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A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas” - Page 6 - Dhamma Wheel

A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:05 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:It's quite nonsensical to insist that a corresponding reading cannot be applied to the Dhammasaṅgaṇī's treatment of rūpāvacarajjhāna associated with gnosis.


In case it's not occured to you, if the aforesaid lokuttara jhana presentation were applicable to the lokiya jhana discussion, they would not have put it only in the lokuttara discussion.

You're essentially asking an Abhidhammika to read the preceding lokiya passages to include the lokuttara text as a peyyala into the lokiya passages. Wow! A redefinition of how peyyalas work! I don't think the Abhidhammikas would have been so schizophrenic as to contradict themselves by conjoining their lokiya iddapaccayata lists of conditioned relations with the list of lokuttara dhammas. Most innovative.

If this is your only evidence that the Dhammasangani allows for vipassana in rupavacara jhanas, try harder.

You're still evading the elephant in the room on how you can possibly vipassati without dhamma-vicaya.

In my estimation, the "path" that you present has merely 6 Enlightenment Factors, since your avitakka-avicara dhamma-vicaya is an oxymoron. I don't propose to populate Theravada with such unicorns.

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:27 am

Sylvester wrote:In my estimation, the "path" that you present has merely 6 Enlightenment Factors, since your avitakka-avicara dhamma-vicaya is an oxymoron.

Ah yes, all the rest of us have got it wrong, and Ven. Brahmavamso and Ven. Sujato and their modern sect have rediscovered the Buddhadhamma....

Utter nonsense.

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Dmytro » Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:04 pm

Sylvester wrote:After that long tirade, it can best be summed up as this -

Geoff is making an emotional appeal and refusing to consider the texts.

Sorry, appeals to authority, as if I disagree with every authority are just a red herring. :popcorn:


And Sylvester makes his favourite arguments - non sequitur and ad hominem :)

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby morning mist » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:20 pm

Hi Nana,

Ñāṇa wrote:Vipassanā doesn't require vitakka and/or vicāra. It requires apperception (saññā), which is functional in all four jhānas.


The third noble is The Cessation of Dukkha. Pecerption of ideas ( dhamma sanna) are among the things to be abandoned for the " complete fading-away and cessation of this craving (asesa-viraga-nirodho), its renunciation and abandonment, liberation from it, letting go of it. " Perception of ideas is not something to cling to or to be dependent on. We can't cling to our perception ( sanna) and consider it as insight.


"And what is the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Dukkha ( dukkhanirodham ariyasaccam) ? It is the complete fading-away and cessation of this craving (asesa-viraga-nirodho), its renunciation and abandonment, liberation from it, letting go of it.

"And where , when being abandoned , is this craving abandoned? And where, when dissolving, does it cease? Whatever is agreeable & alluring in terms of the world: that is where, when being abandoned, this craving is abandoned. That is where, when dissolving, it ceases.

"And what is agreeable & alluring in terms of the world?

"Perception of forms ( rupa sanna) ... Perception of sounds... Perception of smells... Perception of tastes... Perception of touch ... PERCEPTION OF IDEAS ( dhamma sanna) is agreeable & alluring in terms of the world. That is where, when being abandoned, this craving is abandoned. That is where, when dissolving, it ceases."- Mahaparinibbana Sutta


Also According to the Anattalakhana Sutta, perception leads to affliction. Any perception whatsoever should not be identified with:

“Perception is not self. If perception were self, perception would not lead to affliction. It would be possible to say regarding perception, ‘Let perception be like this. Let perception not be like that.’ However, since perception is not self, perception leads to affliction. And it is not possible to say regarding perception, ‘Let perception be like this. Let perception not be like that.’


“What do you think, monks? Is perception permanent or impermanent?” 
“Impermanent, Venerable sir.”
“Is that which is impermanent pleasant or unpleasant?” 
“Unpleasant, Venerable sir.”
“Is it fitting to regard what is impermanent, unpleasant, subject to change as: ‘This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am’?” 
“No, Venerable sir.”


“Any perception whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; gross or subtle; inferior or superior; far or near: every perception is to be seen as it really is with wisdom as: ‘This is not mine. This is not my self. I am not this.’- Anattalakhana Sutta

With metta,
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with metta,

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:51 pm

Yum, Yum! The silence on the elephant in the room is deafening.

Since, Geoff, the Dhammasangani seems to be your flavour of the moment for your "concomitant vipassana and jhana" theory, here's what the Dhammasangani has to say about your "vipassana"-

Katamā tasmiṃ samaye vipassanā hoti? Yā tasmiṃ samaye paññā pajānanā vicayo pavicayo dhammavicayo sallakkhaṇā upalakkhaṇā paccupalakkhaṇā paṇḍiccaṃ kosallaṃ nepuññaṃ vebhabyā cintā upaparikkhā bhūrī medhā pariṇāyikā vipassanā sampajaññaṃ patodo paññā paññindriyaṃ paññābalaṃ paññāsatthaṃ paññāpāsādo paññāāloko paññāobhāso paññāpajjoto paññāratanaṃ amoho dhammavicayo sammādiṭṭhi— ayaṃ tasmiṃ samaye vipassanā hoti.


