The Great Jhana Debate

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Freawaru » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:36 pm

Hi Sylvester,

thank you for your help :smile:

It's going to be difficult to start the discussion, even with that concession. We have quite a gap to bridge in terms of finding some common ground on the characteristics of a Jhana.


Yes. When I started to look into Theravada I tried to get exact definitions of terms. It prooved impossible because different translators and teachers would use different translations into english (or german at that) and tried to name different experiences and factors of experience by them.

Take for example "samadhi". In yoga the term is translated as "collection". "Concentration" - the term translated as samadhi in Theravada - is "dharana" in yoga, literally "holding fast". In yoga samadhi/collection denotes a state with different possible objects, different activities, I think "flow" is what we use today:

Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29


That is why I compare it to how a horse is collected. Same name even. Collection, both in yoga (aka samadhi) and horses refers to a specific state the horse or mind can be in. What horse or mind DO during collection can vary widely. But in Theravada samadhi is just translated as concentration. Concentration is an activity, not a state. It is what is done, to hold something fast, not the resulting state of flow.

As Theravada seems to already use samadhi as the deed, rather than the state, thus jhana seemed the appropriate translation of "collection/flow".

To understand flow, collection, one has to experience it. In my experience, flow itself is not lucid. Meaning, there is no sati, no awareness of what happens while it happens. Only afterwards one realises one has been in flow. For becoming lucid during flow other processes need to awaken: sati and uppekha (looking on).

In yoga today the term "samadhi" seeems to always refer to a lucid state, a state with sati, while in Theravada it has several meanings http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#ch1.3) . But - just for the sake of discussion - what if neither was the orignal definition, or the definition during the time of the Buddha? What if the original definition was "collection", aka flow? In this case "samadhi + sati + uppekha might be the definition of a lucid flow-state called jhana. Would this make sense in the suttas?

Personally, I believe that the samadhi from which the iddhis are accessed is probably that state denoted by the Commentaries as "upacara samadhi".


In my experience the iddhis do require a specific state of concentration but not absorption with it nor necessarily sati. There had not always been awareness when they happened but their appearance in general was more often when I would practice jhana. Also, all the traditions, Theravada, Mahayana, Hinduism, etc, agree that practice of a specific state of concentration leads to the arising of iddhis. So there is a connection.

Clearly, the Jhanas are not the only states that are free from the Hindrances, given the many "sudden stream entry" suttas using the standard pericope of the Buddha teaching the 4 Noble Truths when the listener was "free from the Hindrances".


I didn't know that.

Have you considered the Iddhipadasamyutta of the SN as perhaps containing the answer to your query? It seems to me that all the 4 iddhipada-s are based on certain samadhi-s with specific qualities.


Yes, but it seems just to describe that it is so, not the mechanism. Sort of "if the monk did that, this will happen." Without further information of the "that" in the "did that" - and there are after all several interpretations - it is not much of a help.

All I can be sure of is that if I practice the way I used to there is an increase of experiencing the iddhis. And not always due to my intent or even lucidity. This is why I search for a way to develop sati during their appearance.


I am of the view that the iddhipadas samadhi are not Jhana, especially when you consider the 1st and 4th iddhipada. The 1st samadhi contains "volitional formations of striving" (padhānasaṅkhārasamannāgataṃ), whereas DN 34 and the Samadhi Sutta (in AN 5s) specifically mention that the Jhanas are "na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagatoti" (without being controlled by volition).



There is control during jhana, has to be, just as there is control during samadhi. But the authority that keeps control can differ. Using the horse-rider analogy, during samadhi (my speculative defintion above aka flow) the horse is in control, but during jhana it is the rider (a transcendental function based on sati). Samadhi is like a horse collecting itself (for fight or impressing another horse). Samadhi with sati is like a rider sitting on a horse that collects itself for it's own reasons - the rider has no control. Jhana is like a collected horse controled by the rider due to the "throughness" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Throughness). The question is: what exactly is "throughness" in terms of Dhamma? Or to put it differently: what is the transcendental authority (in terms of a function) in control of the state of jhana when it is not volition?

