Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:11 pm

reflection wrote:Guys, this is not about Venerable Thanissaro, not about Venerable Brahmavamso. Neither is it about Sylvester or danieLion or reflection or whoever. So may I ask you to keep it a bit impersonal? I understand you defending your positions, but the last posts really represent nothing substantial, or nothing that's already been said. You got the freedom to say whatever you want of course, but this is just me asking as a dhamma friend to another dhamma friend to keep it a bit ontopic.

Good idea.

Many teachers, ancient and modern, teach quite deep absorptions. It seems rather clear in the ancient commentaries that those deep absorptions involve mental objects.E.g. see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamma%E1%B ... Dh%C4%81na
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamma%E1%B ... and_jhanas
Or for modern teachers Pa Auk Sayadaw's books http://www.buddhistelibrary.org/library ... ?aapath=69 or Shaila Catherine's book on Pa Auk Sayadaw's approach http://imsb.org/books/wwd.php

As I understand it, Reflection started this thread to enquire how these approaches either evolved from, or are implicit in, the suttas. I would highly reccomend Shaila's book in investigating that, since she gives copious quotes from Sutta, as well as Abhidhamma and Commentary.

Venerables Thanissaro and Brahm each have their particular interpretations of the Suttas. I don't follow either of them in terms of practice, but I have found teachings from both of them interesting and illuminating. There are clearly many other teachers and practitioners who agree or disagree with either (or both) of them.

It seems to me to be a little pointless to rehash these arguments about whether Vens Thanissoro, Brahm, or neither, are "correct". I think that it would be more fruitful to simply discuss what the suttas do say, and to that end Sylvesters comments about the translations of some of those passages are very relevant.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10385
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby Sylvester » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:40 am

marc108 wrote:
Sylvester wrote: I merely point out that what Ven T says in his teachings is not necessarily what the suttas say in the original Pali . The disillusionment is realising that I had been short-selling myself by using his interpretations.


could you expand on this please?



Hi marc

I mentioned an example in this post -

viewtopic.php?f=29&t=3167&start=80#p196525

A scholar was obviously relying on Ven T's translation of DN 9, not realising that the translation was wrong. The scholar ended up criticising the sutta on the basis of the English mistranslation! What is at stake in this mistranslation is the dilution of the absorption model in DN 9 (ie no thoughts or intentions in all the Jhanas and Arupas) into no thoughts/intentions only in the Base of Nothingness.

There are a fair number of other mistranslations in DN 9, but I won't dwell on those, as they are not relevant to the issue of thinking and analysis within the Jhanas.

In the previous page, we discussed AN 9.37's treatment of samādhi -

Ekamidāhaṃ, āvuso, samayaṃ sākete viharāmi añjanavane migadāye. Atha kho, āvuso, jaṭilavāsikā bhikkhunī yenāhaṃ tenupasaṅkami; upasaṅkamitvā maṃ abhivādetvā ekamantaṃ aṭṭhāsi. Ekamantaṃ ṭhitā kho, āvuso, jaṭilavāsikā bhikkhunī maṃ etadavoca— ‘yāyaṃ, bhante ānanda, samādhi na cābhinato na cāpanato na ca sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato, vimuttattā ṭhito, ṭhitattā santusito, santusitattā no paritassati. Ayaṃ, bhante ānanda, samādhi kiṃphalo vutto bhagavatā’ti?

308Evaṃ vutte, sohaṃ, āvuso, jaṭilavāsikaṃ bhikkhuniṃ etadavocaṃ— ‘yāyaṃ, bhagini, samādhi na cābhinato na cāpanato na ca sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato, vimuttattā ṭhito, ṭhitattā santusito, santusitattā no paritassati. Ayaṃ, bhagini, samādhi aññāphalo vutto bhagavatā’ti. Evaṃsaññīpi kho, āvuso, tadāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedetī”ti.

