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LESSON 61 FOUR JHANAS PART I 17 10 2010 FREE ONLINE eNālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY
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§ Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar , Indian scholar, philosopher and architect of Constitution of India, in his writing and speeches
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Jhāna (Pāli: झान; Sanskrit: ध्यान dhyāna) is a meditative state of profound stillness and concentration. It is discussed in the Pāli canon (and the parallel agamas) and post-canonical Theravāda Buddhist literature.
In the early texts, it is taught as a state of collected, full-body awareness in which mind becomes very powerful and still but not frozen, and is thus able to observe and gain insight into the changing flow of experience. Later Theravada literature, in particular the Visuddhimagga, describes it as an abiding in which the mind becomes fully immersed and absorbed in the chosen object of attention, characterized by non-dual consciousness.
The Buddha himself entered jhāna, as described in the early texts, during his own quest for enlightenment, and is constantly seen in the suttas encouraging his disciples to develop jhāna as a way of achieving awakening and liberation.
One key innovative teaching of the Buddha was that meditative absorption must be combined with liberating cognition.
Just before his passing away, The Buddha entered the jhānas in direct and reverse order, and the passing away itself took place after rising from the fourth jhāna.
The Buddha’s most well-known instructions on attaining jhana are via mindfulness of breathing, found in the Ānāpānasati Sutta and elsewhere.
There are four stages of deep collectedness which are called the Rupa Jhāna (Fine-material Jhāna):
1. First Jhāna - In the first jhana there are - “directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence,mindfulness, equanimity & attention”
2. Second Jhāna - In the second jhana there are - “internal assurance, rapture, pleasure, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention.”
3. Third Jhāna - In the third jhana, there are - “equanimity-pleasure, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity & attention”
4. Fourth Jhāna - In the fourth jhana there are - “a feeling of equanimity, neither pleasure nor pain; an unconcern due to serenity of awareness; unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity & attention”.
Beyond the four jhānas lie four attainments, referred to in the early texts as aruppas. These are also referred to in commentarial literature as immaterial/the formless jhānas (arūpajhānas), also translated as The Formless Dimensions:
1. Dimension of Infinite Space - In the dimension of infinite space there are - “the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention”
2. Dimension of Infinite Consciousness - In the Dimension of infinite consciousness there are - “the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention”
3. Dimension of Nothingness - In the dimension of nothingness, there are - “the perception of the dimension of nothingness, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention”
4. Dimension of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception - About the role of this jhana it is said: “He emerged mindfully from that attainment. On emerging mindfully from that attainment, he regarded the past qualities that had ceased & changed: ‘So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.’ He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that ‘There is no further escape,’ and pursuing it there really wasn’t for him.” 
In the suttas, these are never referred to as jhānas. According to the early scriptures, the Buddha learned the last two formless attainments from two teachers, Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta respectively, prior to his enlightenment. It is most likely that they belonged to the Brahmanical tradition.
The Buddha himself discovered an attainment beyond the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, the “cessation of feelings and perceptions”. This is sometimes called the “ninth jhāna” in commentarial and scholarly literature.
About this, it is said: “Seeing with discernment, his fermentations were totally ended. He emerged mindfully from that attainment. On emerging mindfully from that attainment, he regarded the past qualities that had ceased & changed: ‘So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.’ He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that ‘There is no further escape,’ and pursuing it there really wasn’t for him.”
Someone attaining this state is an anagami or an arahant. In the above extract, the Buddha narrates that Sariputta became an arahant upon reaching it.
Early Brahminic passages on meditation suggest that the most basic presupposition of early Brahmanical yoga is that the creation of the world must be reversed, through a series of meditative states, by the yogin who seeks the realization of the self. These states were given doctrinal background in early Brahminic cosmologies, which classified the world into successively coarser strata. One such stratification is found atTU II.1 and Mbh XII.195, and proceeds as follows: self, space, wind, fire, water, earth. Mbh XII.224 gives alternatively: Brahman, mind, space, wind, fire, water, earth. In Brahmanical thought, the meditative states of consciousness were thought to be identical to the subtle strata of the cosmos. There is no similar theoretical background to element meditation in the early Buddhist texts, where the elements appear simply as suitable objects of meditation. It is likely that the Brahmanic practices of element meditation were borrowed and adapted by early Buddhists, with the original Brahmanic ideology of the practices being discarded in the process. The uses of the elements in early Buddhist literature have in general very little connection to Brahmanical thought; in most places they occur in teachings where they form the objects of a detailed contemplation of the human person. The aim of these contemplations is to induce the correct understanding that the various perceived aspects of the human person do not comprise a self.
