Keren Arbel Jhana

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
waryoffolly
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Re: Keren Arbel Jhana

Post by waryoffolly »

frank k wrote: Fri Nov 12, 2021 12:17 pm I did a quick read of Analayo's article, based on that quick read, all of his criticisms seem legitimate to me.
I also agree with him that Arbel goes too far in her conclusion, but despite that, Arbel's research and thesis has much to offer, and I wouldn't dismiss it just because viveka instrumental case (the one where 'discrimination' would be more justified) isn't used.
I agree, I do wish some of the arguments she made were tightened up a bit, because it makes it easier for a critic to dismiss the more important points she makes. Like I said earlier, I think the common tendency to view the bojjhanga, and jhana (here I mean jhana which is integrated into the 8fold path) as being fundamentally different things really confuses the suttas. Rather than 'multiplying entities' it makes more sense to see them as describing the same process, especially when the descriptions of how they function take the same role in the developmental path, and their definitions even use largely synonymous language! In her work, Arbel discusses this point in more detail:
For the purpose of calling attention to the noticeable parallelism between the fulfilment of the seven factors of awakening as 'awakening factors' (bojjhangas) and the attainment of the jhanas, Chaper 4 takes a slight divergence. This chapter outlines the essential connection and interdependency between the arousal of the seven factors of awakening, as 'awakening factors', and the attainment of the first three jhanas. This is done by a close textual analysis of what Rupert Gethin has entitled 'the bojjhanga process formula'.
From the outline of her book.
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nirodh27
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Re: Keren Arbel Jhana

Post by nirodh27 »

BrokenBones wrote:
Could you give a few examples of her 'interesting arguments'?

I'm loathe to part with $75 before I know a little bit more... the price of wisdom 😂
As I've suggested, with amazon is less than 30 euros. You can use kindle on any pc.

Here are some relevant quotes.
In light of all this, there are four obvious and significant discrepancies between the Theravāda commentarial interpretation of the fourfold jhāna model and the way they are conceived and expounded in the Nikāyas. First, in the Nikāyas, there is never any mention of the possibility that paññā-vimutti arahants – or any other arahant – achieves liberation without the four jhānas. Second, while the Nikāyas clearly state that the formless attainments do not lead to nibbāna, 65 there are various affirmations in the Nikāyas that the four jhānas are conducive to awakening66 and that they are the unique teaching of the Buddha.67 Third, the Nikāyas never identify the practice of one-pointed concentration on the kaṣinas with the attainment of the four jhānas68 nor do they refer to the jhānas as mere concentration exercises that do not involve insight into the nature of reality. Further, we cannot find in the Nikāyas any statement that the jhānas are trance-like experiences in which one is completely cut off from the five sense stimuli.69 On the contrary, the Cūḷavedalla Sutta, for example, states clearly that the ‘signs’ (nimitta) of samādhi are the four satipaṭṭhānas70 – not the kaṣinas or the brahma-vihāras – and the Dantabhūmi Sutta, to give another example, clearly correlates the deepening of the practice of satipaṭṭhāna with the attainment of the four jhānas. 71 Fourth, the commonly used idioms samatha-bhāvanā and vipassanā-bhāvanā – which express the idea that the Buddha actually taught in the Pāli Nikāyas two distinct meditative procedures – cannot be found in the Nikāyas. More than that, there is no clear correlation in the Nikāyas, to the best of my knowledge, between the term samatha and the attainment of the jhānas, while the term vipassanā is never defined as the practice of satipaṭṭhāna or associated with the term sammā-sati. In light of these discrepancies my primary task in this study is to challenge four widespread assumptions: The assumption that the jhānas have no liberative value, as they are taken to be an adopted element from non-Buddhist sources. The perception that the four jhānas belong to the ‘path of serenity’ (samathabhāvanā) and can be attained separately from the practice of satipaṭṭhāna (i.e., vipassanā-bhāvanā). The related notion that the four jhānas cannot involve ‘liberating insight’ (paññā) as they are a narrow field of awareness, an absorption in which the mind is fixed on an unchanging object of perception, and therefore, cannot reveal anything about the nature of experience. The view that one can ‘bypass’ the attainment of the four jhānas and attain Arahantship as a dry insight (sukkha-vipassaka) arahant.

