The Great Jhana Debate

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby reflection » Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:11 pm

beeblebrox wrote:Maybe I missed something, but isn't the point of jhana is to create an ideal condition for yourself from which you can do the vipassana, i.e. to see clearly the characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anatta... and also to see the unfolding of the paticca sammupada... which leads to liberation? Practicing the jhana for its own sake just seems pointless to me. It's not samma-samadhi... just a wrongly directed concentration.

:anjali:

Yes, you are right. "No jhana, no wisdom. No wisdom, no jhana." I think we all know that quote from the Dhammapada, plus the many more quotes that point to this. The two are like two sides of a coin.

:namaste:
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby Nyana » Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:31 pm

reflection wrote:I'm just saying it is not an absorption when you can still contemplate in it, imo jhanas are deeper. And I think you need those kind of full absorptions on the path.

And I'm saying that you are holding to an interpretation of sammāsamādhi and jhāna which isn't supported by the canon. Ven. Gunaratana, Should We Come Out of Jhāna to Practice Vipassanā?:

    [W]hen we become absorbed into our object of focus, what we are practicing is "wrong" Jhāna. When we practice "right" Jhāna we will be able to see things as they really are.

    When we read how the Buddha used his own fourth Jhānic concentration, as described in many Suttas, we have no reason to believe that he came out of Jhāna to develop the three kinds of knowledge—knowledge of seeing the past, knowledge of seeing beings dying and taking rebirth, and knowledge of the destruction of defilements. The Buddha used the fourth Jhāna for Vipassanā.

    Using the English word "absorption" to denote the deep concentration in the Jhāna is very misleading. There are many mental factors in any Jhāna and the meditator is quite aware of them. When you are aware of these mental factors you are not absorbed into them, but conscious of them or mindful of them. If you are absorbed in the subject you will not understand, nor remember anything.

reflection wrote:And I think you need those kind of full absorptions on the path.

And the Theravāda, Sarvāstivāda, and Sautrāntika Ācariyas explicitly state that you don't. I see no good reason whatsoever to dismiss what they have to say on the subject.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby daverupa » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:07 pm

Is it not the case that one can practice anapanasati within jhana? It simply seems to me that this is why, in the anapanasati section of the Samyutta Nikaya the term appears there as both anapanasati and anapanasatisamadhi. This, paired with the instruction about material form while in rupa jhana, makes simple and elegant sense to me.
    "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: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby Nyana » Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:07 pm

daverupa wrote:Is it not the case that one can practice anapanasati within jhana? It simply seems to me that this is why, in the anapanasati section of the Samyutta Nikaya the term appears there as both anapanasati and anapanasatisamadhi. This, paired with the instruction about material form while in rupa jhana, makes simple and elegant sense to me.

Indeed. The purpose of developing jhāna is to refine sati and sampajāna. This is clearly evident from the Peṭakopadesa's analysis and enumeration of the jhāna factors of each of the four jhānas, which accords well with the suttas:

Image

All the best,

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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby Nyana » Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:55 pm

mikenz66 wrote:I am familiar with this distinction from Mahasi-school teachers and the commentarial literature.
However, I'm a little hazy about references to the vipassana jhanas in the Suttas themselves. Are you able to point to some examples?

In addition to what was quoted here, there is AN 4.41 Samādhibhāvanā Sutta, which instructs us on how to develop meditative composure which leads to mindfulness and full awareness:

    And what, monks, is the development of meditative composure that, when developed and cultivated, leads to mindfulness and full awareness? Here, monks, feelings are known to a monk as they arise, known as they are present, known as they disappear. Recognitions are known to him as they arise, known as they are present, known as they disappear. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they are present, known as they disappear. This, monks, is the development of meditative composure that, when developed and cultivated, leads to mindfulness and full awareness.

