A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Dmytro » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:04 am

Hi Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:
Dmytro wrote:
Also , there is no support for the claim that one goes beyond the 5 senses only in the arupa states.


This is described, for example, in Potthapada sutta (DN 9):

‘‘Puna caparaṃ, poṭṭhapāda, bhikkhu sabbaso rūpasaññānaṃ samatikkamā paṭighasaññānaṃ atthaṅgamā nānattasaññānaṃ amanasikārā ‘ananto ākāso’ti ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ upasampajja viharati. Tassa yā purimā rūpasaññā, sā nirujjhati. Ākāsānañcāyatanasukhumasaccasaññā tasmiṃ samaye hoti, ākāsānañcāyatanasukhumasaccasaññīyeva tasmiṃ samaye hoti. Evampi sikkhā ekā saññā uppajjati, sikkhā ekā saññā nirujjhati. Ayampi sikkhā’’ti bhagavā avoca.

"Again, by passing entirely beyond bodily sensations, by the disappearance of all sense of resistance and by non-attraction to the perception of diversity, seeing that space is infinite, he reaches and remains in the Sphere of Infinite Space. In this way some perceptions arise through training, and some pass away through training."



May I ask why rūpasaññāna above has been translated as "bodily sensations"? Who did this translation?


That's the translation by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

In your other Dhamma forum, you said this -


That's a quote of our friend Geoff Shatz, not mine.

If the "kāmā" meant only the kāmaguṇā, then we are going to end up with very bizzare situations where the kāmaguṇā, instead of giving pleasure, give only pain.

The Critical Pali Dictionary has done a very comprehensive survey and its entries on kāmā and kāmaguṇā distinguish them. The CPD follows the canonical definition of kāmaguṇā and what that leads to is the kāmaguṇā being a sub-set of the kāmā. The "kāmā" are defined simply as rūpā, saddā, gandhā, rasā and phoṭṭhabbā, all WITHOUT the adjectives.

That, IMHO, is the plain and simple meaning of kāmā in the vivicc'eva kāmehi formula of 1st Jhana.


Thank you, I will explore this matter.
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Dmytro » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:16 am

Hi Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:I take it from the above that, unlike Geoff, you are of the position that in order to vipassati, one must have Dhamma-vicaya?

Or are you opting for his interpretation that one can vipassati without Dhamma-vicaya?


These are just names.

I do know that insight in jhana works very well, and this is explained in MN 111 and other suttas.

Dhamma-vicaya is explained very well in Dvedhavitakka sutta - in practice one starts with discriminating coarse thoughts, and then moves to discriminating kinds of selective recognition (sanna) in jhana, as described in Potthapada sutta. It doesn't require vitakka and vicara.
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:22 am

Sylvester wrote:May I take it that none of these 3 statements of yours were intended to be a reference to Ajahn Brahm's description of the Jhanas?

They were a reference to the dangers of extreme absorption samādhis, especially if one isn't already at a very advanced stage of awakening with most defilements and underlying tendencies already extinguished (i.e. non-returner or arahant). The four jhānas as sammāsamādhi are not extreme absorptions devoid of comprehension.

Sylvester wrote:May I also take it that you are not saying that the Jhanas as described by Ajahn Brahm are asañña?

In the context of jhāna he uses saññā, sati, and sampajañña in such a restrictive sense that there is no meaningful differentiation between them. Both saññā and sampajañña are functional aspects of comprehension. These dhammas occur and function in all four jhānas.

Dmytro wrote:That's a quote of our friend Geoff Shatz, not mine.

A quote transferred from another very old internet forum post.

All the best,

Geoff
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Dmytro » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:26 am

Hi Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:If you look at how other suttas present raganusaya and how it anuseti sukha vedana, it becomes clear that raganusaya is the consequence of raga. Eg from SN 36.6 -

Having been touched by that painful feeling, he resists (and resents) it. Then in him who so resists (and resents) that painful feeling, an underlying tendency of resistance against that painful feeling comes to underlie (his mind). Under the impact of that painful feeling he then proceeds to enjoy sensual happiness. And why does he do so? An untaught worldling, O monks, does not know of any other escape from painful feelings except the enjoyment of sensual happiness. Then in him who enjoys sensual happiness, an underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feelings comes to underlie (his mind).

