Jhana

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
Pulsar
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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

An intriguing passage! it is about a painter's products. 
It writes, 'A painter's products', they stand before us as if they are alive. But if you question them, they maintain a most majestic silence.
It is the same with written words,
they seem to talk to you as though they were full of wisdom, but if you ask them anything about what they say from a desire to be influenced, they go on telling you just the same thing.
I thought this was applicable to the way we relate to the sutta pitaka. We try to understand how to free ourselves from distress, by reading the canon, or we talk about these things endlessly.
Take the case of a recipe, by reading a recipe or talking about it, over and over again? that dinner is not going to appear, but if we gather the ingredients skin the lemon, grate the cheese and stir the pot on a hot stove??
you have begun the process, and making some headway.
  • BuddhaDhamma is like this, it is a recipe.
At the beginning willpower, energy, and conviction is paramount, the faith that this recipe will work.
Then the gathering of thought, unification, the playful mindfulness, samadhi, iddhipada, and so on. 
Or consider a goldsmith, she prepares the furnace, heats up the crucible, takes some gold with a tong (wholesome factors) places in the crucible.
From time to time, she blows on it (exertion), from time to time sprinkles water over it (samadhi, 1st-4th jhana), and from time to time just looks on (Equanimity). Eventually the filigree jewellery!
Suttas on the goldsmith,  AN 3.101 and AN 3.102 https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN3_102.html
I am sure sometimes the goldsmith gets it wrong, when she is distracted. and has to start over again. She does not give up.
Over exerted energy leads to restlessness, laziness results from too much samadhi, these are pitfalls of the 8th fold path too. One has to get the path right. One cannot read it, and decide "i will do steps
1-6 and skip steps 7 and 8" That is foolish.
 
You have to do the dry runs of the entire path, even when you are not sure, the first step "Right view" requires a lot of patience, even if you don't get it right entirely, maybe you got 1/10th right.
At least you are convinced of Rebirth and Kamma, and you are convinced that when things arise they condition other things, just as we can infer that what is happening right now, will condition the future (that what we think, and do, and speak have repercussions), hence the constant mindfulness. 

Conditionality or DO does not disappear, until what is causing the conditions vanishes. The goal of the 8-fold path is to do away with conditioning, ending our distress. The practice of 8-fold path, is not limited to a long or a short time of a given day, on a cushion, but weaves through the livelong day, via every activity. 
Sure there are lapses, 8-fold path cannot be built in a day, it is more sophisticated than what is taught at Insight Meditation centers. 
True teaching is something sustainable once you leave the retreat, or the cushion. If it does not sustain, that means the practice is flawed. It is not the fault of the teaching. 
Sometimes listen to the Reverends Thanissaro, Sona, Sujatho, Brahmali, but not always. Not everything they say may be right for you, but they are excellent teachers, each in his own way. They are also human with the typical human fallibilities, that makes them more endearing. 
They are way better than the teachers whose meditation instruction directs you away from the 8-fold path, esp the 4 buddhist jhanas.
Return to the suttas, once more, and see whether that listening clarified what the suttas say. What do the suttas say? Suttas recurrently talk about blissfulness, happiness, an island of safety, that is exactly what we seek.
  • Nibbana, the Third Noble Truth? How to retrieve? all within this 6 foot frame?
 The third truth is the only reality.
  • Suffering or distress spoken of in the first truth vanished.
  • What props up our unrealities?
What props up "I"?, or things by which identification is constructed?. Identification is the unreality which we have to grapple with endlessly. Mara is in a continuous battle, to make us believers of "I". As you battle the Mara of unreality, the
  • 'Doer' gets out of the way.
Freedom opens up.
Cruelty leaves, asubha leaves, the auspicious remains. The process becomes smooth and sublime, as the stages advance.
Some poets of the canon identify these as heavenly realms. Now you are the god of Streaming radiance, and now the one of Refulgent glory,  and so on and so forth.
These refer to manifestations of levels of Samadhi. (4 buddhist jhanas). Samadhi manifests in an ascending gladness (pamojja) of joy (piti), of rapture (sukha) and of tranquility (Pasadhi).
Notice how some of these terms are common to 4 Buddhist jhanas and the Awakening factors. One cannot put awakening factors in one box, breath in another box, and 4 aspects of mindfulness in another box. Samadhi is about bringing awakening factors into fruition.
The reference to a recipe? If you are the chef of the 8-fold path, and you have followed the instructions for the recipe of buddhist happiness, you are almost there, but almost doesn't count, so you have to keep repeating the things you think you got right, in the previous dry run.
Sometimes you glimpse Nibbana, sometimes you fall flat on your face.
But this is OK,  Rome was not built in a day.
With love  :candle:
Pulsar
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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

This thread is about jhana, the term used specifically in early buddhist meditation of the Pali canon for 4 buddhist absorptions, or Samma Samadhi or 'the right samadhi'
Formless meditations are totally different from these. In Parayanavagga and Atthakavagga considered closed while buddha was living, Pingiya recites in Sn1148
I see him in my mind, as if with my eyes,
day and night, being diligent,
I spend the night honoring him,
therefore i think there is no separation from him. My faith, joy, mindfulness do not deviate from Gotama's dispensation,
wherever the one abounding in wisdom goes,
I bow down in that direction.
The Buddha in Sn 10.42
The streams which are found in the world,
O Ajitha, said the Blessed One,
Mindfulness holds them
back:
(what is this mindfulness Buddha is referring to here?
nothing else but Samma sati and Samma Samadhi spelled out in 8-fold path)
I will proclaim the restraint of the senses;
by understanding they might be blocked;
It is the kind of mindfulness which is required to restrain the senses.
It is not an on cushion thing, in the sense once you leave the cushion that mindfulness ends.

