MN 39 similes

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: MN 39 similes

Postby manas » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:54 pm

Samma wrote:I suppose the question is essential what is meant by experiencing the whole body (sabbakāaya patisamvedi) in step 3 of anapanasati.

As polarbuddha mentions above, contemplation on the body (kayanupassana) seems to be predominately physical body. Recognize the 6 contemplations having to do with body as:
1) anapanasati, 2) discern postures, 3) discern actions, 4) 32 parts of body, 5) 4elements, 6) impurities/decay
If not physical-body then why talk about all this related physicality?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

You can find Ajahn Brahm's interpretations of the 4similies in his book The Jhanas, as relating to mental-body. Here is Ajahn Thanissaro:
the similes for the jhanas, which are attained through the sixteen steps, repeatedly mention a full-body awareness. If the mind were forced exclusively into a single point, it wouldn’t be able to spread feelings of rapture or pleasure throughout the entire body in the first three jhanas, or to fill the body with a clear bright awareness in the fourth.

One response to this last argument is that the word “body” in the similes for jhana doesn’t mean the physical body, because a person in jhana has to be
oblivious to the physical body. Instead, “body” is meant metaphorically as a term for the “body” of the mind.

Putting aside the question of why someone with the Buddha’s teaching skills would use terms in such a potentially confusing way in his basic meditation
instructions, we can simply note that in MN 119 he gives the similes for the jhanas immediately after his discussion of six ways of focusing on the physical
body. As in the case of steps 3 and 4 in breath meditation, if he had meant “body” to mean “physical body” in one context, and “mind body” in the
discussion immediately following it, he would have signaled that he was redefining his terms. But again he doesn’t.

So unless we want to assume that the Buddha was careless or devious in his meditation instructions, it seems best to interpret “body” as meaning “physical
body” in all of these contexts, and to interpret “entire body” in step 3 as referring to the entire physical body as sensed from within.
(Right Mindfulness p.90)

Well said.

By placing or pouring awareness right in to this body of four elements, not allowing the awareness to stray outside this form of ours (the ball of powder is saturated but 'does not drip'), it isn't as if mind along with it's image-making capacity is going to cease functioning. Mind and body depend and rest on each other. When focussing on this material body the 'mental body' is fully involved anyway, or we would not be perceiving anything! So even if fully immersing mindfulness into this body sitting here, we are actually working with the entire mind-body complex; we won't 'miss out' on working with the mind as well.

If, however, we leave the physical body in our meditation, and focus exclusively on mental phenomena, we will be missing something: the opportunity to penetrate with discernment a huge source of attachment for us, that is, this physical body of ours that we clean, feed, care for and decorate so much, not properly seeing it as intrinsically asubha, due to our normally clouded vision.

(That's how I understand it, and how I've experienced it, but I could be wrong. But I thought I'd share in this discussion.)
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Re: MN 39 similes

Postby daverupa » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:26 pm

Sylvester wrote:Can the "body" as a sense faculty establish contact with anything other than tactility?


It doesn't seem to be so; but perhaps body in the jhana metaphors isn't strictly the body-faculty?

SN 48.42 wrote:..."Brahmin, these five faculties have different domains, different resorts; they do not experience each others' resort and domain. What five? The eye... ear... nose... tongue... body faculty. Now, brahmin, these five faculties have different domains, different resorts, not experiencing each others' resort and domain - they take recourse in the mind, and the mind experiences their resort and domain."


Perhaps the mind infuses these resorts and domains, otherwise a 'body' of percepts? Perhaps this sort of attitude is also exemplified in brahmavihara pervasion?
    "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: MN 39 similes

Postby Sylvester » Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:29 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:That sutta (AN 9.37) doesn't even mention jhana, it's talking about the formless attainments (or at least that's how it read for me, if you care to argue otherwise I'd be interested to hear it).