Tassāyeva kho pana dukkhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho samāno paṭighavā hoti. Tamenaṃ dukkhāya vedanāya paṭighavantaṃ, yo dukkhāya vedanāya paṭighānusayo, so anuseti. So dukkhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho samāno kāmasukhaṃ abhinandati. Taṃ kissa hetu? Na hi so, bhikkhave, pajānāti assutavā puthujjano aññatra kāmasukhā dukkhāya vedanāya nissaraṇaṃ, tassa kāmasukhañca abhinandato, yo sukhāya vedanāya rāgānusayo, so anuseti.


Here I would disagree. Anusaya is an underlying tendency that gets activated:

"Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there arises what is felt either as pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain. If, when touched by a feeling of pleasure, one does not relish it, welcome it, or remain fastened to it, then one's passion-obsession doesn't get obsessed.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

And thanks to the development if wisdom, these tendencies can be removed, especially on the basis of samadhi.
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Dmytro » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:30 am

Hi Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:No trick or trap. I merely assumed you may have followed the Jhana Debate thread. Anyway, my critique of Geoff's fallacy in misreading MN 43 is here-

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4597&p=74650&hilit=antecedent#p74650


Well, I rely mostly on Potthapada Sutta description which I quoted above.
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Dmytro » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:50 am

Hi Morning Mist,

morning mist wrote:No body is saying that you should become attached to Jhana. This is just a misinterpretation. A person has to let go of attachment of one jhana to move to the next.


But for some reason, Brahmavamso writes that the attachment to jhana is impossible:
It is very odd, therefore, that some suggest that the practise of Jhana leads to attachment. How can, what is the practice of letting go, lead to attachment?


http://www.viet.net/anson/ebud/ebmed075.htm

There are instruction for that and for developing insight which comes after.


But somehow Brahmavamso deems the work on developing wisdom unnecessary.

Comprehending and awareness / being conscious are two different things. Thoughts are allowed to settle, so mental analyzing or dhamma vitakka should be left behind.

" This ATTENTIVE stillness that is able to sustain awareness on one thing is called samadhi."

" Samadhi is the attentive stillness that is able to sustain attention on one thing"


The whole puprose of samma-samadhi is the development of wisdom:

"And what is the purpose of concentration? What is its reward?"

"Concentration has knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its purpose, knowledge & vision of things as they actually are as its reward."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Hence samadhi without comprehension is worthless.

The Western translation of "ekaggatta" as "attention on one thing", or "one-pointedness", makes samadhi a rather nonsensical effort to narrow the mind.

Ekaggatta means something quite different:
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5550

With metta,
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Dmytro » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:57 am

Hi Morning Mist,

morning mist wrote:By the way nathan, you mentioned that you experienced four jhanas of Samma Samadhi and various formless states, were you able to recall many fold past lives and have knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings as the Buddha and his disciples did after they attained these states, or are the states that you called Samma samadhi and formless states different than the one they practice ?


Is this an irony?

It is well explained in the Pali texts that jhanas and samapattis by themselves don't lead to supernormal abilities, and out of the "three knowledges" of the Buddha, only one knowledge, the cessation of leaks (asava), is shared by his disciples, - they don't necessarily have knowledge of former lives and of the passing away and reappearance of beings.
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:22 am

Dmytro wrote:Hi Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:No trick or trap. I merely assumed you may have followed the Jhana Debate thread. Anyway, my critique of Geoff's fallacy in misreading MN 43 is here-

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4597&p=74650&hilit=antecedent#p74650


Well, I rely mostly on Potthapada Sutta description which I quoted above.


Hi Dmytro

Well, I guess Ven Bodhi's most current translation idiom for the phrase in question is "perception of form", rather than "bodily sensations".
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1532
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby morning mist » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:26 am

Hi Dmytro,

Dmytro wrote:"Again, by passing entirely beyond bodily sensations, by the disappearance of all sense of resistance and by non-attraction to the perception of diversity, seeing that space is infinite, he reaches and remains in the Sphere of Infinite Space. In this way some perceptions arise through training, and some pass away through training."


