Jhanas within Buddhist teaching are described as a series of carefully cultivated and developed states of mind. These states cumulatively lead to what is called upekkhii-sati-piirisuddhi, or "perfect mental awareness and equanimity"
The first three jhanas are:
- Akasanancayatana jhana - a meditative state where the mind contemplates the experience that space is infinite.
- Vinnanancayatana jhana - a meditative state where the mind is absorbed in realizing that consciousness is infinite.
- Akincannayatana jhana - a meditative state where the mind contemplates the idea that nothing is there.
For the mind to enter the fourth state of nevasannanasannayatana jhana, it has to surrender the idea that nothing is there. Thus, consciousness becomes the object of concentration, as there is no other object on which to focus. This can be considered as passing through the state of nothingness and entering a state so subtle that it cannot be said whether there is perception or not.