Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and scriptures.
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Ceisiwr
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Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra

Post by Ceisiwr »

This text explores meditation methods and explanations as found in the Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra, including mindfulness of breathing among others. Interesting to note that for the Sarvāstivādins the Jhānā are also experiences devoid of the 5 senses.
Methods of spiritual praxis in the Sarvāstivāda:
A Study Primarily Based on the Abhidharma-mahāvibhāṣā
https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/d ... 1&type=pdf
“When serenity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Lust is abandoned.”

“When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Wisdom is developed. And when wisdom is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned."


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Coëmgenu
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Re: Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra

Post by Coëmgenu »

Where in the paper does it explain that the Sarvāstivādins believe in dhyāna without vision, hearing, and tactile sensation? First dhyāna has all of these according to how Abhidharmakośakārikā characterizes the Vaibhāṣika teachings.
Seated in solitude, the body and the mind are made calm and pure.
Moved by serenity, they act for each others' salvation.
The nature of the mind, like this, is alien to all corruption
when the body, as it should, sits at peace.

(T848.46b23 Vairocana Sūtra)
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra

Post by Ceisiwr »

Coëmgenu wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 6:01 pm Where in the paper does it explain that the Sarvāstivādins believe in dhyāna without vision, hearing, and tactile sensation? First dhyāna has all of these according to how Abhidharmakośakārikā characterizes the Vaibhāṣika teachings.
A slight mistake on my part. It is in reference to the Arthaviniścaya Sūtra and its commentary:
The Arthaviniścaya sūtra describes the attainment of the first dhyāna as follows:

Here, monks, a monk aloof from sense desires and aloof from evil and unwholesome thoughts attains the first meditation born of aloofness and accompanied by initial thought and sustained thought, and he attains the first meditation with rapture and joy and abides there.9

The above description indicates that the first dhyāna is attained by keeping oneself aloof (vivikta) from “sense desires” and “evil and unwholesome
thoughts” (pāpaka-s and akuśaladharma-s, respectively). This suggests that the meditator who is in the realm of sensuality (kāma-dhātu), being free from the latent defilements (anuśaya-s) such as lust generated in this realm, can attain the first dhyāna. He is also free from thoughts that are akuśala, such as malice (pratighādi).10

The first meditation is born from aloofness, which requires subduing the five hindrances (nīvarana-s). The meditator still has initial (savitarka) and sustained (savicāra) thought. In addition, he has rapture (prīti), that is, mental pleasure and joy, specifically, joy of tranquility (praśrabdhi-sukha). The ASC notes that both rapture and joy signify only lightness of the mind, which is not the joy of feeling (vedanā-sukha) or joy of mentality, because bodily joy is not possible owing to the absence of the five categories of consciousness in the meditation, and mental joy is not possible owing to the fact that rapture cannot coexist with joy. To summarize, the first dhyāna comprises: initial thought (reasoning), sustained thought (investigation), rapture, joy and concentration.
Page 321-322
“When serenity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Lust is abandoned.”

“When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Wisdom is developed. And when wisdom is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned."


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Re: Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra

Post by Ceisiwr »

Interestingly, in "Abhidharmakosa Study" I found this:
Samadhi 三摩地,定: Concentration, meditation (lit: ―putting together‖) [D22]. Samadhi is the unity of the object with the mind (cittaikagrata)[II.24], this is the dharma by virtue of which the mind, in an uninterrupted series, remains on an object [VIII.1]. Vaibhasikas teach samadhi as a mental factor present in all minds, but because of its weakness, it is not that all minds are concentrated. Samadhi as a dharma is a distinct force: ―What is called samadhi is a certain dharma by which the minds are concentrated, applied on a single object.‖ Further, ―Samadhi causes the second mind to not be distracted or turned aside from the object of the first mind.‖ In the Bhasya, the Sautrantikas criticize the Vaibhasika view of samadhi: ―The Sautrantikas say that the minds which have the same object constitute samadhi: samadhi does not exist separately.‖
This suggests an absorbed based meditation.
“When serenity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Lust is abandoned.”

“When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Wisdom is developed. And when wisdom is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned."


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Re: Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra

Post by Coëmgenu »

See vol 4 pages 1239-1241 reproduced here. The post I link you to incorrectly identifies that passage as having Sautrāntika views outlined but I correct that later. Ven Vasubandhu could always be just plain wrong. I don't know if concerning dhyāna was one of the objections Ven Samghabhadra had to Kośakārikā.
Seated in solitude, the body and the mind are made calm and pure.
Moved by serenity, they act for each others' salvation.
The nature of the mind, like this, is alien to all corruption
when the body, as it should, sits at peace.