Sylvester wrote: May I ask why rūpasaññāna above has been translated as "bodily sensations"?

[/quote]

According to the structure of the realms and the jhanas we have:
1.
kama-loka : sense realm
kama sanna : sense perception, perception of senses


2.
rupa-loka: fine material world or Form realm
RUPA SANNA : Accordingly, this is Fine Material Perception or Form Perception or Perception of form
rupa jhana


3.
arupa loka: immaterial world
arupa jhana





In the Rupa jhana ( form jhana) perception of senses cease (kamasanna, sense perception, perception of sense) .

With Metta,
with metta,
morning mist
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:31 pm

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby morning mist » Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:47 am

Dmytro wrote:Is this an irony?
It is well explained in the Pali texts that jhanas and samapattis by themselves don't lead to supernormal abilities,


According to the Maha-Saccaka Sutta, after the fourth jhana the Buddha directed his mind towards the three knowledges:

"I entered & remained in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain.

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives. I recollected my manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two...five, ten...fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, many eons of cosmic contraction, many eons of cosmic expansion, many eons of cosmic contraction & expansion: 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus I remembered my manifold past lives in their modes & details.
"This was the first knowledge I attained in the first watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain. " -(Maha-Saccaka Sutta)

The other two knowledges followed after, but it is too long to post the whole thing, please refer to Maha-Saccaka Sutta.


Dmytro wrote: and out of the "three knowledges" of the Buddha, only one knowledge, the cessation of leaks (asava), is shared by his disciples, - they don't necessarily have knowledge of former lives and of the passing away and reappearance of beings.


Numerous people share this, for example Rahula, Kassapa, etc...

" Bhikkhus, when desired, I enjoy manifold supranormal powers, such as being one, becoming many, being many becoming one , appearing and vanishing. I go unimpeded through walls, through ramparts and mountains as if through space. I dive in and come out of earth as though in water. I walk on water as though on earth. Sitting crosslegged I fly through the air like a winged bird . With my hand I touch & stroke even the sun & moon, so mighty & powerful. I exercise influence with my body even as far as the Brahma worlds. Kassapa too when desired enjoys various spiritual powers.

" Bhikkhus, when desired, with the purified divine ear-element beyond human. I hear both kinds of sounds, heavenly and human, whether near or far. Kassapa too when desired, with the purified divine ear element beyond human, hears sounds heavenly and human far and near.


"Bhikkhus, when desired, I penetrate and understand the minds of other beings. I know the mind with greed, the mind without greed, the angry mind and the not angry mind. I know the deluded mind and the not deluded mind, the composed mind and the distracted mind. I know the exalted mind and the un exalted mind, the surpassable mind and an unsurpassable mind . I know the concentrated mind and the un-concentrated mind, the liberated mind and the unliberated mind. Kassapa too when desired penetrates and understands the minds of other beings. …

"Bhikkhus, when desired, I recollect the manifold previous births such as one birth, two, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty births. One hundred births, one thousand births, one hundred thousand births, innumerable aeons of cosmic-contraction, innumerable aeons of cosmic-expansion, innumerable aeons of cosmic-contraction and cosmic-expansion. There I was with this name, in this clan, with this disposition, supported thus, experiencing these pleasant and unpleasant feelings, enjoying such a lifespan. Disappearing from there I was born there with this name, in this clan, with this disposition, supported thus, experiencing these pleasant and unpleasant feelings, enjoying such a lifespan. Disappearing from there I was born here. Thus I recollect the manifold previous births with all details. Kassapa too when desired, recollects the manifold previous births such as one birth... Thus he recollects the manifold previous births with all details.


