Jhana and the early Mahayana

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Jhana and the early Mahayana

Post by Coëmgenu »

A few points:

The Vaibhāṣikas, if I am reading Abhidharmakośakārikā vol 4 pages 1239-1241 correctly, believe that the first dhyāna has four consciousnesses active: eye, ear, mind, body. The second dhyāna, according to at page 1239 in the same text, has only the mind-base operational. AFAIK this is Vaibhāṣika Buddhism. According to Mahāprajñāpāramitopadeśa as well as the Dārṣṭāntikas in the Bhāṣya, sukha in the third dhyāna is bodily and a physical sensation. According to specifically the Dārṣṭāntikas in the Bhāṣya, this internal physical sensation is caused internally by the "winds" (i.e. a movement of "airy particles") of the samādhi blowing pleasantly against the body-base.
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and rots.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.

(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
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pitithefool
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Re: Jhana and the early Mahayana

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Coëmgenu wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:04 am There is also the issue of wanting to avoid the fallacy of "anti-physicalism for the sake of anti-physicalism." Physicalism/Materialism of course is the belief that only materiality exists and that mentality appears as a secondary derivation from materiality. The opposite of this is that there is no such thing as "the physical" when we deal strictly with the human experience, because human experience is innately non-physical. I don't necessarily believe this, but some do. We know nothing of "the physical," because we are purely mental beings in essence. This is a fallacy in thinking and IMO comes from stressing too much that the rupa-derived consciousnesses, the body, ear, etc., are not themselves external and physical like the objects they cognize. When we go too far down this alleyway, we end up like American Protestants who "just sit" and listen to the lecture and "believe" or "have faith" as part of their religion. Actual displays and embodied performances of religious activity are seen as "false." In the Dzogchen tradition, they believe in "the practice of non-practice," meaning a very sophisticated way to not practice Buddhism. This is much the same. I'm not sure what to call it, "cerebralism" or whatever, but that the senses are innately mental in nature and that there is a strong mental-material divide is a hallmark of modernist thinking be it right or wrong. I'm not accusing anyone of this, but noting that IMO a line needs to be drawn where we say "Rupa is mental." Rupa is "form," not "mentality." It might be an "appearance," but it is an appearance unlike the imagination or a dream, because other people share in the experience of external form.
This is true. I think what the Buddha meant by naming nama-rupa here may be just to highlight the interaction between both object and subject, or more precisely the interaction between the four great elements and contact, feeling, percpetion, and attention. In this way, I think it makes sense that Anapanasati is taught so much and regarded so highly in the suttas is because it forms a sort of master key to understanding and controlling this interaction. By following the instructions of anapanasati, we tune into the wind element in the form of the breath and breath energy as it exists in the body, and we also can observe how this conditions our senses, contact, percpetions, feelings, and attention. Just from that one practice we can see the chain of DO unfold. I think the same techniques were also originally intended for kasina practice as well, as the kasinas may be symbols that work on the psychological level to give us insight into the interplay between the four great elements and the mind.

I really also want to try and stray away from making metaphysical statements from DO as well as it seems as the very highest levels of conditioning seem to mainly be concerned with how the chain can be used in an applied form rather than an analytical one.
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Jhana and the early Mahayana

Post by Coëmgenu »

Ceisiwr wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 7:19 pm
Coëmgenu wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 2:01 pm
I was not aware that Theravadins thought that sensory experience dropped out at the first dhyāna and was also unaware that "access concentration" involved the appearance of a particular nimitta, the "countersign," comparable to a constellation of stars. There is no "countersign" in the anāgamya that I am familiar with.
Yes, the suttas and commentaries take the view that even from the 1st Jhāna there is no experience of the 5 senses. In the commentarial literature, with some support from the suttas, what occurs is a nimitta which is taken to mean image here. This is not so much a visual image, but a perceptual creation. A conceptual image. If we take the fire kasiṇa it starts with an image of the flame or flames.
So a Theravādin would never meditate upon a fire that was directly in front of them using their senses? That is the first stages of the fire kasina as I was taught it.

The literature I was reading was describing the countersign as a scattered bunch of lights like a constellation of stars, so that lead me to conclude, no, no quasi-magical lights in the anāgamya. The quasi-magical lights are external objects illuminated in the anāgamya as far as I know. The appearance of the counterpart sign, the way you describe it above, seems more similar to the illumination of the object of meditation in sects that use "actual objects" as objects of meditation, such as the bones of the dead. The trouble is still that in "Theravādin" access concentration, the countersign is "seen" with the mind and specifically not the eyes according to your description as I understood it.
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and rots.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.

(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Jhana and the early Mahayana

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Coëmgenu wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:13 pm So a Theravādin would never meditate upon a fire that was directly in front of them using their senses? That is the first stages of the fire kasina as I was taught it.

