The Great Jhana Debate

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: The jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:39 pm

Freawaru wrote:what I would call jhana I experience pleasant feeling permeating my body, yes, but no liver and pleura and lungs, just an experience of form permeated by pleasant feeling.

This is what we are discussing.

Freawaru wrote:This rather agrees with the yoga system and the Tibetan system - in both the body made of the elements (the gross body) is not the biological body - of course this is Theravada and it might be different here but I would like some proove to accept that.

What "biological body" is there apart from the interdependence of the four elements and the mind?

If by "Tibetan system" you mean the tantric systems such as the Six Dharma-s of Nāropā, these represent a completely separate path and are beyond the scope of the present discussion.

From among the Sūtrayāna systems of Tibetan Buddhism, regarding dhyāna, one can choose to follow the interpretation of the Vaibhāṣika Sarvāstivāda (which is similar to the classical Theravāda abhidhammika interpretation), or the Sautrāntika interpretation given in the Abhidharmakośabhāsya (which is similar to what is given in the Pāḷi sutta-s), or the Yogācāra interpretation given in the Śrāvakabhūmi (also similar to what is given in the Pāḷi sutta-s).

Freawaru wrote:So from my point of experience I would say that kayanupassana is different from jhana.

Please see MN 119: Kāyagatāsati Sutta section on jhāna.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:50 pm

Dukkhanirodha wrote:just to make it a little bit more salty:
from http://www.leighb.com/jhana_4factors.htm "Five Factors for the First Jhana - NOT!":
There is a wide spread misunderstanding that the first jhana has 5 factors. But this is not what is described in the suttas and is certainly not what the Buddha taught and practiced. The first jhana has 4 factors (Yes! Four - look it up, see it in Pali):
vitakka - thinking
vicara - more thinking, examining
piti - rapture, glee, zest
sukha - happiness
In the vast majority of cases - over 100 suttas, the first jhana is described as having only the 4 factors listed above.

Actually, I found an occurence where Sariputta on being asked what is 1st jhana gives the usual formula with 4 factors, and in the immediate next question about how many factors there are in 1st jhana he states 5 and adds cittekaggata...

what to think about this?

It isn't a problem at all. IMO the few occurrences which list five factors are not as old as the basic jhāna formula. At any rate, the list of five factors doesn't add or take away anything from the formula for the first jhāna.
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Re: The jhana debate

Postby Freawaru » Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:15 pm

Hi Geoff,


Ñāṇa wrote:
Freawaru wrote:what I would call jhana I experience pleasant feeling permeating my body, yes, but no liver and pleura and lungs, just an experience of form permeated by pleasant feeling.

This is what we are discussing.


Then how could it possibly be the biological body?

Freawaru wrote:This rather agrees with the yoga system and the Tibetan system - in both the body made of the elements (the gross body) is not the biological body - of course this is Theravada and it might be different here but I would like some proove to accept that.

What "biological body" is there apart from the interdependence of the four elements and the mind?


The biological body can be sensed and the elemental body can be sensed. They are different. When one is sensing the biological body one can sense liver and heart and intestine and one can learn to control them. The body made of the elements is different, though also linked to the biological body. When one senses blood it is the biological body, when one senses wind or fire it is the elemental. They are completely different frames of reference.

If by "Tibetan system" you mean the tantric systems such as the Six Dharma-s of Nāropā, these represent a completely separate path and are beyond the scope of the present discussion.


I didn't want to discuss them, but simply the fact that in the Tibetan Buddhism the elements do not construct the biological body makes me doubt that it is so in Theravada. For example, in Tibetan Buddhism the decaying process of the biological body is quite different and on a very different time scale than the body made of the elements. According to them at physical death the elements dissolve (and a large part of their training is to stay mindful of it) within a short time (minutes to hours) and is always identical but as we all know the biological body's deceasing process depends on the surrounding and can rather differ and be very slow and take thousands of years (for example in ice). So these two bodies are different. Which is why I doubt that they are identical in Theravada.
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Re: The jhana debate

Postby Freawaru » Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:25 pm

Hi Geoff,

Ñāṇa wrote:
Freawaru wrote:So from my point of experience I would say that kayanupassana is different from jhana.

