arupa jhanas

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Re: arupa jhanas

Postby daverupa » Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:29 pm

kirk5a wrote:But where do we find the evidence for all those conclusions?


Nothing conclusive, of course, as has been mentioned already. Reasoned acceptance of a view still turns out in one of two ways, neh?

Nevertheless, the garudhammas have been discussed thoroughly, here and elsewhere, as being late. The mundane-supramundane distinction is largely seen as part of the Nikaya-Abhidhamma transition, if not solidly housed within the Abhidhamma stratum, known to post-date the Buddha. The fifth jhana factor is part of the same layer, as is the cessation attainment.

The arupas are necessarily earlier than talk of the cessation attainment, for example, and some form of the arupas seem to have been practiced before the Bodhisatta was born, while the jhanas the Buddha taught do not seem to have been. Certainly the awakening factors were not, which amounts to the same thing.

Yet it's all in the Buddha's mouth - a thoroughly ahistorical result.
    "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: arupa jhanas

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:25 am

I have wondered about the purpose of the arupa jhanas - is it to experience higher levels of consciousness, and if so, how does that fit in with meditative practice as a whole?
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Re: arupa jhanas

Postby kirk5a » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:47 am

I find Ajahn Lee's explanation clarifying.
The four levels of arūpa jhāna are nothing other than the mind dwelling on the four types of mental phenomena (nāma).

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/craft.pdf
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: arupa jhanas

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:56 am

kirk5a wrote:I find Ajahn Lee's explanation clarifying.
The four levels of arūpa jhāna are nothing other than the mind dwelling on the four types of mental phenomena (nāma).

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/craft.pdf


Thanks, this looks interesting. :reading:
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Re: arupa jhanas

Postby barcsimalsi » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:53 am

porpoise wrote:I have wondered about the purpose of the arupa jhanas - is it to experience higher levels of consciousness, and if so, how does that fit in with meditative practice as a whole?

Higher practice for higher happiness - according to Bahuvedaniya sutta. At least wiki says the same.

After all i will like to express my unsatisfactory and doubt for how come so many people are practicing meditation yet not even one appears to share his own experience regarding de arupas leaving us here with non-solid arguments and clarification. Or is it uninterpretable by text?
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Re: arupa jhanas

Postby kirk5a » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:25 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:
porpoise wrote:I have wondered about the purpose of the arupa jhanas - is it to experience higher levels of consciousness, and if so, how does that fit in with meditative practice as a whole?

Higher practice for higher happiness - according to Bahuvedaniya sutta. At least wiki says the same.

After all i will like to express my unsatisfactory and doubt for how come so many people are practicing meditation yet not even one appears to share his own experience regarding de arupas leaving us here with non-solid arguments and clarification. Or is it uninterpretable by text?

These states are significant feats of meditation skill, in my estimation. That they would be rare is not surprising, even amongst those who regularly meditate. But I have seen at least one Dhammawheel member give a credible 1st hand account.
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4625
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: arupa jhanas

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:51 pm

kirk5a wrote: But I have seen at least one Dhammawheel member give a credible 1st hand account.
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4625


Thanks - I must remember to use the search function in future. ;)
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Re: arupa jhanas

Postby Sylvester » Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:33 am

kirk5a wrote:I find Ajahn Lee's explanation clarifying.
The four levels of arūpa jhāna are nothing other than the mind dwelling on the four types of mental phenomena (nāma).

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/craft.pdf



Eeeks! This is based on the ghost of a (couple of?) Sarvastivada sutra in the Agamas (preserved in the Taisho) that departed from the standard definition of nāma in the Agamas and Nikayas. That problemmatic sutra(s) became the basis for the entire Sarva Abhidharmic edifice of explaining nāma-rūpa as being -

rūpa = the physical khandha associated with the 5 material senses
nāma = the 4 arūpa khandhas (including consciousness).

The Theravada Abhidhamma picked up this exegesis and it was adopted also in Mahayana sutras.

That is why Ajahn Lee is simply following the Comy in interpreting paṭighasaññā, as if paṭigha and rūpa cannot be associated with mind-contact.

Dmytro cited Sue Hamilton here-

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=13799#p204077

It will be worthwhile picking up Prof Hamilton's exploration of the Aggregates and her critique of the Abhidhammic explanation of nāma-rūpa and paṭigha.

See also -

viewtopic.php?f=43&t=13526&start=80#p203872
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Re: arupa jhanas

Postby kirk5a » Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:31 am

Sylvester wrote:
kirk5a wrote:I find Ajahn Lee's explanation clarifying.
The four levels of arūpa jhāna are nothing other than the mind dwelling on the four types of mental phenomena (nāma).

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/craft.pdf



Eeeks! This is based on the ghost of a (couple of?) Sarvastivada sutra in the Agamas (preserved in the Taisho) that departed from the standard definition of nāma in the Agamas and Nikayas.

I'm more inclined to suppose it was based on Ajahn Lee's experience.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: arupa jhanas

Postby PadmaPhala » Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:08 am

While on the fourth jhāna, the awareness can shift focus to one of the fourth arupa-jhānas.