Ven T's translation -

Once, friend, when I was staying in Saketa at the Game Refuge in the Black Forest, the nun Jatila Bhagika went to where I was staying, and on arrival — having bowed to me — stood to one side. As she was standing there, she said to me: 'The concentration whereby — neither pressed down nor forced back, nor with fabrication kept blocked or suppressed — still as a result of release, contented as a result of standing still, and as a result of contentment one is not agitated: This concentration is said by the Blessed One to be the fruit of what?'

"I said to her, 'Sister, the concentration whereby — neither pressed down nor forced back, nor with fabrication kept blocked or suppressed — still as a result of release, contented as a result of standing still, and as a result of contentment one is not agitated: This concentration is said by the Blessed One to be the fruit of gnosis.'[1] This is another way of being percipient when not sensitive to that dimension."


Ven T translates kiṃphalo as a genitive tappurisa, which is grammatically possible, even if rare. This leads to the aññāphalo also being translated as a genitive tappurisa ("fruit of gnosis"), which Ven T identifies as Arahanta. The effect of this translation would be to limit the na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagata samādhi to the Arahants, and taking out of the reach of anyone else.

While it is grammatically possible to do this, this flies in the face of clear passages elsewhere that the na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagata samādhi refers to the Jhanas. Instead of translating kiṃphalo as "fruit of what?", it could have been more conventionally translated as "of what fruit?" The aññāphalo would then be translated as "the fruit that issues in aññā", where aññā is inflected in the dative, instead of the genitive, within the compound. The aññā need not necessarily refer only to Arahanta, as it can refer to Stream Entry as well. Alternatively, DN 34's section on Fives suggests that the aññā may be synonymous with the 5 ñāṇa that one attains in respect of sammāsamādhi, including the ñāṇa that sammāsamādhi is na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagata.

This mistranslation goes to the core of the debate - just how much will of the will/volition survives in the Jhanas? Is there enough will/volition in the Jhanas to carry out analysis and rumination?
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1521
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby daverupa » Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:25 am

I'm rather disinclined to allow DN 9 in my ruminations on this subject. I will elaborate, as necessary.

With respect to the idea that

the anupassati encountered in satipaṭṭhāna (which admits of a bare awareness connotation), samanupassati suggests a much more analytical and discursive character


I can agree with the discursive character of samanupassati, but is it not the case that it is present for all four jhanas in AN 9.36? So, I don't see what point 'B', above, serves. (I also disagree with the connotation you've ascribed to anupassati, but that may be tangential here.)

So, we are left with your injunction to

pay heed to the grammatical construction of the locative absolute used in that pericope


Can you please elaborate here? -This would be with respect to the statement

I do not see any clear reason to suggest that there is a substantive change between the arising of jhana and the direction of attention as instructed.
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4179
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby Sylvester » Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:10 am

Hi dave

daverupa wrote:I'm rather disinclined to allow DN 9 in my ruminations on this subject. I will elaborate, as necessary.


Pls do elaborate. I would hope you'll throw in some heavy duty Textual Criticism, given than DN 9 has a lovely parallel in DA 28. The Chinese follows the Pali very closely, to the extent of mirroring DN 9's -

'Thinking is bad for me. Not thinking is better for me.'

有念為惡。 無念為善

If I were to think and will, these perceptions of mine would cease, and a grosser perception would appear.

彼作是念 時。彼微妙想不滅 更麤想生。 (the Chinese inserts a "subtle" 微妙 to qualify the 1st perception, and may have mistakenly negated the cessation 滅 of that subtle perception. Alternatively, the Chinese passage was referring only to the Base of Nothingness, but this would lead to the ridiculous result of 2 perceptions occupying the same time)

What if I were neither to think nor to will?

我 今寧可不為念行。

So he neither thinks nor wills, and as he is neither thinking nor willing, that perception ceases and another, grosser perception does not appear.

不起思惟。彼不為念 行。不起思惟已。微妙想滅。麤想不生。



It looks as if DA 28 shares DN 9's very absorbed model of jhana, and these 2 texts do not seem to be the outcome of fiddling by their respective Abhidharmikas.


