Q and A with Lay Disciples 2021

Answers by Ajahn Anan Akincano

Q: Please might you explain the difference between samadhi and jhana? 

A: Samadhi means the firmly established mind. Samma samadhi, Right Samadhi, is the  mind firmly established for the the sake of contemplating in order to understand the  Dhamma. 

Jhana is happiness of mind derived from peace and one pointedness. The first jhana has five factors of applied thought, sustained thought, rapture,  happiness, and one-pointedness. The second jhana has rapture, happiness, and one pointedness, the third jhana happiness and one-pointedness, and the fourth jhana  one-pointedness. These are states of deeper samadhi. 

When one exits the jhana, then one goes to upacara samadhi, neighborhood  concentration. This is the proper state of Right Samadhi within which one can  contemplate to understand the 4 Noble Truths, to contemplate everything as anicca,  dukkha, and anatta. 

The path we are walking on now is that of contemplating in order to give rise to  samadhi a little bit at a time, to give rise to Right Samadhi bit by bit. 

It is possible to enter upacara samadhi; as one’s samadhi improves then one enters  upacara samadhi. Sometimes one may enter the first jhana, then after one exits the  jhana, one can contemplate to see the body clearly, to see that all rupa and nama are  anatta.

Do not worry about this. Do one’s practice in the present moment. Contemplate  anicca, dukkha, and anatta to give rise to emptiness bit by bit. The mind can then  gather in samadhi that is good and stable and its possible to enter jhana and be  peaceful in jhana. 

However, one wants the paths and fruits of nibbana. The faster way to reach the  paths and fruits is to use upacara samadhi to contemplate and see the Dhamma.  Ascetics and hermits go into jhana first, but using upacara samadhi is a faster way. At first one has khanika samadhi, momentary concentration, and this gathers and  accumulates a little bit at a time. Then upacara samadhi arises, which is close to  jhana. This is correct samadhi. Jhana is peacefulness only. Usually those with jhana  go higher and higher in terms of concentration but do not contemplate. Practicing by  contemplating first as I have described above one also can enter jhana just the same,  but upon exiting the jhana then one has Right Samadhi. 

Q: Does anapanasati leads into samadhi as well as into jhana? 

A: Yes. We speak of the 1st jhana, with its five jhana factors, as part of the anapanasati  practice. One practices mindfulness and contemplates rupa, the body within the body —this happens in upacara samadhi. 

With khanika samadhi one sees but not very clearly. With upacara samadhi one can  contemplate and see clearly. With the strength and energy of the first jhana, upon  exiting the jhana, then one can contemplate with even more enrgy. One uses both sati and samadhi. Peacefulness only is jhana. With less peacefulness one contemplates  and brings up wisdom, one uses both peacefulness and wisdom.

Q: What is the reason, that lets one enter samadhi or jhana? 

A: Do not think about jhana, this is too much, too high. Think about samadhi. Have  mindfulness and use samadhi to contemplate. Practice not liking or disliking, letting  go, contemplating anicca, dukkha, and anatta, and contenplating emptiness. Then  samadhi arises bit by bit to various degrees.  

In the beginning, the mind is not at the level of jhana, but the mind can gather  together and is capable of seeing the Dhamma. The mind gathers to one point, one  has wisdom, and one sees the Dhamma at this point—this is without using jhana. 


-You are caring for the Buddhasasana and helping the monastics obtain the four  requisites so that they may have the time and opportunity to seek the truth that the  Buddha taught. As a layperson, it is more difficult as one has less time available to  seek after the Dhamma. You help the monastics to obtain whatever it is that they  need, which helps make it possible for the paths and fruits of Nibbana to arise. And  you do this with a mind that lets go. The benefit of this is that it helps your mind to  realize emptiness more quickly. I anumodana with your practice of dana that you do  with wisdom – this wisdom which is important. May this merit help you to realize  vimutti, freedom.  

-Giving in the present is giving with wisdom, as well. You help others according to  your strength and ability. In the world, we meet with those who are poor and we help  as we are able.  

-Where there is faith, one gives and helps there. Contemplate with wisdom. 

Q: You mention in your message, that the parami of the Buddha, Dhamma and  Sangha brings prosperity in the Dhamma, to see the light of Dhamma and to  understand emptiness and later you write about partaking of the purity of the  Buddha by realizing emptiness. It looks, as if the Triple Gem would take fully care  of us if we just follow their guidance, their clear teachings and if we whole heartedly surrender ourselves, based on proper Dana-, Sila- and Dhamma Practice. It sounds like an invitation to immerse freely into emptiness one day, if the causes and conditions are perfectly fitting. If there is a partaking of the purity of a  Buddha by realizing emptiness, in my understanding it means, that then all these  beings become Buddhas.  

A: Yes, this is correct. Follow the teachings and this is the highest homage. Cultivate  high wisdom to understand the teachings, and take the Triple Gem as one’s refuge.  Follow the teachings and then one’s heart can be Buddha. This is correct. One’s  practice of dana and sila helps one’s mind to be still and peaceful more easily. This  dana helps to cut out and put down the sense of self. One sacrifices for others, and  one has the 5 precepts as a firm and balanced foundation. Use wisdom to recollect  often and bring the mind to stillness and emptiness. Contemplate all things as empty, which is Buddha. 

Q: It is said, that the Buddhasasana will end in 2436 years. Does this mean, that the  Dhammakaya of the Buddha will disappear?  

