Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
Sylvester
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Sylvester » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:16 am

Dear Geoff

That's only your inability to confront the evidence that I presented in the form of the few Majjhima suttas where mind-contact feelings were described to give rise to cetasika feelings couched in the same stock formula employed by the Salla Sutta. I don't intend to gloss that over as amnesia. Nor do I see any point in responding to yet another ex cathedra pronouncement on the perceived failings of my argument. I could just as easily pronounce that you've failed to rebut any of my arguments...

As for the accusation of my employing esoteric readings, well, pls produce the evidence using the Pali grammars to demonstrate that your reliance on plain English grammar to understand Pali is not the more bizarre.

Since you're so fond of citing the Vimuttimagga (in that other thread), perhaps you may like to explain why you cherry pick what works for your thesis, but conveniently not mention those bits in the Vimuttimagga that deal with Nimittas, Upacara, Appana, and the need to emerge from Appana to exercise the iddhis etc. That presumes that we are both looking at the same primary source which was translated.

Another example of more cherry-picking would be your insistence that we resort to the Dhammasangani. Well, why not import the entire Abhidhammic analysis of the rupajhanacitta and how that is totally bereft of the kamavacaracittas?

You also dismissed Piya's "appeal to personal experience". Fair enough but you do not hold yourself to the same high standard when you cite AJ Chah's and AJ Thanissaro/AJ Fuang's experiential accounts. What makes you feel privileged to be immune from the yardstick that you apply to others?

I'm only adopting your tactics in asking me and Piya to go back and re-consider. Since you seem to view that this kind of tactic is suitable in evading the substantive issues raised, well, what's sauce for the goose...

Seriously, instead of dismissing Piya's or my arguments with nothing more than a limp suggestion that we need to brush up on our suttanta and Abhidhamma, cite those references for the benefit of everyone else to see. If you felt that the suttas and the Abhidhamma support you, cite them. I'm not going to declare that I have demonstrated the errors of your interpretations (ex cathedra is not my forte and that thread is still available viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4597&start=60 for anyone interested). But if you wish to rehash our previous discussion, let's revive it.

Very simply put Geoff, it matters little to me how venerable you think your research is. Your self belief does not endow your pronouncements with any weight. You either take the trouble to demonstrate or run the risk that I would bluntly point out how meaningless your statements are to the issue.

With metta

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:32 am


Sylvester
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Sylvester » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:43 am

More pronouncements, Geoff. You do amuse me.

With metta

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:54 am


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:57 am


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Sylvester » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:33 am

Yes, Geoff, you attempted to address my propositions, but whether you succeeded is not a matter of your fiat. Ad nauseum is not proof of success, but merely of persistent disagreement.

You're still evading the invitation to lay bare your Abhidhammic and Vimuttimagga materials while demonstrating how you are not guilty of cherry picking. Surely it would be an easy task to reconcile your interpretation of the above 2 with contrary propositions therein? You've sought to tantalise an audience by saying that A & V will justify your treatment of Jhana, so surely it's not too much to ask that you demonstrate it.

I think I did not bother to reiterate the arguments against yours, since it should be obvious that I am not persuaded by your persistence in denying the kayika treatment in the Majjhima and your predilection to proclaim and your application of English grammar to Pali texts (Obvious agenda to justify your experience. Oops! Where did I pick up that ad hominem tactic?)

If you wish to set standards and then change them later, perhaps your standards should all be accompanied by a caveat.

I'm sure it's not a snake I caught but an eel.

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:41 am


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:53 am


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:01 pm


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:22 pm


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:34 pm


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:37 pm


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:43 pm


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:52 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby cooran » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:48 pm

Hello all,

This may be of interest:



For full article, please click on link at foot of post.

This extract is Bhikkhu Bodhi’s Conclusions and an Afterthought

EXTRACT:
Our study has led us to the following conclusions regarding the relationship between lay noble disciples and the jhānas.
(1) Several suttas describe the process by which a worldling enters "the fixed course of rightness" in a way that emphasizes either faith or wisdom as the chief means of attainment.
None of the texts, however, that deal with the two candidates for stream-entry -- the faith-follower and the Dhamma-follower -- show them as being proficient in the jhānas.
Though some suttas include the jhānas in the analysis of the faculty of concentration, this may be done simply out of compliance with the formulaic style of definition employed by the Nikāyas and need not be seen as having categorical implications. The Commentaries treat these definitions as referring to the supramundane jhāna arisen within the supramundane path. Moreover, the analysis of the concentration faculty mentions another type of concentration, which is gained "by making release the object," and this may be interpreted broadly enough as including degrees of concentration short of the jhānas.