Dhamma-vicayo (investigation/discrimination of states) is a hallmark of vipassana. I can find no better explanation of dhamma-vicaya apart from what our good friend Dmytro has posted on dhamma-vicaya in the Pali thread viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5582 and I'll just borrow his entry -

Hello Pali friends,

First, 'dhamma-vicaya' is connected to discrimination, examination, investigation and wisdom:

“Yadapi, bhikkhave, ajjhatta.m dhammesu pa~n~naaya pavicinati pavicarati pariviima.msam aapajjati tadapi dhammavicayasambojjha’ngo, yadapi bahiddhaa dhammesu pa~n~naaya pavicinati pavicarati pariviima.msamaapajjati tadapi dhammavicayasambojjha’ngo. (S 5.111)

Whatever discriminates, examines, applies investigation by means of wisdom among dhammas that are within, this is the awakening-factor of dhamma-discrimination. Whatever discriminates, examines, applies investigation by means of wisdom among dhammas that are without, this is the awakening-factor of dhamma-discrimination.

(translation by Rupert Gethin in his book "The Buddhist Path to Awakening", p. 147)



Similarly, SN 46.3 says this about the bojjhangas of Sati and Dhamma-vicaya -

Dwelling thus withdrawn, one recollects that Dhamma and thinks it over. Whenever, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwelling thus withdrawn recollects that Dhamma and thinks it over, on that occassion the enlightenment factor of mindfulness is aroused by the bhikkhu; on that occassion the bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness; on that occassion the enlightenment factor of mindfulness comes to fulfilment by development in the bhikkhu.

Dwelling thus mindfully, he discrimates that Dhamma with wisdom, examines it, makes an investigation of it. Whenever, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwelling thus mindfully discriminates that Dhamma with wisdom, examines it, makes an investigation of it, on that occassion the enlightenment factor of discrimination of states is aroused by the bhikkhu; on that occassion the bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of discrimination of states; on that occassion the enlightenment factor of discrimination of states comes to fulfilment by development in the bhikkhu.
(per BB)

So tathā vūpakaṭṭho viharanto taṃ dhammaṃ anussarati anuvitakketi. Yasmiṃ samaye, bhikkhave, bhikkhu tathā vūpakaṭṭho viharanto taṃ dhammaṃ anussarati anuvitakketi, satisambojjhaṅgo tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhuno āraddho hoti; satisambojjhaṅgaṃ tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhu bhāveti; satisambojjhaṅgo tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhuno bhāvanāpāripūriṃ gacchati.

So tathā sato viharanto taṃ dhammaṃ paññāya pavicinati pavicarati parivīmaṃsamāpajjati. Yasmiṃ samaye, bhikkhave, bhikkhu tathā sato viharanto taṃ dhammaṃ paññāya pavicinati pavicarati parivīmaṃsamāpajjati, dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgo tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhuno āraddho hoti; dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgaṃ tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhu bhāveti; dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgo tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhuno bhāvanāpāripūriṃ gacchati.


Anuvitakketi = anu + vitakketi, the present verb form of vitakka
Pavicarati = pa + vicarati, the present verb form of vicara

As MN 44 explains, you can only vitakketi and vicarati when you have vitakka and vicara respectively.

So, it looks like your model of vipassana within jhanas is indeed truly an oxymoron. You've essentially created an avitakka avicara dhamma-vicaya, all in the service of your discursive jhana model.

Ah yes, all the rest of us have got it wrong, and Ven. Brahmavamso and Ven. Sujato and their modern sect have rediscovered the Buddhadhamma....

Utter nonsense.


I don't have to show or plead that Ajahn Brahm and Ajahn Sujato have re-discovered Buddhadhamma. Demonstrating how nonsensical your reading of the Dhammasangani and the suttas as above is sufficient. Based on your oxymoronic avitakka avicara dhamma-vicaya, I have to revise my assessment and respectfully suggest that your model is short of both the sati bojjhanga and the dhamma-vicaya bojjhanga.

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:40 pm

Sylvester wrote:Since, Geoff, the Dhammasangani seems to be your flavour of the moment for your "concomitant vipassana and jhana" theory, here's what the Dhammasangani has to say about your "vipassana"

You're conflating two different analyses, and then attempting to accuse me of misreading the Dhammasaṅgaṇī. Another red herring. Here's a translation of the Dhammasaṅgaṇī Cittuppādakaṇḍa Lokuttarakusala Suddhikapaṭipadā:

    When at a certain time one develops supramundane jhāna, which leads out, which goes to decrease (of rebirth), to abandonment of wrong views, to the attainment of the first stage (i.e. sotāpattimagga), quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful phenomena, he enters and remains in the first jhāna, which includes directed thought and evaluation, as well as joy and pleasure born of seclusion, and with difficult practice and slow acquisition of gnosis, then at that time there is contact, there is feeling, there is apperception, there is volitional intention, there is directed thought, there is evaluation, there is joy, there is pleasure, there is singleness of mind, there is the faculty of faith, there is the faculty of energy, there is the faculty of mindfulness, there is the faculty of concentration, there is the faculty of discernment, there is the mind-faculty, there is the happiness-faculty, there is the life-faculty, there is the 'I-shall-come-to-know-the-unknown' faculty, there is right view, there is right resolve, there is right effort, there is right mindfulness, there is right concentration, there is the strength of faith, there is the strength of energy, there is the strength of mindfulness, there is the strength of concentration, there is the strength of discernment, there is the strength of conscience, there is the strength of shame, there is no greed, there is no hate, there is no delusion, there is no avarice, there is no aversion, there is right view, there is conscience, there is shame, there is bodily calm, there is mental calm, there is bodily lightness, there is mental lightness, there is bodily pliability, there is mental pliability, there is bodily workableness, there is mental workableness, there is bodily proficiency, there is mental proficiency, there is bodily uprightness, there is mental uprightness, there is mindfulness, there is full awareness, there is samatha, there is vipassanā, there is exertion, there is non-distraction.

