Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby Micheal Kush » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:26 pm

Thank you all for the advice. After reviewing much what about which method to choose, i think im just gonna stick with my same routine of just attending to the breath at the nose tip. I agree with the above posts that the barricade seperating those two styles are nothing but arbitrary artifices.

Ive progressed much with this style and just need clarification. I think both methods are of immense benefit as success comes from either one. Its undeniable that the Visuudhumagga has helped many Theravada buddhists and its certain that the suttas possess the same faculty. Therefore, thanks for the immense benefit.

However i would like to point out another thing. I hear that its common amongst Vissudhimagga practitoners when they achieve jhana, that they feel detached from the body or possess no bodily awareness and the suttas obviously oppose such approach. However, i see that when pitit arises in these practitioners, they exclaim that there body is entrenched and saturated in radiating bliss. Show doesnt this necessarily show that the illustration between the Visuudhuimagga and suttas are closer in a practical view?

Though bodily awareness disspears, subjects are still succumbed to that all prevading bliss which correlates with ths suttas. Even Leigh B on his website testifies this. Just my two cents

With metta, mike
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby reflection » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:55 pm

When the mind leaves the body (partially) behind, it gives the body a great opportunity to rest. I don't know why, but it seems to be resting more than when asleep even. Coming out of such meditations the body can feel extremely light as made of thin air or virtually not existing. And whenever things are gone, that's the main bliss basically. Just like it is very peaceful not to have to think, it is very peaceful not to have to worry about your body. This can explain some of the accounts of a blissful body after being detached from it.

However, again, I must emphasize that I think in the suttas 'body' refers not to just the physical body. Pali and English are quite far apart and the pali language is often translated by the interpretation of the translator's own practice, resulting in not displaying alternative interpretations. Also the meaning of pali words can be quite subtle as it seems to me. Which is only logical considering the Buddha had to explain stuff quite unsuitable to put into words. (and he spoke a slightly different dialect even, the pali language being made up afterward as far as my limited knowledge goes)

So for one thing, not everybody agrees that everywhere where 'body' is said, it is referring to the physical body, especially in the jhanas I think it refers to the mental body and I'm certainly not alone in this interpretation. For example the meaning of the word kaya, from access to insight: "kāya: Body. Usually refers to the physical body (rūpa-kāya; see rūpa), but sometimes refers to the mental body (nāma-kāya; see nāma)." So when the suttas say "There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal." it could just as well say "There is nothing of his entire mind-'body' unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal." So the suttas don't oppose having no physical awareness in jhana.

Obviously, people disagree on this and that's fine. But it's just a matter of how you read the suttas, really. They don't clearly show one interpretation to be correct versus the other. At least, not to me.

So do whatever works, don't worry too much about it not being in the suttas, or being told it isn't. At least, that's my approach to the whole thing. Suttas are a great tool, but they are just a tool. Although they can be extremely inpsiring and insightful, you have to do the work in the end and only your experience can tell what's right and what's not. If you want the text to tell you what to think, I don't want to offend anybody, but than there are better religions to consider. :tongue:

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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby Micheal Kush » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:14 pm

reflection wrote:When the mind leaves the body (partially) behind, it gives the body a great opportunity to rest. I don't know why, but it seems to be resting more than when asleep even. Coming out of such meditations the body can feel extremely light as made of thin air or virtually not existing. And whenever things are gone, that's the main bliss basically. Just like it is very peaceful not to have to think, it is very peaceful not to have to worry about your body. This can explain some of the accounts of a blissful body after being detached from it.

However, again, I must emphasize that I think in the suttas 'body' refers not to just the physical body. Pali and English are quite far apart and the pali language is often translated by the interpretation of the translator's own practice, resulting in not displaying alternative interpretations. Also the meaning of pali words can be quite subtle as it seems to me. Which is only logical considering the Buddha had to explain stuff quite unsuitable to put into words. (and he spoke a slightly different dialect even, the pali language being made up afterward as far as my limited knowledge goes)

So for one thing, not everybody agrees that everywhere where 'body' is said, it is referring to the physical body, especially in the jhanas I think it refers to the mental body and I'm certainly not alone in this interpretation. For example the meaning of the word kaya, from access to insight: "kāya: Body. Usually refers to the physical body (rūpa-kāya; see rūpa), but sometimes refers to the mental body (nāma-kāya; see nāma)." So when the suttas say "There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal." it could just as well say "There is nothing of his entire mind-'body' unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal." So the suttas don't oppose having no physical awareness in jhana.