Hi ya PB

AN 9.37 does mention the jhanas, but via an alternative name. The mention is found in the Añjana Grove narrative, nestled within the main narrative set in Ghosita’s Park. This sutta was discussed in this thead - viewtopic.php?f=23&t=13998#p223448

Granted, it's all Pali gobbledy-gook. To summarise briefly, what Ven T translates as the "concentration ...not with fabrication kept blocked or suppressed" is in the Pali described as "na saṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato samādhi". The said thread discusses what exactly is meant by this samādhi. It means the 4 Jhanas, based on a direct identification in DN 34 (section of 5s on "that to be made to arise"), and several other suttas which discuss it in a context which can only be jhana.

I know that thread is pretty tough-going in terms of the Pali. If you require clarification of any of the Pali texts, let me know and we can take it from there. (Just noticed one typo, when I correlated the 5 knowledges of one possessed of jhana in DN 34 to AN 5.28. It should be to AN 5.27, depending on the numbering adopted by the translators).


Also, what do you make of the kayagatasati sutta which is explicitly about mindfulness of the physical body and talks about the 4 jhanas in connection with that?


I'm going to apply textual criticism to that text and see how it fares. I take it that when you say "in connection with that", you meant this series of pericopes -

Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.' And as he remains thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, any memories & resolves related to the household life are abandoned, and with their abandoning his mind gathers & settles inwardly, grows unified & centered. This is how a monk develops mindfulness immersed in the body.

.....

Furthermore, quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, he enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. He permeates & pervades, suffuses & fills this very body with the rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal. 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 & again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within & without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates... this very body with the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal. And as he remains thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, any memories & resolves related to the household life are abandoned, and with their abandoning his mind gathers & settles inwardly, grows unified & centered. This is how a monk develops mindfulness immersed in the body.


And this is where I see a problem with this redaction of the underlined text when it pops up in the jhana series, against doctrine elsewhere. The text underlined in Pali is -

Tassa evaṃ appamattassa ātāpino pahitattassa viharato ye gehasitā sarasaṅkappā te pahīyanti. Tesaṃ pahānā ajjhattameva cittaṃ santiṭṭhati, sannisīdati, ekodi hoti, samādhiyati. Evampi bhikkhave, bhikkhu kāyagataṃ satiṃ bhāveti.


Elsewhere (eg AN 3.100), it is clear that memories and resolves connected with the householder's life are middling and subtle hindrances, that are abandoned after the gross defilements are abandoned -

In the same way, there are these gross impurities in a monk intent on heightened mind: misconduct in body, speech, & mind. These the monk — aware & able by nature — abandons, destroys, dispels, wipes out of existence. When he is rid of them, there remain in him the moderate impurities: thoughts of sensuality, ill will, & harmfulness. These he abandons, destroys, dispels, wipes out of existence. When he is rid of them there remain in him the fine impurities: thoughts of his caste, thoughts of his home district, thoughts related to not wanting to be despised. These he abandons, destroys, dispels, wipes out of existence.

"When he is rid of them, there remain only thoughts of the Dhamma. His concentration is neither calm nor refined, it has not yet attained serenity or unity, and is kept in place by the fabrication of forceful restraint. But there comes a time when his mind grows steady inwardly, settles down, grows unified & concentrated. His concentration is calm & refined, has attained serenity & unity, and is no longer kept in place by the fabrication of forceful restraint.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Even these defilements connected to the householder's life need to be abandoned, before tackling the subtlest of defilements, ie thoughts of the Dhamma/dhammas. When that happens, concentration deepens to the point of jhana. And here you have it again, that mysterious quality of the jhanas that are na saṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato (underlined text). What that error seems to have achieved is to make the jhanas the condition for the abandonment of the Hindrances, instead of the other way around.

Granted, textual criticism is not everyone's cuppa, but might you have a better explanation for how that pericope slipped into the jhana series and how to reconcile it to the presentation elsewhere that the jhanas are the outcome of the abandonment of the Hindrances, instead of being the cause? It's one of the fairly common artefacts of the oral recitation process, according to Ven Analayo. Tse fu Kuan devotes the entire Chapter 4 of his "Mindfulness in Early Buddhism" to showing how MN 119 evolved and picked up pericopes along its development from other texts.