Brief spells of these, are joyful and sublime, they spill over to the activities of the rest of the day.
They transform one's conduct, over time, like the wasting away of Adze handle,
not immediately visible, but noticeable over time.
https://suttacentral.net/sn22.101/en/bodhi

The 4 jhanas! i recall Sujatho saying these are the ones of the garden variety.
A. Wynne says these are not the formless, that were called jhana later, arupas were not called jhana in the Pali canon.

Some think "jhanas' are attainments" far above ordinary reach.
That is misrepresenting Buddha. Buddha himself admitted that as a 7 yr old, under a rose apple tree, he had slipped into the first jhana, and did not think much of it for the longest time, ie until the night of his awakening. 
So pl. do not think of them as hard, the genuine jhanas have nothing to do with formless samapatti, which may be hard for all i care? ascetic practice? but Buddha steered his followers away from these.

For Buddha 
  • jhana begins with Right view, proceeding through Right sankalpa, etc to dislocate the suffering of samsara, arising through Dependent Origination, within the being
  • May we all have the strength to reverse the dependent origination of suffering
through practices that are simple, down to earth, garden variety sort.
First step is to brush the dust off our eyes.
It is a rainy morning here, leaves turned crimson and gold, something auspicious!
With love  :candle:
Pulsar
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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

The Parayana, is the 5th and final chapter of Sutta Nipata, consists of framing a story and 16 sections in each of which the Buddha answers the questions of the students of elder brahmin Bavari. 
The Verses from the Parayana are cited and explained elsewhere in AN, SN, and MN. This testifies to its antiquity. It must have existed as an independent work before being incorporated into Sutta nipata.

It was said by the Blessed one in Parayana, in the questions of Brahmin student Tissa Metteyya.
Having understood both ends 
The wise one does not get stuck in the middle
I call him a great man;
He has transcended the seamstress.
  Sn1042
What is the first end? second end? What is in the middle? And what is the seamstress?
Examined in the simplest possible way, (without inserting a variety of non-essential data), so the dhamma becomes immediately visible, and not taking into account this lifetime and other lifetime, so if you are a disbeliever in rebirth you can still subscribe to this dhamma.
Seamstress is craving based on the following
  •  "I-made by views, 
    mine made by craving, 
    and the underlying tendency to conceit"
Arahant is not married to the seamstress. An Ordinary person has defilements in relation to oneself and others.
Seamstress emanates from these.
As long as one is unskillful, the seamstress will insert herself in and stitch the object (outer shape, color) to the subject (sense base), inappropriately.
The contact (phassa), made therein, leads to vedana, sanna ending in  Papanca, reinforcing samsaric consciousness of an "I"
In the arahant contact happens leading to feeling and perception, but these are not colored by above defilements. Vedana and Sanna appear and disappear. In this context, being linked to the seamstress obstructs our spiritual progress.
Samma samadhi (4 buddhist jhanas) are a way of avoiding the seamstress. Another excerpt from the same series and the beauty of the wording.
Is there anyone who can understand the alternatives
without getting stuck in his thinking between them?
Who is there, who is not caught up in the patchwork world
of greed?
Sn 1040
above is a query from the interlocutor. 
There is a person who is not full of agitation,
answered the Buddha
It is the one whose actions, in a sensuous world,
are pure and good.
He does not have the thirst of craving,
he never loses mindfulness,
and he has by his own decision, become extinguished,
calm.
With love  🌷
Pulsar
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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

An amazing and startling teaching found in the canon is the words to Bahia, which lead to Bahia's immediate realization of Nibbana. He had been meditating most of his life, with the intent of deliverance. Bahia thought he was the Arahant.  
'He was Not'
alerted a friendly deva. Bahia seeks the Buddha, who by voicing just a few lines with 'Anatta' in-built, enables Bahia to cross the flood of craving/suffering. 
"Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus:
In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard,
only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed.
In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself
When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen,
only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed,
only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya,
there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, 
  • there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two.
This, just this, is the end of stress."
What the brief teaching refers to is that things happen in the world of senses
generating sights, sounds, cognitions,
(according to our kamma, asava and ignorance, Mara misleading us) but there is no one in the midst of it, no one the cognizer, no witness.
Most of the sutta pitaka conveys the same message in a variety of ways, with many more words.
"The training involved", that enables one to enter the  truth of Anatta?
DO reveals how a 'self' is born, and 8-fold path reveals the dissemination of self, the crucial steps being the 7th (SN 47.42) and the 4 jhanas, the 8th step.
"The training involved" means just this!I guess Bahia did not have to hear of Paticca samuppada, nor of the 8-fold path, as such.
For that lucky one, so far advanced in meditation, just a sweet nudge does the trick. 
Many suttas of the Pitaka repeat the message of anatta. When the bells and whistles of transmission are removed, it is clear. Failure to pay the right attention to the suttas, makes us think otherwise.