Note how the phrase "known to him as they arise, known as they are present, known as they disappear" also occurs in MN 111 Anupada Sutta which describes the clear seeing of phenomena one by one as they occur (anupadadhammavipassanā):

    Now Sāriputta’s clear seeing of phenomena one by one as they occurred was this:

    Whatever phenomena there are in the first jhāna: directed thought, evaluation, joy, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, recognition, intention, mind, desire, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and attention; he analyzed these phenomena one by one as they occurred. Known to him they arose, known they were present, known they disappeared.

Also, the jhāna factors of the four jhānas are embedded within the seven factors of awakening. The seven factors of awakening are one of the most commonly found developmental models in the Pāli dhamma. SN 46.71 Anicca Sutta informs us that sustained, dedicated practice of the recognition of impermanence will create the optimal conditions for the arising of all seven factors of awakening. SN 46.71 Anicca Sutta (abridged):

    Here monks, a monk develops the awakening factor of mindfulness accompanied by the recognition of impermanence, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of dhamma-investigation accompanied by the recognition of impermanence, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of energy accompanied by the recognition of impermanence, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of joy accompanied by the recognition of impermanence, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of tranquility accompanied by the recognition of impermanence, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of meditative composure accompanied by the recognition of impermanence, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops the awakening factor of equanimity accompanied by the recognition of impermanence, dependent upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, resulting in letting go.

    It is in this way that the recognition of impermanence is developed and cultivated so that it is of great fruit and benefit. It is in this way that the recognition 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. It is in this way that the recognition of impermanence is developed and cultivated so that it leads to great good. It is in this way that the recognition of impermanence is developed and cultivated so that it leads to great security from bondage. It is in this way that the recognition of impermanence is developed and cultivated so that it leads to a great sense of urgency. It is in this way that the recognition of impermanence is developed and cultivated so that it leads to dwelling in great comfort.

The same is then said in SN 46.72 for the recognition of unsatisfactoriness in what is impermanent, and in SN 46.73 for the recognition of selflessness in what is unsatisfactory. All of these passages offer ample canonical support for Sayādaw U Pandita's teaching of vipassanā jhāna occurring with the jhāna factors of each of the four jhānas, and therefore fulfilling the criteria of the standard jhāna formula.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:41 pm

Hi Geoff, Thank you very much for the excellent sutta references.
Ñāṇa wrote:In addition to what was quoted here, there is AN 4.41 Samādhibhāvanā Sutta, which instructs us on how to develop meditative composure which leads to mindfulness and full awareness:

    And what, monks, is the development of meditative composure that, when developed and cultivated, leads to mindfulness and full awareness? Here, monks, feelings are known to a monk as they arise, known as they are present, known as they disappear. Recognitions are known to him as they arise, known as they are present, known as they disappear. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they are present, known as they disappear. This, monks, is the development of meditative composure that, when developed and cultivated, leads to mindfulness and full awareness.

Sounds like the instructions one gets from Mahasi-style teachers... It's certainly what I aim for (but don't necessarily achieve...).

It's interesting that many of the Suttas you've quoted here are from the AN, and don't appear in the commonly-available translations. I'm looking forward to Bhikkhu Bodhi's new translation...

:anjali:
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby Alex123 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:31 am

Dear Sylvester and all,

Sylvester wrote: And I would point out that all of these sutta definitions were given in relation to the rūpakhandha.


Where would you class the physical eye in the 5 Khandha scheme?
Where would you class "visual object" in the 5 Khandha scheme?

Both the physical eye and external object are material. The only material khandha is rūpakhandha.
I am sure nobody would class physical eye or external visual object as feeling, perception, volition or consciousness.


So far you are only showing me the MN102 sutta. I've read it again and again (in English) and can't see the relevance. What I understand it to say is that base of nothingness is the best (mundane) perception attainment.

Sylvester wrote:Your thesis would entail that the sense organs can only come into existence if there is eye-cognisable data.


Sense organs can objectively exist even if one is totally unconscious, example: in nirodha samapatti one's physical body doesn't disappear. The only thing is that that person is not percipient of any thing.