Obviously, people disagree on this and that's fine. But it's just a matter of how you read the suttas, really. They don't clearly show one interpretation to be correct versus the other. At least, not to me.

So do whatever works, don't worry too much about it not being in the suttas, or being told it isn't. At least, that's my approach to the whole thing. Suttas are a great tool, but they are just a tool. Although they can be extremely inpsiring and insightful, you have to do the work in the end and only your experience can tell what's right and what's not. If you want the text to tell you what to think, I don't want to offend anybody, but than there are better religions to consider. :tongue:

With metta,
Reflection


Thanks for the information. I agree that the barriers and disagreements are nothing but mere speculation and useless worth. I mean if you think about it, both styles of methods are continously being proven to work so i do agree that there are various interpretations regarding what the jhanas are but disputing it hinders the utilization of what you said, as a tool. However, regarding your post above what is the mind body? Is it the mind itself or what the suttas state of the mind made body?

All in all, i will continue to practice and see what factors equate with truth and the main purpose is to use this sagacious concentration as a tool for cultivating insight.

Thanks for the advice

With metta, mike
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby marc108 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:20 pm

i really believe that where you focus makes no difference. some teachers, re: Ajahn Brahm, are teaching disembodied type Jhana withing even using any physical location at all... simply the mental occurrence of the breath. when i asked my teacher about what was the best spot to focus, he said people have achieved the highest levels of Jhana using all the various spots so it doesnt matter.

i think what matters more is what you DO once some Samadhi has been established & what direction you take the meditation. if you are at the point where you are able to get into Jhana, or close to it... you should just experiment with both ways. you can take the bliss that arises at the nose tip and 'breath' it through the body, re: the Jhana similes in the Suttas or you can clamp down on the nose and after a few hours a nimitta will arise and you can work with that.

speculation is absolutely pointless... you have to find a teacher who will teach you the method and find out for yourself.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby reflection » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:35 pm

Micheal Kush wrote:Thanks for the information. I agree that the barriers and disagreements are nothing but mere speculation and useless worth. I mean if you think about it, both styles of methods are continously being proven to work so i do agree that there are various interpretations regarding what the jhanas are but disputing it hinders the utilization of what you said, as a tool. However, regarding your post above what is the mind body? Is it the mind itself or what the suttas state of the mind made body?

All in all, i will continue to practice and see what factors equate with truth and the main purpose is to use this sagacious concentration as a tool for cultivating insight.

Thanks for the advice

With metta, mike

You are welcome. Have a nice time practicing!

The mind is not really a thing in itself for it is changing all the time. So it's a bit tricky to call something "the mind". But the mental phenomena can certainly represent themselves as being a body-ish thing. Quite hard to explain really. But consider the pali-text-society dictionary translation for the word kaya, approaching it from a different angle to make things perhaps more clear:

Kāya [der. probably fr. ci, cinoti to heap up, cp. nikāya heaping up, accumulation or collection; Sk. kāya] group, heap, collection, aggregate, body. -- Definitions and synonyms.

Which is also interesting is looking at a possible translation for 'body' in an English dictionary: "a group of persons or things".

So it's a collection, really. That could in case of the 'body' as in the first parts of the anapanasati sutta be all things concerning the breath, so sometimes it's translated there as breath-body instead of just 'body'. (so breath-body being for example the sensations around the nose or abdomen or wherever) In case of the mind that could refer to a collection of all mental phenomena going on at that particular time. So not a fixed thing, really. And that 'collection' will change as things are left behind, which is why I think the word kaya is especially beautiful and well chosen because it is not a fixed set of things.