The literature I was reading was describing the countersign as a scattered bunch of lights like a constellation of stars, so that lead me to conclude, no, no quasi-magical lights in the anāgamya. The quasi-magical lights are external objects illuminated in the anāgamya as far as I know. The appearance of the counterpart sign, the way you describe it above, seems more similar to the illumination of the object of meditation in sects that use "actual objects" as objects of meditation, such as the bones of the dead. The trouble is still that in "Theravādin" access concentration, the countersign is "seen" with the mind and specifically not the eyes according to your description as I understood it.
A maṇḍala is used to grasp the image (called a nimitta in the commentarial literature). My main practice is now the fire kasiṇa, and so I use a flame. In the Vimuttimagga it talks about grasping the nimitta (image meaning here). This grasping sign is seen with eyes open and can move around, sometimes multiplied and sometimes not. When it appears with eyes shut as with eyes open this is called the after-image. The arising of the after-image is the arising of access concentration.
GRASPING SIGN
There are two kinds of signs, namely, the grasping sign and the afterimage. What is the grasping sign? When a yogin, with undisturbed mind dwells on the maṇḍala, he gains the perception of the maṇḍala and sees it as it were in space, sometimes afar, sometimes near, sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right, sometimes big, sometimes small, sometimes ugly, sometimes lovely. Occasionally (he sees it multiplied) many (times) and occasionally few (times). He, without scanning the maṇḍala, causes the grasping sign to arise through skilful contemplation. This is named grasping sign.

THE AFTER-IMAGE
Through the following of that (the grasping sign) again and again the after-image arises. The after-image means this: what when a man contemplates appears together with mind. Here the mind does not gain collectedness through viewing the maṇḍala, but it (the after-image) can be seen with closed eyes as before (while looking at the maṇḍala) only in thought. If he wills to see it far, he sees it afar. As regards seeing it near, to the left, to the right, before, behind, within, without, above and below, it is the same. It appears together with mind. This is called the after-image...

A. That yogin having taken the sign always contemplates on its merit as if it were a precious jewel. He is always 'glad and practises. He practises constantly and much. He practises by day and by night. He is glad when he is seated. He is at ease when he lies down. Keeping his mind from straying hither and thither, he upholds the sign. Upholding the sign, he arouses attention. Arousing attention, he meditates. Thus meditating, he practises. In his practice, he contemplates on the maṇḍala. Through this constant endeavour, he sees the sign and protecting the sign in this way, he acquires facility. And if the (after-) image appears in his mind, he gains access-meditation. And if access-meditation appears in his mind, he, by means of this, accomplishes fixed meditation...

THE FIRE KASINA
Q. What is the fire kasiṇa? What is the practising of it? What are its salient characteristic, function and near cause? What are its benefits? How
is the sign grasped?
A. The thought that is produced relying on fire - this is called the fire kasiṇa. The undisturbed dwelling of the mind - this is called practising.
The skilfulness of sending the mind forth into the fire sign is its salient characteristic. Non-abandonment of fire perception is its function. Undivided
thought is its near cause....

"How is the sign grasped?" The man who takes up the fire sign-grasps the sign in fire, Le., in a natural or a prepared place. Here, a practised yogin
grasps the natural sign. (He grasps the sign) on seeing any fire, i.e., a grass-fire. a wood-fire, a forest-fire or a house that is on fire. He develops the natural or the prepared as he pleases and sees the appropriate sign. Thus the afterimage of fire occurs to him. The new yogin is different. He is able to grasp the sign only in a prepared place and not in an unprepared place. He follows what is expedient in the practice of the fire kasiṇa. The new yogin should at first gather fuel, heap it up in a clean place and burn it. He burns it from below, at about the time the sun rises or sets. He does not think of the smoke or the flames that rise up. He sends his mind towards the fire sign by directing it to the middle of the thick flames and grasps the sign through three ways: through even gazing, skilfulness [423] and the elimination of disturbance. (The rest) is as was fully taught before.
The Visuddhimagga is similar but differs slightly. First as to the method the Visuddhimagga recommends attending to the maṇḍala via opening and shutting the eyes over and over again. In comparison, the Vimuttimagga recommends keeping your gaze on the maṇḍala (for whatever kasiṇa) as long as possible. Regarding the nimitta, the Vimuttimagga recognises the grasping sign and the after-image. The grasping sign appears 1st with eyes open. The after-image is next and can be seen with eyes open or shut. For the Visuddhimagga there is no talk of an initial grasping sign that can be seen when the eyes are open. Rather it begins with being able to see the maṇḍala with eyes open as eyes shut, which it takes to be the learning sign. When this is developed then the counter-part sign arises which is a more purified version of the maṇḍala, sort of like a static image (the golden column, red fan etc). Slight differences that do not amount to much IMO. The talk of lights is in regard to mindfulness of breathing and it is only found in the Visuddhimagga, where it recognises both lights and tactile nimittas. In the Vimuttimagga only the tactile nimitta is recognised in this section, with lights being seen as a distraction. Interestingly if we look to the Shvetashvatara Upanishad we see something similar:

