The Great Jhana Debate

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:11 am

Sylvester wrote:I'm not suggesting that "vedanā born of manosamphassa includes vedanā born of kāyasamphassa". That would be far too heretical, even for me. What I've been suggesting is very simply that "kayika vedana" includes vedanā born of manosamphassa.

Hi Sylvester,

You have yet to provide a source which states that kāyika vedanā is born of manosamphassa.

Sylvester wrote:In fact, I would suggest that kāyosamphassa should be read as contact at any of the 6 ayatanas (giving rise to the 1st dart), while manosamphassa is the subsequent contact at mind only (giving rise to the 2nd dart). The Salla Sutta makes the same distinction between kayika and cetasika vedana

There is nothing in the Salla Sutta to indicate that the context of bodily feeling under discussion extends beyond feelings associated with the physical body. The context the discourse is to highlight that when an instructed noble disciple experiences a painful physical feeling, they don’t experience any mental distress because of that. Aversion doesn’t arise towards it. They remain detached. The point is that although physical pain and sickness are unavoidable, there need not be any mental suffering because of it.

MN 141 Saccavibhaṅga Sutta:

    And what is sorrow? Whatever sorrow, sorrowing, sadness, inward sorrow, inward sadness of anyone suffering from misfortune, touched by a painful thing, that is called sorrow.

    And what is lamentation? Whatever crying, grieving, lamenting, weeping, wailing, lamentation of anyone suffering from misfortune, touched by a painful thing, that is called lamentation.

    And what is pain? Whatever is experienced as bodily pain, bodily discomfort, pain or discomfort born of bodily contact, that is called pain.

    And what is distress? Whatever is experienced as mental pain, mental discomfort, pain or discomfort born of mental contact, that is called distress.

    And what is despair? Whatever despair, despondency, desperation of anyone suffering from misfortune, touched by a painful thing, that is called despair.

    Katamo cāvuso, soko? Yo kho, āvuso, aññataraññatarena byasanena samannāgatassa aññataraññatarena dukkhadhammena phuṭṭhassa soko socanā socitattaṃ antosoko antoparisoko, ayaṃ vuccatāvuso – ‘soko’.

    Katamo cāvuso, paridevo? Yo kho, āvuso, aññataraññatarena byasanena samannāgatassa aññataraññatarena dukkhadhammena phuṭṭhassa ādevo paridevo ādevanā paridevanā ādevitattaṃ paridevitattaṃ, ayaṃ vuccatāvuso – ‘paridevo’.

    Katamañcāvuso, dukkhaṃ? Yaṃ kho, āvuso, kāyikaṃ dukkhaṃ kāyikaṃ asātaṃ kāyasamphassajaṃ dukkhaṃ asātaṃ vedayitaṃ, idaṃ vuccatāvuso – ‘dukkhaṃ’.

    Katamañcāvuso, domanassaṃ? Yaṃ kho, āvuso, cetasikaṃ dukkhaṃ cetasikaṃ asātaṃ manosamphassajaṃ dukkhaṃ asātaṃ vedayitaṃ, idaṃ vuccatāvuso – ‘domanassaṃ’.

    Katamo cāvuso, upāyāso? Yo kho, āvuso, aññataraññatarena byasanena samannāgatassa aññataraññatarena dukkhadhammena phuṭṭhassa āyāso upāyāso āyāsitattaṃ upāyāsitattaṃ, ayaṃ vuccatāvuso – ‘upāyāso’.

Sylvester wrote:the Salayatanavibangha Sutta gives ample examples of mental kayika feelings that lead to cetasika feelings (which cetasika vedana, by definition, have to be born of manosamphassa only.)

MN 137 Saḷāyatanavibhaṅga Sutta simply doesn’t support you premise either. The entire discourse deals with somanassa, domanassa, and upekkhā. It nowhere states anything about “mental kāyika feelings.”

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:53 am

Dear Geoff

Well, I suppose if you are going to insist on seeing a sutta which explicitly says that kayika vedana can be born of manosamphassa, instead of allowing for the inference as such to be drawn from the 5 suttas I've cited, then we obviously have very different ideas of what constitutes neyyattha and nītattha suttas. I think the rules of the game have been changed just by so much...

I would be careful to read the word "physical" into the Salla Sutta, as that would be the same transgression committed by another translator. Kayika does not translate into "rupa".

As to MN 141, here's my take on it -

And what is sorrow? Whatever sorrow, sorrowing, sadness, inward sorrow, inward sadness of anyone suffering from misfortune, touched by a painful thing, that is called sorrow. The 2nd Dart

And what is lamentation? Whatever crying, grieving, lamenting, weeping, wailing, lamentation of anyone suffering from misfortune, touched by a painful thing, that is called lamentation. The 2nd Dart

And what is pain? Whatever is experienced as bodily pain, bodily discomfort, pain or discomfort born of bodily contact, that is called pain. The 1st Dart

And what is distress? Whatever is experienced as mental pain, mental discomfort, pain or discomfort born of mental contact, that is called distress. The 2nd Dart

And what is despair? Whatever despair, despondency, desperation of anyone suffering from misfortune, touched by a painful thing, that is called despair. The 2nd Dart

I would find it odd if in the Buddha's above enumeration of the constituents of Dukkha, He would not have thought it fitting to include at least one example of the first Dart.

As to where I found the mental kayika feelings in MN 137, here it is -

"And what are the six kinds of household joy? The joy that arises when one regards as an acquisition the acquisition of forms cognizable by the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, connected with worldly baits — or when one recalls the previous acquisition of such forms after they have passed, ceased, & changed: That is called household joy. (Similarly with sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, & ideas.)