In SN 35. 95 in advice to Malunkyaputta, Buddha repeats the same instruction in detail, however. Malunkyaputta required more time and more instruction. Instant realization was not available to him, he was less advanced than Bahia.
Same notion appears repeatedly in the suttas of the Parayanavagga, and other sections of the canon. To bring you a few examples, in case it did not strike you in the past.
MN 1 Mulapariyaya sutta, sections 19-20.
perceiving the seen as the seen....cognized as cognized
(staying away from placing oneself in the midst, by doing away with conceiving)
MN 51 Kandaraka sutta section16.
On seeing a form with the eye.... on cognizing a mind object ....he does not grasp at its signs and features.
(signs and features are the nimittas released, and underlying tendencies triggered at phassa/contact)
In MN 112 Chabbisodhana sutta Section 4.
"Regarding the seen as the seen, heard as the heard, ...cognized as the cognized, i abide unattracted, unrepelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated"
This is a unique sutta, truths concisely presented. Agama version corrects the error found in the Pali version.
AN 11.1 Sandha sutta
Perception has disappeared, in relation to whatever is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, reached, sought after and examined by the mind,
implies 'get rid of the papanca aspect of consciousness' the view forming aspect, via objectless meditation.
Anatta is presented in a different light, in each case.
  • Brilliance of Buddha!
a different unseemly feature created by ingrained anatta, is brought out. All suttas where Buddha says There is no "I", what he intends is
there is the seen, but no one to be seen, no one to see.
People immersed in ignorance have a hard time digesting this.
Buddha's advice to his son Rahula "that there is no I" in the past, in the future, and the present feelings, perceptions etc." incline towards the same notion,
that there is the seen, heard, sensed, cognized, without a self
 
Anatta is brought to plain daylight.
That anatta,
is the sadness of life,
also leads to the fleetingness of life. 
  • Dhamma can only be seen when you still the mind, when you get rid of the ego, in a posture of humility
Four establishments of mindfulness and 4 jhanas are tailored to this end. That everywhere and anywhere, all that Buddha  was trying to say, was
  • 'we are born to a vast sensosphere,  due to craving and kamma. In repeated birthing, the culprit of our suffering is the insertion of "I" and clutching of that "I", hoping  "'I"' will become real"
But only reality is Nibbana.
Instead of letting go of the seen, heard, sensed and cognized, we revel in these, bring "I" or the vulnerable ego into birth,  and hence we suffer.
  • We fail to see the cause of our suffering is our failure to heed the advice of Buddha.
 Buddha claims in Mahavagga.
'This that through many toils I've known?
By folk with lust and hate consumed; The dhamma is not understood-
Subtle, deep difficult to see delicate. 
Unseen it will be by passion's slaves, cloaked in the murk
of ignorance.
 
With love  :candle:
Pulsar
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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

Analysis of Dependent Co-arising, SN 12.2 Paticca-Samuppada-Vibhanga Sutta:
Excerpt: wording is modified, for the sake of creative thinking, it is of paramount importance, to know how things originate? how come we are here? 
Returning to the sutta: 
And what is name-&-form? Feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention: This is called Nama or Dhamma.  Form is made up of the borrowed elements, earth, fire, fluid and air.
 At death they are returned, blood, flesh, and bones vanish in sequence, each returning to its own source. None moves over to the next life. Residues of Nama/dhamma or intentions move over from one life to another.
nama-&-rupa, or let us call them dhamma-&-rupa to indicate that it is different from what was implied by nama-and-rupa that prevailed before the Buddha (of vedic or upanishadic sort, or non-Buddha sort)
Why stress the distinction?
terminology in the canon creates confusion for some. A confused mind is unable to follow DO. If you take the wrong step first, Budddha's unique teaching leads to sad and useless mental proliferation. Four buddhist jhanas, is the thrust of this thread, these do not make sense, if DO is misconceived.
Nama-&-rupa was in use before Buddha's time.
 
It is well known that Buddha borrowed terms to express his own teaching in previously unforeseen ways. Dependent origination was what Buddha woke up to. (People say things like Jesus was enlightened, Ramanuja was enlightened, I am not talking about that kind of enlightenment) 
crux of the issue:
  • Consciousness gives rise to dhamma-rupa. If it does not, consciousness falls apart, signifying the death of consciousness,
(deathless). Samsara comes to a standstill, a good thing, right?
  • An Arahant stops regenerating nama-rupa/dhamma-rupa in the DO sense.There are no dependencies in the Arahant that lead to suffering
A glitch here? not really. Let us recall what nama/dhamma is 
it is Feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention.
  • This does not include consciousness.
SN 12.2 Nama in dhamma-rupa or nama-rupa as many call it, does not include consciousness.
  • Also consider intention, a component of nama, is not found in the arhant
Nama-rupa or dhamma-rupa that lacks intention/papanca, does not lead to the consciousness of DO, as found in the formula
  • Consciousness ---->nama-rupa
If you understand consciousness as outlined, you see that the Arahant is free of becoming. (Don't think of consciousness as classified in the 5 aggregates, it tends to trip us.) Although Nama aka mentality in general speech includes consciousness, in DO nama does not include consciousness.
Arahant does not resort to the consciousness mentioned in formula, nama-rupa----->consciousness, 
  • Since s/he cannot create a viable nama-rupa, Cycle of DO is broken.
Some Suttas say 
"Kill consciousness"
what does it mean? It means kill the sinful tendencies. If you kill the sinful tendences/intention, consciousness is not regenerated, hence Becoming(bhava) is ended.
Becoming or Bhava is a link/nidana that makes DO viable.
Buddha lived, arahants lived without dying, (the ordinary might puzzle "How so"). DN 1 writes
'Arahants are removed from the tree of becoming'
 
