Can We Hear Sound in Jhāna?

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: Can We Hear Sound in Jhāna?

Postby Sylvester » Fri May 09, 2014 2:09 pm

Zom wrote:Sylvester, thanks for interesting post. However, I've got a comment:

Was this Form Aggregate the interior counterpart of the 5 sense objects? Apparently not, as the perception of diversity was an obstacle to the stabilisation of the practice, and “diversity” is defined in MN 137 to refer to the 5 sense objects.


Yet still jhana formulas show that "perception of diversity" is removed only upon reaching 1st arupa-sphere. So it seems like this perception of diversity is still there, even in 4th jhana (otherwise, why mention this only in 1st arupa-shere formula?)

Yes, MN 127 says that "perception of diversity" is a hindrance to meditation, and it seems, this is a contradiction, but Commentary gives interesting explanation here (a paraphrase) which shows that "perception of diversity" is not just any perception from 5 senses, but is something else: "While I was attending to a single type of form, longing arose. Thinking, "I will attend to different kinds of forms". Sometimes I directed my attention toward heavenly world, sometimes towards the human world. As I attended to different kinds of forms, perception of diversity arose in me. When perception of diversity arose, I thought I would attend to one type of form, whether agreeable of disagreeable. As I did so, excessive meditation upon forms arose in me".



Hi ya Zom :hello:

I don't agree that the perception of diversity is removed only upon reaching Infinite Space. The simple way to approach the Infinite Space pericope is to look at how the attainment of Cessation drops the 3 formations in the same sequence where the formations cease in the jhanas. This implies that to reach Cessation, one has to run through each of the jhanas, the interpretation favoured by Ajahn Brahm. Likewise, when one nānattasaññānaṃ amanasikārā to attain the Formless attainments, one starts from the cusp of the First Jhana, and slide all the way in. You have a point as to why nānattasaññānaṃ amanasikārā is found only in the pericope. Stylistics, perhaps? The arrangement of syllables looks very deliberate - 10, 10, 12. You can see the evolution of stock phrases, eg compare DN 15's ākāra liṅga nimitta uddesa phrase, against what is probably an older stock that omits uddesa.


This commentary explanation nicely agree with AN 8.64: "So on a later occasion, as I was dwelling heedful, ardent, and resolute, I perceived a light and also saw forms. Yet I didn't associate with those deities, converse with them, and engage in a discussion with them".

The question is - how would you see and speak with deities if not with 5 senses?



The simplest way to interpret the Bodhisatta's speech with the devas in AN 8.64 is to note what SN 36.11 says - "speech has ceased in the First Jhana". :tongue: Obviously, if the Buddha could speak then, it was not even the First Jhana. Do bear in mind that the Bodhisatta's struggles in MN 128 did not culminate in light and forms. See para 30 in the MLDB, where the Bodhisatta only resolved on attaining the jhanas, after stabilising the preceding practice involving light and forms.


And again, we have this statement (MN 43) about 1st arupa-sphere: "Friend, what can be known with the purified intellect-consciousness divorced from the five [sense] faculties?" "Friend, with the purified intellect-consciousness divorced from the five faculties the dimension of the infinitude of space can be known [as] 'infinite space.' The dimension of the infinitude of consciousness can be known [as] 'infinite consciousness.' The dimension of nothingness can be known [as] 'There is nothing.



I've addressed this previously - viewtopic.php?f=43&t=4597&start=80#p74650
Simply put, the argument you raise commits a very basic mis-step in Logic. But if it's any consolation, even the Sautrantikas are recorded to have committed the same fallacy in the Kosa.


So it seems 5 senses are still there operating in all 4 jhanas. Maybe operating in some different way (unnatural to normal human being), but still, operating. Also interesting thing to recall here is "divine ear" and "divine eye". Can we say these are purely mental things? Or they need some corporeality to function? In Iti 3.12 there is an interesting line: "The arising of the eye of flesh is the path to the eye divine".


I've laid out my thoughts on the place of "corporeality" in Early Buddhism. Pls refer to Dmytro's post in the link I provided above.


Bear in mind that it is only in the Abhidhamma that paṭighasamphassa is confined to the 5 senses. This contradicts DN 15, in the passage I gave above, where paṭighasamphassa can be established with reference to nāma.


