AN 9.41: Tapussa Sutta

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AN 9.41: Tapussa Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:11 am

AN 9.41 PTS: A iv 438
Tapussa Sutta: To Tapussa
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


The Buddha tells how the long road of meditation practice begins with appreciating the value of renunciation.

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


I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying among the Mallans near a Mallan town named Uruvelakappa. Then early in the morning the Blessed One, having put on his robes and carrying his bowl and outer robe, went into Uruvelakappa for alms. Having gone into Uruvelakappa for alms, after his meal, on his return from his alms round, he said to Ven. Ananda, "Stay right here, Ananda, while I go into the Great Wood for the day's abiding."

"As you say, lord," Ven. Ananda responded.

Then the Blessed One went into the Great Wood and sat down at the root of a certain tree for the day's abiding.

Then Tapussa the householder went to Ven. Ananda and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to Ven. Ananda: "Venerable Ananda, sir, we are householders who indulge in sensuality, delight in sensuality, enjoy sensuality, rejoice in sensuality. For us — indulging in sensuality, delighting in sensuality, enjoying sensuality, rejoicing in sensuality — renunciation seems like a sheer drop-off. Yet I've heard that in this doctrine & discipline the hearts of the very young monks leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. So right here is where this doctrine & discipline is contrary to the great mass of people: i.e., [this issue of] renunciation."

"This calls for a talk, householder. Let's go see the Blessed One. Let's approach him and, on arrival, tell him this matter. However he explains it to us, we will bear it in mind."

"As you say, sir," Tapussa the householder responded to Ven. Ananda.

Then Ven. Ananda, together with Tapussa the householder, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Tapussa the householder, here, has said to me, 'Venerable Ananda, sir, we are householders who indulge in sensuality, delight in sensuality, enjoy sensuality, rejoice in sensuality. For us — indulging in sensuality, delighting in sensuality, enjoying sensuality, rejoicing in sensuality — renunciation seems like a sheer drop-off. Yet I've heard that in this doctrine & discipline the hearts of the very young monks leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. So right here is where this doctrine & discipline is contrary to the great mass of people: i.e., [this issue of] renunciation.'"

"So it is, Ananda. So it is. Even I myself, before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, thought: 'Renunciation is good. Seclusion is good.' But my heart didn't leap up at renunciation, didn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace. The thought occurred to me: 'What is the cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn't leap up at renunciation, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace?' Then the thought occurred to me: 'I haven't seen the drawback of sensual pleasures; I haven't pursued [that theme]. I haven't understood the reward of renunciation; I haven't familiarized myself with it. That's why my heart doesn't leap up at renunciation, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace.'

[1] "Then the thought occurred to me: 'If, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I were to pursue that theme; and if, having understood the reward of renunciation, I were to familiarize myself with it, there's the possibility that my heart would leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace.'

"So at a later time, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of renunciation, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at renunciation, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. Then, quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.

"As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality that beset me was an affliction for me.

[2] "The thought occurred to me: 'What if, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, I were to enter & remain in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance.' But my heart didn't leap up at being without directed thought, didn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace. The thought occurred to me: 'What is the cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn't leap up at being without directed thought, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace?' Then the thought occurred to me: 'I haven't seen the drawback of directed thought; I haven't pursued that theme. I haven't understood the reward of being without directed thought; I haven't familiarized myself with it. That's why my heart doesn't leap up at being without directed thought, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace.'

"Then the thought occurred to me: 'If, having seen the drawback of directed thought, I were to pursue that theme; and if, having understood the reward of being without directed thought, I were to familiarize myself with it, there's the possibility that my heart would leap up at being without directed thought, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace.'

"So at a later time, having seen the drawback of directed thought, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of being without directed thought, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at being without directed thought, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, I entered & remained in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance.

"As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with directed thought. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with directed thought that beset me was an affliction for me.

[3] "The thought occurred to me: 'What if, with the fading of rapture, I were to remain in equanimity, mindful & alert, to be physically sensitive to pleasure, and to enter & remain in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, "Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding"?' But my heart didn't leap up at being without rapture, didn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace... So at a later time, having seen the drawback of rapture, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of being without rapture, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at being without rapture, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. With the fading of rapture, I remained in equanimity, mindful & alert, physically sensitive to pleasure, and entered & remained in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.'

"As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with rapture. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with rapture that beset me was an affliction for me.

