Anapanasati Vs. jhana

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby daverupa » Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:46 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
starter wrote:-- I agree. Such molding is for a systematic practice of satipatthana at one sitting, after establishing the four foundations of mindfulness.


But if the 4 tetrads are just satipatthana, then why the inclusion of the jhanic absorption factors? Why not just progress through the four frames as per the Satipatthana Sutta, using the breath as an anchor?


Anapanasati's sixteen steps are added as such, I think, which is why the numbers are in brackets in translations. Each tetrad might be internally ordinal, but just as each satipatthana quadrant can be engaged with, so too with anapanasati.

It may be possible to use e.g. kayagatasati, as I cited a sutta where this sort of approach looked likely, except it isn't a "progression through" satipatthana - it isn't sixteen steps there, either. Satipatthana is a process of establishing mindfulness in this or that arena of ongoing activity.

But, letting go must occur as a trained activity, which the sixteen-phase anapanasati directions address, and probably this (satipatthana + breathing + letting go --> jhana) was the Buddha's favored method. That we have anapanasati-samadhi, and not this level of specific asubha-sati-samadhi instructions, speaks to that, though it's possible that kayagatasati itself is sufficient for jhana.

New arenas of thought for me, though, so these nebulous thoughts might shift a wee smidgen over the weekend.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:37 am

daverupa wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
But if the 4 tetrads are just satipatthana, then why the inclusion of the jhanic absorption factors? Why not just progress through the four frames as per the Satipatthana Sutta, using the breath as an anchor?


Anapanasati's sixteen steps are added as such, I think, which is why the numbers are in brackets in translations. Each tetrad might be internally ordinal, but just as each satipatthana quadrant can be engaged with, so too with anapanasati.

But, letting go must occur as a trained activity, which the sixteen-phase anapanasati directions address....


Do you think the 4 frames of satipatthana themselves can be treated as a progression, from coarse bodily sensations to more subtle mental objects?

Also, could you say a bit more about what you mean by "letting go" in this context? Are you thinking about "letting go" as a method, or as a result?
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby starter » Sun Jul 13, 2014 5:56 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
starter wrote:-- I agree. Such molding is for a systematic practice of satipatthana at one sitting, after establishing the four foundations of mindfulness.


But if the 4 tetrads are just satipatthana, then why the inclusion of the jhanic absorption factors? Why not just progress through the four frames as per the Satipatthana Sutta, using the breath as an anchor?


To my understanding, the inclusion of the jhanic factors makes the satipatthana practice (or the modern terminology "vipassana") much more powerful and effective. Certain level of samadhi (not quite jhana) is needed for practicing satipatthana in MN 10. Deep samadhi (jhana) achieved using the breath as an anchor is even more helpful in the 4th tetrad Dhammavicaya.

Metta to all!

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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby daverupa » Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:33 am

Spiny Norman wrote:Do you think the 4 frames of satipatthana themselves can be treated as a progression, from coarse bodily sensations to more subtle mental objects?


I think the four categories are simple, as I understand them:

a) kaya - body, roughly the same as what the modern word covers; kamaguna
b) vedana - hedonic tone at any sense sphere
c) citta - state of mind, mental plasma snapshot, prevailing ethical velocity...
d) dhamma - plural, percepts in any sense at all, any experiential bracket, very broad here

These are all common experiential categories; mindfulness as an established part of how they function should be a general goal.

Spiny Norman wrote:Also, could you say a bit more about what you mean by "letting go" in this context? Are you thinking about "letting go" as a method, or as a result?


It's the overall shape of the way to jhana. Detachment is a feature of liberation; letting go is an effort for those in training, otherwise simply a step towards a common abiding for arahants.

There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, making it his object to let go, attains concentration, attains singleness of mind.


---

The suttas seem to me to show various pieces of early bridging efforts with respect to sati and samadhi; anapanasati became the standard quite early, I think, but was only standardized while the Nikayas formed up, which is the nebulous capstone event on the 'early' period.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:44 am

starter wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
starter wrote:-- I agree. Such molding is for a systematic practice of satipatthana at one sitting, after establishing the four foundations of mindfulness.


But if the 4 tetrads are just satipatthana, then why the inclusion of the jhanic absorption factors? Why not just progress through the four frames as per the Satipatthana Sutta, using the breath as an anchor?


To my understanding, the inclusion of the jhanic factors makes the satipatthana practice (or the modern terminology "vipassana") much more powerful and effective. Certain level of samadhi (not quite jhana) is needed for practicing satipatthana in MN 10. Deep samadhi (jhana) achieved using the breath as an anchor is even more helpful in the 4th tetrad Dhammavicaya.


