Being Happier Than You Ever Realized For No Apparent Reason (Leigh Brasington)

Being Happier Than You Ever Realized For No Apparent Reason (Leigh Brasington)

In this episode, we speak with Leigh Brasington, one of the most famous jhana teachers alive today. Leigh is the author of Right Concentration, a remarkably clear and simple book that is commonly cited by novices who learned to enter jhanas on their own. We discuss how he first learned the jhanas, spent years looking for a teacher to show him how to navigate them, and how the jhanas changed his personality to be happier and more prone to glee over time. He shares how he believes the jhanas can show you it’s possible to be happier than you ever realized for no apparent reason, and most importantly, how they can help you see what Buddhists call capital-I Insights: things like how malleable your ego really is. Leigh visited us during an online jhana retreat, and fields several questions from the audience near the end.

  • 0:54 How Leigh got started with meditation 
  • 6:42 Quitting marijuana in order meditate clearly
  • 8:54 Leigh’s first jhana
  • 11:49 Discovering how to enter piti (glee) consistently
  • 14:18 Learning what jhanas are
  • 15:44 J1 and piti: like the rush of marijuana
  • 18:19 Moving to the second jhana
  • 21:46 J2 and sukka: happiness
  • 23:04 The effects of J2 on baseline wellbeing
  • 28:53 J3: wishlessness
  • 30:37 J4: stillness and a mind ready for Insight
  • 33:26 Jhanas as a warmup for Insight
  • 37:21 You’re more malleable than you think you are
  • 39:36 Leigh’s advice to his younger self
  • 41:20 What traits in students predict success in learning jhanas?
  • 43:13 Common pitfalls
  • 46:33 How many people are practicing the jhanas today?
  • 47:41 Why aren’t they more popular?
  • 49:31 How Leigh’s teaching philosophy has changed
  • 50:37 What might be done before meditating to make jhana easier?
  • 52:55 Supplements or drugs that might make jhanas easier
  • 54:13 Audience Q&A: lucid dreaming and body scanning
  • 55:31 Insight and changes in values stemming from jhanas 
  • 57:42 Does Leigh currently have a sense of self?
  • 58:28 Jhanic experiences in mundane activites, like sports and dating
  • 1:01:15 The value of following instructions in meditation
  • 1:05:13 Asking the “why” behind restlessness
  • 1:07:46 Injecting jhanas into life off the cushion
  • 1:10:31 Learning jhanas via Leigh’s book alone has proven surprisingly doable

Episode Video