Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:If you are only to rely on the suttas, then I would suppose that you have mastered Pali and all its idiomatic quirks, so that you do not have to rely on translators' interpretations and biases in their interpretations, and that you have a good working understanding of early Buddhist history, so as to understand the context of many of the teachings so as to understand better what is being said, and I would think that you would have a really strong grounding in actual practice, and I would also think you would always being willing to entertain the possibility in whatever interpretation you might come to you could be wrong, and I would think that you would recognize that whatever meditative/insight experience you might have is one more thing to let go.


I agree, these are reasons why relying exclusively on the suttas is probably unwise.

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby ignobleone » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:08 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:I agree, these are reasons why relying exclusively on the suttas is probably unwise.
Spiny

To assert validity, the Buddha taught two principles: logical inference (common sense) and factual reason (based on reality or real experience). I don't rely on sutta commentaries and at least it's backed by those reasons.
Logical inference: The suttas already have inherent possibility of biases due to the translation/dictionary limitation and they have been transmitted from generation to generation from oral tradition. The commentaries came after the sutta, which means commentaries add more bias possibility. So, based on this common sense sutta is more reliable than commentary.
Factual reason: it is obvious, I found more than one fact that commentaries are misleading since they aren't consistent with the sutta. For an example, the the terms Samatha and Vipassana are none to be found in the main Nikayas and have made dichotomy.
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby daverupa » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:19 pm

ignobleone wrote:the terms Samatha and Vipassana are none to be found in the main Nikayas


AN 2.30:

"These two qualities have a share in clear knowing. Which two? Tranquillity (samatha) & insight (vipassana).

"When tranquillity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Passion is abandoned.

"When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Discernment is developed. And when discernment is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned.

"Defiled by passion, the mind is not released. Defiled by ignorance, discernment does not develop. Thus from the fading of passion is there awareness-release. From the fading of ignorance is there discernment-release."


...and so forth.
    "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: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby ignobleone » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:42 pm

daverupa wrote:"These two qualities have a share in clear knowing. Which two? Tranquillity (samatha) & insight (vipassana).

"When tranquillity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Passion is abandoned.

"When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Discernment is developed. And when discernment is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned.

"Defiled by passion, the mind is not released. Defiled by ignorance, discernment does not develop. Thus from the fading of passion is there awareness-release. From the fading of ignorance is there discernment-release."

...and so forth.[/quote]
Well, thanks so much daverupa, at last I can find the pali passage which mentions both terms. I thought they couldn't be found.
Ok now the literal meaning is no longer a problem (to me). How about the dichotomy of samatha and vipassana. Even when I went to the country with a lot of Buddhist monks (Thailand) the monks think vipassana is like a shortcut to nibbana while samatha is a long, time consuming path. I believe it's caused by the commentaries, since Theravada schools these days are inseparable from commentary. I can mention more examples if anyone is interested.
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Kumara » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:33 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:The Experience of Samādhi: An In-depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation by Richard Shankman. He contrasts the teaching methods of a diverse number of contemporary teachers with what is presented in the suttas.
It is a good book, but it is disappointing that he does not talk about U Pandita's notion of the vipassana jhanas.


He mentioned about that in a talk. I vaguely recall him saying he believes that what Sayadaw U Pandita calls "vipassanā jhāna" is the "sutta jhāna". I suggest that you search for the talk: http://www.google.com/search?q=shankman+jhana+mp3

The term "vipassanā jhāna" appears in the commentaries to a few Khuddaka Nikāya texts. (Orthodox Theravāda considers this term to be the same as what the commentaries call "lakkhaṇūpa­nij­jhāna", which appears far more often.) So, "vipassanā jhāna" is not a new term as some believe, but started no later than the 5th century AD.
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby manas » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:29 pm

nyana wrote:There are a couple of points worth mentioning here. Firstly, these five strands of sensual pleasure are all external sensory objects. As such, they correspond to objects within the five external sensory spheres (bāhirāyatanā). Thus, these five sensory objects do not include in-and-out breathing, which is considered internal, nor the internal felt-sense of the body. The strands of sensual pleasure also do not include the apperception of foulness with regard to the thirty-one parts of the body and the nine stages of corpse decomposition. Apperception of foulness is a mental phenomenon.

