Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:00 pm

Sobeh wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:Of course sammāsati is not the same as sammāsamādhi. Sammāsati is the cause for sammāsamādhi to occur (MN 44). The commentary adds that it is the requisite condition. This fully accords with what Dmytro was indicating above.


Alas, it doesn't. He said: "The connection of the first three tetrads of Anapanasati with jhanas...", which I am disproving.

Disproving? It's clearly stated in the Vimuttimagga which Dmytro referred to:

Dmytro wrote:The connection of the first three tetrads of Anapanasati with jhanas is described, for example, in Vimuttimagga, - for eaxample, piti and sukha are understandably connected with the second and third jhanas.


Vimuttimagga Chapter on Mindfulness of Breathing:

    Of these sixteen [steps of ānāpānassati], the first twelve fulfill samatha and vipassanā, and are discerned as impermanence. The last four fulfill only vipassanā. Thus should samatha and vipassanā be understood....

    And again, practice means attaining to a state (of jhāna) through mindfulness of breathing. This is practice. Through this mind­fulness of breathing, one attains to the state which is with initial application of thought. That is the state which is with initial and sustained application of thought, and the state of sustained application of thought. The experiencing of joy is the state of the second jhāna. The experiencing of pleasure is the state of the third jhāna. The experien­cing of the mind is the state of the fourth jhāna.

Thus you're not disproving anything.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:06 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:Disproving? It's clearly stated in the Vimuttimagga which Dmytro referred to:
The Vimuttimagga is a commentarial work. What do the suttas say?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:16 pm

tiltbillings wrote:The Vimuttimagga is a commentarial work. What do the suttas say?

That's already been addressed in this reply and this reply.

All the best,

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:17 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The Vimuttimagga is a commentarial work. What do the suttas say?

That's already been addressed in this reply and this reply.

All the best,

Geoff
If you say so.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:24 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The Vimuttimagga is a commentarial work. What do the suttas say?

That's already been addressed in this reply and this reply.

All the best,

Geoff
If you say so.

The canon says so. Ānāpānassati gives rise to ānāpānassatisamādhi. Closely attending to ānāpānassatisamādhi gives rise to the four jhānas. SN 54.8 Padīpopama Sutta:

    Therefore, monks, if a monk wishes, “May I, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful phenomena, enter and remain in the first jhāna, which includes directed thought and evaluation, as well as joy and pleasure born of seclusion,” this same concentration through mindfulness of breathing should be closely attended to.

    Therefore, monks, if a monk wishes, “May I, with the stilling of directed thought and evaluation enter and remain in the second jhāna, which has internal serene-clarity and unification of mind free from thought and evaluation, and has joy and pleasure born of concentration,” this same concentration through mindfulness of breathing should be closely attended to.

    Therefore, monks, if a monk wishes, “May I, with the fading away of joy, remain equanimous, mindful and fully aware, and experience pleasure with the body; may I enter and remain in the third jhāna of which the noble ones say, ‘Equanimous and mindful, he abides pleasantly,’” this same concentration through mindfulness of breathing should be closely attended to.

    Therefore, monks, if a monk wishes, “May I, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the earlier passing away of happiness and unhappiness, enter and remain in the fourth jhāna, which is without pleasure or pain, and includes the purity of equanimity and mindfulness,” this same concentration through mindfulness of breathing should be closely attended to.


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Kenshou » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:33 pm

I do recall that the Dipa sutta says that if a monk wishes to enter whatever jhana, to quote Thanissaro's translation, "then he should attend carefully to this same concentration through mindfulness of in-&-out breathing.", which is defined in that same sutta as the 16 steps of anapanasati.

In the context of that sutta I don't think it's too farfetched to think that it's saying that jhana is connected to the 16 step anapanasati, which is shown in MN 118 and others to be connected to satipatthana.

