Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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sphairos wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:10 am
If you were more mindful, you would have noticed, that I actually translated two lines of that śloka in my answer:
I do indeed remember, and I scratch my head somewhat at it. "Saṅkapparāgo purisassa kāmo;" establishes that greedy desire is a person's lust. ‘‘Na te kāmā yāni citrāni loke," establishes that the kāmā whichever are beauties in the world are not. The kāmā remain as they are, but a person should do away with lust. The message is clear. The external objects are not the problem per se, lust is.
"They are not lusts the ones which are beautiful in the world.
This confuses me further.

Na: Not

te: Those

kāmā ?

yāni: whichever

citrāni: beauties

loke: world

Not those kāmā whichever beauties world

Not those kāmā whichever are beauties in the world
And the sentence does not make sense, if you take kāmo in the second line as an "object of pleasure"
The verse states the complete opposite. Kāmo is a person's subjective lust.
“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.”


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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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BrokenBones wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:02 pm
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?

Similes do indeed have something in common. Let's return to the sutta at hand:

They drench, steep, fill, and spread their kāya with rapture and bliss born of seclusion. There’s no part of the kāya that’s not spread with rapture and bliss born of seclusion. It’s like when a deft bathroom attendant or their apprentice pours bath powder into a bronze dish, sprinkling it little by little with water. They knead it until the ball of bath powder is soaked and saturated with moisture, spread through inside and out; yet no moisture oozes out. In the same way, they drench, steep, fill, and spread their kāya with rapture and bliss born of seclusion. There’s no part of the kāya that’s not spread with rapture and bliss born of seclusion. As they meditate like this—diligent, keen, and resolute—memories and thoughts of the lay life are given up. Their mind becomes stilled internally; it settles, unifies, and becomes immersed in samādhi. That too is how a mendicant develops kāyagatāsatiṁ.

Just like how bath powder has moisture spread through inside and out, so the meditator spreads rapture and bliss throughout their kāya. What is being compared is thorough spreading.

"They drench, steep, fill, and spread their kāya with rapture and bliss born of immersion. There’s no part of the kāya that’s not spread with rapture and bliss born of immersion. It’s like a deep lake fed by spring water. There’s no inlet to the east, west, north, or south, and no rainfall to replenish it from time to time. But the stream of cool water welling up in the lake drenches, steeps, fills, and spreads throughout the lake. There’s no part of the lake that’s not spread through with cool water. In the same way, a mendicant drenches, steeps, fills, and spreads their kāya with rapture and bliss born of immersion. There’s no part of the kāya that’s not spread with rapture and bliss born of immersion. That too is how a mendicant develops kāyagatāsatiṁ."

Just like how a lake fills up with water, so the meditator fills up their kāya with rapture and bliss. What is being compared is the filling up.

They drench, steep, fill, and spread their kāya with bliss free of rapture. There’s no part of the kāya that’s not spread with bliss free of rapture. It’s like a pool with blue water lilies, or pink or white lotuses. Some of them sprout and grow in the water without rising above it, thriving underwater. From the tip to the root they’re drenched, steeped, filled, and soaked with cool water. There’s no part of them that’s not soaked with cool water. In the same way, a mendicant drenches, steeps, fills, and spreads their kāya with bliss free of rapture. There’s no part of the kāya that’s not spread with bliss free of rapture. That too is how a mendicant develops kāyagatāsatiṁ.

Just like how a lotus is drenched from tip to root in cool water, so to the meditator drenches their kāya with rapture and bliss. What is being compared is drenching.

They sit spreading their kāya through with pure bright mind. There’s no part of the kāya that’s not filled with pure bright mind. It’s like someone sitting wrapped from head to foot with white cloth. There’s no part of the kāya that’s not spread over with white cloth. In the same way, they sit spreading their kāya through with pure bright mind. There’s no part of the kāya that’s not filled with pure bright mind. As they meditate like this—diligent, keen, and resolute—memories and thoughts of the lay life are given up. Their mind becomes stilled internally; it settles, unifies, and becomes immersed in samādhi. That too is how a mendicant develops kāyagatāsatiṁ.

Just like how a person wrapped head to foot is fully spread with a white cloth, so to the meditator fully spreads their kāya through with a pure bright mind. What is being compared is being fully spread, or enveloping.

"John acts like a wild dog"

Just like how a wild dog is unruly, John's behaviour is wild. What is being compared is unruly behaviour.

So you see, there is no basis for your ridiculous "but what about the 'mind' having toes simile" :strawman:
“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.”