Moreover, the self is conceptualized in terms similar to both “nothingness” and “neither perception nor non-perception” at different places in early Upanishadic literature. The latter corresponds to Yajnavalkya’s definition of the self in his famous dialogue with Maitreyi in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and the definition given in the post-Buddhist Mandukya Upanishad. This is mentioned as a claim of non-Buddhist ascetics and Brahmins in the Pañcattaya Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 102.2). In the same dialogue in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Yajnavalkya draws the conclusions that the self that is neither perceptive nor non-perceptive is a state of consciousness without object. The early Buddhist evidence suggests much the same thing for the state of “neither perception nor non-perception”. It is a state without an object of awareness, that is not devoid of awareness. The state following it in the Buddhist scheme, the “cessation of perception and sensation”, is devoid not only of objectivity, but of subjectivity as well: seeNibbana#Transcendent knowing.
This and other evidence suggest that Uddaka Ramaputta belonged to the pre-Buddhist tradition portrayed by the Buddhist and Brahmanic sources, in which the philosophical formulations of the early Upanishads were accepted and the meditative state of “neither perception nor non-perception” was equated with the self. Furthermore, there is early Upanishadic evidence suggesting that the goal of Alara Kalama was a Brahminical concept. Evidence in the Chandogya Upanishad and the Taittiriya Upanishad suggests that a different early Brahminic philosophical tradition held the view that the unmanifest state of Brahman was a form of non-existence. Thus it seems likely that both element and formless meditation was learned by the Buddha from his two teachers and adapted by him to his own system.
See also: Buddhism and Hinduism#Soteriology
The Buddha did not reject the formless attainments in and of themselves, but instead the doctrines of his teachers as a whole, as they did not lead to nibbana. He then underwent harsh ascetic practices with which he eventually also became disillusioned. He subsequently remembered entering jhāna as a child, and realized that “that indeed is the path to enlightenment.” According to Ajahn Sujato, the key difference between the experience the Buddha had as a child and the experience he had as an adult was that, as a child, his mind was uncluttered by the views that would later obscure his path to enlightenment. Sujato interprets the statement to mean that while the states of samādhi were not the goal, they were indeed the path.
Three discourses in the Bhojjhanga-Samyutta present the claims of non-Buddhist wanderers that they too develop Buddhist-style meditation, including samādhi. They ask the Buddha what the difference is between their teachings and his. He does not respond by teaching right view, but by telling them that they do not fully understand samādhi practice. Ajahn Sujato interprets this statement as explaining a statement of the Buddha’s elsewhere that he “awakened to jhāna“; it is not a claim that he was the first to practice samādhi, but that he was the first to fully comprehend both the benefits and limitations of samādhi experiences.
While the Buddha was not the first to attain meditative absorption, the stratification of particular samādhi experiences into the four jhānas seems to be a Buddhist innovation. It was then borrowed and presented in an incomplete form in the Mokṣadharma, a part of the Mahābhārata. It appears that in early Brahminic yoga, the formless spheres were attained following element meditation. This is also taught as an option in the early Buddhist texts. The primary method taught to achieve the formless attainment in early Buddhist scriptures, on the other hand, is to proceed to the sphere of infinite space following the fourth jhāna.
The Buddha explains right concentration (samma samādhi), part of the noble eightfold path, as the four first jhānas. According to the Pāli canon commentary, there is a certain stage of meditation that the meditator should reach before entering into jhāna. This stage is access/neighbourhood concentration (upacāra-samādhi). The overcoming of the five hindrances — sensual desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry and doubt — marked the entries into access concentration. This concentration is an unstable state where the mind becomes well concentrated on an object but it is still not yet a state of “full concentration” (jhāna). The difference is, in full concentration certain factors become strengthened to such a degree that they bring about a qualitative shift in the level of consciousness and the mind no longer functions on the ordinary sensory level. Access concentration is not mentioned in the discourses of the Buddha. However there are several suttas where a person gains insight into the Dhamma on hearing a teaching from the Buddha. Often their minds are described as being free from hindrances when this occurs and some have identified this as being a type of access concentration. The equivalent of upacāra-samādhi used inTibetan commentaries is nyer-bsdogs.