I dunno, just throwing that out there.
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Ben » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:33 pm

Hi everyone

I thought the following passage from Ven Analayo might prove useful with regard to the current discussion:

The basic difference between mindfulness of breathing as a samatha or vipassana practice depends on what angle is taken when observing the breath, since emphasis on just mentally knowing the presence of the breath is capable of leading to deep levels of concentration , while emphasis on various phenomena related to the process of breathing does not lead to a unitary type of experience but stays in the realm of variety and of sensory experience, and thus is more geared towards the development of insight. These considerations suggest that the sixteen steps are not solely a concentration practice, but also introduce an insight perspective on the development of mindfulness of breathing.
An examination of the context in which the sixteen steps are taught in the Anapanasati-sutta supports this suggestion. According to the introductory section of the discourse the Buddha's rationale for giving this discourse was to demonstrate to a group of monks, who were already using the breath as a meditation object (possibly as a concentration exercise), how to develop it as a satipatthana.[74]
That is, the Buddha took up the breath as a meditation objec in order to demonstrate how sati can naturally lead from mindfulness of breathing to a comprehensive awareness of feelings, mind and dhammas, and hence to a development of all satipatthanas and to the arising of the seven awakening factors.[75] Thus the main purpose of the Buddha's exposition was to broaden the scope of mindfulness of breathing to awareness of the bodily phenomenon of breath to awareness of feelings, mind and dhammas, and in this way employ it as a means to gain insight. [76]
In view of this it seems reasonable to conclude that the purpose of the sixteen steps of mindfulness of breathing described in the Anapanasati Sutta, and by implication the purpose of the four steps of mindfulness of breathing in the Satipatthana Sutta, is not restricted to the development of concentration, but covers both calm and insight.


[74]M III 78. Cf. also S V 315, where the Buddha introduced a monk, who was already practicing some form of mindfulness of breathing, to the sixteen steps in order to further his practice. Cf. also Debes 1994: p.107
[75]At M III 83 the Buddha relates each tetrad from the sixteen-step scheme to a particular satipatthana, while a M III 87 he provided the relation to the awakening factors. The same correlations occur at S V 323-36. S V 312 moreover relates to mindfulness of breathing to each awakening factor singly.
[76]The insight potential of any of the sixteen steps is described at Patis I 95, which points out that each step can lead to realization. Patis I 178-82 illustrates this potential by relating the first step of mindfulness of breathing (long breath) to experiencing the rise and fall of feelings, cognitions, and thoughts, to the awakening factors, and to the experience of Nibbana. Cf also Nanamoli 1982b:163.

-- Ven. Analayo, (2003), Satipatthana: the direct path to realization, Windhorse, Cambridge UK, p135-6


kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:40 pm

Ben wrote:I thought the following passage from Ven Analayo might prove useful with regard to the current discussion:

The basic difference between mindfulness of breathing as a samatha or vipassana practice depends on what angle is taken when observing the breath, since emphasis on just mentally knowing the presence of the breath is capable of leading to deep levels of concentration , while emphasis on various phenomena related to the process of breathing does not lead to a unitary type of experience but stays in the realm of variety and of sensory experience, and thus is more geared towards the development of insight. These considerations suggest that the sixteen steps are not solely a concentration practice, but also introduce an insight perspective on the development of mindfulness of breathing.


Hi Ben,

I agree. This accords with the second and third approaches which I outlined previously:

    (ii) attention training where one attends to a single object and thereby calms and unifies all mental factors to the point where, as Leigh Brasington explains, “It is possible to examine the experience because the state is so stable and self sustaining on its own.”

    (iii) attention training where one attends to whatever occurs in the present moment (either with the aid of a support object such as abdominal movement, or choiceless awareness without the aid of a support object).

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Hoo » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:44 pm

I have always liked the practical way in which Ajahn Chah was talking about meditation, from his own experience, but very much in line with the Suttas


Thank you Bhikkhu Gavesako for that post. It helps me a lot.

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Ben » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:56 pm

Hi Geoff,
thanks for that. As I've mentioned elsewhere, and privately to some members, I am fascinated with Anapana-sati. Its not my main meditation object and during retreats, I (and my co-retreatants) spend the first third of a retreat practicing the samatha variant. My personal experience of it is of just profound awe. Anyway, something that I have been thinking about with respect to this discussion is the use of the sixteen steps as a progression. On re-reading Analayo, I discovered one of his notes which leads one to believe whether following the sixteen steps is "do-able" as a concentration exercise unless one is in jhana. I reproduce it below for you (or anyone else) to comment upon.
Please note, its not really compliant with this sub-forum as it includes commentarial references:
[68] According to Vism 277 and 287-90, the second and third tetrads are practicable for jhana-attainers only. (Cf also Ehara 1995: p161; and Ledi 1999c:pp.27 and 29.) Vism suggests two alternatives, either actual development of jhana, or insightful contemplation after emergence of jhana. Nevertheless, both of these would only be practicable for someone able to enter absorption. The net result is that, for someone unable to attain jhana, a considerable part of the Buddha's expostion on mindfulness of breathing moves beyond reach. Quite possibly because of this, additional methods came into being for the less proficient in concentration, such as counting the the breaths (cf Vism 278-83 for detailed instructions). Instructions of this type are not found anywhere in the discourses of the Buddha. Though counting the breaths may be helpful for the newcomer to mindfulness of breathing, it does to sme extent constitute a change in the mood of the contemplation, since sustained counting can dull the mind (which is the reason underlying the traditional advice to use counting exercises to conquer insomnia) and also tends to stimulate the conceptual activity of the mind instead of quitening it.