‘By making his body the under-wood and the syllable “Om” the upper-wood, man, after repeating the drill of meditation, will perceive the bright god, like the spark hidden in the wood.’17
32 ‘If the wise man holds his body with the three upright parts even, and turns his senses with his mind towards the heart, he will then in the boat of Brahman cross over all the fearful streams.’18
33 ‘Compressing his breath, let him, who has subdued all motions, breath forth through the nose with gentle breath. Let the wise one, being heedful, keep hold of his mind, that chariot yoked with wild horses.’19
34 ‘When yoga is being performed, the forms that come first, producing apparitions in Brahman, are those of misty smoke, sun, fire, wind,
fire-flies, lightnings, and a crystal moon.’
20
Compare to the Visuddhimagga section on mindfulness of breathing:
214. When he does so in this way, the sign soon appears to him. But it is not the same for all; on the contrary, some say [Vimuttimagga] that when it appears it does so to certain people producing a light touch like cotton or silk-cotton or a draught.
215. But this is the exposition given in the commentaries: It appears to some like a star or a cluster of gems or a cluster of pearls, to others with a rough touch like that of silk-cotton seeds or a peg made of heartwood, to others like a long braid string or a wreath of flowers or a puff of smoke, to others like a stretched out cobweb or a film of cloud or a lotus flower or a chariot wheel or the moon’s disk or the sun’s disk.
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mendicants, a mendicant who has five things will soon penetrate the unshakable. What five? It’s when a mendicant has attained the analytical knowledge of meaning, the analytical knowledge of Dhamma, the analytical knowledge of language, the analytical knowledge of discernment and they review the extent of their mind’s freedom. A mendicant who has these five things will soon penetrate the unshakable.”

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Re: Jhana and the early Mahayana

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Coëmgenu wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:04 am There is also the issue of wanting to avoid the fallacy of "anti-physicalism for the sake of anti-physicalism."
Of course. That would be a rather foolish thing to do. No point swapping one speculative metaphysics for another. Where does that get you? Nowhere. The Buddha was not concerned with the ontological nature of phenomena. He was concerned with what exists and doesn't exist, but merely stating that X existing is true does not in anyway equate to launching into a philosophical investigation of how or why X exists. You can of course do that, but you would be relying upon the synthetic a priori or induction. The two modes of reasoning the Buddha rejected. If you did however foray into those types of thought then you could arrive at a position of "materialism" or "physicalism" or "immaterialism/Idealism" and you could of course then thrash it out with opponents who have spun different metaphysical views about how and why X exists. Follow said reasoning and you end up like the ascetics of Buddha's time, endlessly arguing about about theories they claimed were certain knowledge but where anything but. In other words, you move away from the Buddha and into the thicket. The entanglement of views.
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Mendicants, a mendicant who has five things will soon penetrate the unshakable. What five? It’s when a mendicant has attained the analytical knowledge of meaning, the analytical knowledge of Dhamma, the analytical knowledge of language, the analytical knowledge of discernment and they review the extent of their mind’s freedom. A mendicant who has these five things will soon penetrate the unshakable.”

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Re: Jhana and the early Mahayana

Post by Ceisiwr »

pitithefool wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:27 pm
This really seems like ontological idealism, and it's all deduced from the above statements.
It is nothing of the sort. Making an ontic claim of X existing is not the same as making an ontological claim of how or why it exists or what it truly is. Stating that rūpa means "image" or "appearance" which is experienced at the mind in no way commits me to ontological Idealism. You could try to make the argument, but that would be your argument not mine.
we are indeed committing idealism and I don't think that's what the Buddha originally taught though.
I agree. He wouldn't commit to "matter" either.
There is quite a lot of evidence from the suttas that rupa is meant to be understood as the four great elements (ncluding the body) just as it's defined in the suttas and just as we understand it in the modern day.
You sure about that?

Pāli

Rūpa
- form
- figure
- appearance
- principle of form

Sanskrit

रूप [ rūpa ]
- any outward appearance or phenomenon or colour
- form
- shape
- figure
- dreamy or phantom shapes

This comes from the thematic verb रूप् (rūp) which is in the 10th Gaṇa:

√ रूप् [ rūp ]
- to form
- figure
- represent

Sadly I cannot locate any Proto Indo European roots as of yet. Still, without this the meaning of rūpa here is quite clear. It is the “image” or “form” that occurs at contact. We do see this distinction between rūpa and the physical body in the suttas:

ayaṃ kho me kāyo rūpī cātumahābhūtiko …"
"'This body of mine is endowed with form, composed of the four primary elements, …

The body is one thing, rūpa is another. This would make little sense if rūpa was the physical body, or even if it meant “matter”. It is quite clear that the physical body is one thing and rūpa is another. Rūpa as aggregate, which this refers to, is the image of the body at contact. And of course, that happens at the mind. The same then for visual images, or any other sense experience. Regarding the 4 mahābhūta in the upaniṣadaḥ they started out as deities, thus being rather abstract:
सेयं देवतैक्षत हन्ताहमिमास्तिस्रो देवता अनेन जीवेनात्मनानुप्रविश्य नामरूपे व्याकरवाणीति ॥ ६.३.२ ॥

seyaṃ devataikṣata hantāhamimāstisro devatā anena jīvenātmanānupraviśya nāmarūpe vyākaravāṇīti || 6.3.2 ||

That god [Existence] decided: ‘Entering into these three deities [fire, water, and earth], as the individual self, I shall manifest myself in many names and forms’.
Chāndogyopaniṣad

In the suttas they are no longer deities, but they are still abstract qualities. For example, examining the body in relation to the earth element means examining it in the sense of hardness or softness. This is the noticing of a phenomenal experience, of a quality of experience, rather than being an ontological theory of matter. The Abhidhamma/Abhidharmas took a different view, which is in line with their more metaphysical and ontological nature.

No, I am not an ontological Idealist. I reject it and materialism, and every other speculative metaphysics, on epistemological grounds.
Mendicants, a mendicant who has five things will soon penetrate the unshakable. What five? It’s when a mendicant has attained the analytical knowledge of meaning, the analytical knowledge of Dhamma, the analytical knowledge of language, the analytical knowledge of discernment and they review the extent of their mind’s freedom. A mendicant who has these five things will soon penetrate the unshakable.”