At the state of access concentration, some meditators may experience vivid mental imagery (Pāli: nimitta), which is similar to a vivid dream — as vividly as if seen by the eye, but in this case the meditator is fully aware and conscious that they are seeing mental images. This is discussed in the early texts, and expanded upon in Theravāda commentaries.
Different meditators will experience different mental images; some meditators may not experience any mental images at all. The same meditator doing multiple meditation sessions may experience different mental images for each session. The mental image may be pleasant, frightening, disgusting, shocking or neutral.
As the concentration becomes stronger, the feelings of breathing and of having a physical body will completely disappear, leaving only pure awareness. At this stage inexperienced meditators may become afraid, thinking that they are going to die if they continue the concentration because the feeling of breathing and the feeling of having a physical body has completely disappeared. They should not be so afraid and should continue their concentration in order to reach “full concentration” (jhāna).
A meditator should first master the lower jhānas, before they can go into the higher jhānas. There are five aspects of jhāna mastery:
1. Mastery in adverting: the ability to advert[clarification needed] to the jhāna factors one by one after emerging from the jhāna, wherever he wants, whenever he wants, and for as long as he wants.
2. Mastery in attaining: the ability to enter upon jhāna quickly.
3. Mastery in resolving: the ability to remain in the jhāna for exactly the pre-determined length of time.
4. Mastery in emerging: the ability to emerge from jhāna quickly without difficulty.
5. Mastery in reviewing: the ability to review the jhāna and its factors with retrospective knowledge immediately after adverting to them.
The early suttas state that “the most exquisite of recluses” is able to attain any of the jhānas and abide in them without difficulty. This particular arahant is “liberated in both ways:” he is fluent in attaining the jhānasand is also aware of their ultimate unsatisfactoriness. If he were not, he would fall into the same problem as the teachers from whom the Buddha learned the spheres of nothingness and neither perception nor non-perception, in seeing these meditative attainments as something final. Their problem lay in seeing permanence where there is impermanence.
The meditator uses the jhāna state to strengthen and sharpen the mind, in order to investigate the true nature of phenomena (dhamma) and to gain higher knowledge. The longer the meditator stays in the state ofjhāna the sharper and more powerful the mind becomes. The jhāna will sometimes cause the five hindrances to be suppressed for days.
According to the later Theravāda commentorial tradition as outlined by Buddhagoṣa in his Visuddhimagga, after coming out of the state of jhāna the meditator will be in the state of post-jhāna access concentration. This will have the qualities of being certain, long-lasting and stable. It is where the work of investigation and analysis of the true nature of phenomena begins and is also where deep insight into the characteristics of impermanence, suffering and not-self arises. The meditator can experience these truths, which lie at the heart of the Buddha’s teachings, through direct experience.
In contrast, according to the sutta descriptions of jhāna practice, the meditator does not emerge from jhāna to practice vipassana but rather the work of insight is done whilst in jhāna itself. In particular the meditator is instructed to “enter and remain in the fourth jhāna” before commencing the work of insight in order to uproot the mental defilements.
With the abandoning of pleasure and pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation and distress — he enters and remains in the fourth jhāna: purity of equanimity and mindfulness, neither-pleasure nor pain…With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, the monk directs and inclines it to the knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations. He discerns, as it has come to be, that ‘This is suffering… This is the origination of suffering… This is the cessation of suffering… This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering… These are mental fermentations… This is the origination of fermentations… This is the cessation of fermentations… This is the way leading to the cessation of fermentations.’
— Samaññaphala Sutta
As the five hindrances may be suppressed for days after entering jhāna, the meditator will feel perfectly clear, mindful, full of compassion, peaceful and light after the meditation session. This may cause some meditators to mistakenly assume that they have gained enlightenment.
The jhāna state cannot by itself lead to enlightenment as it only suppresses the defilements. Meditators must use the jhāna state as an instrument for developing wisdom by cultivating insight and use it to penetrate the true nature of phenomena through direct cognition, which will lead to cutting off the defilements and nibbana.
Schools of Mahāyāna Buddhism have different approaches to concentration.
The most distinctive feature of modern Ch’an and Zen meditative techniques is the emphatic rejection of the meditative absorption states of early Buddhism, in favor of total mindfulness of one’s surroundings. Hui Neng says in his Platform Sutra: “To concentrate the mind and to contemplate it until it is still is a disease and not Zen.” He goes on to say that the meditator who enters a state in which thoughts are suppressed must allow them to arise naturally once again. The early Buddhist texts describe right concentration, that is, jhāna, as an abiding in which the mind is unified, but not static; it is not the suppression of all thought. Early Chinese Buddhism did recognize the importance of samādhi. Modern Zen, however, does not teach methods for the purpose of developing concentration.
