Updated: 18 November 2022
Who are you? Vern Lovic, 56, American living in Thailand for 18 years.
Books written? Meditation for Beginners – A 22-Day Course; Meditation for Beginners – Secrets for Success; 101 Curious and Bizarre Meditation Experiences; Mindfulness for Beginners; What Is the Point of Life?
All of my books for sale are listed here – Amazon Author Page.
If you’re considering reading one of my books, the easiest to get started with is MFB A 22-Day Course. It’s short and very easy to read. I wanted that book to be the easiest book to teach meditation ever written. I didn’t quite succeed, but it has been read by over 80,000 people since 2008.
Meditation background? I began in the mid 1990’s. There’s a bio below.
Do you have any videos? Yes! My YouTube video is Jhana Meditation (Meditation for Beginners).
Why Aren’t Your Meditation Books Free?
This question is asked more times than probably any other. I understand why!
I put hundreds of hours into making this website and the videos at YouTube. I would have gladly done it as a public service, but I wasn’t (and still am not) in a position where money doesn’t matter. We recently had baby #2 and finances are tighter than ever.
Living in Thailand is a blessing and comes with some obstacles to get over. One obstacle is that foreigners cannot be employed doing jobs Thais can do. There is a long list of occupations that are off limits for us, so my job possibilities are few. I can teach. I can work for a dive shop as a dive instructor. I don’t like to dive with equipment, so I’m left with teaching.
I’ve taught some and to be honest, I feel like I’m doing the kids a disservice. I’m not really a teacher of kids. I enjoy it, but that’s kinda beside the point!
So far I can still work online and that’s acceptable.
So I write. I make websites. I sell a website when possible. I keep those sites that are dear to me, like Jhana8.com and Jhana101.com.
I offer the books for a small fee – never more than $10 for a paperback and the eBooks are usually $4.99 or less.
I do understand that even these prices can be impossible for some people to manage.
So I offer any book you want for free in that case. Just email me and let me know you’d like the book, and I’ll send a PDF version. Or, an ePUB or other format if you require it and if I have it in that format.
Many people have asked if they can donate to the ’cause’ here. We’ve lived in Thailand for 18 years and never accepted any donation. Recently I was asked again by someone if they could donate. I have to be honest, I’d love to re-focus on this website again and produce more helpful articles, videos, and possibly even books. But it would be too difficult to take my time away from other writing projects that will make some money for us.
Sorry, it’s a sad reality for us and though we’re fine with it – this site suffers and people reading suffer because there just isn’t enough published here yet to reasonably cover the topic.
So, with that said, if you’d like to donate – I mean really love to donate and it won’t hurt you financially – my Thai wife’s paypal.com address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes, that’s the correct spelling. That’s her maiden name turned into English characters. lol.
Thank you for your help and kindness, it’s so much appreciated.
- Jhana8 @Twitter
- Quora Profile
- Meditation Books at Amazon: 22-Day Course – Secrets – 101 Bizarre Meditation Experiences
- Amazon Author Page
Why Jhana 8?
I’ve been considering whether to create a site like this for some time. A visit to YouTube to search for videos about Jhana turned up only a few Buddhist monks from Thailand, USA, and India talking about what the Buddha said about Jhana.
That was odd to me because there are many people that have experienced some level of the Jhanas – and yet – why isn’t anyone telling about it?
Why isn’t anyone helping those that aren’t having Jhana?
I’ve been lucky or blessed or whatever you want to term it – to have spent time in all 8 Jhanas. Before I even knew they had a name. Hence the name of the site – Jhana8.com, because Jhana.com was already taken!
Was it difficult to reach a place where Jhana would visit?
Sure, it was difficult… but mostly it was sort of fun and difficult. That might sound like a contradiction to many of you who have worked hard to go further down the path and hope to see Jhana.
The bad (and sad!) news is… you can’t just go get it.
It just sort of comes.
The good news is… you can prepare yourself for it coming – and you can experience Jhana. Even all the Jhanas.
Vern’s Bio (abbreviated)
A little about my background…
I had very little ‘training’ in meditation – and I think that’s to my benefit. I think it’s profoundly difficult for Buddhist monks and others attempting to follow strict Buddhist methods of meditation to get very far down the path.
Evidence for that is over the past 20+ years of looking I’ve not met many people at all who have experienced Jhanas 2-8. And, I’ve looked – hard. I know of a few people that appear to have had it… but I haven’t met them in person. Certainly, some of their descriptions seem to be right on.
Here in Thailand over the last 18+ years, I’ve met many Theravada monks and nuns… abbots of Buddhist temples. I have yet to find someone who is enlightened.
That’s very strange to me.