:anjali:
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Re: MN 39 similes

Postby Sylvester » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:11 am

daverupa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:Can the "body" as a sense faculty establish contact with anything other than tactility?


It doesn't seem to be so; but perhaps body in the jhana metaphors isn't strictly the body-faculty?

SN 48.42 wrote:..."Brahmin, these five faculties have different domains, different resorts; they do not experience each others' resort and domain. What five? The eye... ear... nose... tongue... body faculty. Now, brahmin, these five faculties have different domains, different resorts, not experiencing each others' resort and domain - they take recourse in the mind, and the mind experiences their resort and domain."


Perhaps the mind infuses these resorts and domains, otherwise a 'body' of percepts? Perhaps this sort of attitude is also exemplified in brahmavihara pervasion?


Hi Dave

The "different domains, different resorts" here are nānāvisaya nānāgocara. I suspect the "domain, resorts" are just simply synonyms. These visaya, gocara pop up also in suttas such as SN 47.6, where the context makes clear that it's the external sense objects (where Mara's domain is described as the 5 kāmaguṇa) or MN 106 (where Mara's domain is described as the kāmā and kāmasaññā).
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Re: MN 39 similes

Postby Nyana » Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:24 am

Sylvester wrote:AN 9.37 does mention the jhanas, but via an alternative name. The mention is found in the Añjana Grove narrative, nestled within the main narrative set in Ghosita’s Park.

Compare the underlined portion of AN 9.37:

    Sister, the concentration that does not lean forward and does not bend back, and that is not reigned in and checked by forcefully suppressing [the defilements] -- by being liberated, it is steady; by being steady, it is content; by being content, one is not agitated. The Blessed One said this concentration has final knowledge as its fruit.

With the underlined portion from SN 22.53, 54, & 55:

    When that consciousness is unestablished, not coming to growth, nongenerative, it is liberated. By being liberated, it is steady; by being steady, it is content; by being content, he is not agitated. Being unagitated, he personally attains nibbāna. He understands: 'Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.'

It seems that we are dealing with a very specific, liberational samādhi in both cases. Specifically with regard to the content of AN 9.37, the likely samādhi is explained in AN 10.6:

    "Bhante, could a bhikkhu obtain such a state of concentration that (1) he would not be percipient of earth in relation to earth; (2) of water in relation to water; (3) of fire in relation to fire; (4) of air in relation to air; (5) of the base of infinity of space in relation to the base of the infinity of space; (6) of the base of infinity of consciousness in relation to the base of the infinity of consciousness; (7) of the base of nothingness in relation to the base of nothingness; (8) of the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception in relation to the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; (9) of this world in relation to this world; (10) of the other world in relation to the other world, but he would still be percipient?"

    "He could, Ānanda."

    "But how, Bhante, could he obtain such a state of concentration?"

    "Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu is percipient thus: 'This is peaceful, this is sublime, that is, the stilling of all activities, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbāna.' It is in this way, Ānanda, that a bhikkhu could obtain such a state of concentration...."

This samādhi is probably equivalent to the perception of "bhavanirodho nibbāna" described in the next sutta, AN 10.7, and the perception of cessation (nirodhasaññā) described in AN 10.60, and in this way is related to the aññāphala samādhi of AN 9.37.
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Re: MN 39 similes

Postby Sylvester » Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:19 am

Hi Geoff

I would not disagree with you when you equate the samādhi from AN 10.6 with AN 10.7’s “bhavanirodho nibbānaṃ” perception.

But I think it’s quite a stretch to equate the na saṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato samādhi from AN 9.37 with the AN 10.6 samādhi. Consider this.