Acquisition of forms is obviously cognisable by the eye, giving rise to eye-contact that is the basis of the ensuing kayika vedana.
Recollection of previous acquisition is obviously cognisable by the mind, giving rise to mind-contact that is the basis for the ensuing kayika vedana.
The ensuing joy that arises from the pleasant feelings born at the first contact at either the eye or on recollection is obviously the cetasika vedana. Ditto for the distress analysis.

The vedana simpliciter (pleasant/painful/neutral) that ensues from mind-contact based on recollection of previous acquisition obviously cannot be cetasika vedana. Only cetasika vedanas can trigger the anusayas. Worse, cetasika vedanas WILL invariably trigger the anusayas (except in 3 cases outlined in MN 44). If you insist the 1st vedana that ensues from mind-contact based on recollection of previous acquisition to be cetasika vedana, it directly violates the Salla Sutta's injunction against Ariyans experiencing cetasika vedana (based on the kamagunas) or the anusayas. By your argument, any form of vedana born of manosamphassa must be cetasika vedana would imply that arahants can be touched by a cetasika vedana and will inexorably generate the corresponding anusayas. This goes completely against everything that I've ever assumed to be the case with arahants.

Do you now see why it is imperative that a more nuanced contextual reading of kayika needs to be employed to draw out the inferences of what kayika means in the context of vedana?

With metta
Sylvester
 
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:49 am

Sylvester wrote:Well, I suppose if you are going to insist on seeing a sutta which explicitly says that kayika vedana can be born of manosamphassa, instead of allowing for the inference as such to be drawn from the 5 suttas I've cited, then we obviously have very different ideas of what constitutes neyyattha and nītattha suttas.

Hi Sylvester,

The problem is that the sutta-s you've cited don't sustain your premise and therefore your inference is invalid.

Sylvester wrote:I would be careful to read the word "physical" into the Salla Sutta, as that would be the same transgression committed by another translator. Kayika does not translate into "rupa".

I specifically chose the word to highlight the context of the Salla Sutta. To be sure, kāyika translates as bodily, but that doesn't change the context of the Salla Sutta. The two sutta-s following it are also relevant, which situate the Buddha giving discourses in a sick ward.

Sylvester wrote:As to where I found the mental kayika feelings in MN 137, here it is -

"And what are the six kinds of household joy? The joy that arises when one regards as an acquisition the acquisition of forms cognizable by the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, connected with worldly baits — or when one recalls the previous acquisition of such forms after they have passed, ceased, & changed: That is called household joy. (Similarly with sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, & ideas.)

Acquisition of forms is obviously cognisable by the eye, giving rise to eye-contact that is the basis of the ensuing kayika vedana.

Actually that is the basis for cakkhusamphassa vedanā, not kāyasamphassa vedanā. There is no good reason to apply the designation "kāyika vedanā" to this series, since SN 48.38 tells us that kāyika vedanā is born of kāyasamphassa.

Sylvester wrote:Recollection of previous acquisition is obviously cognisable by the mind, giving rise to mind-contact that is the basis for the ensuing kayika vedana.

Same fault as above. Manosamphassa vedanā is not the same as kāyasamphassa vedanā.

Sylvester wrote:The vedana simpliciter (pleasant/painful/neutral) that ensues from mind-contact based on recollection of previous acquisition obviously cannot be cetasika vedana.

Regarding the above citation from MN 137, as they are somanassa they can only be cetasika vedanā.

Sylvester wrote:Only cetasika vedanas can trigger the anusayas. Worse, cetasika vedanas WILL invariably trigger the anusayas (except in 3 cases outlined in MN 44). If you insist the 1st vedana that ensues from mind-contact based on recollection of previous acquisition to be cetasika vedana, it directly violates the Salla Sutta's injunction against Ariyans experiencing cetasika vedana (based on the kamagunas) or the anusayas. By your argument, any form of vedana born of manosamphassa must be cetasika vedana would imply that arahants can be touched by a cetasika vedana and will inexorably generate the corresponding anusayas.

You're missing the context and therefore the soteriological message of MN 137:

    Here, by depending & relying on the six kinds of renunciation joy, abandon & transcend the six kinds of household joy. Such is their abandoning, such is their transcending. By depending & relying on the six kinds of renunciation distress, abandon & transcend the six kinds of household distress. Such is their abandoning, such is their transcending. By depending & relying on the six kinds of renunciation equanimity, abandon & transcend the six kinds of household equanimity. Such is their abandoning, such their transcending.

    By depending & relying on the six kinds of renunciation joy, abandon & transcend the six kinds of renunciation distress. Such is their abandoning, such is their transcending. By depending & relying on the six kinds of renunciation equanimity, abandon & transcend the six kinds of renunciation joy. Such is their abandoning, such their transcending.

And finally:

    By depending & relying on non-fashioning, abandon & transcend the equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness. Such is its abandoning, such its transcending.

Sylvester wrote:Do you now see why it is imperative that a more nuanced contextual reading of kayika needs to be employed to draw out the inferences of what kayika means in the context of vedana?

What I see is a category mistake of applying the term kāyika to types of vedanā which are not born of kāyasamphassa.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:45 am

Dear Geoff

Isn't it begging the question to assert that "kaya" in kayika, kayasamphassa etc means rupakaya, when the quest is to determine the meaning of "kaya" in kayika, kayasamphassa etc? It's only a category mistake if both parties have come to a consensus on the meaning of "kaya" in kayika, kayasamphassa etc. Can you be certain that a reading of "kaya" in every context to mean rupakaya is not the category mistake?