This is further reinforced by the 4th iddhipada which is based on investigation (vimaṃsa). That is the function of the Enlightenment Factor of Dhammavicaya; see this post - viewtopic.php?f=13&t=7360&p=121106&hilit=vicarati#p121106

These are not states that can occur in a Jhana.


Let me get this straight: you think that when Gautama moved through the levels of jhana he "sidesteped" fourth jhana and entered another samadhi to access the "recall all my previous lives iddhi"?

Sorry if I cannot be of much help.


You provided me with a lot of new possibilites and links to search for a many-years quest. Thank you for that :smile:
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby daverupa » Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:21 pm

Freawaru wrote: What if the original definition was "collection", aka flow? In this case "samadhi + sati + uppekha might be the definition of a lucid flow-state called jhana. Would this make sense in the suttas?


Nope. Jhanas aren't "flow states" because flow states can involve focus on sensual pleasure. Jhana is never like that.
    "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: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:10 am

Freawaru wrote:In my experience the iddhis do require a specific state of concentration but not absorption with it nor necessarily sati. There had not always been awareness when they happened but their appearance in general was more often when I would practice jhana. Also, all the traditions, Theravada, Mahayana, Hinduism, etc, agree that practice of a specific state of concentration leads to the arising of iddhis. So there is a connection.


Hi Freawaru

While I'm defnitely not au fait with what each of these other traditions say about the relationship between samadhi and the iddhis, DN 1 gives an interesting window into the Early Buddhist perspective of non-Buddhist iddhi-s.

The model coincides to some degree with the iddhipada-s, but looks different at the same time. Taking Walshe's translation -

Here, monks, a certain ascetic or Brahmin has by means of effort, exertion, application, earnestness and right attention attained to such a state of mental concentration that he thereby recalls past existences - one birth, two births ...

Idha, bhikkhave, ekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā ātappamanvāya padhānamanvāya anuyogamanvāya appamādamanvāya sammāmanasikāramanvāya tathārūpaṃ cetosamādhiṃ phusati, yathāsamāhite citte ( ) anekavihitaṃ pubbenivāsaṃ anussarati. Seyyathidaṃ— ekampi jātiṃ dvepi jātiyo ...


It's highly unlikely, IMHO, that cetosamādhi is the text refers to the Jhanas. In the subsequent passages on wrong views No. 59 to 62, the 4 Jhana-s are mentioned explicitly by name. It just looks odd that the Jhana-s are mentioned there, but not in relation to the earlier wrong views.



Let me get this straight: you think that when Gautama moved through the levels of jhana he "sidesteped" fourth jhana and entered another samadhi to access the "recall all my previous lives iddhi"?


I don't think one can decide to move from one Jhana to the next, not when one is abiding in a Jhana. I think suttas that best exemplifies how one moves from one Jhana to another is probably the Pabbateyya Gavi Sutta, AN 9.35. The decision to move from 1st Jhana to 2nd Jhana appears to be made outside of Jhana, which probably explains the Buddha's deathbed attainments - He leaves an attainment before moving on to the next.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Freawaru » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:26 am

H Daverupa,

daverupa wrote:
Freawaru wrote: What if the original definition was "collection", aka flow? In this case "samadhi + sati + uppekha might be the definition of a lucid flow-state called jhana. Would this make sense in the suttas?


Nope. Jhanas aren't "flow states" because flow states can involve focus on sensual pleasure. Jhana is never like that.


As far as I know, fourth jhana is defined by the presence of the perfected sati and uppekha. I think we all agree on what sati is, and there is no reason to assume that it can not be there during a state of Flow. So what about uppekha? What is, in you definition, uppekha, and why can't it be there during Flow?
Last edited by Freawaru on Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Freawaru » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:39 am

Hi Sylvester

Sylvester wrote:While I'm defnitely not au fait with what each of these other traditions say about the relationship between samadhi and the iddhis, DN 1 gives an interesting window into the Early Buddhist perspective of non-Buddhist iddhi-s.

The model coincides to some degree with the iddhipada-s, but looks different at the same time. Taking Walshe's translation -

Here, monks, a certain ascetic or Brahmin has by means of effort, exertion, application, earnestness and right attention attained to such a state of mental concentration that he thereby recalls past existences - one birth, two births ...