Another sutta that I've remembered. MN137

"There is equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity; and there is equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness.

"And what is equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity? There is equanimity with regard to forms, equanimity with regard to sounds...smells...tastes...tactile sensations [& ideas: this word appears in one of the recensions]. This is equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity.

"And what is equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness? There is equanimity dependent on the dimension of the infinitude of space, equanimity dependent on the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... dependent on the dimension of nothingness... dependent on the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. This is equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness.

"By depending & relying on equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness, abandon & transcend equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity. Such is its abandoning, such its transcending.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Please note:
Equanimity dependent on singleness is dimension of the infinitude of space and higher! Not 1st Jhāna
One overcomes multiplicity when one reaches dimension of the infinitude of space, not 1st Jhāna.
5 Sense perception is perceived prior to dimension of the infinitude of space, not 1st Jhāna.

This fits nicely with a very frequent formula of:

""With the complete transcending of perceptions of form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, (perceiving,) 'Infinite space,' he enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby Alex123 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:30 am

Hi Reflection, all,

reflection wrote:As I've said before I'm no fan of pure textual analysis on such topics, but as far as I know there is no reference to "vipassana Jhanas" (whatever that means)


"Now what, monks, is noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions? Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, & right mindfulness — is called noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions. - MN117

Please note what makes up noble right concentration.

"The first jhāna has five factors. There is the case where, in a monk who has attained the five-factored first jhāna, there occurs directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, & singleness of mind. It's in this way that the first jhāna has five factors." - MN43

It maybe possible that 5 Jhānic factors (or however many factors that particular Jhāna 1-4 may possess) of 1st Jhāna are directly relevant to 7 factors of the N8P. Or at least they occur based on samma-sati.



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

With best wishes,

Alex
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby Sylvester » Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:25 am

Ñāṇa wrote:Note how the phrase "known to him as they arise, known as they are present, known as they disappear" also occurs in MN 111 Anupada Sutta which describes the clear seeing of phenomena one by one as they occur (anupadadhammavipassanā):

    Now Sāriputta’s clear seeing of phenomena one by one as they occurred was this:

    Whatever phenomena there are in the first jhāna: directed thought, evaluation, joy, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, recognition, intention, mind, desire, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and attention; he analyzed these phenomena one by one as they occurred. Known to him they arose, known they were present, known they disappeared.


Hello Geoff

Could you pls furnish a reference to the translation which you used which rendered "vavatthitā" as "analysed"? I could not find it in any of the 4 translations I have access to. It looks like a bit of the ATI translation combined with the MLDB translation, but neither translation used "analysed". Or is this your translation?

Just a comment on reliance on one particular translation of MN 111 (ie the MLDB) which renders "tyāssa dhammā anupadavavatthitā honti" as "these states were defined by him one by one as they occured". I would point out again that "anupada" as an adverb predicates the vavattheti, and nowhere in the Pali does "as they occured" occur. Ven Nanamoli supplied the "as they occured", not on the basis of the Pali text, but on the basis of the Commentary to this sutta -

Anupadavavatthitā hontīti anupaṭipāṭiyā vavatthitā paricchinnā ñātā viditā honti.


In the Commentaries, that word "anupaṭipāṭiyā" is used in the context of "anupubba" (progressive), but anupaṭipāṭiyā is not a word that is found in the Canon, which leaves us to wonder if the translations of MN 111 in ATI and MLDB which are based on a Commentarial jargon is on the mark...
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby Sylvester » Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:58 am

Alex123 wrote:Dear Sylvester and all,

Sylvester wrote: And I would point out that all of these sutta definitions were given in relation to the rūpakhandha.


Where would you class the physical eye in the 5 Khandha scheme?
Where would you class "visual object" in the 5 Khandha scheme?