What is the tree of becoming? It is the sinful tendencies that enable the consciousness to regenerate, nama-and-rupa or  dhamma-and- rupa.
Paticca-samuppada has to be analysed  with an extraordinary or astonishing mind set. Intention acts as the vehicle to generate kamma. 
Keep in mind that some suttas say
consciousness is housed within rupa, phassa, vedana, sanna, sankhara
If one of these houses is broken, consciousness cannot thrive. In the Arahant house of Sankhara is dismantled. Don't forget.
Also remember MN 18 (Madhupindika),
if you proceed beyond phassa, vedana, sanna,
you've lost the battle, Birthing of sankhara makes view formation posible, a by product of Papanca, a problem.
You don't want that.
  • Thought should not trend towards making sankara or papanca.
Steps 7 (SN 46.42) and, step 8, of 8-fold path, when rightly executed, brings freedom.
It is as simple as that. What brings one to Samma samadhi or 4 buddhist jhanas?
steps one to seven of 8-fold path.
Path spirally ascends as one advances.The More you practice 4 buddhist jhanas, the more you refine the steps 1-7 of the path, such as right view, right intention, right speech etc.
As Samadhi advances, so does wisdom, as wisdom progresses virtue advances, in a cyclical fashion.
With love  :candle:
PS For those who are unfamiliar with Ramanuja, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramanuja.
Nama-Rupa and Dharma-Rupa: Origins and Aspects of an Ancient Indian Conception:  Maryla Falk
Pulsar
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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

Aromatic rings, resonance and so forth, leading to jhana. 
Continuing with the last comment, still on dependent origination. Those who tend to be playful, can imagine the sequence of links in DO, similar to a superimposition. 
Imagine a benzene ring where two forms are resonating, the double bonded and single bonded superimposed.
Each carbon-carbon bond in benzene, is neither a double nor a single, yet to explain this to the novice we have to use some tricks, using single bonds and double bonds.
Now imagine the
  • nama-rupa ---->consciousness------> nama-rupa series,
     superimposed over the cycling of impulses from sense base contact---->feeling---->sanna
    ---->sankhara----->craving--->being.
This is an ongoing activity as long as one is deluded.
This impulse transmission from sense bases leads to sinful tendency or Papanca, only when the nama rupa cycle is superimposed. (ie nama-rupa ---->consciousness------> nama-rupa)
What happens in the 4 buddhist jhanas?
By diverting attention at the point of contact away from the sensory world, craving for sense objects at a later point is avoided. This deactivates the short cycle that is superimposed.
it is the goal of the 4 buddhist jhanas, to stop the arising of suffering, due to craving, even if it be short term.
This gives the mind a holiday,  away from the interruptions of the sensory world.
Mind may now lodge in a peaceful state from which it emerges with an awesome equanimity.
Make sense? If it makes sense to you, you will realize the importance of jhana,
its role being to avoid Sankhara,
(blocking sinful tendency) In MN 18 this process is explained in detail, the Arahant's thought process proceeds only up until the point of sanna. In the Arahant, the Nama-rupa cycle is not superimposed, it is done away with. The Sage's feelings and perceptions upon contact with sense bases, rise and fall away, without leading to cumulative effects.
S/he is not interacting with the sensory world in a kamma generating fashion.
Buddha had a dream on the night of awakening.
He dreamt of Arahants walking on fields of sewage without getting smeared by these.
Jhana lets you simulate this walk, even though for a short period. Just imagine what practice of jhana could accomplish.
Sunday morning thoughts, a happy one to you!
With love  :candle:
Pulsar
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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

This holy life is a beverage of cream. It is by the supreme that the supreme is attained
SN 12.22. What does the sutta mean? commentary writes, there are 3 types of beverage, to be sipped constantly. 
  • 1. The cream of teachings, 4 noble truths and the aids to awakening
I would add Paticca samuppada, 
  • 2. The cream of recipients i.e. disciples capable of understanding the teachings.
  • 3 The cream of holy life of living 'The Noble eight-fold path'
Having made an energetic effort, one should drink this cream, even though the teacher is not here now, his teachings live in the Dhamma, and the Noble Sangha. The Cream is flavored with four Establishments of mindfulness and Four buddhist jhanas, not the so-called Arupas.
Arouse your energy for the achievement of the as-yet unattained with the thought,
"we have not come this far in vain"
To understand the 4th Jhana, concisely, Atthakavagga, helps. Sn 4.11 has not been worked on by later generations of Sangha, who introduced teachings other than that of the Buddha into the canon. New suttas were written up until 500 years after the Founder's passing away.  
The seemingly disorganized and unrefined structure  of Sn 4.11 is a blessing in disguise. Kalahaviveda reads like a beautiful poem, but if the listener pauses and pays attention, without being seduced by the poetry, buried within the  poetry is
'the way to the beyond'
 https://www.suttareadings.net/audio/snp.4.11.ctpl.mp3 Its improvised presentation is clear evidence that subsequent sangha left it untouched.
We each must reflect on it and extract its message. That can only be accomplished by the one who is ready for the task. Refine Dhammanupassana and the final phase of Samma Samadhi, AKA four buddhist jhanas. 
Right knowledge (wisdom) is thus revealed and right deliverance (peace) gained (MN 117) only when the wrong practices (such as Arupas, and wrong sati) are given up.
The beverage of cream is put together, in such a manner.
  • One might call it the holy smoothie
but it is not available on a roadside stand. One capable of serene seclusion only, can achieve this task. It helps to meditate on the different translations of this sutta found on SC, by different authors, in different languages, French, Italian, Portuguese, Sinhalese etc. Each one helps to refine the understanding. http://suttacentral.net/snp4.11/#11
With love  :candle:
PS One comment cannot do justice to a sutta as magnificent as this, where Buddha outlines the essence of DO and path to the non-generation of recurrent longing in our hearts, whether that longing is for a view, a hatred, a love or a cruelty.
Pulsar
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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