AFAIK, this is helpful in keeping jhāna for a longer time (shifting to the arupa-jhānas, instead of "falling back")... but can become addictive.
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Re: arupa jhanas

Postby manas » Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:29 pm

Earlier/on/i/said/that/to/my/knowledge
the/formless/jhanas/required/mastery/of/the/fourth/rupa/jhana
to/be/embarked/upon/successfully

but/i/just/read/of/two/instances
in/which/a/different/route/is/taken

so/it/appears/i/was/mistaken.

it/seems/to/me/that/when/the/Buddha/was/still/physically/present
there/were/a/number/of/ways/to/practice/meditation
for/the/ending/of/the/mental/effluents

the/notion/that/only/one/way/or/only/another/way
is/the/right/one
might/not/be/entirely/correct

theres/a/saying
*theres/more/than/one/way/to/skin/a/cat*
not/a/nice/image/but/im/beginning/to/believe
that/there/might/be/quite/a/few/meditation/techniques
that/worked/for/particular/individuals
which/today/are/not/widely/practiced/or/known/anymore
but/which/in/the/early/days/of/the/Sangha,/were.

ThanissaroBhikkhu wrote:Emptiness as a State of Concentration

The third kind of emptiness taught by the Buddha — as a state of concentration — is essentially another way of using insight into emptiness as an attribute of the senses and their objects as a means to attain release. One discourse (MN 43) describes it as follows: A monk goes to sit in a quiet place and intentionally perceives the six senses and their objects as empty of self or anything pertaining to self. As he pursues this perception, it brings his mind not directly to release, but to the formless jhana of nothingness, which is accompanied by strong equanimity.

Another discourse (MN 106) pursues this topic further, noting that the monk relishes the equanimity. If he simply keeps on relishing it, his meditation goes no further than that. But if he learns to see that equanimity as an action — fabricated, willed — he can look for the subtle stress it engenders. If he can observe this stress as it arises and passes away simply on its own terms, neither adding any other perceptions to it nor taking anything away, he's again adopting emptiness as an approach to his meditation. By dropping the causes of stress wherever he finds them in his concentration, he ultimately reaches the highest form of emptiness, free from all mental fabrication.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... iness.html


There/is/also/this/sutta,/in/which/the/fourth/jhana
if/not/mentioned/(by/name),as/being/required/for/entry
into/'the/perception/of
the/dimension/of/the/infinitude/of/space':

(from/the/Cula-suññata Sutta: The Lesser Discourse on Emptiness):

..."He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of human being are not present. Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of wilderness are not present. There is only this modicum of disturbance: the singleness based on the perception of earth.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is empty of the perception of human being. This mode of perception is empty of the perception of wilderness. There is only this non-emptiness: the singleness based on the perception of earth.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure.

(The Infinitude of Space)

"Further, Ananda, the monk — not attending to the perception of wilderness, not attending to the perception of earth — attends to the singleness based on the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space.

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


there/is/a/problem/with/discussing/these/states
(although/i/admit/i/find/them/very/interesting)
its/that/afaik/none/of/us/here/have/attained/them
furthermore/almost/no/one/seems/to/advocate/them
and/they/are/not/in/common/usage/(it/would/seem?)
so/we/end/up/discussing/things/way/beyond/us
anyway/its/interesting/regardless
but/care/must/be/taken
not/to/try/to/imagine
using/the/intellect/alone
what/these/realms/must/be/like,because
aiui/whatever/our/intellect/comes/up/with
will/almost/certainly/be/wrong!

metta/ :anjali:
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Re: arupa jhanas

Postby Sylvester » Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:00 pm

manas wrote:There/is/also/this/sutta,/in/which/the/fourth/jhana
if/not/mentioned/(by/name),as/being/required/for/entry
into/'the/perception/of
the/dimension/of/the/infinitude/of/space':

(from/the/Cula-suññata Sutta: The Lesser Discourse on Emptiness):

..."He discerns that 'Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of human being are not present. Whatever disturbances that would exist based on the perception of wilderness are not present. There is only this modicum of disturbance: the singleness based on the perception of earth.' He discerns that 'This mode of perception is empty of the perception of human being. This mode of perception is empty of the perception of wilderness. There is only this non-emptiness: the singleness based on the perception of earth.' Thus he regards it as empty of whatever is not there. Whatever remains, he discerns as present: 'There is this.' And so this, his entry into emptiness, accords with actuality, is undistorted in meaning, & pure.

(The Infinitude of Space)

"Further, Ananda, the monk — not attending to the perception of wilderness, not attending to the perception of earth — attends to the singleness based on the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space.

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



Good observation, manas.

I think MN 121's description of the entry into that formless attainment fits easily into the standard pericope -

...with the complete transcending of perceptions of form, with the disappearance (setting down) of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity...

...sabbaso rūpasaññānaṃ samatikkamā paṭighasaññānaṃ atthaṅgamā nānattasaññānaṃ amanasikārā...


