The Great Jhana Debate

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Kenshou » Mon May 30, 2011 8:47 pm

A whole lot of things can and will happen in meditation over time. I would think that if a person has a genuine interest in what Buddhism has to offer, the honest approach would be trying to practice what it states, rather than trying to make it fit in with what they've experienced.

But I realize that this is one of those issues with a lot of interpretations of what exactly is being stated. I have my own views on it, but I think all that really matters is that we develop concentration by some means, so whatever.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby reflection » Mon May 30, 2011 9:25 pm

Alex123 wrote:
reflection wrote:To me it makes more sense to explain the suttas in terms of experiences than it does the other way around.


It depends on your goals. If one wants to pursue the Awakening, then suttas are a must. It is a given that from Buddha's that ignorant worldling would make lots of mistake, so having the guidance of the suttas (in the absence of the living Buddha) is a must, unless one is following the Bodhisattva path and wants to become a Buddha after 100,000 MahaKappas.

reflection wrote:If you experience something and need a sutta to find out if was real, the experience probably wasn't that interesting anyway.


The point is having experiences that lead to Awakening, cessation of all Suffering. Until we are Awakened, it is a given that most or almost all experiences, and their interpretations, can be colored by ignorance.

reflection wrote:To me the Mindfulness of the Body sutta also supports the total absorption view,


Absorption into the Body, but 5 senses still work. They just do not distract one. The point is NOT to get into some coma, where one is totally oblivious and can't observe triple characteristic and develop wisdom. If not seeing and not hearing was conducive to Awakening, then blind and deaf people would be awakened. If getting into a coma was in any way helpful, then we ALL would be awakened, as we fall into deep sleep where 5 senses temporarily shut down each night. Wisdom is important, and suttas are required for guidance. Until we are awakened at least to stream, it is a given that most/all experiences are Under the power of delusion and kilesas. So one can't fully trust oneself at first, trust the suttas.

IMHO,

With metta,

Alex

I'm not saying don't use suttas, I'm just not a supporter of overusing them in debates about meditation. I see almost nobody here using some form of deduction from experience or logic. Mostly it is just sutta vs sutta. Honestly, is that going to get anybody advance in their practice? I think not. Yes, maybe in their practice of pali, but not of the meditation :jumping: Besides, you can color your experiences with wrong interpretation of suttas very easily too. Thinking one has attained something while it is not so could stop progress or effort. For example, the Buddha said nibbana can be seen here and now makes some people say we are all already enlightened.. Obviously this is a misread the same may be said for "dumbed down jhanas". So I'd say: trust the suttas with care, because they are still subject to your own interpretation.

Jhana/absorption has nothing to do with coma or sleep. You have got a totally wrong idea of it. In sleep and coma all 6 senses are shutted down, but in jhana the sixth sense (the mind) is still highly aware. So you are widely awake, in a way more awake than ever. But there is no 5 sense activity and no willpower. I think most people can't really reflect on the dhamma -especially the will being without a self- without an experience like this so I encourage everybody to try and find the answer to "The jhana debate" outside of suttas.

:buddha1:

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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Kenshou » Mon May 30, 2011 9:39 pm

Deduction from experience is not very relevant when the discussion comes down to the question of what exactly the suttas are saying. Some people are interested in taking a critical look at the texts. Not to the exclusion of real life practice, of course.

If you think a disembodied samadhi is great, then great, but saying that doesn't have any weight when the question is about what the content of the texts is.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby reflection » Mon May 30, 2011 9:48 pm

Hi Kenshou,

Of course some people like to discuss the texts. There is no real problem with it, I don't judge it and I'm not here to stop anybody doing that :guns: . I'm just putting forth another view on the subject. In the end this topic is in the meditation forum and not in the Pali or sutta study forum.

And experience can show you what the texts tell. It's a thing that goes two ways.

With loving kindness,
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Alex123 » Mon May 30, 2011 9:50 pm

reflection wrote:I'm not saying don't use suttas, I'm just not a supporter of overusing them in debates about meditation.