Quarrels and Disputess, brings us to Dependent origination at the very beginning of its formulation, short, concise and to the point, a point missed by many.
https://www.suttareadings.net/audio/snp.4.11.ctpl.mp3
Perhaps some of the Sangha who transmitted the founder's teaching, missed the point too. 
  • The point of DO was to outline the process of mental proliferation, this inexorable spring of asavas
(also translated as volitions, fabrications, mental dispositions, choices, papanca) that occur within us. 
Mental proliferation or Papanca is the mother of 'this newly arising consciousness' 'this consciousness' arises and fades repeatedly during a given day.
Arahant has put a stop to this. S/he does not have this weird consciousness, yet the Arahant is 100% sentient. This is doable. 
We are caged within words. A mind formulated by misunderstood words can become a hell of sorts, an individual prison. Thoughts shared by such people can create massive prisons of misunderstanding. When it comes to Samma Samadhi, misunderstood words such as Vinnana, Sanna, Sankhara, Nama-rupa, Nimitta, Jhana give rise to mass incarceration of individuals.
Yet we must use words to communicate an idea. Correct understanding of words is critical. Yet we are forced to use words that are liable to be misunderstood, even though one runs the risk of miscommunication. It is a risk one must take. 
Without moving away from the sensory world, we cannot find peace. Peace is worth the risk of that renunciation. Enough talk.
The four buddhist jhanas is a way/method to that renunciation.
Pl. don't think Brahmins, or Jains had a solution, and Buddha merely adapted their methods. 
  • Buddha turned their methods upside down. One who does not see this, does not see the Buddha.
I shall continue with Kalahavivada in the coming days, and point out its verses that hold the key to 4th jhana, but first we must go over the first few, in the next comment maybe. For those who get my drift, it will help them to spend some time with 
#872.
Nāmañca rūpañca paṭicca phassā
Icchānidānāni pariggahāni,
Icchāya'santyā na mamatta matthi
Rūpe vibhute na phusanti phassā.
872 in translation 
‘Contacts are dependent upon name and form. Possessions have their origin in longing. When longing does not exist, possessiveness does not exist. When form has disappeared, contacts do not make contact.
#874.
Na saññasaññi na visaññasaññi
Nopi asaññi na vibhūtasaññi,
Evaṃ sametassa vibhoti rūpaṃ
Saññānidānā hi papañcasaṅkhā.
874 in translation
‘He has no (ordinary) perception of perceptions, he has no deranged perception of perceptions, he is not without perception, he has no perception of what has disappeared. For one who has attained to such a state form disappears, for that which is named “diversification” has its origin in perception.’
You can see the difficulty of translation when subject matter relates to 4th Jhana.
This translation will sound like gobbledygook to those who have not dabbled in right samadhi even for a moment. Some gain a timeless understanding, from one moment, of 4th Jhana.
For others, 4 days of continuous meditation with breath merely entering and exiting?, what good will it do? 

When it comes to verse 874, those with access to the Sinhala translation will have an advantage. With apologies to those who do not get Sinhala.
“රූපය නොවන තැනැත්තා ප්‍රකෘති සංඥා ඇත්තෙක්ද නොවෙයි විකෘති සංඥා ඇත්තෙක්ද නොවේ තවද සංඥා ඇත්තෙක්ද නොවෙයි. අරූපධ්‍යාන ලාභියෙක්ද නොවෙයි. මෙසේ (අරූප මාර්ගයට) පිළිපන්නහුට රූපය නොවන්නේය. (යම්හෙයකින් තෘෂ්ණාමාන දෘෂ්ටි) ප්‍රමාදයෝ රූපසංඥාව මුල්කොට ඇත්තාහ.”

To really do justice to Quarrels and Disputes, Sn 4.11 one PhD  dissertation may not suffice. But for the sincere spiritual seeker, even preliminary dabbling in four Buddhist Jhanas, by using its metaphors, and a firm foundation in DO will do the job.
With love ☕🎶 🌷
Pulsar
Posts: 1069
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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

SN 12.65 "The City" describes the rediscovery of the 8-fold path. 
https://suttacentral.net/sn12.65/en/bodhi
Through careful attention 'Yoniso Manasikara',
by paying close attention to the origination of trouble, I had a breakthrough
sutta writes.
Name and form keeps the DO rolling.
How does name and form originate?
Consciousness keeps making name and form, and the name and form keeps making the consciousness. 
  • Searching for a state without consciousness?
 Kalaha Vivada, Olendzki translation.
Neither sensing sensation, nor sensing none, 
nor being insensate nor sensing nothing. 
--For a person in this state, form vanishes.
Sensation is the cause of obsessive
thought #874
This is also the earliest elaboration of the 4th Jhana.
It is a state where 'pesky consciousness' loses its
foothold.

SN 12. 64 "If there is lust" https://suttacentral.net/sn12.64/en/bodhi
Sutta goes into details as to how consciousness is maintained, and fed.
Consciousness feeds on itself. SN 12.12 Phagguna https://suttacentral.net/sn12.12/en/bodhi 
The well nourished consciousness becomes a deft painter. SN 12.64
  • It paints forms of men and women on the canvas of imagination.
During the 4th jhana the painter is not in play, forms vanish.
Sutta ends with the simile of the house with the peaked roof.
To make story short, in the house with peaked roof, sun beams enter through the eastern window. Buddha asks monks,
"where will the light rays fall if there were no western wall, no earth to land, or no water to land?'
 Monks answer that the rays would not get established anywhere. No place for landing.
  • Likewise when delight and craving are missing, consciousness does not get established and cannot grow.
Pesky consciousness that brings nama-rupa of DO into existence, is done away with.
Dependent origination reverses and dependent liberation results.
Sutta ends with the note 
"Where consciousness does not become established and come to growth … … I say that is without sorrow, anguish, and despair.”
with love 🎶
The_common_zero
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2020 3:39 pm

Re: Jhana

Post by The_common_zero »