    What at that time is the faculty of discernment? That which at that time is discernment, thorough understanding, investigation, comprehensive investigation, dhamma-investigation, consideration, discrimination, direct discrimination, erudite intelligence, proficiency, refined intelligence, discriminative examination, reflection, comparative examination, breadth of knowledge, wisdom that destroys defilements, penetrative wisdom, vipassanā, full awareness, discernment like a guiding goad, faculty of discernment, strength of discernment, discernment like a sword, discernment like a tower, discernment like light, discernment like radiance, discernment like a torch, discernment like a jewel, non-delusion, dhamma-investigation, right view, awakening factor of dhamma-investigation, a path factor, knowledge included in the path – this at that time is the faculty of discernment.

    What at that time is vipassanā? That which at that time is discernment, thorough understanding, investigation, comprehensive investigation, dhamma-investigation, consideration, discrimination, direct discrimination, erudite intelligence, proficiency, refined intelligence, discriminative examination, reflection, comparative examination, breadth of knowledge, wisdom that destroys defilements, penetrative wisdom, vipassanā, full awareness, discernment like a guiding goad, faculty of discernment, strength of discernment, discernment like a sword, discernment like a tower, discernment like light, discernment like radiance, discernment like a torch, discernment like a jewel, non-delusion, dhamma-investigation, right view, awakening factor of dhamma-investigation, a path factor, knowledge included in the path – this at that time is vipassanā.

Sylvester wrote:Based on your oxymoronic avitakka avicara dhamma-vicaya, I have to revise my assessment and respectfully suggest that your model is short of both the sati bojjhanga and the dhamma-vicaya bojjhanga.

Are you suggesting that there would be no faculty of discernment or vipassanā occurring if one were to attain the noble path through the second, third, or fourth jhāna? Are you suggesting that the Dhammasaṅgaṇī is short of both the satisambojjhaṅga and the dhammavicayasambojjhaṅga?

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby morning mist » Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:55 pm

Hi Nana,

One can develop Vipassana shortly AFTER EMERGING from any of the Jhanas in Samma Samadhi ( 1st- 4th Jhana) . How is it possible to develop Vipassana from within ( during or inside ) second, third, and fourth Jhana .

According to the Honey Ball Sutta:

"Dependent on mind & ideas, mind-consciousness arises ( manovinnanam). The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling (Vedana) . What one feels, one perceives (sanjanati: labels in the mind). What one perceives, one thinks about ( VITAKKETI: reflecs, reason,considers) . What one thinks about ( VITAKKETI) , one mentally proliferates ( papanceti: explains, delays on, to be obsessed, to be profuse) . Based on what a person has mentally proliferated as the source, the perceptions ( SANNA) & notions (sankha) assail ( papanca: obstacle, impediment, delay hindrance to spiritual progress) him/her with regard to past, present, & future ideas cognizable through the mind….

"When there is the mind, when there are ideas, when there is mind-consciousness, it is possible to point out the manifestation of contact. When there is a manifestation of contact, it is possible to point out the manifestation of feeling. When there is a manifestation of feeling, it is possible to point out the manifestation of perception ( SANNA PANNATTIM ) . When there is a manifestation of PERCEPTION, it is possible to point out the manifestation of THINKING (VITAKKA PANNATTIM) . When there is a manifestation of THINKING (VITAKKA PANNATTIM) , it is possible to point out the manifestation of being assailed by the PERCEPTIONS & notions born of mental proliferation ( papanca SANNA sankha samudacarana pannattim )...

"When there is no mind, when there are no ideas, when there is no mind-consciousness, it is impossible to point out the manifestation of contact. When there is no contact, it is impossible to point out the manifestation of feeling. When there is no feeling, it is impossible to point out the manifestation of perception. When there is no perception, it is impossible to point out the manifestation of thinking. When there is no THINKING, it is impossible to point out the manifestation of being assailed by the PERCEPTIONS & notions."- Honeyball Sutta

With metta,
with metta,

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:27 pm

morning mist wrote:We can't cling to our perception ( sanna) and consider it as insight.

Are you suggesting that there is insight without the apperception of impermanence (aniccasaññā), or the apperception of unsatisfactoriness in what is impermanent (anicca dukkhasaññā), or the apperception of selflessness (anattasaññā), or the apperception of passing away (vayasaññā), or the apperception of dispassion (virāgasaññā), or the apperception of cessation (nirodhasaññā), or the apperception of release (paṭinissaggasaññā), or the apperception of elimination (khayasaññā).

morning mist wrote:One can develop Vipassana shortly AFTER EMERGING from any of the Jhanas in Samma Samadhi ( 1st- 4th Jhana) . How is it possible to develop Vipassana from within ( during or inside ) second, third, and fourth Jhana

Ven. Gunaratana states:

    The belief that one must come out of jhāna to gain supernormal knowledge (abhiññās) or to destroy defilements and attain enlightenment is based on an assumption that the concentrated mind becomes one with the object of meditation and is absorbed into that object. For this reason some people translate jhāna or samādhi as absorption concentration. If the mind is absorbed into the object then the mind is paralyzed and incapable of doing anything.

    This may be true when the jhāna is gained without mindfulness. This is what happened to the teachers of the Bodhisatta Gotama. They were stuck in jhāna but they thought that they had attained enlightenment. This cannot happen when you practice jhāna with mindfulness. When we attain right jhāna, our mindfulness is pure, our equanimity is strong, our concentration is strong and our attention is sharp. Right concentration consolidates all the mental factors that the Buddha has listed in the Anupada Sutta. Concentration is one of the factors present in right jhāna. You are fully aware, without words or concepts, of the subtlest impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and selflessness that takes place in this state of samādhi. These are your direct experience, not philosophical or logical thoughts.