Yes, that makes sense. Basic satipatthana looks quite thin on samadhi.

Another possibility that occurred to me is that 16-step anapanasati represents an "embedding" of the later factors of enlightenment in satipatthana, so to put it rather crudely:
Satipatthana = 1st two factors of enlightenment ( sati and dhamma-vicaya );
16-step anapanasati = satipatthana + the remaining factors of enlightenment.

I know that satipatthana is supposed to fulfill the 7 factors, though IMO it's not clearly explained how exactly.
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:47 am

daverupa wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:a) kaya - body, roughly the same as what the modern word covers; kamaguna
b) vedana - hedonic tone at any sense sphere
c) citta - state of mind, mental plasma snapshot, prevailing ethical velocity...
d) dhamma - plural, percepts in any sense at all, any experiential bracket, very broad here
These are all common experiential categories; mindfulness as an established part of how they function should be a general goal.


My assumption is that in practice attention can be paid to these frames:
1. Individually;
2. Sequentially;
3. Simultaneously - observing whatever arises.

Option 2 would be similar to 16-step anapanasati.
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby starter » Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:47 am

Greetings!

Here are my thoughts about the 16 steps:

1) the first tetrad appears to mean experiencing the bodily fabrication (breathing) and experiencing the calming/stilling of bodily fabrications;

2) the second tetrad appears to mean experiencing the mental fabrications (bodily and mental feelings and perception of feelings) and experiencing the calming/stilling of mental fabrications (perceptions of feelings together with piti and sukha?);

3) the third tetra appears to mean experiencing the states of the unliberated mind and experiencing the state of the temporarily liberated mind;

4) The 4th tetrad (contemplation of the Dhamma) seems to mean contemplating anicca (Aniccānupassī, ) / dispassion (virāgānupassī) / cessation (nirodhānupassī) / nibbāna (paṭinissaggā = nibbāna). For how to contemplate these, please see Vipassana taught by the Buddha [http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=8200&p=301456#p301456]. It's interesting to note that the methods for virāgasaññā and nirodhasaññā are similar in Girimānandasuttaṁ sutta (The Discourse to Girimānanda). I suppose that the method for paṭinissaggāsaññā is also similar.

Katamā c' Ānanda aniccasaññā? [01]
Now what, Ānanda, is the perception of impermanence?

Idh' Ānanda bhikkhu araññagato vā, rukkhamūlagato vā,
Here, Ānanda, a monk who has gone to the wilderness, or to the root of a tree,

suññāgāragato vā, iti paṭisañcikkhati:
or to an empty place, considers thus:

rūpaṁ aniccaṁ
form is impermanent

vedanā aniccā
feelings are impermanent

saññā aniccā
perceptions are impermanent

saṅkhārā aniccā
(mental) processes (volitions) are impermanent

viññāṇaṁ aniccan-ti.
consciousness is impermanent.

Iti imesu pañcasupādānakkhandhesu aniccānupassī viharati.
Thus in regard to these five constituent groups (of mind and body) that provide fuel for attachment he dwells contemplating impermanence.

Ayaṁ vuccat' Ānanda aniccasaññā.
This, Ānanda, is called the perception of impermanence.


"Katamā c' Ānanda virāgasaññā? [06]
Now what, Ānanda, is the perception of dispassion?

Idh' Ānanda bhikkhu araññagato vā, rukkhamūlagato vā,
Here, Ānanda, a monk who has gone to the wilderness, or to the root of a tree,

suññāgāragato vā, iti paṭisañcikkhati:
or to an empty place, considers thus:

Etaṁ santaṁ, etaṁ paṇītaṁ,
This is peaceful, this is excellent,

yad-idaṁ:
that is to say:

sabbasaṅkhārasamatho,
the tranquilising of all processes (volitions?),

sabbūpadhipaṭinissaggo,
the letting go of all bases for cleaving (the relinquishing of all attachments?),

taṇhakkhayo,
the end of craving,

virāgo,
dispassion,

Nibbānan-ti.
Nibbāna.


Ayaṁ vuccat' Ānanda virāgasaññā.
This, Ānanda, is called the perception of dispassion.



Katamā c' Ānanda nirodhasaññā? [07]
Now what, Ānanda, is the perception of cessation?