Ok I am going quite the pali explanation way now, which is not my usual approach, so pardon me if things are not really clear. If you want things to be a bit more clear, I can certainly advise to find some sutta explanations by Ajahn Brahmali. You can find some on the youtube. I haven't watched them all, so I can't say I agree with everything he says, and perhaps you won't. But at least it'll give you another possible interpretation of things, especially of meditation as described in the suttas not clearly being about full body awareness always.

With metta,
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby Micheal Kush » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:00 pm

marc108 wrote:i really believe that where you focus makes no difference. some teachers, re: Ajahn Brahm, are teaching disembodied type Jhana withing even using any physical location at all... simply the mental occurrence of the breath. when i asked my teacher about what was the best spot to focus, he said people have achieved the highest levels of Jhana using all the various spots so it doesnt matter.

i think what matters more is what you DO once some Samadhi has been established & what direction you take the meditation. if you are at the point where you are able to get into Jhana, or close to it... you should just experiment with both ways. you can take the bliss that arises at the nose tip and 'breath' it through the body, re: the Jhana similes in the Suttas or you can clamp down on the nose and after a few hours a nimitta will arise and you can work with that.

speculation is absolutely pointless... you have to find a teacher who will teach you the method and find out for yourself.


Agreed. I will continue to persist in my practice and if the time is right, after i reach a level of jhana i might expirement with the other methods as well. Now as for a teacher.......that will be a difficult task for me considering there are but few teachrs in my area but ill check it out.

And @ Reflection, the pali was helpful. I, too have heard the explanations regarding the body breath and certianly elaborates on various translations.

Anways thanks again.
With metta, mike
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby marc108 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:15 pm

Micheal Kush wrote: Now as for a teacher.......that will be a difficult task for me considering there are but few teachrs in my area but ill check it out.


just fyi... Thanissaro Bhikkhu and Richard Shankman, both great meditation masters, will give interviews by phone.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby Micheal Kush » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:09 pm

marc108 wrote:
Micheal Kush wrote: Now as for a teacher.......that will be a difficult task for me considering there are but few teachrs in my area but ill check it out.


just fyi... Thanissaro Bhikkhu and Richard Shankman, both great meditation masters, will give interviews by phone.


Awesome suggestionn. I always revered Thanissaro teachings. One more question though, and this concerns the in-breathing. Now when they say focus on the in breathing, do you they mean maintain awareness of the breathing when it also enters in through the nostrils or just remain solely on the nose tip of where the breathing strikes?
Btw, where and how can i contact those two meditation masters?

With metta,mike
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:57 am

Micheal Kush wrote:Awesome suggestionn. I always revered Thanissaro teachings. One more question though, and this concerns the in-breathing. Now when they say focus on the in breathing, do you they mean maintain awareness of the breathing when it also enters in through the nostrils or just remain solely on the nose tip of where the breathing strikes?
Btw, where and how can i contact those two meditation masters?

With metta,mike

http://www.watmetta.org/contact.htm

I usually interpret such instruction to mean "Examine the breath itself as in enters and exits through the nose tip," not "keep your attention directly on the nose tip itself." It's important, as concentration gets deeper, to leave the physical sensation and go along with the in-and-out breath, free of a physical base. Just like you need to use your fingers to balance a nail in a wall, but can let go and just pound it in after a short few whacks, you need to let the sensation guide you until you're established enough with the breath to watch it freely.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby Micheal Kush » Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:05 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
Micheal Kush wrote:Awesome suggestionn. I always revered Thanissaro teachings. One more question though, and this concerns the in-breathing. Now when they say focus on the in breathing, do you they mean maintain awareness of the breathing when it also enters in through the nostrils or just remain solely on the nose tip of where the breathing strikes?
Btw, where and how can i contact those two meditation masters?

With metta,mike

http://www.watmetta.org/contact.htm

I usually interpret such instruction to mean "Examine the breath itself as in enters and exits through the nose tip," not "keep your attention directly on the nose tip itself." It's important, as concentration gets deeper, to leave the physical sensation and go along with the in-and-out breath, free of a physical base. Just like you need to use your fingers to balance a nail in a wall, but can let go and just pound it in after a short few whacks, you need to let the sensation guide you until you're established enough with the breath to watch it freely.


