But this only goes for off-jhana states. From the second jhana on there is no more thinking.
from 2nd jhana there is no more vitakka-vicara (applied and sustained thought) but I wonder what we are going to call the bolded part below, which describes what can be done with the mind once the fourth jhana
"With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to knowledge and vision. He discerns: 'This body of mine is endowed with form, composed of the four primary elements, born from mother and father, nourished with rice and porridge, subject to inconstancy, rubbing, pressing, dissolution, and dispersion. And this consciousness of mine is supported here and bound up here.'
for motion, intention
would appear to still be present. I guess we will find out when we get there, but it might be helpful for us to know that discernment doesn't shut down during or after jhana, rather it is refined & empowered
(that's how I read it - what do others think about this passage?).
This is a problematic passage in English, but not problematic at all in Pali. A standard grammatical analysis will shed some light on this -
With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to knowledge and vision. He discerns: 'This body of mine is endowed with form, composed of the four primary elements, born from mother and father, nourished with rice and porridge, subject to inconstancy, rubbing, pressing, dissolution, and dispersion. And this consciousness of mine is supported here and bound up here.
so evaṃ samāhite citte parisuddhe pariyodāte anaṅgaṇe vigatūpakkilese mudubhūte kammaniye ṭhite āneñjappatte ñāṇadassanāya cittaṃ abhinīharati abhininnāmeti. So evaṃ pajānāti: ayaṃ kho me kāyo rūpī cātummahābhūtiko mātāpettikasambhavo odanakummāsūpacayo aniccucchādanaparimaddanabhedanaviddhaṃsanadhammo. Idaṃ ca pana me viññāṇaṃ ettha sitaṃ ettha paṭibaddhanti.
The portions in red are part of a clause within a sentence. The 2 clauses are described in 2 different constructions. The latter part is in the present tense (abhinīharati abhininnāmeti
/directs and inclines), while the preceding clause is in the locative absolute (ie both noun and verb being in locative case).
This locatives of the verbs in this clause are constructed of past participles (ie of samāhita, parisuddha, pariyodāta, anaṅgaṇa
, etc etc). When we encounter such a locative absolute construction (ie locatives of past participles preceding in a separate clause), the writer is clearly demarcating time to indicate that the past participles in locative form occured and were completed at an earlier time from the verbs in the subsequent clause.
So, the proper interpretation of this sentence would be to treat the verbs and adjectives for 4th Jhana in clause 1 to have been attained and completed before the review verbs come into action in clause 2.
Aside from the grammatical analysis, this interpretation is also consistent on doctrinal grounds set out in DN 9. According to DN 9, if one exercises enough intention such that one could ceteti
(think or will?) or abhisaṅkharoti
(will) in a jhana, one immediately falls from the attainment.
I think the trick is trying to figure out when one should begin analysis, and when one should merely observe and gather data. Gombrich, for one, would disagree with my analysis, as he believes that after disappearing in 2nd Jhana, vitakka-vicāra
would re-appear in the 3rd Jhana to enable analytical thought. On the other hand, his student Sue Hamilton argues persuasively (not only from the authority of MN 117) that vitakka-vicāra
are aspects of intention at the most basic level.
Ven Sujato has written essay on why the Buddha had to choose such an unsatisfactory (and perhaps misleading) word like vitakka
to describe an aspect of the jhanic experience -http://sujato.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/ ... -in-jhana/