paṭisaṃvedeti). This suggests that sukha is a physical pleasure while pīti is a mental one. In MN II.203–4 the Buddha uses a simile of a fire for describing two types of pīti. He asks the brahmin student Subha: Which of these two fires would have a better flame, colour and radiance – a fire that might burn in dependence on fuel, such as grass and woods, or a fire that might burn independent of fuel such as grass and wood?100 Subha, of course, answers that the one which burns independent of fuel such as grass and wood is better. The Buddha then explains that pīti of the first two jhānas is like a fire that does not depend on fuel to burn, while pīti that depends on the five cords of sensual pleasures is like a fire that depends on fuel to burn (it seems reasonable to assume that this characterization applies to the two types of sukha as well). But what does it mean that jhānic pīti (and sukha) are not dependent on the five cords of sensual pleasures? What does it mean to not be dependent on sense experiences, while not being cut off from them? I believe that the preceding paragraph from the same sutta can elucidate this point. In this paragraph, the Buddha explains how the brahmin Pokkharasāti relates to the five cords of sensual pleasures (which produce the unwholesome pīti). According to the Buddha, the brahmin Pokkharasāti is enslaved by these five cords of sensual pleasures, having desire for them, being infatuated with them, and being utterly committed to them, since he enjoys them without seeing the danger in them or understanding the escape from them.101 The problem, according to the Buddha, is ignorance regarding the dangers of desiring sense pleasures. Since an ignorant person does not understand the true nature of sensual pleasures, he or she superimposes qualities onto these experiences that are not true; thus, the happiness that arises in dependence on these experiences is not ‘noble’ or conducive to liberation. According to Buddhist theory, it creates more desire and perpetuates delusion. However, jhānic pīti (and sukha) are independent of the five cords of sensual pleasures (but not cut off from sense experience) since they arise due to clear seeing of the danger of sense gratification. When one sees the danger and true nature of sense pleasures, one can enjoy experience without any unwholesome mental states such as clinging, aversion and so forth.102 This line of reasoning is strengthened by what we discussed previously concerning kāma, viveka and the process of entering into the first jhāna. By developing insight into the nature of phenomena, one is separated from the desire for sense gratification (kāma). One understands that true and abiding pleasure and happiness do not depend on the arising of gratifying sense experiences or the passing away of unpleasant and painful experiences. This insight inclines the mind to renunciation (nekkhamma), which is a mental standpoint in which infatuation with sense pleasures is absent: Bhikkhus, desire and lust for the eye is a corruption of the mind. Desire and lust for the ear… for the nose… for the tongue… for the body… for the mind is a corruption of the mind. When a bhikkhu has abandoned the corruptions of mind in these six cases, his mind inclines to renunciation. A mind fortified by renunciation becomes wieldy in regard to those things that are to be realized by direct knowledge.103 It may be deduced that sense contact can occur without desire, lust, and aversion, even before the attainment of awakening, and for prolonged period of time (that is, not a momentary experience). I would contend that this occurs during the experience of the jhāna- states. Experiencing phenomena without these corruptions of mind allows the mind to find delight, not in sense pleasures, but from seeing the true nature of phenomena.

I believe that the term viveka retained in the Nikāyas also its Sanskrit meaning as ‘discernment’. This interpretation is supported by a description from SN V 301. In this sutta, the quality of viveka is developed by the practice of the four satipaṭṭhānas. Anuruddha declares that indeed friends, when that bhikkhu is developing and cultivating the four establishings of mindfulness, it is impossible that he will give up the training and return to the lower life. For what reason? Because for a long time his mind has slanted, sloped, and inclined towards viveka. 37 Here Anuruddha clearly states that by seeing clearly (anupassati) body, feeling, mind and dhammas (the four focuses of mindfulness) the practitioner develops the quality of viveka. In this context, it seems that viveka is a quality connected to clear seeing, to discernment of the nature of experience.38 We also see here that the jhānas follow the development of the four satipaṭṭhānas and not some practice of onepointed concentration.39 The preceding also indicates that the development of the four satipaṭṭhānas inclines the mind towards discerning the true nature of phenomena; discernment that allows the mind to see the disadvantage of sense pleasures and, hence, let go of the desire for them and other unwholesome states (such as clinging and aversion, for example).That is, the cultivation of the four satipaṭṭhānas develops the ability to recognize and discern the mechanism of mind and body for seeing clearly into the nature of the various physical and mental phenomena. I would suggest that this discernment of phenomena (dhammas), and the consequent detachment (vivicca) is indicated by the term viveka, the same viveka from which pīti and sukha of the first jhāna are born.40 Discerning the nature of phenomena enables the mind to change its inclinations; that is, it allows us to let go of our basic unwholesome tendencies and desires, which are based on a mistaken perception of reality. This letting go (vossagga) is the proximate cause for entering the first jhāna.
In the full book There's the full Dhammawheel menu from appetizers to dessert. The nature of first jhana, vitakka, viveka, separation from kama, transition from first to second, states of absorption vs wisdom, problems of the Visuddhimagga (in a note I've seen also the quote of Buddhadhasa that says that deep absorption are an obstruction for insight). Sometimes he tries to much, and also unfortunately she doesn't use very much the agamas (which will increase the precision of the transition between satipatthana and first jhana, but she is on track and it says both that first jhana is a turning point and that there vitakka and vicara are thoughts that are there from the previous work of Satipatthana (aka seeing the drawbacks) that are not willed, that is precisely MA102).