The pericope from SN 22.53 -55

By being liberated, it is steady; by being steady, it is content; by being content, he is not agitated. Being unagitated, he personally attains nibbāna. He understands: 'Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.'


comes in an abridged form in other suttas, ie

Unsustained, he is not agitated. Unagitated, he is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world


This pericope pops up in these suttas, in these contexts -

DN 15 -
Now, Ananda, in as far as a monk does not assume feeling to be the self, nor the self as oblivious, nor that 'My self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling,' then, not assuming in this way, he is not sustained by anything (does not cling to anything) in the world. Unsustained, he is not agitated. Unagitated, he is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'


MN 11 -
Bhikkhus, when ignorance is abandoned and true knowledge has arisen in a bhikkhu, then with the fading away of ignorance and the arising of true knowledge he no longer clings to sensual pleasures, no longer clings to views, no longer clings to rules and observances, no longer clings to a doctrine of self.[11] When he does not cling, he is not agitated. When he is not agitated, he personally attains Nibbana. He understands: 'Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being.


MN 140 -
One discerns that 'If I were to direct equanimity as pure & bright as this towards the dimension of the infinitude of space and to develop the mind along those lines, that would be fabricated. One discerns that 'If I were to direct equanimity as pure and bright as this towards the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception and to develop the mind along those lines, that would be fabricated.' One neither fabricates nor mentally fashions for the sake of becoming or un-becoming. This being the case, one is not sustained by anything in the world . Unsustained, one is not agitated. Unagitated, one is totally unbound right within. One discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'


The "neither fabricates nor mentally fashion" is "so neva taṃ abhisaṅkharoti, na abhisañcetayati", which comes very close to the "neither thinking nor intending" from DN 9's exposition for entry into the Attainment of Cessation. This leads me to suspect that MN 140 is dealing with the same, just before the extinguishment.

Other suttas address this non-agitation in these contexts -

MN 22 – agitation being assumptions of self based on the aggregates or cosmos; non-agitation = This is not me, this is not my self, this is not what I am

MN 138 – agitation being assumptions of self based on the aggregates

SN 35.30 – non-agitation arises from not-conceiving (na maññati) in respect of the 6 sense bases.

SN 35.31 ditto for aggregates and elements

SN 35.90 – ditto for contact and feelings

SN 35.234 – non-recognition of self in relation to the 6 bases

AN 7.61 – Pacalāyamāna Sutta – contemplation of anicca virāga nirodha paṭinissagga

The samādhi from AN 10.6-7 is mentioned only one other time, in AN 11.7. On the other hand, the more frequent cause of non-agitation seems to be non-clinging.

How do you address DN 34's identification of the jhanas as na saṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato, or that AN 3.100 suggests that such a concentration is jhana?

I find it hard to make the leap from AN 9.36 and SN 22.53 to AN 10.6, since other things besides non-perception can account for the non-establishment of consciousness. See SN 12.38 for how the cessation of sankhāra also leads to non-establishment of consciousness, echoing MN 140 and DN 9. Ven T makes the equation, but he will have to account for why his kiṃphalo ended up being translated as "fruit of what", instead of "of what fruit". If that interrogative were correctly translated as a bahubbīhi instead of a genitive tappurissa, what would be the basis for the connection between the na saṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato samādhi and the perception "bhavanirodho nibbānaṃ"?
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Re: MN 39 similes

Postby Nyana » Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:56 am

Sylvester wrote:The "neither fabricates nor mentally fashion" is "so neva taṃ abhisaṅkharoti, na abhisañcetayati", which comes very close to the "neither thinking nor intending" from DN 9's exposition for entry into the Attainment of Cessation. This leads me to suspect that MN 140 is dealing with the same, just before the extinguishment.

Are you suggesting that MN 140 and these other suttas that use the pericope: "Unagitated, he is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world,'" require the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling for realization to occur?
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Re: MN 39 similes

Postby Sylvester » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:08 pm

Hmm, I hadn't entertained that thought, but now that you mention it...

So, what do you think those 2 present tense verbs in MN 140 denote? Let me not be the first to declare 'imperative'.
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Re: MN 39 similes

Postby Dmytro » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:22 pm

Thank you very much, Sylvester and Ñāṇa.