"Bhikkhus, when desired, with the purified divine eye beyond human I see beings disappearing and appearing beautiful and ugly, in heaven and hell, born according their kamma.'These good beings owing to misconduct in body, words and mind, reviling noble ones, owing to bearing wrong view and the actions based on wrong views, after death are born in misery, in states of deprivation, in decrease, in hell. These good beings owing to right conduct in body, words and mind, not reviling noble ones, owing to bearing right view and the actions based on right views, after death are born in increase, in fortunate states, in heaven. Thus I see beings disappearing and appearing beautiful and ugly, in heaven and hell, born according their kamma. Kassapa too when he desired, with the purified divine eye beyond human sees beings disappearing and appearing beautiful and ugly, in heaven and hell, born according their kamma...

" ....Kassapa too, by the ending of the asava, he enters and abides in the anasava liberation of mind, liberation of wisdom, realizing it for himself with direct knowledge (abhinna: special knowledge, supernormal power) in this very life."

- SN 16.9 Jhanabhinna Sutta

With metta,
with metta,
morning mist
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:31 pm

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:51 pm

Dmytro wrote:Hi Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:If you look at how other suttas present raganusaya and how it anuseti sukha vedana, it becomes clear that raganusaya is the consequence of raga. Eg from SN 36.6 -

Having been touched by that painful feeling, he resists (and resents) it. Then in him who so resists (and resents) that painful feeling, an underlying tendency of resistance against that painful feeling comes to underlie (his mind). Under the impact of that painful feeling he then proceeds to enjoy sensual happiness. And why does he do so? An untaught worldling, O monks, does not know of any other escape from painful feelings except the enjoyment of sensual happiness. Then in him who enjoys sensual happiness, an underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feelings comes to underlie (his mind).

Tassāyeva kho pana dukkhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho samāno paṭighavā hoti. Tamenaṃ dukkhāya vedanāya paṭighavantaṃ, yo dukkhāya vedanāya paṭighānusayo, so anuseti. So dukkhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho samāno kāmasukhaṃ abhinandati. Taṃ kissa hetu? Na hi so, bhikkhave, pajānāti assutavā puthujjano aññatra kāmasukhā dukkhāya vedanāya nissaraṇaṃ, tassa kāmasukhañca abhinandato, yo sukhāya vedanāya rāgānusayo, so anuseti.


Here I would disagree. Anusaya is an underlying tendency that gets activated:

"Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there arises what is felt either as pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain. If, when touched by a feeling of pleasure, one does not relish it, welcome it, or remain fastened to it, then one's passion-obsession doesn't get obsessed.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

And thanks to the development if wisdom, these tendencies can be removed, especially on the basis of samadhi.


Hello Dmytro

I guess we do have to agree to disagree.

It's strange how when we both look at the same sutta, we arrive at different conclusions. From an earlier passage in the same sutta -

Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there arises what is felt either as pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain. If, when touched by a feeling of pleasure, one relishes it, welcomes it, or remains fastened to it, then one's passion-obsession gets obsessed.


Looking at both statements, they do appear to be conditional statements, not categorical ones. The verbs are qualified by "if". Ven Bodhi's translation of the same passage also couches the statements as conditional statements. Which does suggest that even putthujanas can, with the satipatthanas, prevent raga from overtaking the sukha vedana, and thereby activating/lying with the raganusaya.

This does fit in rather nicely with MN 44 that not all raganusaya have to be pahatabbo/abandoned with respect to sukha. They just arise if raga is present.
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1532
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:18 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:May I take it that none of these 3 statements of yours were intended to be a reference to Ajahn Brahm's description of the Jhanas?

They were a reference to the dangers of extreme absorption samādhis, especially if one isn't already at a very advanced stage of awakening with most defilements and underlying tendencies already extinguished (i.e. non-returner or arahant). The four jhānas as sammāsamādhi are not extreme absorptions devoid of comprehension.

Sylvester wrote:May I also take it that you are not saying that the Jhanas as described by Ajahn Brahm are asañña?

In the context of jhāna he uses saññā, sati, and sampajañña in such a restrictive sense that there is no meaningful differentiation between them. Both saññā and sampajañña are functional aspects of comprehension. These dhammas occur and function in all four jhānas.




Sigh, how difficult can it be to give a categorical Yes or No to either question?

Must I invoke Vajirapani yet again?

While you mull over my request, pls indulge my curiosity which has been piqued by your statement -

And both vipassati and the dhamma-investigation awakening factor are multifaceted. They take on different levels of meaning at different stages of insight.


