Bhante G vs. Bhante G

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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Nyana » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:35 am

Anyway, MN 111, the Paṭisambhidāmagga, and the Dhammasaṅgaṇī are all canonical authorities which support Bhante G's teachings on developing vipassanā within jhāna.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Sylvester » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:14 am

Hi Geoff

I note your point about the "anupadadhammavipassanāya hoti" preface. I think I will go with the standard sutta formula of insight/vipassana being described by "pajanati", which in MN 111 is found only in the 2nd cluster, and not with the 1st cluster.

In fact, anupadadhammavipassanāya being a reference to the "pajanati" cluster fits in nicely with the attainments where there is no reference to "anupada". I mentioned previously that the final 2 sequences do not have "pajanati", unlike the sequences describing vipassana into the first 7 attainments (nor do the final 2 contain the anupada refrain, given the diminishment/absence of sanna)). This gives a nice fit of what anupadadhammavipassanāya was intended to refer to, ie the "pajanati" refrains in the first 7 attainments, which is the standard sutta method of describing vipassana. And these refrains, as I have pointed out, are clearly indicated by the verb forms to be temporally disjunct from the anupada refrains. I think a textbook grammatical construction of MN 111 is actually in favour of post-Jhana vipassana. It just does not come through in the English.
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Nyana » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:25 am

Sylvester wrote:I note your point about the "anupadadhammavipassanāya hoti" preface. I think I will go with the standard sutta formula of insight/vipassana being described by "pajanati", which in MN 111 is found only in the 2nd cluster, and not with the 1st cluster.

Of course you will. I will go with vipassanā pertaining to both (i.e. within jhāna and post-jhāna). This is the intention of the discourse, and supported by the Paṭisambhidāmagga, the Dhammasaṅgaṇī, the Mahāvibhāṣā, and the Abhidharmakośabhāṣya (i.e. all major Indian Sthaviravāda texts).

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Sylvester » Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:35 am

Hi Geoff

I think it's going to be difficult to hang MN 111's "vavatthita" dhamma onto the Dhammasangani, especially when the Dhammasangani's list of synonyms for "vipassana" includes the usual suspects (including the noun root pajānanā for MN 111's verb pajanati) but no sight at all of vavatthāna or any of its verb derivatives.

As for the Patisambhidamagga, I ran through its Gocaranānattañāṇaniddesa and sussed out its usage of the verb "vavattheti". Unsurprisingly, it is applied to external sounds as well (plus the other 4 external sense objects). Is the meditator in Jhana receiving such external data so that can he "vavattheti" them while in Jhana? Seems to run contrary to the axiom that "sound is a thorn in first jhana". It's clear that the Patisambhidamagga's usage of "vavattheti" allows for post-Jhana work.
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:40 am

Despite the small scale sniping, this is a rather interesting debate. Thanks to both of you.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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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: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Nyana » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:46 am

Sylvester wrote:I note your point about the "anupadadhammavipassanāya hoti" preface. I think I will go with the standard sutta formula of insight/vipassana being described by "pajanati", which in MN 111 is found only in the 2nd cluster, and not with the 1st cluster.

Again, your forced interpretation fails to account for anupadadhammavipassanāya hoti (vipassanā of phenomena one by one as they occurred). With regard to the first seven attainments, it's not vipassanā of phenomena that had passed, ceased, and changed, it's vipassanā of phenomena one by one as they occurred:

    tyāssa dhammā anupadavavatthitā honti; tyāssa dhammā viditā uppajjanti, viditā upaṭṭhahanti, viditā abbhatthaṃ gacchanti.

    these phenomena were defined by him one by one as they occurred; known to him these phenomena arose, known they were present, known they disappeared.

