A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

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

Postby Nyana » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:57 am

morning mist wrote:It's true that " permeating the body" mentioned in the jhanas refers to the mental body rather than the physical body, because the perception of five sense objects & sense desires, perception of the things of the kama loka have been left behind in jhana.

Yes, but it's important to understand that what is designated as the mental body is not a disembodied experience. The experience of the whole body (sabba kāya) still includes a refined experience of the body. Peṭakopadesa 7.72:

    The twofold bodily and mental pain does not arise in one steadied in directed thought and evaluation, and the twofold bodily and mental pleasure does arise. The mental pleasure thus produced from directed thought is joy, while the bodily pleasure is bodily feeling.

The Vimuttimagga:

    Just as the bath-powder when inside and outside saturated with moisture, adheres and does not scatter, so the body of the meditator in the first jhāna is permeated with joy and pleasure from top to bottom, from the skullcap to the feet and from the feet to the skullcap, skin and hair, inside and outside. And he dwells without falling back. Thus he dwells like a Brahma god.

    [Q.] Joy (pīti) and pleasure (sukha) are said to be formless phenomena (arūpa-dhamma). How then can they stay permeating the body?

    [A.] Name (nāma) depends on form (rūpa). Form depends on name. Therefore, if name has joy, form also has joy. If name has pleasure, form also has pleasure.

    Again, form born from joy causes tranquility of body, and when the entire body is tranquillized there is pleasure due to the tranquility of form.
    Therefore there is no contradiction.

The Dīghanikāyaṭīkā:

    Mind-produced form (cittajarūpa) suffuses every area where there is kamma-produced form (kammajarūpa).

All the best,

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

Postby Dmytro » Sat Mar 12, 2011 5:46 am

Hi Morning Mist,

morning mist wrote:Thanks for sharing. Rupa in Rupasanna is used similar to the way it is used in Rupaloka ( Fine material realm instead of body. Therefore it should be rendered as Perception of Materiality / Perception of Form instead of bodily sensations.


That's what I was saying. Have you read the thread you thanked for? I'll quote it here:

The second meaning of rūpasaññā occurs in the description of transition from fourth to fifth jhana:

“Puna capara.m, po.t.thapaada, bhikkhu sabbaso ruupasa~n~naana.m samatikkamaa pa.tighasa~n~naana.m attha"ngamaa naanattasa~n~naana.m amanasikaaraa ‘ananto aakaaso’ti aakaasaana~ncaayatana.m upasampajja viharati. Tassa yaa purimaa ruupasa~n~naa saa nirujjhati. Aakaasaana~ncaayatanasukhumasaccasa~n~naa tasmi.m samaye hoti, aakaasaana~ncaayatanasukhumasaccasa~n~niiyeva tasmi.m samaye hoti. Evampi sikkhaa ekaa sa~n~naa uppajjati, sikkhaa ekaa sa~n~naa nirujjhati. Ayampi sikkhaa”ti bhagavaa avoca.

"And then, with the complete transcending of recognitions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of recognitions of sense impressions, and not heeding recognitions of diversity, thinking, 'Infinite space,' the monk enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space. His earlier recognition of a refined truth of neither pleasure nor pain ceases, and on that occasion there is a recognition of a refined truth of the dimension of the infinitude of space. On that occasion he is one who is recognizing a refined truth of the dimension of the infinitude of space. And thus it is that with training one recognition arises and with training another recognition ceases.

Potthapada sutta, Digha Nikaya 9, DN 1.183

Vibhanga explains this meaning:

602. “Sabbaso ruupasa~n~naana.m samatikkamaa”ti tattha katamaa ruupasa~n~naa? Ruupaavacarasamaapatti.m samaapannassa vaa upapannassa vaa di.t.thadhammasukhavihaarissa vaa sa~n~naa sa~njaananaa sa~njaanitatta.m– imaa vuccanti “ruupasa~n~naayo”. Imaa ruupasa~n~naayo atikkanto hoti viitikkanto samatikkanto. Tena vuccati “sabbaso ruupasa~n~naana.m samatikkamaa”ti.

Vibhanga 261

as relating to first four jhanas (ruupaa-vacara-samaapatti) or pleasant abiding in here and now (di.t.tha-dhamma-sukha-vihaara), which are synonyms. Arupa jhanas (on infinite space, etc.) are not called abiding in here and now.

This shows that in first four jhanas meditator clearly perceives the environment (form realm, ruupaa-vacara), with physical senses, while in formless (aruupa) jhanas such perception ceases.

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5595

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

Postby morning mist » Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:28 am

Dmytro wrote:
morning mist wrote:Thanks for sharing. Rupa in Rupasanna is used similar to the way it is used in Rupaloka ( Fine material realm instead of body. Therefore it should be rendered as Perception of Materiality / Perception of Form instead of bodily sensations.