With respect to the idea that

the anupassati encountered in satipaṭṭhāna (which admits of a bare awareness connotation), samanupassati suggests a much more analytical and discursive character


I can agree with the discursive character of samanupassati, but is it not the case that it is present for all four jhanas in AN 9.36? So, I don't see what point 'B', above, serves. (I also disagree with the connotation you've ascribed to anupassati, but that may be tangential here.)


Samanupassati is indeed placed in some relation to all 4 jhanas. My point is this - if samanupassati were discursive and samanupassati occurs during a jhana, how is that possible for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Jhanas, where vacīsaṅkhāras are absent? The issue then translates into a query whether the 1st Jhana retains vacīsaṅkhāras of sufficient force to samanupassati. If we say that it does, then the AN 9.36 series is disturbed and samanupassati ceases to be a common denominator, ie samanupassati will be read to occur within 1st Jhana, but can only occur after 2nd Jhana etc.


So, we are left with your injunction to

pay heed to the grammatical construction of the locative absolute used in that pericope


Can you please elaborate here?


When the locative absolute formed of a past participle (eg samāhite) is used, it means that the verb's action under that past participle has been completed, before the next action (abhininnāmeti) takes place. To signify the continuation of a past action in conjunction with a subsequent verb, the past action is denoted by a genitive case and its noun is also inflected in the genitive case. I know it sounds circular, but I can only cite how the grammars treat this temporal distinction. The genitive absolute is the go-to construction to indicate contemporaneity, since the other construction is uncertain, eg using the absolutive (following Geiger), but its more standard function is to indicate a completed past action, or sometimes the infinitive (following Gombrich).

:anjali:
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1521
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby daverupa » Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:54 am

Sylvester wrote:Pls do elaborate.


I have sent a PM, since it's argument's example is long and off-topic here. Nevertheless, I think we can pursue a fruitful inquiry here, specifically:

Sylvester wrote:My point is this - if samanupassati were discursive and samanupassati occurs during a jhana, how is that possible for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Jhanas, where vacīsaṅkhāras are absent? The issue then translates into a query whether the 1st Jhana retains vacīsaṅkhāras of sufficient force to samanupassati. If we say that it does, then the AN 9.36 series is disturbed and samanupassati ceases to be a common denominator, ie samanupassati will be read to occur within 1st Jhana, but can only occur after 2nd Jhana etc.


Where do we learn, again, that vacīsaṅkhāras cease in jhanas 2-4? Or, why is samanupassati a vacīsaṅkhāra? Why is the series disturbed; I do not follow there. "But can only occur after 2nd Jhana etc." is not explained, and seems to contradict the idea that vacīsaṅkhāras cease there.

There are assumptions and threads here which I do not seem to recognize. Perhaps I'm simply obtuse; these arguments don't follow, but I'm no philologist, so the gaps are great.

:candle:
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4179
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby Sylvester » Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:38 pm

Ouch! I'm nursing a Heideggerian sized migraine from reading your PM. But I'll soldier on. I wonder what you think about my post about the Formless bits here - viewtopic.php?f=29&t=2266&hilit=clitic&start=80#p197550.

Where do we learn, again, that vacīsaṅkhāras cease in jhanas 2-4?


The 2nd Jhana pericope which provides -

with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance.

...vitakkavicāranaṃ vūpasamā ajjhattaṃ sampasādanaṃ cetaso ekodibhāvaṃ avitakkaṃ avicāraṃ samādhijaṃ pitisukhaṃ dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati.



as well as MN 44 -


What are verbal fabrications? ...Directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. ...Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications.

katamo vacīsaṅkhāro? ...Vitakkavicārā vacīsaṅkhāro. ...Pubbe kho āvuso visākha vitakketvā vicāretvā pacchā vācaṃ bhindati. Tasmā vitakkavicārā vacīsaṅkhāro.