Are you suggesting that there is no possibility of developing vipassanā of phenomena one by one as they occur (anupadadhammavipassanā) while abiding in jhāna? Are you suggesting that MN 111 and the Dhammasaṅgaṇī and the Vibhaṅga are wrong to include apperception in their analyses of dhammas occurring in jhāna? MN 111 informs us that in the first seven attainments phenomena are differentiated and known as they occur. It's not vipassanā of phenomena that had passed, ceased, and changed, it's vipassanā of phenomena one by one as they occurred: "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."

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:25 pm

I've been trying to follow the detailed conversation thus far, and while my understanding is definitely still embryonic it seems the main question is thus: is it the case that being in jhana allows the mind to be "knowing one by one", or only after?

It's certainly not an area I'm versed in, but it seems to me that having no physical sense-bases accessible while in jhana doesn't thereby necessitate that jhana is a total aggregate anesthesia - of the six senses, only the five cords are secluded away; of the five aggregates, only form is secluded away. Of the remaining sense-base/mental aggregates, the hindrances are secluded away, but naught else seems required, at least for first jhana. Applied and sustained thought can still be present in first jhana, and "apperception" of the mental sense-base/mental aggregates still seems possible throughout, in various ways as detailed in the jhana factors.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby morning mist » Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:10 pm

Hi Nana,

I would say that the insight required for Arahantship comes from abbhina rather than sanna, considering how countless suttas suggest that sanna is impermanent, nonself, and should be abandoned.

When it is said "We can't cling to our perception ( sanna) and consider it as insight. " it means perceptions shouldn't be cling to as permanent or self. It is in this context :

“Any perception whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; gross or subtle; inferior or superior; far or near: every perception is to be seen as it really is with wisdom as: ‘This is not mine. This is not my self. I am not this.’- Anattalakhana Sutta

"Whatever feeling... WHATEVER PERCEPTION... whatever mental formations... whatever consciousness, whether past, future or present, in oneself or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near — all... consciousness should, with right wisdom, thus be seen as it is: 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.' - The Snake Simile Sutta

"since perception is not self, perception leads to affliction" - Anattalakhana Sutta

" Bhikkhus, whatever is not yours, abandon it, when you have abandon it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time. What is it that is not yours? ....Perception is not yours. Abandon it.
When you have abandon it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time"



Nanna wrote: . Gunaratana states:

Ajahn Brahmavamso's take on this is different . I am not going to post it though. Are there anything from the sutta itself ?


Nanna wrote: are you suggesting that there is no possibility of developing vipassanā of phenomena one by one as they occurred (anupadadhammavipassanā) while abiding in jhāna? .. "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 path taken by Sariputta in MN 111 is Samatha-vipassanaṃ yuganaddhaṃ ( Yuganaddha sutta AN 4.170) .
"In this mode of practice, one enters the first jhāna and then, after emerging from it, applies insight to that experience, i.e. one sees the five aggregates within the jhāna (form, feeling, perception, etc.) as impermanent, liable to suffering, and non-self. Then one enters the second jhāna and contemplates it with insight; and applies the same pairwise procedure to the other jhānas as well, until the path of stream-entry, etc., is realized." - Ven Nyanatiloka

We shouldn't assume that he moves through the jhanas without emerging from each and reviews it before moving on to the next. The SN 6.15 ( Parinibbana sutta) shows that a person emerges from each jhana before moving on to the next.

" the Blessed One attained the first jhana. Having emerged from (vuthahitva) the first jhana , he attained the second jhana. Having emerged from ( vutthahitva) the second jhana, he attained the third jhana. Having emerged from the third jhana , he attained the fourth jhana. Having emergerd from the fourth jhana, immediately after this the Blessed One attained final Nibbana. "

With metta,
with metta,

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby nathan » Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:34 pm

I expect that what I can post about this subject will be discounted from the discussion because I'm not going to quote from the Tipitaka at all but I am optimistic that I can at least post this here because this is the modern Theravada sub-forum.

When I develop first Jhana, I develop it based on contact between consciousness and the entire body through attending to the breath until the mind is calm and unified and then by directing attention to the body form as a whole. So first Jhana is very pleasant for me because it is simply attending to the single perception of contact noted by consciousness in touch with the whole body form and the corresponding absence of all attention to any diversity of thought objects or sense objects. The point being that there is not much left to think about and that thinking about any of the remaining simplicity of attention discursively ends that single pointed quality of simple attention to contact with the body form.

Similarly with the attention in second jhana, the attending is comparatively effortless to establishing the simple attention of the first jhana and so even simpler. With the third jhana attention shifts ever so slightly from the pleasantness that arises on the basis of the one simple type of attention on the pleasant quality of attention to the body form to the pleasant quality that arises in the mind on the basis of the singular attention to conscious contact with the body and the pleasantness of the body contact fades. In shifting slightly to the fourth jhana both of these two previously noted pleasant qualities, the bodily and the mental qualities, fade out as attention shifts to the singleness of attention that is steady and peaceful.

These are very simple and very subtle shifts of attention and not complicated, difficult or unnatural to progress through within the jhanas from one to the next without emerging from jhana completely in passing from one jhana to the next. The insights into the conditions that are present and the conditions that are not present or into what is occurring and what is not occurring during jhana are very simple and obvious and so there is no need for discursive thought or any sort of complicated analysis or reflection.