Idh' Ānanda bhikkhu araññagato vā, rukkhamūlagato vā,
Here, Ānanda, a monk who has gone to the wilderness, or to the root of a tree,

suññāgāragato vā, iti paṭisañcikkhati:
or to an empty place, considers thus:

Etaṁ santaṁ, etaṁ paṇītaṁ,
This is peaceful, this is excellent,

yad-idaṁ:
that is to say:

sabbasaṅkhārasamatho,
the tranquilising of all processes (volitions?),

sabbūpadhipaṭinissaggo,
the letting go of all bases for cleaving (the letting go of all attachments?),

taṇhakkhayo,
the end of craving,

nirodho,
cessation,

Nibbānan-ti.
Nibbāna.


Ayaṁ vuccat' Ānanda nirodhasaññā.
This, Ānanda, is called the perception of cessation."


[From http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/T ... ram-20.htm, with my notes in parentheses]

Just my two x two cents. Metta to all! :anjali:
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby culaavuso » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:36 am

starter wrote:4) The 4th tetrad (contemplation of the Dhamma) seems to mean experiencing/contemplating anicca/fading away/cessation/relinquishment of every in-breath and out-breath, instead of things other than breath. The contemplation of the five aggregates as anicca/dukkha/anatta and the contemplation of dispassion and letting go doesn't seem to be done during the 16 steps.


Does this suggest that 'focusing on inconstancy' refers to inconstancy apart from the five aggregates? It seems it could also refer to focusing on inconstancy of the five aggregates as it is observed while attending to the breath. In suttas such as SN 22.59, it seems that anicca entails dukkha and anatta. Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation of MN 118 translates the 14th step as 'focusing on dispassion', and step 16 as 'focusing on relinquishment'. Is there a significant difference between relinquishment and letting go?

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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:28 am

starter wrote:Greetings!
Here are my thoughts about the 16 steps:


That sounds good to me, but I'd interested to know how you approach this in practice. If for example you were doing a 40 minute sit, would you do 10 minutes on each tetrad?
Personally I view the instructions as descriptive rather than prescriptive, and take a more organic approach.
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby starter » Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:56 am

Hi thanks for all the input. I've changed my view and updated my post (see above). I'm currently practicing only the 1st tetrad. Metta to all! :anjali:

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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby barcsimalsi » Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:10 am

Each tetrads have their own purpose and my personal view is as such:
The first tetrad is merely instructing one to recognize any stress/discomfort through the theme of the breath and body posture then proceed to reset them until one finds it soothing.

The point of the 2nd tetrad infers increasing one's sensitivity towards the cause of stress by recognizing how pleasant feeling arise and conditioned craving then proceed to calm its chain of mental proliferation.

The 3rd tetrad seems more like a free experimentation of how one will like to train the mind to be satisfied, steady and liberated which leads to the acknowledgement of the diverse manifestation of defilements and their respective antidotes.

The 4th tetrad offers a straight forward contemplation towards dispassion and relinquishment. From my experience, the contemplation of 4th tetrad is hardly effective if the hindrance is too strong therefore i find it easier to go back to other tetrad then come back later.

IMO, it is more appropriate to regulate the tetrads in regards to circumstances and purposes rather than following a fix line and time. By the way, i think the interpretation will differs if one already mastered the jhanas.
Despite not attaining any jhana :tongue: , my messy practice of anapanasati still benefits me a lot.

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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:58 am

culaavuso wrote:Does this suggest that 'focusing on inconstancy' refers to inconstancy apart from the five aggregates? It seems it could also refer to focusing on inconstancy of the five aggregates as it is observed while attending to the breath.


I think it just means noticing the inconstancy of whatever is observed in the practice, including the breath, feelings, mind-states, whatever. Dispassion and relinquishment will arise naturally if this inconstancy is clearly seen, though IMO that requires a good degree of samadhi.
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:48 am

barcsimalsi wrote:IMO, it is more appropriate to regulate the tetrads in regards to circumstances and purposes rather than following a fix line and time.


Could you say a bit more about how that works for you in practice - do you mean doing different tetrads on different days, for example?
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby barcsimalsi » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:29 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
barcsimalsi wrote:IMO, it is more appropriate to regulate the tetrads in regards to circumstances and purposes rather than following a fix line and time.


Could you say a bit more about how that works for you in practice - do you mean doing different tetrads on different days, for example?

Certainly not different days :jumping: .

Let say during meditation there's stray thoughts that lead to anger, usually i tend go straight to the 4th tetrad to contemplate the impermanent nature of mental qualities but if i notice the stress is quite strong and the breath is still unnaturally heavy, i will switch back to the 1st tetrad and just focusing on relaxing the breath. After the sensation of stress is gone, i regulate the practice to the 3rd tetrad and reflect on subjects(such as brahmaviharas) to help gladden the mind.