[4] "The thought occurred to me: 'What if, with the abandoning of pleasure & stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — I were to enter & remain in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain?' But my heart didn't leap up at being without the pleasure of equanimity, didn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace... So at a later time, having seen the drawback of the pleasure of equanimity, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of neither-pleasure-nor-pain, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at neither-pleasure-nor-pain, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. With the abandoning of pleasure & stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — I entered & remained in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain.

"As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with equanimity. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with equanimity that beset me was an affliction for me.

[5] "The thought occurred to me: 'What if, with the complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, thinking, "Infinite space," I were to enter & remain in the dimension of the infinitude of space?' But my heart didn't leap up at the dimension of the infinitude of space, didn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace... So at a later time, having seen the drawback of forms, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of the dimension of the infinitude of space, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at the dimension of the infinitude of space, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. With the complete transcending of perceptions of form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, [perceiving,] 'Infinite space,' I entered & remained in the dimension of the infinitude of space.

"As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with forms. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with forms that beset me was an affliction for me.

[6] "The thought occurred to me: 'What if, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, thinking, "Infinite consciousness," I were to enter & remain in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness?' But my heart didn't leap up at the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, didn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace... So at a later time, having seen the drawback of the dimension of the infinitude of space, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. With the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, [perceiving,] 'Infinite consciousness,' I entered & remained in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness.

"As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of the infinitude of space. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of the infinitude of space that beset me was an affliction for me.

[7] "The thought occurred to me: 'What if, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, thinking, "There is nothing," I were to enter & remain in the dimension of nothingness?' But my heart didn't leap up at the dimension of nothingness, didn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace... So at a later time, having seen the drawback of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of the dimension of nothingness, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at the dimension of nothingness, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. With the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, [perceiving,] 'There is nothing,' I entered & remained in the dimension of nothingness.

"As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness that beset me was an affliction for me.

[8] "The thought occurred to me: 'What if I, with the complete transcending of the dimension of nothingness, were to enter & remain in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception?' But my heart didn't leap up at the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, didn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace... So at a later time, having seen the drawback of the dimension of nothingness, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. With the complete transcending of the dimension of nothingness, I entered & remained in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.

"As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of nothingness. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of nothingness that beset me was an affliction for me.

[9] "The thought occurred to me: 'What if I, with the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, were to enter & remain in the cessation of perception & feeling?' But my heart didn't leap up at the cessation of perception & feeling, didn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace. The thought occurred to me: 'What is the cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn't leap up at the cessation of perception & feeling, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace?' Then the thought occurred to me: 'I haven't seen the drawback of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; I haven't pursued that theme. I haven't understood the reward of the cessation of perception & feeling; I haven't familiarized myself with it. That's why my heart doesn't leap up at the cessation of perception & feeling, doesn't grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace.'

"Then the thought occurred to me: 'If, having seen the drawback of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, I were to pursue that theme; and if, having understood the reward of the cessation of perception & feeling, I were to familiarize myself with it, there's the possibility that my heart would leap up at the cessation of perception & feeling, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace.'

"So at a later time, having seen the drawback of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of the cessation of perception & feeling, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at the cessation of perception & feeling, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. With the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, I entered & remained in the cessation of perception & feeling. And as I saw with discernment, the mental fermentations went to their total end.

"Ananda, as long as I had not attained & emerged from these nine step-by-step dwelling-attainments in forward & backward order in this way, I did not claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & common people. But as soon as I had attained & emerged from these nine step-by-step dwelling-attainments in forward & backward order in this way, then I did claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & common people. Knowledge & vision arose in me: 'My release is unshakable. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.'"
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Re: AN 9.41: Tapussa Sutta

Postby Sam Vara » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:19 pm

Many thanks, Mike. This is a new one for me, and it got me thinking about lots of different issues.

1) I love the idea of seeing the drawbacks of sensuality (or the lower quality which one wishes to transcend) and pursuing the theme; and its concomitant, the understanding of the reward of the higher state and the familiarising oneself with it. This gives confidence, as it reveals that there is no magic trick involved, but a series of easier steps. The pursuing and familiarising oneself seem to be the easier part, though. I note that the Buddha was able to pursue and familiarise once he had seen the drawback and the reward; but that he was not able to merely see and understand at will. He says he addressed the process
at a later time, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures....; having understood the reward of renunciation

as if he had to undergo a separate process leading to seeing and understanding.