Idha, bhikkhave, ekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā ātappamanvāya padhānamanvāya anuyogamanvāya appamādamanvāya sammāmanasikāramanvāya tathārūpaṃ cetosamādhiṃ phusati, yathāsamāhite citte ( ) anekavihitaṃ pubbenivāsaṃ anussarati. Seyyathidaṃ— ekampi jātiṃ dvepi jātiyo ...


It's highly unlikely, IMHO, that cetosamādhi is the text refers to the Jhanas. In the subsequent passages on wrong views No. 59 to 62, the 4 Jhana-s are mentioned explicitly by name. It just looks odd that the Jhana-s are mentioned there, but not in relation to the earlier wrong views.


But samadhi alone is not jhana. Samadhi might not include sati and uppekha. The iddhi of recalling one's past lives does not require jhana, even some people from New Age can do that, but they don't access it with the presence of sati and uppekha.


I don't think one can decide to move from one Jhana to the next, not when one is abiding in a Jhana. I think suttas that best exemplifies how one moves from one Jhana to another is probably the Pabbateyya Gavi Sutta, AN 9.35. The decision to move from 1st Jhana to 2nd Jhana appears to be made outside of Jhana, which probably explains the Buddha's deathbed attainments - He leaves an attainment before moving on to the next.


It is possible to enter fourth jhana directly, without going through the other three first (in fact Buddhaghosa describes this practice in the Visuddhimagga), so I think it possible the Buddha just referred to this practice in the Pabbateyya Gavi Sutta. During jhana there is sati and uppekha, what more does one need to leave the state at will or enter another from here?
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby daverupa » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:27 am

Freawaru wrote:H Daverupa,

daverupa wrote:
Freawaru wrote: What if the original definition was "collection", aka flow? In this case "samadhi + sati + uppekha might be the definition of a lucid flow-state called jhana. Would this make sense in the suttas?


Nope. Jhanas aren't "flow states" because flow states can involve focus on sensual pleasure. Jhana is never like that.


As far as I know, fourth jhana is defined by the presence of the perfected sati and uppekha. I think we all agree on what sati is, and there is no reason to assume that it can not be there during a state of Flow. So what about uppekha? What is, in you definition, uppekha, and why can't it be there during Flow?


You don't there from here; flow states aren't secluded from sensuality or secluded from unwholesome states, whereas jhana necessarily is so secluded. Also, one can practice sati and uppekha without being in jhana, so it is unsurprising they can be present in Flow states. In fact, flow states probably have a strong correlation to sampajañña, but they are definitely not jhana.
    "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: Tha jhana debate

Postby Alex123 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:20 pm

Hello Sylverster,

Please explain to me what kind of rupa is transcended between 4th Jhana to reach base of infinite space?

I have provided sutta quotes to justify straitforward reading of the suttas and what they mean by rūpa.


Sylvester: "DN 9 specifically says that in 1st Jhana, kāmasaññā ceases"

And rūpasaññā ceases after 4th Jhāna, the Base of infinite space.

So there is the difference between "kāma" and "rūpa".

kāma means = pleasure; lust; enjoyment; an object of sexual enjoyment.
Of course one has to secluded from these things for optimal meditation. Even an Arahant while 5 senses are functional, no longer has kāma.
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:42 pm

I think Freewaru is advocating jhana but gives it a different interpretation from that of the suttas. Going from one jhana to the other is no 'flow', more like a 'bump'. These are different states of consciousness, much like going from a fluid medium (say, the sea) into air (shooting out from the water). There is that much of a difference between jhana.

Also it is possible to have mastery over jhana, so that it is possible to be in control over jhana (unlike the 'cow who gets lost in the mountains, going from one higher pasture to the next, being enticed').
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:54 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello Sylverster,

Please explain to me what kind of rupa is transcended between 4th Jhana to reach base of infinite space?

I have provided sutta quotes to justify straitforward reading of the suttas and what they mean by rūpa.


Sylvester: "DN 9 specifically says that in 1st Jhana, kāmasaññā ceases"

And rūpasaññā ceases after 4th Jhāna, the Base of infinite space.