Here in the first seven attainments these phenomena are differentiated and known as they occur. But when we get to the final two attainments the above passage is replaced by the following:

    so tāya samāpattiyā sato vuṭṭhahati. so tāya samāpattiyā sato vuṭṭhahitvā ye dhammā atītā niruddhā vipariṇatā te dhamme samanupassati 'evaṃ kirame dhammā ahutvā sambhonti, hutvā paṭiventī'ti

    He emerged mindful from that attainment. Having done so, he contemplated the phenomena that had passed, ceased and changed, thus: 'So indeed, these phenomena, not having been, come into being; having been they vanished.'

In the final two attainments phenomena weren't differentiated and known as they occurred because apperception wasn't sufficiently engaged.


Sylvester wrote:It's clear that the Patisambhidamagga's usage of "vavattheti" allows for post-Jhana work.

Read the Psm in toto. The Psm allows for the development of vipassanā pre-jhāna, within jhāna, and post-jhāna.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Nyana » Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:37 pm

MN 111 informs us that in the first seven attainments phenomena are differentiated and known as they occur:

    these phenomena were defined by him one by one as they occurred; known to him these phenomena arose, known they were present, known they disappeared.

This is a description of vipassanā of phenomena one by one as they occurred (anupadadhammavipassanāya hoti). But according to Ven. Brahmavamso's jhāna, there can be no comprehension within jhāna. In The Jhānas Ven. Brahmavamso states:

    When perspective is removed, so is comprehension. Thus in jhāna, not only is there no sense of time, but also there is no comprehension of what is going on.

This lack of comprehension precludes any differentiation and knowing of phenomena one by one as they occur in jhāna. For Ven. Brahmavamso this differentiation and knowing of mental factors is impossible within jhāna. He continues:

    Furthermore, the ultra-stillness of mindfulness in jhāna freezes the activity of mind called comprehension to the extent that, while in jhāna, one can hardly make sense of one's experience. The landmarks of jhāna are only recognized later, after emerging and reviewing.

Therefore, according to Ven. Brahmavamso, the MN 111 statement that "these phenomena were defined by him one by one as they occurred," would be impossible. This passage would have to be discarded for all of the first seven attainments and replaced by the passage: "He emerged mindful from that attainment. Having done so, he contemplated the phenomena that had passed, ceased and changed, thus: 'So indeed, these phenomena, not having been, come into being; having been they vanished.'"

But in the sutta this passage only pertains to the final two attainments because in the final two attainments phenomena cannot be differentiated and known as they occur.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Sylvester » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:18 pm

Noted Geoff.

But you read the vavatthita as vipassana, and I read vavatthita as pertaining to sanna. I won't repeat my reasoning given earlier.

The other difference lies in "when" we view the vipassana to took place. I agree with the translation of anupada...honti being rendered as "one by one as they occured" but the translation by Vens Nanamoli and Bodhi can be easily misread as introducing an unnecessary contemporaneity between the vavattheti and the dhamma.

The anupada...honti/"one by one as they occurred", establishes no temporal linkage between the vavattheti, vidita and pajanati with the dhammas one by one as they occured, given again the difference in the tenses between the verbs.

I try to refer to the standard grammars to get a sense of the Pali, rather than squeezing an untenable reading from the English translation.


Edit -

I think I finally figured out why there is potential for a misreading into the BB translation of a non-existent temporal conjunction between the dhammas and the vavatthita/vipassana. The problem stems from the tag "as they occured".

I agree that "anupada" = "one by one/ as they occured". The first qualifier by itself would be inadequate to convey the full sense of how the "one by one" proceeds. The PED entry will give an idea of what is sought to be conveyed by anupada -

Anupada [cp. Sk. anupadaŋ adv., anu + pada] 1. the "after- foot", i. e. second foot a verse, also a mode of reciting, where the second foot is recited without the first one Vin iv.15 (cp. 355); Miln 340 (anupadena anupadaŋ katheti). -- 2. (adj.) (following) on foot, at every, step, continuous, repeated, in ˚dhamma -- vipassanā uninterrupted contemplation M iii.25; ˚vaṇṇanā word -- by -- word explanation DhsA 168. As nt. adv. ˚ŋ close behind, immediately after (c. gen.) J ii.230 (tassânupadaŋ agamāsi); vi.422. Esp. freq. in combn. padânupadaŋ (adv.) foot after foot, i. e. in the footsteps, immediately behind J iii. 504; vi.555; DhA i.69; ii.38.