I hope you don't mind that I have used your references in the new topic:
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=16422

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Re: MN 39 similes

Postby Sylvester » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:30 pm

By all means and thanks for the effort.
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Re: MN 39 similes

Postby Nyana » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:39 pm

Sylvester wrote:So, what do you think those 2 present tense verbs in MN 140 denote?

Just off the top of my head I think they relate to not forming meritorious, demeritorious, or imperturbable saṅkhāras as in SN 12.51.

Sylvester wrote:I would not disagree with you when you equate the samādhi from AN 10.6 with AN 10.7’s “bhavanirodho nibbānaṃ” perception.

But I think it’s quite a stretch to equate the na saṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato samādhi from AN 9.37 with the AN 10.6 samādhi... The samādhi from AN 10.6-7 is mentioned only one other time, in AN 11.7

AN 11.7, 8, 9 (NDB numbering) are all related to AN 10.6, and AN 10.7. For example, AN 11.8:

    "Bhante, could a bhikkhu obtain such a state of concentration that he would not attend to the eye and forms, the ear and sounds, the nose and odors, the tongue and tastes, the body and tactile objects; that (1) he would not attend to earth, (2) water, (3) fire, (4) or air; (5) he would not attend to the base of the infinity of space, (6) the base of the infinity of consciousness, (7) the base of nothingness, (8) or the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; (9) he would not attend to this world; (10) he would not attend to the other world; (11) he would not attend to anything seen, heard, sensed, cognized, reached, sought after, and examined by the mind, but he would still be attentive?"

    "He could, Ānanda."

    "But how, Bhante, could he obtain such a state of concentration?"

    "Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu would attend thus: 'This is peaceful, this is sublime, that is, the stilling of all activities, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbāna.' It is in this way, Ānanda, that a bhikkhu could obtain such a state of concentration...."

Given that the subject matter in all of these suttas is concerned with specific perception attainments, and that Ānanda is one of the main characters in all but one of these discourses, and that they are all located in the AN, and that the commentaries see similar parallels, there's good reason to include AN 9.37 in this group.

Sylvester wrote:How do you address DN 34's identification of the jhanas as na saṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato, or that AN 3.100 suggests that such a concentration is jhana?

That phrase doesn't establish anything with regard to the jhāna factors of the four jhānas.

Sylvester wrote:Ven T makes the equation, but he will have to account for why his kiṃphalo ended up being translated as "fruit of what", instead of "of what fruit".

He's just following the commentarial reading. As Ven. Bodhi correctly notes, the question is ambiguous.

Sylvester wrote:If that interrogative were correctly translated as a bahubbīhi instead of a genitive tappurissa, what would be the basis for the connection between the na saṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato samādhi and the perception "bhavanirodho nibbānaṃ"?

The commentary accounts for the other interpretation.
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Re: MN 39 similes

Postby Sylvester » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:39 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:So, what do you think those 2 present tense verbs in MN 140 denote?

Just off the top of my head I think they relate to not forming meritorious, demeritorious, or imperturbable saṅkhāras as in SN 12.51.


Possibly, altho' I'm more inclined to limit SN 12.51 to the arahants, whereas MN 140 seems to be speaking of the Non-Returner at the cross-roads.


Sylvester wrote:I would not disagree with you when you equate the samādhi from AN 10.6 with AN 10.7’s “bhavanirodho nibbānaṃ” perception.

But I think it’s quite a stretch to equate the na saṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato samādhi from AN 9.37 with the AN 10.6 samādhi... The samādhi from AN 10.6-7 is mentioned only one other time, in AN 11.7

AN 11.7, 8, 9 (NDB numbering) are all related to AN 10.6, and AN 10.7. For example, AN 11.8:

    "Bhante, could a bhikkhu obtain such a state of concentration that he would not attend to the eye and forms, the ear and sounds, the nose and odors, the tongue and tastes, the body and tactile objects; that (1) he would not attend to earth, (2) water, (3) fire, (4) or air; (5) he would not attend to the base of the infinity of space, (6) the base of the infinity of consciousness, (7) the base of nothingness, (8) or the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; (9) he would not attend to this world; (10) he would not attend to the other world; (11) he would not attend to anything seen, heard, sensed, cognized, reached, sought after, and examined by the mind, but he would still be attentive?"

