Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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BrokenBones
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

Post by BrokenBones »

Ceisiwr

Like I've said before, I'm not here to argue with ignorant readings of the suttas with people whose minds are set... merely to alert casual readers that senseless jhana is indeed senseless.

I've still not heard a convincing argument how a mind develops toes. I'm sure there's a 'logical' explanation 😉
BrokenBones
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

Post by BrokenBones »

retrofuturist wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:02 am Greetings,
waryoffolly wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 5:39 am So maybe pitithefool and ceisiwr (or others on each side) are willing to pause and work together to find such common ground first? I personally would love to see such a thing, it would be amazing and inspiring to me.
There is nothing inherently good about consensus.

It would be better for one to be right and the other to be wrong, than for them to agree on something which makes them both wrong.

Metta,
Paul. :)
:goodpost:

Starting down that road leads to stuff like... 'all religions lead to the same goal'.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

Post by Ceisiwr »

BrokenBones wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 1:25 pm Ceisiwr

Like I've said before, I'm not here to argue with ignorant readings of the suttas with people whose minds are set... merely to alert casual readers that senseless jhana is indeed senseless.
Ex Cathedra statements are of no interest. If you aren't here to debate then you are not adding anything to the discussion.
I've still not heard a convincing argument how a mind develops toes. I'm sure there's a 'logical' explanation 😉
:strawman:

Logical fallacies seem to plague your mind.
“The mental and material are really here,
But here there is no human being to be found,
For it is void and merely fashioned like a doll—
Just suffering piled up like grass and sticks.”


Visuddhimagga
BrokenBones
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

Post by BrokenBones »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 1:37 pm
BrokenBones wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 1:25 pm Ceisiwr

Like I've said before, I'm not here to argue with ignorant readings of the suttas with people whose minds are set... merely to alert casual readers that senseless jhana is indeed senseless.
Ex Cathedra statements are of no interest. If you aren't here to debate then you are not adding anything to the discussion.
I've still not heard a convincing argument how a mind develops toes. I'm sure there's a 'logical' explanation 😉
:strawman:

Logical fallacies seem to plague your mind.
In fairness... my Ex Cathedra statements tend to revolve around things that are as plain as the nose on your face. Your linguistic contortions do nothing but highlight your own desperation to see what isn't there.
I have noticed that you evade the most simple of questions around universally accepted translations, sidestep the original question and go off into some esoteric realm of translations that are either of your own imagination or possibly copy & pasted from a former board contributor.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

Post by Ceisiwr »

retrofuturist wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:02 am Greetings,
waryoffolly wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 5:39 am So maybe pitithefool and ceisiwr (or others on each side) are willing to pause and work together to find such common ground first? I personally would love to see such a thing, it would be amazing and inspiring to me.
There is nothing inherently good about consensus.

It would be better for one to be right and the other to be wrong, than for them to agree on something which makes them both wrong.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Indeed and it can be fallacious to think that by having a consensus one can arrive at the truth.
“The mental and material are really here,
But here there is no human being to be found,
For it is void and merely fashioned like a doll—
Just suffering piled up like grass and sticks.”


Visuddhimagga
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

Post by Ceisiwr »

BrokenBones wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 1:55 pm
In fairness... my Ex Cathedra statements tend to revolve around things that are as plain as the nose on your face. Your linguistic contortions do nothing but highlight your own desperation to see what isn't there.
You have no idea if I am "desperate" or not. My desire, which you do not know, has no bearing on the truth or falsity of my arguments. You are merely vocalising your personal conception of me, rather than addressing the arguments at hand.
I have noticed that you evade the most simple of questions around universally accepted translations,
Not a lurch towards appeals to authority now I do hope? I wouldn't want to add that to your ever growing list of logical fallacies.
sidestep the original question and go off into some esoteric realm of translations that are either of your own imagination or possibly copy & pasted from a former board contributor.
It seems you have issues distinguishing between a detailed argument and evasion. You claim I am evading yet offer very little analysis of your own. This is merely another ex cathedra. Instead of debating the issue you prefer to discuss me. In essence you are on the side lines, merely protesting. If you will not contribute to the discussion then it does not move forward.
“The mental and material are really here,
But here there is no human being to be found,
For it is void and merely fashioned like a doll—
Just suffering piled up like grass and sticks.”


Visuddhimagga
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

Post by Ceisiwr »

pitithefool wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 2:41 am
Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 2:10 am
pitithefool wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 1:55 am

Ceisiwr, you're missing the point of the jhanas and the path as a whole completely.