Both the physical eye and external object are material. The only material khandha is rūpakhandha.
I am sure nobody would class physical eye or external visual object as feeling, perception, volition or consciousness.


Dear Alex

I hope you will forgive my nit-picking, but how is that underlined statement relevant to the issue of what is the nature of rupa in rupakhandha, such that it can arise on mind-contact as outlined in MN 28?

I am not sure any of the salayatana can fit into the 5 khandha scheme. To me, MN 28 is suggesting that rupakhandha is neither the indriya nor ayatana, but what arises as a consequence of phassa.


Another sutta that I've remembered. MN137

"There is equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity; and there is equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness.

"And what is equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity? There is equanimity with regard to forms, equanimity with regard to sounds...smells...tastes...tactile sensations [& ideas: this word appears in one of the recensions]. This is equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity.

"And what is equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness? There is equanimity dependent on the dimension of the infinitude of space, equanimity dependent on the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... dependent on the dimension of nothingness... dependent on the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. This is equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness.

"By depending & relying on equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness, abandon & transcend equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity. Such is its abandoning, such its transcending.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Please note:
Equanimity dependent on singleness is dimension of the infinitude of space and higher! Not 1st Jhāna
One overcomes multiplicity when one reaches dimension of the infinitude of space, not 1st Jhāna.
5 Sense perception is perceived prior to dimension of the infinitude of space, not 1st Jhāna.

This fits nicely with a very frequent formula of:

""With the complete transcending of perceptions of form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, (perceiving,) 'Infinite space,' he enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


I do not agree that equanimity dependant on singleness can be found only in the Infinite Space attainment. According to DN 15, the corresponding Jhana realms can be either with diversity of perception (nānattasaññino) or with singular perception (ekattasaññino). The 1st Jhana realm is one with singular perception, while the 2nd Jhana realm seems to be of diverse perception. The 3rd Jhana realm also seems to be of singular perception (on that occasion there is a perception of a refined truth of equanimity : DN 9). DN 15 does not mention the vehapphala devas of the 4th Jhana, so we cannot tell whether the perception therein (of a refined truth of neither pleasure nor pain : DN 9) is singular or diverse. DN 9 seems clear that the 3rd Jhana is an equanimous reaction to the sukha, and DN 15 suggests that this perception is singular.

As the ATI translation notes, at least one manuscript of MN 137 suggests that equanimity that is diversified may also be found in mental dhamma-s. While the singularity of perception in 1st Jhana is based on pitisukha born of seclusion, nothing is said about the equanimous perception in 4th Jhana and whether it is singular or diverse. This may explain MN 137's recommendation to pursue the Arupa attainments.
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby Nyana » Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:13 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Geoff, Thank you very much for the excellent sutta references.
Ñāṇa wrote:In addition to what was quoted here, there is AN 4.41 Samādhibhāvanā Sutta, which instructs us on how to develop meditative composure which leads to mindfulness and full awareness:

    And what, monks, is the development of meditative composure that, when developed and cultivated, leads to mindfulness and full awareness? Here, monks, feelings are known to a monk as they arise, known as they are present, known as they disappear. Recognitions are known to him as they arise, known as they are present, known as they disappear. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they are present, known as they disappear. This, monks, is the development of meditative composure that, when developed and cultivated, leads to mindfulness and full awareness.

Sounds like the instructions one gets from Mahasi-style teachers.

Certainly. The above passage is also repeated throughout the Paṭisambhidāmagga Ānāpānassatikathā.

As you probably know, the most important factors for productive progress in meditation are the maintenance of appropriate ethical conduct, being committed to renunciation and a life of voluntary simplicity, engaging in either solitary or group retreats on a fairly regular basis, and being dedicated to sustaining a daily practice schedule. If these conditions are in place (and it can take time to develop these optimal conditions), then whatever method of instruction one relies on, and whatever primary meditation object one engages in, there will be significant progress.

