|Wylie||bsam gtan (pronounced samten)|
Dhyāna (from Sanskrit ध्यान dhyāna) or Jhāna in Pāli refers to a stage of meditation, which is a subset of samādhi. It is a key concept in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Equivalent terms are "Chán" in modern Chinese, "Zen" in Japanese, "Seon" in Korean, "Thien" in Vietnamese, and "Samten" in Tibetan.
Dhyana in Raja Yoga is also found in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. Practiced together with Dharana and Samādhi it constitutes the Samyama. Depictions of Hindu yogis performing dhyāna are found in ancient texts and in statues and frescoes of ancient India temples.
The Bhagavad Gita talks of only two main modes , Jnana Yoga and Karma Yoga (Not to be confused with physical exercise Yoga (Hatha Yoga) ). Meditation is a subset to attaining Jnana since you realize the one Advaita principle
In the Pali Canon the Buddha describes four progressive states of absorption meditation or jhāna. The jhānas are said by the Buddha to be conducive to a pleasant abiding and freedom from suffering (DN-22). The jhānas are states of meditation where the mind is free from the five hindrances (craving, aversion, sloth, agitation, doubt) and (from the second jhāna onwards) incapable of discursive thinking. The deeper jhānas can last for many hours. When a meditator emerges from jhāna, his/her mind is empowered and able to penetrate into the deepest truths of existence.
There are four deeper states of meditative absorption called the immaterial attainments. Sometimes these are also referred to as the "formless" jhānas, or arupajhana (distinguished from the first four jhānas, rupajhana). In the Buddhist canonical texts, the word jhāna is never explicitly used to denote them, but they are always mentioned in sequence after the first four jhānas.
Jhānas are normally described according to the nature of the mental factors which are present in these states
Four progressive states of Jhāna:
Traditionally, this fourth jhāna is seen as the beginning of attaining psychic powers (abhigna).
The scriptures state that one should not seek to attain ever higher jhanas but master one first, then move on to the next. 'Mastery of jhana' involves being able to enter a jhana at will, stay as long as one likes, leave at will and experience each of the jhana factors as required. They also seem to suggest that lower jhana factors may manifest themselves in higher jhanas, if the jhanas have not been properly developed. The Buddha is seen to advise his disciples to concentrate and steady the jhana further.
In East Asia, several schools of Buddhism were founded that focused on dhyāna, under the names Chan, Zen, and Soen. According to tradition, Bodhidharma brought Dhyāna to the Shaolin Temple in China, where it came to be transliterated as "chan" ("soen" in Korea, and then "zen" in Japan).