[69] Kheminda 1992:p 5: "The four foundations of mindfulness begin with a serenity (samatha) subject of meditation, namely, mindfulness of in-breathing and out-breathng". Soma 1995:p360: "the placing of the first tetrad of the Anapanasati Sutta at the beginning of the two main Satipatthana Suttas is clear indication of the necessity of at least the first jhana...
-- Analayo, p. 133

kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Vepacitta » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:57 pm

I recall reading (and now I have to sort through my books) that either Aj. Sumedho said (or quoted Aj. Chah as saying) that whether you speak of Samatha Meditation or Vipassana - they each lead to the other. Samatha will lead one to insight - Vippasana will lead one towards concentration and calm.

If I get a moment over the weekend I will try and find it - and make sure I'm remembering that correctly (or not!) as the case may be.

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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:10 pm

Dmytro wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:It might be worth mentioning again that there are basically three approaches to mental development in the context of meditation:

    (i) attention training where one absorbs into a single object and thereby stills all mental factors to the point where, as Ajahn Brahmavamso explains, “Consciousness is so focused on the one thing that the faculty of comprehension is suspended … there is no comprehension of what is going on.”

    (ii) attention training where one attends to a single object and thereby calms and unifies all mental factors to the point where, as Leigh Brasington explains, “It is possible to examine the experience because the state is so stable and self sustaining on its own.”

    (iii) attention training where one attends to whatever occurs in the present moment (either with the aid of a support object such as abdominal movement, or choiceless awareness without the aid of a support object).


Well, apparently my approach is different. It follows the line of Tapussa sutta.

Hi Dmytro,

Glad to see you contributing your knowledge to this discussion. The above is just a general orientation. Granted not with the precision you may prefer, but it was given as a basic outline of three different approaches. I wouldn't consider your approach any different from what I meant by the second approach outlined above.

Dmytro wrote:I'm suspicious of the approaches where one is recommended to just keep the attention on something, since they lead to trance states. Skillful mental qualities require precise work in diagnosis and re-direction of attention.

The second approach isn't developed to induce a trance state.

Dmytro wrote:I don't attend to any single physical object - this would narrow the mind, while the Satipatthana sutta advocates the development of the spacious mind (mahaggatta citta). It's essential here to understand that the focus of the jhana is not a single object, but a certain quality - liquid (water), solid body (earth), plasma (fire), gas (air, as in Anapanasati), or primary colors. In technical terms, concentration need a basis (arammana). And ekaggatta (mistranslated as one-pointedness) is the prevalence of one arammana in the mind, as described in the thread: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5550

I agree. When I refer to "object" in the second approach above I mean "support-object" which is my current working translation of ārammaṇa. With jhāna the ārammaṇa is indeed one totality (kasiṇa) being attended to.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Ben » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:14 pm

Hi V
Vepacitta wrote:I recall reading (and now I have to sort through my books) that either Aj. Sumedho said (or quoted Aj. Chah as saying) that whether you speak of Samatha Meditation or Vipassana - they each lead to the other. Samatha will lead one to insight - Vippasana will lead one towards concentration and calm.

Yes, that is interesting. I came to the conclusion many years ago that they both condition each other. I also had the experience of, during retreat, practicing the samatha variant of anapana and kept on going more and more subtle until it started turning into vipassana practice. Amazing stuff.
kind regards

B
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:52 pm

Greetings,

I suppose the caveat to that though is that samatha existed prior to the Buddha's dispensation and it didn't enlighten anyone, in and of itself.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:01 am

retrofuturist wrote:I suppose the caveat to that though is that samatha existed prior to the Buddha's dispensation and it didn't enlighten anyone, in and of itself.

Indeed!
However...
There is an argument that the samadhi of the Buddha's teachers were not samma-samadhi: Samadhi conditioned by right view.
And this is, where I think, the snake eats its tail...
snake-eats-own-tail.jpg
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Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:01 am

retrofuturist wrote:I suppose the caveat to that though is that samatha existed prior to the Buddha's dispensation and it didn't enlighten anyone, in and of itself.