This becomes even simpler in progressing further to the formless realms as only mental qualities remain when the body form is let go of and drops from attention as well. In the realm of neither perception nor non perception it is not possible to discern qualities at all as there is only one quality, that of consciousness without any contacts, not even with the simplest type of contact or the perception of nothing to serve as a quality for reflection. Because of this extreme simplicity one can only note or discern the difference between discernment of the formless perception of nothing and of neither perception nor non-perception when one again returns to the previous perception of nothing or one of the other jhanas. Similarly with the cessation of perception and feeling altogether, whereupon the last faint trace of consciousness is abandoned, one can not discern in that state as there are no qualities supportive of discernment remaining. Within the nirodha samapatti it is not possible to discern any qualities at all because the quality of consciousness has ceased entirely in a similar matter to how all of the other form and mental qualities in contact with consciousness have also previously ceased through a discerning and concentrated direction of attention successively away from these various qualities towards those which are more subtle and underlying to those which previously have been directly and correctly known and directly and correctly discerned.

What is clear and obvious during jhana and which requires no discursive thought throughout attending within all of the four jhanas and the four formless attainments is that these dependently compounded forms of attention are all composed of much simpler, steadier and more refined kinds of mental qualities and forms of attention than are any more ordinary perceptions of sensations or thought objects or other mental qualities and that owing to these forms of attention still being fabricated (with the exception of nirodha samapatti wherein fabrication ends together with all aspects or qualities composing fabrication) that these also carry all three marks of dependently conditional phenomena.

So there is no need for discursive thought or thought objects or anything of the sort to clearly cognize and comprehend what is and is not occurring in a given jhana or in the transition from one jhana to the next or from one formless realm to the next. One is discerning, one has insights but these insights need not be complex or disruptive of the calm and concentration of the jhanas as these insights are largely obvious and self evident. What is made clear by the emergence from nirodha samapatti is that not only has consciousness ceased altogether at that point but that this cessation is markedly more pleasant and peaceful than any of the previous jhanas and realms. After emerging from nirodha samapatti it is unquestionably clear, in a manner made similarly, directly and immediately clear in no other way, that there is no lasting core or essence or soul or spirit or atman or brahma or anything else which is central or consistent to the arising and passing of consciousness and the contact between consciousness and other dependent and compounded mental qualities and bodily forms and the rest.

Before the nirodha samapatti one might still hope or imagine or believe in notions like the atman or the soul or buddhanature or brahman or some eternal thing or condition but after emerging from nirodha samapatti it is entirely impossible to maintain such misconceptions because one can reflect on having directly observed the complete ending of consciousness through a progressive process of simplifications which is largely what the four jhanas and the four formless realms are. These eight simplifications of attention progressively culminate in the abandonment of all conditions and complete release. Having known the indescribable nature of that release one need no longer speculate on how one arrives at it or what it is like or if it is actually preferable to ongoing being and becoming.

A great deal of vipassana and discernment of the characteristics of conditions in all modes and at all times in more ordinary and complex states of mind necessarily precedes the refined conditions present during the modes of attention which are characteristic of jhana. Jhana is also capable of maintaining discernment, very simply and straightforwardly, but it is no less very clearly the quality of discernment which is functioning during the acknowledgment of what is occurring and in the subtle shifting of attention while passing through the four jhana and the four formless realms leading to nirodha samapatti and discernment into the absolutely undeniable truth of anatta which occurs on emergence from the NS.

That is how it is and how it works, as such, I like the Tipitaka because it describes all of this very well in a variety of ways and no other set of texts describes any of this at all. Arguing about the minutia of the texts or holding one view point or another preferentially won't cause this to occur for the individual. Practicing calm and alert attention at all times leads eventually to these concentrated and easily discernible states occurring, one after the next, exactly and precisely as described. Arguing for one interpretation of the texts vs. another is only that, practicing calm and mindful attention to the body, sensations, mental objects and mental qualities when these are in flux and then when these are relatively entirely calm and composed leads to direct understanding and the ending of any further need for debate, one can see the truth of the composure, refinement and discernment present within these modes of attending very clearly and for oneself in ones own experience and one can then confirm the wisdom as variously presented in the texts.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Tue Mar 08, 2011 11:39 pm

morning mist wrote:The path taken by Sariputta in MN 111 is Samatha-vipassanaṃ yuganaddhaṃ ( Yuganaddha sutta AN 4.170) .
"In this mode of practice, one enters the first jhāna and then, after emerging from it, applies insight to that experience, i.e. one sees the five aggregates within the jhāna (form, feeling, perception, etc.) as impermanent, liable to suffering, and non-self. Then one enters the second jhāna and contemplates it with insight; and applies the same pairwise procedure to the other jhānas as well, until the path of stream-entry, etc., is realized." - Ven Nyanatiloka

It is also possible to develop vipassanā while abiding in jhāna. MN 111 describes this, as does the Abhidhammapiṭaka. Of course, if one is abiding in a non-perceptive attainment then there is no possibility of apperception or insight.

morning mist wrote:
Nanna wrote: . Gunaratana states:

Ajahn Brahmavamso's take on this is different . I am not going to post it though.