Tibetan Buddhism also lacks emphasis on achieving levels of concentration higher than access concentration. According to B. Alan Wallace, one possible explanation for this situation is that virtually all Tibetan Buddhist meditators seek to become enlightened through the use of tantric practices. These require the presence of sense desire and passion in one’s consciousness, but jhāna effectively inhibits these phenomena. While few Tibetan Buddhists, either inside or outside Tibet, devote themselves to the practice of concentration, Tibetan Buddhist literature does provide extensive instructions on it, and great Tibetan meditators of earlier times stressed its importance.
1. ^ Richard Shankman, The Experience of Samadhi - an in depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation, Shambala publications 2008
2. ^ “Should we come out of Jhana to practice vipassana?”. Venerable Henepola Gunaratana.
3. ^ “Jhana”. Access to Insight. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
4. ^ Ajahn Brahm, Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond. Wisdom Publications 2006, page 156.
5. ^ “A Sketch of the Buddha’s Life”. Access to Insight. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
6. ^ Henepola Gunaratana. “The Jhanas”. Buddhist Publication Society. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
7. ^ In the Pali Canon, the instruction on jhana is contained in suttas MN119, AN 1.16, MN118, MN4, MN19, MN36, MN43,MN45, MN64, MN65, MN66, MN76, MN77, MN78, MN79, MN85, MN105, MN107, MN108, MN119, MN125, MN138, MN152, AN2.2, AN3.6, AN3.7, AN3.8, DN1, DN2, MN94, MN100, MN101, MN111, MN112, MN122, MN139 & MN141. This list is not exhaustive.
8. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge, 2007, page 73.
9. ^ Sister Vajira & Francis Story. “Maha-parinibbana Sutta”. Buddhist Publication Society. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
10. ^ as stated by Buddha Gotama in the Anuppada Sutta, MN#111
11. ^ as stated by Buddha Gotama in the Anuppada Sutta, MN#111
12. ^ Steven Sutcliffe, Religion: Empirical Studies. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2004, page 135.
13. ^ John J. Holder, Early Buddhist Discourses. Hackett Publishing Company, 2006, page xi.
14. ^ Steven Sutcliffe, Religion: Empirical Studies. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2004, page 135.
15. ^ Chandima Wijebandara, Early Buddhism, Its Religious and Intellectual Milieu. Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies, University of Kelaniya, 1993, page 22.
16. ^ as stated by Buddha Gotama in the Anuppada Sutta, MN#111
17. ^ Peter Harvey, An Introduction to Buddhism. Cambridge University Press, 1990, page 252.
18. ^ Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s commentary on the Anuppada Sutta, MN#111
19. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, pages 41, 56.
20. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 49.
21. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 42.
22. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 39.
23. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 41.
24. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 35.
25. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 42.
26. ^ M II.228.16 ff according to the PTS numbering.
27. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 43.
28. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 43.
29. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 44.
30. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 99.
31. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 44, see also 45-49.
32. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, pages 44-45, see also Noa Ronkin, Early Buddhist Metaphysics. Routledge 2005, page 196.
33. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 50.
34. ^ Ajahn Sujato, A History of Mindfulness. Santipada Publications, page 97. Digital version available online: .
35. ^ Ajahn Sujato, A History of Mindfulness. Santipada Publications, page 98. Digital version available online: .
36. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 29.
37. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, page 56.
38. ^ Alexander Wynne, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge 2007, pages 29-31.
39. ^ Henepola Gunaratana, The Jhanas in Theravada Buddhist Meditation. .
40. ^ Peter Harvey, Consciousness Mysticism in the Discourses of the Buddha. In Karel Werner, ed., The Yogi and the Mystic. Curzon Press 1989, page 95. He finds access concentration described at Digha Nikaya I, 110, among other places. “The situation at D I, 110, then, can be seen as one where the hearer of a discourse enters a state which, while not an actual jhana, could be bordering on it. As it is free from hindrances, it could be seen as ‘access’ concentration with a degree of wisdom.” See also Peter Harvey, The Selfless Mind, page 170.
41. ^ B. Alan Wallace, The bridge of quiescence: experiencing Tibetan Buddhist meditation. Carus Publishing Company, 1998, page 92. Wallace translates both as “the first proximate meditative stabilization”.