That's what I was saying. Have you read the thread you thanked for? I'll quote it here:

The second meaning of rūpasaññā occurs in the description of transition from fourth to fifth jhana:


That is the rupasanna that we have been talking about. Sylvester pointed out that the updated translation is Perception of Form , or Perception of Materiality instead of Recognition of Physical Form, or bodily sensation.


Dmytro wrote: "And then, with the complete transcending of recognitions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of recognitions of sense impressions, and not heeding recognitions of diversity, thinking"


The above translation is inacurate , that is why there is the misunderstanding that it is referring to the disappearance of the recognition of sense impressions.

"And then, with the complete transcending of RUPASANNANAM (PERCEPTION OF FORM, PERCEPTION OF MATERIALITY) ,with the disappearance of ALL SENSE OF RESISTENCE ( paṭighasaññānaṃ, patigha : repulsion, repugnance, anger, atthaṅgamā : setting down ), and paying no heed to (amanasikārā: not attending to) the perception of diversity (nānattasaññānaṃ )"

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

Postby morning mist » Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:44 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
morning mist wrote:It's true that " permeating the body" mentioned in the jhanas refers to the mental body rather than the physical body, because the perception of five sense objects & sense desires, perception of the things of the kama loka have been left behind in jhana.

Yes, but it's important to understand that what is designated as the mental body is not a disembodied experience.

[Q.] Joy (pīti) and pleasure (sukha) are said to be formless phenomena (arūpa-dhamma). How then can they stay permeating the body?

[A.] Name (nāma) depends on form (rūpa). Form depends on name. Therefore, if name has joy, form also has joy. If name has pleasure, form also has pleasure.


Hi Nana,

I am not saying that form disappear or that it doesn't benefit or become rejuvenated through the energy of piti ( rapture) and sukha , but just the Perception of form disappears . The Potthapada Sutta shows that as a person moves from jhana to jhana, various perception cease one by one, until eventually all perception cease at the state of " Cessation of Perception and Feelings.

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

Postby Dmytro » Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:49 am

Hi Morning Mist,

morning mist wrote:" Nine successive cessations ( anupubba-nirodha):

" By the attainments of the first jhana, kamasanna ( perception of five sense objects & sense desires, perception of the things of the kama loka , perception of sensuality) cease (niruddhā);


Here you are adding Australian Brahmic Buddhism commentaries to the text of the sutta.

The suttas themselves explain Kāmasaññā differently, as the recognition connected with sensual desire -

Samanamandikasutta, MN 78:

Katamā saññā? Saññāpi hi bahū anekavidhā nānappakārakā. Kāmasaññā, byāpādasaññā, vihiṃsāsaññā – itosamuṭṭhānā akusalā saṅkappā.

‘‘Ime ca, thapati, akusalā saṅkappā kuhiṃ aparisesā nirujjhanti? Nirodhopi nesaṃ vutto. Idha, thapati, bhikkhu vivicceva kāmehi…pe… paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati; etthete akusalā saṅkappā aparisesā nirujjhanti.

What perception? Though perception is multiple, varied, and of different aspects, there is perception od sensual desire, perception of ill will, and perception of cruelty. unwholesome intentions originate from this.

And where do these unwholesome intentions cease without remainder? Their cessation is stated: here, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhana ... It is here that unwholesome intentions cease without remainder.


morning mist wrote:And why did he say that jhana is the practice of letting go ? If we look at the process , we see that to get into jhana we have to let go of the desire, aversion, etc..


Buddha didn't describe it as letting go, but instead as a step-by-step work that involves the development of wisdom:

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

Mahasaccaka sutta (MN 36):

I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain.


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

Brahmavamso's approach is evidently different. A couple of quotes from his masterpiece "Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond":

"Happiness in meditation is important, and you deserve to bliss out! Blissing out on the meditation object is an essential part of the path." - p. 140

As usual, he conflates Nibbana with Nirodha-samapatti, adding the strange notion that this samapatti liberates:
"Within the perception of neither perception nor nonperception lies the end of all perception, the cessation of all that is felt or perceived, nibbāna. If the minds attends to this, the mind stops. When the mind starts again, one gains the attainment of arahant or anāgāmī. These are the only possiblities." - p.171

You mentioned the chapters on developing wisdom in his book. Frankly, I don't find wisdom in these chapters.

Metta,
Last edited by Dmytro on Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Dmytro » Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:03 am

Hi Morning Mist,

morning mist wrote:Sylvester pointed out that the updated translation is...