He doesn't say whether this was a conscious effort (i.e. are there things we can do to allow us to see and understand?) or whether it just happened. At any rate, the first part of the process is presented in the passive voice, whereas the second part is in the active voice:
at a later time, having seen the drawback of directed thought, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of being without directed thought, I familiarized myself with it.


I remember lots of qualities being analysed in terms of their arising, allure, drawbacks, and cessation in the Samyutta Nikaya (part of what Bhikkhu Bodhi calls the "template pattern") but I can't recall reading what we are to do in order to see the drawbacks of a lower state or the reward of the higher one.

2) Interesting that once the above process is complete, the first jhana arises spontaneously. There are feelings -
My heart leaped up at renunciation, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace

but no extra attempt at gaining jhana. Almost as if the renunciation is jhana.

3) Also interesting that in the levels of jhana the Buddha is still "beset" with the qualities of the lower state which has been transcended. I'm not sure what this means.
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Re: AN 9.41: Tapussa Sutta

Postby Samma » Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:51 pm

Good points Sam Vara

1) how does one understand the reward of renunciation? They simply have to go though it. But their heart does not leap at the prospect of that sheer drop off. So we are left with the difficulty of how to start the process. Not an easy one eh, any ideas? The only point I have is that it is not desire for renunciation and possible rewards that starts the process, that may be hopeless, it may have to be samvega. Or try hedonism, try austerities, and end up with the middle way of renunciation. Of course now-a-days how many people would consider renunciation the middle way, rather the middle means middle-class lifestyle.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html

2) Renunciation is an important condition for jhana. Anapanasati sutta talks about physical renunciation at foot of tree or empty dwelling. And the typical jhana passage "withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities" and other passages of "subduing greed & distress with reference to the world" are more of an internal renunciation.

3) Short answer would be something like they are still stressful/dukkha because they are fabricated. The very last bit about mental fermentations went to their total end seems to do with cessation of perception and consciousness:
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=18898
This is worth reading for more:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... iness.html
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Re: AN 9.41: Tapussa Sutta

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:18 pm

Many thanks, Samma. Some helpful points there!
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Re: AN 9.41: Tapussa Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:50 am

This is one of several suttas that discuss the Buddha's awakening.
Others are:
MN 36 Maha-Saccaka Sutta
"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations. I discerned, as it was actually present, that 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress... These are fermentations... This is the origination of fermentations... This is the cessation of fermentations... This is the way leading to the cessation of fermentations.' My heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, was released from the fermentation of sensuality, released from the fermentation of becoming, released from the fermentation of ignorance. With release, there was the knowledge, 'Released.' I discerned that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'


SN 12.65 Nagara Sutta: The City
"The thought occurred to me, 'I have attained this path to Awakening, i.e., from the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of consciousness, from the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Thus is the cessation of this entire mass of stress. Cessation, cessation.' Vision arose, clear knowing arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before.

See also: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=12133

Here is some previous discussion:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 41#p230492
polarbuddha101 wrote:These suttas [AN 9.41 and MN 36] seem to present contradictory accounts of the Buddha's awakening. Also, (as far as I know) whenever the Buddha talked about his time as a bodhisatta, he only mentioned getting as far as the dimension of nothingness and of neither perception nor non perception but the Buddha in the Tapussa sutta speaks as if he is already familiar with the cessation of perception and feeling, i.e. he has at least heard of it before from someone but if the cessation of perception and feeling automatically results in non-returnership or arahantship and is equivalent to nibbana then no one else other than the Buddha could have known about it before the Buddha awakened and so this sutta seems suspect. Furthermore, the bodhisatta rejects the formless attainments of his teachers and instead relies on the jhanas to concentrate his mind and use it to recollect past lives, see the beings dying and reappearing according to their kamma, and then to see how all phenomena are not worth attaching too and thus letting go of all passion and self identification and becoming unbound. Anyway, this is a preliminary post, I'll work on my case some more but read those two suttas and tell me what you think.

Sylvester wrote:Hi polarbear

I'm familiar with the argument that such inconsistent narratives point to intrusions from non-Buddhist sources. Equally plausible is the hypothesis that the formless references are the artefact of recitation, ie the reciters automatically added these into an "original" series consisting only of the jhanas, simply because the full series of 9 attainments was seen as logically inevitable.