Or, why is samanupassati a vacīsaṅkhāra?


I would not say that samanupassati is a vacīsaṅkhāra. I would say that the action samanupassati would require vacīsaṅkhāra. Notice how MN 44 reads - vitakkavicārā as a compound of nouns. But the definition then moves on to discuss the 2 denominative verbs vitakketi and vicāreti derived from the nouns. This suggests to me that this definition is formalising an analysis for thought activity (thinking) being driven by a form of intention (vacīsaṅkhāra).

Why is the series disturbed; I do not follow there. "But can only occur after 2nd Jhana etc." is not explained, and seems to contradict the idea that vacīsaṅkhāras cease there.


In the suttas, a series is used to contrast different members of the series, but a thread will also run through the series. This thread will be the common denominator. If we read samanupassati in AN 9.36 as being discursive, it must mean that samanupassati is being driven by vitakkavicārā. But, vitakkavicārā being absent in anything from the 2nd Jhana upwards, would either -

1. contradict the hypothesis that samanupassati is discursive; or
2. require that samanupassati happens during 1st Jhana, but happens after arising from 2nd Jhana etc.

The 2nd possibility would mean that samanupassati is qualitatively different in 1st Jhana versus the higher jhanas, thereby breaking the thread that unifies that series.

This suggests that a 3rd possibility is the most plausible, where samanupassati is discursive yet relates to all the 4 jhanas in the same way, namely it happens not within the jhanas, but after one arises from it. In these cases, I am of the view that the present tense verb samanupassati is not used in a narrative sense but as an imperative. There is nothing in the present tense to indicate contemporaneity of the viharati (abides in jhana) and samanupassati (regards).
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1521
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby daverupa » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:34 pm

Ah, thank you for the details. In that case, it seems we have here some instructions for not becoming fixated internally. But also, form is still within view during the jhanas. This will mean a distinct sort of experience, as against the more common formless aspirations.

As to the other thread, even if the two formless attainments of the Buddha's former teachers and the later formless structure are perhaps similar in name only, I as yet set them aside, thus far, due to the heuristic to which you have been subjected. The wild gesticulation of it, as that thread succinctly puts it, I must apologize for. It is still being worked out, though the structure itself is settling.

:alien:
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4179
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby reflection » Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:03 am

Well, you lost me. :tongue:

Let me just say I don't think you don't have to be a linguist to be a Buddhist. ;)
User avatar
reflection
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:27 pm

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby Sylvester » Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:28 am

Hi again

daverupa wrote:Ah, thank you for the details. In that case, it seems we have here some instructions for not becoming fixated internally. But also, form is still within view during the jhanas. This will mean a distinct sort of experience, as against the more common formless aspirations.


And I was wondering when the rūpa argument would pop up. :tongue:

If you were suggesting that the presence of rūpasañña in the 4 Jhanas is indicative of phassa/contact with the 5 kāmā of rūpa, sadda, gandha, rasa and phoṭṭhabba, it is worth noting that this conception of rūpa is an Abhidhamma innovation. Sue Hamilton's "Identity and Experience" (Cap 1) traces how the Abhidhamma explains rūpa in terms of the 5 "material" senses and their respective objects. Dmytro has also helpfully observed this as well in this post - viewtopic.php?f=23&t=12799#p193298.

Hamilton makes these points -

...the Theravada Buddhist tradition has generally understood the term updi nipa specifically
to refer to the senses (usually taken to be the physical sense organs) and
their corresponding sense objects, collectively called gatanas. A typical
definition of upa'di rCpa is given in the Dhammasanganiof the Abhidhamma,
where it is stated to refer to ten of the gatanas (that is excluding the sixth
sense, manas, and its corresponding object, dhammZ).16 In the Vibhanga the
same ten 6yatunas are in turn described as the four great elements which are
derived," which amounts to the same thing put differently

...Given such prominent mention of the senses in the Sutta Pitaka, and
given that it is obvious to us that there are physical organs corresponding to
at least five of the senses (so one might equally obviously assume that they
are part of the ru'pakkhandha), it is also conversely notable that nowhere in
the Sutta Pitaka are the senses, or their corresponding sense objects, explicitly
stated to be part of the riipakkhandha, and none of the passages which is
specifically describing the riipakkhandha includes any of them as upEdd nipa.