I would be happy for you to show me the fallacy of my arguments. This is meant in earnest and not in any other way. I'm genuinely waiting for a reasoned objection to my argument, rather than a proclamation ex cathedra. I'd be happy to discuss why you feel that my extension of the Salla Sutta's "kayika vedana" to those 6 vedanas arising from the 6 contacts at the salayatana is invalid. It's not enough to say that my premises do not support my conclusions. Anyone can make that pronouncement and get away with it. Just as I formally critiqued your fallacies of denying the antecedent and "Not-somanassindriyaṃ" implies "Not-manosamphassajaṃ", surely it is not asking too much for you to explicate what's wrong with the logical structure of my arguments?

If you are not able to enunciate the logical fallacies I've committed, I'm open also to a reductio ad absurdum analysis to show why the premises and conclusions are untenable.

I'm sorry to say that, in my view, changing "kayika/bodily/of the group" to "physical" doesn't highlight the context of the Salla Sutta, but changes it completely. What is at issue is whether kayika is limited to physical; so it does not help the discussion to beg the question.

I'm very baffled by your suggestion that the recollection of acquisitions in MN 137 is -

"Actually that is the basis for cakkhusamphassa vedanā, not kāyasamphassa vedanā."

Is it your view then that memories (being dhammas) can form the triad of phassa with eye and eye-consciousness?

I'm afraid that you have again misrepresented me when you assert -

"Manosamphassa vedanā is not the same as kāyasamphassa vedanā".

My argument has all along been that kāyasamphassa includes manosamphassa. I have not once equated kāyasamphassa to manosamphassa exclusively. If I did that, I would have no basis to argue that kāyasamphassa is any of the 6 contacts arising at the salayatana.

I may well have missed the soteriological message of MN 137, but how does that nullify my reductio ad absurdum objection to your argument that manosamphassa gives rise to purely cetasika vedana?

With metta
Sylvester
 
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:07 am

Sylvester wrote:I'd be happy to discuss why you feel that my extension of the Salla Sutta's "kayika vedana" to those 6 vedanas arising from the 6 contacts at the salayatana is invalid.

Hi Sylvester,

Firstly, there are six types of feeling: feeling born of eye contact, feeling born of ear contact, feeling born of nose contact, feeling born of tongue contact, feeling born of body contact, feeling born of mind contact (cakkhusamphassajā vedanā, sotasamphassajā vedanā, ghānasamphassajā vedanā, jivhāsamphassajā vedanā, kāyasamphassajā vedanā, manosamphassajā vedanā) as mentioned in SN 22.56.

If we look at SN 48.38 we can see how this sixfold classification is relevant in regard to kāyasamphassajā vedanā and manosamphassajā vedanā:

    And what is the pleasure faculty? Any bodily pleasure, bodily comfort born of body contact to be experienced as pleasure and comfort. That is called the pleasure faculty.

    And what is the pain faculty? Any bodily pain, bodily discomfort born of body contact to be experienced as pain and discomfort. That is called the pain faculty.

    And what is the happiness faculty? Any mental pleasure, mental comfort born of mind contact to be experienced as pleasure and comfort. That is called the happiness faculty.

    And what is the unhappiness faculty? Any mental pain, mental discomfort born of mind contact to be experienced as pain and discomfort. That is called the unhappiness faculty.

    Katamañca, bhikkhave, sukhindriyaṃ? Yaṃ kho, bhikkhave, kāyikaṃ sukhaṃ, kāyikaṃ sātaṃ, kāyasamphassajaṃ sukhaṃ sātaṃ vedayitaṃ – idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, sukhindriyaṃ.

    Katamañca, bhikkhave, dukkhindriyaṃ? Yaṃ kho, bhikkhave, kāyikaṃ dukkhaṃ , kāyikaṃ asātaṃ, kāyasamphassajaṃ dukkhaṃ asātaṃ vedayitaṃ – idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, dukkhindriyaṃ.

    Katamañca, bhikkhave, somanassindriyaṃ? Yaṃ kho, bhikkhave, cetasikaṃ sukhaṃ, cetasikaṃ sātaṃ, manosamphassajaṃ sukhaṃ sātaṃ vedayitaṃ – idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, somanassindriyaṃ.

    Katamañca, bhikkhave, domanassindriyaṃ? Yaṃ kho, bhikkhave, cetasikaṃ dukkhaṃ, cetasikaṃ asātaṃ, manosamphassajaṃ dukkhaṃ asātaṃ vedayitaṃ – idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, domanassindriyaṃ.

There is nothing mentioned in SN 36.6 Salla Sutta to indicate that the bodily feeling under discussion (i.e. kāyikañca vedanā) extends beyond kāyasamphassajā vedanā. The context the discourse is to highlight that when a noble disciple experiences a painful bodily feeling, etc., they don’t experience any mental distress because of that. Aversion doesn’t arise towards it. They remain detached. The point is that although bodily pain and sickness are unavoidable, there need not be any mental suffering because of it.

The following discourse where the Buddha visits a sick ward highlights how in this context a feeling of pain is dependent upon the body, and how the discernment of conditionality leads to the abandoning of the underlying tendency. SN 36.7 Paṭhamagelañña Sutta:

    As he is dwelling thus mindful & alert — heedful, ardent, & resolute — a feeling of pain arises in him. He discerns that 'A feeling of pain has arisen in me. It is dependent on a requisite condition, not independent. Dependent on what? Dependent on this body. Now, this body is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen. Being dependent on a body that is inconstant, fabricated, & dependently co-arisen, how can this feeling of pain that has arisen be constant?' He remains focused on inconstancy with regard to the body & to the feeling of pain. He remains focused on dissolution... dispassion... cessation... relinquishment with regard to the body & to the feeling of pain. As he remains focused on inconstancy... dissolution... dispassion... cessation... relinquishment with regard to the body & to the feeling of pain, he abandons any resistance-obsession with regard to the body & the feeling of pain.