It's not to end experience, it's to end craving and ignorance so that we can end suffering.
You seem to think that I think the jhānā are the goal. They are merely a tool. Without the otherworldly piti and sukha of jhānā lust cannot be given up let alone ignorance. As for Nibbana, it is the cessation of all conditioned dhammas.
Right and the only thing the jhana pericopes dictate is that we find a happiness that isn't dependent on sensuality. Whether or not our experience is without these things is of secondary importance.
It is to find piti and sukha that is not based on impermanent sense objects. Such an experience removes lust for said objects which, when combined with Right View, leads to Arahantship or Non-Return. The Non-Returner then removes desire for even the Jhāna and the formless since they are too seen as being unsatisfactory, as well as ignorance in general. I guess those who subscribe to the Jhāna-lite model and think they have experienced Jhāna must ask themselves "Why am I not then a Non-Returner at least?". Something to think about.
“The mental and material are really here,
But here there is no human being to be found,
For it is void and merely fashioned like a doll—
Just suffering piled up like grass and sticks.”


Visuddhimagga
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pitithefool
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

Post by pitithefool »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 3:27 pm It is to find piti and sukha that is not based on impermanent sense objects. Such an experience removes lust for said objects which, when combined with Right View, leads to Arahantship or Non-Return. The Non-Returner then removes desire for even the Jhāna and the formless since they are too seen as being unsatisfactory, as well as ignorance in general. I guess those who subscribe to the Jhāna-lite model and think they have experienced Jhāna must ask themselves "Why am I not then a Non-Returner at least?". Something to think about.
Right! But Jhana is impermanent too. Lite jhana, heavy jhana, neither of them come from sensuality and neither are permanent, but they are both much better than sense objects and that's why the Buddha recommended them. When we get good at giving rise to meditative bliss, we can see how utterly terrible sense pleasures are by comparison. To get a really good and fulfilling experience out of sense pleasures is few and far between. For most people, this means going out with friends, drinking and trying to have a good time. That doesn't always work though and even when it does, you have to deal with all the drawbacks of sensuality, like how unreliable it is. With jhana, it's not dependent on spending money, it's not dependent on having a nice car, or having a mansion with a million dollars, rather it's dependent on skill and renunciation. It leads to peace, it leads to the quenching of craving, it leads to seeing things as they are, dispassion, cessation and release as well. No sense pleasure will do that.

To summarize, jhana (no matter what modality) is more reliable, more stable and more fulfilling than sense pleasures from a purely visceral standpoint.

Also, with right view, jhana gives rise to discernment, clear seeing, and clear knowing and sense pleasures do not.

Right concentration gets rid of tanha whereas sense pleasures do not.
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pitithefool
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

Post by pitithefool »

Pondera wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:55 am
The purpose of jhana is not piti or sukha. It is samadhi. And the purpose of samadhi is “knowledge and vision of things as they really are”.
Ah! Yes but piti-sukha is very important. That piti-sukha is what gets the mind to turn away from sense pleasures (kamacchanda as a fetter and hindrance), to settle the mind down into samadhi by providing pleasure and to get the mind to stop suffering by quenching tanha. Also, it's of note here that the word tanha is cognate with english "thirst" via PIE ters. Piti is a derived term from the words pāna(!) ; peyya . pivati ; pāti . pīta , which means to drink.

It also provides the middle ground away from both indulgence and deprivation. The Buddha said it's good to use this pleasure:
"I thought: 'I recall once, when my father the Sakyan was working, and I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities — I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Could that be the path to Awakening?' Then following on that memory came the realization: 'That is the path to Awakening.' I thought: 'So why am I afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensuality, nothing to do with unskillful mental qualities?' I thought: 'I am no longer afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensuality, nothing to do with unskillful mental qualities, but that pleasure is not easy to achieve with a body so extremely emaciated.

MN 36
The sutta reference seems to indicate that such “knowledge” occurs simultaneously with the samadhi. However we have even resident Bhantes who affirm that all reflection occurs outside samadhi (samadhi per jhana - I mean. Ie. in post jhanic samadhi).

Yet. As the sutta reference indicates. If the skhandas are not available in the jhana - then one must exit the jhana to do any insight. However, what memory do they work off of?

If the skhandas are not available in the jhana, then there is also no memory of the skhandas outside of the jhana, per the jhana!

So, the skhandas must be available to the jhana samadhi. And that is exactly why we can view them as “alien; a disintegration; a cancer; etc.”