This whole "samatha vs. vipassanā" debate where some parties are intent upon either tacitly criticizing or overtly attacking the meditation instructions of the Mahāsi Sayādaw tradition and the U Ba Khin tradition as not being the sammāsamādhi of the early teachings, is completely without merit. In both of these traditions the meditation instructions are conjoined samatha & vipassanā methods. Following these instructions can certainly lead to the attainment of the four jhānas as these are described in the canon.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:23 am

Thanks Geoff,

Yes, keeping practice going can certainly be a challenge.

And, as you say, the criticisms of these teachers seem to completely overlook the level of concentration that they encourage.

This recent talk by Steve Armstrong, The path of liberating insight:
http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/170/? ... ng+insight
is a nice discussion of "Vipassana Jhanas" (Steve was a monk under U Pandita in the late 80s).

The talk reminded me of a few things I'd forgotten from U Pandita's explanation:
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pan ... hanas.html
U Pandita's definition is that the Jhana factors are developed to a level that if one was practising using a conceptual object (metta, breath nimitta), one would go into a regular samatha jhana.

Samatha Jhāna

There are two types of jhāna: samatha jhāna and vipassanā jhāna. Some of you may have read about the samatha jhānas and wonder why I am talking about them in the context of vipassanā. Samatha jhāna is pure concentration, fixed awareness of a single object — a mental image, for example, such as a colored disk or a light. The mind is fixed on this object without wavering or moving elsewhere. Eventually the mind develops a very peaceful, tranquil, concentrated state and becomes absorbed in the object. Different levels of absorption are described in the texts, each level having specific qualities.

Vipassanā Jhāna

On the other hand, vipassanā jhāna allows the mind to move freely from object to object, staying focused on the characteristics of impermanence, suffering and absence of self that are common to all objects. Vipassanā jhāna also includes the mind which can be focused and fixed upon the bliss of nibbāna. Rather than the tranquility and absorption which are the goal of samatha jhāna practitioners, the most important results of vipassanā jhāna are insight and wisdom.

Vipassanā jhāna is the focusing of the mind on paramattha dhammas. Usually these are spoken of as “ultimate realities,” but actually they are just the things we can experience directly through the six sense doors without conceptualization. Most of them are saṅkhāra paramattha dhamma, or conditioned ultimate realities; mental and physical phenomena which are changing all the time. Nibbāna is also a paramattha dhamma, but of course it is not conditioned.

Breathing is a good example of a conditioned process. The sensations you feel at the abdomen are conditioned ultimate realities, saṅkhāra paramattha dhamma, caused by your intention to breath. The whole purpose of concentrating one’s attention on the abdomen is to penetrate the actual quality and nature of what is happening there. When you are aware of movement, tension, tautness, heat or cold, you have begun to develop vipassanā jhāna.

Mindfulness at the respective sense doors follows the same principle. If there is diligent effort and penetrative awareness, focusing on what is happening in any particular sense process, the mind will understand the true nature of what is happening. The sensing processes will be understood in individual characteristics as well as common ones.

According to the fourfold way of reckoning, which admits of four levels of jhāna, the first jhāna possesses five factors which we will describe below. All of them are important in vipassanā practice.

Incidentally, I recall a previous discussion on this issue getting derailed into technical details regarding whether or not the objects one uses in vipassana practice are truly "non-conceptual". However, there's a rather clear practical difference between those objects and the "obvious-it's-a-concept" objects like metta or breath nimitta.

I note that Ajahn Brahm (who is an absorption advocate) writes in "Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond", page 15:
In fact it is best not to locate the breath anywhere. If you locate
the breath at the tip of your nose then it becomes “nose awareness,” not
breath awareness, and if you locate it at your abdomen then it becomes
“abdomen awareness.” Just ask yourself right now:“Am I breathing in
or breathing out? How do I know?” There! The experience that tells
you what the breath is doing, that is what you focus on. Let go of the
concern about where this experience is located. Just focus on the expe-
rience itself.