42. ^ Tse-fu Kuan, Mindfulness in Early Buddhism: New Approaches Through Psychology and Textual Analysis of Pali, Chinese and Sanskrit Sources. Routledge, 2008, pages 65-67.
43. ^ Venerable Sujivo, Access and Fixed Concentration. Vipassana Tribune, Vol 4 No 2, July 1996, Buddhist Wisdom Centre, Malaysia. Available here.
44. ^ Nathan Katz, Buddhist Images of Human Perfection: The Arahant of the Sutta Piṭaka Compared with the Bodhisattva and the Mahāsiddha. Motilal Banarsidass, 1990, page 78.
45. ^ a b Ajahn Brahmavamso. “Deep Insight”. BuddhaSasana. Retrieved 2009-03-23.
46. ^ “Samaññaphala Sutta”.
47. ^ Richard Shankman, The Experience of Samadhi - an in depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation, Shambala publications 2008
48. ^ Regarding the roles of calm and insight in both Tibetan and Eastern Mahāyāna Buddhism see Peter Harvey, An Introduction to Buddhism. Cambridge University Press, 1990, page 257, available online: . The following pages contain concise descriptions of Zen and Dzogchen/Mahāmūdra meditation.
49. ^ Peter N. Gregory, Traditions of Meditation in Chinese Buddhism. University of Hawaii Press, 1986, page 27.
50. ^ Roderick S. Bucknell and Martin Stuart-Fox, The Twilight Language: Explorations in Buddhist Meditation and Symbolism. Routledge, 1995, pages 49-50.
51. ^ Richard Shankman, The Experience of Samadhi - an in depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation, Shambala publications 2008
52. ^ B. Alan Wallace, The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind. Wisdom Publications, 2006, page xii.
53. ^ B. Alan Wallace, The bridge of quiescence: experiencing Tibetan Buddhist meditation. Carus Publishing Company, 1998, pages 215-216.
54. ^ B. Alan Wallace, The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind. Wisdom Publications, 2006, page xii.
§ Henepola Gunaratana, The Jhana In Theravada Buddhist Meditation
§ Ajahn Brahmavamso, Travelogue to the four Jhanas
§ Bhikkhu Isidatta, Reflecting on the four Jhanas
§ Leigh Brasington, Interpretations of the Jhanas
§ Most Ven. Vimalaramsi Mahāthera, MN 111 One by One as They Occurred - Anupada Sutta. Dhamma-Talks on the Anupada-Sutta. This provides a highly detailed account of the progression through the jhānas,
§ Ajahn Brahmavamso, The Jhanas
§ Bhikkhu Isidatta, Surfing on the Wave of Bliss
Department of Biotechnology
The Department of Biotechnology at IIT Madras was founded in 2004 with a vision to make an impact through research, technology based training and innovation and service to society. The department is housed in the ‘Bhupat & Jyoti Mehta School of BioSciences Building’. Currently the department has 23 faculty members, about 200 undergraduate students, more than 110 graduate students and associated staff.
The focus of the department includes basic research in modern biotechnology and molecular basis of life processes; enhancing knowledge base and human resource development; and biotechnology for societal development.
The setting up of a separate Department of Biotechnology in 2006 gave a new impetus to the development of the field of traditional as well as modern biotechnology in West Bengal. In just a couple of years of its existence, the Department has promoted and accelerated the pace of development of biotechnology in the State. Through several R&D projects, demonstrations and creation of infrastructural facilities a palpable impact on the awareness about this field has been seen. The Department has made significant achievements in the growth and application of biotechnology in the broad areas of agriculture, health care, animal sciences, environment, and industry.
The ASSOCHAM (Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India) has already identified West Bengal as the main business growth centre with biotechnology as one of the potential area of investment. Considering the lucrative return on the investment as well as the high potential for societal development, Government of West Bengal aims at furthering biotech activities in the fields of healthcare, agriculture, medicine and genomics, diagnostics and environmental protection.
The Department has been interacting with several leading research institutes of repute. The proven technologies at the laboratory level are being scaled up and demonstrated in field. It has been trying to involve general Administration, NGOs and Panchayat agencies, especially in the districts to create awareness about the benefits of the use of biotechnology in various fields so as to achieve the overall societal development and enhance the quality of life. It has also been awarding grants to various researchers and to propagate small as well as large-scale researches, to various institutions of repute.