So there is the difference between "kāma" and "rūpa".

kāma means = pleasure; lust; enjoyment; an object of sexual enjoyment.
Of course one has to secluded from these things for optimal meditation. Even an Arahant while 5 senses are functional, no longer has kāma.


I seriously doubt if we are going to be able to gap this, if you keep insisting on discussing "kāma" when the Jhana pericope addresses "kāmā" instead. I don't see why you keep confusing the 2...

And going by your example of the Arahant bereft of kāma, does this mean that the Arahant satisfies the 2 seclusion formula 24/7 and thereby abides constantly in pitisukha born of seclusion?

No, I do not agree that one has to be secluded from pleasure for optimal meditation. The Jhana-s are described to be sambodhi sukha, besides the usual pitisukha predicate.

As for kāma being an "object of sexual enjoyment", where is that to be found in the 4 Nikayas pls?

As for "rupa", how about the plain old canonical definition of the 4 dhatus and the rupa derived therefrom? Is there anything inherent in this definition that entails phassa with sights, smells, sounds, tastes and tactility? You might like to consider sutta #5 in the Brahma Samyutta, where the Buddha and His disciples maintained some sort of rupa based on the fire dhatu when visiting an unnamed Brahma in 'his' world. Apparently, the Buddha's "fire element" rupa was perceptible to the Brahma as a radiance; cakkhuvinneya or manovinneya, it does not say.
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby Freawaru » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:20 pm

Hi Matheesha,

rowyourboat wrote:I think Freewaru is advocating jhana but gives it a different interpretation from that of the suttas. Going from one jhana to the other is no 'flow', more like a 'bump'. These are different states of consciousness, much like going from a fluid medium (say, the sea) into air (shooting out from the water). There is that much of a difference between jhana.


No, I do agree with you. To enter jhana or to change from one to another is more like a "bump". It is as if something clicks into place or locks home. Warp one, two, three,...

I just used the term "flow" because it has a psychological definition.

Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.[1]

According to Csíkszentmihályi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task[2] although flow is also described (below) as a deep focus on nothing but the activity - not even oneself or one's emotions.

Colloquial terms for this or similar mental states include: to be on the ball, in the moment, present, in the zone, wired in, in the groove, or keeping your head in the game.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29


I have also heard "being in the tunnel" for example.

Experience wise there is no impression of anything flowing in the infinite space jhana.

However, it seems to me that "flow" does not always include sati and uppekha. One is not always aware that one is in flow while it happens.

Csíkszentmihályi identifies the following ten factors as accompanying an experience of flow [3][4]

1. Clear goals (expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable and align appropriately with one's skill set and abilities). Moreover, the challenge level and skill level should both be high.[5]
2. Concentrating, a high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention (a person engaged in the activity will have the opportunity to focus and to delve deeply into it).
3. A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness, the merging of action and awareness.
4. Distorted sense of time, one's subjective experience of time is altered.
5. Direct and immediate feedback (successes and failures in the course of the activity are apparent, so that behavior can be adjusted as needed).
6. Balance between ability level and challenge (the activity is neither too easy nor too difficult).
7. A sense of personal control over the situation or activity.
8. The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action.
9. A lack of awareness of bodily needs (to the extent that one can reach a point of great hunger or fatigue without realizing it)
10. Absorption into the activity, narrowing of the focus of awareness down to the activity itself, action awareness merging.

Not all are needed for flow to be experienced.


There are three conditions that are necessary to achieve the flow state:

1. One must be involved in an activity with a clear set of goals. This adds direction and structure to the task.[9]
2. One must have a good balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and his or her own perceived skills. One must have confidence that he or she is capable to do the task at hand.[9]
3. The task at hand must have clear and immediate feedback. This helps the person negotiate any changing demands and allows him or her to adjust his or her performance to maintain the flow state.[9]


As you can see this basically describes how to enter jhana. Concentration on a task - such as to focus on one's nostrils. One has to be sure one can keep this focus before it will happen. The third point will induce sati if stability of focus on a simple object (such as the nostrils) is the goal.

