|The Jhānas are eight altered states of consciousness which can arise during periods of strong concentration. The Jhānas are naturally occurring states of mind, but learning how to enter them at will and how to stay in them takes practice. Their principle use in Buddhist meditation is to generate ever increasing levels of concentration so that later when the meditative mind is turned to a practice that tends towards wisdom, it can do that practice with far less distraction.|
An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2008 Mind and Life Conference: EEG Power and Coherence Analysis of an Expert Meditator in the Eight Jhanas (MS-Word file).
Tho not specifically about the Jhānas, this article from Newsweek on meditation is interesting as well.
New Scientist reports that self-awareness is switched off when the brain needs to concentrate hard.
Time magazine has an interesting article on consciousness (and not-self): The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness
Dhyana in Buddhism - from Wikipedia has a good write up, tho I disagree with some of the statements there.
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