Ok yes thats what i thought to. At first when reading instructions of meditation, the number rule was just keep your attention of the breathing spot. Then i started to wonder how one can follow the in breathing by just keeping their attention only on the nose tip without examining it when it comes in.

Thank you for the clarification
With metta, mike
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby danieLion » Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:55 am

Dmytro wrote:Path of Purification...does not instruct to focus solely on the nose tip. It's essential to focus on the air touching the tip of the nose or the upper lip.

Hi Dmytro,
If it's contact with air that's important, this should include any way the body interacts with air and where contact can be felt: in other parts of the head, the mouth, the throat, the chest, lungs, diaphragm, abdomen, torso, back, neck. When you're still enough, all this is obvious. Hence, one pointedness cannot be restricted in terms of area, especially in light of the fact that "area" falls apart under the scrutiny of vipassana.
Best,
Daniel
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby danieLion » Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:57 am

robertk wrote:Obviously there can be no bodily awareness in mundane jhana, that is impossible.

Hi Robert,
With all due respect, that's complete nonsense.
Daniel
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:12 am

Hi Daniel,
danieLion wrote:
robertk wrote:Obviously there can be no bodily awareness in mundane jhana, that is impossible.

Hi Robert,
With all due respect, this is some bull.
Daniel

On the contrary, it is something that is a matter of disagreement.
I have seen this put forward from both a Sutta (e.g. Ajahn Brahm) and Commentary perspective.

:anjali:
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby manas » Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:36 am

I've decided that I don't care if some people will strenuously disagree with me. So long as people disagree without being rude to each other, no problem. After all, we are supposed to be trying to help each other to greater understanding...

And so in the spirit of friendliness, I ask for even one sutta reference which supports this notion that we should somehow 'leave' the physical body during jhanas 1-4. I could easily provide many that state just the opposite, but we all know them already. I'm just curious as to where this 'disembodied' idea comes from?

Furthermore, how are we going to see this body as it really is, if we are not fully, deeply present with it?

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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby reflection » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:17 am

This discussion is probably as about old as Buddhism itself, so it gets a bit tiring :tongue:. Similar discussions are numerous on this forum and to be honest I backed out of it a bit. But indeed we are here to help. If only it's for understanding the other's perspective. So:

I think the standard jhana formula 'quite secluded from sensuality' points to it. Here 'quite' has the absolute meaning of totally. As in 'quite right!' meaning totally right.

Also, the nibbana sutta where Sariputta explains how one can see how nibbana is pleasant:
But what is the pleasure here, my friend, where there is nothing felt?"

"Just that is the pleasure here, my friend: where there is nothing felt. There are these five strings of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing; sounds cognizable via the ear... smells cognizable via the nose... tastes cognizable via the tongue... tactile sensations cognizable via the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Whatever pleasure or joy arises in dependence on these five strings of sensuality, that is sensual pleasure.

"Now there is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. If, as he remains there, he is beset with attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality, that is an affliction for him. Just as pain arises as an affliction in a healthy person for his affliction, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality that beset the monk is an affliction for him. Now, the Blessed One has said that whatever is an affliction is stress. So by this line of reasoning it may be known how Unbinding is pleasant.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Or
And I asked him: 'Why, brother, has this great crowd gathered together?' And he answered me: 'Just now, Lord, there was a heavy rain, with thunder rolling, lightning flashing, and thunderbolts crashing. And two farmers who were brothers were killed close by, together with four oxen. It is because of this that the great crowd has gathered. But where, Lord, were you?'

I was here, brother.' 'Yet, Lord, did you not see it?' 'I did not see it, brother.' 'But the noise, Lord, you surely heard?' 'I did not hear it, brother.' Then that man asked me: 'Then, Lord, perhaps you slept?' 'No, brother, I was not sleeping.' 'Then, Lord, you were conscious?' 'I was, brother.' Then that man said: 'Then, Lord, while conscious and awake, in the midst of a heavy rain, with thunder rolling, lightning flashing, and thunderbolts crashing, you neither saw it nor heard the noise?' And I answered him, saying: 'I did not, brother.'