Please see MN 119: Kāyagatāsati Sutta section on jhāna.


Thanks for the reference. Indeed, according to this sutta not only is jhana body different from the biological body but also it describes the difference between the biological body and the body of the elements. Question answered :smile:
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Re: The jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:05 pm

Freawaru wrote:the fact that in the Tibetan Buddhism the elements do not construct the biological body makes me doubt that it is so in Theravada.... So these two bodies are different. Which is why I doubt that they are identical in Theravada.

Hi Freawaru,

In the Pāḷi sutta-s the parts of the body are forms derived from the four great existents (mahābhūtā). SN 22.56 (S iii 59) Upādānaparivatta Sutta:

    And what is form? The four great existents and the form derived from them: this is called form. From the origination of nutriment comes the origination of form. From the cessation of nutriment comes the cessation of form. And just this noble eightfold path is the path of practice leading to the cessation of form, i.e., right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
SN 22.79 (S iii 86): Khajjanīya Sutta:

    And why do you call it 'form'? Because it is afflicted, 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.
For an analysis of the six elements as they pertain to a living sentient being, see MN 140: Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: The jhana debate

Postby Freawaru » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:27 am

Hi Geoff,


Ñāṇa wrote:
In the Pāḷi sutta-s the parts of the body are forms derived from the four great existents (mahābhūtā). SN 22.56 (S iii 59) Upādānaparivatta Sutta:


Not quite so. There is the biological body and form derived from it. The biological body is one and the form that is derived from it is another. Discernment is important. There is teeth and and there is earth (hardness, solidness, sustained) as derived from it.

"'One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? And how is one not negligent of discernment? These are the six properties: the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, the wind property, the space property, the consciousness property.

"And what is the earth property? The earth property can be either internal or external. What is the internal earth property? Anything internal, within oneself, that's hard, solid, & sustained [by craving]: head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, membranes, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, contents of the stomach, feces, or anything else internal, within oneself, that's hard, solid, and sustained: This is called the internal earth property.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Remember that the main question was "what is atta"? To consider the physical body (more precisely the brain and nervous system) as self is a modern, scientific, way of thinking. Didn't occur to the ancients. People at the time of the Buddha didn't assume the biological body as atta because atta refers to something eternal, lasting, self controling, and indestructible. So the idea was to find something, an atta, inside the biological body via discernment. Concentration practice such as yoga can lead one to sensing the biological body and then one can sense the six properties in it (and external of it - there are no winds coursing through the biological body, it is a different body sensed).

"What self do you posit, Potthapada?"
"I posit a gross self, possessed of form, made up of the four great existents [earth, water, fire, and wind], feeding on physical food."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


This doesn't refer to the biological body. People at the time of the Buddha knew that it could hardly be ever lasting. No Highlander around ;) But it is a serious question whether the elemental body can be considered as atta. And Potthapada asked this question.

    And what is form? The four great existents and the form derived from them: this is called form. From the origination of nutriment comes the origination of form. From the cessation of nutriment comes the cessation of form. And just this noble eightfold path is the path of practice leading to the cessation of form, i.e., right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
SN 22.79 (S iii 86): Khajjanīya Sutta:


Same is described in your quote here. Not the biological nutriment is the origin of form but DO. The solution to dissolve form is not to stop eating biological food. There are deva that have form derived from the elements but no biological body. On the other hand even arahants can have biological bodies.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Sylvester » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:48 am

Dear Geoff

Thanks for the fulsome reply. Before I respond, may I trouble you to please clarify your point -

AN 6.63: kāmā (plural) ≠ kāmaguṇā

Many thanks in advance.
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Re: The jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:30 am

Freawaru wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:In the Pāḷi sutta-s the parts of the body are forms derived from the four great existents (mahābhūtā). SN 22.56 (S iii 59) Upādānaparivatta Sutta:

Not quite so.... There is teeth and and there is earth (hardness, solidness, sustained) as derived from it.