I think it is useful to have a psychological definition related to jhana as jhana is not clearly defined in the suttas and thus used differently by different teachers. The point is that flow has most of the factors jhana is recommended for. Except sometimes sati and uppekha. Sati seems sometimes to be included into the definition, but I have not yet read anything remotely similar to uppekha.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Freawaru » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:25 pm

Hi Daverupa,

daverupa wrote:You don't there from here; flow states aren't secluded from sensuality or secluded from unwholesome states,


But they are!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29

Also, one can practice sati and uppekha without being in jhana,


How does on practice uppekha without jhana?

In fact, flow states probably have a strong correlation to sampajañña, but they are definitely not jhana.


I do not understand this. Could you please give your definition of sampajanna and why you think it correlates to flow?
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Alex123 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:53 pm

Sylvester wrote:As for "rupa", how about the plain old canonical definition of the 4 dhatus and the rupa derived therefrom? Is there anything inherent in this definition that entails phassa with sights, smells, sounds, tastes and tactility? You might like to consider sutta #5 in the Brahma Samyutta, where the Buddha and His disciples maintained some sort of rupa based on the fire dhatu when visiting an unnamed Brahma in 'his' world. Apparently, the Buddha's "fire element" rupa was perceptible to the Brahma as a radiance; cakkhuvinneya or manovinneya, it does not say.


(underline is mine)

"rupa based on the fire dhatu" and "radiance" are visible , they have shape and/or color. So this quote again reinforces that Rūpa is visible. Radiance as rūpa, can only be seen.


In many suttas it lists six types of sañña: Rūpasaññā, Saddasaññā, Gandhasaññā, Rasasaññā, Phoṭṭhabbasaññā, Dhammasaññā.

Rūpa has these major contexts in the suttas:
1) As material form derived from the four great elements ex: rūpa in nāmarūpa

Feeling, perception, volition, contact and attention — these are called mentality. The four great elements and the material form derived from the four great elements — these are called materiality


"And why do you call it 'form'?(rūpanti)[1] Because it is afflicted,[2] thus it is called 'form.' Afflicted with what? With cold & heat & hunger & thirst, with the touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, & reptiles. Because it is afflicted, it is called form.


If rūpa is some sort of mental only object with no physical base that can be seen, then how can it ever experience "touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, & reptiles." It is clearly a 3-dimensional object that can be seen.


2) As visual object for the cakkhu-āyatana

Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. Rūpa is a visual object, not mental which is dhamma
Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṃ

Purely mental object is dhamma, not Rūpa.
Dependent on the intellect & ideas there arises consciousness at the intellect.
Manañca paṭicca dhamme ca uppajjati manoviññāṇaṃ


3) As a plane of existence, Rūpa-Loka
The Brahmas which live there can see and hear. So there IS visual content in all Rūpa-Loka accessible to the Aryans.




Ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ samāpannassa rūpasaññā niruddhā hoti. Also dozens of suttas state that one overcomes rūpasaññānaṃ, paṭighasaññānaṃ, and nānattasaññānaṃ when one enters Base of Infinite Space (Ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ). So perception of visual form (rūpasaññā) ceases ONLY in aruppa planes, not in Jhāna.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... html#fnt-1
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby daverupa » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:11 pm

Freawaru wrote:Hi Daverupa,

daverupa wrote:You don't there from here; flow states aren't secluded from sensuality or secluded from unwholesome states,


But they are!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29


So playing video games and competitive sports and making paintings, all of which are known flow-inducing candidates - you'd say jhana could be practiced thusly? That link offers a method for using internet surfing to enter a flow state - might this replace anapanasati, do you think?

:roll:

Freawaru wrote:How does on practice uppekha without jhana?


It's one of the 40 meditation topics; metta, karuna, & mudita form the other three of the four immeasurables, and just as mettabhavana, so too upekkhabhavana.

Freawaru wrote:Could you please give your definition of sampajanna and why you think it correlates to flow?