    Tassa ce, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno evaṃ satassa sampajānassa appamattassa ātāpino pahitattassa viharato uppajjati dukkhā vedanā. So evaṃ pajānāti – ‘uppannā kho myāyaṃ dukkhā vedanā. Sā ca kho paṭicca, no appaṭicca. Kiṃ paṭicca? Imameva kāyaṃ paṭicca. Ayaṃ kho pana kāyo anicco saṅkhato paṭiccasamuppanno. Aniccaṃ kho pana saṅkhataṃ paṭiccasamuppannaṃ kāyaṃ paṭicca uppannā dukkhā vedanā kuto niccā bhavissatī’ti! So kāye ca dukkhāya vedanāya aniccānupassī viharati, vayānupassī viharati, virāgānupassī viharati, nirodhānupassī viharati, paṭinissaggānupassī viharati. Tassa kāye ca dukkhāya ca vedanāya aniccānupassino viharato…pe… paṭinissaggānupassino viharato, yo kāye ca dukkhāya ca vedanāya paṭighānusayo, so pahīyati.

Sylvester wrote:I'm very baffled by your suggestion that the recollection of acquisitions in MN 137 is -

"Actually that is the basis for cakkhusamphassa vedanā, not kāyasamphassa vedanā."

Is it your view then that memories (being dhammas) can form the triad of phassa with eye and eye-consciousness?


    The joy that arises when one regards as an acquisition the acquisition of forms cognizable by the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, connected with worldly baits....
The eye series: dependent on the eye and forms there arises eye consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling (i.e. cakkhusamphassajā vedanā). From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging. From clinging as a requisite condition comes becoming....

The sukha which arises in the course of this series is vedanā born of cakkhusamphassa. The subsequent somanassa which arises in the course of this series is vedanā born of manosamphassa.

    The joy that arises when one regards as an acquisition the acquisition of phenomena cognizable by the mind — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, connected with worldly baits....
The mind series: dependent on the mind and phenomena there arises mental consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling (i.e. manosamphassajā vedanā). From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging. From clinging as a requisite condition comes becoming....

The sukha which arises in the course of this series is vedanā born of manosamphassa. The subsequent somanassa which arises is also vedanā born of manosamphassa.

    or when one recalls the previous acquisition of such forms after they have passed, ceased, & changed....
The mind series: dependent on the mind and phenomena there arises mental consciousness. The meeting of the three is contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling (i.e. manosamphassajā vedanā). From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging. From clinging as a requisite condition comes becoming....

Again, the sukha which arises in the course of this series is vedanā born of manosamphassa. The subsequent somanassa which arises is also vedanā born of manosamphassa.

Sylvester wrote:I may well have missed the soteriological message of MN 137, but how does that nullify my reductio ad absurdum objection to your argument that manosamphassa gives rise to purely cetasika vedana?

The point of MN 137 Saḷāyatanavibhaṅga Sutta is to illustrate the gradual stepwise transcendence of somanassa, domanassa, and upekkhā. The end result of this stepwise transcendence is where the liberated mind has abandoned and transcended all somanassa, domanassa, and upekkhā through non-fashioning (atammayata).

Cetasika vedanā (sukha, dukkha, or adukkhamasukha) is the vedanā simpliciter born of manosamphassa. All other affective defilements arising from the mind series proliferate from this. There’s no need to bring SN 36.6 into the analysis and assert that the primary vedanā born of manosamphassa is a newly created category of “kāyika vedanā” pertaining to the six āyatana-s when this isn’t supported by the specific use of kāyika and cetasika in the analysis of SN 48.38 nor the six types of feeling stated in SN 22.56, etc.

Sylvester wrote:If you insist the 1st vedana that ensues from mind-contact based on recollection of previous acquisition to be cetasika vedana, it directly violates the Salla Sutta's injunction against Ariyans experiencing cetasika vedana (based on the kamagunas) or the anusayas.

Again, MN 137 illustrates the gradual stepwise transcendence of somanassa, domanassa, and upekkhā. A noble disciple abandons and transcends household somanassa in the process.

Sylvester wrote:By your argument, any form of vedana born of manosamphassa must be cetasika vedana would imply that arahants can be touched by a cetasika vedana and will inexorably generate the corresponding anusayas.

The liberated mind has abandoned all deluded affective and cognitive defilements with regard to both kāyika and cetasika vedanā. In terms of dependent arising, it isn’t feeling that’s the problem, it’s craving, which is rooted in ignorance.

For example, MN 38 Mahātaṇhāsaṅkhaya Sutta:

    On touching a tangible with the body... cognizing a mind-object with the mind, he does not lust after it if it is pleasing (piyarūpe dhamme na sārajjati); he does not dislike it if it is unpleasing (appiyarūpe dhamme na byāpajjati). He abides with mindfulness of the body established, with an immeasurable mind, and he understands as it actually is the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom wherein those evil unwholesome states cease without remainder. Having thus abandoned favoring and opposing, whatever feeling he feels, whether pleasant, painful, or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, he does not delight in that feeling, welcome it, or remain holding to it. As he does not do so, delight in feelings ceases in him.