Some of my meditation I focus on rhythm balance and gravity and I get effects similar to what is described in writing about Jhana it also took some time meditating to get these kind of results and I don’t really meditate so much anymore
Pulsar
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

Dearest The_common_zero, let me begin like this.
"This body is not yours, nor does it belong to
others" "it is old kamma, to be seen as generated and fashioned by volition, as something to be felt"
"What is old kamma?"
"These six sense bases" 
"What is new kamma?" "Whatever action done by body speech and mind"
How do you make kamma stop? this horrible prospect of being born again and again? 
What is the way out of this misery? 
It begins with the right view, and right intention....
The_common_zero, wrote
 Some of my meditation I focus on rhythm balance and gravity and I get effects similar to what is described in writing about Jhana it also took some time meditating to get these kind of results...
I can respond to your comment, more sensibly, if you tell me what the path intends by right view, and right intention? 
If you undertook
"jhana"
without considering right view, or right intention (leaving all ill-will behind), your jhana and what this thread points to as Samma Samadhi or 4 buddhist jhanas (8th step of 8-fold path) may yield opposite results.
The goal of mind training taught by Buddha leads to dismantling of
"pesky consciousness"
over time. Eventually, that person is freed of:
consciousness->nama and rupa-> consciousness cycling of Paticca samuppada. The path leads to Dependent Liberation.
It is also a mechanism of stopping kamma, or training to do so.
Perhaps you have mastered it. Maybe those few  times of jhanic meditation had a lasting effect on you? that it transformed the root of your suffering, (cut off like a palm stump) and now you can conduct your daily activity, with the kind of mindfulness that no ill thoughts ever enter your mind,
you wrote
and I don’t really meditate so much anymore
If so, your efforts have paid off, and you are a fortunate One!
Wishing you and all of you at DW a year full of peace! :candle:
Pulsar
Posts: 1069
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

That darned
underlying tendency
is the biggest stumbling block in the path, not just the palpable longing, the felt cruelty or confusion that explodes as rude or angry words at another. Most sensible way to deal with it, is the development of
Metta.
That developement enables us to recruit Metta at a moment's notice, at oneself, and at the target of one's anger.
Buddha has offered a variety of solutions, since one size of dhamma does not fit all.
SN 12.38 Volition writes
If there is no intention, and neither planning, but still if there is a tendency towards anything, this becomes a basis for the maintenance of consciousness.
If the eye settles on a moving object (say a pretty woman) without having an intention towards this object, does that contact lead to papanca? or kamma formation?
  • Underlying tendency is still a red flag
for those who might think,
"I have no intention, neither a plan, nor ill will towards this object, so i am off the hook, i am not a kamma maker"
not so fast.
  • As long as there is a scent of craving and views involved in the process
one is not off the hook. That scent is called the underlying tendency, it is a support condition for the inexorable intention happening.
That scent is the basis for attraction to the pretty woman.
Sutta SN 12.38 writes
Underlying tendency becomes a basis (arammanam etam hoti) for kamma making.
Some think
arammana
refers to an object, but this clearly is not so in the sutta. In the sutta, it is intended as
a condition (paccaya)
It does not signify an object of consciousness in the sutta.
That is a meaning introduced by the Abhidhammikas. One must take measures to not mix up abhidhamma teaching  with sutta teaching. Soteriological significance lodges in the direct teaching of the Buddha.
The maintenance of consciousness (Vinnanassa thitiya) means the maintenance of kammic consciousness.
When there is this condition (i.e. underlying tendency), there is the support for the establishing  of consciousness (patittha vinnasa hoti). It has the ability to yield fruit in one's mental continuum.
When a kammic consciousness establishes, it comes to growth, it impells a kamma.
By growth, it produces roots, through its ability to precipitate a heap of new mental proliferation, new papanca. The problem of papanca or sankhara is that it makes another cycle of Nama and Rupa manifest, and hence the cycling via new kammic consciousness. 
An everyday activity, an ongoing activity. (one can experience the avoidance of it by engaging in 4th jhana)
But exegesis old and current writes 
this newly impelled kamma has the ability to precipitate rebirth, there is the production of future renewed  existence,
(some of it has leaked into suttas). People take this literally, thinking it is a happening for the next life, only.
  • But when a contact is made and an impression forms stained with asava, it has already entered the mental continuum.
That scent sits there till whenever the retribution comes about. One must not speculate about this sort of kamma, suttas write, but abhidhamma literature of all sects is full of such speculation, except the Madhyamika, smart guys!
I find some of the Sautrantika speculation pretty cool, but never mind. For understanding the here and now, as far as the puthujjana is concerned, I mean for folks like us, any contact leads to mental proliferation.
By that the received mental impression is consolidated.
The Importance of developing Metta in daily life is in the reduction of kamma that gets consolidated to the already heavy burden.
Periods of Samma Sati helps in the reduction of fuel fed into the process. (son's flesh, a seminal sutta) When we engage in an activity without paying attention, such happens. The Importance of 4 jhanas is in creating periods of restfulness where the mind is not overrun by kamma, neither the currently invading violence. (giving up hindrances temporarily safeguards the mental stream)
Jhana is a domain beyond the sense bases. In that imperturbability, awakening factors come into fruition. They rise and thrive in a field void of rupa. 
Neither Samma Samadhi nor Samma Sati of the 8-fold path can be maintained unless reinforced by Metta. Without such they fall apart. 
Likewise one cannot maintain Brahma Vihara for too long without the support of Samma sati and Samma samadhi. 
So be good, don't be rude to others, be kind to others, even if they say the thing you think is wrong, unless you are awakened to a certain degree. But if you are that awakened you would not be rude. There is no instance of Buddha being rude in the Pali canon. He made fun of some Jains, like Saccaka, but that was an instance of Buddha having fun.
It was not a case of rudeness. With love  :candle:
Visigoth
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:01 pm

Re: Jhana

Post by Visigoth »

You wrote: "Residues of Nama/dhamma or intentions move over from one life to another."