Hi Freawaru,

Actually it is precisely the other way around: earth (solidity), water (cohesion), fire (temperature), and air (motility) are considered primary. All other forms, both internal and external, are derived from these four great existents ((mahābhūtā).

Could you please clarify what you mean by a "biological body" (preferably with reference to the discourses) which is something different from: head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, membranes, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, contents of the stomach, feces, or anything else internal, within oneself, that's hard, solid, and sustained; bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, oil, saliva, mucus, oil-of-the-joints, urine, or anything else internal, within oneself, that's liquid, watery, & sustained; that by which [the body] is warmed, aged, & consumed with fever; and that by which what is eaten, drunk, consumed & tasted gets properly digested; or anything else internal, within oneself, that's fire, fiery, & sustained; up-going winds, down-going winds, winds in the stomach, winds in the intestines, winds that course through the body, in-and-out breathing, or anything else internal, within oneself, that's wind, windy, & sustained; the holes of the ears, the nostrils, the mouth, the [passage] whereby what is eaten, drunk, consumed, & tasted gets swallowed, and where it collects, and whereby it is excreted from below, or anything else internal, within oneself, that's space, spatial, & sustained; cognizing 'pleasure,' cognizing 'pain,' cognizing 'neither pleasure nor pain.'
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Re: The jhana debate

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:33 am

Ñāṇa wrote:Could you please clarify what you mean by a "biological body" (preferably with reference to the discourses) which is something different from: head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, membranes, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, contents of the stomach, feces, or anything else internal, within oneself, that's hard, solid, and sustained; bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, oil, saliva, mucus, oil-of-the-joints, urine, or anything else internal, within oneself, that's liquid, watery, & sustained; that by which [the body] is warmed, aged, & consumed with fever; and that by which what is eaten, drunk, consumed & tasted gets properly digested; or anything else internal, within oneself, that's fire, fiery, & sustained; up-going winds, down-going winds, winds in the stomach, winds in the intestines, winds that course through the body, in-and-out breathing, or anything else internal, within oneself, that's wind, windy, & sustained; the holes of the ears, the nostrils, the mouth, the [passage] whereby what is eaten, drunk, consumed, & tasted gets swallowed, and where it collects, and whereby it is excreted from below, or anything else internal, within oneself, that's space, spatial, & sustained; cognizing 'pleasure,' cognizing 'pain,' cognizing 'neither pleasure nor pain.'

Icky. I don't want one of those.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:39 am

Sylvester wrote:Before I respond, may I trouble you to please clarify your point -

AN 6.63: kāmā (plural) ≠ kāmaguṇā

Hi Sylvester,

Good to hear from you again. I hope you had a fruitful retreat.

AN 6.63 (A iii 410):

Api ca kho, bhikkhave, nete kāmā, kāmaguṇā nāmete ariyassa vinaye vuccanti –
Saṅkapparāgo purisassa kāmo,
Nete kāmā yāni citrāni loke.

Here:

kāmā are not the same as kāmaguṇā
kāma is not the same as yāni citrāni loke
kāma is equated with saṅkapparāgo

[edit: typo]
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Re: The jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:33 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:or anything else internal, within oneself, that's wind, windy...

Icky. I don't want one of those.

Some are full of hot air.... :jumping:
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Re: The jhana debate

Postby Freawaru » Mon Jun 21, 2010 1:27 pm

Hi Geoff,

Looks like we use the same suttas but the meaning we draw from them differs.

Ñāṇa wrote:Actually it is precisely the other way around: earth (solidity), water (cohesion), fire (temperature), and air (motility) are considered primary.


Primary for what ?

All other forms, both internal and external, are derived from these four great existents ((mahābhūtā).