In order to promote biotechnology in West Bengal covering all aspects of research, general awareness among the populace, to generate employment, to keep ecological balance and to foster other allied activities, to handle commercial aspect of this sector, and to co-ordinate activities among various agencies working in the sphere of biotechnology, the West Bengal Biotech Development Corporation Ltd has been created and registered under the Companies Act, 1956. This Corporation will now look after the common “seed activity facility” of biotechnology to be extended to the prospective biotech companies looking forward to invest in biotech-based industry in West Bengal.
Department of Biotechnology
Department of Biotechnology
Micro-propagation of various horticultural and forestry plant species.
Cell mutagenesis and cell selection for developing biotic and abiotic stress resistant plants.
Genetic transformation with marker genes and genes of interest.
Retrieval of virus free plant material from infected mother plants.
Development of viricides of biological origin (bio-viricides).
Molecular-characterization of horticulture / forestry germplasm using molecular markers.
Isolation and characterization of protease inhibitors for insect pest / pathogen control.
Application of bioinformatics in research.
Feeding inhibition of one week old larvae fed on purified trypsin inhibitor from Phaseolus vulgaris
Salient Research Achievements:
Protocols for micro-propagation of fruit plants, such as Apple cultivars (Golden Delicious,
Cryopreservation following vitrification and encapsulation has been achieved in Nardostachys grandiflora and Inula racemosa.
Protocol for plant regeneration through somatic embryogenesis has been achieved in Bunium persicum (Kala jeera).
Molecular characterization studies were carried out using isozymes and RAPD markers to assess the genetic diversity and differentiate between the different genotypes, cultivars and rootstocks of the various plant species viz., Cauliflower(Brassica oleracea L. var. botrytis) Apple rootstocks, Peach cultivars, Walnut cultivars, Kiwi fruit cultivars, Pinus gerardiana, Acacia catechu, Strawberry, Populus ciliata , Populus deltoides, Valeriana jatamansi , Root stocks of cherry, Dendrocalamus hamiltonii , Hippophae rhamnoides, Hippophae salicifolia, Asparagus adscendens, Teriminila chebula, Indigofera pulchella, Woodfordia fructicosa and Hypericum perforaptum; Chrysanthemum cultivars and selection, Vitis cultivars wild and introduced, Rubus sp., wild pomgranate, peach, and apricot cultivars.
Molecular characterization of Tomato leaf curl virus infecting tomato in H.P. was done by isolating and sequencing the DNA of the virus including sub genomic DNA B. The sequences have been submitted to the gene bank.
Genetic fidelity of tissue culture raised plants of Bunium persicum , Gentiana kurro , Inula racemosa, and Nardostachys grandiflora has been established using molecular markers, and through karyotypic analysis only in case of Gentiana kurroo and Bunium persicum.
IDENTIFICATION OF NOVEL GENES FOR INSECT PEST/PATHOGEN CONTROL FROM HIMALAYAN LEGUMES
Trypsin inhibitor with insecticidal activity towards gut proteases has been purified and characterized from Poinciana pulcherrima, Albizzia lebeck, Phaseolus vulgars, Adjuki bean.
a - Amylase inhibitor has been purified and characterized with insecticidal activity and salivary amylase inhibitory activity from HimalayanPhaseolus vulgaris.
MOLECULAR TAGGING OF GENES
Developed Fusarium wilt resistant plants of Carnation, lilium and Robinia pseudoacacia , Rhizoctonia root rot resistant plants of strawberry and cauliflower, Alternaria alternata resistant plants of tomato cultivar Solan Vajr, Alternaria dianthi resistant plants of Carnation cv Tempo and flower colour variants of chrysanthemum through somaclonal variations. Water stress tolerant plants of tomato were also developed through cell selection.
Fusarium wilt tolerance cell line of peas, Septoria obesa tolerant cell lines of Chrysanthemum and salt stress tolerant cell line in tomato through cell selection were developed.
In vitro Cell lines/ shoots of Apple rootstocks MM106 & M7 have been selected which are tolerant to fungal culture filtrate of collar rot (Phytophthora cactorum) and white root rot (Dematophora necatrix). White root rot resistant plants of M7 raised through in vitro shoot selection have been maintained in glasshouse.
