors are present at all, and there isn't even any meaningful degree of awareness in it.

  • Thanks for the answer Bakmoon.Your right in saying the difference between Jhana and Bhavanga states are the factors that go a long with it.The mind should be grasping the object of meditation and developing five factors of jhana.(Vitakka,vicara,piti,sukkha,ekagatta).And i think through repetition and trial and error one will learn not to drop into the bhavanga states.I think the only harm bhavanga states do is one might think one has attained niroddha samapatti.But if you know this is not the jhanas and no where near that,there's no harm falling into one until you get it right.
    – Orion
    Jan 30, 2015 at 22:42
  • @Bakmoon. Great answer +1.
    – user2424
    Apr 17, 2015 at 15:18

While doing some reading I noticed the following which may shed more light on you question. Pa Auk Sayadaw and Tina Rasmussen teach that returning to bhavanga-consciousness between jhana states allows a review of the jhana factors that were present in the jhana which, according to them, is not possible when absorbed in jhana:

You examine the bhavanga with the wisdom eye after exiting jhana and before entering the next higher jhana to determine which jhana factors are, or were, present. It is impossible to examine the jhana factors or bhavanga while in jhana because in jhana there is no volition or thinking. When you are checking the jhana factors, you are in access concentration, not absorbtion. Practicing the Jhanas by Tina Rasmussen (p.77)

Pa Auk Sayadaw - Mindfulness of Breathing (p.7):

Once one can maintain the first jhana for about two or three hours, one may try to discern the five jhana factors. Whenever one emerges from jhana, one discerns the area in one's heart where the bhavanga-consciousness rests: that is the heart-materiality. The bhavanga-consciousness is bright and luminous, and looks like a mirror in the heart: that is the mind-door. And when one discerns the mind-door, one will see the anapana-patibhaga-nimitta appear there. Then one discerns the five jhana factors.

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