To me, he's saying: "use the concept of the breath, not the detailed sensations", which agrees perfectly with U Pandita's statements (as it should):
http://aimwell.org/Books/Other/Questions/questions.html
Ānāpānassati can take two directions. If the meditator strives to be mindful of the form or manner of the in-breath and the out-breath, then it is samatha meditation and leads to one-pointedness of mind. On the other hand, if the meditator notes the sensation of the in-breath and out-breath as it moves and touches, then it is vipassanā meditation. ...

So, in my reading (and experience) in most cases the different instructions from different teachers are not contradictory. They are instructions for achieving different aims...

:anjali:
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby daverupa » Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:12 pm

mikenz66 wrote: ...Ajahn Brahm (who is an absorption advocate)... in most cases the different instructions from different teachers are not contradictory. They are instructions for achieving different aims...


Instruction differs greatly.

1. In jhana, you can(not) perceive the body.
2. Before jhana, there is (not) a bright light that replaces the breath as the object of focus.

These are vast differences.
    "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: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby reflection » Sun Jun 12, 2011 6:59 pm

Alex123 wrote:Hi Reflection, all,

reflection wrote:As I've said before I'm no fan of pure textual analysis on such topics, but as far as I know there is no reference to "vipassana Jhanas" (whatever that means)


"Now what, monks, is noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions? Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, & right mindfulness — is called noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions. - MN117

Please note what makes up noble right concentration.

"The first jhāna has five factors. There is the case where, in a monk who has attained the five-factored first jhāna, there occurs directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, & singleness of mind. It's in this way that the first jhāna has five factors." - MN43

It maybe possible that 5 Jhānic factors (or however many factors that particular Jhāna 1-4 may possess) of 1st Jhāna are directly relevant to 7 factors of the N8P. Or at least they occur based on samma-sati.



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

With best wishes,

Alex

I can not call that a reference to "vipassana jhana". It just says you need to develop the full 8-fold path to be able to develop right concentration. The 8-fold path of course also includes vipassana, but afaik the Buddha never made a distinction between different kind of jhanas.

With metta,
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby legolas » Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:16 pm

daverupa wrote:
mikenz66 wrote: ...Ajahn Brahm (who is an absorption advocate)... in most cases the different instructions from different teachers are not contradictory. They are instructions for achieving different aims...


Instruction differs greatly.

1. In jhana, you can(not) perceive the body.
2. Before jhana, there is (not) a bright light that replaces the breath as the object of focus.

These are vast differences.


Agreed. Also do not discount the bedrock of Right Jhana, that is Right View. There are visible differences (to me at least) between traditions of their understanding of Kamma and also the process by which Nibbana is approached.
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:24 pm

Hi Dave, Legolas,
legolas wrote:
daverupa wrote:
mikenz66 wrote: ...Ajahn Brahm (who is an absorption advocate)... in most cases the different instructions from different teachers are not contradictory. They are instructions for achieving different aims...


Instruction differs greatly.

1. In jhana, you can(not) perceive the body.
2. Before jhana, there is (not) a bright light that replaces the breath as the object of focus.

These are vast differences.


Agreed. Also do not discount the bedrock of Right Jhana, that is Right View. There are visible differences (to me at least) between traditions of their understanding of Kamma and also the process by which Nibbana is approached.

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. I was not claiming that the instructions are the same. I was, in fact, stating the opposite.

Ajahn Brahm (and others, including the commentaries) give instructions for deep absorption jhanas, which involve the use of conceptual objects (metta, breath or kasina nimmitas, etc).