It's awareness, clear comprehension - what is sometimes incorrectly referred to as "mindfulness" in pulp self-help. It seems maybe flow is a state too focused to really qualify as sampajanna, but since the flow state focus is quixotic and/or sensual, I guess "flow state" doesn't really correlate perfectly with any Pali term. So it isn't really pertinent to practice at all, in the end.
    "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: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:18 pm

This 'flow' state sounds like the one below:
"It wasn't the case, brahman, that the Blessed One praised mental absorption of every sort, nor did he criticize mental absorption of every sort. And what sort of mental absorption did he not praise? There is the case where a certain person dwells with his awareness overcome by sensual passion, seized with sensual passion. He does not discern the escape, as it actually is present, from sensual passion once it has arisen. Making that sensual passion the focal point, he absorbs himself with it, besorbs, resorbs, & supersorbs himself with it.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... tml#concen

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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby Freawaru » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:26 am

Hi Matheesha,

rowyourboat wrote:This 'flow' state sounds like the one below:
"It wasn't the case, brahman, that the Blessed One praised mental absorption of every sort, nor did he criticize mental absorption of every sort. And what sort of mental absorption did he not praise? There is the case where a certain person dwells with his awareness overcome by sensual passion, seized with sensual passion. He does not discern the escape, as it actually is present, from sensual passion once it has arisen. Making that sensual passion the focal point, he absorbs himself with it, besorbs, resorbs, & supersorbs himself with it.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... tml#concen

with metta

Matheesha


Exactly! :smile:


"...dwells with his awareness overcome by sensual passion, seized with sensual passion" indicates a lack of sati and surely no upekkha. I stick to it: jhana is "flow + sati + upekkha".

What do you think is meant by "besorbs, resorbs, & supersorbs" as contrasted to absorb?
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Freawaru » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:41 am

Hi Daverupa,

daverupa wrote:So playing video games and competitive sports and making paintings, all of which are known flow-inducing candidates - you'd say jhana could be practiced thusly?


It could be. But it is probably more difficult than anapanasati. Remember, by definition the specific object of focus is irrelevant to the first four jhanas.

That link offers a method for using internet surfing to enter a flow state - might this replace anapanasati, do you think?


I think the ability to enter flow is a pre-condition for jhana. Or to put it differently: a person who can enter flow can also enter jhana.

To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28ps ... on_the_Web


Thus the practice of flow is useful. But for jhana one has to switch the object of focus and make it something that will require sati. It is easy to become absorbed into internet surfing, no sati is required. But to link one's focus to the breath is more difficult - it requires the practitioner to redirect the mind to it again and again, thus sati (the ability to see the mind processes) has to be developed.

It's one of the 40 meditation topics; metta, karuna, & mudita form the other three of the four immeasurables, and just as mettabhavana, so too upekkhabhavana.


As far as I know upekkhabhavana is an abode. Meaning, one cannot practice it - one has to live it.

Freawaru wrote:Could you please give your definition of sampajanna and why you think it correlates to flow?


It's awareness, clear comprehension - what is sometimes incorrectly referred to as "mindfulness" in pulp self-help. It seems maybe flow is a state too focused to really qualify as sampajanna, but since the flow state focus is quixotic and/or sensual, I guess "flow state" doesn't really correlate perfectly with any Pali term. So it isn't really pertinent to practice at all, in the end.


I still don't understand the difference between sati and sampajanna. Upekkha however is clear. While in jhana one's awareness is separated from the mind activities and observes them. The literal meaning "looking on" is accurate. It feels like one sits back and watches the show :popcorn:

As you can see this "looking on" is not mentioned in relation to flow. Both sati and upekkha are, IMO, transcendental processes and this is the reason they are "praised by the Buddha".
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:40 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Sylvester wrote:As for "rupa", how about the plain old canonical definition of the 4 dhatus and the rupa derived therefrom? Is there anything inherent in this definition that entails phassa with sights, smells, sounds, tastes and tactility? You might like to consider sutta #5 in the Brahma Samyutta, where the Buddha and His disciples maintained some sort of rupa based on the fire dhatu when visiting an unnamed Brahma in 'his' world. Apparently, the Buddha's "fire element" rupa was perceptible to the Brahma as a radiance; cakkhuvinneya or manovinneya, it does not say.


(underline is mine)

"rupa based on the fire dhatu" and "radiance" are visible , they have shape and/or color. So this quote again reinforces that Rūpa is visible. Radiance as rūpa, can only be seen.