The suttas are higher authority than you or me. That is why, IMHO, they are so important. Until a person reaches awakening, it is almost a given that s/he will often misinterpret things.


reflection wrote:I see almost nobody here using some form of deduction from experience or logic.


Because these (experience & logic) could often be under the power of kilesas, and kilesas can twist them to their own liking. In Brahmajala sutta most wrong views come from thinking, and other wrong views come from deduction from experience.

reflection wrote:Thinking one has attained something because of this while it is not so could stop progress or effort.


This is very correct statement. One needs to be brutally honest with oneself, and the best solution is to work harder no matter what amount of bliss arises.

If one is an Arahant, then one will not mind to work more. If one is not an Arahant, it will help him/her to continue on the path.



reflection wrote:For example, the Buddha said nibbana can be seen here and now makes some people say we are all already enlightened..


I think that it means in this life.

In any case, if a person thinks that he is already awakened and cannot see it even when reading the suttas, then there isn't much one can do in the short term. We can only hope that s/he will have more wisdom arise and pick up the practice later on.


reflection wrote: Obviously this is a misread the same may be said for "dumbed down jhanas". So I'd say: trust the suttas with care, because they are still subject to your own interpretation.


Or dumbed down meditation with insight portion taken out... Again the suttas are clear about that one overcomes rūpasaññānaṃ, paṭighasaññānaṃ, and nānattasaññānaṃ when one enters Base of Infinite Space (Ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ).

There is absolutely no way to claim that sight shuts down prior to 1st Jhāna. And diversity (nānattasaññānaṃ) is also overcomed in Ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ.



Sabbaso rūpasaññānaṃ samatikkamā paṭighasaññānaṃ atthaṅgamā nānattasaññānaṃ amanasikārā ananto ākāsoti ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ upasampajja viharati.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#pts.410
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Tue May 31, 2011 2:05 am

I think a little more care is needed for the key terms rūpasañña, paṭighasañña, and nānattasañña in the discussion of the transition from the Rupa Jhanas to the Arupa attainments. You've got a nice sutta dedicated to these phenomena in DN 15, where rupa is most definitely NOT "cakkhuviññeyyā rūpā " (eye-cognisable forms). No need to resort to the Vibhanga definitions, when DN 15 gives a different context to these 3 key concepts of rūpa, paṭigha, and nānatta .

The plain and unforced reading of the "vivicceva kāmehi" formula in the 1st Jhana pericopes is "(quite/verily) secluded from the kāmā" (eva being an emphatic clitic), and AN 6.63 admonishes that the kāmā must be distinguished from the kāmagunā. According to the CPD, kāmā in the suttas refers only to the 5 sense objects; unfortunately, most modern translations render the "vivicceva kāmehi" formula as meaning "secluded from sensuality", based on the later Abhidhammic re-definition of this "kāmā" to mean "chando kāmo, rāgo kāmo, chandarāgo kāmo, saṅkappo kāmo, rāgo kāmo, saṅkapparāgo kāmo" (Vibhanga). The paradox with this Vibhanga definition would be that since an Arahant has completely eradicated the Hindrances, including kamacchanda, the Vibhanga definition of "vivicceva kāmehi" will have to imply that an Arahant is in Jhana continuously, since the Arahant will fulfill both the seclusion formulae of the 1st Jhana pericope. That clearly is not the case.

In the Pali Canon, there are only 6 senses. Can the physical body experience niramisa sukha? If so, how does it do so? What type of phassa is made there? Perhaps a close look at MN 43 is warranted, where an absolute bar is placed on any of the 5 material senses being able to "contact" mental dhamma-s and produce the corresponding consciousness.

Those who offer the experience of niramisa sukha being a pleasurable bodily feeling usually overlook MN 66's admonition -

And, Udayin, there are these five strings of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Sounds cognizable via the ear... Aromas cognizable via the nose... Flavors cognizable via the tongue... Tactile sensations cognizable via the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. These are the five strings of sensuality. Now, any pleasure & happiness that arises dependent on these five strings of sensuality is called sensual pleasure, a filthy pleasure, a run-of-the-mill pleasure, an ignoble pleasure. And of this pleasure I say that it is not to be cultivated, not to be developed, not to be pursued, that it is to be feared.