The main problems (that I remember) is that she tries too hard to put everything in place and the fact that she considers sati not as memory and recollection of the Dhamma, but as mindfulness in the sense of being aware. I think that with that change, the equivalence satipatthana then jhana = bojjhanga can be perfectly completed. The best is that you can see everywhere that is a book written from someone who practiced a lot.
BrokenBones
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Re: Keren Arbel Jhana

Post by BrokenBones »

Thank you Nirodh27 for such a detailed response. I'm obviously in agreement with some of the things she says.

It is very tempting & Xmas is coming up... although I can't do the kindle thing... picking up a book is a sensual desire I'm a still prone to 😂
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nirodh27
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Re: Keren Arbel Jhana

Post by nirodh27 »

BrokenBones wrote: Fri Nov 12, 2021 10:54 pm Thank you Nirodh27 for such a detailed response. I'm obviously in agreement with some of the things she says.

It is very tempting & Xmas is coming up... although I can't do the kindle thing... picking up a book is a sensual desire I'm a still prone to 😂
I've just copied some of the longest highlights I have done at the time from the kindle. :reading:

Mantain you sila and maybe Santa Claus will grant your wish. :twothumbsup:
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Keren Arbel Jhana

Post by Ceisiwr »

nirodh27 wrote: Fri Nov 12, 2021 11:53 am
This is expected, since the formless spheres are defined as places in which forms are not present. This is consistent with AN 9.37 that clearly states that it is in the formless attainments that one cannot hear sound and it is divorced from forms, sounds, odors, tactile sensations. This give credit to those how says that the tradition have misread the jhanas transforming them into actual formless attainments.

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN9_37.html

Forms are sound, odors, tastes, sights. Here, the thorn is actually the five senses and the five senses are removed, not there anymore. To do that in the first jhanas is overkill, is not needed, is nowhere suggested, it is beyond due time.
You sound suspiciously close to committing the fallacy of denying the antecedent.

If P, then Q.
Therefore, if not P, then not Q.

If in the formless, then without the 5 senses.
Therefore, if not in the formless then there are the 5 senses.


The formless are without the 5 senses, but that doesn't then mean the Jhāna are of them.

We know that one in a million practitioner is said to be able to enter first jhana for the Visuddhimagga. But how we reconcile to the Buddha teaching that to young monks? And why no istruction whatsoever is found in helping the novice monks to do so and no direct clear statement in SN, SA, MN, MA? But the instructions, since the Buddha is a wonderful teacher, has been there all the time and are actually everywhere: go to a secluded place without people and noise. And it is something that the Buddha always did himself and suggested:
That isn't what the Visuddhimagga says.
to one abstaining from liquor, drinking liquor is a thorn. Again, one thing to stop asap, remove even small quantities. One that works on abstaining from liquor, every time he drinks a liquor it will find pleasure and the mind will incline accordingly. Still, this example can be read in boh ways. In a narrow and technical sense, in which of course abstaining from liquor and drinking liquor cannot happen at the same time (but it is truly a teaching worth suggesting? Is the Buddha capitain obvious?) in another, which I think it is the most useful, it could be read in the sense that if one wants to lead a life of abstinence from liquor just like for the celibate life, even a sip once in a while is dangerous and so it has to be removed. But no matter how you read this, the point as we have seen is another and valid in both cases: those events and conditions should be removed (But not by shutting down taste btw!).
You seem to be missing the point. The "thorn" here is a state that is diametrically opposed to what is being aimed at. When someone is drinking then, logically, they cannot be said to be abstinent. Likewise when someone is experiencing perceptions & feelings then logically they cannot be said to be in the state of nirodha-samāpatti. The same with sound. When someone is hearing a sound then they are not in the 1st Jhāna, according to these texts.
“Mendicants, I do not see a single thing that, when it’s not tamed, is so very harmful as the mind. A wild mind is very harmful.”