    "He could, Ānanda."

    "But how, Bhante, could he obtain such a state of concentration?"

    "Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu would attend thus: 'This is peaceful, this is sublime, that is, the stilling of all activities, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbāna.' It is in this way, Ānanda, that a bhikkhu could obtain such a state of concentration...."

Given that the subject matter in all of these suttas is concerned with specific perception attainments, and that Ānanda is one of the main characters in all but one of these discourses, and that they are all located in the AN, and that the commentaries see similar parallels, there's good reason to include AN 9.37 in this group.



Problem, problem with the above. Take a look at the pericope from AN 10.6-7 and AN 11.7-8 -

eg

na ākiñcaññāyatane ākiñcaññāyatanasaññī assa


In all, there are 11 objects that one is not percipient of in this concentration, taking the āyatana to be in the locative of reference.

However, AN 9.37 is couched in grossly different terms -

Tadeva nāma cakkhuṃ bhavissati te rūpā tañcāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissati. Tadeva nāma sotaṃ bhavissati te saddā tañcāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissati. Tadeva nāma ghānaṃ bhavissati te gandhā tañcāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissati. Sāva nāma jivhā bhavissati te rasā tañcāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissati. Sova nāma kāyo bhavissati te phoṭṭhabbā tañcāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissatī’’ti.

Evaṃ vutte āyasmā udāyī āyasmantaṃ ānandaṃ etadavoca – ‘‘saññīmeva nu kho, āvuso ānanda, tadāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedeti udāhu asaññī’’ti? ‘‘Saññīmeva kho, āvuso, tadāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedeti, no asaññī’’ti.

Kiṃsaññī panāvuso, tadāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedetī’’ti? ‘‘Idhāvuso, bhikkhu, sabbaso rūpasaññānaṃ samatikkamā paṭighasaññānaṃ atthaṅgamā nānattasaññānaṃ amanasikārā ‘ananto ākāso’ti ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ upasampajja viharati. Evaṃsaññīpi kho, āvuso, tadāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedeti.

etc etc for the remaining 3 formless attainments


What is asserted in AN 9.37 is that one is percipient of the formless attainments while dwelling in that base (tadāyatanaṃ) of the 5 kāmā. On the other hand, the concentration in AN 10 and AN 11 is portrayed as having the meditator not-percipient of any of the formless attainments etc. Looks like we're not comparing like to like.

To add to the distinction -

Evaṃ 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.


The AN 9.37 narrative in blue is addressed to Jaṭilavāsika, while the narrative in red is to Ven Udāyī. "That base" again pops up, which is a back-reference to the 5 kāmā. Strangely enough, none of the 11 bases from AN 10 and AN 11 are brought into AN 9.37's listing of bases from which one is insulated when in that concentration that is na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagata.

What is overlooked about the AN 10 and AN 11 concentration is this bit -

Here, Ananda, a monk is percipient thus: 'This is peaceful, this is sublime— the stilling of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the destruction of craving; dispassion; cessation; nibanna.' It's in this way that a monk could obtain....

ie the etaṃ santaṃ etaṃ paṇītaṃ yadidaṃ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭinissaggo taṇhākkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbāna formula


If you pop into -

AN 3.32 - the formula leads to the end of I-making
AN 11.60 - the formula appears as perceptions of dispassion and cessation

So, it does appear that this perception plays quite a broad range of functions. If you look at the AN 10 passages, the verb used is siyā ...samādhipaṭilābho where the optative indicates a possibility. This leads me to suspect that the etaṃ santaṃ etc formula has quite a number of potentials. I don't actually see any indication from AN 9.37 that its concentration that is na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagata was an outcome of this perception. If anything, because it leads to non-agitation, the perception is probably a sequel to and not the cause of this concentration.
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Re: MN 39 similes

Postby Nyana » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:22 pm

Sylvester wrote:What is asserted in AN 9.37 is that one is percipient of the formless attainments while dwelling in that base (tadāyatanaṃ) of the 5 kāmā. On the other hand, the concentration in AN 10 and AN 11 is portrayed as having the meditator not-percipient of any of the formless attainments etc. Looks like we're not comparing like to like.