So, is the "kaya" that experiences "pitisukha born of seclusion" the same "kaya" that cognises tactility (potthaba) in the above kamaguna formula -

Katame pañca? Cakkhuviññeyyā rūpā iṭṭhā kantā manāpā piyarūpā kāmūpasaṃhitā rajanīyā. Sotaviññeyyā saddā...pe... ghānaviññeyyā gandhā... jivhāviññeyyā rasā... kāyaviññeyyā phoṭṭhabbā iṭṭhā kantā manāpā piyarūpā kāmūpasaṃhitā rajanīyā.


Now, if MN 43 limits the physical kaya to contacting photthaba, and MN 66 is clear that Jhana's pitisukha is sambodhi sukha and nothing like the "kāmasukha" of the kāmagunā, how in the world can one experience Jhana as a pleasant feeling with the physical body?

Could somebody pls describe to me how it feels like to experience Jhanic pitisukha via the physical body?
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Alex123 » Tue May 31, 2011 2:28 am

Sylvester wrote:I think a little more care is needed for the key terms rūpasañña, paṭighasañña, and nānattasañña in the discussion of the transition from the Rupa Jhanas to the Arupa attainments.


Lets start with the first word, rūpasañña. On which sense base does it depend on, from which sense base does it originate?

In the suttas such as DN22 it lists 6 types of sañña: Rūpasaññā, Saddasaññā, Gandhasaññā, Rasasaññā, Phoṭṭhabbasaññā, Dhammasaññā.

These are based on corresponding 6 sense organs (Cakkhāyatanaṃ sotāyatanaṃ ghānāyatanaṃ jivhāyatanaṃ kāyāyatanaṃ manāyatanaṃ)
and their objects (Rūpāyatanaṃ saddāyatanaṃ gandhāyatanaṃ rasāyatanaṃ phoṭṭhabbāyatanaṃ dhammāyatanaṃ)


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

Dependent on the intellect & ideas there arises consciousness at the intellect.
Manañca paṭicca dhamme ca uppajjati manoviññāṇaṃ
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


And of course with viññāṇa there comes corresponding sañña from that sense base.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Tue May 31, 2011 3:57 am

Alex123 wrote:
Sylvester wrote:I think a little more care is needed for the key terms rūpasañña, paṭighasañña, and nānattasañña in the discussion of the transition from the Rupa Jhanas to the Arupa attainments.


Lets start with the first word, rūpasañña. On which sense base does it depend on, from which sense base does it originate?

In the suttas such as DN22 it lists 6 types of sañña: Rūpasaññā, Saddasaññā, Gandhasaññā, Rasasaññā, Phoṭṭhabbasaññā, Dhammasaññā.



I wonder if this method of looking for a term "rūpasaññā" used in the context of DN 22 can be helpful in understanding rūpasaññā used in other contexts. Certainly, I would grant that DN 22's rūpasaññā must refer only to "perception of cakkhuviññeyyā rūpā/eye-cognisable forms" and that rūpa in this context must mean visual data.

Is this meaning appropriate in the context of rūpasaññā when applied to the Arupa transition formula? How about MN 102's foil between rūpasaññā and arūpasaññā -