"One by one" captures only sequence, but "as they occured" was probably used by BB/Ven N to import also the fact that the sequential train was continuous and uninterrupted. Bhante G says so much himself, when he renders anupada as 'uninterrupted' (although he applied the qualifier to the jhana, rather than to the train of dhammas)

There is no grammatical hint anywhere in MN 111 that "anupada" implies a contemporaneity of vavatthita with the procession of dhammas. All "anupada" was intended to show is that the vavatthita occurred in such a way that there was no break in the contemplation of the procession of dhammas. Nothing was missed out (which probably explains Ven Thanissaro's "ferreted" for vavatthita).

But we're still back to the question - was the vavatthita "real-time" or review? And how does one "do" real-time vavatthita without vitakka-vicara?
Last edited by Sylvester on Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:08 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Sylvester » Wed Jan 05, 2011 3:37 pm

MN 111 informs us that in the first seven attainments phenomena are differentiated and known as they occur:

these phenomena were defined by him one by one as they occurred; known to him these phenomena arose, known they were present, known they disappeared.

This is a description of vipassanā of phenomena one by one as they occurred (anupadadhammavipassanāya hoti). But according to Ven. Brahmavamso's jhāna, there can be no comprehension within jhāna. In The Jhānas Ven. Brahmavamso states:

When perspective is removed, so is comprehension. Thus in jhāna, not only is there no sense of time, but also there is no comprehension of what is going on.

This lack of comprehension precludes any differentiation and knowing of phenomena one by one as they occur in jhāna. For Ven. Brahmavamso this differentiation and knowing of mental factors is impossible within jhāna. He continues:

Furthermore, the ultra-stillness of mindfulness in jhāna freezes the activity of mind called comprehension to the extent that, while in jhāna, one can hardly make sense of one's experience. The landmarks of jhāna are only recognized later, after emerging and reviewing.

Therefore, according to Ven. Brahmavamso, the MN 111 statement that "these phenomena were defined by him one by one as they occurred," would be impossible.


Respectfully, I would suggest that we address the more fundamental problem raised by Ven Analayo regarding the possibility of thought in Jhana, based on the standard Jhana formulae, where the vacisankharas disappear from 2nd Jhana and up. In the face of the hundreds of jhana pericopes that describes 2nd Jhana as being empty of the vacisankharas, and the reference to 2nd Jhana as "Noble Silence", why latch onto ONE sutta and insist on an interpretation of vavatthita that runs counter to all the other pericopes that contradict it?

If we are to discount Mrs Rhys David's suspicions about the provenance of MN 111 and accept it as canonical, it would seem reasonable to give vavatthita (which occurs only in MN 111 in the 4 early Nikayas) a reading which is consistent with the hundreds of pericopes.

I try not to hunt down exotic suttas which run against the current of the standard pericopes.

Read the Psm in toto. The Psm allows for the development of vipassanā pre-jhāna, within jhāna, and post-jhāna.



Does the Psm itself give instructions on when the vavattheti is to be performed? Or are you just giving your interpretation?
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Alexei » Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:59 pm

Sylvester, how can be explained Jhana Sutta (AN 9.36)?

    Idha bhikkhave bhikkhu vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati.

    So yadeva tattha hoti rūpagataṃ vedanāgataṃ saññāgataṃ saṅkhāragataṃ viññāṇagataṃ te dhamme aniccato dukkhato rogato gaṇḍato sallato aghato ābādhato parato palokato suññato anattato samanupassati.

    There is the case where a monk, secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.

    He regards whatever phenomena there that are connected with form, feeling, perception, fabrications, & consciousness, as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self.
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:00 am

Hi Alexei

Your query is in fact related to present tense issue that Piya Tan addresses in the link I posted on page 1. He cites Warder's treatment of the present tense at section 6.2.2.1.