Teeth are percieved (sanna) as form, they are not a form themselves. Form is irrelevant. Arahants have teeth.

Compare these:

"Furthermore, the monk reflects on this very body from the soles of the feet on up, from the crown of the head on down, surrounded by skin and full of various kinds of unclean things: 'In this body there are head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin-oil, saliva, mucus, fluid in the joints, urine.' Just as if a sack with openings at both ends were full of various kinds of grain — wheat, rice, mung beans, kidney beans, sesame seeds, husked rice — and a man with good eyesight, pouring it out, were to reflect, 'This is wheat. This is rice. These are mung beans. These are kidney beans. These are sesame seeds. This is husked rice'; in the same way, the monk reflects on this very body
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


and

"Furthermore, the monk contemplates this very body — however it stands, however it is disposed — in terms of properties: 'In this body there is the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, & the wind property.' Just as a skilled butcher or his apprentice, having killed a cow, would sit at a crossroads cutting it up into pieces, the monk contemplates this very body — however it stands, however it is disposed — in terms of properties:
(same sutta)


They are different. One is compared to discerning different kinds of grains and the other to cutting up pieces from a dead animal like a butcher. Grains are not made of meat pieces. But one can cook them together if inclined so.

In any case the discernment of the elements is a different process than the discernment of the biological body.


Could you please clarify what you mean by a "biological body" (preferably with reference to the discourses) which is something different from: head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, ..


Very same biological body. Biological body consists of cells, blood, etc. When going deeper with a microscope one sees the chemical "elements" (none is fire, earth, etc) and going deeper one reaches the physical world, atoms, etc. No fire, earth, water and air to be found anywhere.

From a meditation point of view I never saw an atom. But I can go either the element route or the direct route of being aware of the biological body. Why don't you try it yourself: when going into meditation don't follow the elemental path, don't pay attention to the winds that circle the heart. Stick to the biological, follow the heart beat itself.

Or compare to the root sequence of all phenomena here: http://www.dhammavinaya.com/sutta/mn/1.html

It describes a very different world than the biological and physical and chemical.
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Re: The jhana debate

Postby Nyana » Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:04 pm

Freawaru wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Actually it is precisely the other way around: earth (solidity), water (cohesion), fire (temperature), and air (motility) are considered primary.

Primary for what ?

Primary or not-derived (noupādā) in the sense that they cannot be further reduced via phenomenological analysis. All other forms are considered to be comprised of combinations of earth (solidity), water (cohesion), fire (temperature), and air (motility). Therefore, all other forms are considered to be derived form (upādāya rūpa).

Freawaru wrote:Teeth are percieved (sanna) as form, they are not a form themselves. Form is irrelevant. Arahants have teeth.

All forms are perceived. There's no need to read philosophical realism into the dhamma.

Freawaru wrote:In any case the discernment of the elements is a different process than the discernment of the biological body.... when going into meditation don't follow the elemental path, don't pay attention to the winds that circle the heart. Stick to the biological, follow the heart beat itself.

This is a meaningless distinction in regard to dhamma soteriology.

Freawaru wrote:Or compare to the root sequence of all phenomena here: http://www.dhammavinaya.com/sutta/mn/1.html

It describes a very different world than the biological and physical and chemical.

MN 1 shows that there's no need to ever read any realist ontology or metaphysics of any sort into the discourses.
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Re: The jhana debate

Postby Freawaru » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:11 am

Hi Geoff,

Ñāṇa wrote:
Freawaru wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Actually it is precisely the other way around: earth (solidity), water (cohesion), fire (temperature), and air (motility) are considered primary.

Primary for what ?

Primary or not-derived (noupādā) in the sense that they cannot be further reduced via phenomenological analysis. All other forms are considered to be comprised of combinations of earth (solidity), water (cohesion), fire (temperature), and air (motility). Therefore, all other forms are considered to be derived form (upādāya rūpa).