(T848.46b23 Vairocana Sūtra)
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra

Post by Ceisiwr »

Coëmgenu wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 6:37 pm See vol 4 pages 1239-1241 reproduced here. The post I link you to incorrectly identifies that passage as having Sautrāntika views outlined but I correct that later. Ven Vasubandhu could always be just plain wrong. I don't know if concerning dhyāna was one of the objections Ven Samghabhadra had to Kośakārikā.
Interestingly it does reference DN 15, or the northern equivalent, but instead of drawing the conclusion of 1 perception for the 1st and 3rd Jhana it seems to go in another direction. If I remember correctly the agama states the same as DN 15, which has 1 perception only at the 1st Jhana. This would naturally contradict the idea that normal senses are functioning in said attainment.
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“When serenity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Lust is abandoned.”

“When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Wisdom is developed. And when wisdom is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned."


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Re: Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra

Post by Coëmgenu »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 6:47 pm
Coëmgenu wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 6:37 pmSee vol 4 pages 1239-1241 reproduced here. The post I link you to incorrectly identifies that passage as having Sautrāntika views outlined but I correct that later. Ven Vasubandhu could always be just plain wrong. I don't know if concerning dhyāna was one of the objections Ven Samghabhadra had to Kośakārikā.
Interestingly it does reference DN 15, or the northern equivalent, but instead of drawing the conclusion of 1 perception for the 1st and 3rd Jhana it seems to go in another direction.
Are you talking about the section at the end with the eight vimoksas?
Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Apr 17, 2021 6:47 pmIf I remember correctly the agama states the same as DN 15, which has 1 perception only at the 1st Jhana.
I'm looking at the DĀ text right now with the translation by Reverend Shōhei Ichimura, but it has "transcend[ing] form ideations 度色想" and "annihilated sensory reaction[s] 滅有對想不念雜想" (Vol II p. 38 BDK edition) when the yogin "abides in the first formless state 住空處," not at the first dhyāna. The translation by Reverend Ichimura is "dynamic" to its own detriment, IMO. For instance, he translates "namarupa" as "a mental and physical process" (Vol II p. 24). Also, I am not the only one to complain about these particular translations: http://agamaresearch.dila.edu.tw/a-new- ... a-taisho-1.
Seated in solitude, the body and the mind are made calm and pure.
Moved by serenity, they act for each others' salvation.
The nature of the mind, like this, is alien to all corruption
when the body, as it should, sits at peace.

(T848.46b23 Vairocana Sūtra)
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Re: Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra

Post by Coëmgenu »

So I see now that you are reading "uniformity of ideas" as experience of the dhyāna without smṛti and other factors, as in the earlier posted picture of the momentary process that links the first jhāna absorption with the second in the Pāli tradition. The uniformity of ideas prevents reflexive self-awareness and smṛti that one is actually in the dhyāna while one is in it. Smṛti of the dhyānas is retrospective, as in the greater Pāli tradition generally. I don't know how "uniformity of ideas" is interpreted here in Kośakārikā. Ven Innen got back to me with respect to seeing while using an auditory kṛtsna, and he stated that there is no ekāgratā in the first dhyāna, meaning that at some point the Tendai tradition began to conceive of the first dhyāna as "unabsorbed," to hijack and use your terms. Interestingly, this directly contradicts the teaching of the founder of the Tiantai school Ven Zhiyi who stated that the five factors of first dhyāna were vitarka, vicāra, prīti, sukha, and ekāgratā and this is while considering ekāgratā not to be a universal caitasika. Unrelated trivia: he also separates vitarka and vicāra into two separate factors that are both absent in second dhyāna.

Interestingly, way back on page one of the Jhana and Early Mahayana thread, the Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa quotes a gāthā from a dhyānasūtra that states that "An absorption where concentration is very strong/ Is calm and free of smṛti." This happens at the description of the second dhyāna and entrance into the third dhyāna.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Sun Apr 18, 2021 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
Seated in solitude, the body and the mind are made calm and pure.
Moved by serenity, they act for each others' salvation.
The nature of the mind, like this, is alien to all corruption
when the body, as it should, sits at peace.

(T848.46b23 Vairocana Sūtra)
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Re: Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra

Post by Pondera »

Third jhana:

“... he experiences with pleasure with the body ...”

:shrug:
“Monk, the property of light, the property of beauty, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of space, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the property of the dimension of nothingness: These properties are to be reached as perception attainments.[2] The property of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception is to be reached as a remnant-of-fabrications attainment. The property of the cessation of feeling & perception is to be reached as a cessation attainment."[3]

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
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Re: Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra

Post by Coëmgenu »

Look on pages 126-8. There is some very different stuff there. The Northern tradition has "sati" as a universal caitasika present in all of the dhyanas. This is despite that dhyanasutra saying that when concentration is strong, sati is absent. This makes me think that the Dhyanasutra that the Mahaprajnaparamitopadesa was commenting on was possibly non-Sarvastivadin.
Seated in solitude, the body and the mind are made calm and pure.
Moved by serenity, they act for each others' salvation.
The nature of the mind, like this, is alien to all corruption
when the body, as it should, sits at peace.