Perhaps a news bulletin of updated Australian Brahmic Buddhism interpretations would be handy?

morning mist wrote:paṭighasaññānaṃ, patigha : repulsion, repugnance, anger


Your replies show for me where this tendency to reject by wholesale the Pali explanations of terms leads: they are replaced by free personal associations, based on the Pali-English dictionary.

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

Postby nathan » Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:29 am

There are six transcripts of Dhamma Talks here which are discourses about Theravada Abhidhamma including many details of how this Venerable understands vipassana and jhana to be functioning together in various ways in various aspects of meditation in practice. There may be a number of details mentioned that might prove useful for those who are making very detailed comparisons of specific particulars.

Abhidhamma with Ven. Dhammadipa
http://www.phathue.com/buddhism/dharma- ... hammadipa/
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 Sylvester » Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:16 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:Sigh, how difficult can it be to give a categorical Yes or No to either question?

I don't have direct knowledge of Ven. Brahmavamso's mind, therefore I'm not in a position to make categorical statements.


Good. And I trust this recognition is borne in mind the next time you feel overwhelmed by the tempation to make categorical innuendos about Ajahn Brahm's presentation.

But it should be quite clear by now that I don't consider what he describes to be consistent with what is described and defined as jhāna in the canon and commentaries.


The operative words being you "don't consider". If by Canon, you mean the suttas, the inconsistency is not with the suttas per se, but with the myriad interpretations floating out there, including yours. If by Canon, you include the Abhidhamma, you've not demonstrated that your interpretation of the Vibhanga's or Dhammasangani's presentations as a laundry list of dhamma-s is actually in line with their clear presentation of lists of iddapaccayata sets. I think the only thing that is clear is that your interpretations don't coincide with Ajahn Brahm's and others' who subscribe to the absorption model.

Your suggestion that vipassanā should require engagement in discursive thought fails to appreciate the subtleties of the process.


I can hardly take credit for this. The Buddha himself stated so. And if those 2 suttas I had cited earlier do not suffice, take a look at Pariyaya Sutta, SN 46.52. There, as a rebuff to the sectarians' claim that they too practised the 7 Bojjhangas, the Buddha analysed the 7 Bojjhangas into 14. Each of the 7 Bojjhangas were analysed as being of 2 types. Two of the Bojjhangas were analysed as each being of 2 types, each type being defined as either being "savitakka savicārā" or "avitakka avicārā". Dhammavicayasmabojjhanga was not one of these 2. If the subtleties of the process entailed an "avitakka avicārā" dhammavicayasmabojjhanga, odd that the Buddha failed to mention it, especially when He identified 2 bojjhangas with these sub-types.
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:25 am

Dmytro wrote:Hi Morning Mist,

morning mist wrote:Sylvester pointed out that the updated translation is...


Perhaps a news bulletin of updated Australian Brahmic Buddhism interpretations would be handy?




Naughty, naughty. Surely you're not suggesting that we be a mouth-piece of Ven Bodhi's translations and published works? I imagine that Ven Bodhi began adopting Ven Nanamoli's translation when he began editing the MLDB (pub. 1995) and the terminology stuck in his translation of the SN.
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:57 am

Dmytro wrote:Hi Morning Mist,

morning mist wrote:" Nine successive cessations ( anupubba-nirodha):

" By the attainments of the first jhana, kamasanna ( perception of five sense objects & sense desires, perception of the things of the kama loka , perception of sensuality) cease (niruddhā);


Here you are adding Australian Brahmic Buddhism commentaries to the text of the sutta.

The suttas themselves explain Kāmasaññā differently, as the recognition connected with sensual desire -

Samanamindikasutta, MN 178:

Katamā saññā? Saññāpi hi bahū anekavidhā nānappakārakā. Kāmasaññā, byāpādasaññā, vihiṃsāsaññā – itosamuṭṭhānā akusalā saṅkappā.

‘‘Ime ca, thapati, akusalā saṅkappā kuhiṃ aparisesā nirujjhanti? Nirodhopi nesaṃ vutto. Idha, thapati, bhikkhu vivicceva kāmehi…pe… paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati; etthete akusalā saṅkappā aparisesā nirujjhanti.

What perception? Though perception is multiple, varied, and of different aspects, there is perception od sensual desire, perception of ill will, and perception of cruelty. unwholesome intentions originate from this.

And where do these unwholesome intentions cease without remainder? Their cessation is stated: here, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhana ... It is here that unwholesome intentions cease without remainder.


I think it would be fair to ask - when kāmasaññā ceases in 1st Jhana, does only the sañña of kāma (sg = sensual desire) cease, or do the sañña of kāmā (pl = sense objects) also cease? I think the answer is the latter, as kāma cannot be some disembodied "state" floating out there without a sense object. As AN 6.63 makes clear, contact is the origin of sensuality, and one cannot divorce kāma from the cognition of kāmā (cognition being part of the triad of phassa).