Ye kho te bhonto samaṇabrāhmaṇā saññiṃ attānaṃ paññapenti arogaṃ paraṃ maraṇā, rūpiṃ vā te bhonto samaṇabrāhmaṇā saññiṃ attānaṃ paññapenti arogaṃ paraṃ maraṇā, arūpiṃ vā te bhonto samaṇabrāhmaṇā saññiṃ attānaṃ paññapenti arogaṃ paraṃ maraṇā, rūpiñca arūpiñca vā te bhonto samaṇabrāhmaṇā saññiṃ attānaṃ paññapenti arogaṃ paraṃ maraṇā, nevarūpiṃ nārūpiṃ vā te bhonto samaṇabrāhmaṇā saññiṃ attānaṃ paññapenti arogaṃ paraṃ maraṇā, ekattasaññiṃ vā te bhonto samaṇabrāhmaṇā saññiṃ attānaṃ paññapenti arogaṃ paraṃ maraṇā, nānattasaññiṃ vā te bhonto samaṇabrāhmaṇā saññiṃ attānaṃ paññapenti arogaṃ paraṃ maraṇā, parittasaññiṃ vā te bhonto samaṇabrāhmaṇā saññiṃ attānaṃ paññapenti arogaṃ paraṃ maraṇā, appamāṇasaññiṃ vā te bhonto samaṇabrāhmaṇā saññiṃ attānaṃ paññapenti arogaṃ paraṃ maraṇā, yā vā panetāsaṃ saññānaṃ parisuddhā paramā aggā anuttariyā akkhāyati— yadi rūpasaññānaṃ yadi arūpasaññānaṃ yadi ekattasaññānaṃ yadi nānattasaññānaṃ.


Now, does this context of contrasting rūpa "self" versus arūpa "self" mean that we should read rūpasaññā in this text to mean the khandha perception of visual data, discussed in your citation of DN 22, or the more standard cosmological reading of "material" versus "immaterial"?

And how about the occurence of rūpasaññā in MN 106, where the context was in terms of the 4 great dhatus and the rupa derived therefrom? It's the standard Namarupa formula for rupa, which is not connected with the "cakkhuviññeyyā rūpā" definition.

The problem with the rūpasaññā compound in the Arupa transition formula is that it always translated as "perception of form". But the rūpa stem can just as easily be interpreted in any of the other grammatical cases, other than the accusative case used to render rūpasaññā as "perception of form". As MN 102 shows, what should be an appropriate rendering of the compound is not "perception of form", but "form-ly (adj) perception (noun)". I suspect that the appropriate inflection would probably be the locative case, or else rūpa could easily transformed into its taddhita form "rūpika". The inflection will never show up in the compound, and it's up to us to divine the context to apply the right inflection to the stem.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Freawaru » Tue May 31, 2011 6:32 am

reflection wrote:I'm not saying don't use suttas, I'm just not a supporter of overusing them in debates about meditation. I see almost nobody here using some form of deduction from experience or logic. Mostly it is just sutta vs sutta. Honestly, is that going to get anybody advance in their practice? I think not. Yes, maybe in their practice of pali, but not of the meditation :jumping: Besides, you can color your experiences with wrong interpretation of suttas very easily too.


YES! This happens all too easily. The suttas use, IMO, a technical language based on meditation. Based on what one experiences by concentration and insights.

Thinking one has attained something while it is not so could stop progress or effort. For example, the Buddha said nibbana can be seen here and now makes some people say we are all already enlightened.. Obviously this is a misread the same may be said for "dumbed down jhanas". So I'd say: trust the suttas with care, because they are still subject to your own interpretation.


I think there are also some other tests than comparing with suttas. For example, the experience and practice of jhana leads to the iddhis. By perfecting jhana one gains mastery over the iddhis. So I think a good indication of whether one really experiences jhana is to see if the iddhis appear, too.

Jhana/absorption has nothing to do with coma or sleep. You have got a totally wrong idea of it. In sleep and coma all 6 senses are shutted down, but in jhana the sixth sense (the mind) is still highly aware.


Speaking by experience I think it depends on the object of concentration. If the object is a physical one not all external senses are shut down.

So you are widely awake, in a way more awake than ever. But there is no 5 sense activity and no willpower.


I think there are actually two kinds of will present during jhana. One that keeps the absorption going, a will intrinsic to the specific state. Absorption is a process and it requires will power to keep it. This will power however is automatic during jhana, not experienced as "my will". But it arises. And then there is a second will that enables one to change objects of jhana or to practice mindfulness.

To quote a sutta :toilet:

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives. I recollected my manifold past lives ...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Recollection of past lives did not arise on their own. Nor was he just mindful of whatever happened. While in fourth jhana he actively applied will power to direct his mind to recollect his own lives.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:02 am

Sylvester wrote:I wonder if this method of looking for a term "rūpasaññā" used in the context of DN 22 can be helpful in understanding rūpasaññā used in other contexts.