Sure. By manipulating the elements I can change form. I can grow wings or move objects or conjur up broomsticks. This is how it works. Have tried it with the biological body, too. Does not work here.

Freawaru wrote:Teeth are percieved (sanna) as form, they are not a form themselves. Form is irrelevant. Arahants have teeth.

All forms are perceived.


Yes - and that is the problem: Perception. It is sanna that is limited to

perceives earth as earth. Perceiving earth as earth, he conceives [things] about earth, he conceives [things] in earth, he conceives [things] coming out of earth, he conceives earth as 'mine,' he delights in earth. Why is that? Because he has not comprehended it, I tell you.
http://www.dhammavinaya.com/sutta/mn/1.html


Don't trust sanna.

Freawaru wrote:In any case the discernment of the elements is a different process than the discernment of the biological body.... when going into meditation don't follow the elemental path, don't pay attention to the winds that circle the heart. Stick to the biological, follow the heart beat itself.

This is a meaningless distinction in regard to dhamma soteriology.


It is about meditation, more precisely about discernment. As thus actually one of the main aspects of it.

Freawaru wrote:Or compare to the root sequence of all phenomena here: http://www.dhammavinaya.com/sutta/mn/1.html

It describes a very different world than the biological and physical and chemical.

MN 1 shows that there's no need to ever read any realist ontology or metaphysics of any sort into the discourses.


You don't classify deva and Brahman and Pajapati and lumious gods as metaphysical?
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Re: The jhana debate

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:35 pm

Freawaru wrote:Hi Geoff,

Ñāṇa wrote:Primary or not-derived (noupādā) in the sense that they cannot be further reduced via phenomenological analysis. All other forms are considered to be comprised of combinations of earth (solidity), water (cohesion), fire (temperature), and air (motility). Therefore, all other forms are considered to be derived form (upādāya rūpa).


Sure. By manipulating the elements I can change form. I can grow wings or move objects or conjur up broomsticks. This is how it works. Have tried it with the biological body, too. Does not work here.


Where did you get that from? I don't see that kind of implication anywhere...

I think by "primary" Ñāṇa meant something like "primary colors", from which (at least, according to the color theory) supposedly all of the complex shades of colors can be derived from.

Each of the elements just describes a specific quality, which can't be broken down any further (that's why it's called an element). You can use this to describe any aspect of a phenomena that you might want to, such as a biological body. It's a simplified system. I don't think that it's supposed to be taken literally.
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Re: The jhana debate

Postby Freawaru » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:46 pm

Hi beeblebrox,

are you by chance related to a certain two-headed individuum ? :wink:

beeblebrox wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Primary or not-derived (noupādā) in the sense that they cannot be further reduced via phenomenological analysis. All other forms are considered to be comprised of combinations of earth (solidity), water (cohesion), fire (temperature), and air (motility). Therefore, all other forms are considered to be derived form (upādāya rūpa).


Sure. By manipulating the elements I can change form. I can grow wings or move objects or conjur up broomsticks. This is how it works. Have tried it with the biological body, too. Does not work here.


Where did you get that from? I don't see that kind of implication anywhere...


Visuddhimagga. Play with the elements - get the iddhis. For example changing form (shape shifting). Say, one tunes in earth of the nails, then one moves the earth element outward and grows claws. In the non-physical realms one can even see and feel them, use them. But not in the biological/physical one. So my conclusion is that the body that is made of the elements is not the physical/biological one.

The mind is a strange thingy. There are people who are barely skin and bones and still feel too fat. One can suggest to oneself one is touching fire and the skin reacts but no heat had really ever been transferred. I think the body made of the elements (the gross body) is what is known as the chakra nadi system in other Buddhist traditions, not the one found when looking into a microscope.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:42 pm

Good to see someone familiar with the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. :tongue: That's interesting... I never knew that about iddhis.
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Postby acinteyyo » Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:54 pm

beeblebrox wrote:Good to see someone familiar with the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. :tongue: That's interesting... I never knew that about iddhis.