Brahmavamso's approach is evidently different. A couple of quotes from his masterpiece "Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond":

"Happiness in meditation is important, and you deserve to bliss out! Blissing out on the meditation object is an essential part of the path." - p. 140

As usual, he conflates Nibbana with Nirodha-samapatti, adding the strange notion that this samapatti liberates:
"Within the perception of neither perception nor nonperception lies the end of all perception, the cessation of all that is felt or perceived, nibbāna. If the minds attends to this, the mind stops. When the mind starts again, one gains the attainment of arahant or anāgāmī. These are the only possiblities." - p.171

You mentioned the chapters on developing wisdom in his book. Frankly, I don't find wisdom in these chapters.


I don't see why you charge Ajahn Brahm with conflating Nibbana with Nirodha-samapatti. The plain simple reading of that quote from p.171 simply means that Ajahn Brahm is conflating Nirodha-samapatti with Nibbana. You may quibble that this makes no difference, but to me it makes a ton of difference. This is because the Buddha Himself makes this equation in a few suttas in the Samannavagga of AN 9, as pointed out by piotr in the other thread viewtopic.php?f=13&t=7521&p=120848&hilit=sequel#p120848. I don't see why you should object, when Ajahn Brahm is quoting no less an authority than the Buddha. I do however accept that your approach based on the later exegetical approach interprets these passages somewhat differently -


Nibbana Visible Here and Now

388“‘Sandiṭṭhikaṃ nibbānaṃ, sandiṭṭhikaṃ nibbānan’ti, āvuso, vuccati. Kittāvatā nu kho, āvuso, sandiṭṭhikaṃ nibbānaṃ vuttaṃ bhagavatā”ti? 389“Idhāvuso, bhikkhu vivicceva kāmehi…pe… paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati. Ettāvatāpi kho, āvuso, sandiṭṭhikaṃ nibbānaṃ vuttaṃ bhagavatā pariyāyena…pe… . 390Puna caparaṃ, āvuso, bhikkhu sabbaso nevasaññānāsaññāyatanaṃ samatikkamma saññāvedayitanirodhaṃ upasampajja viharati, paññāya cassa disvā āsavā parikkhīṇā honti. Ettāvatāpi kho, āvuso, sandiṭṭhikaṃ nibbānaṃ vuttaṃ bhagavatā nippariyāyenā”ti.

repeated in the subsequent suttas to equate the 1st 8 attainments with Nibbana with a sequel, Parinibbana with a sequel, Certain Nibbana with a sequel, Nibbana in this life itself, with a sequel, and to equate Cessation of Feeling and Ferception with all of the above, but without a sequel.


You again raised this -

Mahasaccaka sutta (MN 36):

I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain.
[/quote]

I'm still trying to understand the logic behind your reliance on this sutta. Just because jhanic sukha did not invade or remain in the Buddha's case, how does this establish your thesis that jhanic sukha can be a source of raga or attachment? Could you pls explicate, as you've relied on this on many occassions but have not quite drawn out the inference from this sutta that jhanic sukha can be a source of attachment.
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Dmytro » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:58 pm

Hi Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:I'm still trying to understand the logic behind your reliance on this sutta. Just because jhanic sukha did not invade or remain in the Buddha's case, how does this establish your thesis that jhanic sukha can be a source of raga or attachment? Could you pls explicate, as you've relied on this on many occassions but have not quite drawn out the inference from this sutta that jhanic sukha can be a source of attachment.


This inference is given in the sutta itself:

"And how is one developed in body and developed in mind? There is the case where a pleasant feeling arises in a well-educated disciple of the noble ones. On being touched by the pleasant feeling, he doesn't become impassioned with pleasure, and is not reduced to being impassioned with pleasure.

...

"But perhaps there has never arisen in Master Gotama the sort of pleasant feeling that, having arisen, would invade the mind and remain."

...

"So when I had taken solid food and regained strength, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain."

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

Direct explanation of fixation on the jhanic pleasure is given, for example, in MN 138, to which I referred earlier. Seems like you don't trust this Pali sutta, which reduces the basis for possible mutual understanding.

Best wishes, Dmytro
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby morning mist » Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:53 pm

HI Dmytro,

Dmytro wrote:  A couple of quotes from his masterpiece "Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond":

"Happiness in meditation is important, and you deserve to bliss out! Blissing out on the meditation object is an essential part of the path." - p. 140 


We should be able to distinguish between wholesome and unworldly sukha and worldly sukha. Pleasure of the 5 sense world is often regarded as worldly , but the pleasantness of samma samadhi is considered by the Buddha as "bliss of renunciation, the bliss of seclusion, the bliss of peace, the bliss of enlightenment."