    So kāyena phoṭṭhabbaṃ phusitvā…pe… manasā dhammaṃ viññāya piyarūpe dhamme na sārajjati, appiyarūpe dhamme na byāpajjati, upaṭṭhitakāyasati ca viharati appamāṇacetaso, tañca cetovimuttiṃ paññāvimuttiṃ yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti – yatthassa te pāpakā akusalā dhammā aparisesā nirujjhanti. So evaṃ anurodhavirodhavippahīno yaṃ kiñci vedanaṃ vedeti, sukhaṃ vā dukkhaṃ vā adukkhamasukhaṃ vā, so taṃ vedanaṃ nābhinandati nābhivadati nājjhosāya tiṭṭhati. Tassa taṃ vedanaṃ anabhinandato anabhivadato anajjhosāya tiṭṭhato yā vedanāsu nandī sā nirujjhati.

MN 148 Chachakka Sutta:

    Dependent on the body & tactile sensations.... Dependent on the intellect & ideas there arises consciousness at the intellect. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there arises what is felt either as pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain. If, when touched by a feeling of pleasure, one does not relish it, welcome it, or remain fastened to it, then one's passion-obsession doesn't get obsessed. If, when touched by a feeling of pain, one does not sorrow, grieve, or lament, beat one's breast or become distraught, then one's resistance obsession doesn't get obsessed. If, when touched by a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, one discerns, as it actually is present, the origination, passing away, allure, drawback, & escape from that feeling, then one's ignorance-obsession doesn't get obsessed. That a person — through abandoning passion-obsession with regard to a feeling of pleasure, through abolishing resistance-obsession with regard to a feeling of pain, through uprooting ignorance-obsession with regard to a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, through abandoning ignorance and giving rise to clear knowing — would put an end to suffering & stress in the here & now: such a thing is possible.

    Kāyañca, bhikkhave, paṭicca phoṭṭhabbe ca uppajjati kāyaviññāṇaṃ…pe…. Manañca, bhikkhave, paṭicca dhamme ca uppajjati manoviññāṇaṃ tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso, phassapaccayā uppajjati vedayitaṃ sukhaṃ vā dukkhaṃ vā adukkhamasukhaṃ vā. So sukhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho samāno nābhinandati nābhivadati nājjhosāya tiṭṭhati. Tassa rāgānusayo nānuseti. Dukkhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho samāno na socati na kilamati na paridevati na urattāḷiṃ kandati na sammohaṃ āpajjati. Tassa paṭighānusayo nānuseti. Adukkhamasukhāya vedanāya phuṭṭho samāno tassā vedanāya samudayañca atthaṅgamañca assādañca ādīnavañca nissaraṇañca yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti. Tassa avijjānusayo nānuseti. So vata, bhikkhave, sukhāya vedanāya rāgānusayaṃ pahāya dukkhāya vedanāya paṭighānusayaṃ paṭivinodetvā adukkhamasukhāya vedanāya avijjānusayaṃ samūhanitvā avijjaṃ pahāya vijjaṃ uppādetvā diṭṭheva dhamme dukkhassantakaro bhavissatīti – ṭhānametaṃ vijjati.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:01 am

Sylvester wrote:Worse, cetasika vedanas WILL invariably trigger the anusayas (except in 3 cases outlined in MN 44).

Forgot to mention that the relevant section from MN 44 just highlights the three instances where pleasant feeling, painful feeling, or neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling can be engaged as part of the path without reinforcing the underlying tendencies. Otherwise, in order to abandon the underlying tendencies one is to remain focused on the impermanence, dissolution, dispassion, cessation, and relinquishment of all feelings (aniccānupassī viharati, vayānupassī viharati, virāgānupassī viharati, nirodhānupassī viharati, paṭinissaggānupassī viharati).

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:56 pm

Dear Geoff

I have to confess to being flabbergasted by your suggestion that on the basis of SN 22.56, "kāyasamphassajā" will have to be limited to only the contact-triad of body, body-consciousness and tactility, to the exclusion of eye-contact, ear-contact, tongue-contact, nose-contact and mind-contact.

Since you applied this restrictive definition of "kāyasamphassajā" from SN 22.56 to SN 48.38, I think it would also be legitimate to apply it to the Uppapatika Sutta in SN 48.40. Going by your proposition, this would mean that -

In 1st Jhana, with the cessation of the pain faculty (which you limit to "body" pains), painful eye, ear, nose and tongue feelings will persist (since these don't arise from "kāya"samphassajā).

In 2nd Jhana, with the cessation of the displeasure faculty, painful eye, ear, nose and tongue feelings will persist.

In 3rd Jhana, with the cessation of the pleasure faculty (which you limit to "body" pleasures), pleasureable eye, ear, nose, and tongue feelings, AND painful eye, ear, nose, and tongue feelings will persist.

In 4th Jhana, with the cessation of the joy faculty, pleasureable eye, ear, nose, and tongue feelings, AND painful eye, ear, nose, and tongue feelings will persist.

At nirodha sammapati, with the cessation of the equanimity faculty, equanimous, pleasant and painful eye, ear, nose, and tongue feelings persist.


I think it should be quite obvious that your limiting kāyasamphassajā to only the contact-triad of body, body-consciousness and tactility in every context will have very non-canonical results. I'm not suggesting that SN 22.56 is wrong. On the contrary, I'm of the view that the analysis in the Khandhasamyutta cannot be applied verbatim to the Vedanasamyutta and Indriyasamyutta analysis.

SN 22.56 is a very fine analysis of all the 6 types of contacts that are possible. It distinguishes each of the 6 contacts from the other 5 contacts. On the other hand, the relationship that is explored in the Vedana- and Indriyasamyuttas deals with how feelings/vedana (the simple affective khandha) gives rise to emotions (somanassa/domanassa - the experience that is certainly broader than simple affective vedana). SN 22.56 deals with vedana inter se, which SN 36.6 and SN 48.40 deals with feelings versus emotions/moods. It would be quite inappropriate, in my view, to appropriate a technical term used in one specific class of vibhanga and applying it indiscriminately to an unrelated vibhanga.