Why would you assume that I was referring to this part of AN 9.37? It should be quite obvious that I was specifically referring to the aññāphala samādhi section.

Sylvester wrote:"That base" again pops up, which is a back-reference to the 5 kāmā. Strangely enough, none of the 11 bases from AN 10 and AN 11 are brought into AN 9.37's listing of bases from which one is insulated when in that concentration that is na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagata.

This doesn't establish anything.

Sylvester wrote:So, it does appear that this perception plays quite a broad range of functions. If you look at the AN 10 passages, the verb used is siyā ...samādhipaṭilābho where the optative indicates a possibility. This leads me to suspect that the etaṃ santaṃ etc formula has quite a number of potentials. I don't actually see any indication from AN 9.37 that its concentration that is na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagata was an outcome of this perception. If anything, because it leads to non-agitation, the perception is probably a sequel to and not the cause of this concentration.

These five AN suttas and the relevant part of AN 9.37 and all of the sutta passages related to the, "Being unagitated, he personally attains nibbāna. He understands: 'Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being,'" pericope, are formalized attempts to articulate what it's like to completely and fully let go and be utterly done with everything in the world. However, formalized statements are merely formalized statements. The actual experience of being utterly done with everything is for each person to realize for him or herself.
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Re: MN 39 similes

Postby Sylvester » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:19 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:What is asserted in AN 9.37 is that one is percipient of the formless attainments while dwelling in that base (tadāyatanaṃ) of the 5 kāmā. On the other hand, the concentration in AN 10 and AN 11 is portrayed as having the meditator not-percipient of any of the formless attainments etc. Looks like we're not comparing like to like.

Why would you assume that I was referring to this part of AN 9.37? It should be quite obvious that I was specifically referring to the aññāphala samādhi section.


It’s precisely your identifying the aññāphala samādhi with the AN 10 and AN 11 samādhis that I find unsustainable. The whole series of attainments in AN 9.37 are unified by a reference to tadāyatana/that base. This means that the formless attainments and the aññāphala samādhi belong to the same series where there are perceptions other than sensual perceptions. On the other hand, the AN 10/11 perception does not have any of the formless perceptions even, which is the first objection to comparing it to the AN 9.37 series. Although AN 10.6 suggests that a means into the AN 10/AN 11 samādhi is the “etaṃ santaṃ” formula, it is amply clear that such a samādhi is an attainment accessible only to arahants. This much comes from AN 11.10, where the same samādhi is described as being attained "by the excellent thoroughbred of a man” (bhadrā purisājānīyā). From AN 3.139 (PTS numbering), we know that this specimen is one who has āsavānaṃ khayā, standard coding for the arahant.

So, how does one make the leap and identify AN 9.37’s aññāphala samādhi (concentration which has gnosis as its fruit) with the AN 10 and AN 11 concentrations which are the fruit of awakening? Ven T tries to circumvent this problem by reading the interrogative kiṃphalo as a genitive tappurisa, instead of the more natural bahubbīhi . But as the placement of the non-agitation pericope demonstrates, the aññāphala samādhi gives rise to non-agitation, which is the precursor to awakening, not the sequel thereto. I don’t think the redactors could have made such a silly mix-up.

Sylvester wrote:"That base" again pops up, which is a back-reference to the 5 kāmā. Strangely enough, none of the 11 bases from AN 10 and AN 11 are brought into AN 9.37's listing of bases from which one is insulated when in that concentration that is na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagata.

This doesn't establish anything.