...With regard to the increasingly 'physical' understanding of the senses,
not only does the later tradition explicitly classify the senses as riipa, but the
later texts also give long and elaborate physical descriptions of the sense
organs.

(sorry, too lazy to clean up the diacritics)


It might be worth noting this oft-unnoticed little axiom proposed in MN 28, after its exposition on the 4 dhātu -

"Friends, just as when — in dependence on timber, vines, grass, & clay — space is enclosed and is gathered under the term 'house,' in the same way, when space is enclosed in dependence on bones, tendons, muscle, & skin, it is gathered under the term, 'form.'


Hamilton makes the same observation about "space" being classified as rūpa.

A little further down the sutta, it embarks on an exposition of phassa. All 6 contacts yield the rūpakkhandha, not just the so-called 5 "material" senses.

I don't think we're any nearer to resolving the mystery of whether rūpasañña means perception of the physical body in jhana, based merely on the presence of rūpasañña. Hamilton makes the point that in the Suttas, their detailed explanation of each dhātu posits an "abstract" conception of rūpa. Certainly, the Abhidhammic and Commentarial explanations (eg to DN 15) which are more "solid" could support your point but the Suttas, prima facie, seem to work on a more conceptual level.

As for the "fixated internally" (presumably MN 138?), some delicious hints from the Chinese parallel will be explored by Ven Analayo in the future.

:anjali:
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1521
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby daverupa » Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:25 am

All 6 contacts yield the rūpakkhandha, not just the so-called 5 "material" senses.


Yes of course; the aggregates operate across each of the sense spheres. The presence of rupasanna is noteworthy because of the comparative lack of it in the arupa list, which is obvious at first. But when you consider that arupa attainments are fairly standard brahmana fare (see especially the last section of Snp), this becomes a significant differentiation, does it not?

MN 36 wrote:"I thought: 'I recall once, when my father the Sakyan was working, and I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities — I entered & remained in the first jhana...


It seems to be the Buddha's discovery, one which does not require the prerequisites which seem to be needed by arupa seekers, and one which uniquely includes rupasanna.

It seems clear rupasanna was assumed to be impossible, therefore, in these arupa states which were making the rounds, which seems significant as well since it suggests that the abstract potential of the term 'rupa' in this context may not be indicated. (After all, namarupa does not allow of an interpretation which amounts to namanama, does it?)

I note that I don't have the Pali for

Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal.


which may be pertinent?
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4179
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby danieLion » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:14 pm

I've PM'd Sylvester an apology. This topic is clearly in the hands of more competent minds than mine. :popcorn:
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby Sylvester » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:31 am

danieLion wrote:I've PM'd Sylvester an apology. This topic is clearly in the hands of more competent minds than mine. :popcorn:


And I hope you'll also forgive my silly transgression. :hug:
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1521
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby danieLion » Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:25 am

Sylvester wrote:
danieLion wrote:I've PM'd Sylvester an apology. This topic is clearly in the hands of more competent minds than mine. :popcorn:


And I hope you'll also forgive my silly transgression. :hug:

Of course. I wouldn't be able to continue learning from you if I held a grudge.
danieLion
 
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed May 25, 2011 4:49 am

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby Sylvester » Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:02 pm

daverupa wrote:I note that I don't have the Pali for

Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again and again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within and without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born of withdrawal.


which may be pertinent?



That would be -

Evameva kho bhikkhave bhikkhu imameva kāyaṃ vivekajena pītisukhena abhisandeti parisandeti paripūreti parippharati.


And what might you think kāya means there? Physical body, mental collection? Just note the bar in MN 43.21 against the body faculty experiencing any external āyatana besides phoṭṭhabba...