Is it strange to you?
There are millions of people across the globe attempting to do what the Buddha originally did. They’re not going about it the way the Buddha did though. They’re following the Buddhist system which came after Buddha reached nibbana.
How many were successful over the course of history? How many had definitely gone up to and through Jhana8?
I’m not sure, but I fear there may be very few.
Where are these people?
How many have experienced Jhana8? One out of a billion? One out of 100 million?
Those numbers don’t add up for me. It doesn’t make sense that I can get to a stage where Jhanas came within a year. Without a teacher.
I’m nobody special I assure you. Whether what happened before my birth in this body had anything to do with anything at all – I don’t profess to have the slightest idea. I don’t believe in reincarnation – rebirth – karma – or anything like that. Not yet, anyway. The option is there, and my mind is open to whatever is experienced. I am not close-minded to possibilities.
I say yet because there have been some experiences I cannot explain logically, with my rational mind – they happened – no doubt.
How did they happen?
I’ll go into it some on this site with some of my meditation journals from years back – and some recent.
Jhana8 is for those that would like to experience Jhanas. I’ll do my best – with what I know, to share with you how you can reach these states of mind.
I know they are not unattainable. I firmly believe your past lives (if such things exist) have little or nothing to do with whether you can experience Jhana in this life.
The problem is, that you are in a catch-22. You have probably been taught that Jhana is either the path to enlightenment or part of the path… to the ultimate freedom from pain… from suffering.
Buddhists call suffering – dukkha. I’m not well-versed in what Buddhists call different experiences and factors of meditation. I didn’t know any of them (virtually) when I started to sit and watch the breath.
You need not know them either. Believe it or not.
This site was created with the intention of being a “Meditation for Beginners” site, but with some advanced tips and articles about what meditation does to someone that goes through the Jhanas and other experiences.
As one goes along the path there are many changes that happen, and I enjoy writing about them here.
I hope I can help even one person – beginner or expert – experience Jhanas. If I can do that – wow, what a cool thing to have shared with someone else!
Maybe it will be you? I think it’s not that difficult… the main problem will be getting over the catch-22 that exists which is this:
Jhana won’t visit you unless your mind is free from attachment… from craving, from excitement about possibly experiencing a Jhana state.
It need not be completely free from these things, but at least for minutes at a time as you meditate, yes, there must be no trace of them. It may sound impossible, I know.
But, the mind in the meditative state as you concentrate fully, 100% on the breath, is able to sort of blank the mind. Craving or excitement about possibly reaching Jhana is not present as strongly, and sometimes not at all.
How can you forget about Jhana’s importance? As soon as you grasp at it for just a fraction of a second… your chance at starting a Jhana just slips away.
It might have been very close to coming, and yet – when you get excited, anticipate it… it fades away.
The less important Jhana is to you – the better chance you have of finding it.
Monks and other regular practitioners of 20+ years have a much smaller chance of having Jhana visit… you might have a much better chance.
Myself – I had very little knowledge of levels or states that occur in the mind as one meditates. Jhana didn’t mean anything to me when it came… sure it was amazing… but, I was following a very simple process… watch what happens… don’t attach to it with the mind. It will pass… and it did.. Jhana 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 all passed as I attached or grasped at them as little as possible. It is much easier not to grasp when they are not built up in your mind as part of the ‘end-game’.
Even better if you don’t even know what they are at all, like I didn’t.
Have I been enlightened? Honestly, I’m not sure what that word means, or if it really has any objective meaning in today’s world. There is a lot of disagreement about what the word means. What the state is.
Buddha is said to have reached this stage that he and others called ‘enlightenment.’ Nibbana.
What if, during our meditative path, we reach a different stage? Something similar or different? What if our path is slightly different, or even exactly the same, and yet we reach a stage that is not the same?
Buddha was a different person. In a different era. With vastly different beliefs. With a history of contemplation and meditative practice. Denying himself basic things… food, sleep, thoughts.
I’m not at all sure we should want what the Buddha had. We’ve been told we should.
But I’m not convinced.
I think there are MANY other end-games that can result from a practice of focusing on the breath. I seem to have reached one.
My mind has changed – no doubt. My current state of functioning is bizarre – no doubt… am I enlightened in the same sense as the Buddha, 2565 years ago?
No, I think not. But I’m not really sure what enlightenment means. I don’t know what to believe it is… who can really talk about it unless they’ve experienced it?
So, that is a bit of what this site is about. Have a look around here and see if there’s anything you can take into your practice that might help you change for the better as a person.
That’s where the real magic of meditation occurs. Not so much in trying to end up in the same place a guy did 2500+ years ago.
WIth metta and concern for you,