It's all about 42... ;) and sorry for the off-topic-post, couldn't resist...
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.

:anjali:
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Re: The jhana debate

Postby IanAnd » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:40 pm

Freawaru wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:
Freawaru wrote:Ñāṇa wrote:
Primary or not-derived (noupādā) in the sense that they cannot be further reduced via phenomenological analysis. All other forms are considered to be comprised of combinations of earth (solidity), water (cohesion), fire (temperature), and air (motility). Therefore, all other forms are considered to be derived form (upādāya rūpa).


Sure. By manipulating the elements I can change form. I can grow wings or move objects or conjur up broomsticks. This is how it works. Have tried it with the biological body, too. Does not work here.


Where did you get that from? I don't see that kind of implication anywhere...

Visuddhimagga. Play with the elements - get the iddhis. For example changing form (shape shifting). . . .

This thread has gone beyond the pale, as well as leaning toward veering off topic. This is a Theravada forum, where reason and right thinking still prevail. Pray tell, where in the Visuddhimagga are any of these ideas you are ascribing to it to be found, which can be backed up by quotations from the Pali discourses? Please be specific with appropriate quotations from both the Visuddhi and the canon to back up your assertion.

What seems to have occurred here is a misunderstanding and a misinterpretation of these writings.

Freawaru wrote:The mind is a strange thingy. There are people who are barely skin and bones and still feel too fat. One can suggest to oneself one is touching fire and the skin reacts but no heat had really ever been transferred. I think the body made of the elements (the gross body) is what is known as the chakra nadi system in other Buddhist traditions, not the one found when looking into a microscope.

Is this the kind of "chakra nadi system" you are speaking of? "Nāḍi (the Sanskrit for 'tube, pipe') are the channels through which, in traditional Indian medicine and spiritual science, the energies of the subtle body are said to flow."

And if so, where in the Pali suttas are these ideas to be found? Remember this is a Theravadin forum, not a Mahayana forum. I'm not even certain that any of these ideas are expressed in the Mahayana literature. On the other hand, these are clearly traditional Indian medicine concepts (which perhaps have also been adapted into Hindu yoga systems of thought and perhaps even some Tibetan ways of thinking), which have nothing to do with any Buddhist tradition that I'm aware of.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: The jhana debate

Postby Freawaru » Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:05 am

H IanAnd,

IanAnd wrote:This thread has gone beyond the pale, as well as leaning toward veering off topic. This is a Theravada forum, where reason and right thinking still prevail. Pray tell, where in the Visuddhimagga are any of these ideas you are ascribing to it to be found, which can be backed up by quotations from the Pali discourses? Please be specific with appropriate quotations from both the Visuddhi and the canon to back up your assertion.


Iddhi: 'power', 'magical power'. The magical powers constitute one of the 6 kinds of higher spiritual powers abhiññā. One distinguishes many kinds of magical powers: the power of determination adhitthān iddhi i.e. the power of becoming oneself many; the power of transconstruction vikubbana iddhi i.e. the power of adopting another form; the power of spiritual creation manomaya iddhi i.e. the power of letting issue from this body another mentally produced body; the power of penetrating knowledge ñāna-vipphara iddhi i.e. the power of inherent insight to remain unhurt in danger; the power of penetrating concentration samādhivippharā iddhi producing the same result. The magical powers are treated in detail in Vis.M XII; Pts.M., Vibh. - App.. They are not a necessary condition for final deliverance.

'Noble power' ariyā-iddhi is the power of controlling one's ideas in such a way that one may consider something not repulsive as repulsive and something repulsive as not repulsive, and remain all the time imperturbable and full of equanimity. This training of mind is frequently mentioned in the Suttas e.g. M. 152, A.V. 144, but only once the name of ariyā-iddhi is applied to it D. 28. See further Pts.M., Iddhi-kathā, Vis.M XII.