Doubtless, "tattha" indicates whatever that is in Jhana, but the present tense of the anupassati itself is not indicative of missa/simultaneity with the arising or presence of the jhana dhammas.

In fact, one of the points that I have been making about AN 9.36 in this thread is to tie in AN 9.36's characterisation of the first 7 attainments as sannasamapatti, to the vipasanna refrains in MN 111. My suspicion is that given the importance of a functional sanna in qualifying whether or not an attainment is a sannasamapatti or otherwise, we should pay special attention to the verb clusters that differentiate the 7 attainments from the final 2 attainments and see if sanna pertains to the clusters.

Vavatthita and vidita from MN 111 are clustered only into the treatment of the 7 attainments, implying either-

1. they are somehow functional aspects of sanna; or
2. (given the different participles used for vidita v gacchanti etc), vavatthita/vidita could be related to the work done with the paccavekkhaṇa nimitta (reviewing sign), discussed in AN 5.28. There, it is quite clear that the work of "reviewing" is a state apart from the Jhanas themselves.

Either way, MN 111 ends off the 7 attainments with the standard vipassana terminology (pajanati), which differs from the language used for the final 2 attainments. The difference seems also to be covered by AN 9.36, but not directly addressed, save that we can imply that anupassati is not really functional in the final 2 attainments, given the absence of anupassati exhortation for the final 2. Some other form of vipassana work seems to be needed.

I hope the above answers your query.

Perhaps you could share with us how you think anupassati in the 2nd Jhana upwards can take place within that jhana, when vitakka-vicara have disappeared?
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Alexei » Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:25 am

Thank you for your reply, Sylvester.
I try not to take sides because my practical experience is limited. Issue about anupassati in the 2nd jhana is question for me.

But there is also statement "Staying right there, he reaches the ending of the mental fermentations" (So tattha ṭhito āsavānaṃ khayaṃ pāpuṇāti) below "vipassana part". It looks quite strange considering absense of indications of leaving jhana. And MN 111 contains clear description of leaving jhana for the last two attainments (only).
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:31 am

Not to worry, Alexei. It was not my intention to question your credentials or meditation experience. It was just directed at a really serious difficulty with the discursive jhana model. I just cannot reconcile it with the absence of vitakka-vicara.

Methinks the "Staying right there" is no more than a reference to the station of vipassana described by the pajanati in the text. And here is where it gets interesting -

He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'


I cannot understand how this can take place without the vitakka-vicara. Even if one rejects Ven Analayo's suggestion that the vitakka and vicara in the vacisankharas are mere intentions, ripples in the mind at 1st jhana, the above passage will be inconsistent with standard jhana pericopes, if the vacisankharas are interpreted as "thought" and "evaluation". The presence of the "ti" (direct speech marker) is always understood to denote thought in such passages, and it will clearly identify the quoted sentence as a "thought". If one insists that the vacisankhara's vitakka = thought and vicara = evaluation and accept the pericope that these have disappeared in 2nd jhana upwards, then reading "tattha" to mean "in the 2nd Jhana" would mean that the standard 2nd Jhana pericope is wrong, because it introduces thought into a station where vitakka (as per the modernist definition) is supposed to be absent.

Hope this helps in clarifying. My way of approaching these difficult passages is to always be guided first by the pericopes that are abundant, and then see if a reading can be adopted without violating the pericopes. In this case, I think my reading is not quite acrobatic.
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Nyana » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:01 pm

Sylvester wrote:But you read the vavatthita as vipassana, and I read vavatthita as pertaining to sanna.

Vipassanā is also related to saññā. It is saññā which identifies and differentiates unique particulars, not vitakka or vicāra. This also addresses your qualms about what you characterize as "discursive jhāna" and the presence of vipassanā without vitakka or vicāra.