(2) All noble disciples acquire the right concentration of the Noble Eightfold Path, which is defined as the four jhānas.
This need not be understood to mean that stream-enterers and once-returners already possess jhāna before they reach stream-entry. The formula for right concentration may imply only that they must eventually attain the jhānas in the course of developing the path to its culmination in arahantship.
If we go along with the Commentaries in recognizing the Abhidhammic distinction between the preparatory path and the supramundane path, then we can maintain that the jhānas included in right concentration as a path factor pertain to the supramundane path and are thus of supramundane stature.
This still leaves open the question whether aspirants for stream-entry must develop the mundane jhānas in the preliminary phase of their practice.

(3) A number of texts on stream-enterers and once-returners imply that they do not possess the jhānas as meditative attainments which they can enter at will. Though it is obvious that disciples at the lower two levels may have jhānic attainments, the latter are not declared to be an integral part of their spiritual equipment.

(4) Several non-returners in the Nikāyas claim to possess all four jhānas, and according to the Mahāmāluṅkya Sutta, attainment of at least the first jhāna is part of the practice leading to the eradication of the five lower fetters. It thus seems likely that stream-enterers and once-returners desirous of advancing to non-returnership in that very same life must attain at least the first jhāna as a basis for developing insight.
Those content with their status, prepared to let the "law of the Dhamma" take its course, generally will not strive to attain the jhānas. Instead, they settle for the assurance that they are bound to reach the final goal within a maximum of seven more lives passed in the human and celestial worlds.

(5) As non-returners have eliminated sensual lust and ill will, the main obstacles to jhānic attainment, they should face no major problems in entering the jhānas. The non-returner is similar to the ordinary jhāna-attainer in being bound for rebirth in the form realm. Unlike the latter, however, the non-returner is utterly free from sensual desire and ill will and thus can never fall back to the sensuous realm.

(6) Although in the Nikāyas the tie between the two attainments -- the jhānas and non-returnership -- is clear enough, it remains an open question whether the connection is absolutely binding.
Several suttas speak of the achievements of non-returners without mentioning the jhānas, and at least one sutta contrasts the non-returner who gains all four jhānas with one who practises more austere types of meditation that do not typically lead to the jhānas.
*
The Commentaries speak even of a sukkhavipassaka arahant, an arahant who has gained the goal entirely through "dry insight," without any attainment of form-sphere jhāna at all. Although such a type is not explicitly recognized in the Nikāyas, the question may be raised whether the Commentaries, in asserting the possibility of arahantship without attainment of jhāna in the mundane portion of the path, have deviated from the Canon or brought to light a viable possibility implict in the older texts.
The famous Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta declares, in its conclusion, that all those who earnestly dedicate themselves to uninterrupted practice of the four establishments of mindfulness are bound to reap one of two fruits: either arahantship in this very life or, if any residue of clinging remains, the stage of non-returning. While several exercises within the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta are certainly capable of inducing the jhānas, the system as a whole seems oriented towards direct insight rather than towards the jhānas.[40]
Thus this opens the question whether the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta might not be propounding a way of practice that leads all the way to non-returning, even to arahantship, without requiring attainment of the jhānas. This, however, is another question, one that lies beyond the scope of this paper.
-ooOoo-
http://www.viet.net/~anson/ebud/ebdha267.htm

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Vepacitta
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Vepacitta » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:27 am

Thanks Cooran for the piece from Ven. Bodhi.

And many thanks to Nana for this interesting thread and the exposition on Jhana.

And thanks to Retro for his gentle suggestion to get this (very valuable) thread :focus: There is a gold mine here for discussion and explanation - not debate! Is this a forum to discuss Theravadin Buddhism or is it a debate forum?

Personally, I'd like to get into 'how does it work - that you can be concentrated - and yet still think - even though non-discoursive? Is it during the jhana - right after emergence - a bit of both?

What exactly is meant by bodily pleasure - is it the oddball buzzing you get in the head chakras sometimes? Is it truly a lack of pain?

What about what is known as access concentration - how does that relate?

I mean - there's a thousand and one picky (and maybe silly but they need to be cleared up) questions -and - from my view (yes - view) that would be great to discuss - "whadd'ya think, huh?" "reallly - you sure? but what about where it says ..." and not worry about getting flamed for Chrissakes.

(Where's my pet Naga Binky when I need him? :x )

V.
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Hoo » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:15 am

Thanks Chris,

That info and link are exactly what I've been looking for.

Hoo

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:24 am


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:35 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Sep 30, 2010 2:44 pm

I'll post what my limited experience is with meditation. This reffers to the practice I used to do. Now I do metta bhavana.

I found helpfull to folow the first steps in the anapanasati sutta. I started with just being mindfull of the breath sensation in the nostrils to settle the mind (directed thought). Then I would move to breathing evaluating if the breath was long or short (evaluation). Then I would breathe sensitive to the entire body in order to prepare for the next step. Then I would calm the entire (and this is where the previous step becomes important) body producing rapture. I never got further than this. But I think this demonstrates an important principle: that the first 12 steps in the anapanasati sutta are meant to be a gradual progression through the jhanas (preparing, producing or strenghtning the apropriate jhana factor).

Has anyone here found this 12 steps interpretation to be true?
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)


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