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Re: Jhana and the early Mahayana

Post by mikenz66 »

Ceisiwr wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:18 pm
pitithefool wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:27 pm There is quite a lot of evidence from the suttas that rupa is meant to be understood as the four great elements (ncluding the body) just as it's defined in the suttas and just as we understand it in the modern day.
You sure about that?
Understanding rupa as always referring to the four great elements doesn't seem compatible with passages like this:
Eye consciousness arises dependent on the eye and sights (forms in Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation). The meeting of the three is contact.
Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṁ. Tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso.
:heart:
Mike
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Re: Jhana and the early Mahayana

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mikenz66 wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:19 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:18 pm
pitithefool wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 11:27 pm There is quite a lot of evidence from the suttas that rupa is meant to be understood as the four great elements (ncluding the body) just as it's defined in the suttas and just as we understand it in the modern day.
You sure about that?
Understanding rupa as always referring to the four great elements doesn't seem compatible with passages like this:
Eye consciousness arises dependent on the eye and sights (forms in Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation). The meeting of the three is contact.
Cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjati cakkhuviññāṇaṁ. Tiṇṇaṁ saṅgati phasso.
:heart:
Mike
Essentially yes, it means external objects (four great elements) rather than internal. Maybe I should be a little more clear:

What I mean to say is that we should not be seeing everything as existing only in the mind. That's not what the Buddha taught.

Rather we should see the object of our attention is one thing, and the contact, feeling, perception, etc. is another. If we were seeing a kasina object, it is still rupa per the sutta's definition, but so is the in-and-out breathing, a rock on the side of the road, and the physical body. It should not be known as the "impression of the object", .i.e what happens after contact.

So what we do when meditating, is fix our attention on some wholesome thing so we can calm our minds and see all the interplay that comes between the objects of our attention and the contacts, feelings, percpetions, attention and intention they bear. This is how we gain insight into the process of conditioning and bring it to a stop.

The primary way we should understand rupa though is as that which is external to nama. That's why I champion just saying "the four great elements" because in everyday experience outside of meditation, that's what it is and that's how our mind understands it.
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Re: Jhana and the early Mahayana

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Cattāro ca mahābhūtā, catunnañca mahābhūtānaṃ upādāyarūpaṃ.
Idaṃ vuccati rūpaṃ.
The four great elements (mahābhūtāna rūpa) AND The forms out of (derived from) them (upādāya).
This is called form.
(SN 12. 2 & MN9)

An idiosyncratic feature of Buddhism, compared to the Vedic conception.
https://justpaste.it/img/8b5aab8360db19 ... 2d3961.png

___________

Also — on the side — there is something that I quite don't understand.

Allow me to take a sort of devil advocate's example:

There were in the time of Buddha, five kinds of guys that followed (differently) the doctrine of nibbāna. Each kind proclaiming supreme Nibbāna, after an ultimate experience.
Each kind of guys finding his experience "higher" than the previous guy's one — and proclaiming that this was indeed the "true" nibbāna.

For some people still dwelling in the time worn manichean view of synthetic/analytic dichotomy, this is pure synthetic (metaphysical) a priori.

Then come a man, from the land of the gods, that proclaims to have experienced a "higher" and "true" nibbāna.
And that becomes analytical a priori knowledge.

Figure out !?!?!?!
.
.



.
.
Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
Those who desire good are few, and those who desire evil are many.
Buddha
(And you just can't imagine how much goodness, those who desire evil, are ready to display - ToVincent).
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Re: Jhana and the early Mahayana

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ToVincent wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:09 am
I don't like to judge one's claims based on the synthetic/analytic dichotomy but rather I prefer to listen carefully, tally the claims with the teachings and what I already know, and tally it with logic. If their doctrine holds merit and does appear to do what it says it does, and doesn't involve harming myself or others, then I'd probably try and practice in line with it to see for myself.
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Re: Jhana and the early Mahayana

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ToVincent wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:09 am
Also — on the side — there is something that I quite don't understand.

Allow me to take a sort of devil advocate's example:

There were in the time of Buddha, five kinds of guys that followed (differently) the doctrine of nibbāna. Each kind proclaiming supreme Nibbāna, after an ultimate experience.
Each kind of guys finding his experience "higher" than the previous guy's one — and proclaiming that this was indeed the "true" nibbāna.

For some people still dwelling in the time worn manichean view of synthetic/analytic dichotomy, this is pure synthetic (metaphysical) a priori.

Then come a man, from the land of the gods, that proclaims to have experienced a "higher" and "true" nibbāna.
And that becomes analytical a priori knowledge.
The analytic and synthetic distinction doesn't refer to the origin of the concepts but rather the justification of the reasoning. What is interesting in DN 1 is that we have a mix of synthetic a priori and induction as being the basis for views, the sceptics being an obvious exception. If we take the ascetics with diṭṭhadhammanibbānavādā we see the following:
“Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin asserts the following doctrine or view: ‘When this self, good sir, furnished and supplied with the five strands of sense pleasures, revels in them—at this point the self attains supreme Nibbāna here and now.’ In this way some proclaim supreme Nibbāna here and now for an existent being.