So, you do have a point about the Tapussa Sutta's anachronism, as if the Bodhisatta had already heard of the attainment of Cessation before His Awakening. Perhaps one needs to resort to an explanation with some pixie dust - eg He delved into His past or spoke with the divine Sangha and thus learnt of that opening. Different strokes for different folks.

The opinions about this Cessation can be as varied as the individual scholar who tackles it. Eg Vetter doubts the formless attainments as original, but counts the attainment of Cessation as a Buddhist innovation. Interestingly, Ven Analayo does a hybrid emic and etic approach to the formless issue. Drawing on several suttas, he suggests that they are witness to pre-Buddhist aspirations that would count as vibhavatanha in the form of craving for formless states into which the Self merges. I think this accounts for his perspective that the Bodhisatta did learn the real McCoy formless attainments from Alara and Ramaputta. What tainted those attainments, in his view, was the underlying craving.

I guess I digress. Personally, I think the attainment of Cessation is compatible with doctrine, as an especially powerful manifestation of Dependant Cessation.


:anjali:
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Re: AN 9.41: Tapussa Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:41 am

Sam Vara wrote:3) Also interesting that in the levels of jhana the Buddha is still "beset" with the qualities of the lower state which has been transcended. I'm not sure what this means.

I'm not either. It's certainly one of the most detailed suttas that discusses jhana, and, in particular, that jhana, as with anything conditioned by the practitioner, still has drawbacks.

Here are some other examples:
"There was the case where Sariputta — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities — entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Whatever qualities there are in the first jhana — directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness,[2] desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

“He understands thus: ‘If I were to direct this equanimity, so purified and bright, to the base of infinite space and to develop my mind accordingly, this would be conditioned. If I were to direct this equanimity, so purified and bright, to the base of infinite consciousness…to the base of nothingness…to the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception and to develop my mind accordingly, this would be conditioned.’ He does not form any condition or generate any volition tending towards either being or non-being. Since he does not form any condition or generate any volition tending towards either being or non-being, he does not cling to anything in this world. When he does not cling, he is not agitated. When he is not agitated, he personally attains Nibbāna. He understands thus: ‘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.’
http://suttacentral.net/mn140/en/
Alternative Translation: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:anjali:
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Re: AN 9.41: Tapussa Sutta

Postby Sam Vara » Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:47 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:3) Also interesting that in the levels of jhana the Buddha is still "beset" with the qualities of the lower state which has been transcended. I'm not sure what this means.

I'm not either. It's certainly one of the most detailed suttas that discusses jhana, and, in particular, that jhana, as with anything conditioned by the practitioner, still has drawbacks.

Here are some other examples:
"There was the case where Sariputta — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities — entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Whatever qualities there are in the first jhana — directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness,[2] desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



“He understands thus: ‘If I were to direct this equanimity, so purified and bright, to the base of infinite space and to develop my mind accordingly, this would be conditioned. If I were to direct this equanimity, so purified and bright, to the base of infinite consciousness…to the base of nothingness…to the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception and to develop my mind accordingly, this would be conditioned.’ He does not form any condition or generate any volition tending towards either being or non-being. Since he does not form any condition or generate any volition tending towards either being or non-being, he does not cling to anything in this world. When he does not cling, he is not agitated. When he is not agitated, he personally attains Nibbāna. He understands thus: ‘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.’
http://suttacentral.net/mn140/en/
Alternative Translation: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:anjali:
Mike


As in my first post in this thread, there is an interesting difference here regarding the active and the passive voice. In the two extra quotes about jhana you give, it is found to be conditioned as a result of the meditator doing something. In the first case, he "ferrets out" the qualities one after another. In the second, he "directs" the equanimity to the base of infinite consciousness.

In the Tapussa Sutta, however, we have this:
"As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality that beset me was an affliction for me.

He didn't will it; it just happened that he was "beset" with mental events that made the conditioned and unsatisfactory nature of the jhana all too apparent to him.

Without wishing to revive the "Great Jhana Debate", this does seem to say something about the nature of jhana, or at the least, this particular jhana. We sometimes hear of warnings against taking jhana to be nibbana, and resting content with it. Some commmentators have asked how they can rouse themselves from jhana, as if it were an utter cessation of perception of the outside world and all thoughts. There would be no chance of that in the type of jhana outlined by the Tapussa Sutta. This appears to be a pleasant state in which mental qualities such as rapture, pleasure, directed thought and sustained thought are all discernible, but in which there is also a lot of intrusive stuff that comes up - not a steady, solid concentration at all.
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