Teachers such as Venerables Mahasi and U Pandita give instructions that lead to what U Pandita refers to as "vipassana jhana". This kind of concentration is described in the various suttas quoted by Geoff above:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 40#p135248
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 40#p135248
Such as:
AN 4.41 Samādhibhāvanā Sutta:
And what, monks, is the development of meditative composure that, when developed and cultivated, leads to mindfulness and full awareness? Here, monks, feelings are known to a monk as they arise, known as they are present, known as they disappear. Recognitions are known to him as they arise, known as they are present, known as they disappear. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they are present, known as they disappear. This, monks, is the development of meditative composure that, when developed and cultivated, leads to mindfulness and full awareness.


As I said, they are not contradictory, they are different instructions for different types of concentration.

Each of these approaches [absorption then vipassana (e.g. Brahm)/concentration and vipassanadeveloped simultaneously (e.g. Mahasi)] are elaborations sutta material. I think that's rather clear from Geoff's posts above. Which approach is "better" is, in my view, a matter of individual proclivities and available teachers.

:namaste:
Mike
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby Alex123 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:25 pm

Dear Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:I hope you will forgive my nit-picking, but how is that underlined statement relevant to the issue of what is the nature of rupa in rupakhandha, such that it can arise on mind-contact as outlined in MN 28?
I am not sure any of the salayatana can fit into the 5 khandha scheme. To me, MN 28 is suggesting that rupakhandha is neither the indriya nor ayatana, but what arises as a consequence of phassa.


As I understand it, physical organs fit into rūpakhandha (that is why it is rūpa), while all mental things fit into 4 aggregates.

From what I understand, what MN28 says that if one is totally inattentive toward a certain sense object, one will not get corresponding cognition.


"With the complete transcending of perceptions of form (rūpasaññānaṃ), with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance (paṭighasaññānaṃ), and not heeding perceptions of diversity (nānattasaññānaṃ), (perceiving,) 'Infinite space,' he enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

It says loud and clear. rūpasaññānaṃ, paṭighasaññāna, and nānattasaññānaṃ are transcended in meditation only after 4th Jhāna to reach ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ. This makes perfect sense. The reason why base of infinite space (ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ) is called such is that there is no perception of physical body, or visual form there to limit the space, and there is no visual form that could be measured (such and such length, width, height, such and such color). Also 5 sense perception has to occur in 4 Jhānas, so that there would be perception of rūpa and its diversity (nānatta) to be overcomed.

Most often and most common definition of rūpa is either visual object, or the material object (which is seen with the eye). Rather than believing in few obscure sutta passages that deal with planes where one can get reborn, how about we look at big amount of suttas that plainly talk about meditation and nature of sense-organs and sense objects?


With best wishes,

Alex
”Even the water melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean."
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby Sylvester » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:51 am

Dear Alex

I'm afraid I've not seen one single sutta that equates "rupa" in rupakhandha with cakkhuvinneya rupa.

Even if you reject the avacara theory, there's no running away from the suttas which clearly treat the "rupa" in the rupasanna transcendance formula to read as rupakhandha. You've cited MN 64 with approval previously.

If you believe that the physical organs fit into "rupa", then I would just remind you to pls consider the standard DO nidana "with namarupa as paccaya, the six sense media". You're still short-circuiting the causal structure.

As I've mentioned before, if you want to see what the suttas say about patighasanna and nanattasanna, there is no better sutta than DN 15, which explains these terms patigha and nanatta. You're of course applying the Commentarial explanation of "patighasanna", which by Abhidhammic standard is correct, given how the Vibangha defines "patighasanna". But bearing in mind how the suttas allow mind-contact to give rise to rupakhandha, is there any need to apply the Abhidhammic definition?

In the same vein, the Abhidhammic definition of nanattasanna doesn't help much either, since that definition -

Tattha katamā nānattasaññā? Kāmasaññā, byāpādasaññā, vihiṃsāsaññā— ayaṃ vuccati "nānattasaññā".


points to perceptions that arise from akusala sankappa, all 3 of which are transcended in 1st Jhana: per MN 79.