Aranavibhanga Sutta, MN 139
3. “One should not pursue sensual pleasure…and one should not pursue self-mortification, which is painful, ignoble, and unbeneficial. The Middle Way discovered by the Tathagata avoids both extremes; giving vision, giving knowledge, it leads to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana…
9. …”One should know how to define pleasure, and knowing that, one should pursue pleasure within oneself”…”Here bhikkhus, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enter upon and resides in the first (absorption) jhana”… (through 4th jhana). “This is called the bliss of renunciation, the bliss of seclusion, the bliss of peace, the bliss of enlightenment. I say of this kind of pleasure that it should be pursued, that it should be developed, that it should be cultivated, and that it should not be feared.”
“So it was in reference to this that I said, ‘One should know how to define pleasure, and knowing that, one should pursue pleasure within oneself.” 
13. Here, bhikkhus, the bliss of renunciation, the bliss of seclusion, the bliss of peace, the bliss of enlightenment, is a state without suffering (dukkha)… and it is the right way. Therefore this is a state without conflict.”


Dmytro wrote:
morning mist wrote: And why did he say that jhana is the practice of letting go ? If we look at the process , we see that to get into jhana we have to let go of the desire, aversion, etc..


Buddha didn't describe it as letting go


The practice of jhana involves some amount of letting go. For example, abandoning the  five hindrances, etc... As you move from one jhana to another  , there is the need to let go of attachment to the previous one.  If we wants to say that jhana is a practice of letting go, it is understandable. I am sure some would prefer to use different  terms , that is up to each person. 


Dmytro wrote:
morning mist wrote:paṭighasaññānaṃ, patigha : repulsion, repugnance, anger


Your replies show for me where this tendency to reject by wholesale the Pali explanations of terms leads: they are replaced by free personal associations, based on the Pali-English dictionary.


That is the definition for " patigha" given in numerous dictionary. I just post it here for your convenience. But if you think that I made it up, you are more than welcome to look it up for yourself.


When it comes to " patighasannanam" , various translators rendered it as :

"perceptions of resistance"- Thanissaro Bhikkhu ( Access to insight)

" the sense of resistance" - T W Rhys Davids ( Metta Net)

"the sense of resistance" -Maurice Walshe ( Wisdom Publication )


Dmytro wrote:
morning mist wrote:Sylvester pointed out that the updated translation is...


Perhaps a news bulletin of updated Australian Brahmic Buddhism interpretations would be handy?



The recent translation he pointed out was from Bhikkhu Bodhi. No one is making that up. By the way, resorting to name calling and labeling won't help support your claim.



Dmytro wrote:
morning mist wrote:" Nine successive cessations ( anupubba-nirodha):

" By the attainments of the first jhana, kamasanna / perception of sensuality ( perception of five sense objects & sense desires)  cease (niruddhā);


The suttas themselves explain Kāmasaññā differently, as the recognition connected with sensual desire  


Kama can refer to both  objective sensuality and subjective sensuality as well.


káma may denote:
1.objective sensuality, the five sense-objects.
2. subjective sensuality, 'sense-desire';

1. Objective sensuality is, in the canonical texts, mostly called káma-guna, 'cords (or strands) of sensuality'. "There are 5 cords of sensuality: the visible objects, cognizable by eye-consciousness, that are desirable, cherished, pleasant, lovely, sensuous and alluring; the sounds ... smells ... tastes ... bodily impressions cognizable by body-consciousness, that are desirable .... " (D. 33; M. 13, 26, 59, 66).

2. Subjective sensuality, or sense-desire, is directed to all five sense-objects



According to theAneñja-sappaya Sutta:

'Bhikkhus, KAMA  is impermanent, hollow, vain, deceptive. It is illusory, the prattle of fools. Kama belonging to this world ( ditthadhammika kama)  and  kama belonging to  the next world ( samparayika kama) ,  KAMASANNA (sensual perceptions) belonging to this world ( ditthadhammika kamasanna)  and  kamasanna belonging to  the next world ( samparayika KAMMASANNA) : both are the realm of Mara (maradheyyam) , the domain (viyaso: locality, region, sphere, scope ) of Mara, Mara’s bait , Mara’s range ( hunting ground)  . They lead to evil , unwholesome mental states: grasping ( abhijjhapi :covetousness), ill will, and contentiousness. They arise for the obstruction of a disciple of the noble ones in training here.


Even the commentary to the Majjhima Nikaya also states that Both objective sensuality and sensual defilements are intended here for "kama" . 