A: In the future you mention, material development continues to increase and inner  qualities decrease. People’s interest in Buddhism declines. The delusion of humans  increases; people are lost. As the Buddhasasana declines, good people who die go to  the deva worlds. Those who are born have no sila. 

At the end of the 5,000 year period of the Buddhasasana, the relics of Lord  Buddha gather together at Bodh Gaya. Then the Dhammakaya forms one last body  that gives teachings to the devas (no humans present). After this, the relics disappear and the Dhammakaya disappears. After this, no one knows about the Buddhasasana.  

People will not have sila and it will be all chaotic and disturbed in the world.  We can see in the present that some people are not interested in Buddhism, have no  religion, and so on – in the future the whole world will be filled with this kind of  people. These are people who do not believe in rebirth, devas, merit and demerit, or  Nibbana – everyone will be like this. Children could be born without parents using  science and technology. Perhaps they were just ordered, made, and raised in a  scientific facility. Then children could feel unloved, without mother or father, and  without anything in the world. Machinery may replace parts of the human body –  people will become lower. People will kill and destroy each other a lot. Humans will  be as if animals. The Buddhasasana will be all gone.  

Q: And regarding the word Dhammakaya, can you give a deeper explanation?  

A: The Dhammakaya is the parami that takes care of us in the present. The Buddha can be described with three bodies – the physical body, the citta that is in Nibbana, and  the Dhammakaya. In the sense of the Dhammakaya, this is the Buddha still here, the  parami that takes care of all of us, which is something that some meditators can see.  

Q: Certain places like the Ruwanwaheli Stupa or the tooth relic temple in Sri Lanka  seem to have a very special powerful radiance and it seems that the Dhamma flows  there in a special way. It is like a heap of Dhamma-energy which is present. Can  you explain a bit more about this point?  

A: These are places with parami, where devas come and take care of the location.  People come with minds of faith to these places. The parami of the Buddha has been 

called down, determined, to these places already. People with faith come, the parami  is there, and when people bow and pay homage at these sites, piti and samadhi arise  more easily, such as in the two places you mention. These are blessed and auspicious  

places. One can connect with the parami of the Buddha at these sites. Even if you do not go there in person, you can recollect such places. Recollect  the relics and goodness there, such as recollecting the Ruwanwelisaya Chedi or the  Temple of the Tooth, one can feel rapture arise. This is Buddhanusati.


The relics of the Buddha have a special energy in them, a radiance. The Buddha is  nature; Buddha relics have the energy already and no additional adhitthana is  required.  

On important days one can see these rainbows – one sees them in Thailand for  instance during chedi or Uposatha ceremonies, among other occasions. The meaning  here is that your group has faith in the Buddhasasana and can prosper in your  Dhamma practice.  

When calling on the parami of the Buddha, one recollects the purity, compassion,  and great wisdom of the Buddha, and rapture can arise in the mind.  

Yes, anywhere where people have faith the parami of the Buddha can come. For  instance, you recollect the Buddha, and the Buddha is giving you lovingkindness  already. It is up to your mind how much you feel this happening. If your mind is  peaceful the feeling is more.  

Rainbows also occur naturally of course but on special holidays or occasions they can arise, as well. 


Determined here means to make the mind firm, to set one’s heart on a specific goal –  one needs effort and khanti, patient endurance, to do this. For example, one  determines to sit in meditation every day. Then one needs effort, khanti, and firm  application of mind to accomplish this goal. 

The parami of the Buddha is lokuttara, above the world; it is an energy that is  lokuttara, it is pure, and it is there at these sites all the time. 

Even if one is not at the holy site or special place, one can recollect it. When one  recollects it, it is as if one is there already. If one travels there in person, this may give rise to annoyance and aversion of various types as one encounters the difficulties of  physical travel. If one sits in meditation and recollects the place, one can feel full in  one’s heart and at ease. Travel is more difficult. Such places can help give rise to  peacefulness more easily and help one go to Nibbana more easily. One recollects the  goodness of the Buddha and one feels full and happy. For instance, one could  recollect Bodh Gaya, how the Buddha awakened there, one recollects what the  Buddha awakened to, then one practices to follow the same path to awakening, as  well.  

Regarding how, out of the Dhammakaya bodies may get formed to give teachings to  beings: Yes (these bodies being astral or heavenly bodies).  

Anumodana. These are very good questions. May they help you in your  understanding of Dhamma practice. May you see the Dhamma in this life.


We see the important anniversary day of Visakha Puja is coming up, which is an  important day in the Buddhasasana. The Lord Buddha has great brightness and gave  teachings to benefit humans, devas, and Brahmas – to benefit all beings. We get this  benefit, we do goodness, we practice sila, and together this supports our practice of  paying homage through bhavana. This is a benefit that you receive having made  merit with Wat Marp Jan constantly. Another benefit is that the parami of the  Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha brings you prosperity in the Dhamma, to see the light of Dhamma, to understand emptiness.  

We celebrate this upcoming important holiday and we respect the Lord Buddha. May all of this bring success to you in partaking of the purity of the Buddha by  realizing emptiness – realizing the brightness of the Buddha in your own heart by  seeing the Dhamma. May you have strong and balanced health. 


Q: What about sports players and athletes getting samadhi? Can this samadhi give  rise to spontaneous insight? 

A: The samadhi is not stable enough, it’s too focused on outer goals and filled with a  sense of self that wants to accomplish objectives. The samadhi keeps wavering or  moving and has a sense of self mixed in. However, if one gets samadhi like this and  then directs that samadhi to contemplation then this could work, but one would  likely need someone to teach one how to contemplate.