Hi Retro,

Awakening, just like the full development of ānāpānassati in the second and third tetrads, requires both samatha and vipassanā conjoined as "one taste" (cf. Paṭisambhidāmagga Ānāpānassatikathā). This is also designated in terms of the full development of both the training of heightened mind and heightened discernment.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:23 am

Ben wrote:On re-reading Analayo, I discovered one of his notes which leads one to believe whether following the sixteen steps is "do-able" as a concentration exercise unless one is in jhana.

I don't see anything in the second tetrad of the sutta instructions which would restrict these trainings to only those who have attained jhāna. With practice it's possible in formal sitting meditation to discern some degree of both joy (pīti) and pleasure (sukha) arising together with any pleasurable skillful mind (cf. Dhammasaṅgaṇī Cittuppādakaṇḍa). And with the later commentarial designation of access concentration there will certainly be joy and pleasure present therein.

I'm basing what I've just said on a full spectrum developmental model where practitioners are encouraged to attend and reflect in terms of dynamic conditioned processes, i.e. how to generate optimal causes and conditions for skillful processes to be developed and sustained and unskillful processes to be reduced and eventually abandoned. It's still a hierarchic model, but a dynamic one which confronts and challenges a practitioner's habitual referencing in terms of "things" and rigid, independent levels of mental development.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Sobeh » Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:25 am

Ñāṇa wrote:The canon says so. Ānāpānassati gives rise to ānāpānassatisamādhi. Closely attending to ānāpānassatisamādhi gives rise to the four jhānas. SN 54.8 Padīpopama Sutta...


I read this Sutta as saying that anapanasati leads to the jhanas (among a plethora of other benefits which precede jhana). That's rather obvious throughout the entire Suttapitaka... but that means that the 16 facets of anapanasati lead to the jhanas.

A theme here seems to be to say that a non-jhanic part of anapanasati leads to a jhanic part (1-4 --> 5-16, for example). In other words, somehow sammasati is part jhana, part not. This misses the mark because it is not found in the Suttas. Anapanasati, while leading to jhana, is not itself comprised of jhana. Anapanasati is in fact a specific method of satipatthana. Satipatthana is comprised of form, feeling, mind, and dhamma. Therefore, we can discover whether satipatthana (and therefore anapanasati) is talked about in terms of sammasati or sammasamadhi. From the Maggavibhanga Sutta, SN 45.8:

"And what, monks, is right mindfulness? (i) There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, aware, & mindful — putting away greed & distress with reference to the world. (ii) He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves — ardent, aware, & mindful — putting away greed & distress with reference to the world. (iii) He remains focused on the mind in & of itself — ardent, aware, & mindful — putting away greed & distress with reference to the world. (iv) He remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, aware, & mindful — putting away greed & distress with reference to the world. This, monks, is called right mindfulness.

"And what, monks, is right concentration? (i) There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. (ii) With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. (iii) With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' (iv) With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This, monks, is called right concentration."


It's simply obvious to me, so please take care to explain where my reasoning is flawed.
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Nyana » Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:33 am

Sobeh wrote:Anapanasati, while leading to jhana, is not itself comprised of jhana.

I agree. That's what I just tried to say above.

Sobeh wrote:It's simply obvious to me, so please take care to explain where my reasoning is flawed.

I've never said that right mindfulness is the same as right concentration. Neither has anyone else here as far as I can see. Dmytro, for example, specifically referenced the Vimuttimagga in what he said. It seems to me that you are raising a non-issue.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas

Postby Sobeh » Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:55 am

Ñāṇa wrote:Neither has anyone else here as far as I can see. Dmytro, for example, specifically referenced the Vimuttimagga in what he said. It seems to me that you are raising a non-issue.


Well, I hear and read anapanasati being described in various places by various people with reference to the jhanas being integral to the practice of anapanasati. Two such references are in this thread, for example, one being the Vimuttimagga.

Therefore, on account of anapanasati being described incorrectly when described this way, I find the issue I am raising quite germane to the thread. Perhaps it's obvious, and I'm charging in here like a child to tell you all about discovering something amazing called "the mailbox", but for a long time in my practice I was under the impression that one sat on the first tetrad until jhana, whereupon one explored the other anapanasati tetrads solely within a jhana state. This is simply false, and it is all I am trying to show.
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