As far as I understood, you imply that DN 15 speaks about the perception of form when speaking about "patigha" there. In 1st arupa-sphere formula that would mean that "patigha" is a synonym to "with complete surmounting of perceptions of form" there. Again, how would one perceive form if not via 5 senses?


I thought I expressly said -

That leaves only one remaining type of contact for the Formless Attainments, namely adhivacanasamphassa (designation contact).


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Re: Can We Hear Sound in Jhāna?

Postby randall » Fri May 09, 2014 2:23 pm

Kumara wrote:
santa100 wrote:Could you provide the Vism. passage that specifically states that (more specifically, the first jhana)? Matter of fact, Vism X.19 even agrees with the Sutta:

I get your point, and agree. Let me be clearer by inserting here what I've written in an appendix of my (almost completed) book:

This in fact agrees with the Suttas and at odds with present-day Theravāda. So, where then does the cut-off-from-the-five-senses jhāna come from?

Earlier in the same book, we find this:
79. At this point, “Quite secluded from sense desires, secluded from unprofitable things he enters upon and dwells in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought with happiness and bliss born of seclusion” (Vibh 245)….
80. Herein, quite secluded from sense desires means having secluded himself from, having become without, having gone away from, sense desires….
83. But this term “sense desires” should be regarded as including all kinds, that is to say, sense desires as object as given in the Niddesa in the passage beginning, “What are sense desires as object? They are agreeable visible objects…” (Nidd I 1), and the sense desires as defilement given there too and in the Vibhaṅga thus: “Zeal as sense desire (kāma), greed as sense desire, zeal and greed as sense desire, thinking as sense desire, greed as sense desire, thinking and greed as sense desire” 24 (Nidd I 2; Vibh 256). That being so, the words “quite secluded from sense desires” properly mean “quite secluded from sense desires as object,”….
~ Path Of Purification Part 2: Concentration (Samādhi), Chapter IV: The Earth Kasina

So while kāmā means sense desires, here the Visuddhi­magga, injecting an idea again, says it should mean “sense desires as object” (vatthukāmā), citing the Niddesa—a commentary which the Theravāda tradition attributes to Āyasmā Sariputta.

Notice that it is equating two distinctively different things. The distinction is clarified in Nibbedhika Sutta (AN6.63):

“There are these five strings of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing; sounds cognizable via the ear… aromas cognizable via the nose… flavors cognizable via the tongue… tactile sensations cognizable via the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. But these are not sensuality. They are called strings of sensuality in the discipline of the noble ones.”
The passion for his resolves is a man’s sensuality,
not the beautiful sensual pleasures
found in the world.
The passion for his resolves is a man’s sensuality.
The beauties remain as they are in the world,
while the wise, in this regard,
subdue their desire.1


Anyway, the Niddesa in defining “sense desires as object” includes as examples carpets, female & male slaves, goats & sheep, land, gold, villages, royal cities, kingdom, treasury; in short “any enticing object”.

Taking this literally, this suggests that the Visuddhi­magga is saying physical seclusion from agreeable or enticing objects only. However, the subsequent paragraph in the Niddesa goes further. Besides past, future and present sense desire; internal, external, and internal and external sense desire; etc., even hellish sense desire (?), it includes all things of the sensual realm, form realm and formless realm. This effectively covers everything in saṁsāra.

So, if the Visuddhi­magga meant to include this paragraph (and it doesn’t indicate otherwise), then it’s implying here that the first jhāna entails not only the non-perception of the five senses, but everything.






..........................................
hello,

I just wanted to point out a few things from 'my understanding' of whats been posted and what's still missing, I'm not stating any opinions on Jhana or Pali, that's not my intention, just some things that need to be clarified with some interpretation of the Visudhimagga so far as I understand it, and I apologize in advance if it ends up being a wall of text!



At this point, "Quite secluded from sense desires, secluded from unprofitable things he enters upon and dwells in the first jhana, which is accompanied by applied thought and sustained thought with happiness and bliss born of seclusion" (Vbh, 245)...