I think it is not logical to assert that SN 36.6's analysis of kayika vedana is restricted to vedana arising from the contact-triad of body, body-consciousness and tactility. If you are correct, this must mean that the 2nd dart can never arise from eye-, ear-, nose, or tongue-contact. It should be obvious then that if your analysis is correct, this would imply that putthujanas would never generate any form of anusaya whatsoever based on feelings flowing from eye-, ear-, nose-, tongue- and mind-contact. This directly contradicts SN 36.6's description of raganusaya that flows from delight in the sensual pleasures. Just because the 2 Sick Ward suttas are appended, there's no reason to argue that their example excludes the universe of the other 5 contacts.

Coming back to MN 137 and the plausibility of a mental kayika vedana therein. Yes, certainly I would agree that the sukha which arises "when one regards as an acquisition the acquisition of forms" is vedanā born of cakkhusamphassa. But that was NOT my point. I referred you to the other contact established "when one recalls the previous acquisition of such forms after they have passed, ceased, & changed". Seeing acquisitions will certainly give rise to cakkhusamphassa; recollecting acquisitions can only arise from manosamphassa. I would like to hear your thoughts on how "recollection" (memory, a mental dhamma) can conceivably form cakkhusamphassa with eye and eye-consciousness.

You said -

"Cetasika vedanā (sukha, dukkha, or adukkhamasukha) is the vedanā simpliciter born of manosamphassa".

I think this sums up the crux of one of the elements of our disagreement. I'm of the view that cetasika vedanā is NOT the vedanā simpliciter born of manosamphassa, but the complex range of emotions that are felt on manosamphassa's 1st Dart. Based on my understanding of how SN 36.6 intersects with SN 48.36 - 40, cetasika vedanā has to be more complex than vedanā simpliciter. Cetasika vedanā is marked with qualities such as sorrow, lamentation, grieving, weeping, breast-beating. Essentially, that's domanassa, rather than the simple experience of pleasant, painful or neutral.

I'm happy to say that I fully agree with your points on MN 38 and MN 148, with a tiny reservation as to whether or not feelings bear some culpability for suffering. But just because their soteriological denouement lies in their cessation analyses does not mean that their arising analysis is not relevant to the issue of whether there can be mental kayika cetana.

With metta
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:34 pm

Sylvester wrote:Since you applied this restrictive definition of "kāyasamphassajā" from SN 22.56 to SN 48.38, I think it would also be legitimate to apply it to the Uppapatika Sutta in SN 48.40.

Hi Sylvester,

Once again you're overreaching. There is nothing stated in SN 48.40 or in my analysis of SN 48.38 which necessitates the consequences that you wish to impose.

Sylvester wrote:I think it is not logical to assert that SN 36.6's analysis of kayika vedana is restricted to vedana arising from the contact-triad of body, body-consciousness and tactility. If you are correct, this must mean that the 2nd dart can never arise from eye-, ear-, nose, or tongue-contact.

There is nothing in my analysis of SN 36.6 which necessitates the consequence that you wish to impose.

Sylvester wrote:I referred you to the other contact established "when one recalls the previous acquisition of such forms after they have passed, ceased, & changed". Seeing acquisitions will certainly give rise to cakkhusamphassa; recollecting acquisitions can only arise from manosamphassa. I would like to hear your thoughts on how "recollection" (memory, a mental dhamma) can conceivably form cakkhusamphassa with eye and eye-consciousness.

Already addressed in my previous reply.

Sylvester wrote:I'm of the view that cetasika vedanā is NOT the vedanā simpliciter born of manosamphassa, but the complex range of emotions that are felt on manosamphassa's 1st Dart. Based on my understanding of how SN 36.6 intersects with SN 48.36 - 40, cetasika vedanā has to be more complex than vedanā simpliciter. Cetasika vedanā is marked with qualities such as sorrow, lamentation, grieving, weeping, breast-beating. Essentially, that's domanassa, rather than the simple experience of pleasant, painful or neutral.

You're certainly free to pursue any interpretive tangents that you wish. Nevertheless, cetasika vedanā born of manosamphassa is a necessary condition for the arising of sorrow, lamentation, grieving, weeping, or breast-beating.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:45 am

Dear Geoff

Well, I suppose I will have to invite you again to show how my reductio ad absurdum arguments are over-reaching. Ex-cathedra pronouncements add nothing to the discourse.

Perhaps you would care to explain how your reliance on SN 22.56's definition of "kāyasamphassajā vedana" was not intended to restrict SN 36.6's "kayika vedana"to the body that senses tactility. You stated quite unequivacally -

"There is nothing mentioned in SN 36.6 Salla Sutta to indicate that the bodily feeling under discussion (i.e. kāyikañca vedanā) extends beyond kāyasamphassajā vedanā. "

As for your reading of the Salla Sutta that cetasika vedana is the condition for sorrow, lamentation etc, why add that interpretive overlay to the sutta's very simple proposition. The Salla Sutta very simply states its case that-

"When touched with a feeling of pain, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person sorrows, grieves, & laments, beats his breast, becomes distraught. So he feels two feelings, physical (kayika) & mental (cetasika). "

Cetasika vedana IS sorrow, grieving, lamentation, breast beating and distress, and NOT merely the condition for grieving etc.

With metta.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:26 am

Sylvester wrote:I know a lot of the modern readings of Jhana hinge on the suffusing of niramisa pitisukha through "this body" mentioned in MN 119.18-21. The modern readings equate this "body" with the rupakaya.

Hi Sylvester,

Not only “modern” readings. The Vimuttimagga was written centuries before the Visuddhimagga. Ven. Upatissa, the author of the Vimuttimagga, was knowledgeable of and quotes from the Uppaṭipāṭika Sutta, as well as the Dhammasaṅgaṇi and the Vibhaṅga of the Abidhamma Piṭaka, and the early paracanonical Nettipakaraṇa and Peṭakopadesa, etc. And when commenting on the bathman simile for the first jhāna he had no difficulty stating:

    Just as the bath powder is moistened thoroughly and just as it, through adhering, does not scatter, so the yogin in the first jhāna is filled with pīti from head to foot and from foot to skull, skin, and hair.

And:

    [Q.] Pīti and sukha are called formless phenomena. How then can they fill the body?

    [A.] Nāma depends on rūpa. Rūpa depends on nāma. Therefore, if nāma is full of pīti, rūpa is also full of pīti. If nāma is full of sukha, rūpa is also full of sukha.

And later in the same text:

    When the yogin enters into concentration, he hears sounds, but he is not able to speak because the faculty of hearing and that of speech are not united. To a man who enters form concentration, sound is disturbing. Hence the Buddha taught: “To a man who enters jhāna, sound is a thorn.”

Sylvester wrote:Well, I suppose I will have to invite you again to show how my reductio ad absurdum arguments are over-reaching.

Thanks, but at this point I’ll decline. I’ve already invested more time in this discussion than I ever intended. You are certainly free to interpret the sutta-s according to your understanding of the Visuddhimagga, etc., but as I said previously, I believe that my reading of the sutta material pertaining to this subject is at this point consistent and displays the internal harmony and integral structure of the eightfold path as it was put together by the compilers of the sutta-s. In short, I’ll stick with the early Pāḷi sources and the Vimuttimagga.

Sylvester wrote:Perhaps you would care to explain how your reliance on SN 22.56's definition of "kāyasamphassajā vedana" was not intended to restrict SN 36.6's "kayika vedana"to the body that senses tactility.

It was – but that doesn't entail the consequences that you seem to think it does.

Sylvester wrote:As for your reading of the Salla Sutta that cetasika vedana is the condition for sorrow, lamentation etc, why add that interpretive overlay to the sutta's very simple proposition. Cetasika vedana IS sorrow, grieving, lamentation, breast beating and distress, and NOT merely the condition for grieving etc.

If you think that sorrow (soka), grieving (parideva), etc., are not conditioned by cetasika dukkha, then that’s fine by me.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:19 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:I know a lot of the modern readings of Jhana hinge on the suffusing of niramisa pitisukha through "this body" mentioned in MN 119.18-21. The modern readings equate this "body" with the rupakaya.

Hi Sylvester,

Not only “modern” readings. The Vimuttimagga was written centuries before the Visuddhimagga. Ven. Upatissa, the author of the Vimuttimagga, was knowledgeable of and quotes from the Uppaṭipāṭika Sutta, as well as the Dhammasaṅgaṇi and the Vibhaṅga of the Abidhamma Piṭaka, and the early paracanonical Nettipakaraṇa and Peṭakopadesa, etc. And when commenting on the bathman simile for the first jhāna he had no difficulty stating:

    Just as the bath powder is moistened thoroughly and just as it, through adhering, does not scatter, so the yogin in the first jhāna is filled with pīti from head to foot and from foot to skull, skin, and hair.



Dear Geoff

And I wish you all the best with your practice. It's the only thing left to do, since you do not wish to engage further to explain away the absurd logical consequences of your SN 22.56 readings on SN 48.40.

It still troubles me a little why the modern interpretations would extrapolate from the Vimuttimagga's above proposition that a rupa kaya filled with pitisukha would be able to establish contact with pitisukha. The problem is not with the Vimuttimagga, but the modern extrapolation that the eye, the nose, the ear, the tongue and the tactility organ can form phassa/contact with a dhamma and thereby cognise pitisukha at the 5 indriyas. That's a clear violation of MN 43.

With metta
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Kenshou » Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:39 am

Forgive me for intruding and dragging this thread out, but can not the eye/ear/nose/tongue make contact with pitisukha due to the fact that they are parts of the body which we have tactile/spatial consciousness of, though not in the sense that they experience pitisukha in connection with their respective indriyas? If I'm missing something, let me know.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:26 am

Sylvester wrote:since you do not wish to engage further to explain away the absurd logical consequences of your SN 22.56 readings on SN 48.40.

Just because you assert that a statement leads to absurd consequences doesn't make it so Sylvester. I've spent considerable time showing the fallacious premises you've tried to establish in your previous failed attempts at reductio ad absurdum argumentation. Moreover, repeated reliance on reductio ad absurdum argumentation doesn't further the conversation. In the context of hermeneutics, repeatedly drawing on the most unlikely and therefore irrelevant extreme possible consequences of a textual interpretation is nothing more than an attempt at misdirection.

Sylvester wrote:The problem is not with the Vimuttimagga, but the modern extrapolation that the eye, the nose, the ear, the tongue and the tactility organ can form phassa/contact with a dhamma and thereby cognise pitisukha at the 5 indriyas. That's a clear violation of MN 43.

This has all the makings of another pointless attempt at misdirection. Either you really don't understand the indriya-s, āyatana-s, and dhātu-s, or you're applying another idiosyncratic interpretation like your "kāyika vedanā pertaining to the six āyatana-s" to this as well.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:31 am

Dear Geoff

It's hard to respond to pronouncements ex cathedra, so I'll leave them as that.

With metta
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:39 am

Kenshou wrote:Forgive me for intruding and dragging this thread out, but can not the eye/ear/nose/tongue make contact with pitisukha due to the fact that they are parts of the body which we have tactile/spatial consciousness of, though not in the sense that they experience pitisukha in connection with their respective indriyas? If I'm missing something, let me know.

Hi Kenshou,

There's no need to establish that the eye, etc., makes contact with pītisukha per se. There is no such thing as contact (phassa) without consciousness. And kāyika sukha is certainly cognized by body consciousness.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Kenshou » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:48 am

Thanks. I'm not really in disagreement with you, I suppose. It might have been my fault for not being specific, but that post was directed towards Sylvester's preceding post, specifically the statement "but the modern extrapolation that the eye, the nose, the ear, the tongue and the tactility organ can form phassa/contact with a dhamma and thereby cognise pitisukha at the 5 indriyas."

I'd be happy to let the thing lie where it is though, I'm not so sure I want to help drag this thread out more and more.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:50 am

Sylvester wrote:It's hard to respond to pronouncements ex cathedra, so I'll leave them as that.

You do make me smile Sylvester.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:53 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:It's hard to respond to pronouncements ex cathedra, so I'll leave them as that.

You do make me smile Sylvester.

All the best,

Geoff


I promise not to respond like the Censorious Gods in the sutta of the same name in the SN.

With metta
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:21 am

Kenshou wrote:Forgive me for intruding and dragging this thread out, but can not the eye/ear/nose/tongue make contact with pitisukha due to the fact that they are parts of the body which we have tactile/spatial consciousness of, though not in the sense that they experience pitisukha in connection with their respective indriyas? If I'm missing something, let me know.



Dear Kenshou

It's a valid point. But the consciousness that arises at each of the 5 indriyas is specific to its external ayatana, if we accept MN 43. So, for example, a pleasurable muscle tremor traversing my spine is definitely tactility, the ayatana for rupakaya. Any "tactility" is a kamaguna (if you concur with me that kamas are affectively neutral) or only a kamaguna if it is pleasureable (going by Geoff's model).

This is not to deny the reality that the rupakaya responds to cetana, a mental experience. But what is at issue is "phassa" - that condition for the arising of feelings at the rupakaya. The phassa that can arise at each indriya is limited by MN 43 to contacting its specific ayatana.

BUT, I will concede an unconscious (but only at the indriyas) path whereby an indriya will be able to benefit from pitisukha.

Let's take a modern biological perspective on Nama-Rupa. A mental stressor will exert an allostatic load on the HPA axis (although more recent models have expanded this into the PNI systems). May I please trouble you to Google these terms, as I want to keep this post short? So, a "stressful" psychological state interacts with the HPA axis to release a flush of adrenaline that affects the body. One target is the gut, leading to loss of motility as part of the "Flight-or-Fight" response. The ensuing cramps or colic are felt as unpleasant, because distension of the bowels will establish phassa based on body consciousness, the enteric nerves and tactility (the distension). So, between the unpleasant mental state up to the triggering of the distension sensors, the gut/body has been totally unconscious of the mental state. The gut only feels that unpleasant distension as a kayika vedana, but the cognition of the unpleasant mental state is cognisable by mind alone.

The same example can be given for an "attractive" mental state. Eg lustful thoughts trigger a neurotransmitter cascade that can cause involuntary muscle contractions felt as pleasurable.

So, supposing I grant that the "kaya" in Jhana includes the rupakaya, those sutta passages actually say nothing about the body making contact/phassa with a dhamma. Pitisukha can suffuse the rupakaya, thereby mediating many unconscious effects at the cellular level. So, all of these physiological changes finally manifest as pleasurable body feelings. Let's say I also grant Geoff's thesis that the "kaya" here must mean only the dermo-muscular system, to the exclusion of eyes, ears, nose, and tongue. So, pitisukha mediates pleasurable feelings on the skin and sub-dermis. You can find ample illustrations of this in Geoff's site.

But here's the problem. Geoff insists that the panca kamaguna are only "kamas" is they are attractive and pleasant. Here, in his model, pleasurable tactile feelings are felt. But the Jhana formula insists that 1st Jhana is "quite secluded from the kamas". Even by Geoff's subjective idealist model of the kamagunas, the tactile pleasures should not be felt in Jhana.

[Edit]-

It's not particularly helpful to dismiss the problem by saying -

"There's no need to establish that the eye, etc., makes contact with pītisukha per se. There is no such thing as contact (phassa) without consciousness. And kāyika sukha is certainly cognized by body consciousness."

The crux of the this part of the debate is whether or not feelings can arise at the 5 senses during 1st Jhana. The necessary condition for feeling is CONTACT. No contact will mean no feeling. No possibility of eye-contact based on dhamma, eye and eye consciousness means it is impossible to feel dhamma with the eye. Ditto for the other 4 indriyas.


With metta
Last edited by Sylvester on Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:30 am

Sylvester wrote:Any "tactility" is a kamaguna (if you concur with me that kamas are affectively neutral) or only a kamaguna if it is pleasureable (going by Geoff's model).

Geoff insists that the panca kamaguna are only "kamas" is they are attractive and pleasant. Here, in his model, pleasurable tactile feelings are felt. But the Jhana formula insists that 1st Jhana is "quite secluded from the kamas". Even by Geoff's subjective idealist model of the kamagunas, the tactile pleasures should not be felt in Jhana.

Again, either the intentional misrepresentation of another's position and therefore attempted misdirection, or a complete lack of understanding of said position.... Which is it Sylvester?
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