Yes, it's quite clear that Ven. Brahmavamso's jhāna is incompatible with what is presented in the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka as well as all of the other major Indian Sthaviravāda treatises, all of which present vipassanā occurring within jhāna.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby morning mist » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:24 am

Hi Nana,

Ñāṇa wrote:
morning mist wrote:The path taken by Sariputta in MN 111 is Samatha-vipassanaṃ yuganaddhaṃ ( Yuganaddha sutta AN 4.170) .
"In this mode of practice, one enters the first jhāna and then, after emerging from it, applies insight to that experience, i.e. one sees the five aggregates within the jhāna (form, feeling, perception, etc.) as impermanent, liable to suffering, and non-self. Then one enters the second jhāna and contemplates it with insight; and applies the same pairwise procedure to the other jhānas as well, until the path of stream-entry, etc., is realized." - Ven Nyanatiloka

It is also possible to develop vipassanā while abiding in jhāna. MN 111 describes this, as does the Abhidhammapiṭaka. Of course, if one is abiding in a non-perceptive attainment then there is no possibility of apperception or insight.


Samatha-vipassanaṃ yuganaddhaṃ is one out of the Four Ways to Arahantship mentioned in the Yuganaddha sutta AN 4.170. It is Samatha and Vipassana Joined in Pairs. Nyanatiloka described it as entering first jhana, then emerged from it to review it with insight before going into the next jhana. The same pattern is repeated with the rest of the other jhanas. It is not within. I have shown that in another sutta, the Buddha also emerges from one jhana before going into the next. But this is after his enlightenment already, so he didn't pause to develop insight again.


Nanna wrote: Yes, it's quite clear that Ven. Brahmavamso's jhāna is incompatible with what is presented in the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka as well as all of the other major Indian Sthaviravāda treatises, all of which present vipassanā occurring within jhāna.


What I meant is that if we each post from different teachers , and they both say opposite things. There is no point. What I suggest is that we check with the sutta of the Buddha.

When it comes to his technique to jhanas, step 1-4, I believe is not different from various teachers. But when it comes to step 5 where one is beyond the 5 senses, step 6 attending to the nimitta, and developing insight after emerging from jhana. These three steps certain teachers feel that it is too deep for them.

* Ajahn Brahm's method is called Samatha-pubbangamam vipassanam according to the Sutta in the Tipitaka:

“Here, friends, a bhikkhu develops insight preceded by tranquillity (Samatha-pubbangamam vipassanam). As he develops insight preceded by tranquillity, the path arises in him. He now frequents that path, cultivates, and pursues it. While he is doing so his fetters are abandoned and the underlying tendencies destroyed." -Yuganaddha sutta


* I have shown that, a samadhi where one is still reflecting on the dhamma is not deep enough:

“When he has abandoned these, there still remain thoughts about the dhamma (dhamma vitakka). That samadhi is not yet peaceful and sublime; it has not attained to full tranquillity , nor has it achieved mental unification (ekodibhava) ; it is maintained by strenuous suppression of the defilements . –Pamsudhovaka Sutta


I have shown the Suttas from the Tipitaka where the Buddha and other disciples have gone beyond the senses in jhanas. Such as:

"And I asked him: 'Why, brother, has this great crowd gathered together?' And he answered me: 'Just now, Lord, there was a heavy rain, with thunder rolling, lightning flashing, and thunderbolts crashing. And two farmers who were brothers were killed close by, together with four oxen. It is because of this that the great crowd has gathered. But where, Lord, were you?'
"'I was here, brother.' 'Yet, Lord, did you not see it?' 'I did not see it, brother.' 'BUT THE NOISE , Lord, you surely heard?' 'I DID NOT HEAR IT, brother.' Then that man asked me: 'Then, Lord, perhaps you slept?' 'No, brother, I was not sleeping.' 'Then, LORD, YOU WERE CONSCIOUS?' 'I WAS, brother.' Then that man said: 'Then, Lord, WHILE CONSCIOUS AND AWAKE, IN THE MIDST OF A HEAVY RAIN, WITH THUNDER ROLLING, LIGHTNING FLASHING, and THUNDERBOLTS CRASHING, YOU NEITHER SAW IT NOR HEARD THE NOISE?' And I answered him, saying: 'I DID NOT, brother.'- Mahaparinibbana Sutta

If a person is really beyond the 5 senses, he would notice neither the carts nor the thunderstorm. But here the Buddha's statement indicated that Alara Kalama was only able to do one ( not noticing the carts) and if there is a loud thunderstorm, Alara Kalama would hear it. It shows that he is not able to go beyond the 5 senses. If a person really teaches the Sphere of Nothingness , he should be able to go beyond the senses and not hear any kind of sound whatsoever. But that is not the case with Alara Kalama despite his claim to teach that state.



6. I have also shown the Suda sutta showing that the Buddha told the monks to attend to the nimitta:

Cittassa nimitta: " there are cases where a foolish, inexperienced, unskillful bhikkhus dwelled focused on the body in & of itself -- ardent, alert, & mindful -- putting aside greed & distress with reference (related) to the world. While he dwelled focused on the body in & of itself, his mind does not become concentrated, his defilements ( the five Hindrances) are not abandoned. He does not pick up that SIGN. He dwelled focused on feelings in & of themselves ... the mind in & of itself ... mental qualities in & of themselves -- ardent, alert, & mindful -- putting aside greed & distress with reference (related) to the world. While he dwelled focused on mental qualities in & of themselves, his mind does not become concentrated, his defilements ( 5 hindrances) are not abandoned. He does not pick up that SIGN. As a result, he does not gain pleasant abiding in this very life, nor does he gain mindfulness & alertness. Why is that? Because the foolish, inexperienced, unskillful bhikkhu does not pick up the SIGN of his own mind (CITTASSA NIMITTA) .

