I have some new material.
First, I'll let everybody read the suttas for themselves so one can get their own interpretation. Than I'll post my understanding of them to show why I posted those specific three together.
"And what is the diversity in sensuality? Sensuality with regard to forms is one thing, sensuality with regard to sounds is another, sensuality with regard to aromas is another, sensuality with regard to flavors is another, sensuality with regard to tactile sensations is another. This is called the diversity in sensuality.
"And what is the cause by which sensuality comes into play? Contact is the cause by which sensuality comes into play.
AN 6.63 - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#fn-1
"'The six classes of contact should be known.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact. Dependent on the ear & sounds .. Dependent on the nose & aromas ... . Dependent on the tongue & flavors ... Dependent on the body & tactile sensations there arises consciousness at the body. ...
MN 148 - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
The Blessed One said: "Monks, sensuality is inconstant, hollow, vain, deceptive. It is illusory, the babble of fools. Sensuality here & now; sensuality in lives to come; sensual perceptions here & now; sensual perceptions in lives to come: both are Mara's realm, Mara's domain, Mara's bait, Mara's range. They lead to these evil, unskillful mental states: greed, ill will, & contentiousness. They arise for the obstruction of a disciple of the noble ones here in training.
"In that case, the disciple of the noble ones considers this: 'Sensuality here & now; sensuality in lives to come; sensual perceptions here & now; sensual perceptions in lives to come: both are Mara's realm, Mara's domain, Mara's bait, Mara's range. They lead to these evil, unskillful mental states: greed, ill will, & contentiousness. They arise for the obstruction of a disciple of the noble ones here in training. What if I — overpowering the world [of the five senses] and having determined my mind — were to dwell with an awareness that was abundant & enlarged? Having done so, these evil, unskillful mental states — greed, ill will, & contentiousness — would not come into being. With their abandoning, my mind would become unlimited, immeasurable, & well developed.' Practicing & frequently abiding in this way, his mind acquires confidence in that dimension. There being full confidence, he either attains the imperturbable now or else is committed to discernment. With the break-up of the body, after death, it's possible that this leading-on consciousness of his will go to the imperturbable. This is declared to be the first practice conducive to the imperturbable.
MN 106 - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Now there are two ways one can interpret sensuality (kama):
1. 5 senses (activity)
2. 5 sense (activity) desire
(See critical pali dictionary and elsewhere)
I'll try to show why I think kama can't be interpreted as 5 sense desire (which would be kamachando), and why I go with option number 1, kama = 5 senses activity. (in the quoted occasions at the very least)
AN 6.63 says kama comes from contact. Now MN 148, the second quote, shows contact is just an object meeting a sense, it has no preference and it has no quality to it (that would be feeling). So kama, as it results from contact, is a general term for the five sense activity. If kama were sense desires, the Buddha would have said they arise from feelings.
But we can also see this directly in the third quote, MN 106. Here kama is not sensual desire, because that is already a form of greed while the sutta says it leads
to greed. So to take kama as sense desire would mean desire leads to desire, which is true in a way, but probably the Buddha didn't intent to be that vague. Also, what would 'perception of kama' mean if kama was sensual desire? I can imagine how one could find a way to interpret this, but at least it would not be as directly understandable as just perception of 5 sense activity.
So the Buddha "overpowering the world [of the five senses] ", went into a state from which "those unskillful mental states would not come into being", that means a state where there was no kama, no sensuality, no five senses activity. And the standard prescription for the first jhana 'secluded from kama' can be taken to mean literally away from the activity of the 5 senses.
I hope I can give people some understanding of this perspective.
Again, I'm not a pali scholar and am just starting to learn the language. I mainly based the above on my experiences and the available translations of the sutta. If I made some serious errors in translation feel free to correct me, but I think I'm at least quite accurate here for I only did little translation myself. Again I would prefer to keep matters of interpretation (rather than translation) outside of this thread, because we already have many of these threads. So feel free to revive the jhana debate
on this issue. But if you can feel where I'm coming from and think you add to this thread in a new and positive way, please go ahead here.