Why didn't the Buddha use Dhammasaññā then to avoid any other implication of the word?

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

2) As visual object for the cakkhu-āyatana

3) As a plane of existence, Rūpa-Loka
The Brahmas which live there, can see and hear. Moreover the 4 Jhānas seem to correlate to 4 types of planes found in rūpa-loka. Rūpa experience does not need to make one blind and deaf.


It also makes perfect sense for visual data or the material form to be overcomed to enter arūpa planes such as base of infinite space. Space is infinite because there is no longer any visual or material objects to limit it or themselves to be finite.

Points 1 & 2 do not really contradict themselves, especially in the context of our discussion that material sense consciousness is present while in 4 Jhanas.

You see and recognize that which is base for literal earth, water, fire and air.

I am not exactly sure what you mean by MN102 quote. There is certainly perception in immaterial (arūpa) planes, but the perception is of immaterial things.


With metta,

Alex
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby reflection » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:19 am

Freawaru wrote:Recollection of past lives did not arise on their own. Nor was he just mindful of whatever happened. While in fourth jhana he actively applied will power to direct his mind to recollect his own lives.

Hi Freawaru,

He must mean the concentration left after jhana.

Maybe you have experienced heightened sense awareness (much brighter colors, more beautiful sounds etc) after meditation, while in meditation itself those senses probably were not active. It's a sign of concentration still leftover while you are not 'forcefully' concentrating anymore. Because concentration is still so high you could say you are still "in" meditation.

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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby reflection » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:21 am

Alex123 wrote:
reflection wrote:I'm not saying don't use suttas, I'm just not a supporter of overusing them in debates about meditation.


The suttas are higher authority than you or me. That is why, IMHO, they are so important. Until a person reaches awakening, it is almost a given that s/he will often misinterpret things.

Including suttas ;)

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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:24 am

Alex123 wrote:Why didn't the Buddha use Dhammasaññā then to avoid any other implication of the word?


Because we have suttas such as MN 102 to furnish the context of rūpasaññā. Because using "dhammasaññā" in the Arupa transition formula is totally inappropriate. The only 'place' where the perception of dhamma-s is completely transcended is Nirodha sammapatti. "Infinite Space" (with the iti clitic) is a dhamma...

What MN 102 suggests in its usage of rūpasaññā and arūpasaññā is that these terms are NOT functioning as a compound of 2 nouns, where rūpa/arūpa dhammas are the patient of saññā, but as a compound of an adjective (denoted by the stems rūpa/arūpa) and noun (saññā). It does not mean "perception of immaterial things" but "immaterial perception".

If one is to insist that the cognition of sense objects/ kāmā persists in a Jhana, then all of the Jhana's "vivicceva kamehi" formula, plus suttas such as AN 10.72 (Thorns Sutta), will have to be rewritten. Alternatively, wherever kāmā appears in the Canon, they will have to be interpreted as sensual desire, instead of sense objects. I wonder what the First Sermon will look like thereafter...

As for your point #3, standard Buddhist cosmology distinguishes the kāmaloka from the rupaloka by the absence of the kāmā in the latter. Which sutta actually provides an episode where a Brahma used eyes and ears to phusati visual data and sounds? It might be the AN episode concerning the return of Hatthaka Alavaka, but as I recall that sutta, the "gross rupa" that 'he' took was only after the Buddha suggested it. Even then, there is no indication in that sutta to suggest that that Brahma did not communicate like Brahma Sahampati in the Invitation suttas, ie read the Buddha's mind.

PS - if you're thinking of MN 49, there's a problem reading that sutta literally, instead of being a metaphor...
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Freawaru » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:49 am

reflection wrote:
Freawaru wrote:Recollection of past lives did not arise on their own. Nor was he just mindful of whatever happened. While in fourth jhana he actively applied will power to direct his mind to recollect his own lives.

Hi Freawaru,

He must mean the concentration left after jhana.