“To him another says: ‘There is, good sir, such a self as you assert. That I do not deny. But it is not at that point that the self attains supreme Nibbāna here and now. What is the reason? Because, good sir, sense pleasures are impermanent, suffering, subject to change, and through their change and transformation there arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair. But when the self, quite secluded from sense pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, enters and abides in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by initial and sustained thought and contains the rapture and happiness born of seclusion—at this point, good sir, the self attains supreme Nibbāna here and now.’ In this way others proclaim supreme Nibbāna here and now for an existent being.
Now compare with the annihilationists:
“Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin asserts the following doctrine and view: ‘The self, good sir, has material form; it is composed of the four primary elements and originates from father and mother. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, at this point the self is completely annihilated.’ In this way some proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being.

“To him another says: ‘There is, good sir, such a self as you assert. That I do not deny. But it is not at that point that the self is completely annihilated. For there is, good sir, another self—divine, having material form, pertaining to the sense sphere, feeding on edible nutriment. That you neither know nor see, but I know it and see it. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, at this point the self is completely annihilated.’ In this way others proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being.
Notice what is common to both of them? They both start from the same premise:

"This self"

They start from the synthetic a priori of "I exist" and the deduce from there their various theories. Compare with the ascetics who declare the world is infinite:
“In the second case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honourable recluses and brahmins extensionists, proclaiming the world to be finite or infinite?

“Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin, by means of ardour, endeavour, application, diligence, and right reflection, attains to such a degree of mental concentration that with his mind thus concentrated he abides perceiving the world as infinite. He speaks thus: ‘The world is infinite and boundless. Those recluses and brahmins who declare the world to be finite and bounded speak falsely. The world is infinite and boundless. What is the reason? Because I attain to such concentration of mind that I abide perceiving the world as infinite. For this reason I know this: the world is infinite and boundless.’
This is inductive reasoning. The ascetic is inducing a theory from his experience which he takes to be "true", declaring "only this is true, everything else is worthless". Of course, he does not know that the world is infinite. His theory is on shaky epistemological grounds, and can be a condition for vexation when arguing with ascetics who, once again via induction, proclaim the world is finite:

Ascetic 1: "The reason why you say the world if finite is because you lack proper vision. You do not see it is infinite".

Ascetic 2: "The reason why you say the world is infinite is because you lack proper vision. You do not see the end".

These sort of entanglements, based on inductive reasoning (and can arise with the synthetic a priori too) are exactly the sort of thing the Buddha warned us about. They are not knowledge but are the basis for personal "truths" that will be grasped and endlessly debated about, thus being dukkha. Getting back then to our proponents of diṭṭhadhammanibbānavādā we can see that their error is an epistemological one which has drastic consequences. They assert a self that has experienced nibbāna on poor epistemological grounds, which itself becomes the basis for not experiencing nibbāna since their assertion of a self can analytically be traced back to craving and clinging. This is the "origin of views". The Buddha can then rightly declare that these ascetics do not know nibbāna since, analytically, nibbāna is freedom from craving, clinging and existence which these ascetics have in droves. To put it another way, since the ascetics declare an existing self then analytically it follows that they do not know nibbāna.

"Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them."

I think the Buddha would agree. On a slightly different note, something I wanted to ask you. I notice you are still linking to your graphic inspired by the Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma. In other conversations whenever I have quoted a sutta without a parallel you have dismissed it on methodological grounds, as per your personal approach to what is and isn't an early Buddhist text. Clearly your demarcation of what is and isn't acceptable as a source is at least the existence of a parallel. I must ask then, why do you accept the Sarvāstivādin definition of nāmarūpa at SA 298 when it has no parallels at all in the Pāli suttas? Granted, there are 2 Sanskrit fragments which contain the definition as well, but this still begs the question as to why you accept something in one text that is not found in another if the foundation of your approach is to at least have a parallel for said teaching? You have said prior that the specific teaching of a sutta needs to be found across the suttas/agamas rather than just a whole text. It seems your adoption of the nāmarūpa definition at SA 298 contradicts your whole approach, no?
Mendicants, a mendicant who has five things will soon penetrate the unshakable. What five? It’s when a mendicant has attained the analytical knowledge of meaning, the analytical knowledge of Dhamma, the analytical knowledge of language, the analytical knowledge of discernment and they review the extent of their mind’s freedom. A mendicant who has these five things will soon penetrate the unshakable.”

AN 5.95
ToVincent
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Re: Jhana and the early Mahayana

Post by ToVincent »

Ceisiwr wrote: Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:46 pm ...
You say:
"The analytic and synthetic distinction doesn't refer to the origin of the concepts, but rather the justification of the reasoning."
Then few lines later, you dare say:
"Notice what is common to both of them? They both start from the same premise:
'This self' "
?!?!?!
NOTE:
This goes along with my previous remarks about you — about your strange contradictory logic:
viewtopic.php?f=43&t=20612&p=615540#p615540

I wonder if this strange reasoning, is not just here to nurter your narcissistic inclination - having people endlessly turn around the pot, so you can show how better you are at everything.
If one speak to you about ants — well, you've been doing just that, since childood - watching them for hours - studying their behaviors very closely.
If one speak about genetics — well, you have a scholar eye on the matter.
If one speak about Veda — well, 9 months will be enough to start with that, and become a pundit in the matter - as well as telling us how sorry you are, because you don't have the time to give us your proper translation of the extract you are quoting — as obviously, you are also becoming a pundit in Sanskrit.
Oh, and when you say "I haven't read the all Veda"; you should say instead: "I haven't read the Veda at all".
Etc. etc.