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

Postby Dmytro » Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:42 am

Hi Morning Mist and Sylvester,

This sounds more and more like a dialogue of deaf people.
You write to me the things I well know, and ignore what I write.

Futhermore, there seems to be a very scarce common ground - suttas like MN 138 (on attachment to jhanas), MN 78 (on kāmasaññā) and others, which contradict Brahmavamso's statements, are either ignored or misrepresented.

Now that I have understood your position and types of reasoning, I don't see any point in further discussion in this thread with you.

I thank you and all the participants of this thread for illuminating posts.

I hope that this "Early Buddhism" thing will evolve to accurate and non-biased definition of terms, directly based on the most reliable texts possible, and this will help to make the meditative practice truly enlightening.

Best wishes, Dmytro
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:00 am

Dmytro wrote:Hi Morning Mist and Sylvester,

This sounds more and more like a dialogue of deaf people.
You write to me the things I well know, and ignore what I write.

Futhermore, there seems to be a very scarce common ground - suttas like MN 138 (on attachment to jhanas), MN 78 (on kāmasaññā) and others, which contradict Brahmavamso's statements, are either ignored or misrepresented.

Now that I have understood your position and types of reasoning, I don't see any point in further discussion in this thread with you.

I thank you and all the participants of this thread for illuminating posts.

I hope that this "Early Buddhism" thing will evolve to accurate and non-biased definition of terms, directly based on the most reliable texts possible, and this will help to make the meditative practice truly enlightening.

Best wishes, Dmytro



Thank you too, Dmytro.

We may differ in what we feel of the Canon is useful or is faithful to the suttas, and we certainly differ on how we should interpret the suttas. Please be assured that I hear your reasoning - disagreement with your reasoning need not be taken to be suppression nor misrepresentation of your authorities.

All the best.
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:36 am

Dmytro wrote:This sounds more and more like a dialogue of deaf people.
You write to me the things I well know, and ignore what I write.

Futhermore, there seems to be a very scarce common ground - suttas like MN 138 (on attachment to jhanas), MN 78 (on kāmasaññā) and others, which contradict Brahmavamso's statements, are either ignored or misrepresented.

Now that I have understood your position and types of reasoning, I don't see any point in further discussion in this thread with you.

I thank you and all the participants of this thread for illuminating posts.

I hope that this "Early Buddhism" thing will evolve to accurate and non-biased definition of terms, directly based on the most reliable texts possible, and this will help to make the meditative practice truly enlightening.

Well said.

All the best,

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

Postby Vossaga (Element) » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:06 am

Ñāṇa wrote:The Vimuttimagga:

[list]Just as the bath-powder when inside and outside saturated with moisture, adheres and does not scatter, so the body of the meditator in the first jhāna is permeated with joy and pleasure from top to bottom, from the skullcap to the feet and from the feet to the skullcap, skin and hair, inside and outside. And he dwells without falling back. Thus he dwells like a Brahma god.

Hi Ñāṇa

I personally agree with Ajahn Brahm is respect to the above.

I do not dispute every neuron in the nervous system, from the skullcap to the feet, is permeated with joy and pleasure.

However, this does not necessarily mean the mind experiences the permeated joy and pleasure within the physical body.

With metta

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

Postby Nyana » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:54 am

Vossaga wrote:However, this does not necessarily mean the mind experiences the permeated joy and pleasure within the physical body.

Well, I doubt that there is only one pathway to pītisukha. Therefore, there isn't just one phenomenological description of the experience of pītisukha. Experientially speaking, pītisukha can certainly arise as waves of universal bliss coursing throughout the body. It can feel like passing through an invisible "membrane" wherein all sense of constriction is simply gone and the felt-sense of the inner body vastly expands along with waves of universal bliss. This pītisukha can begin in the chest area, or the solar plexus, or the forehead area, or along the lower spine, etc. It can feel like one's entire being is saturated with waves of cosmic deva-like love, or immeasurable universal compassion, or simply "bliss." It can be accompanied by light nimittas of different description (size, color, etc.). And it can certainly be characterized as "heavenly" or "divine." Anyone who has experienced this will understand the correlation between the jhānas and the cosmological brahma-worlds (brahmlakokas). But if one absorbs into any experience of pītisukha to the point of loss of comprehension then that is indulgent -- it no longer serves as an optimal condition for mental development (bhāvanā). And such indulgence can certainly be addictive. It can impede development whereby one gets stuck in a habitual pattern of "blissing-out."

