Is there sutta basis for the modern bifurcation of jhanas?

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.
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robertk
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Re: Is there sutta basis for the modern bifurcation of jhanas?

Postby robertk » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:04 am

tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

It has been pointed out by some here that the vipassana jhana notions looks quite a bit more like the sutta notions of jhana than the commentarial notion of jhana, but the point is that to discuss vipassana jhana, which is something that arose out of the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition, .

You are suggesting that 'vipssana jhana ' or its scriptual equivalent was invented by Mahasia sayadaw or his group?

Do you think in those long tracts and books where they refute the need for mundane jhana that Mahais et al were unaware of the What do you make of Buddhaghosa's summary in the Atthasalini, 'Fourfold
Jhana', PTS transl.
"Jhaana is twofold: that which (views or) examines closely the object
and that which examines closely the characteristic marks
[aaramma.nupanijjhaana~n ca lakkha.nupanijjhaana.m]. Of these
two, 'object-scrutinising' jhaana examines closely those devices [for
self-hypnosis]* as mental objects. Insight, the Path and Fruition are
called 'characteristics-examining jhaana.' Of these three, insight is
so called from its examining closely the characteristics of
impermanence, etc. Because the work to be done by insight is
accomplished through the Path, the Path is so called. And because
Fruition examines closely the Truth of cessation, and possesses the
characteristic of truth, it also is called 'characteristic-examining
jhaana.'

Of course Mahasi knew about the very clear distinction made between mundane jhana - as in absorption - and the lakkha.nupanijjhaana. The suttas clearly talk about both at different times. BOTH are highly kusala , both have a great deal of insight.
U pandita talks about lakkha.nupanijjhaana as being 'the vipassana jhanas'- which is reasonable as at the very brief processes when (genuine) vipassana occurs is by definition lakkha.nupanijjhaana. Totally different from mundane jhanas, which the suttas also talk about.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Is there sutta basis for the modern bifurcation of jhanas?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:26 pm

robertk wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

It has been pointed out by some here that the vipassana jhana notions looks quite a bit more like the sutta notions of jhana than the commentarial notion of jhana, but the point is that to discuss vipassana jhana, which is something that arose out of the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition, .

You are suggesting that 'vipssana jhana ' or its scriptual equivalent was invented by Mahasia sayadaw or his group?
I do not think they invented it, but they are describing what is experienced.

Do you think in those long tracts and books where they refute the need for mundane jhana that Mahais et al were unaware of the What do you make of Buddhaghosa's summary in the Atthasalini, 'Fourfold
Jhana', PTS transl.
"Jhaana is twofold: that which (views or) examines closely the object
and that which examines closely the characteristic marks
[aaramma.nupanijjhaana~n ca lakkha.nupanijjhaana.m]. Of these
two, 'object-scrutinising' jhaana examines closely those devices [for
self-hypnosis]* as mental objects. Insight, the Path and Fruition are
called 'characteristics-examining jhaana.' Of these three, insight is
so called from its examining closely the characteristics of
impermanence, etc. Because the work to be done by insight is
accomplished through the Path, the Path is so called. And because
Fruition examines closely the Truth of cessation, and possesses the
characteristic of truth, it also is called 'characteristic-examining
jhaana.'

Of course Mahasi knew about the very clear distinction made between mundane jhana - as in absorption - and the lakkha.nupanijjhaana. The suttas clearly talk about both at different times. BOTH are highly kusala , both have a great deal of insight.
U pandita talks about lakkha.nupanijjhaana as being 'the vipassana jhanas'- which is reasonable as at the very brief processes when (genuine) vipassana occurs is by definition lakkha.nupanijjhaana. Totally different from mundane jhanas, which the suttas also talk about.
Thanks. This good information to have.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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robertk
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Re: Is there sutta basis for the modern bifurcation of jhanas?

Postby robertk » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:01 am

Concentration has various meanings. When it is kusala it can
be
the type that is associated with samatha or with vipassana.

QUOTE

Anguttara Nikaya IV.41
Samadhi Sutta
"Monks, these are the four developments of concentration.
Which
four? There is the development of concentration that, when
developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in the here &
now. There is the development of concentration that, when
developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge &
vision. There is the development of concentration that, when
developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness. There
is
the development of concentration that, when developed &
pursued,
leads to the ending of the effluents.

"And what is the development of concentration that, when
developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in the here &
now? There is the case where a monk -- quite withdrawn from
sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities -- enters &
remains in the first jhana:..... he enters & remains in the
fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither
pleasure nor pain. This is the development of concentration
that, when developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in
the here & now.

"And what is the development of concentration that, when
developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness? There
is
the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise,
known as they persist, known as they subside. Perceptions are
known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as
they
subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as
they
persist, known as they subside. This is the development of
concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to
mindfulness & alertness.
http://www.abhidhamma.org/an4-41.html

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Re: Is there sutta basis for the modern bifurcation of jhanas?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:07 am

Thanks Robert,

Perhaps you have Retro's "bifurcation" right there:

"And what is the development of concentration that, when
developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in the here &
now? There is the case where a monk -- quite withdrawn from
sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities -- enters &
remains in the first jhana...


"And what is the development of concentration that, when
developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness? There
is
the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise,
known as they persist, known as they subside.


"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five aggregates for sustenance/clinging...


:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Is there sutta basis for the modern bifurcation of jhanas?

Postby Brizzy » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:16 am

mikenz66 wrote:Thanks Robert,

Perhaps you have Retro's "bifurcation" right there:

"And what is the development of concentration that, when
developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in the here &
now? There is the case where a monk -- quite withdrawn from
sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities -- enters &
remains in the first jhana...