However; turning away from the skhandas we obviously leave the jhana. Ie. disenchantment; dispassion; release; and knowledge and vision of ending - all happen outside of the jhana. That is the reason we have this included:

“ He turns his mind away from those phenomena, ...”

Ie. those things are beyond the jhana. They are beyond the skhandas. So they transcend the object of the jhana.
This is a great post!
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Assaji
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

Post by Assaji »

Ceisiwr wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:55 pm
Thank you. Here's the translation of Vibhaṅga passage explaining "kāmehi" in the jhāna formula:

“Aloof from sense pleasures, aloof from unskilful dhammas” means: Therein what are sense pleasures? Wish is sense pleasure, lust is sense pleasure, lustful wish is sense pleasure, thought is sense pleasure, lust is sense pleasure, lustful thought is sense pleasure. These are called sense pleasures.
Which contradicts what we find in the suttas.
Where do you find it?

The Visuddhimagga (IV.87) also explains "kāmehi" as "lust":
87. So in this case it should be understood that seclusion by suppression (suspension) of lust is indicated by the phrase quite secluded from sense desires, and seclusion by suppression (suspension) of [all] five hindrances by the phrase secluded from unprofitable things. But omitting repetitions, that of lust is indicated by the first and that of the remaining hindrances by the second. Similarly with the three unprofitable roots, that of greed, which has the five cords of sense desire (M I 85) as its province, is indicated by the first, and that of hate and delusion, which have as their respective provinces the various grounds for annoyance (A IV 408; V 150), etc., by the second. Or with the states consisting of the floods, etc., that of the flood of sense desires, of the bond of sense desires, of the canker of sense desires, of sense-desire clinging, of the bodily tie of covetousness, and of the fetter of greed for sense desires, is indicated by the first, and that of the remaining floods, bonds, cankers, clingings, ties, and fetters, is indicated by the second. Again, that of craving and of what is associated with craving is indicated by the first, and that of ignorance and of what is associated with ignorance is indicated by the second.
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

Post by mikenz66 »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 3:10 pm
retrofuturist wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:02 am Greetings,
waryoffolly wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 5:39 am So maybe pitithefool and ceisiwr (or others on each side) are willing to pause and work together to find such common ground first? I personally would love to see such a thing, it would be amazing and inspiring to me.
There is nothing inherently good about consensus.

It would be better for one to be right and the other to be wrong, than for them to agree on something which makes them both wrong.

Metta,
Paul. :)
Indeed and it can be fallacious to think that by having a consensus one can arrive at the truth.
Furthermore, given that these points have been in dispute for over two millennia, it would be rather presumptuous to think that there will be a "solution" based on a few people posting on an Internet Forum...

Here are some earlier discussions, the second containing some very helpful links from Ven Dhammanando:
Dhammanando wrote: Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:45 pm Whether or not five-sense-door experience is present in the jhānas is a matter Buddhists have been debating for over two millennia. If Dhamma Wheel's 33-page Great Jhāna Debate thread is anything to go by, they'll probably be debating it for the next two millennia as well. Ajahn Brahm's view that there's no five-sense door experience in even the first jhāna was also the view defended by the Theravadins at the Third Council, while Ajahn Thanissaro's view to the contrary was defended by the Pūrvaśailīyas.
Dhammanando wrote: Wed May 13, 2020 11:23 am Here are links to a few of the threads. I'm afraid some are rather lengthy, but you can save time by skipping all the ill-informed posts from the Vimalaramsi and Brasington followers and just attending to the posts of Sylvester, Sujāto and Brahmali (in effect representing the Theravada position as it was at the time of the Third Council), and those of Frank and Silence (in effect representing the position taken at the same council by the Pubbaseliya school).

As at the Third Council, both sides believe their position to be the correct reading of the suttas and neither side is basing its case on later works like the Visuddhimagga. ....
:heart:
Mike
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pitithefool
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

Post by pitithefool »

mikenz66 wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 8:32 pm
Here are some earlier discussions, the second containing some very helpful links from Ven Dhammanando:
Dhammanando wrote: Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:45 pm Whether or not five-sense-door experience is present in the jhānas is a matter Buddhists have been debating for over two millennia. If Dhamma Wheel's 33-page Great Jhāna Debate thread is anything to go by, they'll probably be debating it for the next two millennia as well. Ajahn Brahm's view that there's no five-sense door experience in even the first jhāna was also the view defended by the Theravadins at the Third Council, while Ajahn Thanissaro's view to the contrary was defended by the Pūrvaśailīyas.
Dhammanando wrote: Wed May 13, 2020 11:23 am Here are links to a few of the threads. I'm afraid some are rather lengthy, but you can save time by skipping all the ill-informed posts from the Vimalaramsi and Brasington followers and just attending to the posts of Sylvester, Sujāto and Brahmali (in effect representing the Theravada position as it was at the time of the Third Council), and those of Frank and Silence (in effect representing the position taken at the same council by the Pubbaseliya school).

