From both vitaka/vicara to only vicara to none

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

From both vitaka/vicara to only vicara to none

Postby starter » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:19 am

Hello Friends,

Is my understanding of the first three stages of Samadhi development in the following sutta correct? My comments are in blue.

"When, monk, this meditative composure is developed in this way and made much of, you should develop this meditative composure with vitaka and vicara [constantly apply the mind to the breath and try to maintain the mind on the breath], you should develop it without vitaka but with mere vicara [no effort is needed to apply the mind to the breath anymore, with effortless watch of the breath, but still as an outsider without unification with the breath], you should develop it without vitaka and vicara [mind is unified with the breath, and is not an outsider anymore], you should develop it with piti, you should develop it without piti, you should develop it with sukha, you should develop it with equanimity."

Is it possible that piti and sukha are initially not present when first developing the stage without vitaka and vicara?

Many thanks and metta to all,

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Re: From both vitaka/vicara to only vicara to none

Postby Reductor » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:48 am

Do you agree sammasamadhi and jhana are the same? If so, then I would say no. After vitakka and vicara arise piti and sukha do as well. Piti and sukha then seem to persist after vitakka and vicara have ceased.

Which sutta is that, by the way?

Edit:
Your comments seem fine, but what is meant by being an 'outsider'?
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: From both vitaka/vicara to only vicara to none

Postby santa100 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:32 pm

If you're more of a visual person, the following schematic might help in showing the relationship of piti/sukkha and vitaka/vicara..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhy%C4%81n ... jh.C4.81na
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Re: From both vitaka/vicara to only vicara to none

Postby daverupa » Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:40 pm

AN 8.63 wrote:"Then you should train yourself thus: 'Good-will, as my awareness-release, will be developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, & well-undertaken.' That's how you should train yourself. When you have developed this concentration in this way, you should develop this concentration with directed thought & evaluation, you should develop it with no directed thought & a modicum of evaluation, you should develop it with no directed thought & no evaluation, you should develop it accompanied by rapture... not accompanied by rapture... endowed with a sense of enjoyment; you should develop it endowed with equanimity.
    "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: From both vitaka/vicara to only vicara to none

Postby Reductor » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:44 pm

Thank you, Dave.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: From both vitaka/vicara to only vicara to none

Postby starter » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:14 am

thereductor wrote:Do you agree sammasamadhi and jhana are the same? ... Your comments seem fine, but what is meant by being an 'outsider'?


-- Hi thereductor, nice to see your post again. Have you seen my recent post on the thread "How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions" (viewtopic.php?f=33&t=6563) on sammasamadhi?

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

Jhana not equipped with those seven factors are not sammasamadhi, as I understand. I know that many practitioners in some other schools can reach jhana (even the 4th jhana) without practicing the N8P. Sammasamadhi mostly refer to the 4 jhanas obtained after practicing the preceding 7 factors.

Being an "outsider" means the mind is aware that it's watching the breath -- the breath and the mind are separated instead of being united, as I understand.

Thanks to dave and santa as well. Metta to all,

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Re: From both vitaka/vicara to only vicara to none

Postby Reductor » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:21 am

starter wrote:
thereductor wrote:Do you agree sammasamadhi and jhana are the same? ... Your comments seem fine, but what is meant by being an 'outsider'?


-- Hi thereductor, nice to see your post again. Have you seen my recent post on the thread "How to gain Samadhi - answer to the Buddha's questions" (http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=6563) on sammasamadhi?



I would post more often, but usually I lack time, or lack energy, or lack both. I had seen your other post before, but will take another look.

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

Jhana not equipped with those seven factors are not sammasamadhi, as I understand. I know that many practitioners in some other schools can reach jhana (even the 4th jhana) without practicing the N8P. Sammasamadhi mostly refer to the 4 jhanas obtained after practicing the preceding 7 factors.


I would like to know from which schools those jhana practitioners come from. Is it their position that they can develop jhana without the supports, or is it your conclusion?

At any rate, I would respond further to your question about the presence of piti and sukha by pointing back to what you quote immediately above. In that quote the Buddha is showing his strong preference for being systematic, in that the path must be properly developed before sammasamadhi can arise. Otherwise that samadhi is wrong, correct?

So, perhaps a better question would be "should vitakka and vicara be stilled if piti and sukha are not yet present?" To which I would say "No". To allow vitakka and vicara to lapse first, before the arising of piti and sukha, would be disorderly rather than systematic, and thus not very much in the spirit of how the Buddha wanted us to practice. It would also fly in the face of the various jhana descriptions.

Consider also that at the end of the this sutta in the OP we see: "you should develop it with piti, you should develop it without piti, you should develop it with sukha, you should develop it with equanimity." Which seems a pretty strong allusion to the sequence of first jhana to the fourth jhana, where each initial quality of mind yields to the better quality, culminating in perfect equanimity. The fact that it is listed at the end, and the arising and falling away of vitakka and vicara comes first, doesn't mean that vitakka and vicara are disjoined from piti, sukha and equanimity.

Being an "outsider" means the mind is aware that it's watching the breath -- the breath and the mind are separated instead of being united, as I understand.


The sense of being an outsider seems to be caused by lingering uncertainty. Namely, there is uncertainty whether or not the mind has really let go worldly preoccupations, or not. Once the mind seems to be free of preoccupations, then it can settle into the breath and relax, to watch for a while. Having relaxed into the breath, the mental turmoil that the uncertainty created goes away. It is the mental turmoil that makes it seem there is 'a breath' and a 'watcher'. In my opinion, of course.

Oh, and pardon me if I'm rambling a bit. I don't have the time to write a shorter post.

Good night.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: From both vitaka/vicara to only vicara to none

Postby starter » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:59 pm

"So, perhaps a better question would be "should vitakka and vicara be stilled if piti and sukha are not yet present?" To which I would say "No". To allow vitakka and vicara to lapse first, before the arising of piti and sukha, would be disorderly rather than systematic, and thus not very much in the spirit of how the Buddha wanted us to practice. It would also fly in the face of the various jhana descriptions."

-- I agree with you and many thanks for pointing it out. I remember in a Dhamma talk Ajahn Anan also emphasized the importance of maintaining midnfulness on vitaka and vicara for generating piti and sukha.

"I would like to know from which schools those jhana practitioners come from. Is it their position that they can develop jhana without the supports, or is it your conclusion?"
-- I know such practitioners who developed jhana without right view (of 4 noble truths) and right mindfulness (of body/feeling/mind/dhammas). They are in mundane path.

Your comments on my other posts would be greatly appreciated.

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