I don't think so. There is not much concentration left after falling out of jhana. Concentration is an aspect of jhana and I believe Bhante G that volition is an aspect of jhana, too, according to the suttas. So (by own experience and also the opinion of at least one teacher) I do not think it is necessary to leave jhana to practice insight.

http://www.bhavanasociety.org/resource/ ... vipassana/

Maybe you have experienced heightened sense awareness (much brighter colors, more beautiful sounds etc) after meditation,


I have analysed this phenomena for a while and I don't think it is due to concentration. It is our subjective impression due to the thoughts and other mental activities that usually dominate our mind not yet dominating. I can shift from "less bright colors" to "much brighter colors" and back simply by paying more attention to them. A change regarding the level of concentration is not necessary. Usually, our thoughts, images and memories, logic etc are like on a window. We look through this window but we just see what is on the window. What is behind the window is often ignored - it is like you focus on the window and everything behind is blurred. Once you shift your focus to behind the window the thoughts (etc) become blurred and what is behind it becomes sharp and clear. You can also observe this phenomena when coming out of strong emotions. While there are strong emotions, anger, fear, sadness, and so on, we don't really see the beauty of a sunset. Once they subside we suddenly hear the birds and enjoy the wind again.

while in meditation itself those senses probably were not active. It's a sign of concentration still leftover while you are not 'forcefully' concentrating anymore. Because concentration is still so high you could say you are still "in" meditation.


I agree that when thoughts, images and so on appear less on the "window" mindfulness practice of what is behind the "window" is easier. But remember that sati should be developed to observe the "window" and the thoughts, images and so on appearing on it, too.

It is my experience that during absorption and states of high concentration (such as "flow" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29 ) there can also be sati. And there can also be other functions such as volition and observation and analysis. It is very much like riding a horse ( viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8448 ). When doing it in the right way the "horse" will obey the rider's will immediately and without resistance - it is called "throughness" in the case of a horse, don't know what it is called in Pali when taken in the context of jhana). This mental "throughness" during jhana is very useful to practice sati and analysis and the key to use "openings".
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:58 am

Hi all,

I seem to remember a sutta which talks of using the breath to get to all the jhanas. Then the anapanasati sutta talks of feeling piti sukha (niramisa, dare I say) along with the breath.

Sylvester, are you saying that the absorption into jhanas is by secluding oneself from sights, sounds, sensations etc, therefore there cannot be any of those sensory impressions in a rupa jhana? To me seclusion means withdrawing the mind from those states. Not the inability to perceive those states if one wishes to do so. The mind has a tendency to focus inwardly in jhana. This to me is seclusion. Not abandonment.

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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:54 am

rowyourboat wrote:Hi all,

I seem to remember a sutta which talks of using the breath to get to all the jhanas. Then the anapanasati sutta talks of feeling piti sukha (niramisa, dare I say) along with the breath.

Sylvester, are you saying that the absorption into jhanas is by secluding oneself from sights, sounds, sensations etc, therefore there cannot be any of those sensory impressions in a rupa jhana? To me seclusion means withdrawing the mind from those states. Not the inability to perceive those states if one wishes to do so. The mind has a tendency to focus inwardly in jhana. This to me is seclusion. Not abandonment.

With metta

Matheesha


Hi Mateesha

Yes, that is how I interpret the vivicceva kamehi seclusion formula, but No, that is not how I interpret the mechanics of plopping into 1st Jhana. Two reasons for my Yes -

1. there is the 2nd seclusion formula that also needs to be fulfilled, ie "vivicca akusalehi dhammehi". In this seclusion formula, the other suttas suggest that the akusala dhamma-s are the Hindrances, which must be totally suppressed. It looks odd that the seclusion/vivicca from the kāmā should somehow be lesser than the total seclusion from the Hindrances such that one can phusati the kāmā.

2. secondly, the kāmā seclusion is given an emphatic clitic "eva" to drive home the point that the non-appearance of contact based on the kāmā is an important hallmark of the transition from "normal" consciousness into 1st Jhana.

As for my No qualifier on the mechanics of entering Jhana, here I depart from the Visudhimagga. That text presents the vacisankhara as being the means to build up the momentum to get into Jhana; nothing wrong with this Commentarial method per se, since it is based on the Dhammasangani typology of cittas, where 1st Jhana citta is treated as sasankharika (induced). I interpret the vacisankhara in 1st Jhana as being residual, instead of instrumental, based on my understanding of MN 19 and MN 78. My understanding of the entry mechanism is NOT to intentionally suppress the kāmā but to instead develop the indriyas in accordance with the first set of instructions in MN 152. Instead of avoiding the kāmā, MN 152 instructs us to develop another way of relating to the states brought about by phassa with the exterior, ie by relating to the feelings that ensue from that contact. Notice that MN 152's instructions to develop nibbida is targetted at sekha-s only; the putthujanas are simply encouraged to develop the uppekha cetasika vedana. And where else is this uppekha to be found, but in the outcome to the satipatthana refrain to give up abhijja and domanassa. So, my understanding is that entry into the Jhanas is really through the satipatthana "exercises" - no avoidance, but simply observing with the recollection that those ensuing states are impermanent.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:25 am

Freawaru wrote:To quote a sutta :toilet:

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives. I recollected my manifold past lives ...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Recollection of past lives did not arise on their own. Nor was he just mindful of whatever happened. While in fourth jhana he actively applied will power to direct his mind to recollect his own lives.



Hmm, how did you read the English translation to import abhinna within 4th Jhana? What do you think the Pali is saying with its rather special construction -

So evaṃ samāhite citte parisuddhe pariyodāte anaṅgaṇe vigatūpakkilese mudubhūte kammaniye ṭhite āneñjappatte pubbenivāsānussatiñāṇāya cittaṃ abhininnāmesiṃ. So anekavihitaṃ pubbenivāsaṃ anussarāmi, seyyathidaṃ.....
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Freawaru » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:05 am

Sylvester wrote:
Freawaru wrote:To quote a sutta :toilet:

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives. I recollected my manifold past lives ...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Recollection of past lives did not arise on their own. Nor was he just mindful of whatever happened. While in fourth jhana he actively applied will power to direct his mind to recollect his own lives.



Hmm, how did you read the English translation to import abhinna within 4th Jhana?


"I recollected my manifold past lives" is an iddhi.

In the context of the bases for power, however, the word specifically means the supranormal powers that can be developed through concentration, such as levitation, walking on water, clairaudience, clairvoyance, remembrance of past lives, the ability to read the minds of others, and the ending of mental effluents.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#part2-d


"The mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability" describes fourth jhana.

What do you think the Pali is saying with its rather special construction -

So evaṃ samāhite citte parisuddhe pariyodāte anaṅgaṇe vigatūpakkilese mudubhūte kammaniye ṭhite āneñjappatte pubbenivāsānussatiñāṇāya cittaṃ abhininnāmesiṃ. So anekavihitaṃ pubbenivāsaṃ anussarāmi, seyyathidaṃ.....


I have no idea. But I have experienced jhana and have an idea of it's power and I have experienced some iddhis and thus have an idea of what happens when they are accessed. This is what I base my opinion on. That there are some experts of Pali who teach the same is just a bonus.

The iddhis can arise during jhana but also external to formal meditation. When needed the mind knows how to concentrate itself to access them when necessary or required. I can only recommend the practice of jhana to become able to access the ñānavipphārā-iddhi during times of danger. This iddhi might not lead to enlightenment but it is quite useful for survival.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:57 pm

Sylvester wrote:Because we have suttas such as MN 102 to furnish the context of rūpasaññā. Because using "dhammasaññā" in the Arupa transition formula is totally inappropriate. The only 'place' where the perception of dhamma-s is completely transcended is Nirodha sammapatti. "Infinite Space" (with the iti clitic) is a dhamma...


It would be misleading on Buddha's part to use perception based on visible form to designate perception of object coming from the mind only. Without 5 saññā-s , what is left is dhammasaññā (or perception of such-and-such an āyatana). If we say that ALL 5 senses shut down in 1st Jhāna, then we couldn't go above 4th Jhāna, it would be Nirodha Sammapatti.