"And to that man, Pukkusa, came the thought: 'Marvellous it is, most wonderful indeed it is, the state of calmness wherein abide those who have gone forth from the world!' And there arose in him great faith in me, and he respectfully saluted me, and keeping his right side towards me, he went his way."

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


But I recon this idea doesn´t primarily come from the suttas, but from meditators with such experiences.

And how you can understand the body by withdrawing from it? We don't want to just understand the body, we want to understand how it is suffering. Being without physical sensations is more peaceful than being with them and so that's a step in understanding the inherent suffering of having a body. It's like having a splinter in your finger. You can investigate it all you want, but to get a better perspective on the pain it gives, it's better to take it out.

Also it shows non-self of the body quite directly. If there can be awareness without bodily awareness, quite clearly the body is not 'you'.

With metta,
Reflection :anjali:
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby manas » Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:31 pm

reflection wrote:This discussion is probably as about old as Buddhism itself, so it gets a bit tiring :tongue:. Similar discussions are numerous on this forum and to be honest I backed out of it a bit. But indeed we are here to help. If only it's for understanding the other's perspective.


Hi reflection,

I too have noticed the arguments back and forth, and used to fear them. But I've decided that if I can sincerely post things in a positive frame of mind, and not in the sense of 'wanting others to see that I am the correct one', then no harm done. After all, however it is we are experiencing our meditation, we are all ultimately Dhamma friends on a journey towards freedom from dukkha. That's what really matters, and not that we agree on every detail. In fact, I'm beginning to think that different people must experience different things. More on that another time, as it's not this topic.

reflection wrote:I think the standard jhana formula 'quite secluded from sensuality' points to it. Here 'quite' has the absolute meaning of totally. As in 'quite right!' meaning totally right.


It says 'totally secluded from sensuality' (kama) but not 'totally secluded from the five bodily organs of sense'. If he had intended that, he would have said so, imho. I think that it means, we need to have totally removed ourselves from sense-desires - ie, be 'secluded' from them. After all, sense-desire / greed is one of the hindrances, and we need to 'cleanse' our mind of the hindrances to attain jhana (that's how I read it).

It might also be in contradistinction to some other paths that might advocate using sense-pleasures as a vehicle towards enlightenment, as for example some Tantric schools. The Buddha is clearly stating that jhana as we are supposed to understand it, has nothing to do with indulging sense-desire. (Ok that was a bit of conjecture on my part.)

We have all experienced being so absorbed in reading a book that we temporarily stopped hearing what was going on around us, completely. (Then, when we try to do it 'on purpose', it's not that easy!) But that doesn't mean our sense of hearing was 'deactivated', just that our attention was elsewhere.

reflection wrote:Also, the nibbana sutta where Sariputta explains how one can see how nibbana is pleasant:
But what is the pleasure here, my friend, where there is nothing felt?"

"Just that is the pleasure here, my friend: where there is nothing felt. There are these five strings of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing; sounds cognizable via the ear... smells cognizable via the nose... tastes cognizable via the tongue... tactile sensations cognizable via the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Whatever pleasure or joy arises in dependence on these five strings of sensuality, that is sensual pleasure.

"Now there is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. If, as he remains there, he is beset with attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality, that is an affliction for him. Just as pain arises as an affliction in a healthy person for his affliction, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality that beset the monk is an affliction for him. Now, the Blessed One has said that whatever is an affliction is stress. So by this line of reasoning it may be known how Unbinding is pleasant.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Or
And I asked him: 'Why, brother, has this great crowd gathered together?' And he answered me: 'Just now, Lord, there was a heavy rain, with thunder rolling, lightning flashing, and thunderbolts crashing. And two farmers who were brothers were killed close by, together with four oxen. It is because of this that the great crowd has gathered. But where, Lord, were you?'