And this is rather telling. The Abhidhamma treats the Arupa transition formula's "nanattasanna" as not being present in 4th Jhana, but as something that had already been transcended to get into 1st Jhana. Who's to say that the Abhidhammikas did not have in mind the same analysis for patighasanna? You cannot cherry pick your analyses, since "patighasanna" is not explained in the suttas, but only in the Abhidhamma.

It's very much like the 4th Jhana formula, which is variously translated. For convenience I use the ATI version -

Again, there is the case where an individual, with the abandoning of pleasure & stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain.


"Elation and distress" (somanassadomanassa) are probably the same as the abhijja & domanassa in the standard satipatthana refrain "vineyya loke abhijja domanassa" to indicate freedom from the Hindrances. That happens well before 1st Jhana. Does this mean that "pleasure and stress" (sukha and dukha) were not abandoned in 3rd Jhana? There's certainly sukha left in 3rd Jhana, but from 1st Jhana onwards, the experience is "exclusively pleasant", so how does pain creep in? The sensible way to read the 4th jhana formula is that those states are left behind when the decision is made to attain the 4th Jhana, and those decisions are made with vacisankhara. Which means the decision happens before the 1st Jhana, which is the presentation of the determinations needed for the Jhanas in the Pabbateyya Gavi Sutta, AN 9.35.

I think the common mistake made in reading the Jhana pericopes is that one assumes that the meditator makes the determination to transit to the next Jhana, while within a Jhana. This does affect how one interprets the transition formulae.
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby Alex123 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:10 am

Dear Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:If you believe that the physical organs fit into "rupa", then I would just remind you to pls consider the standard DO nidana "with namarupa as paccaya, the six sense media". You're still short-circuiting the causal structure.


And nāmarūpa contains 6 sense organs. 5 sense organs are material, mind is mental (with perhaps partial basis in physical body). When one thing conditions another, it doesn't have to condition something that is totally opposite of it. 5 Khandhas include entire D.O., IMHO.


As I've mentioned before, if you want to see what the suttas say about patighasanna and nanattasanna, there is no better sutta than DN 15, which explains these terms patigha and nanatta. You're of course applying the Commentarial explanation of "patighasanna", which by Abhidhammic standard is correct, given how the Vibangha defines "patighasanna". But bearing in mind how the suttas allow mind-contact to give rise to rupakhandha, is there any need to apply the Abhidhammic definition?


I've never knew (Or have forgot it if I knew) that this is how Abh defines paṭighasaññā. I don't think that at THAT stage (after 4th Jhana) nānattasaññā means unwholesome mental states (Kāmasaññā, byāpādasaññā, vihiṃsāsaññā). After all, Kāmasaññā was transcended to reach the 1st Jhāna. "Paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ samāpannassa kāmasaññā niruddhā hoti." So in this context paṭighasaññā means something else, rūpasaññānaṃ + nānattasaññānaṃ. The feeling of multitude of forms impacting sense organs.

If a factor is transcended PRIOR to 1st jhāna, then why repeat it again after 4th Jhāna?

There's certainly sukha left in 3rd Jhana, but from 1st Jhana onwards, the experience is "exclusively pleasant", so how does pain creep in?


One may experience domanassa of being tired with first 3 Jhanas. Even pleasant feelings may tire one out. So equinimity is less agitating.


IMHO,

With metta,

Alex
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Postby daverupa » Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:25 am

mikenz66 wrote:As I said, they are not contradictory, they are different instructions for different types of concentration.

Each of these approaches [absorption then vipassana (e.g. Brahm)/concentration and vipassanadeveloped simultaneously (e.g. Mahasi)] are elaborations sutta material. I think that's rather clear from Geoff's posts above. Which approach is "better" is, in my view, a matter of individual proclivities and available teachers.

:namaste:
Mike


My understanding must be deficient; I had understood it to be the case that Ajahn Brahm described jhana 1-4 + 5-8 as being devoid of material form, preceded by a light nimitta, whereas the Suttas offer a different understanding of jhana 1-4 and which are silent on light nimitta.
    "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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