Sylvester wrote:The anupada...honti/"one by one as they occurred", establishes no temporal linkage between the vavattheti, vidita and pajanati with the dhammas one by one as they occured, given again the difference in the tenses between the verbs.

Your interpretation cannot successfully establish a temporal discontinuity between anupadadhammavipassanāya hoti (vipassanā of phenomena one by one as they occurred) and tyāssa dhammā anupadavavatthitā honti; tyāssa dhammā viditā uppajjanti, viditā upaṭṭhahanti, viditā abbhatthaṃ gacchanti (these phenomena were defined by him one by one as they occurred; known to him these phenomena arose, known they were present, known they disappeared). The phrase tyāssa dhammā anupadavavatthitā honti could also be translated as "these phenomena were defined one after another as they occurred."

Sylvester wrote:"One by one" captures only sequence, but "as they occured" was probably used by BB/Ven N to import also the fact that the sequential train was continuous and uninterrupted. Bhante G says so much himself, when he renders anupada as 'uninterrupted' (although he applied the qualifier to the jhana, rather than to the train of dhammas)

One has to consider the entire phrase, not just anupada. For example, anupadadhammavipassanāya hoti and tyāssa dhammā anupadavavatthitā honti. It is the hoti and honti here which have been translated as "as they occurred."

Sylvester wrote:But we're still back to the question - was the vavatthita "real-time" or review?

Real-time.

Sylvester wrote:And how does one "do" real-time vavatthita without vitakka-vicara?

Again, it is saññā which identifies, individuates, differentiates unique particulars, not vitakka or vicāra.

Also, I have included the post quoting Ven. Brahmavamso's jhāna teachings, not in an attempt at personal attack, but because Tan's PDF which you posted is, in part, an attempt to establish the canonical authority of Ven. Brahmavamso's jhāna teachings, and in the process presents a critique of Bhante G's jhāna teachings. Therefore, Ven. Brahmavamso's influence here should be considered.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:37 pm

One has to consider the entire phrase, not just anupada. For example, anupadadhammavipassanāya hoti and tyāssa dhammā anupadavavatthitā honti. It is the hoti and honti here which have been translated as "as they occurred."



Wow Geoff. This is the first time I have seen the simple verb "is" and "are" interpreted in such a manner. What sort of grammatical construction is this?

The "hoti" was not present in this sentence -

sāriputto, bhikkhave, aḍḍhamāsaṃ anupadadhammavipassanaṃ vipassati

during half a month, Sariputta gained insight into states one by one as they occured.


Strange that the redactors forgot to include "honti" in here and were content with just "anupada".

Why do you strain a simple demonstrative "honti" from -

tyāssa dhammā anupadavavatthitā honti

(these states were defined by him one by one as they occured)


when it was clear from the previous paragraph that this "honti" (and all the following 6 "honti") was nothing more than an example of the general "hoti" proposition -

Tatridaṃ, bhikkhave, sāriputtassa anupadadhammavipassanāya hoti.

(Now Sariputta's insight occured into states one by one as they occured was this: )


I would be happy to discuss your grammatical authority for this most unusual construction, but in the meantime, I'll stick with anupada = one by one as they occured = uninterruptedly.


Vipassanā is also related to saññā. It is saññā which identifies and differentiates unique particulars, not vitakka or vicāra


Agreed. But you have ignored the fact that "vavatthita" was being applied to a long list of dhammas, including to saññā itself. I'm sure you don't need me to point out that saññā perceiving saññā real-time is going to give rise to the poly-citta heresy. I think the presence of saññā in the things being differentiated is further demonstration of vavattheti of things past.

How does a one-pointed mind have so many objects without being an oxymoron, unless you are now going to resort to khanika citta per object? It is possible only if vitakka-vicara were present to mobilise the attention, and vitakka-vicara certainly is not supposed to be present in 2nd Jhana up.