This is already very painful - I mean when mediocrity rules.
But when on top of that, your logic — a matter on which you obviously have also an ultimate knowledge about — is flawed; then there is double pain in the process.
In other words, this is very very painful - and also very, very ridic.

So what you say, is that the problem comes from the premise "This self" — that is where the synthetic a priori lies, from your point of view.
What about Buddha's implicit "This not-self", then ? — (which by the way, He never clearly denied, outside of paṭiccasamuppāda — something you seem to categorically acknowledge, on the other hand).

Another of your late logical flaw, is in how you formulate your premise on "sound" in the first jhana.
viewtopic.php?p=615978#p615978
You conduct your all reasoning on the premise that kāmehi are "external sense objects" and not "objects of sensual pleasures" - (in other words: external sense objects — not external sensual objects) .

This could be a very nice and sound reasoning, if only the premise was sound.
However, your cascading deductions, start with your own interpretation of what kāmā means.
Ridic!

-----

In another instance, your logic is that there is no sound at all, while in the first jhana - a logic you get from AN 10.72:
... An unsuitable show is a thorn to one guarding the doors of the sense faculties. Keeping company with women is a thorn to the celibate life. Noise is a thorn to the first jhāna.
How do you deal with the two first one?
Is celibacy impossible, when there are still women around? — Or can't a celibate meet women any longer, when he is into the state of celibacy? — Or is it just that a celibate's celibacy gets pricked by (has a hard time with) the presence of women WHILE (already) in the state of celibacy.
Isn't that what the sutta means — viz. being in whatever state, and being pricked by whatever thorn?

Your cascading logic is again the result of your own interpretation of the sutta; which you put forward as your true premise. And your last deduction should therefore be true.
Ridic!

------

Etc. etc.
Should one continues to argue with you, on such absurd basis?

------

As for the pericope "Na te kāmā yāni citrāni loke" - there is no parallel for that.
Dubious.

When I say dubious, it implies that the added matter does in no way clarify some logic — but instead, introduces some element of contradiction, or unsureness and incertainty.

------

You say : "You've been taking that from the Sarvāstivāda's Abhidhamma" .
I say: "No, this comes straight from a sutra, if you can read - (SA 298)."

This is just red herring on your part - based on one of your (again) pretending great knowledce of the former.
And anyway, there is no way to prove that any Abhidhamma stuff, has been added later in a sutra or sutta. That's always, mere speculative crummy red
herring; dedicated at turning around the pot — for a good "reason".

As for both definition of SA 298 and SN 12.2, which are not paralells, yet adressing the same subject of nāma — I have already told you several times about it.
Short memory?
(Remember: you can't logically put manasikāro in the nāmarūpa nidāna, if mano is considered an ajjhattikāni āyatanāni, that appears for the first time, in the following saḷāyatana nidāna (another idiosyncrasy of Buddhism)).
There is a before, and an after the descent of nāmarūpa in the saḷāyatanāni.

The same kind of issue happens with the definition of MN 44 & SN 41.6 with the Sarvāstivāda parallel.
The Theravāda's definition of cittasaṅkhāroti is Saññā and Vedanā.
The difference in the Agama, is that cittasaṅkhāroti is Saññā & Cetanā.

The two definitions are not incompatible. They are logically complementary.

The Theravāda's definition adresses the saṅkhārā nidāna.
This time, it is the Sarvāstivāda's definition that gives the new meaning of cittasaṅkhāroti, after the "sensualization" in the saḷāyatana nidāna.

I suppose Buddha meant to have a non-schismatic overview of the all thing.

This is the last time I adress this topic.
I'll keep this post to remind it to you later on - if it applies.
And generally, I won't argue any longer upon your absurd and contradictory fundaments.
.
.
Last edited by ToVincent on Sat Apr 10, 2021 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
Those who desire good are few, and those who desire evil are many.
Buddha
(And you just can't imagine how much goodness, those who desire evil, are ready to display - ToVincent).
sphairos
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Re: Jhana and the early Mahayana

Post by sphairos »

Just a note: synthetic apriori judgments are impossible in the Kant's system.

Ceiswir is misusing the concept. What he is referring to is synthetic aposteriori judgments, so -- just experiential inductive reasoning. If you base yourself on the experiential facts, take them for the truth, it doesn't make them synthetic apriori.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Jhana and the early Mahayana

Post by Ceisiwr »