The wise bhikkhu picks up the SIGN (NIMITTAM) of his own mind (cittassa):
"In the same way, there are cases where a wise, experienced, skillful monk dwelled focused on the body in & of itself -- ardent, alert, & mindful -- putting aside greed & distress with reference (related) to the world. While he dwelled focused on the body in & of itself, his mind becomes concentrated, his defilements ( the five Hindrances) are abandoned. He picks up that SIGN (NIMITTA) .

"He dwelled focused on feelings in & of themselves ... the mind in & of itself ... mental qualities in & of themselves -- ardent, alert, & mindful -- putting aside greed & distress with reference (related) to the world. While he dwelled focused on mental qualities in & of themselves, his mind becomes concentrated, his defilements ( 5 hindrances) are abandoned. He picks up that SIGN (NIMITTA).

"As a result, he gain pleasant abiding in this very life, together with mindfulness & alertness. Why is that? Because the wise, experienced, skillful monk picks up on the SIGN (NIMITTA) of his own mind (cittassa)."- Suda Sutta




7. I have shown sutta where the Buddha emerges from each jhana before moving to the next one:

" the Blessed One attained the first jhana. Having emerged from (vuthahitva) the first jhana , he attained the second jhana. Having emerged from ( vutthahitva) the second jhana, he attained the third jhana. Having emerged from the third jhana , he attained the fourth jhana. Having emergerd from the fourth jhana, immediately after this the Blessed One attained final Nibbana. " -
The SN 6.15 Parinibbana sutta

If the discussion helps to clear up misunderstanding then it is great, otherwise just forget all this. It's been fun exchanging ideas.


With Metta,
with metta,

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:53 am

morning mist wrote:What I meant is that if we each post from different teachers , and they both say opposite things. There is no point.

The topic of this thread is A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”. So what Ven. Brahmavamso teaches is the point.

morning mist wrote:What I suggest is that we check with the sutta of the Buddha.

A comparison between the Tipiṭaka and Ven. Brahmavamso's teaching has already been done here, and here, and here, and here and here and here, and here, and here, and so on. What he is teaching is quite incompatible with the Tipiṭaka on each point.

morning mist wrote:Samatha-vipassanaṃ yuganaddhaṃ is one out of the Four Ways to Arahantship mentioned in the Yuganaddha sutta AN 4.170.

As I've already mentioned, the Paṭisambhidāmagga Yuganaddhakathā is the canonical commentary on this sutta, where the coupling of samatha and vipassanā are said to occur together upon attainment of the noble path. They are concomitant path factors of supramundane jhāna. This is the same as what is presented in the Dhammasaṅgaṇī Cittuppādakaṇḍa Lokuttarakusala Suddhikapaṭipadā.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:03 am

Ñāṇa wrote:You're conflating two different analyses, and then attempting to accuse me of misreading the Dhammasaṅgaṇī. Another red herring.


Ah ha! What's sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander. You have been all too liberal yourself in insisting that Theravada cannot be without its Abhidhammic material, and now you want to tease them apart when the Abhidhamma actually damages your case? Tut, tut.

Here's a translation of the Dhammasaṅgaṇī Cittuppādakaṇḍa Lokuttarakusala Suddhikapaṭipadā:

When at a certain time one develops supramundane jhāna, which leads out, which goes to decrease (of rebirth), to abandonment of wrong views, to the attainment of the first stage (i.e. sotāpattimagga), quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful phenomena, he enters and remains in the first jhāna, which includes directed thought and evaluation, as well as joy and pleasure born of seclusion, and with difficult practice and slow acquisition of gnosis, then at that time there is contact, there is feeling, there is apperception, there is volitional intention, there is directed thought, there is evaluation, there is joy, there is pleasure, there is singleness of mind, there is the faculty of faith, there is the faculty of energy, there is the faculty of mindfulness, there is the faculty of concentration, there is the faculty of discernment, there is the mind-faculty, there is the happiness-faculty, there is the life-faculty, there is the 'I-shall-come-to-know-the-unknown' faculty, there is right view, there is right resolve, there is right effort, there is right mindfulness, there is right concentration, there is the strength of faith, there is the strength of energy, there is the strength of mindfulness, there is the strength of concentration, there is the strength of discernment, there is the strength of conscience, there is the strength of shame, there is no greed, there is no hate, there is no delusion, there is no avarice, there is no aversion, there is right view, there is conscience, there is shame, there is bodily calm, there is mental calm, there is bodily lightness, there is mental lightness, there is bodily pliability, there is mental pliability, there is bodily workableness, there is mental workableness, there is bodily proficiency, there is mental proficiency, there is bodily uprightness, there is mental uprightness, there is mindfulness, there is full awareness, there is samatha, there is vipassanā, there is exertion, there is non-distraction. XXXXXXXX


Geoff, Geoff, Geoff - why did you omit the tail marked by XXXXXXXX in that section? It is very important to note that the sentence does not end with "...non-distraction" followed by a footstop as you have presented it. It ends with a semi-colon ";" followed by XXXXXXXX which reads -

...avikkhepo hoti; ye vā pana tasmiṃ samaye aññepi atthi paṭiccasamuppannā arūpino dhammā— ime dhammā kusalā.


Why do you persist in re-writing the Abhidhamma?

As I've been at pains to point out in the Bhante G thread, this is a reminder that the Dhammasangani is not a dry laundry list of dhammas, but a presentation of iddapaccayata relations. Instead of 11 iddapaccayata relations which are possible (but not always present with each lokiya citta), the lokuttara presentation condenses all the dhammas into one iddapaccayta relation. It's still the same old locative absolute presentation.