The starting of "At this point" is important to remember(IMO). All of the beginning chapters and sub-titles of the Visudhimagga all lead into one, the book is continuous, all the chapters before it bring the mediator to where he is now thanks to the practice of sila and concentration as well as finding the proper place/type of meditation/teacher etc.

The Vibhanga [245] that is mentioned in paragraph 79 reads:

...he approaches a secluded abode,a forest,the foot of a tree, a mountain... having little noise, having little tumult, free from atmosphere of humans, secret from men, suitable for retirement...

the Vibhanga explains this as "a place not crowded with people, if it is distant/if it is not crowded it will have little noise" etc. This is what is meant when it's stated "secluded from sense desires". I don't see any references in Visudhimagga in the pages before the first jhana teaching/training about being secluded from senses as you say "the Visudhimagga is implying the first jhāna entails not only the non-perception of the five senses, but everything". But see a lot of info on how to pick/prepare and maintain concentration in a place free from distractions etc.

"secluded from unprofitable things", is also important to understand as will be explained below. The Visudhimagga and the Vibhanga[245] that's used in reference both state that unprofitable things(defilement) are to taken as the 5 hindrances.

the Vibangha [245] continues with the defilement(unprofitable things):
...he, abandoning covetousness (for anything) in the world dwells with consciousness freed from covetousness; he cleanses his consciousness of covetousness. Abandoning illwill he dwells..Abandoning sloth and torper...distraction...Doubt....Abandoning these five hindrances (that are) mental corruptions and attenuation of wisdom, he aloof from sense pleasures, aloof from bad states, attains and dwells in the first jhana....


in a nutshell(IMO), because paragraph 79 starts with "At this point" I understand this as: "now from up to here after purifying your sila and obtaining all the right conditions to reach and maintain your concentration, being free from distractions(secluded from sense pleasures) and having the 5 five hindrances suppressed(secluded from unwholesomeness) we now have a chance to obtain jhana" This is only my nutshell opinion please don't take what I say so literally!


from here on just remember that the Visudhimagga is explaining two methods, one you quoted(objects of sense desires) and the other that still needs to be quoted,(sense desires as defilement).
.............................


So while kāmā means sense desires, here the Visuddhi­magga, injecting an idea again, says it should mean “sense desires as object” (vatthukāmā), citing the Niddesa—a commentary which the Theravāda tradition attributes to Āyasmā Sariputta.


It is showing the meaning of "sense desires as object"(objects of sense desire) as method one of understanding, it also shows the meaning of sense desires as just desires (defilement) as method two and explains that the first phrase "secluded from sense desires" is both(all desires). Paragraph 83 fully quoted says this.

83. But this term “sense desires” should be regarded as including all kinds, that is to say, sense desires as object as given in the Niddesa in the passage beginning, “What are sense desires as object? They are agreeable visible objects…” (Nidd I 1), and the sense desires as defilement given there too and in the Vibhaṅga thus: “Zeal as sense desire (kāma), greed as sense desire, zeal and greed as sense desire, thinking as sense desire, greed as sense desire, thinking and greed as sense desire” 24 (Nidd I 2; Vibh 256). That being so, the words “quite secluded from sense desires” properly mean “quite secluded from sense desires as object, and express bodily seclusion, while the words "secluded from unprofitable things" properly mean "secluded from sense desires as defilement or from all unprofitable things", and express mental seclusion. And in this case giving up of pleasure in sense desires is indicated by the first sinse it only expresses seclusion from sense desires as object, while acquisition of pleasure in renunciation is indicated by the second since it expresses seclusion from sense desire as defilement".



paragraph 84 then finishes with a reminder that this is the first method (objects of desire):
This, firstly is the method here when the words from sense desires are treated as referring to sense desire is object



........................



Taking this literally, this suggests that the Visuddhi­magga is saying physical seclusion from agreeable or enticing objects only. However, the subsequent paragraph in the Niddesa goes further. Besides past, future and present sense desire; internal, external, and internal and external sense desire; etc., even hellish sense desire (?), it includes all things of the sensual realm, form realm and formless realm. This effectively covers everything in saṁsāra.