The Centre facilitates the research work of the department by providing bioinformatics softwares (PRISM, EXOME HORIZON, GENOCLUSTER, HYPERCHEM, GENEIOUS etc) and databases (Biotechnology Abstracts) in addition to the online bioinformatics tools and databases, email and online literature search facility. The following specific achievements in the area of bioinformatics have been made (i) The three genes of “Tomato leaf curl virus Himachal strain” ToLCHimV and a Bean yellow mosaic virus isolate Solan coat protein (CP) gene were sequenced, and submitted to the NCBI and phylogeny of the genes was traced using bioinformatics tools. (ii) Sequencing of coat protein gene of Bean yellow mosaic virus (BYMV) from gladiolus (Gladiolus sp.) was done.(iii) Phylogenetic analysis of Lily symptompless virus, cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) apple mosaic virus, apple chlorotic leaf spot virus has been done. (iv) Motif searches were performed in carlaviruses coding for coat protein gene sequences and cucumoviral coat protein of cucumoviruses. (v) Primer designing against Lily symptompless carlavirus (LSV) infecting Lilium spp. and apple chlorotic leaf spot virus infecting apples using bioinformatics tools has been completed.(vi) Studies on Molecular characterization of a potyvirus infecting radish (Raphanus sativus L.) in Himachal Pradesh have also been completed.
Research work being offered to Post graduate students in biotechnology using bioinformatics tools and applications like primer designing, phylogenetic/evolutionary studies, ligand receptor interactions and molecular characterization of viruses using CLUSTAL X (1.8), CLUSTAL W, GeneDoc, EXOME, EXOME BLAST, EXOME HORIZON, AutoDock or DOCK or LUDI and other public domain softwares.
Research problems using various bioinformatics tools are also being offered to long term trainee MSc students from other universities.
Two research patents have been filed/filing in process through the IPM Cell established in the Sub DIC. Four patents on plant biotechnology work and another one (PCT) with help of the Centre have been granted.
Trainings on basics as well as on advanced topics in computer application/bioinformatics/IPR are also being offered to scientists, technical/ministerial staff and research scholars/students of the University and outside the University. Centre has organized 33 short term trainings/ workshops/ seminars till date and 829 persons have been trained/participated in them. 6 MSc Biotechnology students from Lovely Professional University have completed their 4-6 months duration research project in bioinformatics during Jan- June 09, while 7 other students (UG and PG both) undergone 1-2 months training in Bioinformatics Centre during 2009.
The Centre provides complete technical support to the university in organizing International and National symposiums besides other facilities.
The Bioinformatics Centre has developed information systems viz, (i) Package of Practices of Fruit Crops in Himachal Pradesh ,(ii) Alternative Methods of Plant Disease Control (iii) Package of Practices of Vegetable Crops in Himachal Pradesh (Hindi version).
The Centre has developed a database on ‘Plant Species Germplasm’ available in the university. Further, the database on various crops i..e. HimCrop is under preparation.
The Centre has developed 5 video CDs on Temperate Horticulture in collaboration with the Directorate of Extension Education of the University.
The Bioinformatics Centre has also developed training manual on ‘Computer Basics’ for internal circulation.
The Centre has completed two adhoc research projects.
Website of the university was developed in Jan., 2000 and maintained till March 2004.
Department of Biotechnology
Bhardwaj, S.V., Mangal, Manisha and Handa, Anil. 2005. A process for in vitro use of Asparagus species extracts for carnation latent virus elimination. Indian Patent No. 192157.
Bhardwaj, S.V., Shalini, Anil Handa and Manisha Mangal 2006. A process for in-vitro elimination of plant virus by preparing and using an extract of Azadirachta indica plant. Indian Patent No. 193932.
Bhardwaj, S.V., S. J. Roy, M. Mangal and Anil Handa 2006. A process for preparation of a bio- reagent for use for elimination of plant virus.India patent No. 199706.
Bhardwaj, SV Mangal and Handa Anil, 2003. An extract of Asparagus adscendens and Asparagus officinalis, useful for the elimination of carnation latent virus from infected plants by supplemented the tissue culture medium. India patent application No. 1371/DEL/2003 dated 07/11/03: granted (Details from Patent Office awaited).
Kumar S, S. Kumar and S. V. Bhardwaj 2007. Developing Cell lines of chrysanthemum (Dendranthema grandiflorum Tzelev)cv. Snow Ball resistant to Septoria obesa Syd. Indian Patent application No.1334/DEL/2007 dated 21.05.2007
Thakur A. K, R. K. Shandil and D. K Srivastava. 2007. Development of reproducible protocol for direct organogenesis in transgenic male plant Himalayan poplar. Indian patent application No. 1591/del/2007 dated 27.07.2007
Department of Entomology and Apiculture
Amit Nath, S.K. Patyal and J.K. Dubey. 2002. A process for estimation of volatile substances. Indian Patent No. WO20031N0000169.