Frankly, i don't think we need to keep reminding ourselves which tetrad we are doing. Once you're mindful about what occasion what you need to do or undo, the effort is pretty spontaneous.

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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby starter » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:30 pm

Greetings!

Just to share my updated understanding of the 4th tetrad, which is in complete agreement with the contemplation of Dhammas taught in AN 9.36 (& MN 64):

"I tell you, the ending of the assavas depends on the first jhana.' Thus it has been said. In reference to what was it said?..., there is the case where a monk... enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal, accompanied by directed application (of mind to a meditation object) & sustaining (the mind on the meditation object). He regards whatever phenomena there [in the jhana?] that are connected with form, feeling, perception, volitions, & consciousness, as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of the deathlessness:

'This is the peaceful, this is the sublime, that is, the stilling of all volitions, the relinquishing of all attachments, the ending of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbana.'

I summarize the dhamma-vicaya in the 4th tetrad as:

1) Contemplate anicca/dukkha/anatta of the five aggregates involved in the jhana.
2) Contemplate dispassion and disenchantment towards the five aggregates [and the jhana].
3) Contemplate cessation [of attachment to the five aggregates and the jhana, and the cessation of greed/aversion/delusion].
4) Contemplate Nibbana.

Welcome your comments and correction. Thanks and metta!

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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby starter » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:49 pm

Hello barcsimalsi,

Thanks for your input. Your approach to the first three tetrads appears to be more samadhi oriented. And I do think that the first three tetrads lead to jhana, which is needed for effective Dhamma vicaya in the 4th tetrad.

However, I tend to think that the first three tetrads is only for those who have already mastered jhana to develop mindfulness of the body/feeling/mind in the course of reaching jhana. The beginners probably should practice the simple samadhi breath meditaton (the first tetrad or as practiced by Ven. Arittha in SN 54.6
Arittha Sutta) to reach jhana and master jhana first.

I agree that we don't have to practice all the 4 tetrads linearly in a fixed way, but can choose to practice the tetrad(s) which we understand and can practice. I actually practice the 4th tetrad after the 1st; I didn't realize the teachings on Dhamma vicaya in MN 118 and MN 64 are actually the same.

Much metta!

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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:13 am

barcsimalsi wrote:Frankly, i don't think we need to keep reminding ourselves which tetrad we are doing. Once you're mindful about what occasion what you need to do or undo, the effort is pretty spontaneous.


Yes, I agree. For me the challenge is usually developing enough samadhi to see inconstancy clearly.
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:03 pm

starter wrote:However, I tend to think that the first three tetrads is only for those who have already mastered jhana to develop mindfulness of the body/feeling/mind in the course of reaching jhana. The beginners probably should practice the simple samadhi breath meditaton (the first tetrad or as practiced by Ven. Arittha in SN 54.6 Arittha Sutta) to reach jhana and master jhana first.


I don't think jhana is essential for the practice, though some piti and sukha is undoubtedly helpful in developing samadhia. In terms of the 2nd and 3rd tetrads I've found the approach of looking for pleasant feeling to be helpful - there's some discussion here: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=21037&hilit=entering+1st+jhana.
The commentaries don't agree on the requirement for jhana, and and of course defining jhana is quite a tricky subject. ;)
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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby Mkoll » Thu Jul 17, 2014 4:13 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:I don't think jhana is essential for the practice, though some piti and sukha is undoubtedly helpful in developing samadhia. In terms of the 2nd and 3rd tetrads I've found the approach of looking for pleasant feeling to be helpful - there's some discussion here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... +1st+jhana.
The commentaries don't agree on the requirement for jhana, and and of course defining jhana is quite a tricky subject. ;)

It's essential eventually. Right concentration is defined as the four jhanas:

SN 45.8 wrote:"And what, monks, is right concentration? (i) There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. (ii) With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. (iii) With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' (iv) With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This, monks, is called right concentration."
Peace,
James

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Re: Anapanasati Vs. jhana

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:16 am

Mkoll wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:I don't think jhana is essential for the practice, though some piti and sukha is undoubtedly helpful in developing samadhia. In terms of the 2nd and 3rd tetrads I've found the approach of looking for pleasant feeling to be helpful - there's some discussion here: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=21037&hilit=entering+1st+jhana.
The commentaries don't agree on the requirement for jhana, and and of course defining jhana is quite a tricky subject. ;)

It's essential eventually. Right concentration is defined as the four jhanas:


Perhaps, but there isn't a consensus on what jhana looks like in practice. Clearly though the absorption factors of jhana can be present in varying degrees, as can samadhi.
So in terms of anapanasati practice the relevant question IMO is "how much samadhi is required?"
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