Well, we are still back to the problem. Since AN 9.37’s aññāphala samādhi/ na saṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato samādhi is the precursor to awakening, what basis is there to equate it with the AN 10/AN 11 concentration which is accessible only to the arahant?
Last edited by Sylvester on Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MN 39 similes

Postby Nyana » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:12 am

Sylvester wrote:It’s precisely your identifying the aññāphala samādhi with the AN 10 and AN 11 samādhis that I find unsustainable. Although AN 10.6 suggests that a means into the AN 10/AN 11 samādhi is the “etaṃ santaṃ” formula, it is amply clear that such a samādhi is an attainment accessible only to arahants. This much comes from AN 11.10, where the same samādhi is described as being attained "by the excellent thoroughbred of a man” (bhadrā purisājānīyā). From AN 3.139 (PTS numbering), we know that this specimen is one who has āsavānaṃ khayā, standard coding for the arahant.

So, how does one make the leap and identify AN 9.37’s aññāphala samādhi (concentration which has gnosis as its fruit) with the AN 10 and AN 11 concentrations which are the fruit of awakening? Ven T tries to circumvent this problem by reading the interrogative kiṃphalo as a genitive tappurisa, instead of the more natural bahubbīhi . But as the placement of the non-agitation pericope demonstrates, the aññāphala samādhi gives rise to non-agitation, which is the precursor to awakening, not the sequel thereto. I don’t think the redactors could have made such a silly mix-up.

According to the commentary AN 9.37 is referring to the arahant fruition samādhi (arahattaphalasamādhi) and AN 10.6 is referring to the post-awakening fruition attainment samādhi (phalasamāpattisamādhi). But even if one were to relegate the AN 9.37 samādhi to the arahant path instead of the fruition, the arahant path attainment and fruition attainment are both supramundane jhānas which take cessation as object.

Related to this, the Nettippakaraṇa classifies the "not reigned in and checked by forcefully suppressing" samādhi as vipassanā:

    Herein, any samādhi that is presently pleasant and any samādhi that has a future pleasant result are samatha. And any samādhi that is noble and non-carnal, and any samādhi that is not practiced by lowly persons, and any samādhi that is peaceful and sublime, gained by full tranquilization, attained to unification, and not reigned in and checked by forcefully suppressing [the defilements], and any [samādhi of which one is aware] 'I enter this samādhi mindfully and I emerge from it mindfully', are vipassanā.

Be that as it may, this group of suttas does help to illustrate the different perceptual operations that occur with different modes of practice. A jhāna which examines an object-support (ārammaṇūpanijjhāna), a jhāna which examines characteristics (lakkhaṇūpanijjhāna), and a supramundane jhāna (lokuttarajjhāna) each engage in a different perceptual operation.

In sutta terms, a jhāna which examines an object-support includes, for example, the actual refined perception of joy and pleasure born of seclusion (vivekajapītisukhasukhumasaccasaññā). A jhāna which examines characteristics (lakkhaṇūpanijjhāna) includes, for example, the perception of impermanence (aniccasaññā). And a supramundane jhāna includes the perception of cessation (nirodhasaññā).

If I were to analyze the pericope you brought up, I would differentiate the segment, "it is not reigned in and checked by forcefully suppressing [the defilements]" (AN 3.101) as indicating either a jhāna which examines an object-support or a jhāna which examines characteristics; that segment with the addition of the segment, "by being liberated, it is steady; by being steady, it is content; by being content, one is not agitated" (AN 9.37) as indicating the arahant supramundane path attainment; and the segment, "being unagitated, he personally attains nibbāna. He understands: 'Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being'" (SN 22.53) as indicating the arahant supramundane fruition attainment. This last segment could even be further subdivided and differentiated.

However, this type of textual analysis is speculative and too closely allied with conceptual realism and other cognitive ills to be of much value.
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Re: MN 39 similes

Postby Sylvester » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:30 am

Fear not, Geoff, speculate away. I, for one, am not saddled with the Madhyamaka qualms about "existence" and will grant any discussion that makes ontic commitments, so long as they don't stray from the limits in SN 22.62 and DN 15. Taking a look at the Upanishadic antecedents, I don't really feel that ancient commentators (eg Nagarjuna) or modern ones (eg Ven Nanananda) are justified in reading SN 12.15 as a Buddhist polemic against Realism or Idealism.
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