"And why do you call it 'form'?[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. Kiñca bhikkhave, rūpaṃ vadetha: rūppatīti kho bhikkhave, tasmā rūpanti vuccati. Kena rūppati: sītena'pi ruppati uṇhena'pi ruppati jighacchāya'pi ruppati pipāsāya'pi ruppati ḍaṃsamakasavātātapasiriṃsapasamphassena'pi ruppati. Ruppatīti kho bhikkhave, tasmā rūpanti vuccati.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... html#fnt-1

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


What is the difference between 4th Jhana and base of infinite space? In 4th Jhana one can still perceive rūpa (rūpasaññā is not yet overcomed). In the base of infinite space one cannot. Hence, base of infinite space, is an arūpa attainment.



Sylvester wrote:What MN 102 suggests in its usage of rūpasaññā and arūpasaññā is that these terms are NOT functioning as a compound of 2 nouns, where rūpa/arūpa dhammas are the patient of saññā, but as a compound of an adjective (denoted by the stems rūpa/arūpa) and noun (saññā). It does not mean "perception of immaterial things" but "immaterial perception".


To speak precisely, ALL perception, all feeling, is felt in the mind. Even perception of sight or sound, is mental. The object and the base, are physical. So while saññā of rūpasaññā (as well as 4 other) are still mental, they are based from physical bases and their corresponding objects.



Sylvester wrote:As for your point #3, standard Buddhist cosmology distinguishes the kāmaloka from the rupaloka by the absence of the kāmā in the latter. Which sutta actually provides an episode where a Brahma used eyes and ears to phusati visual data and sounds?


There are plenty of suttas where the Buddha has spoken to Brahmas. There are suttas where they came to speak to the Buddha.


Here is how I understand it:

Both in kāma and rūpaloka there is seeing and hearing. But there is no seeing or hearing in arūpaloka, thus the Buddha couldn't teach worldlings such as Alara Kalama and Uddaka who were reborn there. But the Buddha could teach Brahmas.

Sensuality (kāma) is purely mental and it comes from defilements which are purely mental. Seeing, hearing, etc, are Not defilements themselves. It is mental addition of kāma that makes it unwholesome, and what is unwholesome is kāma, not this or that viññāṇaṃ.

If desire and seeing (or hearing) where identical, then the only way to get rid of desire was to stop seeing or hearing. In such a case a blind-deaf person would be fully awakened for s/he doesn't see or hear. The defilements such as sensuality (kāma) is mental, and is blameworthy. Not mere seeing. So what needs to be developed is the cessation of (kāma), not cakkhuviññāṇaṃ etc, which are only ethically neutral.


Sylvester wrote:secondly, the kāmā seclusion is given an emphatic clitic "eva" to drive home the point that the non-appearance of contact based on the kāmā is an important hallmark of the transition from "normal" consciousness into 1st Jhana.


And kāmā is not 5 sense objects. It is purely mental event that originates from kilesas and ignorance which are totally mental. So in that part what is suppressed is the mental defilements, not ethically neutral phenomena such as this or that viññāṇa.


"the eye is not the fetter of forms, nor are forms the fetter of the eye, but whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there. The ear is not the fetter of sounds... The nose is not the fetter of aromas... The tongue is not the fetter of flavors... The body is not the fetter of tactile sensations... The intellect is not the fetter of ideas, nor are ideas the fetter of the intellect, but whatever desire & passion arises in dependence on the two of them: That is the fetter there."" - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



With best wishes,

Alex
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby daverupa » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:20 pm

How does MN 64 fit into this discussion? That Greater Discourse to Malunkyaputta mentions the jhanas according to the boilerplate, and after each it reads:

""Whatever exists therein of material form, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, he sees those states as impermanent, as suffering, as a disease..."

Next comes the arupa jhana boilerplate, and after each of these a similar refrain to above, with a very notable difference:

"Whatever exists therein of feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, he sees those states as impermanent, as suffering, as a disease..."

It seems apparent that material form, as one of the five aggregates, is still accessible while in 1-4 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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