All the best,

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

Postby Sylvester » Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:28 pm

Vossaga wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:The Vimuttimagga:

[list]Just as the bath-powder when inside and outside saturated with moisture, adheres and does not scatter, so the body of the meditator in the first jhāna is permeated with joy and pleasure from top to bottom, from the skullcap to the feet and from the feet to the skullcap, skin and hair, inside and outside. And he dwells without falling back. Thus he dwells like a Brahma god.

Hi Ñāṇa

I personally agree with Ajahn Brahm is respect to the above.

I do not dispute every neuron in the nervous system, from the skullcap to the feet, is permeated with joy and pleasure.

However, this does not necessarily mean the mind experiences the permeated joy and pleasure within the physical body.

With metta

:smile:


You've hit the nail on the head.

The Buddha specified only 5 material indriyas with their corresponding ayatana of visual data, tastes, sound, odours and tactility, plus a mental indriya. One might ask - but what about the rest of the sensors in the body? What about the adrenaline receptors, all the hundreds of sub-cellular apparatus involved in cell-signalling etc etc?

The Buddha was very wise in this regard. The problem boils down to Suffering and no matter how one looks, the immediate cause of mental phenomena is always traced to contact/phassa. If you cannot be conscious of a phenomenon, there can be no contact there, and no consciousness to give rise to the cascade of feelings that lead to either lust, aversion or plain indifference.

Only 6 phenomena are capable of establishing "phassa" - the above 5 ayatanas plus mental objects. My adrenaline receptor is no more capable of giving rise to "adrenaline consciousness", than one of its cascade's ensuing transcription factors capable of establishing phassa with a gene's non-existent consciousness. Suffering arises when we are finally conscious of one of adrenaline's downstream effects, eg racing heartbeat. That is the body contacting photthaba/tactility and that is tactility consciousness.

And just as I am totally incapable of "adrenaline consciousness", this body/kaya is also incapable of establishing phassa with jhanic pitisukha. Ditto for the eyes, ears, nose, and tongue - all of them are incapable of cognising jhanic pitisukha. This bar is explict in MN 43.

So, you are right that this entire body's neurons are permeated with Jhanic pitisukha, but MN 43 does not allow phassa to be established between Jhanic pitisukha and a neuron. Jhanic pitisukha is not cakkhuviññeyyā, not sotaviññeyyā, not ghānaviññeyyā, not jivhāviññeyyā, and definitely not kāyaviññeyyā. Those who claim that Jhana is a nice pleasant feeling and perception of the body forget that kāyaviññeyyā phoṭṭhabbā belongs to the kāmā and the Buddha specifically identifies jhanic sukha as "having nothing to do with kāmā" (MN 36.32). Worse, those who identify jhanic pleasure as pleasurable phoṭṭhabbā /tactility conveniently forget the Buddha's admonition in MN 66 against cultivating such "a filthy pleasure, a coarse pleasure, an ignoble pleasure", in contrast to the "sambodhi sukha" that are Jhanic sukha (MN 66.19 - 21).

The inability of the body to be directly conscious of jhanic sukha does not mean that the sukha cannot work its magic. How it happens, I can only guess, but just imagine the rush of "happy" neurotransmitters mediated by the mind and then triggering a cascade of cell signals that culminate in bodily ease (perceptible as phoṭṭhabbā when the mind has arisen from a jhana).

I think the attachment to Jhana is not attachment to sambodhi sukha, but possibly the attachment to the kamagunas which are mistaken for jhanic sukha.
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:02 pm

Sylvester wrote:
Your suggestion that vipassanā should require engagement in discursive thought fails to appreciate the subtleties of the process.


I can hardly take credit for this. The Buddha himself stated so.

As already indicated, the seven factors of awakening are a model of the conditioned process explaining how right mindfulness, right effort/right exertion, and right samādhi are to be developed and integrated. The process model of the seven factors of awakening is directly related to the process model of the four jhānas. Insight can be developed at every stage of the seven factors of awakening, and therefore in every jhāna. In fact, there can be no gnosis without it. SN 46.71 Anicca Sutta:

    Monks, when the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated, it is of great fruit and benefit.

    And how, monks, is the perception of impermanence developed and cultivated so that it is of great fruit and benefit? Here, monks, a monk develops the awakening factor of mindfulness accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of dhamma-investigation accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of energy accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of joy accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of tranquility accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of concentration accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the enlightenment factor of equanimity accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. It is in this way that the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated so that it is of great fruit and benefit.

    Monks, when the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated, one of two fruits is to be expected: either final gnosis in this very life or, if there is a residue of clinging, the state of nonreturning.