I agree with your point about the need to consider Ajahn Brahm's influence. And I hope that that will translate into an open-ness to discussion without the need to resorting to tactics like "ambulance jhana" ever again.
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Nyana » Thu Jan 06, 2011 5:23 pm

Sylvester wrote:
One has to consider the entire phrase, not just anupada. For example, anupadadhammavipassanāya hoti and tyāssa dhammā anupadavavatthitā honti. It is the hoti and honti here which have been translated as "as they occurred."



Wow Geoff. This is the first time I have seen the simple verb "is" and "are" interpreted in such a manner.

PTS PED:

    Hoti, hotabba etc. see bhavati.

    Bhavati: Meanings. 1. to happen, to occur

The meaning of any phrase can only be understood by taking the entire phrase into consideration. This includes considering the full semantic range of all terms employed. This doesn't always allow for direct one-to-one correspondences when translating from Pāli to English. Ven. Bodhi has correctly understood the meaning of these phrases.

Sylvester wrote:I'm sure you don't need me to point out that saññā perceiving saññā real-time is going to give rise to the poly-citta heresy. I think the presence of saññā in the things being differentiated is further demonstration of vavattheti of things past.

No, it's the reflexiveness of saññā (as one cognitive aspect of the reflexiveness of viññāṇa in general).

Sylvester wrote:It is possible only if vitakka-vicara were present to mobilise the attention, and vitakka-vicara certainly is not supposed to be present in 2nd Jhana up.

It is cetanā which performs this function, not vitakka nor vicāra. Neither vitakka nor vicāra "mobilize attention." This notion is due to a very late commentarial semantic-shift of the meaning of these two terms.

Sylvester wrote:How does a one-pointed mind have so many objects without being an oxymoron

These mental factors are all concomitant with one object-support (ārammaṇa). Thus there is no difficulty whatsoever.

Something which really needs to be addressed is that anyone who relies on the jhāna theory of Ven. Brahmavamso (as well as many people who rely on the Visuddhimagga jhāna without a careful study of all relevant older material) is going to have a very different understanding of what jhāna is, than someone who relies on the Tipiṭaka as canonical authority and has also studied other early para-canonical Pāḷi and other Sthaviravāda treatises.

For example, in The Jhānas Ven. Brahmavamso describes singleness of mind as follows:

    One-pointedness describes the mindfulness that is so sharply focused on a minute area of existence. It is one-pointed in space because it only sees the point source of bliss, together with a small area surrounding the bliss caused by the first jhāna wobble.

But the canon offers a much different understanding of singleness of mind (citta ekagga, cittekaggatā). For example, AN 4.12 Sīla Sutta:

    If while he is walking, standing, sitting, or reclining, a monk is free from greed and ill will, from sloth and torpor, from restlessness and worry, and has discarded doubt, then his will has become strong and impregnable; his mindfulness is alert and unclouded; his body is calm and unexcited; his mind is concentrated and collected (samāhitaṃ cittaṃ ekaggaṃ).

And also, differing from Ven. Brahmavamso's jhāna, the canon describes the mind in jhāna as vast and expansive. MN 127 describes the expansive liberation of mind (mahaggatā cetovimutti), which is a synonym for the mastery of jhāna, as follows:

    And what, householder, is the expansive liberation of mind? Here a monk abides resolved upon an area the size of the root of one tree, pervading it as expansive: this is called the expansive liberation of mind. Here a monk abides resolved upon an area the size of the roots of two or three trees, pervading it as expansive: this too is called the expansive liberation of mind. Here a monk abides resolved upon an area the size of one village, pervading it as expansive ... an area the size of two or three villages... an area the size of one major kingdom... an area the size of two or three major kingdoms... an area the size of the earth bounded by the ocean, pervading it as expansive: this too is called the expansive liberation of mind.

As happens in every case, these canonical references are completely incompatible with Ven. Brahmavamso's jhāna theory.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Sylvester » Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:13 am

The meaning of any phrase can only be understood by taking the entire phrase into consideration. This includes considering the full semantic range of all terms employed. This doesn't always allow for direct one-to-one correspondences when translating from Pāli to English. Ven. Bodhi has correctly understood the meaning of these phrases


I still cannot see how you can insist that Bhikkhu Bodhi translated "hoti" to mean "as they occured" when he very clearly translated "hoti" in the following passage to simply mean "was this" -

Tatridaṃ, bhikkhave, sāriputtassa anupadadhammavipassanāya hoti.