Isn't this another case of petitio principii? You're presuming again the very thing that you're trying to prove, ie that a radiant thing's visibility is due to it being a cakkhuvinneya rupa. Just because "passati" was used in the text to describe the Brahma's seeing, says nothing, since passati is also used to denote mental cognition. Bear in mind that I said "some sort of rupa", as the text itself does not use the word rupa.

Rūpa has these major contexts in the suttas:
1) As material form derived from the four great elements ex: rūpa in nāmarūpa

Feeling, perception, volition, contact and attention — these are called mentality. The four great elements and the material form derived from the four great elements — these are called materiality


"And why do you call it 'form'?(rūpanti)[1] Because it is afflicted,[2] thus it is called 'form.' Afflicted with what? With cold & heat & hunger & thirst, with the touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, & reptiles. Because it is afflicted, it is called form.


If rūpa is some sort of mental only object with no physical base that can be seen, then how can it ever experience "touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, & reptiles." It is clearly a 3-dimensional object that can be seen.


We are still discussing, I hope, rūpasañña ? You're still assuming that this term means "perception of form", while MN 102 suggests another meaning.

Let's do a little experiment to bring out the possibilities in rūpasañña, based on the previous state transcended, ie kāmasañña. Is kāmasañña only present when one contacts a kāma? Doesn't the idea of a kāma itself qualify as a dhamma that can give rise to kāmasañña on contact?

Equally, why must rūpa be present in order for rūpasañña to be present? As you said -

Purely mental object is dhamma, not Rūpa.
Dependent on the intellect & ideas there arises consciousness at the intellect.


Is not a thought of rūpa that is cognised also going to give rise to "perception of form"?


3) As a plane of existence, Rūpa-Loka
The Brahmas which live there can see and hear. So there IS visual content in all Rūpa-Loka accessible to the Aryans.


Sutta citation pls.


Ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ samāpannassa rūpasaññā niruddhā hoti. Also dozens of suttas state that one overcomes rūpasaññānaṃ, paṭighasaññānaṃ, and nānattasaññānaṃ when one enters Base of Infinite Space (Ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ).


I would suggest that if you were sincere about the discussion, don't just point out that there are these standard pericopes on the Arupa transition formula and rūpasaññānaṃ, paṭighasaññānaṃ, and nānattasaññānaṃ. Let's discuss what the suttas suggest the 3 terms rūpa, paṭigha and nānattasaññā mean, and a good start would be DN 15 which furnishes the context for these 3 terms, especially since DN 15 has sections devoted to the stations of consciousness and the attainments.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby daverupa » Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:25 pm

Freawaru wrote:Remember, by definition the specific object of focus is irrelevant to the first four jhanas.


Why is it, then, that of the 40 traditional meditations, not all are capable of giving rise to jhana? It is for the reason that the specific object of focus matters greatly.

Freawaru wrote:I think the ability to enter flow is a pre-condition for jhana. Or to put it differently: a person who can enter flow can also enter jhana.


Anyone can enter jhana, but it takes the whole of the Noble Eightfold Path to accomplish, including sammasati - not mere 'flow'.

Freawaru wrote:
To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28ps ... on_the_Web


Thus the practice of flow is useful.


Barred from flow, it says - not "flow can prevent and reduce depression". Useful? Not so much. Anapanasati is wholly superior.

Freawaru wrote:As far as I know upekkhabhavana is an abode. Meaning, one cannot practice it - one has to live it.


So, by this reasoning, mettabhavana is also not practicable - which is patently false.

Freawaru wrote:I still don't understand the difference between sati and sampajanna.


"Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu should live mindful and clearly comprehending. This is our instruction to you. And how is a bhikkhu mindful? Herein, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu lives practicing body-contemplation on the body feeling... feeling-contemplation on feelings... mind-contemplation on mind... mind-object-contemplation on the objects of mind, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome covetousness and grief concerning the world. In this manner, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu is mindful.

"And how is a bhikkhu clearly comprehending? Herein, bhikkhus, feelings are known to a bhikkhu as they arise, known as they stay, known as they come to an end. Thoughts are known as they arise, known as they stay, known as they come to an end. Perceptions are known as they arise, known as they stay, known as they come to an end. In this manner, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu is clearly comprehending.