Other considerations - kāya figures in some common idioms, such as -

kāyena ceva paramasaccaṃ sacchikaroti,

he realises the ultimate truth with the body
eg MN 95


Doesn't look like the physical body were meant here.

In SN 18.21, the term saviññāṇaka kāya refers to the 5 Aggregates, leading one to the reading that kāya refers to perception, feeling, formations and form.

Other occurences of kāya as "collection" includes saññākāyā (collections of perception, DN 33), vedanākāyā (DN 33, SN 12.2), viññāṇakāyā etc. And we of course have the well-known rūpakāya and nāmakāya in DN 15's fabulous exposition on bare contact and conceptualising contact. Not forgetting nāmakāya in Sn 5.6, which appears conceptually similar to DN 15's nāmakāya as the naming process/activity.

Given the breadth of kāya's usage in the suttas as a collator of mental states, what might it mean in the jhana pericopes?
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1521
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby daverupa » Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:21 pm

Sylvester wrote:Just note the bar in MN 43.21...


Well, that Sutta says first jhana has five factors... I'll just plant a flag there, and we can move on.

Sylvester wrote:Given the breadth of kāya's usage in the suttas as a collator of mental states, what might it mean in the jhana pericopes?


It must be something that allows for seclusion from kaya, such that kaya can be infused with piti-sukha like water through a bath ball, or like cool water welling up into a lake from below. Permeation seems to be the theme of the metaphors...

I think there's a hint in the third line of the first tetrad in anapanasati, which enjoins the practitioner to experience all the bodies (or, the entire body) which, to me, looks like an injunction to make the whole thing a single percept; something along these lines, though I'm still examining the issue...
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4179
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby Sylvester » Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:21 pm

Hello again!

daverupa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:Just note the bar in MN 43.21...


Well, that Sutta says first jhana has five factors... I'll just plant a flag there, and we can move on.


Too Abhidhammic for you? :stirthepot:

I suppose your discomfort with MN 43’s characterization of 1st Jhana as having 5 factors stems from the presence of cittekaggatā (singleness/unification of mind) in the listing of factors? Granted, as a compound, cittekaggatā occurs just a few times (MN 111, a variant reading of MN 122) in the suttas.

However, if the compound were resolved into citta + ekagga, a wild card search on VRI shows up many occurrences. You have –

- cittaṃ ekaggaṃ (the mind [was] unified) in MN 4, MN 19

- cittassa ekaggatā (unification of the mind) in MN 44, MN 117, MN 125, SN 45.28 (mirroring MN 117), SN 48.9 – 11, SN 48.50

- ekaggacittā in SN 47.4 and AN 2.43 in the context of satipaṭṭhāna,

In fact, its occurrence as cittaṃ ekaggaṃ (the mind was unified) in MN 4 and MN 19 within the context of satipaṭṭhāna just before the 1st Jhana would suggest that it is not a quality that shows up only in the Jhanas.

I wonder if the Buddha was doing a pun on agga in the above suttas, when He described each jhana as a “peak of perception” (saññagga) here -

Ekaññeva nu kho bhante bhagavā saññaggaṃ paññapeti udāhu puthū'pi saññagge paññapetī?"Ti.

"Ekampi kho ahaṃ poṭṭhapāda4 saññaggaṃ paññapemi. Puthū'pi saññagge paññapemī"ti.

But, lord, does the Blessed One describe one peak of perception or many peaks of perception?"
"Potthapada, I describe one peak of perception and many peaks of perception."

DN 9



It must be something that allows for seclusion from kaya, such that kaya can be infused with piti-sukha like water through a bath ball, or like cool water welling up into a lake from below. Permeation seems to be the theme of the metaphors...