Research Projects (on going):
|Title of the Project||Funding Agency||Amount (in Lakh)||Name of PI/ Coordinator||Duration|
Establishment of SUB-DIC under BTIS programme
DBT New Delhi
109.2 till date
|Agrobacterium - mediated genetic transformation in apple rootstocks||DBT,New Delhi||28.48||M. Modgil||2007-2010|
|In vitro mass propagation of wild and cultivated pomegranate (Punica granatum L.)||ICAR, New Delhi||10.90||K. Kanwar||2008-2011|
|Development and strengthening of infrastructure facilities for production and distribution of quality seeds||Department of Agriculture, GOI||29.00||S K Sharma||2008- long term|
|Studies on a Amylase inhibitor in some grain legumes under main project Identification of novel genes for the control of insect pest from Himalayan legumes.||ASPEE||0.20||A K Nath||2008-2009|
Research Projects (completed):
|Title of the Project||Funding Agency||Amount (in Lakh)||Name of PI.||Duration|
|Standardization of techniques for tissue culture of Dendrocalamus hamiltonii and D.strictus||World Bank||4.67||DR Sharma||1989-1992|
|Generation of know how for tissue culture of Alnus nepalensis and Quercus leucotrichophora||DBT, New Delhi||3.34||DR Sharma||1989-1993|
|Fuel fodder biomass and green cover, creation of virus tested apple bud wood bank at the University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, Solan.||DBT, New Delhi||31.43||DR Sharma||1989-1994|
|National Agricultural Research Project on Horticultural Crops||ICAR, New Delhi||61.00||DR Sharma||1992-1997|
|Metabolism of phosphophenol pyruvate in developing nodules of Acacia catechu||DST New Delhi||1.56||AK Nath||1994-1996|
|Scaling up of in vitro production of cherry rootstock, `colt’ and its distribution to farmers of hill state of India|
SV Bhardwaj1995-1997 Identification and micropropagation of superior clones of Dendrocalamus hamiltonii andPhyllostachys pubescence. ICFRE Dehradun 3.25 DR Sharma 1996-1999
Centrally sponsored scheme for the Development of Horticulture in HP. Establishment of Tissue Culture Lab for the propagation of planting material
1996-2008Regeneration and genetic transformation studies in Lycopersicon esenlentium L. ASPEE 0.24 DK Srivastva 1997-1999 On Farm Research of in vitro raised plants of Agroforestry trees ICAR, New Delhi 5.61 K Kanwar 1997-2000 Indexing of Ornamental Plants for Presence of Viruses HP Govt. 5.61 SV Bhardwaj 1997-2000 Micropropagation and in vitro conservation of Juglans regia DBT New Delhi 7.10 S Kumar 1998-2001 Strengthening of Tree Biology Research DBT New Delhi 45.86 DR Sharma/ Kamlesh Kanwar 1998-2001 Micropropagation and multi locational trials of clonal rootstocks of apple DBT, New Delhi 13.68 M Modgil 1999-2002 Control of the plant viruses through bio-inhibitors in vitro and field conditions. DRDO 27.42 SV Bhardwaj 2000-2003 Plant regeneration and Agrobacterium mediated gene transfer studies in strawberry Frageria xananassa Duch. ASPEE 0.24 DK Srivastava 2001-2003
Biotechnological intervention for the propagation and improvement of Apple rootstocks
DBT New Delhi
Micropropagation and in vitro conservation of two endangered medicinal plants viz. Nardostachys grandiflora and Inula racemosa.
NMPB New Delhi
2004-2007Studies on Trypsin inhibitors in Adzuki Beans (Phaseolus angularis L.) ASPEE 0.15 A K Nath 2005-2007 Status of Wild edible Temperate fruits of Himachal Pradesh IIHS, HPU Shimla 0.35 A Sharma 2006-2007 In vitro propagation of clonal rootstocks of Peach, Plum, Apricot ICAR, New Delhi 13.48 R. Kaur 2006-2009 Genetic transformation and regeneration in Punica granatum UGC, Delhi 3.5 K Kanwar 2006-2008 Identification of genes for insect pest control from Himalayan Fauna ASPEE 0.15 A K Nath 2007- 2008 Studies on a Amylase inhibitor in bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) cultivars ASPEE 0.25 A K Nath 2008-2009
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