Secondly, these five strands of sensual pleasure are those external sensory objects that are considered to be desirable, lovely, agreeable, endearing, sensually enticing, and tantalizing. And so it isn’t all sensory objects whatsoever that the meditator need to withdraw from. The meditator needs to withdraw from those external sensory objects which are sensually enticing and tantalizing, as stated here. This withdrawal is facilitated by removing oneself from inappropriate environments for meditation and by abandoning the hindrance of desire for sensual pleasure (kāmacchanda). Both are necessary prerequisites for entering the first jhāna.


This was way back on the first page, but with your explanation you have clarified and put into words something I have been pondering on and trying to sort out for quite a while; my thanks to you.

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Alex123 » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:41 pm

In Pāḷi Nikāyas, such as AN6.60 , Jhāna is temporary state that does not destroy defilements.

A monk, master of 4 jhānas can disrobe due to sensual desire:

There is a possibility that a huge storm with rain should come from the east, from the west, ... re ... from the north, ... re ... from the south. They will arouse waves in the pond. In like manner, a certain person secluded from sensual desires ... re ... attains to the fourth higher state of mind (catutthaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati). Thinking I am the gainer of the fourth higher state of mindhe mixes up with the bhikkhus, bhikkhunis, lay disciples male and female. kings and the ministers of kings, with those of other faiths and their disciples. Abiding with that association, diffused and engaged in talk, the mind touched with greed and corrupted he would give up the holy life and come to low life. - AN6.60 Hatthisāriputtasuttaṃ



On the other hand, if monk develops satipaṭṭhāna, then he will not be tempted to disrobe:
when a bhikkhu is developing and cultivating the four foundations of mindfulness, kings or royal ministers, friends or colleagues, relatives or kinsmen, might invite him to accept wealth, saying: ‘Come, good man, why let these saffron robes weigh you down? Why roam around with a shaven head and begging bowl? Come, having returned to the lower life, enjoy wealth and do meritorious deeds.’ Indeed, friends, when that bhikkhu is developing and cultivating the four foundations of mindfulness, it is impossible that he will give up the training and return to the lower life. For what reason? Because for a long time his mind has flowed towards seclusion, sloped towards seclusion, inclined towards seclusion. Thus it is impossible that he will give up the training and return to the lower life. SN52.8 (8) The Salaḷa-tree Hut BB Trans
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Zom » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:43 pm

Satipatthana actually leads to jhana ,)
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby manas » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:43 pm

Alex123 wrote:In Pāḷi Nikāyas, such as AN6.60 , Jhāna is temporary state that does not destroy defilements.



Hi Alex,

yes that's correct, but I also read so very often about how jhana gives the mind the strength and clarity with which to penetrate to insight. So we need to be careful that we don't disregard the importance of jhana just because it isn't a permanent state. (I'm not suggesting you were disregarding jhana's importance, but I have heard it disregarded before, for the reason given above, despite Buddha's oft-sounded instruction to "go, do jhana!").

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby manas » Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:21 am

Zom wrote:Satipatthana actually leads to jhana ,)


The anapanasati section of the satipatthana sutta does seem to lead in that direction, imho (was that what you meant?) But taking it further - as I understand it, the Path to Nibbana is eightfold, meaning that we need both satipatthana (samma sati) and the jhanas (samma samadhi), just as we also need samma ditthi, samma sankappa, samma vaca, ... etc. I don't know why Buddhists sometimes argue over 'satipatthana vs jhana' as if there is actually any conflict...we need both, don't we?

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:03 am

Zom wrote:Satipatthana actually leads to jhana ,)
Depends, of course, upon what one means by jhana.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Alex123 » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:41 pm

Hello Manas, all,

manas wrote:Hi Alex,
yes that's correct, but I also read so very often about how jhana gives the mind the strength and clarity with which to penetrate to insight. So we need to be careful that we don't disregard the importance of jhana just because it isn't a permanent state. (I'm not suggesting you were disregarding jhana's importance, but I have heard it disregarded before, for the reason given above, despite Buddha's oft-sounded instruction to "go, do jhana!").
:anjali:


AN book of 9s,Satipaṭṭhānavaggo, has really helpful suttas AN9.63-71 . AN9.64

Develop satipaṭṭhāna to remove (pahāna):
    5 things that weaken training (Sikkhādubbalya), 5 hindrances (Nīvaraṇa), 6 strings of sensuality (Kāmaguṇa), clinging to 5 aggregates, 5 lower factors, rebirth in 5 planes, 5 types of stinginess, 5 higher fetters, 5 barrenness of heart (Cetokhila), 5 bondages (Vinibandha).

No wonder satipaṭṭhāna is:
    "the direct path (Ekāyano maggo) for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference. MN10

    "In a person of right mindfulness, right concentration. In a person of right concentration, right knowledge. In a person of right knowledge, right release" - AN10.103

Satipatthana seems to deal with everything!!!
Last edited by Alex123 on Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby reflection » Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:13 pm

Zom wrote:Satipatthana actually leads to jhana ,)

True, but also the other way around is true. The experience of jhana gives a lot of information to consider. There are quite a lot of lines in the satipatthana sutta pointing to this. Sati and samadhi, you can't practice one without the other.
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby manas » Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:35 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello Manas, all,

manas wrote:Hi Alex,
yes that's correct, but I also read so very often about how jhana gives the mind the strength and clarity with which to penetrate to insight. So we need to be careful that we don't disregard the importance of jhana just because it isn't a permanent state. (I'm not suggesting you were disregarding jhana's importance, but I have heard it disregarded before, for the reason given above, despite Buddha's oft-sounded instruction to "go, do jhana!").
:anjali:


AN book of 9s,Satipaṭṭhānavaggo, has really helpful suttas AN9.63-71 . AN9.64

Develop satipaṭṭhāna to remove (pahāna):
    5 things that weaken training (Sikkhādubbalya), 5 hindrances (Nīvaraṇa), 6 strings of sensuality (Kāmaguṇa), clinging to 5 aggregates, 5 lower factors, rebirth in 5 planes, 5 types of stinginess, 5 higher fetters, 5 barrenness of heart (Cetokhila), 5 bondages (Vinibandha).

No wonder satipaṭṭhāna is:
    "the direct path (Ekāyano maggo) for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference. MN10

    "In a person of right mindfulness, right concentration. In a person of right concentration, right knowledge. In a person of right knowledge, right release" - AN10.103

Satipatthana seems to deal with everything!!!


Hi Alex

the satipatthana sutta is indeed a treasure, and is the detailed explanation of samma-sati, which is itself just one limb of the Noble Eightfold Path. But if mindfulness alone could solve everything, the Buddha would have given us a 'Noble Onefold Path' rather than the 'Noble Eightfold Path'!

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Alex123 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:16 am

manas wrote:the satipatthana sutta is indeed a treasure, and is the detailed explanation of samma-sati, which is itself just one limb of the Noble Eightfold Path. But if mindfulness alone could solve everything , the Buddha would have given us a 'Noble Onefold Path' rather than the 'Noble Eightfold Path'!
:anjali:


It is called "Ekāyano maggo" for a reason. It may be that deep development of satipatthana will develop all factors of N8P.
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby reflection » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:02 am

Alex123 wrote:
manas wrote:the satipatthana sutta is indeed a treasure, and is the detailed explanation of samma-sati, which is itself just one limb of the Noble Eightfold Path. But if mindfulness alone could solve everything , the Buddha would have given us a 'Noble Onefold Path' rather than the 'Noble Eightfold Path'!
:anjali:


It is called "Ekāyano maggo" for a reason. It may be that deep development of satipatthana will develop all factors of N8P.

This may be of interest:
http://www.buddha-vacana.org/voc/ekayanomaggo.html

Now, I don't know a lot of pali, so I can only repeat what the link above states. In brief, "the only way" or "the direct way" apparently are not good translations of ekāyano maggo. Better would be to translate it a "the path leading to only", but that of course doesn't say it isn't supported by the other 7 factors.
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Alex123 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:09 pm

Hello Reflection, all,


I understand that deep and consistent development of satipaṭṭhāna with right views from the moment one awakes to the moment one falls asleep will take care of other 6 factors. When one practices to be aware of "body in the body...", etc, it suppresses bad qualities and thus one keeps sīla. Also when one doesn't think about things as "this is I, me, mine, I want this, I don't want that", etc, it helps to maintain sīla. This is also right effort. Also continuous non-distracted awareness can serve as a basis for Jhāna. Without awareness you can't develop concentration, you can't keep precepts, you can't stop defilements from arising, you can't appropriately reflect on what occurs, etc...

And as my post with quotes show, satipaṭṭhāna does accomplish all else. Of course when one doesn't fully practice satipaṭṭhāna, other factors may not be fulfilled.

Dhamma can be summarized in FOUR words: "sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāyāti".
    "There is the case, monk, where a monk has heard, 'All things are unworthy of attachment.' Having heard that all things are unworthy of attachment, he directly knows every thing. Directly knowing every thing, he comprehends every thing. Comprehending every thing, he sees all themes as something separate. SN35.80

Comparing to that, satipaṭṭhāna is very detailed. The trick, as I understand it, is to fully develop it and be fully consistent in its application.


Another thing: If all and every mental/physical state is anicca, dukkha, anatta - then one doesn't need to construct anything special to see it. Just observe without commentary each and every state as it rises, persists, and falls. Gross or subtle state has these characteristics. It is delusion to believe that "ordinary" states of mind somehow do not have these characteristics, while special -jhanic- states of mind, do.
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby manas » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:49 pm

reflection wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
manas wrote:the satipatthana sutta is indeed a treasure, and is the detailed explanation of samma-sati, which is itself just one limb of the Noble Eightfold Path. But if mindfulness alone could solve everything , the Buddha would have given us a 'Noble Onefold Path' rather than the 'Noble Eightfold Path'!
:anjali:


It is called "Ekāyano maggo" for a reason. It may be that deep development of satipatthana will develop all factors of N8P.

This may be of interest:
http://www.buddha-vacana.org/voc/ekayanomaggo.html

Now, I don't know a lot of pali, so I can only repeat what the link above states. In brief, "the only way" or "the direct way" apparently are not good translations of ekāyano maggo. Better would be to translate it a "the path leading to only", but that of course doesn't say it isn't supported by the other 7 factors.


The fact that so many pali terms are not easily translated with a single english word, or even a meaning that can be fully conveyed to a modern audience such as ourselves, is why I have begun the long-term task of learning pali, little by little. Those who translate the texts do us a great service, but they cannot stop us from misinterpreting things, with the real meaning of 'ekayano maggo' being one case in point. We need to study pali!


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Alex123 » Thu May 03, 2012 5:09 pm

An interesting thing:
A person can have wisdom (adhipaññādhammavipassanā) without internal tranquility (cetosamatha):

    Then there is the case of the individual who has attained insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, but not internal tranquillity of awareness.AN4.94


Puggalapaññattipāḷi explains this to mean that one can have Awakening without rūpa or arūpa attainments:

    Kathañca puggalo lābhī hoti adhipaññādhammavipassanāya, na lābhī ajjhattaṃ cetosamathassa? Idhekacco puggalo lābhī hoti lokuttaramaggassa vā phalassa vā, na lābhī rūpasahagatānaṃ vā arūpasahagatānaṃ vā samāpattīnaṃ. - Pug 61
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Thu May 03, 2012 9:35 pm

Alex123 wrote:A person can have wisdom (adhipaññādhammavipassanā) without internal tranquility (cetosamatha):

    Then there is the case of the individual who has attained insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, but not internal tranquillity of awareness.AN4.94

AN 4.94 also includes this instruction for said person:

    As for the individual who has attained insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, but not internal tranquillity of awareness, he should approach an individual who has attained internal tranquillity of awareness... and ask him, 'How should the mind be steadied? How should it be made to settle down? How should it be unified? How should it be concentrated?' The other will answer in line with what he has seen & experienced: 'The mind should be steadied in this way. The mind should be made to settle down in this way. The mind should be unified in this way. The mind should be concentrated in this way.' Then eventually he [the first] will become one who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment.

Alex123 wrote:Puggalapaññattipāḷi explains this to mean that one can have Awakening without rūpa or arūpa attainments:

    Kathañca puggalo lābhī hoti adhipaññādhammavipassanāya, na lābhī ajjhattaṃ cetosamathassa? Idhekacco puggalo lābhī hoti lokuttaramaggassa vā phalassa vā, na lābhī rūpasahagatānaṃ vā arūpasahagatānaṃ vā samāpattīnaṃ. - Pug 61

Jhāna which scrutinizes characteristics (lakkhaṇūpanijjhāna) and supramundane jhāna (lokuttarajjhāna) are still considered necessary.
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