I agree that is the thread unifying the similes. What do you think of this previous discussion of the "permeation" here - viewtopic.php?f=43&t=5761&p=195535&hilit=waxing#p195521

When you say "It must be something that allows for seclusion from kaya, such that kaya can be infused with piti-sukha", did you mean to say that the rapture and pleasure overwhelms the rest of the senses, such that nothing is experienced other than the otherworldly rapture and pleasure? Quite a nice simile.
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1521
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby daverupa » Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:48 am

Sylvester wrote:Too Abhidhammic for you?


:shrug: So, was it an oversight of the Buddha's? It's simply odd to find a way to work it in, when it isn't there in the first place and could have easily been clearly mentioned.

Sylvester wrote:When you say "It must be something that allows for seclusion from kaya, such that kaya can be infused with piti-sukha", did you mean to say that the rapture and pleasure overwhelms the rest of the senses, such that nothing is experienced other than the otherworldly rapture and pleasure? Quite a nice simile.


I've underlined some troublesome phrases. I'm simply pursuing the oddity of the idea that detachment from kaya lets one infuse kaya with pitisukha born of that very detachment. So, I think detachment still allows for contact, as in the phrase "he feels it detached" in SN 12.6, or MN 140. After all, the third jhana contains the line "sukhañca kāyena paṭisaṃvedeti", and since

SN 48.37 Dutiyavibhaṅga Sutta informs us that the pleasure and pain faculties are born of body contact (kāyasamphassaja), whereas the happiness and unhappiness faculties are born of mind contact (manosamphassaja).


things seem fairly clear...
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4179
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby Sylvester » Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:15 am

Hi dave

So, was it an oversight of the Buddha's? It's simply odd to find a way to work it in, when it isn't there in the first place and could have easily been clearly mentioned.


Perhaps an explanation might be to accept the inclusion of cittekaggatā in MN 43 as being commentary, but commentary that is obvious from its occurrences elsewhere in the suttas? In any event, I’m happy to report that the Chinese parallel to MN 43, 大拘絺羅 MA 211 says the same –

初禪有五支。覺.觀.喜.樂.一心。是謂初禪有五支。


Cittekaggatā is rendered as 一心.

If I had to guess why cittekaggatā is missing from the Jhana pericopes, it may have been motivated by the concern that the pericopes serve to distinguish these mental states from "normal" consciousness. Its inclusion might have led to the inference that cittekaggatā is not also a hallmark of well-established satipaṭṭhāna, when other suttas indicate otherwise.


I've underlined some troublesome phrases. I'm simply pursuing the oddity of the idea that detachment from kaya lets one infuse kaya with pitisukha born of that very detachment. So, I think detachment still allows for contact, as in the phrase "he feels it detached" in SN 12.6, or MN 140.


Let’s get the technicalities out of the way first. The 1st Jhana periscope does not read vivicceva kāyā/kāyasmā (quite secluded from the kāya). It reads vivicceva kāmehi (quite secluded from the kāmā). The seclusion is from the 5 external āyatanā, not from the internal āyatana of the kāya. Consider MN 28’s explanation of contact –

(taking just the kāya analysis)

Now if internally the body is intact but externally tangibles do not come into range, nor is there a corresponding engagement, then there is no appearing of the corresponding type of consciousness. If internally the body is intact and externally tangibles come into range, but there is no corresponding engagement, then there is no appearing of the corresponding type of consciousness. But when internally the body is intact and externally tangibles come into range, and there is a corresponding engagement, then there is the appearing of the corresponding type of consciousness.

Ajjhattiko ce āvuso kāyo aparibhinno hoti, bāhirā ca poṭṭhabbā na āpāthaṃ āgacchanti, no ca tajjo samannāhāro hoti, neva tāva tajjassa viññāṇabhāgassa pātubhāvo hoti. Ajjhattiko ce āvuso kāyo aparibhinno hoti, bāhirā ca poṭṭhabbā āpāthaṃ āgacchanti, no ca tajjo samannāhāro hoti, nevatāva tajjassa viññāṇabhāgassa pātubhāvo hoti. Yato ca kho āvuso ajjhattiko ce kāyo aparibhinno hoti, bāhirā ca poṭṭhabbā āpāthaṃ āgacchanti, tajjo ca samannāhāro hoti, evaṃ tajjassa viññāṇabhāgassa pātubhāvo hoti.