What does this mean? The existence of an avitakka avicara dhammavicayasambojjhanga? Since my preference is for the suttas in the 4 Nikayas, let's start there first for citations, if you don't mind. I do not disagree with your statement above that "Both saññā and sampajañña are functional aspects of comprehension", but I'm intrigued by the quality of dhammavicaya in the sutta jhanas as you see it, particularly its relation to the vacisankharas.

While we are at it, since you seem to feel that vipassati and dhammavicayasambojjhanga take on different levels of meaning at different stages of insight, what is there to say that the quality of sati, sampajanna and sanna do not also evolve with progression into and through the Jhanas? Certainly, DN 9 is very clear that the contents of the "perceptions" in each Jhana changes. Is the same level of sati, sampajanna and sanna needed with each different "object" of the perception? After all, the suttas' standard formula for the transition from 3rd Jhana to 4th Jhana is quite explicit in the qualitative changes in the sati and upekkha.
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1532
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby morning mist » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:25 pm

Hi Dmytro,

Dmytro wrote:
morning mist wrote:" This ATTENTIVE stillness that is able to sustain awareness on one thing is called samadhi."

" Samadhi is the attentive stillness that is able to sustain attention on one thing"- Ajahn Brahm


The whole puprose of samma-samadhi is the development of wisdom:
Hence samadhi without comprehension is worthless.......



The way I understand what he meant by "attentive stillness" is that the mind is aware yet it is not moving from one object to another, from one thought to another.

The suttas stated that :

“When he has abandoned these, there still remain thoughts about the dhamma (dhamma vitakka). That samadhi is not yet peaceful and sublime; it has not attained to full tranquillity , nor has it achieved mental unification (ekodibhava) ; it is maintained by strenuous suppression of the defilements . –Pamsudhovaka Sutta


Some suggest that we engage Sanna ( perception) during Samma samadhi for insight, but according to these suttas that doesn't seem to be the case:

 " Any desire-passion with regard to perception of  ideas ( dhamma sanna)  is a defilement of the mind ( cittasseso upakkileso) . When, with regard to these six bases, the defilements of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing  ( abbhina: special knowledge, supranormal knowledge) of those qualities worth realizing ( sacchikaraniyesu: fit to be realized) ."


We should be calming it ( sanna ) down instead of engaging it to stir it up . According to the Anapanasati sutta:

5. ‘I shall breathe in experiencing piti (rapture) ’; trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out experiencing piti (rapture) ’;

6. He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in experiencing sukha’; he trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out experiencing sukha’;

7. He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in experiencing the mental formation’ ( perception and feeling) ; He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out experiencing the mental formation’ ( perception and feeling) ;

8. He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe in calming the mental formation’( perception and feeling) ; He trains thus, ‘I shall breathe out calming the mental formation ( perception and feeling)’ - Anapanasati sutta

Note: mental formations are perception and feeling according to MN 44


Dmytro wrote: But somehow Brahmavamso deems the work on developing wisdom unnecessary.


Insight can be developed after instead of during Samma Samadhi. There is actually a whole section towards the end of his book devoted to Insight. But this is not in the little booklet, so some believe that he only teaches Samatha with no vipassana. But he emphasizes both Samatha and Vipassana which is Bhavana. There is no need for samatha and vipassana to compete, both has a place and time in this path.

“When he has abandoned these, there still remain thoughts about the dhamma (dhamma vitakka). That samadhi is not yet peaceful and sublime; it has not attained to full tranquillity , nor has it achieved mental unification (ekodibhava) ; it is maintained by strenuous suppression of the defilements .

But there comes a time when his mind becomes inwardly steadied , composed , unified (ekodi), and concentrated ( samadhiyati) . That samadhi is then calm and refined; it has attained to full tranquillity and achieved mental unification (ekodibhava); it is not maintained by strenuous suppression of the defilements. Then to whatever dhamma realizable by supernormal knowledge he directs his mind, he achieves the capacity of realizing that state by supernormal knowledge, whenever the necessary conditions obtain .” –Pamsudhovaka Sutta


Vipassana Preceded by Samatha
“Here, friends, a bhikkhu develops insight preceded by tranquillity (Samatha-pubbaṅgamaṃ vipassanam). As he develops insight preceded by tranquillity, the path arises in him. He now frequents that path, cultivates, and pursues it.  While he is doing so his fetters are abandoned and the underlying tendencies destroyed."- Yuganaddha Sutta ( AN 4.170) Four Ways to Arahantship

With Metta,
with metta,
morning mist
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:31 pm

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:34 pm

morning mist wrote:The suttas stated that :

“When he has abandoned these, there still remain thoughts about the dhamma (dhamma vitakka). That samadhi is not yet peaceful and sublime; it has not attained to full tranquillity , nor has it achieved mental unification (ekodibhava) ; it is maintained by strenuous suppression of the defilements . –Pamsudhovaka Sutta

It is sammāsamādhi which enables the mind to attend to phenomena without strenuous suppression of defilements. Sense restraint (indriya saṃvara) plays an important role in this regard. And as the following sutta informs us, when the mind is concentrated, phenomena become apparent. Due to phenomena becoming apparent, one is designated as 'one who abides diligently.' SN 35.97 Pamādavihārī Sutta:

    And how, monks, does one abide diligently? If one abides with restraint over the eye faculty, the mind is not scattered among forms cognizable by the eye. If the mind is not scattered, gladness is born. When one is gladdened, joy is born. When the mind is uplifted by joy, the body becomes tranquil. With a tranquil body, one abides with pleasure. A pleasurable mind becomes concentrated. When the mind is concentrated, phenomena become apparent. Due to phenomena becoming apparent, one is designated as ‘one who abides diligently.’

    If one abides with restraint over the ear faculty, the mind is not scattered among sounds cognizable by the ear.... If one abides with restraint over the nose faculty, the mind is not scattered among odors cognizable by the nose.... If one abides with restraint over the tongue faculty, the mind is not scattered among flavors cognizable by the tongue.... If one abides with restraint over the body faculty, the mind is not scattered among tactual objects cognizable by the body....

    If one abides with restraint over the mind faculty, the mind is not scattered among mental phenomena cognizable by the mind. If the mind is not scattered, gladness is born. When one is gladdened, joy is born. When the mind is uplifted by joy, the body becomes tranquil. With a tranquil body, one abides with pleasure. A pleasurable mind becomes concentrated. When the mind is concentrated, phenomena become apparent. Due to phenomena becoming apparent, one is designated as ‘one who abides diligently.’

morning mist wrote:According to the Maha-Saccaka Sutta, after the fourth jhana the Buddha directed his mind towards the three knowledges:

SN 8.7 Pavāraṇā Sutta states that of 500 arahants present, 60 had triple knowledge (tevijjā), 60 had the six higher gnoses (chaḷabhiññā), 60 were liberated both ways (ubhatobhāgavimuttā, meaning jhānas & formless attainments), and all of the rest were liberated through discernment (paññāvimuttā). Thus, even amongst a large assembly of arahants the majority hadn't developed the formless attainments or realized the knowledge of past lives and passing away and reappearance of beings associated with triple knowledge and the six higher gnoses.

morning mist wrote:According to the structure of the realms and the jhanas

There is no direct one-to-one correspondence between the three worlds (lokas) and the three spheres (avacaras) as classification schemes of related phenomena. A human being who abides in jhāna is still in the kāmaloka, but his or her mind and mental factors are not engaged with any phenomena which would give rise to sensual pleasure (kāma). This can lead to rebirth in the rūpaloka. Thus, the mind and mental factors (cittacetasikā) of rūpāvacarajjhāna are similar to the mind and mental factors of deities abiding in the rūpaloka, but abiding in rūpāvacarajjhāna doesn't mean that one has entered the rūpaloka.

All the best,

Geoff
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby morning mist » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:15 pm

Hi Nana,

Ñāṇa wrote: even amongst a large assembly of arahants the majority hadn't developed the formless attainments or realized the knowledge of past lives and passing away and reappearance of beings associated with triple knowledge and the six higher gnoses.


Of course, even one jhana is sufficient for the development of Arahantship. Not all will need all four jhanas or the formless states. But you can see that the three knowledges or the six abhinnas are not off limit to disciples.

Ñāṇa wrote: but abiding in rūpāvacarajjhāna doesn't mean that one has entered the rūpaloka.


I am not saying that you are in rupa loka when in jhana, I am just showing the connection in how the word rupa is used in the context of rupasanna. It doesn't refer to " bodily sensation", but "Perception of Materiality" instead. That's the recent translation from Bhikkhu Bodhi's book. It makes sense because it is referring to the perception of things in rupa jhana. There is a connection between the rupa jhana and rupa loka. It leads to rebirth there if one doesn't develop insight.

The Sangiti Sutta points out that :" By the attainments of the first jhana, kamasanna ( ( perception of five sense objects & sense desires, perception of the things of the kama loka, perception of sensuality ) cease (niruddhā)"

káma may denote:
1.objective sensuality, the five sense-objects.
2. subjective sensuality, 'sense-desire';

1. Objective sensuality is, in the canonical texts, mostly called káma-guna, 'cords (or strands) of sensuality'.
"There are 5 cords of sensuality: the visible objects, cognizable by eye-consciousness, that are desirable, cherished, pleasant, lovely, sensuous and alluring; the sounds ... smells ... tastes ... bodily impressions cognizable by body-consciousness, that are desirable .... " (D. 33; M. 13, 26, 59, 66).

2. Subjective sensuality, or sense-desire, is directed to all five sense-objects

- Ven. Nyanatiloka

With metta,
Last edited by morning mist on Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
with metta,
morning mist
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:31 pm

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:32 pm

Sylvester wrote:Sigh, how difficult can it be to give a categorical Yes or No to either question?

I don't have direct knowledge of Ven. Brahmavamso's mind, therefore I'm not in a position to make categorical statements. But it should be quite clear by now that I don't consider what he describes to be consistent with what is described and defined as jhāna in the canon and commentaries.

Sylvester wrote:
And both vipassati and the dhamma-investigation awakening factor are multifaceted. They take on different levels of meaning at different stages of insight.

What does this mean?

It means that vipassanā is a profound subject with many subtleties that are difficult to communicate and are therefore not found in suttas or books. The suttas point the way, but it's up to each individual to carry out the practice injunctions and directly realize the dhamma for him or herself. It's much more than just thinking about dhammas. Your suggestion that vipassanā should require engagement in discursive thought fails to appreciate the subtleties of the process. At advanced stages of vipassanā, the clear seeing becomes reflexive (paṭivipassanā), which means that the meditating mind directly discerns the process of knowing itself. This requires a highly refined samādhi, one in which the reflexiveness of the mind and cognitive factors becomes apparent. Comprehension is essential.

Sylvester wrote:what is there to say that the quality of sati, sampajanna and sanna do not also evolve with progression into and through the Jhanas?

Of course. They develop. The purpose of sammāsamādhi is just this mental development (bhāvanā) which culminates in gnosis.

All the best,

Geoff
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby morning mist » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:33 pm

Hi Dmytro,

Dmytro wrote: But for some reason, Brahmavamso writes that the attachment to jhana is impossible:

"It is very odd, therefore, that some suggest that the practise of Jhana leads to attachment. How can, what is the practice of letting go, lead to attachment?"
http://www.viet.net/anson/ebud/ebmed075.htm




The context in which I understand the above statement is that it doesn't lead to attachment to sensual pleasure. In one of his sutta study talk he said that what is the result of being attached to jhana? Then mentioned what the Buddha said.
‘“ṭhānaṃ kho panetaṃ, cunda, vijjati, yaṃ aññatitthiyā paribbājakā evaṃ vadeyyuṃ -- ‘ime panāvuso, cattāro sukhallikānuyoge anuyuttānaṃ viharataṃ kati phalāni katānisaṃsā pāṭikaṅkhā’ ’ti?

" Then such adherents of other sects might ask: " Well then, those who are given to the attachment to (sukhallikānuyoge) these four forms of pleasure-seeking- how many fruits , how many benefits can they expect?

" And you should reply: " They can expect four fruits, four benefits. What are they ?

The first is when a monk by the destruction of three fetters has become a Stream -Winner, no more subject to rebirth in lower worlds, firmly established, destined for full enlightenment.

" The second is when a monk by the complete destruction of three fetters and the reduction of greed, hatred and delusion , has become a Once-Returner, and having returned once more to this world, will put an end to suffering.

"The third is when a monk by the complete destruction of the five lower fetters, has been spontaneously reborn , and there iwll reach Nibbana without returning from that world.

"The fourth is when a monk, by the destruction of the corruptions in this very life has, by his own knowledge and realization , attained to Arahantship, to the deliverance of heart and through wisdom.

" Such are the four fruits and the four benefits that one given to the attachment to (sukhallikānuyoge) these four forms of pleasure -seeking can expect." - Pasadika Sutta


And why did he say that jhana is the practice of letting go ? If we look at the process , we see that to get into jhana we have to let go of the desire, aversion, etc..As we move to the next jhana, there is the need to let go of the previous jhana and various factors. To move from jhana to jhana a person needs to let go more and more. It can be called the process of cessation ( nirodha) .

" Nine successive cessations ( anupubba-nirodha):

" By the attainments of the first jhana, kamasanna ( perception of five sense objects & sense desires, perception of the things of the kama loka , perception of sensuality) cease (niruddhā);
by the attainments of the second jhana, vitakkavicārā cease;
by the attainments of the third jhana,rapure ( piti) ceases;
by the attainments of the fourth jhana, in and out breathing (assāsapassāssā) cease ;
by the attainments of the Sphere of Infinite space, the perception of materiality ( rupasanna: perception of form) ceases ;
by the attainments of the Sphere of Infinite consciousness, the perception of the Sphere of Infinite space (ākāsānañcāyatanasaññā) cease;
by the attainments of the Sphere of No-thingness, the perception of Sphere of Infinite consciousness cease;
by the attainments of the Neither Perception Nor Non Perception, the perception of No-thingness cease;
by the attainments of the "Cessation of Perception and Feeling", perception and feeling (saññā ca vedanā) cease." - Sangiti Sutta

With Metta,
Last edited by morning mist on Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
with metta,
morning mist
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:31 pm

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:40 pm

morning mist wrote: The Sangiti Sutta points out that :" By the attainments of the first jhana, kamasanna ( perception of five sense objects & sense desires ) cease (niruddhā)"

Yes, this was already addressed. The seclusion from kāmehi in the jhāna formula refers to both the objects of sensual pleasure (vatthukāmā) and the defilements of sensual pleasure (kilesakāmā). In commentarial terms, the form portion of the "whole body" experienced in jhāna is mind-produced form which pervades the physical body. The Dīghanikāyaṭīkā:

    Mind-produced form (cittajarūpa) suffuses every area where there is kamma-produced form (kammajarūpa).

This subtle felt-sense of the body being pervaded by pleasure (J1 & J2) and by equanimity (J3 & J4) is a part of the phenomenology of jhāna as an experience.

All the best,

Geoff
Nyana
 
Posts: 2227
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Dmytro » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:18 pm

Hi Morning Mist,

morning mist wrote: RUPA SANNA : Accordingly, this is Fine Material Perception or Form Perception or Perception of form
rupa jhana


If you were really interested in the Pali texts, I would recommend you the thread:
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5595

Metta,
User avatar
Dmytro
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby morning mist » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:12 am

Hi Nana,

It's true that " permeating the body" mentioned in the jhanas refers to the mental body rather than the physical body, because the perception of five sense objects & sense desires, perception of the things of the kama loka have been left behind in jhana.

Hi Dmytro,

Thanks for sharing. Rupa in Rupasanna is used similar to the way it is used in Rupaloka ( Fine material realm instead of body. Therefore it should be rendered as Perception of Materiality / Perception of Form instead of bodily sensations.

With metta,
with metta,
morning mist
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:31 pm

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: SarathW, Sweet_Nothing and 8 guests