    And how, monks, is the perception of impermanence developed and cultivated so that one of two fruits is to be expected: either final gnosis in this very life or, if there is a residue of clinging, the state of nonreturning? Here, monks, a monk develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of dhamma-investigation accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of energy accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of joy accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of tranquility accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of concentration accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the enlightenment factor of equanimity accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. It is in this way that the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated so that one of two fruits is to be expected: either final gnosis in this very life or, if there is a residue of clinging, the state of nonreturning.

    Monks, when the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated, it leads to great good.

    And how, monks, is the perception of impermanence developed and cultivated so that it leads to great good? Here, monks, a monk develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of dhamma-investigation accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of energy accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of joy accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of tranquility accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of concentration accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the enlightenment factor of equanimity accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. It is in this way that the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated so that it leads to great good.

    Monks, when the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated, it leads to great security from bondage.

    And how, monks, is the perception of impermanence developed and cultivated so that it leads to great security from bondage? Here, monks, a monk develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of dhamma-investigation accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of energy accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of joy accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of tranquility accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of concentration accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the enlightenment factor of equanimity accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. It is in this way that the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated so that it leads to great security from bondage.

    Monks, when the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated, it leads to a great sense of urgency.

    And how, monks, is the perception of impermanence developed and cultivated so that it leads to a great sense of urgency? Here, monks, a monk develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of dhamma-investigation accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of energy accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of joy accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of tranquility accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of concentration accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the enlightenment factor of equanimity accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. It is in this way that the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated so that it leads to a great sense of urgency.

    Monks, when the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated, it leads to dwelling in great comfort.

    And how, monks, is the perception of impermanence developed and cultivated so that it leads to dwelling in great comfort? Here, monks, a monk develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of dhamma-investigation accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of energy accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of joy accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of tranquility accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of concentration accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. He develops the enlightenment factor of equanimity accompanied by the perception of impermanence, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in letting go. It is in this way that the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated so that it leads to dwelling in great comfort.

All the best,

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

Postby Nyana » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:30 pm

Sylvester wrote:this body/kaya is also incapable of establishing phassa with jhanic pitisukha

Kāyapasāda rūpa is spread throughout the whole body, and can be a mental object (dhammārammaṇa) directly cognized by mental consciousness (manoviññāṇa). In fact, all five sensorial forms (pasādarūpa) can be mental objects directly cognized by mental consciousness. This is how mental consciousness can directly cognize a light nimitta when one's eyes are closed without the occurrence of eye-consciousness, and can directly cognize the inner body being saturated with pītisukha without the occurrence of body-consciousness. Moreover, the phenomenology has already been established by the Peṭakopadesa and the Dīghanikāyaṭīkā. The Peṭakopadesa:

    The twofold bodily and mental pain does not arise in one steadied in directed thought and evaluation, and the twofold bodily and mental pleasure does arise. The mental pleasure thus produced from directed thought is joy, while the bodily pleasure is bodily feeling.

The Dīghanikāyaṭīkā:

    Mind-produced form (cittajarūpa) suffuses every area where there is kamma-produced form (kammajarūpa).

Sylvester wrote:Those who claim that Jhana is a nice pleasant feeling and perception of the body forget that kāyaviññeyyā phoṭṭhabbā belongs to the kāmā and the Buddha specifically identifies jhanic sukha as "having nothing to do with kāmā" (MN 36.32). Worse, those who identify jhanic pleasure as pleasurable phoṭṭhabbā /tactility conveniently forget the Buddha's admonition in MN 66 against cultivating such "a filthy pleasure, a coarse pleasure, an ignoble pleasure", in contrast to the "sambodhi sukha" that are Jhanic sukha (MN 66.19 - 21).

Not only is your understanding of sensual pleasure and the strands of sensual pleasure mistaken, now you're demonstrating that you have no experiential knowledge of the subject at hand. The pītisukha that I'm talking about has nothing whatsoever to do with kāma. They are completely different planes of experience. In comparison to the pītisukha of jhāna, even the most ecstatic kāma is gross -- a violent psychosomatic seizure. For anyone who's experienced both, there's no possibility of thinking that the pītisukha of jhāna and kāma induced pleasure are even remotely similar.

Sylvester wrote:I think the attachment to Jhana is not attachment to sambodhi sukha, but possibly the attachment to the kamagunas which are mistaken for jhanic sukha.

Again, it's quite apparent that you don't know what you're talking about. The pītisukha of jhāna can definitely become an object of deep attachment. Especially for anyone who has a predisposition for addiction. It's far better than any drug. And if one knows how to induce it, it's free. It can be so utterly blissful that theist yogis think it's union with god. In terms of the ten fetters, any attachment to the four jhānas is included under the fetter of passion for form (rūparāga).

All the best,

Geoff
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