As at the Third Council, both sides believe their position to be the correct reading of the suttas and neither side is basing its case on later works like the Visuddhimagga. ....
:heart:
Mike
Thank you for the very informative post! :anjali:

To clarify, I don't think it's a good idea to label one or the other be "heretical" at this point, given that such thinking can lead to schism after some time. It would therefore be best on the individual level to try and discern what the Buddha taught given this glorious invention we call the internet and practice in line with what we've found.

That being said, it's my view that both methods of meditation should be accepted, and neither should be rejected. This is mostly on the grounds that.

A) Piti-sukha apart from sensuality appears to be what's doing the work of ridding us of kamacchanda and getting the mind to settle down so it can see things as they are and liberate the mind. This being the case, then sensory experience within the jhana is of secondary importance to the arising of piti-sukha. This also being the case, both methods result in piti-sukha that does not arise from sensuality or unwholesome states and thus does the work of releasing the mind.
B) The suttas andd the commentariees provide support for both sides of the debate.
C) Denouncing one side or the other can lead to infighting (as we see here) and wrong speech, and could eventually lead to a schism.

On the interpersonal level, you are right. Some debate may be good to prevent people from saying "only this is right, everything else is false" and for the sake of discerning truth. However, if it leads people to affliction, if it leads the community to schism, it's probably not worth it to hold views such as "this is right, all else is false".

I hope you don't think I'm being pretentious by posting a proposed solution to the disagreement, as it seems the only reasonable way to approach the subject rather than to start fighting and throwing stones thinking "only this is right, everything else is false", when we no longer have the Buddha around to correct our views, only his suttas, his vinaya and his sangha.
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BrokenBones
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

Post by BrokenBones »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 3:18 pm
Ok :anjali: 😉 ... but what about the 'mind' having toes simile? Can you use your 'impeccable logic' to square the circle... I'm sorry, I mean the simile?
Similes actually do have a 'logical' and identifiable relation to what is being referred to.
A sutta dedicated to mindfulness of the body wittering on about the 'body of mind' having toes... whose logic is really wanting here?
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

Post by Ceisiwr »

Assaji wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:11 pm
Where do you find it?
Na te [demonstrative pronoun] kāmā [noun] yāni [relative pronoun] citrāni [adjective] loke

Not those [demonstrative pronoun] kāmā [noun] whatever [relative pronoun] are pretty [adjective] in the world.

Na te kāmā yāni citrāni loke
Not those kāmā whatever are pretty in the world

The Visuddhimagga (IV.87) also explains "kāmehi" as "lust":
Yes it does, as per the Vibhaṅga. I never said anything to the contrary.
“The mental and material are really here,
But here there is no human being to be found,
For it is void and merely fashioned like a doll—
Just suffering piled up like grass and sticks.”


Visuddhimagga
sphairos
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

Post by sphairos »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:02 am
Assaji wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:11 pm
Where do you find it?
Na te [demonstrative pronoun] kāmā [noun] yāni [relative pronoun] citrāni [adjective] loke

Not those [demonstrative pronoun] kāmā [noun] whatever [relative pronoun] are pretty [adjective] in the world.

Na te kāmā yāni citrāni loke
Not those kāmā whatever are pretty in the world

The Visuddhimagga (IV.87) also explains "kāmehi" as "lust":
Yes it does, as per the Vibhaṅga. I never said anything to the contrary.
If you were more mindful, you would have noticed, that I actually translated two lines of that śloka in my answer:

viewtopic.php?p=615608#p615608

"They are not lusts the ones which are beautiful in the world.

But the passion towards the intention/resolve is a man's lust"

‘‘Na te kāmā yāni citrāni loke,

Saṅkapparāgo purisassa kāmo;"

And the sentence does not make sense, if you take kāmo in the second line as an "object of pleasure". The whole verse makes sense only in the way I translated.
How good and wonderful are your days,
How true are your ways?
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