"And what is the development of concentration that, when
developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness? There
is
the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise,
known as they persist, known as they subside.


"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five aggregates for sustenance/clinging...


:anjali:
Mike


Sounds like a progression from within jhana rather than any seperation.

Metta

:smile:
Ignorance is an intentional act.

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robertk
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Re: Is there sutta basis for the modern bifurcation of jhanas?

Postby robertk » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:45 am

dear Mike
yes of course.
Totally different types of concentration.

mikenz66 wrote:Thanks Robert,

Perhaps you have Retro's "bifurcation" right there:

"And what is the development of concentration that, when
developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in the here &
now? There is the case where a monk -- quite withdrawn from
sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities -- enters &
remains in the first jhana...


"And what is the development of concentration that, when
developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness? There
is
the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise,
known as they persist, known as they subside.


"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five aggregates for sustenance/clinging...


:anjali:
Mike

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Re: Is there sutta basis for the modern bifurcation of jhanas?

Postby Nyana » Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:28 am

mikenz66 wrote:Perhaps you have Retro's "bifurcation" right there:

MN 111, AN 9.36, DN 2, and numerous other discourses demonstrate that this isn't so. All four of these developments of samādhi intersect with jhāna at some point.

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Re: Is there sutta basis for the modern bifurcation of jhanas?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:45 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Perhaps you have Retro's "bifurcation" right there:

MN 111, AN 9.36, DN 2, and numerous other discourses demonstrate that this isn't so. All four of these developments of samādhi intersect with jhāna at some point.

Perhaps "Retro's apparent bifurctation" then...

:anjali:
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Re: Is there sutta basis for the modern bifurcation of jhanas?

Postby Sylvester » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:59 am

Hi Mike

I believe the bifurcation to be more than apparent.

It's a point that's been canvassed before, but it bears repeating that many of the English readings of the so-called unity of investigation and absorption are based on the readers' using English grammar to construct the Pali. The translations are generally fine, but they do not make apparent the nuances that show up in the Pali.

Eg MN 111. What typically goes unnoticed is the fact that the text uses a standard construction to show temporal disjunction between the vavattheti verb (discriminates/ferrets etc) from the pajanati verb (knows/discerns). The former is expressed as a past participle (vavatthitā), while the pajanati is in the present tense (but correctly translated as the historical present). In this kind of formation, the grammars are clear - treat the action denoted by the past participle as having occurred prior to the verb in the present tense/aorist.

Eg DN 2. The same problem afflicts the reader confronted with the phrase "With his mind thus concentrated....monk directs and inclines it to...". The Pali has it in the locative absolute construction formed using a verb in locative past participle form (samāhite) while the intentional movement of the mind are in the present tense (abhinīharati abhininnāmeti ). Again, the grammar is clear - the verb in the locative past participle will have preceded the present tense verbs.

The problem it seems is not a case of Commentarial jhanas versus the Sutta Jhanas, but a purely linguistic one in the process of understanding a translation.

That's even assuming that some translations are correct. I mentioned elsewhere a gross translation problem for DN 9 from ATI, the result of which that sutta's admonition against thinking and intending within Jhanas get completely whittled away to Nothingness (quite literally).

I've suggested previously that AN 5.28 seems to furnish the likeliest candidate for the vipassana jhanas by way of its exposition on the samadhi using the "review sign" (paccavekkhaṇa nimitta), a samadhi that happily comes after the standard 4 Jhanas formula. It stands as the nexus between the 4 Jhanas and the super-knowledges described as the culmination of the Jhanas in the standard DN 2 model. In fact, the intersection between AN 5.28 and DN 2 seems to be that the samadhi of reviewing coincides with DN 2's knowledge and vision concerning rupa and vinnana, something not explicitly mentioned in AN 5.28.

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4597&hilit=Pancangika&start=280#p135520

This sutta may well have formed the basis for the Vsm's exposition on reviewing, post-Jhanas, although there's no real reason to suspect that this sutta is the sole basis for the bifurcation.

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Re: Is there sutta basis for the modern bifurcation of jhanas?

Postby Nyana » Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:26 am

Sylvester wrote:...

None of this establishes the restrictions that you want to establish.

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Re: Is there sutta basis for the modern bifurcation of jhanas?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:15 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:...

None of this establishes the restrictions that you want to establish.
Opinions seem to vary as to what a text is saying, how it gets gets explained, how words are defined, sentences parsed, and so on and so forth, and thus we get commentaries.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: Is there sutta basis for the modern bifurcation of jhanas?

Postby Nyana » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:48 am

tiltbillings wrote:Opinions seem to vary and what a text is saying gets explained, words defined, sentences parsed, and so on and so forth, and thus we get commentaries.

Yes, of course. There's really no possible way at arriving at a (hypothetical) original meaning. Thus, I've relied on various commentaries to help clarify and define Pāli terms as well as interpret sutta passages. IMO, sensitivity to the historical development of ancient commentary offers a coherent and pragmatic method of interpretation.

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Re: Is there sutta basis for the modern bifurcation of jhanas?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:10 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Opinions seem to vary and what a text is saying gets explained, words defined, sentences parsed, and so on and so forth, and thus we get commentaries.

Yes, of course. There's really no possible way at arriving at a (hypothetical) original meaning. Thus, I've relied on various commentaries to help clarify and define Pāli terms as well as interpret sutta passages. IMO, sensitivity to the historical development of ancient commentary offers a coherent and pragmatic method of interpretation.
It does, but it also points to the interesting issues that are very much part of understanding the suttas.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson


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