Are you suggesting that the Dhammasaṅgaṇī is short of both the satisambojjhaṅga and the dhammavicayasambojjhaṅga?


Hardly, Geoff. Because the mulapaccaya that regulates this super-large iddapaccayata formula is "phassa", and the entirety of the relations are in the locative absolute, as long as this iddapaccayata set operates, the "effects" will have to arise sooner or later. If you look at the final peyyala passage of the Suddhikapaṭipadā, it is made clear that this iddapaccayata set applies to all the other lokuttara "jhanas" as well. There, certain of the paccayas such as vitakka-vicara, piti, sukha cannot possibly be concomitant in some of the higher lokuttara "jhanas". They may be absent during that occassion, but the same iddapaccayata set will operate and govern that occassion, regardless.

If you're going to insist on reading this locative absolute formulation as importing the concomitance of all dhammas, that's your problem. The problem is not with the Dhammasangani, but your bizarre insistence on reading the Dhammasangani in the way that you do.

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:08 am

Ñāṇa wrote:A comparison between the Tipiṭaka and Ven. Brahmavamso's teaching has already been done here, and here, and here, and here and here and here, and here, and here, and so on. What he is teaching is quite incompatible with the Tipiṭaka on each point.


I think the only thing that has been demonstrated is that Ajahn Brahm's teachings differ from your interpretations of the Tipitaka, and it's been demonstrated that your understanding of the Tipitaka is quite odd.

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:35 am

Sylvester wrote:You have been all too liberal yourself in insisting that Theravada cannot be without its Abhidhammic material, and now you want to tease them apart when the Abhidhamma actually damages your case?

You're drawing a fallacious consequence. Two different analyses of a designation used in different contexts in no way entails the consequence that the Abhidhammapiṭaka is incompatible with the Suttapiṭaka.

Sylvester wrote:why did you omit the tail marked by in that section? It is very important to note that the sentence does not end with "...non-distraction" followed by a footstop as you have presented it. It ends with a semi-colon ";" followed by -

...avikkhepo hoti; ye vā pana tasmiṃ samaye aññepi atthi paṭiccasamuppannā arūpino dhammā— ime dhammā kusalā.


Why do you persist in re-writing the Abhidhamma?

Another non-starter. The remaining passage merely indicates that the preceding analysis is not meant to be taken as a closed system. There can be other dhammas which could occur at that time and could therefore be added to the analysis. No re-writing of the Abhidhamma needed on my part.

Sylvester wrote:It's still the same old locative absolute presentation.

The presentation is of dhammas which occur at that specific time. Your "interpretation" is just like your "interpretation" of virtually every point we've ever discussed. Any canoncial statement which doesn't fit with Ven. Brahmavamso's jhāna theory has to either be tossed out the window or reinterpreted beyond recognition. And this entails that every other meditator, translator, scholar -- ancient or modern -- who doesn't agree with Brahmavamso must be wrong.

Sylvester wrote:If you're going to insist on reading this locative absolute formulation as importing the concomitance of all dhammas, that's your problem. The problem is not with the Dhammasangani, but your bizarre insistence on reading the Dhammasangani in the way that you do.

The only thing which is bizarre is your insistence on tossing everything out the window which doesn't fit with Brahmavamso's jhāna theory. This isn't surprising, as this is the methodology employed by Ven. Sujato in an attempt to legitimize his and Ven. Brahmavamso's strange notions of what jhāna and Therāvada doctrine should be.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:39 am

Ñāṇa wrote: Are you suggesting that MN 111 and the Dhammasaṅgaṇī and the Vibhaṅga are wrong to include apperception in their analyses of dhammas occurring in jhāna? MN 111 informs us that in the first seven attainments phenomena are differentiated and known as they occur. It's not vipassanā of phenomena that had passed, ceased, and changed, it's vipassanā of phenomena one by one as they occurred: "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."



Tut, tut. After your hoti-honti faux pas with MN 111, you are now reading a temporal meaning into "anupada", as if it related to dhamma-s. Anupada means nothing more than "uninterruptedly/successively" , so what Ven Nanamoli translates as "one by one as they occured" is just "one by one in the order that they occured".

Why must all these plain simple meanings be obfuscated? From the PED -

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.


MN 111 makes it clear that the process is "anupadavavatthitā", where "anupada-" is the adverb to the "vavatthitā".

But you insist on reading the "anupada" as an adjective to describe the dhamma-s, presumably because of "anupadadhammavipassanāya". This is untenable, given that the subsequent passages indicate how anupadadhammavipassana occurs, namely as anupadavavatthitā.

So much distortions to the Pali, just to eke out some support for the discursive jhana model. Even Ajahn Thanissaro's translation recognises the adverbial function of "anupada" to qualify vavatthitā, instead of it being an adjective to qualify the dhamma-s.

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:41 am

Sylvester wrote:I think the only thing that has been demonstrated is that Ajahn Brahm's teachings differ from your interpretations of the Tipitaka, and it's been demonstrated that your understanding of the Tipitaka is quite odd.

Really? Just my understanding? How about the understanding of countless meditators, scholars, translators, and commentators who contradict what you are trying to establish?

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:44 am

Ñāṇa wrote:The only thing which is bizarre is your insistence on tossing everything out the window which doesn't fit with Brahmavamso's jhāna theory. This isn't surprising, as this is the methodology employed by Ven. Sujato in an attempt to legitimize his and Ven. Brahmavamso's strange notions of what jhāna and Therāvada doctrine should be.



I think the readers in here are astute enough to see who's been throwing out the suttas to legitimise their strange notions of jhana.


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