I was here, brother.' 'Yet, Lord, did you not see it?' 'I did not see it, brother.' 'But the noise, Lord, you surely heard?' 'I did not hear it, brother.' Then that man asked me: 'Then, Lord, perhaps you slept?' 'No, brother, I was not sleeping.' 'Then, Lord, you were conscious?' 'I was, brother.' Then that man said: 'Then, Lord, while conscious and awake, in the midst of a heavy rain, with thunder rolling, lightning flashing, and thunderbolts crashing, you neither saw it nor heard the noise?' And I answered him, saying: 'I did not, brother.'

"And to that man, Pukkusa, came the thought: 'Marvellous it is, most wonderful indeed it is, the state of calmness wherein abide those who have gone forth from the world!' And there arose in him great faith in me, and he respectfully saluted me, and keeping his right side towards me, he went his way."

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


Ven. Sariputta is trying to explain something about Nibbana in this case, not about the rupa-jhanas per se.

reflection wrote:And how you can understand the body by withdrawing from it? We don't want to just understand the body, we want to understand how it is suffering. Being without physical sensations is more peaceful than being with them and so that's a step in understanding the inherent suffering of having a body. It's like having a splinter in your finger. You can investigate it all you want, but to get a better perspective on the pain it gives, it's better to take it out.

Also it shows non-self of the body quite directly. If there can be awareness without bodily awareness, quite clearly the body is not 'you'.

With metta,
Reflection :anjali:


Reflection, sukha (as in jhana) is classed a a feeling (vedana), is it not? - and feelings are things tied up with the body, afaik. That's kind of what I'm getting at.

It's near to midnight here, so I've got to call it a day for now - but I'm glad we can chat civilly about our different pov's. And as I said, I am beginning to suspect that different people might actually experience states of concentration differently. That's a possible explanation for how each 'camp' is so convinced of their own view - well maybe it is right - for them.

:anjali:
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby marc108 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:10 pm

Micheal Kush wrote:
marc108 wrote:
Micheal Kush wrote: Now as for a teacher.......that will be a difficult task for me considering there are but few teachrs in my area but ill check it out.


just fyi... Thanissaro Bhikkhu and Richard Shankman, both great meditation masters, will give interviews by phone.


Awesome suggestionn. I always revered Thanissaro teachings. One more question though, and this concerns the in-breathing. Now when they say focus on the in breathing, do you they mean maintain awareness of the breathing when it also enters in through the nostrils or just remain solely on the nose tip of where the breathing strikes?
Btw, where and how can i contact those two meditation masters?

With metta,mike



it could mean either depending on the system you're working with... traditionally it would mean solely the area where the breath is striking.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu takes calls from 6-7pm pacific @ 619-813-8461
Richard Shankman can be contacted via the Dharma Practice Interview link on his foundations website, http://www.mettadharma.org .... There is only a date listed for June, but I'm pretty sure he just hasn't updated it.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby Micheal Kush » Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:33 pm

Thanks for the website. Ill definitely give them a call.

With metta, mike
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby reflection » Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:57 pm

manas wrote:Hi reflection,

I too have noticed the arguments back and forth, and used to fear them. But I've decided that if I can sincerely post things in a positive frame of mind, and not in the sense of 'wanting others to see that I am the correct one', then no harm done. After all, however it is we are experiencing our meditation, we are all ultimately Dhamma friends on a journey towards freedom from dukkha. That's what really matters, and not that we agree on every detail. In fact, I'm beginning to think that different people must experience different things. More on that another time, as it's not this topic.

..

It says 'totally secluded from sensuality' (kama) but not 'totally secluded from the five bodily organs of sense'. If he had intended that, he would have said so, imho. I think that it means, we need to have totally removed ourselves from sense-desires - ie, be 'secluded' from them. After all, sense-desire / greed is one of the hindrances, and we need to 'cleanse' our mind of the hindrances to attain jhana (that's how I read it).

We have all experienced being so absorbed in reading a book that we temporarily stopped hearing what was going on around us, completely. (Then, when we try to do it 'on purpose', it's not that easy!) But that doesn't mean our sense of hearing was 'deactivated', just that our attention was elsewhere.