Non-attention (amanasikārā) to nānattasaññā matches MN 121's "not attending to perceptions of wilderness and earth" (amanasikaritvā araññasaññaṃ amanasikaritvā paṭhavisaññaṃ). Earth is of course part of the description of form/rūpa, and DN 15 suggests a very close connection between form and sensory impression contact (paṭighasamphassa). The formless pericope's reference to paṭighasaññā is not explained, and DN 15 is the only sutta that gives some clues as to how paṭigha and adhivacana (sensory impression and delineation/designation) are the functional aspects of rūpa and nāma respectively.
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Re: arupa jhanas

Postby mogg » Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:33 am

daverupa wrote:
alan... wrote:what do you all think?


They're unrelated to sammasamadhi.

I think they're additions, splices if you will, which the reciters felt were good fits as time went on but which started life among the ocean of methodologies and meditational exegeses floating around the Gangetic plain in those days.

They were ...popular (?) enough to get added into the story of the Buddha's final meditation, and were probably strongly related to contemporary cosmological speculation (as DN 2 suggests). The salient presence of deities/realms and the salient presence of formless meditations in the Nikayas are two sides of the same cultural coin, I expect, but their absence from a majority of suttas where the jhanas are discussed is more telling than any positive statement about them, it seems to me.

This is incorrect.
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Re: arupa jhanas

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:41 am

Sylvester wrote:rūpa = the physical khandha associated with the 5 material senses
nāma = the 4 arūpa khandhas (including consciousness).


Possibly I'm missing the point, but are you saying this analysis is incorrect?

Also, is there any correlation here with the distinction between the 4 elements and the 6 elements? The additional 2 elements are space and consciousness, which appear to tie in with the 1st and 2nd formless jhanas. :juggling:
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Re: arupa jhanas

Postby Sylvester » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:58 am

porpoise wrote:
Sylvester wrote:rūpa = the physical khandha associated with the 5 material senses
nāma = the 4 arūpa khandhas (including consciousness).


Possibly I'm missing the point, but are you saying this analysis is incorrect?

Also, is there any correlation here with the distinction between the 4 elements and the 6 elements? The additional 2 elements are space and consciousness, which appear to tie in with the 1st and 2nd formless jhanas. :juggling:



Well, I'll try to refrain from a right/wrong judgement and simply point out the differences in treatment.

The Abhidharmic axiom rūpa = the physical khandha associated with the 5 material senses does not quite fit in MN 28 here -

Following the same analysis with contact at the 5 senses -

But when internally the intellect is intact and externally ideas come into range, and there is a corresponding engagement, then there is the appearing of the corresponding type of consciousness.

The form of what has thus come into being is gathered under the form clinging-aggregate. etc etc


I don't see any reason why rūpa should be associated only with the 5 material doors, not when Sue Hamilton has noted that such an association is never made in the suttas. If anything, MN 28 is even more radical in suggesting that mental contact can give rise to rūpa, as with the rest of the other 4 aggregates. We also have DN 15 making the heretical suggestion -

If the permutations, signs, themes, and indicators by which there is a description of form-group were all absent, would resistance-contact (paṭighasamphassa) with regard to the name-group be discerned?


What this plainly states are -

1. form is associated with paṭigha; and
2. nāma can function in a paṭigha "mode".

As far as I can see, that doesn't leave very much room for the position that paṭigha is not also a function of the mind.

My take on name-&-form is that the Buddha was borrowing Upanishadic terminology to deal with the process of naming and appearance that arises with contact (described most fully in DN 15). You won't find nāma defined as the 4 arūpa khandhas in the Pali suttas, since the standard definition of nāma is feeling, perception, intention, contact and attention. Consciousness is not included within nāma in the Pali suttas. I have however seen this done in at least one Chinese parallel in the Agamas, and I suspect this is a textual error that allowed the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma to move away from the naming/appearance treatment to an ontological essay on material/non-material.

While the Abhidharmic exegesis has its value for those interested in ontology, I think that model misses the point about why and how bare sensory impression contact (paṭighasamphassa) leads to delineation contact (adhivacanasamphassa) and subsequently to the emotional responses. Suffering in the affective sense revolves around that vortex, especially if the adhivacanasamphassa infers incorrectly that a self exists.

My suspicion about the transition from rūpa to the arūpa lies in the absolute dependance of the latter on the former. As you point out, rūpa includes space (again, MN 28). "Infinite space" can be delineated once one frees oneself from the sensory impression of "space", but yet, one cannot get to the delineation of "infinite space" without a referent, namely "space". This absolute dependance of delineation of name on form is suggested by the above-quoted passage in DN 15. The delineation of "infinite space" depends on the ability to cognise "space". I suspect that what happens in the transition from rūpa to the arūpa is that the meditator sets down paṭighasaññā of space, and directs his/her attention to the abstract delineation of infinite space.

In this regard, I think a better interpretation of paṭighasaññā would be not to treat it as a genitive tappurisa (ie perception of resistance), but possibly as an ablative tappurisa (perception from paṭigha). Alternatively, it could be read as a kammadhāraya compound, where the paṭigha functions adjectivally.

Take with a pinch of salt...
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