So, if the Visuddhi­magga meant to include this paragraph (and it doesn’t indicate otherwise),



The two pages describing these lines do not suggest it is" objects only" as shown above, actually paragraphs 85,86,87 go into greater detail (than the objects of sense desires explanation) on how "sense desires" is to understood when it's not object. I have not read the Niddesa is there an English translation online? but looking at how (Nd.1,1) is cited for the objects and (Nd.1,2; Vbh.256) is cited for the defilement I'm going on the assumption that they did include this paragraph because paragraph 85 says "and the sense desires as defilement given there too and in the Vibhanga thus..."

paragraph 85 starts off asking how we should understand sense desires as not objects, but as defilement:
But if they are treated as referring to sense desires as defilement, then it is simply just zeal for sense desires..."



and refers the Vibhanga section[256] for the above by stating which I believe your in agreement with:
"Aloof from sense pleasures, aloof from bad states" means: Therein what are sense pleasures? Wish is sense pleasure, lust is sense pleasure, lustful wish is sense pleasure, thought is sense pleasure, lust is sense pleasure, lustful thought is sense pleasure. These are sense pleasures.

Therein what are bad states? Wish for sense pleasures, illwill, solth, torpor, distraction, remorse, doubt. These are called bad states he is alof. Therefore this is called "aloof from sense pleasures, aloof from bad states".


so with this second method of understanding sense pleasures paragraphs 85, 86, 87 go into detail of how the "lust" is sense desires, and lust and the remaining 5 hindrances are the unprofitable things

and paragraph 87 finishes off the description the the defilement phrase (phase two) by giving numerous examples of the second way of understanding sense desires:
So in this case it should be understood that seclusion by suppression (suspension) of lust is indicated by the phrase quite secluded from sense desires, and seclusion by suppression (suspension) of [all] five hindrances by the phrase secluded from unprofitable things...... Similarly with the three unprofitable roots, that of greed, which has the five cords of sense desire (M.i,85) as it's province, is indicated by the first, and that of hate and delusion, which has their respective provinces the various grounds for annoyance (A.iv,408; v,150), etc., by the second.......




Overall up to this point the Visudhimagga is not talking about objects of sense desire only, and in my limited understanding, with the pages following up to the the first jhana I do not see anything that teaches or "implies" about "non-perception of everything".



for an explanation that's not too "complicated" I recommend having a listen to Venerable Silananda's course on Visudhimagga, around the 10:30 mark.
http://vipassanasasana.free.fr/=audio/s ... imagga.mp3



:anjali:
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"Bhikkhus, possessing five factors, speech is well spoken, not badly spoken; it is blameless and beyond reproach by the wise. What five? It is spoken at the proper time; what is said is true; it is spoken gently; what is said is beneficial; it is spoken with a mind of loving-kindness. Possessing these five factors, speech is well spoken, not badly spoken; it is blameless and beyond reproach by the wise."
AN 5 198
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Re: Can We Hear Sound in Jhāna?

Postby Sylvester » Fri May 09, 2014 2:30 pm

Sekha wrote:Hi Sylvester, I was wondering if the arguments you give really support your conclusion:
Sylvester wrote:Yes, sounds can be heard in the jhanas, but only as noted in this situation outlined by Ven Analayo -
it was possible to hear sound even during such a deep level of jhãna, if the attainment was impure (aparisuddho).

I take this statement of yours as meaning that sounds can be heard in the first jhana only if it is impure.

It appears to me possible that the impurity of the jhana is the cause of still having the ability of hearing sounds in the case of 2nd-4th jhanas while the fact that this ability remains may be natural for the first jhana.


This does not quite rebuff what I had to say about AN 9.31, which says that kāmasaññā has ceased in the First Jhana. You ave not addressed my point about AN 9.31 which discusses what has ceased in each jhana, leading to the intrusion of that state being a thorn in AN 10.72. According to MN 28, for contact to be made, the faculty must function, the object must be in range and there must be attention. If AN 9.31 says that kāmasaññā "has ceased" in First Jhana, what's the point about talking about the hearing faculty, when contact is not even possible?

Sylvester wrote:Is the intrusion in First Jhana an intrusion of sensual desire or of the sense objects? (...) It seems clear to me that the intrusion into the First Jhana is not of sense desire, but of sense objects. This agrees with AN 10.72's characterisation of sound being a thorn in the First Jhana.

Admitting you are correct, this goes to prove that sounds, like the other 4 sense objects, are a nuisance to the first jhana, not that one should not have the ability to hear them while in 1st jhana. Otherwise, your argument would demonstrate that one with "protected sense faculties" can only see things if his sense restraint is impure (AN 10.72 indriyesu guttadvārassa visūkadassanaṃ kaṇṭako) and therefore should not have the ability to see them. I think it is more reasonable to consider that sights are an affliction because they can disrupt the state of having protected sense faculties rather than considering that one who protects his sense faculties should not be able to see things.


I think it's quite a stretch here to equate indriyesu guttadvārassa with the faculty's ability to cognise. As I understand indriyesu guttadvārassa, it has to do with sense restraint. What is being prevented is not contact simpliciter, but the arising of the anusaya. See AN 4.37 which discusses -

Kathañca bhikkhave bhikkhu indriyesu guttadvāro hoti: idha bhikkhave bhikkhu cakkhunā rūpaṃ disvā na nimittaggāhī hoti nānuvyañjanaggāhī yatvādhikaraṇametaṃ cakkhundriyaṃ asaṃvutaṃ viharantaṃ abhijjhā domanassā pāpakā akusalā dhammā anvāssaveyyuṃ, tassa saṃvarāya paṭipajjati. Rakkhati cakkhundriyaṃ. Cakkhundriye saṃvaraṃ āpajjati.

And how does a monk guard the doors to his sense faculties? There is the case where a monk, on seeing a form with the eye, does not grasp at any theme or variations by which — if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the eye — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him. He practices with restraint. He guards the faculty of the eye. He achieves restraint with regard to the faculty of the eye.


This makes the direct equation of guarding of the senses with sense restraint. Nothing to do with the cognitive process described in MN 28.

In the same way, it seems to me more reasonable to consider that sounds are an affliction because they can disrupt the first jhana than considering that one who is in the first jhana should not be able to hear sounds.


I hear you, but since I've rebuffed your argument above regarding the guarding of the senses, what reasonable basis do you offer? It might help if you explain on lexical or grammatical ground why kāmasaññā ought to be a kammadhāraya.
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Re: Can We Hear Sound in Jhāna?

Postby vesak2014 » Fri May 09, 2014 3:37 pm

Kumara wrote:Some meditators say that we can’t hear sounds in jhāna, not even the first one. They speak by conviction of their own experience, and I agree. It’s true we can’t hear sounds in the Visuddhimagga type of jhāna. However, some among them claim that they are going by the Suttas, citing the Kaṇṭaka Sutta (AN10.72), which says, “Sound is a thorn (i.e., bother, source of discomfort) to the first jhāna.” (paṭhamassa jhānassa saddo kaṇṭako)

But does this statement support that view? If sound is a thorn to the first jhāna, it means one can hear sound in that state, doesn’t it? If not, sound wouldn’t be a thorn at all. Would something be a thorn to you if you can’t perceive it?

The answer is: no, we cannot, not even the first one.

- vivicceva kāmehi: secluded from kāma
- paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ samāpannassa kāmasaññā niruddhā hoti: 1st jhana kāmasaññā ceases

Regarding kaṇṭako (thorn), consider a rose with thorns on the stem as a simile. While there are thorns, you cannot hold it. In the same way, while you still can hear sound, it is not the 1st jhana.
Also consider the parallel between Kaṇṭaka sutta and Anupubbanirodha sutta:
- "paṭhamassa jhānassa saddo kaṇṭako" and "Paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ samāpannassa kāmasaññā niruddhā hoti"
- "dutiyassa jhānassa vitakkavicārā kaṇṭako" and "Dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ samāpannassa vitakkavicārā niruddhā honti"
- "tatiyassa jhānassa pīti kaṇṭako" and "Tatiyaṃ jhānaṃ samāpannassa pīti niruddhā hoti"
- "catutthassa jhānassa assāsapassāsā kaṇṭako" "and Catutthaṃ jhānaṃ samāpannassa assāsapassāsā niruddhā honti"

The fact that ear faculty, ear-consciousness is the hardest to cease, that is why it is saddo (sound) kaṇṭako not visual or taste or smell kaṇṭako.

Since kāmasaññā ceases, there is only one faculty left active that is the 6th sense (mano). This mano perceives pleasure born of sensual seclusion in 1st jhana, perceives the pleasure born of composure free from vitakkavicārā in 2nd jhana, perceives the refined truth of equanimity in 3rd jhana, perceives the refined truth of neither pleasure nor pain in 4th jhana, perceives infinite space in dimension of the infinitude of space (5th jhana, for simplicity), perceives infinite consciousness in 6th jhana, perceives nothingness in the 7th jhana. [see DN 9 for the step by step cessation of perception]
Besides, what else can perceive infinite space if not our third eye.

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Re: Can We Hear Sound in Jhāna?

Postby Sekha » Fri May 09, 2014 6:47 pm

Sylvester wrote:
Sekha wrote:It appears to me possible that the impurity of the jhana is the cause of still having the ability of hearing sounds in the case of 2nd-4th jhanas while the fact that this ability remains may be natural for the first jhana.


This does not quite rebuff what I had to say about AN 9.31, which says that kāmasaññā has ceased in the First Jhana. You ave not addressed my point about AN 9.31 which discusses what has ceased in each jhana, leading to the intrusion of that state being a thorn in AN 10.72.

There is no problem here, I see so far no reason to contest what you said about AN 9.31.

Sylvester wrote:According to MN 28, for contact to be made, the faculty must function, the object must be in range and there must be attention. If AN 9.31 says that kāmasaññā "has ceased" in First Jhana, what's the point about talking about the hearing faculty, when contact is not even possible?

Well I will have to ask you to provide a precise quote in Pali and English, because I went through MN 28 and saw nothing like what you said. What you said rather sounds like a distorted version of SN 36.50:
Sota·ñca paṭicca sadde ca uppajjati sota·viññāṇaṃ, Tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso.
On account of the ear and sounds, ear-viññāṇa arises. The meeting of the three is phassa.
http://www.buddha-vacana.org/sutta/samy ... tml#phassa

So it seems to me that contact requires viññāṇa but not saññā. Unless you prove it otherwise, it seems your argument is not valid.


Sylvester wrote:
sekha wrote:
Sylvester wrote:It seems clear to me that the intrusion into the First Jhana is not of sense desire, but of sense objects. This agrees with AN 10.72's characterisation of sound being a thorn in the First Jhana.

Admitting you are correct, this goes to prove that sounds, like the other 4 sense objects, are a nuisance to the first jhana, not that one should not have the ability to hear them while in 1st jhana. Otherwise, your argument would demonstrate that one with "protected sense faculties" can only see things if his sense restraint is impure (AN 10.72 indriyesu guttadvārassa visūkadassanaṃ kaṇṭako) and therefore should not have the ability to see them. I think it is more reasonable to consider that sights are an affliction because they can disrupt the state of having protected sense faculties rather than considering that one who protects his sense faculties should not be able to see things.


I think it's quite a stretch here to equate indriyesu guttadvārassa with the faculty's ability to cognise. As I understand indriyesu guttadvārassa, it has to do with sense restraint.

Well my point is your argument was that
sound=kaṇṭaka for 1st jhana and as a result of an investigation of the meaning of kaṇṭaka through An 9.31 sound cannot be present to the mind during first jhana.

If I apply the same logic to indriyesu guttadvāra, we get:
sight=kaṇṭaka for sense restraint and as a result of an investigation of the meaning of kaṇṭaka through An 9.31 sight cannot be present to the mind during sense restraint.


Sylvester wrote:What is being prevented is not contact simpliciter, but the arising of the anusaya.

Yes, but the sutta does speak of sights, not of anusaya, so it seems to me that the parallel I drew above betwen (sound-jhana) and (sights-sense restraint) is still relevant to understanding the implications of the use of the word kantaka in AN 10.72, and that your conclusion according to which sounds cannot be heard in the first jhana is not transposable to the case of sense restraint although the syntax is the same, which indicates that the relation between the concepts should be the same in both cases.
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Re: Can We Hear Sound in Jhāna?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 09, 2014 8:03 pm

randall wrote:Overall up to this point the Visudhimagga is not talking about objects of sense desire only, and in my limited understanding, with the pages following up to the the first jhana I do not see anything that teaches or "

Thanks Randall. That was my impression but you have explained it in much more detail.

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Re: Can We Hear Sound in Jhāna?

Postby Sylvester » Sat May 10, 2014 4:25 am

Thank you Sekha. Let me see if I can do justice to your comments.


Sekha wrote:
Sylvester wrote:This does not quite rebuff what I had to say about AN 9.31, which says that kāmasaññā has ceased in the First Jhana. You ave not addressed my point about AN 9.31 which discusses what has ceased in each jhana, leading to the intrusion of that state being a thorn in AN 10.72.

There is no problem here, I see so far no reason to contest what you said about AN 9.31.


Thank goodness I don't have to waste time differentiating kāma from kāmā.



Sylvester wrote:According to MN 28, for contact to be made, the faculty must function, the object must be in range and there must be attention. If AN 9.31 says that kāmasaññā "has ceased" in First Jhana, what's the point about talking about the hearing faculty, when contact is not even possible?


Well I will have to ask you to provide a precise quote in Pali and English, because I went through MN 28 and saw nothing like what you said. What you said rather sounds like a distorted version of SN 36.50:

Sota·ñca paṭicca sadde ca uppajjati sota·viññāṇaṃ, Tiṇṇaṃ saṅgati phasso.
On account of the ear and sounds, ear-viññāṇa arises. The meeting of the three is phassa.
http://www.buddha-vacana.org/sutta/samy ... tml#phassa


So it seems to me that contact requires viññāṇa but not saññā. Unless you prove it otherwise, it seems your argument is not valid.



Here you go, using the MN 28 passage on visual-consciousness -

Ajjhattikañceva, āvuso, cakkhuṃ aparibhinnaṃ hoti, bāhirā ca rūpā na āpāthaṃ āgacchanti, no ca tajjo samannāhāro hoti, neva tāva tajjassa viññāṇabhāgassa pātubhāvo hoti. Ajjhattikañceva, āvuso, cakkhuṃ aparibhinnaṃ hoti bāhirā ca rūpā āpāthaṃ āgacchanti, no ca tajjo samannāhāro hoti, neva tāva tajjassa viññāṇabhāgassa pātubhāvo hoti. Yato ca kho, āvuso, ajjhattikañceva cakkhuṃ aparibhinnaṃ hoti, bāhirā ca rūpā āpāthaṃ āgacchanti, tajjo ca samannāhāro hoti. Evaṃ tajjassa viññāṇabhāgassa pātubhāvo hoti.

If, friends, internally the eye is intact but no external forms come into its range, and there is no corresponding conscious engagement, then there is no manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness. If internally the eye is intact and external forms come into its range, but there is no corresponding conscious engagement, then there is no manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness. But when internally the eye is intact and external forms come into its range and there is the corresponding conscious engagement, then there is the manifestation of the corresponding section of consciousness.

tran. BB



What I call attention, the Pali says tajja samannāhāra. The Comy interprets this phrase to mean attention -

Tajjo samannāhāro'ti taṃ cakkhuñca rūpe ca paṭicca bhavaṅgaṃ āvaṭṭetvā uppajjanamanasikāro


This Comy interpretation is supported by the Chinese parallel preserved in MA 30 (http://www.cbeta.org/cgi-bin/goto.pl?li ... 6_p0464b17) which says this, corresponding to the 3rd proposition of the above Pali passage -

若內眼處不 壞者。
外色便為光明所照。
而便有念。
眼識 得生

If internally the eye base is not spoiled
externally form may manifest vision (illumination?)
and there is attention (念),
eye-consciousness arises.

my transl, as to which 念, see Ven Analayo's Comparative Study of the MN


I trust the above is to your satisfaction?

Sylvester wrote:
I think it's quite a stretch here to equate indriyesu guttadvārassa with the faculty's ability to cognise. As I understand indriyesu guttadvārassa, it has to do with sense restraint.


Well my point is your argument was that sound=kaṇṭaka for 1st jhana and as a result of an investigation of the meaning of kaṇṭaka through An 9.31 sound cannot be present to the mind during first jhana.

If I apply the same logic to indriyesu guttadvāra, we get:
sight=kaṇṭaka for sense restraint and as a result of an investigation of the meaning of kaṇṭaka through An 9.31 sight cannot be present to the mind during sense restraint.