(Now Sariputta's insight occured into states one by one as they occured was this:)


"Hoti" is in the 3rd person singular and is a clear reference to Sariputta and not to the plural dhammas.

"Honti" in the following 7 refrains are in the 3rd person plural and function simply to qualify the "dhammā" (plural) which were the object of the passive verb vavatthita, and not to qualify the verb itself.

tyāssa dhammā anupadavavatthitā honti
These/ dhammas/ uninterruptedly defined/ were


"Honti's" simple function was to simply denote "were", not "as they occured". You may wish to reconsider your innovative re-distribution of the qualifiers "one by one" and "as they occured", once you have had the chance to consult the Pali grammars on how adverbs are structured in relation to their verbs.


It is cetanā which performs this function, not vitakka nor vicāra.


Finally, some partial agreement. This is the point which Ven Analayo makes about vitakka and vicara when they are part of the compound vitakkavicara. They are intentions, not thought and evaluation.


No, it's the reflexiveness of saññā (as one cognitive aspect of the reflexiveness of viññāṇa in general).


I agree. But sanna has a different function to thinking and thoughts, which is quite clearly indicated by the "iti" speech markers in the vipassana refrains.


These mental factors are all concomitant with one object-support (ārammaṇa). Thus there is no difficulty whatsoever.


Quite right, but for vavatthita as a functional aspect of sanna to vavattheti sanna real-time requires at least 2 object supports, unless you plead that one phassa can be the cause and condition for 2 sanna.


Something which really needs to be addressed is that anyone who relies on the jhāna theory of Ven. Brahmavamso (as well as many people who rely on the Visuddhimagga jhāna without a careful study of all relevant older material) is going to have a very different understanding of what jhāna is, than someone who relies on the Tipiṭaka as canonical authority and has also studied other early para-canonical Pāḷi and other Sthaviravāda treatises.


Assuming, of course, that the person who "relies on the Tipitaka" has demonstrated a proper understanding of the Tipitaka phrasing and meaning.


I absolutely agree with the Sila Sutta AN 4.12 where, with the abandonment of the Hindrances, the mind becomes "citta ekagga". But is Jhana the ONLY place where the Hindrances are absent? Apparently not, given the many pericopes when the Buddha gives the teaching peculiar to the Buddhas, when the auditor's mind is "ready, malleable, free from hindrances, elated, & bright". The auditor is listening, and the Canon is quite clear about sound being a thorn in 1st Jhana. There are states other than Jhana where the mind becomes "citta ekagga".


I also agree with the point in MN 127 regarding mahaggatā cetovimutti, save that there is nothing in the text itself to suggest that the resolution and pervasion are done whilst in Jhana. Quite the contrary. Take a look at the Pali -

Katamā ca, gahapati, mahaggatā cetovimutti? Idha, gahapati, bhikkhu yāvatā ekaṃ rukkhamūlaṃ mahaggatanti pharitvā adhimuccitvā viharati


Viharati can be a reference to Jhana. But, "pharitvā" and "adhimuccitvā" are both absolutives for "pharita" and "adhimuccita" respectively, ie "having pervaded" and "having resolved". The English translation you offer simply does not capture the temporal sense of the absolutive for the resolution and pervasion having preceded the abiding. If anything, MN 127 is yet more evidence in support of the canonical concept of Jhana that has little to do with a mind doing many things. I'll add MN 127 to my growing list of absorption jhana authorities.
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Nyana » Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:12 pm

Assuming, of course, that the person who "relies on the Tipitaka" has demonstrated a proper understanding of the Tipitaka phrasing and meaning.