ToVincent wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:39 am
You say:
"The analytic and synthetic distinction doesn't refer to the origin of the concepts, but rather the justification of the reasoning."
Then few lines later, you dare say:
"Notice what is common to both of them? They both start from the same premise:
'This self' "
?!?!?!
There is no contradiction there. As I said, the analytic and synthetic divide relates to the justification of the reasoning rather than the origin of the concepts themselves. If we take an analytic a priori proposition such as "all Batchelors are unmarried", whilst the concepts of "bachelor" and "unmarried" come from sense experience the justification for the statement is purely a priori. When someone understands the concept of "bachelors" and "unmarried" they do not need to consult experience to have knowledge that "all Batchelors are unmarried" since the predicate is contained within the subject. Regarding a synthetic a posteriori proposition such as "All swans are white" once again, whilst the concepts can come from experience it is the justification of the statement we are interested in. In this case "All swans are white" is synthetic, since "white" is not contained within "swan" and it is a posteriori since it's justification depends upon sense experience. One has to consult sense experience to know if it is true. Since analytic a posteriori is logically impossible this then leave synthetic a priori. This would be a proposition where the predicate is not contained within the subject, thus being synthetic, yet is justified and known to be true independent of experience (a priori). One such statement would be "Every event has a cause". The issue then centres around where knowledge can be found in these different types of reasoning. If we take the analytic a priori, we can indeed say there is certain knowledge since the predicate "unmarried" is contained within the subject "bachelor". It is true by definition, independent of experience. We do not need to look to experience to know that it is true. If we look to the synthetic a posteriori we can see that "all swans are white" is not knowledge. It is contingent on sense experience and all swans existing being white. Any justification of this position however will fall, since it is impossible to know one has accounted for all possible swans. It also relies upon inductive reasoning, which is epistemologically flawed. Finally, looking to the synthetic a priori we can see that it is not knowledge either. Being a priori it's justification does not relate to sense experience since nothing in sense experience gives us the justification of "every event has a cause", yet it is not knowledge since the predicate (cause) is not contained in the subject (event). The synthetic a priori then are a collection of statements which are not knowledge and which can never be known. It then naturally follows that metaphysics is a dead end. Its theories can be argued about endlessly, but can never be known. They are the contortion of views, the net of views. One of course could try instead to justify their metaphysics by appeals to sense experience. For example, regarding causation they could claim that the constant conjunction of two events justifies "all events have a cause", but this would fall due to its basis in induction. Instead of this thick sticky web of ever more fanciful, convoluted and unknowable theories the Buddha choose knowledge. That is to say, the analytical knowledge of paṭiccasamuppāda. He then, unlike the other ascetics, does not have a view as in a theory but rather understanding and knowledge. This is Right View".

Now, getting back to our ascetics the Buddha elsewhere (SN 22.47) offers a psychological basis for the origin of the sense of self whilst the actual words "I" and "existence" obviously have their origins in language. They are mere words which express a previously held notion/concept. The psychological basis for the sense of self is ignorance based contact. The justification for "I have a true self" or rather "I permanently exist" is entirely synthetic a priori. There is nothing in sense experience which justifies "I permanently exist" yet the predicate "permanently exist" is not contained in the subject "I", thus it is not knowledge but a mere abstract theory. It cannot be justified. This then does allow the Buddha to say "not-self". This synthetic a priori proposition then becomes the basis for the ascetics view that when furnished with the appropriate sense pleasure or the otherworldly pleasure of the Jhānā the Self has then attained nibbāna. This view is also contortion itself. It is rooted in desire, thus analytically their claim is false.
So what you say, is that the problem comes from the premise "This self" — that is where the synthetic a priori lies, from your point of view.
What about Buddha's implicit "This not-self", then ? — (which by the way, He never clearly denied, outside of paṭiccasamuppāda — something you seem to categorically acknowledge, on the other hand).
Answered above. He doesn't have to deny there being a self "outside of paṭiccasamuppāda", whatever that means, since his critique is a purely psychological and epistemological one of that position.
I wonder if this strange reasoning, is not just here to nurter your narcissistic inclination - having people endlessly turn around the pot, so you can show how better you are at everything.
I am not avoiding talking about subjects. I'm directly addressing them. You may not like what I am saying, but that is a different thing entirely.
If one speak to you about ants — well, you've been doing just that, since childood - watching them for hours - studying their behaviors very closely.
I was fascinated by ants as a child and used to spend hours watching them. I still find them fascinating little critters today. I'm not an expert though, and I even said as much in the thread you are referring to.
If one speak about genetics — well, you have a scholar eye on the matter.
Given my education and my job I do have some knowledge of genetics. Having not chosen it as my discipline I am not an expert.
If one speak about Veda — well, 9 months will be enough to start with that, and become a pundit in the matter - as well as telling us how sorry you are, because you don't have the time to give us your proper translation of the extract you are quoting — as obviously, you are also becoming a pundit in Sanskrit.
I have indeed spent that last few months reading said texts and teaching myself Sanskrit and Pāli, although this has paused somewhat as of late as I have to focus attention on other things for the time being. That is the reason why I can't always give full replies, mostly during the week.
Another of your late logical flaw, is in how you formulate your premise on "sound" in the first jhana.
You seem to have missed some important points. The sutta in question discusses seeing an unsuitable show being a thorn to sense restraint. This obviously refers to going to a show. The message being, paying attention to the show. If someone is enjoying a show, they are not in the state of sense restraint. Likewise someone who keeps the company of women will not be practicing celibacy, which includes not having sexual thoughts. Regarding sound the comparison is made between pain and happiness. Since when pain exists happiness does not it follows that when sound is experienced the 1st Jhāna is not. Let's follow your conclusions through to it's logical end though. Your argument, as sloppy as it is, seems to be that whilst in the 1st Jhāna sound can still be experience. I must ask then, how can perception and feeling simultaneously exist in the cessation of perception and feeling?

"Perception and feeling are a thorn to the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling."