(T848.46b23 Vairocana Sūtra)
Pulsar
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Re: Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra

Post by Pulsar »

An excerpt from the dissertation:
  • We may in fact understand that these four dhyānas constituted the original meditational praxis innovated by the historical Buddha.
  • Johannes Bronkhorst concludes that these four dhyānas constituted the authentic Buddhist meditation.
  • 5 Other modern scholars, such as Yin Shun, 6 have also highlighted them as being the meditations stressed by the Buddha himself.
this is amazing!  What i always believed, (hence my jhana thread).
Dearest Ceisiwr: you are just wonderful, for locating this, and sharing it with all of us.
It is a cause for celebration!
There is so much to discuss here, it is good that Coëmgenu is here.
Let us hope we will have peaceful discussions, without violating the precept of Right speech, and
remembering always that we are in the house of the Buddha.
The title should be not only
Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra
but should also be
meditation according to the Noble Tenfold/eightfold path
With love :candle:
Last edited by Pulsar on Mon Apr 19, 2021 6:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra

Post by Pulsar »

Coëmgenu wrote
The Northern tradition has "sati" as a universal caitasika present in all of the dhyanas. This is despite that dhyanasutra saying that when concentration is strong, sati is absent. This makes me think that the Dhyanasutra that the Mahaprajnaparamitopadesa was commenting on was possibly non-Sarvastivadin.
This is interesting, stuff like caitasika, it is unlike Buddha coined that. What I read is that Buddha taught in down to earth language, so much so that, when he travelled he used the language of the local people to teach the Dhamma.
I was able to understand the subtle nuances of Dhamma only when I simplified the way I thought, down to bare bones English. I hardly use Pali, unlesss it is essential. Of course it is nice to know Chinese and Pali.

You wrote
This is despite that dhyanasutra saying that when concentration is strong, sati is absent.
This depends on one's definition of the word "Sati" right? Have you explored the literature trying to understand what "sati" is? My take is that sati perfected is found in the domain of the Arahant, or in the 4th jhana, transiently.
I don't think Buddha used words like universal caitasika, it is found in the basket of Abhidhamma.
When people say stuff like phassa or vedana is a universal caitasika they create endless puzzles for the man on the street.
Buddha's target was the man or woman on the street like you and I, originally unenlightened.
Words like Sarvastivadin and non-sarvastivadin are really confusing. I tried to locate where Theravadins originated from? So many differing opinions....Finally I muttered "Good luck to myself"
To me there is Buddha and his teachings,
and if we interpret it right,
we win the lottery, or else are forever condemned to Samsara. I meant to point out a pleasant surprise. Usually abhidhamma is considered to be an intellectual approach, but the abstract to this dissertation points out,
This thesis is based on the hypothesis that Abhidharma is intrinsically concerned with spiritual praxis realization, and that the Abhidharma-mahāvibhāṣā, the supreme authority for the orthodox Sarvāstivādins, provides details of all the fundamental methods of Buddhist meditation, together with their doctrinal basis.
Be well :candle:
PS Everything here is said with not the slightest hint of malice esp. lately I detect signs of malice here and there. I am sure these were not intentional. First and foremost i honor the teachings of Buddha, and I am sure it is like this with you.
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Re: Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra

Post by confusedlayman »

samadhi or dhyana or jhana is devoid of 5 sense... reach this level and dont settle for anything lower .. just because u cant reach this doesn't mean the ancients are wrong... if u have at least faith that jhana is 5 sense devoid abosportion then with that if u practice u can reach the same state .. the ancient monks surely follow precept of non-lie so if they teach something it is really true..
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
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Re: Meditation According to the Abhidharma Mahāvibhāṣa Śāstra

Post by Pulsar »

Confusedlayman wrote
samadhi or dhyana or jhana is devoid of 5 sense
This is the Forum on early buddhism. Does the dissertation on Mahavibhasa sastra say this? on which page?
The wording is unclear without the context.
You wrote
just because u cant reach this doesn't mean the ancients are wrong
Again what exactly do you mean by devoid of 5 senses?
Do you mean at that point the meditator goes blind and deaf?
for a blind man does not see forms and a deaf man does not hear sounds. Do you include the Buddha
among the ancients?
I imagine you understand the Four Establishments of Mindfulness, because this needs to be clearly
understood and practiced before the practice of Buddhist Samadhi, i.e. if you are following the sequence of the 8-fold path. What happens in the first establishment of mindfulnesss? How does the meditator
stop the entry of sounds at that point? what does stopping sound mean? going deaf?
I am merely trying to clarify, because folks put much emphasis on sound in Jhana, which Buddha
did not. Perhaps in one sutta, i.e. Mahaparinibbana sutta, but that was written long after Buddha
was gone. Is it not possible that some ancients misunderstood Buddha?
Were the ancients always right? right like SteRo? You wrote elsewhere that SteRo inspires
you, but you do not understand what he says?
With love :candle:
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