"A bhikkhu should live mindful and clearly comprehending. This is our instruction to you."

— SN 47.35
    "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: Tha jhana debate

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:46 pm

Sylvester wrote:Isn't this another case of petitio principii? You're presuming again the very thing that you're trying to prove, ie that a radiant thing's visibility is due to it being a cakkhuvinneya rupa.


Are you suggesting that one can be aware of thing's radiance through the ears? No, you are aware of radiance through the eyes.

Sylvester wrote: Just because "passati" was used in the text to describe the Brahma's seeing, says nothing, since passati is also used to denote mental cognition.


Sylvester wrote:Is not a thought of rūpa that is cognised also going to give rise to "perception of form"?


ANY seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching is cognized by the mind. But the mind operates through corresponding sense door for corresponding cognition.

For seeing, the mind requires organ of sight. For hearing, the mind requires organ of hearing.



Alex wrote:Rūpa has these major contexts in the suttas:
1) As material form derived from the four great elements ex: rūpa in nāmarūpa

Feeling, perception, volition, contact and attention — these are called mentality. The four great elements and the material form derived from the four great elements — these are called materiality


"And why do you call it 'form'?(rūpanti)[1] Because it is afflicted,[2] thus it is called 'form.' Afflicted with what? With cold & heat & hunger & thirst, with the touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, & reptiles. Because it is afflicted, it is called form.


If rūpa is some sort of mental only object with no physical base that can be seen, then how can it ever experience "touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, & reptiles." It is clearly a 3-dimensional object that can be seen.


Sylvester wrote:We are still discussing, I hope, rūpasañña ? You're still assuming that this term means "perception of form", while MN 102 suggests another meaning.


Yes, rūpasañña. I'll take those straitforward and context fitting examples over to semantic nitpicking and hairsplitting any day.

If the Buddha wanted to say that one transcends purely mental object, the clearest term to use would be dhammasañña.
Manañca paṭicca dhamme ca uppajjati manoviññāṇaṃ

Because rūpa is an object of the eye, Cakkhu not Mano.
Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṃ


Sylvester wrote:Let's do a little experiment to bring out the possibilities in rūpasañña, based on the previous state transcended, ie kāmasañña. Is kāmasañña only present when one contacts a kāma? Doesn't the idea of a kāma itself qualify as a dhamma that can give rise to kāmasañña on contact?


kāmasañña is purely mental construction not inherent in objects themselves. Not so with rūpasañña, saddasañña, gandhasañña, rasasañña, phoṭṭhabbasañña, that are based on 5 sense object.

the idea of a kāma is dhammasañña.

Sylvester wrote:Equally, why must rūpa be present in order for rūpasañña to be present? As you said -


Because it is an object of the eye, Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṃ.

Otherwise it would be called dhamma if it was purely mental without physical referent, Manañca paṭicca dhamme ca uppajjati manoviññāṇaṃ.


With best wishes,

Alex
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:56 pm

"It wasn't the case, brahman, that the Blessed One praised mental absorption of every sort, nor did he criticize mental absorption of every sort. And what sort of mental absorption did he not praise?

Exactly! :smile:


"...dwells with his awareness overcome by sensual passion, seized with sensual passion" indicates a lack of sati and surely no upekkha. I stick to it: jhana is "flow + sati + upekkha".

What do you think is meant by "besorbs, resorbs, & supersorbs" as contrasted to absorb?


"besorbs, resorbs, & supersorbs" = flow, having not got rid of objects of sensuality, focused only on objects of sensuality ie- what you like to be absorbed into/focus on. This is WRONG concentration. I would have thought this was clear by now. But clearly you don't really care for the words of the Buddha - you rather follow the words of those outside the dispensation.

"These five downward-leading qualities tend to the confusion and disappearance of the true Dhamma. Which five? There is the case where the monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers live without respect, without deference, for the Teacher. They live without respect, without deference, for the Dhamma... for the Sangha... for the Training... for concentration. These are the five downward-leading qualities that tend to the confusion and disappearance of the true Dhamma.

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

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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