To me the sutta is clear. If someone is experiencing perception and feeling then they are not in the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling. Likewise if someone is experiencing sound one is not in the 1st Jhāna, and if someone is experiencing attractive women and watching shows then they are not in the state of celibacy nor sense restraint.
As for the pericope "Na te kāmā yāni citrāni loke" - there is no parallel for that.
Dubious.
I'll get back to this "no parallel, therefore not valid" position in a moment.
You say : "You've been taking that from the Sarvāstivāda's Abhidhamma" .
I say: "No, this comes straight from a sutra, if you can read - (SA 298)."
It coming from SA 298 does not mean it hasn't come from the later Abhidharma.
And anyway, there is no way to prove that any Abhidhamma stuff, has been added later in a sutra or sutta. That's always, mere speculative crummy red
herring; dedicated at turning around the pot — for a good "reason".
The inclusion of consciousness under the heading of nāma can only be found across Abhidhamma and commentarial texts, both North and South, whilst within the suttas and parallels we see that it is not so ubiquitous. Based on what has been translated so far we only see it's inclusion in SA 298 and 2 sanskrit fragments. If it were early we should expect to see it within the Pāli suttas also. Given that northern texts have been shown to include commentarial literature, the more likely conclusion is that SA 298 and the fragments are the result of editing under the influence of the Abhidharma. In contrast the Pāli suttas retain a definition which is closer to how nāmarūpa was understood at the time the Buddha was alive. This then brings me back to your earlier "no parallel" objection to "Na te kāmā yāni citrāni loke". If your approach is to reject that which has no parallel across the various texts you should by your own method reject SA 298 and your idea of there being 2 different types of nāmarūpa, one "sensualised" and the other not. By not doing so your method is internally inconsistent. The question then arises, why should anyone accept a theory, which you have provided in graphic form, when the methodology is flawed?
As for both definition of SA 298 and SN 12.2, which are not paralells, yet adressing the same subject of nāma — I have already told you several times about it.
Short memory?
(Remember: you can't logically put manasikāro in the nāmarūpa nidāna, if mano is considered an ajjhattikāni āyatanāni, that appears for the first time, in the following saḷāyatana nidāna (another idiosyncrasy of Buddhism)).
There is a before, and an after the descent of nāmarūpa in the saḷāyatanāni.

The same kind of issue happens with the definition of MN 44 & SN 41.6 with the Sarvāstivāda parallel.
The Theravāda's definition of cittasaṅkhāroti is Saññā and Vedanā.
The difference in the Agama, is that cittasaṅkhāroti is Saññā & Cetanā.

The two definitions are not incompatible. They are logically complementary.

The Theravāda's definition adresses the saṅkhārā nidāna.
This time, it is the Sarvāstivāda's definition that gives the new meaning of cittasaṅkhāroti, after the "sensualization" in the saḷāyatana nidāna.

I suppose Buddha meant to have a non-schismatic overview of the all thing.
This has been addressed above. You are merely adopting the Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma. This is quite evident when we look at your tendency to reify certain concepts into distinctly existing entities. Citta and mano would be one perfect example. Like the Sarvāstivādins of old, you are becoming quite the specialist in ontological realism. Regarding MN 44 & SN 41.6 and their parallels, even if we accept your argument it does not logically follow that because these suttas and parallels complement each other SA 298 complements it's Pāli equivalents.
There is a before, and an after the descent of nāmarūpa in the saḷāyatanāni.
I'm astounded that someone who boasts so much about being an expert in pre-Buddhist literature would fail to account for the pre-Buddhist meaning of nāmarūpa. If we take nāmarūpa as it would have been understood during his time, we can see that "descent of nāmarūpa" simply means "being to be born" since nāmarūpa could mean simply "that individual over there". The Buddha used this definition as well as his own more detailed definition. We see both usages in DN 15, where nāmarūpa refers to the being being born and the Buddhas own usage of nāmarūpa and it's role in sensory experience.
This is the last time I adress this topic.
...
And generally, I won't argue any longer upon your absurd and contradictory fundaments.
Oh I doubt that.
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Sat Apr 10, 2021 1:34 pm, edited 7 times in total.
Mendicants, a mendicant who has five things will soon penetrate the unshakable. What five? It’s when a mendicant has attained the analytical knowledge of meaning, the analytical knowledge of Dhamma, the analytical knowledge of language, the analytical knowledge of discernment and they review the extent of their mind’s freedom. A mendicant who has these five things will soon penetrate the unshakable.”

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Jhana and the early Mahayana

Post by Ceisiwr »

sphairos wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 11:43 am Just a note: synthetic apriori judgments are impossible in the Kant's system.

Ceiswir is misusing the concept. What he is referring to is synthetic aposteriori judgments, so -- just experiential inductive reasoning. If you base yourself on the experiential facts, take them for the truth, it doesn't make them synthetic apriori.
See above. Synthetic a priori propositions can be made, since it is possible to say "every event has a cause", but they are, as you say, impossible to justify. I'm also not a follower per se of Kant.
Mendicants, a mendicant who has five things will soon penetrate the unshakable. What five? It’s when a mendicant has attained the analytical knowledge of meaning, the analytical knowledge of Dhamma, the analytical knowledge of language, the analytical knowledge of discernment and they review the extent of their mind’s freedom. A mendicant who has these five things will soon penetrate the unshakable.”

AN 5.95
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