Iddhi-pāda: 'roads to power' or success are the 4 following qualities,,for as guides, they indicate the road to power connected therewith; and because they form, by way of preparation, the roads to the power constituting the fruition of the path; Vis.M XII, namely:;concentration of intention chanda-samādhi accompanied by effort of will padhāna-sankhāra-samannāgata concentration of energy viriya-samādhi... concentration of consciousness citta-samādhi.. and concentration of investigation vimamsa-samādhi accompanied by effort of will.; As such, they are supra-mundane lokuttara i.e. connected with the path or the fruition of the path; see: ariya-puggala But they are mundane lokiya as predominant factors adhipati see: paccaya, for it is said:;Because the monk, through making intention a predominant factor, reaches concentration, it is called the concentration of intention chanda-samādhi etc.; Vis.M XII.

These 4 roads of power lead to the attaining and acquiring of magical power, to the power of magical transconstruction, to the generation of magical power, and to mastery and skill therein; Pts.M. II. 205, PTS. For a detailed explanation, see: Vis.M XII.

Once the Bhikkhu has thus developed and often practised the 4 roads to power, he enjoys various magical powers,... hears with the divine ear divine and human sounds,... perceives with his mind the mind of other beings... remembers many a former existence... perceives with the divine eye beings passing away and reappearing,... attains, after the ceasing of fermentations, deliverance of mind and deliverance through understanding, free from. fermentations. see: LI, 2. For a detailed explanation of these 6 higher powers, see: abhiññā

Whosoever, o Bhikkhus, has missed the 4 roads to power, he has missed the right path leading to the ceasing of suffering; but whosoever, o Bhikkhus, has reached the 4 roads to power, he has reached the right path leading to the ceasing of suffering; see: LI, 2.
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... .htm#iddhi


Again we find an identity to other Buddhist traditions such as the Tibetan. The conscious manipulation of the elements is the way to achieve the iddhis (siddhis), such as the vikubbana iddhi (shape shifting).

What seems to have occurred here is a misunderstanding and a misinterpretation of these writings.
Is this the kind of "chakra nadi system" you are speaking of? "Nāḍi (the Sanskrit for 'tube, pipe') are the channels through which, in traditional Indian medicine and spiritual science, the energies of the subtle body are said to flow."


Yes. That is what I mean. I don't know if they are mentioned in the suttas, certainly not by this name, but the suttas use them. From a meditation point of view they are inherent of Theravada lore and teachings, too. I mean, practitioners practice metta as taught by Theravada teachers and suddenly experience the related chakras viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4683 Do you think this is a mere conincidence?

As to the suttas take for example:

Anything internal, belonging to oneself, that's wind, windy, & sustained: up-going winds, down-going winds, winds in the stomach, winds in the intestines, winds that course through the body, in-and-out breathing, or anything else internal, within oneself, that's wind, windy, & sustained: This is called the internal wind property.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Could be taken straight from a yoga book regarding the energy called "wind". The Tibetans also have some advanced lore regarding this (and the other) element.

And if so, where in the Pali suttas are these ideas to be found? Remember this is a Theravadin forum, not a Mahayana forum. I'm not even certain that any of these ideas are expressed in the Mahayana literature.


The Bardo Thödol mentions the Sushumna (the Straight Upward Path).

On the other hand, these are clearly traditional Indian medicine concepts (which perhaps have also been adapted into Hindu yoga systems of thought and perhaps even some Tibetan ways of thinking), which have nothing to do with any Buddhist tradition that I'm aware of.


Seriously, except for some Theravada *forums* I have never known anyone who believes that the elements construct the biological body. The gross body is known in other spiritual traditions, too, just as at the time of Potthapada, and even Potthapada et al thought it might be ever lasting Self and not the biological body. Do you all really think that Potthapada believed the biological body to be eternal and unchanging?

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

I will turn this around. Please provide prove (suttic, meditational, rational or otherwise) stating that the gross body refers to the biological one!
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