It would be akin to say Nama/dhamma (mental factors of contact, feeling, perception, intention & attention) are carried over to new life after death!

You said: Nama doesn't include consciousness

Rightly so! But without consciousness, there is no Nama-Rupa as well.

Buddha chided monk Sati who had wrong notion that same consciousness is carried over after death. To say that residue of Nama is carried over is to imply that residue of Rupa is also carried over as Buddha said there can be no Nama without Rupa and vice versa.

To say that residue of Nama is carried over is to also imply that consciousness too is carried over because Nama-Rupa cannot be in isolation of consciousness. (Sutta of Bundle of Reeds?)

So to say Nama or its residue is carried over might contradict the Buddha's advice to monk Sati.

Can you please cite any sutta that says residues of "contact, feeling, perception, intention & attention" move over one life to another?
Pulsar
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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

Visigoth wrote 
"Residues of Nama/dhamma or intentions move over from one life to another."
By residues of Nama/dhamma or intentions I meant the resultant Kamma. Buddha has said Kamma is intention. To clarify that thought I will bring in a sutta.
excerpt, SN 22.55 (3) Inspired Utterance
"if in my past,
there had not been kammic formation (Kammabhi sankharo),
now there would not be for me these five aggregates, 
feelings, perceptions etc...I will now so strive that there will not be
any kammic formation of mine producing the aggregates of the
future.
When that is absent, there will be for me no future rebirth,
meaning I will so strive that the world presented by the five aggregates will be terminated. 

  • What shifts to the next life is the force of kamma inebriated by craving. Kamma is propelled by the asava. 
You wrote
It would be akin to say Nama/dhamma (mental factors of contact, feeling, perception, intention & attention) are carried over to new life after death! etc..
No that is not what i meant, it is the scent of resulting intention that moves over, but this does not mean one can ignore each contact, (Son's flesh) or feeling or perception. Mindfulness of origination of these factors, is critical (SN 46.42 Origination), in preventing kamma making. I wanted to stress the soteriological importance of Phassa, and Vedana.
Then you wrote ..
You said: Nama doesn't include consciousness
Yes I wrote that, but that was in the context of a particulatr sutta which many quote (reed simile, something that has always puzzled me). Now I think it is an anomaly.  
Nama is vedana, sanna, sankhara, phassa, and manasikara, that list does not include consciousness. The sutta explanation creates a conundrum. I think even though I used it as a prop, that it is not quite right, compared to what is presented in other suttas. This possibly could be a later entry by abhidhammikas? just my two cents. From an elaborate discussion on this sutta on Stack Exchange, i find this one comment useful
 "But we can't say that Rupa is a separate bundle because Rupa does not really exist. It's just a momentary transient Vijnana that "seems" like Rupa"
Canon has to be carefully negotiated. There are many suttas constructed by later Sangha, that tend to confuse Buddha's authentic teaching. A better explanation would be that the factors vedana, sanna, phassa, manasikara which  are called Nama here, are still influenced by an encompassing kammic consciousness, their emergence are still stained by underlying tendencies, which are carried over by kammic consciousness. In fact other suttas say
Rupa, vedana, sanna, sankhara etc provide housing for Vinnana.
Feeling or perception is always housed within kammic consciousness for the puthujjana. Can you rigidly separate Vedana from Vinnana? Yet in spite of the flaws in the canon, we would not be where we are today, if not for the canon with all its contradictions and the monks that struggled to maintain it in the purest possible form, the way each transmitter understood. They were not all Arahants.

So if we rewrite nama-and rupa -> consciousness recycles,  that recycling is really encompassed within the larger kammic consciousness, with its attendant underlying tendencies.
One can say a meditator in 4th jhana is not under the influence of this kammic consciousness. Latter is not in play in the enlightened or in the mode of 4th jhana.
Intellect is tiring, and just sutta reading does not yield fruit unless combined with Samma sati and Samma samadhi. Once one has read all, one has to settle down to explore 4 buddhist jhanas. In the 4th jhana Rupa disappears. I have referred to this in great detail relying on  Sn 4.11. Saying this does not make it true, but doing it makes it true.
You wrote 
Rightly so! But without consciousness, there is no Nama-Rupa as well.
This is true. 
You wrote 
Buddha chided monk Sati who had the wrong notion that same consciousness is carried over after death. To say that residue of Nama is carried over is to imply that residue of Rupa is also carried over as Buddha said there can be no Nama without Rupa and vice versa.
No I did not say that, I already explained above what I meant.
You wrote 
To say that residue of Nama is carried over is to also imply that consciousness too is carried over because Nama-Rupa cannot be in isolation of consciousness. (Sutta of Bundle of Reeds?)So to say Nama or its residue is carried over might contradict the Buddha's advice to monk Sati
I have not said so. I do not think of consciousness as a permanent thing, it is constantly being fabricated. It is true that some people think of consciousness as Sati did even today, it might be because they are ignorant of the workings of Paticca samuppada.
Knowledge gained without understanding the relevance of DO does not lead to liberation.
You wrote 
Can you please cite any sutta that says residues of "contact, feeling, perception, intention & attention" move over one life to another?
There is no such sutta. Those are my words. What I meant by residue was the force of kamma generated by the resulting intention of those interactions, combined with inexorable asava, that fuels transmigration from one life to another, and from one thought series to another, in our daily lives. 
  • Those who think of conception as a thing limited to a woman's womb, will never understand this.
Conception or conceiving occurs in every man and woman every moment, generally. 
To call consciousness an entity that moves from one life to another as Sati did is plainly wrong, and that is why Buddha chided him. Sati thought of Vinnana as a rigid entity. It is the influence of upanishadic or Jain teachings, hard to remove. Once one gets the first step wrong, rest invariably serves no purpose.
With love  :candle:
PS To this day many Buddhists think of Vinnana as the Vinnana of Hinduism (inclusive of Veda, upanishad etc). The canon that grew in the Indian soil could not avoid this sad infiltration.
Pulsar
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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar »

Metta sutta, It is ten short verses long and it extols both the virtuous qualities and the meditative development of Metta. In the first verse, one has a glimpse of perfect peace AKA nibbana.
The treasured gathas conclude with
  •  "one is not again subject to birth"
Begun with a glimpse of Nibbana, why should it not end as "not again subject to birth". Some smart aleck scholar woke up one morning and claimed,
"O no that can't be true" "The Pali does not rhyme" When did buddha ever say
enlightenment has to rhyme?
Different strokes for different folks, (Sutta of the Kimsuama tree SN 35.204). Famously it is also said elsewhere
"don't follow the Pali, follow the spirit of Dhamma"
I don't know Pali, so I follow the spirit of Dhamma, but some Pali words contain the entire doctrine, like Asava, like Abhisankharothi (Kajjjaniya), like Sankhara, the last is translated in various ways,  but the reference is to intention, and its soteriological significance, is that it is a Kamma maker.
Enough of Pali. In spite of Sutta Pitaka's contradictions, it also contains what one needs to know in order to liberate oneself. 
It writes 
Bhikkhus, if wanderers of other sects ask you: ‘For what purpose, friends, is the holy life lived under the ascetic Gotama?’—being asked thus, you should answer them thus: ‘It is for the uprooting of the underlying tendencies SN 45.42

Yet when a sutta in Sutta Nipata write
"Kill the consciousness"
some are shocked. Dhamma however is found in the context. When one uproots something one kills it. Some deny the authenticity of the last verse of Metta Sutta, yet It is simple to see, what is true and what is not true. The last verse is spiritually true, perhaps not linguistically? I am not hung up on Pali.

To gain some insights,  let us visit the original canon, the English version.
The Exposition of the Sixfold Base MN 137 writes 
There are two kinds of beings 
1. Those who are intent on the round of existence 
2. Those who are intent on the Cessation of the round,
sutta calls the latter renunciates.
Curiously the Sixfold Base also writes 
There are two kinds of equanimity,
1. That of the householder
2. That of the renunciate
Equanimity based on household life means that which is linked with the strings of sensual pleasure. 
  • A string is a thing that binds one.
The red flag.
What is a string of sensual pleasure? it can be a feeling excited by the sensory world, be it desire or anger, just that.
Practising Brahma Vihara without withdrawal from the sensory world? Does it make sense then? if not for a temporary respite, from the turbulence of the mind.
Equanimity based on renunciation means that which is connected with insight. One is in the mood for insight when one is in the mood for Samma Sati or Samma Samadhi. Right?
We could apply the same reasoning to Metta. If we develop Metta without conjoining it with insight, that Metta sits on wobbly ground. It is unsteady, hence there is no clear inclination towards Nibbana. We can engage in metta one moment and then turn around and engage in a political rally denouncing another faction of humanity.
Does that Metta help? Metta sutta concludes, with a disputed verse.
Not falling into error, virtuous,
and endowed with insight;
giving up attachment to sense-desire,
one is not again subject to birth.
This makes perfect sense to me.
Why do we try to divorce Metta from insight? Path followed studiously promises an end to dukkha,
  • Not being born again
Gatha before the last writes 
Standing walking (somersaulting, hang gliding, jet skiing, joking)
Whenever awake, one should develop mindfulness,
as this is the highest abode.
It is not any mindfulness, but the highest kind, 
it is not the hospital variety mindfulness that the author of sutta is referring to.
It is not what is taught to recovering heart patients, or recovering addicts.
  • It is the mindfulness of the highest abode.
Buddha does not lie.
To me the highest abode is the immeasurable domain. The reference is to the highest Sati and highest Samadhi(4 buddhist jhanas). How else can a faithful follower be in the highest abode? that state free of suffering? 
Some whimsical scholar woke up one morning and claimed
"O no that is not a right fit, the last verse"
blame it on Pali?  Pali is a puzzle, and can be deftly used to prove and disprove things.
Just notice the many ways sankhara is translated, there are long threads disputing the meaning of Vitaka, Vicara, when simple breath can override both.
No one really knows whether Buddha spoke the exact same Pali in the canon.
How could anyone decide that the last verse is a wrong fit? I don't know Pali, but i am familiar with the spirit of Dhamma well enough, to conclude that it is the right fit.
To me it is the grand finale, not being born again, when beginning Gatha writes,
those who wish to attain a state of calm/peace
Peace is another word for Nibbana.
Metta sutta is an amazing sutta, with so few words it reveals all the essential ingredients for mind's release, or nibbana. The key is in the immeasurable.
Immeasurable, Signless, Nothingness, and Void: these are all synonyms of Nibbana.
Don't let words get in the way of your spiritual progress. Metta rightly executed takes you exactly, where MN 121 takes you,to the Void to Emptiness, to Nothingness, to a place devoid of Sorrow.
And so they regard it as empty of what is not there, but as to what remains they understand that which is present thus "This is present" This too is  genuine, undistorted, pure descent into voidness.
With love  :candle:
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