This is getting very old. There is far more to hermeneutic interpretation and translation than grammatical considerations. Every time one of your interpretive moves is shown to be unsustainable, you just create another pseudo-problem, and so on and so on. Your interpretation of MN 111 isn't supported by the text itself. And this is evident in every case. Neither the suttas, the Paṭisambhidāmagga, the Dhammasaṅgaṇī, the Mahāvibhāṣā, nor the Abhidharmakośabhāṣya (i.e. all major Indian Sthaviravāda texts), support the jhāna theory you are trying to establish. Of course, you're free to perform all the hermeneutic cartwheels and somersaults you wish in your attempt to force your jhāna theory into these texts. Personally, I can find nothing redeeming in such an enterprise. None of my teachers, Theravāda or Mahāyāna, agree with your jhāna theory. None of the Indian texts, Sthaviravāda or Yogācāra, agree with your jhāna theory. Period.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Sylvester » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:07 pm

I'm glad to see you resorting to more ex cathedras. :woohoo:

As far as I can see, your aversion to grammar is nothing more than a blatant attempt to sweep aside everything that is inconvenient to your readings of the suttas. There is nothing acrobatic in my critique of your arguments and citations but I think accolades must go to you for your attempts to re-write Pali grammar; those do not bear recapitulating but I really love your attempt to transform a declinable verb into an adverb with hoti/honti. :juggling:

And I have not seen any evidence that you have successfully demonstrated the unsustainability of my reliance on Pali grammar over English grammar, other than your tired refrain to the Dhammasangani (which turns out to be 11 sets of iddapaccayata propositions instead of 56 ontological dhammas) or the Psm (I'm still waiting for your much vaunted passages for its vavattheti-in-jhana treatment).

Pleading "context" and "pan-Buddhist" appeals does not count for anything when the plain old grammatical readings in Pali of MN 111, AN 9.36 and MN 127 all point towards jhanas being truly models of absorption. If you wish to argue that an idiomatic meaning is to prevail, demonstrate it by reference to the Grammars. Your erudition and readings do not endow you with some magic wand with which you wave into existence ideas on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.

This has not really been a waste of time. For me, for some strange reason, you bring to the table more and more evidence of absorption each time we engage the jhana subject. For the others, a cautionary tale on reading English translations without a good teacher looking over one's shoulder.
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Re: Bhante G vs. Bhante G

Postby Nyana » Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:14 pm

Sylvester wrote:your aversion to grammar

Once again you are either unwilling or unable to comprehend what I'm trying to convey. Grammatical structure is only one of numerous factors which need to be considered when interpreting any passage or text. With regard to MN 111, your over-reliance on grammatical structure imposes a false division between Sāriputta and the mind-stream of Sāriputta. At best, your interpretations of all passages and texts that we've discussed here and on previous threads can only offer a possible alternate interpretation. In every case, your interpretations rely on novelty. There is nothing whatsoever compelling in this. In Buddhist hermeneutics novelty isn't desirable. And life is far too short to continue this charade.

Sylvester wrote:MN 127 is yet more evidence in support of the canonical concept of Jhana that has little to do with a mind doing many things.

I have no idea what you mean by "a mind doing many things," but you would do well to study how multiple mental factors (dhammas) occur concomitantly with the object-support (ārammaṇa) in jhāna, as presented in the Abhidhamma treatises.

Sylvester wrote:For the others, a cautionary tale on reading English translations without a good teacher looking over one's shoulder.

The bottom line is this: I can find nothing at all compelling or redeeming in your enterprise. I have access to very good teachers. I have access to all relevant source texts in Pāli, Sanskrit, and Tibetan. None of my teachers, Theravāda or Mahāyāna, agree with your jhāna theory. None of the Indian texts, Theravāda/Sthaviravāda or Yogācāra, agree with your jhāna theory. You may not find this significant or compelling. You may continue to employ hermeneutic gymnastics to force your jhāna theory into the Pāli texts. That's fine by me. I wish you well.

All the best,

Geoff
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