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Ceisiwr
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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pitithefool wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 9:03 pm 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.
One thing. Only monks and nuns can cause a schism. Layfolk can't.
“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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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 1:24 pm
I feel the main problem with narrowing down the definition to nama-kaya alone is that you can't just have nama-kaya on its own, (barring the formless that is). There must be nama-rupa. You can't just have subject without object. According to paticca-samuppada, as long as there is consciousness, there is nama-rupa, both subject and object. So in this case, what is the object (rupa)? It logically follows that it's one of the many meditation themes listed in the sutta, i.e. anapanasati, 32 body parts, 9 charnel-grounds observations, 4 great elements, postures, etc.

The thing about this is, I'm pretty open to accepting an interpretation in which the reading is both nama-kaya and rupa-kaya, because it doesn't really seem to matter. If one is drenching the nama-kaya with piti-sukha, they're also drenching the rupa-kaya and vice versa. You can't really just have one without the other. If it's done right, there won't be any part of the nama-rupa that isn't filled with piti-sukha. I think this jhana pericope likely explicity states "kaya" here because the imagery is relevant within kayagatasati and anapanasati, but regardless, if piti-sukha is felt, it is both in the body and mind, so the point is a little moot.

The in-and out breathing here is a special object because the way it's felt and perceived defines how it is as an object of our attention. The body (physical) is like that in that regards. When we contemplate it, it changes how it is based on how we perceive it. If we perceive it as calm, then it's calm. We perceive the body as rapturous, the mind is also rapturous. There's a sort of feedback that the body gives the mind and vice versa and it's that very interaction that we're tuning into by practicing this way.
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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pitithefool wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:20 pm
I feel the main problem with narrowing down the definition to nama-kaya alone is that you can't just have nama-kaya on its own. There must be nama-rupa.
If this were true the formless would be impossible ;). Thankfully DN 15 allows for there to be nama without rupa.
“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.”


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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 1:30 pm
pitithefool wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 9:03 pm 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.
One thing. Only monks and nuns can cause a schism. Layfolk can't.
Yes, directly. But this debate has been floating around in the monastic community for a long time. Surely us layfolk hammering it out against each other here doesn't exactly help.
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:28 pm
pitithefool wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:20 pm
I feel the main problem with narrowing down the definition to nama-kaya alone is that you can't just have nama-kaya on its own. There must be nama-rupa.
If this were true the formless would be impossible ;). Thankfully DN 15 allows for there to be nama without rupa.
Yes, but we're only talking about the four (rupa)jhanas in this case.

And I'm not so sure. I might get torn to shreds over this one, but I don't know if the formless attainments are purely nama-kaya. They are a perception, which is born of contact, but they are a special, non-directed type of awareness in which one does not direct their attentionn to anything other than the percption "infinite space". It's sortof all-encompassing, isn't it? I might try and post a new discussion thread about this. It doesn't involve directing the awareness at anything besides infinite space, so it seems like there is no exclusion within that state (saying this is the object, this is not) as there would be if we were practicing a directed awareness, only the perception of infinite space.

Is that an object though? I think that perception is an object in the term of "object of awareness" but it can't really be said to have form, i.e. it's single and all-encompassing, whereas perceiving a form is a subdivision. When one perceives form, there is necessarily awareness that is excluded from it, but not with infinite space. Infinite space is well-on all-encompassing. It almost doesn't make sense!
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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pitithefool wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:29 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:28 pm
pitithefool wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:20 pm
I feel the main problem with narrowing down the definition to nama-kaya alone is that you can't just have nama-kaya on its own. There must be nama-rupa.
If this were true the formless would be impossible ;). Thankfully DN 15 allows for there to be nama without rupa.
Yes, but we're only talking about the four (rupa)jhanas in this case.
Where there is nama-rupa, but no experience of the 5 senses.
“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.”


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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:58 pm
sphairos wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:10 am And the sentence does not make sense, if you take kāmo in the second line as an "object of pleasure"
The verse states the complete opposite. Kāmo is a person's subjective lust.
Nice to see that you agree with sphairos, and thus with me. The word "kāma" can have at least two meanings depending on context, but here and in the jhāna formula it means "lust"
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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Assaji wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:39 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:58 pm
sphairos wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:10 am And the sentence does not make sense, if you take kāmo in the second line as an "object of pleasure"
The verse states the complete opposite. Kāmo is a person's subjective lust.
Nice to see that you agree with sphairos, and thus with me. The word "kāma" can have at least two meanings depending on context, but here and in the jhāna formula it means "lust"
I’ve always said that kāma (singular) means “lust”. My argument has been that kāmā (plural) refers to external sense objects. Therefore, in the jhāna pericope it is “secluded from sense objects” rather than “secluded from sensual pleasures”. We are not in agreement.
“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.”


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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:36 pm
pitithefool wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:29 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:28 pm

If this were true the formless would be impossible ;). Thankfully DN 15 allows for there to be nama without rupa.
Yes, but we're only talking about the four (rupa)jhanas in this case.
Where there is nama-rupa, but no experience of the 5 senses.
Again, my argument is that this depends on how you practice meditation. Anapanasati as taught in MN 118 would probably include sensory experience as we're practicing on the entire body. Even if you were to limit kaya to "nama-kaya", if you were suffusing nama-kaya completely, you'd have to include all contact, feeling, perceptions, and attention. If you limit that contact to the mind door, then how have you suffused all of your nama-kaya since it includes all contact, feeling, perceptions, and attention? Furhter, what difference would it make when the awareness is suffused with piti-sukha such that all contact is conditioned by it?
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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Assaji wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:39 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:58 pm
sphairos wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:10 am And the sentence does not make sense, if you take kāmo in the second line as an "object of pleasure"
The verse states the complete opposite. Kāmo is a person's subjective lust.
Nice to see that you agree with sphairos, and thus with me. The word "kāma" can have at least two meanings depending on context, but here and in the jhāna formula it means "lust"
Assaji, the jhana pericope does use the plural ablative kamehi, which in other places in the suttas, does refer to the 5 external sense objects. However, I'm in agreeance with you here that regardless, it still strongly implies not just the 5 sense objects by themselves but desire and engagement with those. Still though, even if we take the plural of kama to only mean the five sense objects without any implication, the pericope actually means something like "piti-sukha born of seclusion from the five senses and unskillful dhammas" or rephrased as "piti-sukha which comes from somewhere other than the five senses or unskillful dhammas".
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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pitithefool wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:06 pm Still though, even if we take the plural of kama to only mean the five sense objects without any implication, the pericope actually means something like "piti-sukha born of seclusion from the five senses and unskillful dhammas" or rephrased as "piti-sukha which comes from somewhere other than the five senses or unskillful dhammas".
‘kiṁ nu kho ahaṁ tassa sukhassa bhāyāmi, yaṁ taṁ sukhaṁ aññatreva kāmehi aññatra akusalehi dhammehī’ti?
Why am I afraid of that pleasure, for it has nothing to do with sense objects or unskillful qualities?’
“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.”


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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:11 pm
pitithefool wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:06 pm Still though, even if we take the plural of kama to only mean the five sense objects without any implication, the pericope actually means something like "piti-sukha born of seclusion from the five senses and unskillful dhammas" or rephrased as "piti-sukha which comes from somewhere other than the five senses or unskillful dhammas".
‘kiṁ nu kho ahaṁ tassa sukhassa bhāyāmi, yaṁ taṁ sukhaṁ aññatreva kāmehi aññatra akusalehi dhammehī’ti?
Why am I afraid of that pleasure, for it has nothing to do with sense objects or unskillful qualities?’
Yes, exactly. It's a pleasure (feeling) that doesn't come from kamehi (sensuality/ 5 external senses) or akusala dhammehi (unskillful dhammas).

It's only pleasure that's specified here, not consciousness. That being such, if we have pleasure that comes from thinking about the dhamma, that fits the pericope to a T, because it was not born from kamehi or akusaladhammehi. If we have a consciousness that is sequestered from the 5 senses and unskillful dhammas, we have something that the pericope doesn't really describe.
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Re: Proposed solution to the Jhana Wars debate

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Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:58 pm I do indeed remember, and I scratch my head somewhat at it. "Saṅkapparāgo purisassa kāmo;" establishes that greedy desire is a person's lust. ‘‘Na te kāmā yāni citrāni loke," establishes that the kāmā whichever are beauties in the world are not. The kāmā remain as they are, but a person should do away with lust. The message is clear. The external objects are not the problem per se, lust is.
If we follow your conclusion here too, it doesn't make sense that we should be focusing our attention so much on those 5 external sense objects since the goal is not those objects but the lust for those objects right?

Tanha is conditioned by feeling. Feeling is the direct proximal conditioner of tanha, so it's the most important part of getting rid of tanha and that's just what we're doing practicing jhana, right? Producing a pleasant feeling that doesn't come from those 5 senses or from unwholesome states, correct?
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