This analysis survives also in the Chinese parallel 象蹟喻, MA 30 , save that instead of using the stylized tajja samannāhāra, the Indic loan word was equivalent to the Pali manasikāra, thereby agreeing with the Commentary’s gloss of tajja samannāhāra. What this analysis suggests is that an external āyatana could bump into its corresponding internal āyatana, but consciousness of it does not arise in the absence of attention. The tajja (correspondance) concept does make its appearance elsewhere, including MN 140 which you cited.

Speaking of MN 140, the “he feels it detached” phrase employs visaṃyutta (not yoked) which BB renders as “detached”. It does not look anything like the 1st Jhana pericope’s vivicca, nor can I find any references to suggest that these are synonyms. If anything, the passage in MN 140 preceding the “detachment” analysis suggests that it is the realization of the lack of a basis for delight (anabhinanditā) in the 3 kinds of feelings that leads to the detachment. This “does not delight” (na abhinandati) kind of analysis is always associated with full awakening, not the jhanas.


SN 48.37 Dutiyavibhaṅga Sutta informs us that the pleasure and pain faculties are born of body contact (kāyasamphassaja), whereas the happiness and unhappiness faculties are born of mind contact (manosamphassaja).



things seem fairly clear...


Slurp! Let me track down my old posts on this kāyasamphassaja and manosamphassaja dichotomy. Essentially, it establishes a dichotomy of feelings as either kāyika or cetasika. There are ample suttas which suggest that kāyasamphassaja vedanā includes the vedanā simpliciter (affective tone) born of mano and dhamma contact, while manosamphassaja vedanā refers to the resulting emotive tone of joy (somanassa ) or grief (domanassa) or upekkhā.
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1521
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby daverupa » Sun Sep 02, 2012 2:51 pm

Sorry, what a sloppy post I've made, alas! :tantrum:

But yes: secluded from kama such that one infuses kaya. Lack of an ability to quickly reference Pali editions for the words used is still one helluva barrier; setting aside "detached" then to avoid false synergy, the idea is that most external ayatanas are secluded away and that their internal ayatanas + vinnana are never triggered, leaving just the mano sphere, if I understand what's being said.

It makes sense when we consider sound a thorn for first jhana - kicks awareness to an external sphere, bugger all - but it doesn't really touch kaya yet, unless kaya just means "whatever else there is" in the jhana context. The metaphors of permeation are just so embodied that I have a hard time getting these two themes aligned. None of the five ayatanas, but infuse the kaya... such a laborious and indirect way of saying it, if that's what is meant, which is why this doesn't yet satisfy my mind.

:thinking:
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4179
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Purely mental absorption (jhana) in the suttas

Postby piotr » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:13 am

Hi Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:Actually, the CPD entry on kāma (singular) and kāmā (plural) makes the following points about their meanings in the different strata of the Canon.

In the Suttas and Vinaya, kāma (singular) refers to wish, desire, pleasure, while kāmā (plural) refers to the 5 sense objects of rūpa, sadda, gandha, rasa, phoṭṭhabba. CPD makes the contrast to the sutta definition of kāmaguṇa. You can find this distinction between kāmā and kāmaguṇa set out in several suttas (sorry, too lazy to pull them out from the old threads).


I think that you should point out in your analysis that according to this dictionary kāma in singular usually refers to desire, while in plural it usually referes to five sense objects. This means that there are some exceptions in the Suttas, and you can't make a clear cut rule. For example in 3rd out of 10 unskilfill courses of action, kāma is found in locative case in plural, but it undoubtedly means “desires”.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...
User avatar
piotr
 
Posts: 371
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:33 pm
Location: Khettadesa

PreviousNext

Return to Samatha Meditation and Jhana

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests