What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby Reductor » Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:16 am

Anicca wrote:There is so much to learn - so many "understoods" that have yet to take root - thanks for taking the time to explain.


So many 'understoods', but only one truth.:

Saying, "Good, friend," the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the Venerable Sariputta's words. Then they asked him a further question: "But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view... and has arrived at this true Dhamma?" — "There might be, friends.

-MN 9


Or recall the truth of suffering: the five aggregates subject to clinging.

Understand those five aggregates in all their guises, and then you can let go and Nibbana.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby Sylvester » Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:15 am

Anicca wrote:Thank you Sylvester!
There is so much to learn - so many "understoods" that have yet to take root - thanks for taking the time to explain.

Metta


Dear Anicca

You are welcome.

I've recently been more careful when I encounter "vitakka" in the suttas.

When "vitakka" occurs singly, such as-


...uppajjati kāmavitakko ...

"a thought of sensual pleasure arose in me"



in MN 19.3, I would have little hesitation understanding that "vitakka" means "thought" or "ideas".

But, when "vitakka" occurs in conjunction with "vicara", such as-

...bahulamanuvitakketi anuvicāreti...

"frequently thinks and ponders upon" (per MLDB)


in MN 19.6, then I ask myself if "vitakkavicara" in these contexts ought to be read as the vacisankharas of MN 44 instead of being "thinking" and "pondering" per se. You've seen Ven Analayo's characterisation of 1st Jhana vitakka-vicara as being mere initial and sustained application of attention. I think you will be able to find support in the suttas for this, principally in the Bhumija Sutta, SN 12.25.

Just to recap, MN 44 describes the 3 sankharas of kayasankhara, vacisankhara and manosankhara. They are respectively identified with in-out breathing, vitakka-vicara, and finally apperception & feeling. The sankharas in these 3 cases are, in my view, the "concocter" rather than the things "concocted".

The Bhumija Sutta goes on to explain the first 2 niddanas of Dependant Origination as follows -

Ananda, with ignorance as condition:

when there is the body, because of bodily volition (kayasancetana), pleasure and pain arise internally;
when there is speech, because of verbal volition (vacisancetana), pleasure and pain arise internally;
when there is the mind, because of mental volition (manosancetana), pleasure and pain arise internally.

Ananda, either by oneself one generates that bodily formation (kayasankhara), conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally;
or, on account of others one generates that bodily formation, conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally.
Ananda, either fully aware one generates that bodily formation, conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally;
or, not fully aware one generates that bodily formation, conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally.

Ananda, either by oneself one generates that verbal formation (vacisankhara), conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally;
or, on account of others one generates that verbal formation, conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally.
Ananda, either fully aware one generates that verbal formation, conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally;
or, not fully aware one generates that verbal formation, conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally.

Ananda, either by oneself one generates that mental formation (manosankharo), conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally;
or, on account of others one generates that mental formation, conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally.
Ananda, either fully aware one generates that mental formation, conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally;
or, not fully aware one generates that mental formation, conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise
internally.


per Piya Tan's translation.

A careful reading of the above passage will reveal that -

(i) kayasancetana = kayasankhara
(ii) vacisancetana = vacisankhara
(iii) manosancetana = manosankhara

In short, what the Bhumija Sutta appears to be saying is that "vitakka-vicara" are those intentions that give rise to thought/speech, rather than the thoughts or the thinking itself.

Even more shocking is the text in red, which suggests that such cetana can be arise without awareness (asampajāno). Now, I wonder how that will affect the standard understanding of kammic efficacy. I'm less inclined to use the English "intention" for "cetana" these days, as the above passage seems to allow for unconscious cetana. "Intention" in normal English parlance may connote awareness.

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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby Anicca » Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:08 pm

Apologies that this is going off topic - please slap my wrist if this is too much to endure...


Sylvester wrote:Even more shocking is the text in red, which suggests that such cetana can be arise without awareness (asampajāno). Now, I wonder how that will affect the standard understanding of kammic efficacy. I'm less inclined to use the English "intention" for "cetana" these days, as the above passage seems to allow for unconscious cetana. "Intention" in normal English parlance may connote awareness.

Would "motivation" work ok? The "volition / intention" definition implies an "inside out" process where "motivation" can be "outside in" - does this make sense? Could this be like "vitaka/vicara" where in certain contexts it is intention and in other contexts motivation?

"vitakka-vicara" are those motivations that give rise to thought/speech, rather than the thoughts or the thinking itself.


Anyone read "Cetana And The Dynamics Of Volition In Theravada Buddhism" by Nalini Devdas?

An online summary:
What do the scriptures of Thravada Buddhism have to say about the most basic psychological processes through which alternatives are assessed, purposes are developed, and goal-oriented acts are initiated? How can Theravada make volitional endeavour central to Buddhist practice, while denying the existence of a self who wills? How can the text emphasize ethical striving, and yet uphold the principle that all physical and mental acts arise through causes and conditions? This book adds another perspective to Theravada scholarship by exploring various subtle Pali terms that seek to display the nuances of human motivation. Cetana is shown to be the purposive impetus that links ethically good and bad attitudes of mind with corresponding acts of body, speech, and mind. The argument is made that Theravada does not posit a controlling will, but seek to establish the possibility of changing attitudes, purposes, and acts through holistic methods of training. Theravada maintains that changes in attitude are possible because the mind has the capacity to observe its own processes of conditioning, and is able to greatly diversify its responses to its own concepts and to factors in its environment.


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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby IanAnd » Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:42 pm

Sylvester wrote:A careful reading of the above passage will reveal that -

(i) kayasancetana = kayasankhara
(ii) vacisancetana = vacisankhara
(iii) manosancetana = manosankhara

In short, what the Bhumija Sutta appears to be saying is that "vitakka-vicara" are those intentions that give rise to thought/speech, rather than the thoughts or the thinking itself.

Even more shocking is the text in red, which suggests that such cetana can arise without awareness (asampajāno). Now, I wonder how that will affect the standard understanding of kammic efficacy. I'm less inclined to use the English "intention" for "cetana" these days, as the above passage seems to allow for unconscious cetana. "Intention" in normal English parlance may connote awareness.

This discussion has veered off topic. Yet for the sake of the continuity of ideas being communication, it might be helpful to bring up some clarification with regard to a recent entry made by Sylvester which has not acknowledged certain factors with regard to the issues under discussion and therefore may be misleading on its surface.

Volition/intention (cetana) can be sampajanna or asampajānno (that is, "clearly knowing" and aware of "things as they truly are," or "clearly unknowing" and unaware of "things as they truly are"). There is an important distinction to be made here by understanding this point.

In other words, a person ignorant of "things as they truly are" can be legitimately fully cognizant and intentional in his actions just as easily as a person who is not ignorant of "things as they truly are" can be legitimately fully cognizant and intentional in his actions.

It's not the sole fact of awareness here that is the sticking point. It is the "what is it?" aspect of the awareness that is crucial. In other words, "what is it that the person is aware of" that he is basing his intentions on? A person's mind may be conditioned by falsehood and still act in an intentional (aware) manner based upon the falsehood that he is acting (intending) on, just as easily as the person who is acting (intending) on a truth of which he is aware.

"I'm less inclined to use the English "intention" for "cetana" these days, as the above passage seems to allow for unconscious cetana." Put another way, it is not unconscious cetana (volition or intention) that is at fault here. But rather "ignorance" (unawareness perhaps?) of "how things truly are" that is at fault. Such ignorance stems from having wrong view and not from having "unconscious cetana," or unawareness of intention. In other words, the person who is acting from wrong view is fully aware of the view from which he acts because he thinks of it as being true; rather, he is just unaware that it is a wrong view based upon a falsehood of view.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby Sylvester » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:50 am

Anicca wrote:Would "motivation" work ok? The "volition / intention" definition implies an "inside out" process where "motivation" can be "outside in" - does this make sense? Could this be like "vitaka/vicara" where in certain contexts it is intention and in other contexts motivation?


Dear Anicca

I really don't have an answer to that, and I guess I won't be confident of an answer until I've exhaustively combed the Nikayas on how vitakka-vicara is used in every context.

It's an intriguing prospect, but what exactly do you mean that "motivation" can be "outside in"? Might you have an example in mind?

Dear IanAnd

Put another way, it is not unconscious cetana (volition or intention) that is at fault here. But rather "ignorance" (unawareness perhaps?) of "how things truly are" that is at fault. Such ignorance stems from having wrong view and not from having "unconscious cetana," or unawareness of intention. In other words, the person who is acting from wrong view is fully aware of the view from which he acts because he thinks of it as being true; rather, he is just unaware that it is a wrong view based upon a falsehood of view.


Certainly, asampajāno could possibly fill that specific role of avijja, where asampajāno can be the non-awareness/non-comprehension of "how things truly are". Just as equally, I think the "unconscious cetana" is plausible in light of sampajāna's standard occurence in the Satipatthana suttas in conjuction with sati, where each tetrad is concluded with sati into simple existential (atthi) observations such as "There is body", "There is feeling", "There is consciousness", "There is [hindrance]", "There is dhamma", etc etc "to the extent necessary just for knowledge and mindfulness"

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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby IanAnd » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:41 am

Sylvester wrote:
IanAnd wrote:Put another way, it is not unconscious cetana (volition or intention) that is at fault here. But rather "ignorance" (unawareness perhaps?) of "how things truly are" that is at fault. Such ignorance stems from having wrong view and not from having "unconscious cetana," or unawareness of intention. In other words, the person who is acting from wrong view is fully aware of the view from which he acts because he thinks of it as being true; rather, he is just unaware that it is a wrong view based upon a falsehood of view.


Certainly, asampajāno could possibly fill that specific role of avijja, where asampajāno can be the non-awareness/non-comprehension of "how things truly are". Just as equally, I think the "unconscious cetana" is plausible in light of sampajāna's standard occurence in the Satipatthana suttas in conjuction with sati, where each tetrad is concluded with sati into simple existential (atthi) observations such as "There is body", "There is feeling", "There is consciousness", "There is [hindrance]", "There is dhamma", etc etc "to the extent necessary just for knowledge and mindfulness."

What in hell are you talking about? Could you please restate this in plain English so that others here (as well as myself) can understand what you are saying? Your obvious intelligence is leaving the rest of us in the dust...and we need your help to lift us up from the ground we've stumbled onto.

This is the best I can do with your statement. Yet I still do not understand what you are talking about!
I think the "unconscious volition" is plausible in light of "clear understanding's" standard occurrence in the Satipatthana suttas in conjunction with "mindfulness" (sati), where each tetrad is concluded with sati (mindfulness) into simple existential (atthi) observations such as "There is body", "There is feeling", "There is consciousness", "There is [hindrance]", "There is dhamma", etc etc "to the extent necessary just for knowledge and mindfulness."

I don't see where "unconscious volition" comes into play. Please elaborate with clearer details so that even poor ignorant slobs like me can understand the insightful point you are attempting to communicate. Perhaps giving an example we can all understand might suffice.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby Anicca » Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:10 am

Hi Sylvester!
Sylvester wrote:... but what exactly do you mean that "motivation" can be "outside in"? Might you have an example in mind?
Sure - extrinsic is the unmuddled word for "outside in". Motivation is perhaps not a better choice of words - i am sure one could argue that volition and motivation are the same - it just seems that motivation offers a broader basis for both intrinsic and extrinsic functionality. For this non-arahant, somewhere in the current moment past kamma must play a part in generating current formations yet, at least speaking for myself, past karma is a "not fully aware of" aspect of generating current formations, making it sort of "outside in". In trying to accomodate the "not fully aware" aspect of cetana, it seemed more correct to speak of unknown motivations than unknown volition. Regardless - all this does all fit rather neatly under the "ignorance / wrong view" aspect to which Ian points - i am sure i would not have posted what i did had Ian posted first!

Thank you Ian for making it clearer.

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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby Sylvester » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:31 am

Anicca wrote:Hi Sylvester!
Sylvester wrote:... but what exactly do you mean that "motivation" can be "outside in"? Might you have an example in mind?
Sure - extrinsic is the unmuddled word for "outside in". Motivation is perhaps not a better choice of words - i am sure one could argue that volition and motivation are the same - it just seems that motivation offers a broader basis for both intrinsic and extrinsic functionality. For this non-arahant, somewhere in the current moment past kamma must play a part in generating current formations yet, at least speaking for myself, past karma is a "not fully aware of" aspect of generating current formations, making it sort of "outside in". In trying to accomodate the "not fully aware" aspect of cetana, it seemed more correct to speak of unknown motivations than unknown volition. Regardless - all this does all fit rather neatly under the "ignorance / wrong view" aspect to which Ian points - i am sure i would not have posted what i did had Ian posted first!

Thank you Ian for making it clearer.

Metta


Dear Anicca

I think I understand what you mean by "extrinsic" being past kamma influencing/conditioning present cetana. I suspect it would best be described by the anusayas - the underlying tendencies to lust (raganusaya), aversion (patighanusaya) or delusion (avijjanusaya). Although the anusayas are typically described as -

(i) the sequel to or consequence of a putthujana succumbing to delight, aversion or ignorance in relation to pleasant, painful or neutral feelings respectively (eg SN 36.6); and
(ii) a factor that conditions re-becoming (eg SN 12.38),

I believe that the anusayas will also condition present life cetana. SN 36.6 suggests that when these 3 anusayas "operate", they prevent the person from seeing and understanding the true nature of feelings as being merely conditioned. So, to this extent and following IanAnd's characterisation of asampajano as non-awareness of "how things truly are", then it is possible to allow for intentions of which one is either cognisant or non-cognisant being conditioned by things of which we are not cognisant. Makes sense?

I'm now gripped by anxiety - should I be conscious of my kayasankhara 24/7?

But let's not forget the other conditioners of which we are typically not conscious. The mulas or roots of kamma are described in practically the same terms as the 3 anusayas. They are ragamula (the root of greed), dosamula (the root of hatred) and mohamula (the root of delusion). And we have this rather apt description in the 2 nidana suttas in AN 3.112 - 113 for how the mulas operate and how vitakka-vicara pops into the picture. The 1st nidana sutta,identifies the 3 roots above as the nidana/cause of kamma. The 2nd nidana sutta then elaborates on the nidana of kamma by stating that the things which are based on desire (chandaragatthaniya dhamma) are "turned over in his mind"/"thought & pondered" (anuvitakketi anuvicareti). Because of the vitakka and vicara, chanda is born. (... chandarāgaṭṭhāniye dhamme ārabbha cetasā anuvitakketi anuvicāreti. Tassa, ... chandarāgaṭṭhāniye dhamme ārabbha cetasā anuvitakkayato anuvicārayato chando jāyati). Both nidana suttas are aptly named, as they describe "causes".

As I've explained previously, "vitakketi" is the denominative verb derived from the root noun "vitakka". My reading of MN 44's and SN 12.25's presentation suggests that it is with "vitakka" that one is able to "vitakketi; with "vicara" that one is able to vicāreti. The 1st sutta states the the arising of kamma is due to any of the 3 mulas. The 2nd sutta states that the birth of chanda is due to vitakka-vicara. Laid side-by-side, these 2 suttas seem to suggest that vitakka-vicara stands to chanda in the same way that the mulas stand to kamma. Now, we know that cetana is kamma - AN 6.63. So, does this suggest that lurking beneath the cetana are these mulas of which we are not conscious? Likewise, could vitakka-vicara be that unconscious "impulse" that gives rise to chanda?

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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby Freawaru » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:17 am

I understand aware and unaware intention this way:

Think of walking meditation. When we walk in a non-aware way (asampajanna) we are not aware of the patterns in the mind that actually control our walking. But when sampajanna is present during walking (for example during walking meditation) we can discern how the next step is initiated, the feeling of movement arises, how what we see with the eys is considered in our mind and based on it choosing the next step (say, there is a puddle or a stone, then our mind will intend a different movement than otherwise). Without sampajanna these processes are without awareness, even the intention is without awareness, but with sampajanna there is awareness of intention how and where to place our feet, how to bend the body and so on.

So there is unaware intention and aware intention based on wether sampajanna is present or not. The intention is the same but the difference is the presence of awareness.

There is also the possibility of intentions based on sampajanna, but that only happens when sampajanna is strong and deep. With this it is possible to directly influence the mind-patterns themselves. For example, with this kind of intention one is enabled to change deep rooted habits such as smoking. Intention on this level would enable someone not only to stop smoking from one second to the next but even to not feel any desire for it anymore. It is like going down to the "machine code of the mind" and alter the "progamm" on this level.
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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby Sylvester » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:23 pm

IanAnd wrote:I don't see where "unconscious volition" comes into play. Please elaborate with clearer details so that even poor ignorant slobs like me can understand the insightful point you are attempting to communicate. Perhaps giving an example we can all understand might suffice.


Dear IanAnd

Pls excuse me if I'm not prepared to take the debate further on the asampajanna cetana. Not because it's undeserving of attention, but because my connecting MN 44's vacisanakhara to SN 12.25's vacisankhara is extremely experimental and probably heretical by Theravada standards.

If you're familiar with Ven Nanavira's views on Dependant Origination, you'll gather that his analysis of the 2nd factor "sankhara" makes the same equation of the 3 sankharas in MN 44 with SN 12.2's 3 sankharas. That has been roundly criticised by Bhikkhu Bodhi and with very sound reasons against conflating the 2.

I'm still toying with conflating the 2, because SN 12.25 allows for something that is asampajanna and MN 44's 3 sankharas are things that do not seem to require cetana of which one is sampajanna. MN 44's sankaras also look like "active" sankharas, instead of being "passive" ones generated by other sankharas. Might there be way to analyse cetana to its simplest and most basic manifestation, such that it is akin to an "impulse" that creates reflexes or involuntary actions/thoughts? As I say, it's still very experimental and I'm only prepared to entertain it as I've not actually found it doing any damage to the sutta readings which I know. But given Bhikkhu Bodhi's vigorous critique of this conflation, I'll probably drop it eventually and cease to rely on SN 12.25 as evidence that vitakka-vicara is a kind of cetana.

However, if you still wish to discuss the "unconscious cetana" outside of vitakka-vicara, pls feel free to open a new thread. But no promises I'll have much to say, as the asampajanna thing was really incidental to how I was applying SN 12.25.

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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby Anicca » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:36 pm

Hi Sylvester!
Sylvester wrote:... it is possible to allow for intentions of which one is either cognisant or non-cognisant being conditioned by things of which we are not cognisant. Makes sense?
Yes.

Sylvester wrote:I'm now gripped by anxiety - should I be conscious of my kayasankhara 24/7?

Relax, be egalitarian - 8/7, allowing equal time for vacisankhara and cittasankhara. :tongue:

Sylvester wrote:So, does this suggest that lurking beneath the cetana are these mulas of which we are not conscious? Likewise, could vitakka-vicara be that unconscious "impulse" that gives rise to chanda?
The putthujana in me says "Huh?" but the kalyanajana says "Duh!"

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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby IanAnd » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:16 pm

Sylvester wrote:
IanAnd wrote:I don't see where "unconscious volition" comes into play. Please elaborate with clearer details so that even poor ignorant slobs like me can understand the insightful point you are attempting to communicate. Perhaps giving an example we can all understand might suffice.


Dear IanAnd

Pls excuse me if I'm not prepared to take the debate further on the asampajanna cetana.

I wasn't aware that there was anything being "debated" here. You seemed to have made an assertion. I just wanted to understand the foundation of your assertion. If you are unable to show us that foundation, then perhaps there is no foundation. But only speculation on your part. Such speculation, couched in the intellectual style that your comments are written in, can be dangerous for others here who may be influenced by that style but who cannot make out the substance (assuming that any is actually there) in order to make up their own minds.

Sylvester wrote:Not because it's undeserving of attention, but because my connecting MN 44's vacisanakhara to SN 12.25's vacisankhara is extremely experimental and probably heretical by Theravada standards.

Hey, I'll be the first to defend your right to poke holes into whatever "Theravada standards" (or orthodoxy) you can find. I don't consider myself to be Theravadin nor even a Buddhist for that matter (at least not in the way that most people here might define it).

Once again, it is the "experimental" aspect of your "assertions" (or "experiments" or whatever you wish to call them; it is just that they come off as looking like "assertions" when you have posted them here) that I am concerned about. It's probably wise to keep such "experimental views" to oneself until such time as one can prove them through personal experience and by pointing to exact teachings that assert them.

Sylvester wrote:If you're familiar with Ven Nanavira's views on Dependant Origination, you'll gather that his analysis of the 2nd factor "sankhara" makes the same equation of the 3 sankharas in MN 44 with SN 12.2's 3 sankharas. That has been roundly criticised by Bhikkhu Bodhi and with very sound reasons against conflating the 2.

Nanavira's was a work in progress; not exactly the best example to use for one's education. He didn't allow himself to live long enough to be able to come to any solid conclusions about what he thought. That Bhikkhu Bodhi (as you have admitted) has criticized Nanavira's take on these issues and has, in addition, given good and sound reasoning should be a hint to the wise. If you wish to hold onto your speculation a little longer while you continue to "experiment" with it, that's fine. That's your personal business. Just keep it to yourself and find out for yourself. Don't come into forums like this and make what seems to be legitimate assertions, especially if you are not prepared to back them up, and expect not to be called on it. There are ways you can legitimately bring these issues up in places like this without seeming to come off as being an authority while yet retaining everyone else's respect. You're a smart boy. I'm sure if you stop and think about it for a minute, you'll come up with a few. (Hint: Ask questions about those areas you are speculating upon. There are plenty of experienced people here who have paid their dues and would be able to help direct you to information that would address your concerns such that you could then make up your own mind.)

Sylvester wrote:However, if you still wish to discuss the "unconscious cetana" outside of vitakka-vicara, pls feel free to open a new thread. But no promises I'll have much to say, as the asampajanna thing was really incidental to how I was applying SN 12.25.

I do not wish to discuss what you label as "unconscious cetana" at all since it is not an area of Dhamma that can be definitively shown was brought out within the discourses. In general, I don't discuss speculative thought about the Dhamma because in most cases it only ends up muddying the field for others who are working hard to learn and become aware of what was discussed in the suttas.

I consider your admission that you cannot back up the assertions/experimental views that you have shared in this thread to put an official end to any ideas of "unconscious cetana," whatever that is.

Best Regards,
Ian
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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby Sylvester » Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:53 am

Dear IanAnd


IanAnd wrote:I wasn't aware that there was anything being "debated" here. You seemed to have made an assertion. I just wanted to understand the foundation of your assertion. If you are unable to show us that foundation, then perhaps there is no foundation. But only speculation on your part. Such speculation, couched in the intellectual style that your comments are written in, can be dangerous for others here who may be influenced by that style but who cannot make out the substance (assuming that any is actually there) in order to make up their own minds.

Once again, it is the "experimental" aspect of your "assertions" (or "experiments" or whatever you wish to call them; it is just that they come off as looking like "assertions" when you have posted them here) that I am concerned about. It's probably wise to keep such "experimental views" to oneself until such time as one can prove them through personal experience and by pointing to exact teachings that assert them.

Nanavira's was a work in progress; not exactly the best example to use for one's education. He didn't allow himself to live long enough to be able to come to any solid conclusions about what he thought. That Bhikkhu Bodhi (as you have admitted) has criticized Nanavira's take on these issues and has, in addition, given good and sound reasoning should be a hint to the wise. If you wish to hold onto your speculation a little longer while you continue to "experiment" with it, that's fine. That's your personal business. Just keep it to yourself and find out for yourself. Don't come into forums like this and make what seems to be legitimate assertions, especially if you are not prepared to back them up, and expect not to be called on it. There are ways you can legitimately bring these issues up in places like this without seeming to come off as being an authority while yet retaining everyone else's respect. You're a smart boy. I'm sure if you stop and think about it for a minute, you'll come up with a few. (Hint: Ask questions about those areas you are speculating upon. There are plenty of experienced people here who have paid their dues and would be able to help direct you to information that would address your concerns such that you could then make up your own mind.)

I do not wish to discuss what you label as "unconscious cetana" at all since it is not an area of Dhamma that can be definitively shown was brought out within the discourses. In general, I don't discuss speculative thought about the Dhamma because in most cases it only ends up muddying the field for others who are working hard to learn and become aware of what was discussed in the suttas.

I consider your admission that you cannot back up the assertions/experimental views that you have shared in this thread to put an official end to any ideas of "unconscious cetana," whatever that is.

Best Regards,
Ian


Well, if deference to practitioners who "have paid their dues" (whatever that means) works for you, by all means, pursue it. I just don't feel particularly compelled to adopt it in the face of a straighforward sutta assertion, since it does not fall within the 4 Great Standards in DN 16.

That Bhikkhu Bodhi has criticised Ven Nanavira's and my experimental conflation of the 3 sankharas in MN 44 and SN 12.3 has absolutely nothing to do with the "unconscious cetana" asserted by SN 12.25. I can see that your view of sampajanna relates to awareness of "how things truly are". That's your view versus the the Commentarial interpretation of "asampajanna" offered for SN 12.25 (see BB's fn 78 to that sutta), but that's just your preference that "sampajanna" functions only to recognise DO. Are you sure that it's not your restrictive reading of sampajanna that has muddied up the clear reading of SN 12.25's unconscious cetana?

As I've suggested earlier, "sampajanna" can function at even more basic levels. The Satipatthana suttas make it clear that it also functions as awareness of simple existential states as to whether or not "There is body", "There is feeling" etc etc. I don't think my justification was expressed in particularly obtuse English. Perhaps what made it difficult for you to listen was how discomfitting it was to your own conceptions of cetana? Frankly, my declining to take the debate further was a polite way of indicating that I did not think you were going to be persuaded from your set views or mannerisms.

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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby IanAnd » Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:45 am

When in doubt, go back to the beginning and see where the train went off the track.

I went back to read from my Wisdom Publication editions the suttas that Sylvester was using to make his assertions, and guess what I found. He decided to re-translate the very sutta that he was using as "evidence" (SN 12.25) of his assertion. And of course, his re-translation seems to fit with the assertions he has been making. Fancy that! I am speaking of the translation he made found here in this post of the Bhumija Sutta about half way down the post.

It seems that Sylvester is fond of changing trusted and credible translator's words (Bhikkhu Bodhi's in this case, whose judgment I have come to accept as being impeccable with regard to the scholarship and nit picking he does in order to render the discourses as accurately as possible according to their intended meaning within his understanding of both the Dhamma and the Pali language) in order to fit his own speculative thought, base on his misreading (and conflation) of the passage in question. He has added in ideas that are not there in the passage as it was originally translated.

He likes to make inferences between ideas that express one thing and conflate them with his own misunderstood impressions. He is not interested to hear about his misunderstandings, nor does he seem to become particularly alarmed that someone has pointed out a misunderstanding to him. The thought that he might be wrong just does not enter his mind. As far as he is concerned, his re-translation (and mistaken conflation of words and ideas) is the only thing that matters to him, and I can certainly see why he might think that way. Unfortunately, that doesn't make his mistaken inferences correct according to the way the discourses actually read when translated by a trusted translator.

If readers of this thread are already confused by the exchanges that have taken place between Sylvester and myself, don't worry about it. It is Sylvester's problem, not yours. If you read and understood the correction I gave here, then you need not bother your mind with attempting to figure out just where Sylvester's train leapt the tracks and veered off into uncharted territory.

For those who are interested to make a short journey, follow along with me as I present the translation of the Bhumija Sutta that Bodhi originally published in his translation of the Samyutta Nikaya. We will examine the words that Sylvester conflated and the reason why this conflation is unwarranted. Don't expect Sylvester to agree with this explanation, because he won't. His view is filtered through an undeliberate volitional formation. In other words, ignorance! (Don't worry, you'll understand later as I explain what went on.) Once he learns the difference between the significance of these words, his view will change accordingly. But don't expect a miracle to happen over night, because it is not going to happen. He will come back with some minor subterfuge that he has concocted in order to justify his misunderstanding once again. Only this time I won't be responding, because anything I might say would just be a rehash of what is being stated here now. And since Sylvester doesn't want to hear it, it would be a waste of my time — which has already been stretched to the limit in this exchange.

Sylvester has already played this game with Nana in another thread, where basically the same thing happened with regard to mistaken inferences on his part. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. It's all part of the practice. We all go through these periods where our misunderstanding is more real than what is actually there staring us in the face. Besides, it's usually so much more interesting than what's staring us in the face, which is partially why we persist in clinging to it.

Here is the translation according to Bhikkhu Bodhi. Just for fun, before you read on after the end of the quotation, see if you can find the words that have been mistranslated. (Note: the bracketed numbers are footnote references.)

Ananda, when there is the body, because of bodily volition (kayasancetana), pleasure and pain arise internally; when there is speech, because of verbal volition (vacisancetana), pleasure and pain arise internally; when there is the mind, because of mental volition (manosancetana), pleasure and pain arise internally — and with ignorance as condition.

"Either on one's own initiative, Ananda, one generates that bodily volitional formation (sankhara) conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally; or prompted by others one generates that bodily volitional formation conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally. Either deliberately, Ananda, one generates that bodily volitional formation conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally; or undeliberately one generates that bodily volitional formation conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally.[78]

"Either on one's own initiative, Ananda, one generates that verbal volitional formation conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally; or prompted by others one generates that verbal volitional formation conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally. Either deliberately, Ananda, one generates that verbal volitional formation conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally; or undeliberately one generates that verbal volitional formation conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally.

"Either on one's own initiative, Ananda, one generates that mental volitional formation[79] conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally; or prompted by others one generates that mental volitional formation conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally. Either deliberately, Ananda, one generates that mental volitional formation conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally; or undeliberately one generates that mental volitional formation conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally.

"Ignorance is comprised within these states.[80] But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance that body does not exist conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally; that speech does not exist conditioned by which that pleasure and pain arise internally; that mind does not exist conditioned by which that pleasure and pain arise internally.[81] That field does not exist, that site does not exist, that base does not exist, that foundation does not exist conditioned by which that pleasure and pain arise internally."[82]


Did you find the re-translated words? If not, don't worry. We're going to go over them below.

Aside from the change in the general form of the translation, which I don't take to have disturbed any of the essential meaning as compared with Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation, did you have a feeling that the two translations were slightly different. If not, then perhaps you weren't paying close enough attention.

There are basically two important words here that Sylvester has changed according to his desire to read the sutta in his own way. The fact that he didn't seem to think it important enough not to change the words only means that he missed the significance of the words in the first place. This happens to all of us. We see two statements and say to ourself, "Well, doesn't that statement mean the same as this statement?" And on the surface, and according to the way we are looking at it, it certainly seems that both statements are saying the same thing. And so we make an inference and conflate the two statements, and from that point on, in our mind, they both mean the same exact thing.

What Bodhi's translation (above) tells me is that the explanation I gave in the link above to correct Sylvester's misunderstanding is exactly what the Buddha said in Bodhi's translation. But, if you read Sylvester's re-translated version, you see how the meaning has changed according to the way he has translated two key words.

Okay, if you haven't figured out which words/phrases I'm talking about, I won't keep you in suspense any longer. In the second, third, and fourth paragraphs, one passage is repeated and changed according to the different factors being presented, those factors being "bodily volitional formation," "verbal volitional formation," and "mental volitional formation." These aren't the words or phrases being re-translated. Lets look at one of these passages to see which words and ideas have been changed:

Either deliberately, Ananda, one generates that bodily volitional formation conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally; or undeliberately one generates that bodily volitional formation conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally.


Now here is Sylvester's re-translation:

Ananda, either fully aware one generates that bodily formation, conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally; or, not fully aware one generates that bodily formation, conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally.


Does anyone else here see a significant change in the tenor and meaning of what is being stated? If Bodhi had wanted to use the phrases "fully aware" an "not fully aware" in order to maintain the continuity of the Dhamma and the integrity of his translation with his understanding of how the Pali passages read, don't you think he would have made this leap and used these two phrases instead of using the words "deliberately" and "undeliberately"? Of course he would. But he didn't. Why did he not use those phrases? Because they were not consistent with the idea that the Buddha was endeavoring to convey as he meant to differentiate between deliberate and undeliberate volitional formations (be they bodily, vebal or mental), not "aware" and "unaware" volitional formations. And the point he was endeavoring to make was that these deliberate and undeliberate volitional formations were the result of Ignorance. Which he states directly: "Ignorance is comprised within these states." Meaning that he was referencing these deliberate and undeliberate volitional formations.

What he was, in the end, endeavoring to point out was an explanation for the lack of kamma created by the arahant. This idea transcends any speculative idea that Sylvester can bring to the table as it explains why arahants do not create kamma, volitionally charged actions that then boomarang back upon the arahant as either good, bad, or neutral. In other words, the arahant is not touched by any volitional formation, whether deliberate or undeliberate. Another way of stating the same thing would be to use the words "intentional" and "unintentional" in place of deliberate or undeliberate. But certainly not the words "aware" and "unaware". These latter don't convey the correct idea.

Notice that Sylvester neglects to include the concluding paragraph within his re-translated presentation of Bodhi's translation. Yet, this last paragraph is crucial to a correct understanding of the whole sutta. It is this paragraph that tells us what message the Buddha thinks is so important to get across, and which Bodhi bases his interpretation of the words "deliberate" and "undeliberate" on. One of the main points the Buddha is stating here is a lesson on equanimity, among other things. When he states: "But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance that body/speech/mind does not exist conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally...That field does not exist, that site does not exist, that base does not exist, that foundation does not exist conditioned by which that pleasure and pain arise internally.[82]"

And Bodhi's footnote #82 underscores this point: "Spk: There is no field (khetta) in the sense of a place of growth; no site (vatthu) in the sense of a support; no base (ayatana) in the sense of a condition; no foundation (adhikarana) in the sense of a cause."

In the previous footnote, Bodhi points out: "Spk: That body does not exist which, if it existed, would enable pleasure and pain to arise conditioned by bodily volition; the same method of explanation applies to speech and mind. (Query:) But an arahant acts, speaks, and thinks, so how is it that his body, etc., do not exist? (Reply:) In the sense that they do not generate kammic results. For the deeds done by an arahant are neither wholesome nor unwholesome kamma, but merely functional (kiriyamatta); thus for him it is said, "that body, etc., do not exist."

He is talking about deliberate and undeliberate volitional formations here not creating kamma. Not awareness or unawareness of the volitional formations not creating kamma. In other words, being aware or unaware of the arising of volitional formations is not as important as being cognizant that they arise because of ignorance (the lack of right view) of what actually is. When an unwholesome volitional formation arises one may be aware that it is arising; but if one is not cognizant that it is unwholesome (because of ignorance) then whether one's actions are deliberate or undeliberate the boomerang effect of the kamma will have been triggered. Whereas in the arahant, on account of the cessation of ignorance (the adherence to right view), no kamma will be triggered. By now it should be quite apparent how Sylvester's reading falls apart and disintegrates (whether or not it was his translation or someones else's translation that he was going by).
Last edited by IanAnd on Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby Sylvester » Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:03 pm

IanAnd wrote:When in doubt, go back to the beginning and see where the train went off the track.

I went back to read from my Wisdom Publication editions the suttas that Sylvester was using to make his assertions, and guess what I found. He decided to re-translate the very sutta that he was using as "evidence" (SN 12.25) of his assertion. And of course, his re-translation seems to fit with the assertions he has been making. Fancy that! I am speaking of the translation he made found here in this post of the Bhumija Sutta about half way down the post.

It seems that Sylvester is fond of changing trusted and credible translator's words (Bhikkhu Bodhi's in this case, whose judgment I have come to accept as being impeccable with regard to the scholarship and nit picking he does in order to render the discourses as accurately as possible according to their intended meaning within his understanding of both the Dhamma and the Pali language) in order to fit his own speculative thought, base on his misreading (and conflation) of the passage in question. He has added in ideas that are not there in the passage as it was originally translated.

... As far as he is concerned, his re-translation (and mistaken conflation of words and ideas) is the only thing that matters to him, and I can certainly see why he might think that way. Unfortunately, that doesn't make his mistaken inferences correct according to the way the discourses actually read when translated by a trusted translator.

...


Aside from the change in the general form of the translation, which I don't take to have disturbed any of the essential meaning as compared with Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation, did you have a feeling that the two translations were slightly different. If not, then perhaps you weren't paying close enough attention.

There are basically two important words here that Sylvester has changed according to his desire to read the sutta in his own way. The fact that he didn't seem to think it important enough not to change the words only means that he missed the significance of the words in the first place. This happens to all of us. We see two statements and say to ourself, "Well, doesn't that statement mean the same as this statement?" And on the surface, and according to the way we are looking at it, it certainly seems that both statements are saying the same thing. And so we make an inference and conflate the two statements, and from that point on, in our mind, they both mean the same exact thing.

What Bodhi's translation (above) tells me is that the explanation I gave in the link above to correct Sylvester's misunderstanding is exactly what the Buddha said in Bodhi's translation. But, if you read Sylvester's re-translated version, you see how the meaning has changed according to the way he has translated two key words.

...

Now here is Sylvester's re-translation:

Ananda, either fully aware one generates that bodily formation, conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally; or, not fully aware one generates that bodily formation, conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally.


...

Notice that Sylvester neglects to include the concluding paragraph within his re-translated presentation of Bodhi's translation. Yet, this last paragraph is crucial to a correct understanding of the whole sutta. It is this paragraph that tells us what message the Buddha thinks is so important to get across, and which Bodhi bases his interpretation of the words "deliberate" and "undeliberate" on. One of the main points the Buddha is stating here is a lesson on equanimity, among other things. When he states: "But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance that body/speech/mind does not exist conditioned by which pleasure and pain arise internally...That field does not exist, that site does not exist, that base does not exist, that foundation does not exist conditioned by which that pleasure and pain arise internally.[82]"



Dear IanAnd

It's tragically comical that you spend so much time hammering out that critique, when a simple look at my post would have made it clear that I was not using BB's translation, nor my own. It was Piya Tan's. You can look that up in his Sutta Discovery Vol 31.2. To be fair, I omitted his alternate interpretations in parentheses.

Was your rage so overwhelming that you missed my attribution to Piya right at the bottom of that citation? Are larger fonts required or perhaps something to fumigate your blinding rage?

Has reason taken flight that you feel that there is an ocean of difference between being unaware of generating a cetana versus undeliberately generating a cetana? By your logic, you are constantly aware when (not post) you undeliberately generate a kamma. Where's your sutta citation for this?

Pls keep this up, as I appreciate the entertainment.

With a smile
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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby tanhendrick » Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:35 am

Samadhi in Buddhist terms means collected/concentrated mind which can be cultivated by Samatha meditation on any of the 40 meditation objects. Samadhi is basically a mind bhavana aiming at purification of the mind from five hindrances. The concentrated mind free of hindrances is imperturbable, pliant, buoyant, radiance and powerful capable of seeing/penetrating the reality (the arising-passing and ultimate characteristics of mind-matter or nama-rupa) as they really are. Concentrating on a stable object such as breaths/whole body of breaths or kasinas can result in a full meditative absorption (appana samadhi) leading to Jhana attainment which can, by its distinct set of jhana factors, be a successive 4 or 5 material (rupa) jhanas and 4 immaterial (arupa) jhanas or attainments. In many suttas, The Buddha referred 4 rupa jhanas to as right samadhi, which is one of the 8 factors of the noble eightfold path. If the meditation object is not stable or has changing properties like those of 4-element meditation or recollection of the Buddha qualities, the access samadhi (upacara samdhi) which has similar, though less, quality to Jhanic absorption may instead be attained. All of these Jhana or upacara samadhi attainments have one-pointedness of mind as its factor.
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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby pariyatti » Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:36 pm

:jumping: Buys Anicca a bag of marbles :jumping:
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Re: What's the difference between Samadhi and Jhana?

Postby dhamma_spoon » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:55 pm

pariyatti wrote::jumping: Buys Anicca a bag of marbles :jumping:


Hi, pariyatti -

Are you a naughty boy? :thinking:

Hi, tanhendrick -

The following material is also very suitable for this topic of discussion.

[ The Path of Discrimination (Patisambhidamagga) Treatise I, Chapter III. -- Concentration ]

267. How is it that understanding of concentrating after restraining is knowledge(nana) of what consists in the development of concentration?

268. One kind of concentration: Unification of cognizance.
Two kinds of concentration: Mundance concentration and supramundane concentration.
Three kinds of concentration: Concentration with applied thought(vitakka) and sustained thought(vicara), concentration without applied thought and with only sustained thought, concentration without applied thought and sustained thought.
Four kinds of concentration: Concentration partaking of diminution, concentration partaking of stagnation, concentration partaking of distinction, concentration partaking of penetration.
Five kinds of concentration: Intentness upon(pharana, pervasion) with happiness(piiti), intentness upon with pleasure(sukha), intentness upon with equanimity, intentness upon with light(aaloka), the sign of reviewing(paccavekkhana).
Six kinds of concentration: Concentration as mental unification and non-distraction through the recollection of the Enlightened One, concentration as .... through the recollection of the True Idea, concentration as .... through the recollection of the Community(Order), concentration as .... through the recollection of virtue, concentration as .... through the recollection of generosity, concentration as mental unification and non-distraction through the recollection of deities(deva).
Seven kinds of concentration: Skill in concentration, skill in attainment of concentration, skill in remaining in concentration, skill in emerging from concentration, skill in health of concentration, skill in the domain of concentration, skill in guiding concentration.
Eight kinds of concentration:Concentration as mental unification and non-distraction through the earth kasina, concentration ... through the water kasina ... through the fire kasina ...through the air kasina ... through the blue kasina ... through the yellow kasina ...through the red kasina ...concentration as mental unification and non-distraction through the white kasina.
Nine kinds of concentration: There is inferior, medium and superior material concentration; there is inferior, medium, and superior immaterial concentration; there is void concentration; there is signless concentration; there is desireless concentration.
Ten kinds of concentration: Concentration as mental unification and non-distraction through the bloated, concentration ... through the livid ... through the festering ... through the cut-up ... through the gnawed ... through the scattered ... through the hacked and scattered ... through the bleeding ... through the worm-infested ... concentration as mental unification and non-distraction through the skeleton.

These are fifty-five kinds of concentration.

*
Sincerely,

Dhamma_spoon :meditate:
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