Oh ho ho, I now see where you are coming from. But guarding of the senses does NOT require ablation of the sense data per se. Take a look again AN 4.37 and all the other sense restraint pericopes. The restraint/guarding of the senses is the ablation of "bad unwholesome states of longing and dejection that might assail him" (abhijjhā domanassā pāpakā akusalā dhammā anvāssaveyyuṃ). This requires avoidance of those sensory input (any of the 6) that are provocative of lust or grief. I think your reductio ad absurdum has made a category mistake.


Sylvester wrote:What is being prevented is not contact simpliciter, but the arising of the anusaya.


Yes, but the sutta does speak of sights, not of anusaya, so it seems to me that the parallel I drew above betwen (sound-jhana) and (sights-sense restraint) is still relevant to understanding the implications of the use of the word kantaka in AN 10.72,


If we demand that the suttas be direct and disallow any obligueness, we are really asking the Buddha to spoonfeed us with a Vibhaṅga at every turn, so that every implication is drawn out. Of course AN 4.37 refers to the anusayas. What else causes abhijjhā and domanassā if not rāgānusaya and paṭighānusaya respectively?


and that your conclusion according to which sounds cannot be heard in the first jhana is not transposable to the case of sense restraint although the syntax is the same, which indicates that the relation between the concepts should be the same in both cases.


As a side-track, could I trouble you to please expand on what you just said about the syntax of the 2 passages? I'd be happy to discuss this in the Pali section if you prefer.

:anjali:
Last edited by Sylvester on Sat May 10, 2014 4:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can We Hear Sound in Jhāna?

Postby Sylvester » Sat May 10, 2014 4:38 am

Thanks, tilt, Mkoll and waterchan for the kind words.

No book in mind or desire to be published. I don't have anything original to add. :anjali:

And I like my kāmaguṇā too much to commit to a life of academia, thank you.
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Re: Can We Hear Sound in Jhāna?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 10, 2014 5:45 am

Keep it up, it's very interesting...

:anjali:
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Re: Can We Hear Sound in Jhāna?

Postby waterchan » Sat May 10, 2014 7:00 am

Sylvester wrote: I don't have anything original to add. :anjali:


You're kidding, right? To me, your posts are some of the most original material I've read, second only to Ven Sujato's extremely in-depth studies. Where else can I find such comparative analyses and critiques? (Besides Ven Sujato's books.)
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
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Re: Can We Hear Sound in Jhāna?

Postby Sylvester » Sat May 10, 2014 11:40 am

No false modesty, I assure you. Everything I've done is derivative and based on the work of others. Eg paṭighasamphassa a la Ven Nanananda. The only extension I'm making is the heretical notion of kāyika vedana arising at all 6 senses, instead of just the 5....

Oh wait, that's not original. DN 22 and MN 148 have beat me to it.
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Re: Can We Hear Sound in Jhāna?

Postby Mkoll » Sat May 10, 2014 12:01 pm

Even if you don't have anything original to add, that doesn't mean what you say is of lesser value.

Seeing and pointing out the connections between ideas is just as important. It's the glue that holds ideas together.

Often what may be obvious to one person is a revelation for another. So it's good when smart and well-studied people speak their minds, as has been going on in this thread and many others on the forum, past and present.
Peace,
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Re: Can We Hear Sound in Jhāna?

Postby Sekha » Sat May 10, 2014 11:17 pm

Sylvester wrote:I trust the above is to your satisfaction?

It is, thank you for clarifying. Now that I reconsider the whole picture in the light of your arguments, I see your standpoint is quite robust.

I just find it counter-intuitive that contact may be subordinated to attention.


Sylvester wrote:I think your reductio ad absurdum has made a category mistake.

Indeed I had misunderstood the word visūkadassana. It refers to going to a show or going sight-seeing, not to the sense object of sight.


Sylvester wrote:could I trouble you to please expand on what you just said about the syntax of the 2 passages?

I don't think this would be interesting. I was merely stating the premise to the reasoning above mentioned, that the syntax of both passages (about restraint/sight-seeing and 1st-jhana/sound) in AN 10.72 was the same.

:anjali:
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