Ven. Sariputta is trying to explain something about Nibbana in this case, not about the rupa-jhanas per se.

Reflection, sukha (as in jhana) is classed a a feeling (vedana), is it not? - and feelings are things tied up with the body, afaik. That's kind of what I'm getting at.

It's near to midnight here, so I've got to call it a day for now - but I'm glad we can chat civilly about our different pov's. And as I said, I am beginning to suspect that different people might actually experience states of concentration differently. That's a possible explanation for how each 'camp' is so convinced of their own view - well maybe it is right - for them.

:anjali:

Hi!

I also don't like convincing others about my view, but joined this thread mainly because I saw the original poster a bit confused about the suttas when he shouldn't in my opinion. And sometimes I think not all interpretations get the attention they deserve.

But it basically comes down to how we interpret different words in the suttas. Because we are talking about things words don't really do justice to, it's only logical that interpretations will vary. And so we will interpret words and even experiences according to our previous experiences and teachings. (Some people are even convinced the Buddha didn't teach jhana at all and it was a later addition to the suttas. Just goes to show.) In my view, the real meaning of the words is always quite a bit more subtle than it looks like at first glance.

For example -and back to topic- the hindrance of 'sense desire' for me is every movement of the mind towards the 5 senses. All those movements are based on attachment and thus desire towards them. If the mind can't let it go of them, it's hindered. Thus also the 5 hindrances point of view, in my perspective accords with being without 5 sense activity all together. Of course, this is not immediately clear from words, but still I think sense desire is the best wording, because it is exactly that, desire for the senses, albeit a very subtle form.

And feelings can also be mental:
"And what is feeling? These six are classes of feeling: feeling born from eye-contact, feeling born from ear-contact, feeling born from nose-contact, feeling born from tongue-contact, feeling born from body-contact, feeling born from intellect-contact. This is called feeling.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Not to keen on the translation 'intellect-contact' here. I would say just mind-contact. Intellect is just one part of the mind of course. What 'mind-contact' is becomes much clearer without the 5 sense activity. But I copied the part anyway. At least it shows that feeling can exist for any of the 6 senses. Also:

"And what is rapture of the flesh? There are these five strings of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Sounds cognizable via the ear... Aromas cognizable via the nose... Flavors cognizable via the tongue... Tactile sensations cognizable via the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Now whatever rapture arises in dependence on these five strands of sensuality, that is called rapture of the flesh.

"And what is rapture not of the flesh?
There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. This is called rapture not of the flesh.


For me shows quite clearly jhana is not a bodily experience. If it were, the rapture would be of the five senses, 'of the flesh'.

Anyway, I can see how different interpretations arise. But from the sutta's it's simply not immediately clear because we will color them with our views. Therefore suttas will never convince and it'll go round and round in endless fruitless discussions, as I've seen happen here many times before. So I'd like to leave it at this if you don't mind. I think I did what I joined the discussion for, to show Michael that a one pointed jhana without full body awareness is quite compatible with the suttas. (although I'm not the best person to do that I must admit)

With metta,
Reflection
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Re: Buddhaghosa Path of Purification vs Suttas?

Postby manas » Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:31 pm

reflection wrote:(...)
Anyway, I can see how different interpretations arise. But from the sutta's it's simply not immediately clear because we will color them with our views. Therefore suttas will never convince and it'll go round and round in endless fruitless discussions, as I've seen happen here many times before. So I'd like to leave it at this if you don't mind. I think I did what I joined the discussion for, to show Michael that a one pointed jhana without full body awareness is quite compatible with the suttas. (although I'm not the best person to do that I must admit)

With metta,
Reflection


Hi reflection

thanks for your explanations. I will respect your request and will not address any more 'challenges' directly to you. Once again, I can relate, as until recently, being in a such a mild 'dispute' stressed me out. But friends should be able to disagree without coming to (virtual) blows. And as I said, I am choosing to see all sincere Dhamma-farers as brothers or sisters in the dhamma, whether or not I always agree with them. If we Buddhists can't do it (learn to get along despite holding different views), how is the rest of the world ever going to??

metta :anjali:
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