Adantavagga
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nirodh27
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Re: Keren Arbel Jhana

Post by nirodh27 »

Ceisiwr wrote: Fri Nov 12, 2021 11:37 pm
nirodh27 wrote: Fri Nov 12, 2021 11:53 am
This is expected, since the formless spheres are defined as places in which forms are not present. This is consistent with AN 9.37 that clearly states that it is in the formless attainments that one cannot hear sound and it is divorced from forms, sounds, odors, tactile sensations. This give credit to those how says that the tradition have misread the jhanas transforming them into actual formless attainments.

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN9_37.html

Forms are sound, odors, tastes, sights. Here, the thorn is actually the five senses and the five senses are removed, not there anymore. To do that in the first jhanas is overkill, is not needed, is nowhere suggested, it is beyond due time.
You sound suspiciously close to committing the fallacy of denying the antecedent.

If P, then Q.
Therefore, if not P, then not Q.

If in the formless, then without the 5 senses.
Therefore, if not in the formless then there are the 5 senses.


The formless are without the 5 senses, but that doesn't then mean the Jhāna are of them.

We know that one in a million practitioner is said to be able to enter first jhana for the Visuddhimagga. But how we reconcile to the Buddha teaching that to young monks? And why no istruction whatsoever is found in helping the novice monks to do so and no direct clear statement in SN, SA, MN, MA? But the instructions, since the Buddha is a wonderful teacher, has been there all the time and are actually everywhere: go to a secluded place without people and noise. And it is something that the Buddha always did himself and suggested:
That isn't what the Visuddhimagga says.
to one abstaining from liquor, drinking liquor is a thorn. Again, one thing to stop asap, remove even small quantities. One that works on abstaining from liquor, every time he drinks a liquor it will find pleasure and the mind will incline accordingly. Still, this example can be read in boh ways. In a narrow and technical sense, in which of course abstaining from liquor and drinking liquor cannot happen at the same time (but it is truly a teaching worth suggesting? Is the Buddha capitain obvious?) in another, which I think it is the most useful, it could be read in the sense that if one wants to lead a life of abstinence from liquor just like for the celibate life, even a sip once in a while is dangerous and so it has to be removed. But no matter how you read this, the point as we have seen is another and valid in both cases: those events and conditions should be removed (But not by shutting down taste btw!).
You seem to be missing the point. The "thorn" here is a state that is diametrically opposed to what is being aimed at. When someone is drinking then, logically, they cannot be said to be abstinent. Likewise when someone is experiencing perceptions & feelings then logically they cannot be said to be in the state of nirodha-samāpatti. The same with sound. When someone is hearing a sound then they are not in the 1st Jhāna, according to these texts.
You seem to be missing all the points that I've made. I've passed all the similes and not only the one that supports a position for a reason. For Nirodha Samapatti, I've actually agreed with you. For the liquor, I prefer the general reading than the narrow one, but I've said no matter how you read it. Seeing a woman cannot stop the celibate life and the diametrical opposed thing is not to be celibate or pursuing womans to make sex with them. This invalidates your position. I've also made the point that the similes can be read both in a narrow sense than in more general terms. I've shown why using a simile of thorn instead of simply say that one thing is diametrically opposed, because the main significance is that you have to remove the thorn. I've also shown how to actually the Buddha praises the removal of the thorn that is different in every case and it is clearly stated how the elders removed the thorn of sound. It is not a list of diametrically opposed thing, the story that precedes the list is there for showing you that the similes are there for suggesting the removal of eventual thorns, precisely what the monks did and they got praised for.
If in the formless, then without the 5 senses.
Therefore, if not in the formless then there are the 5 senses
.

First step: in the first jhana then without the 5 senses.
Fifth step: If in the formless then without the 5 senses.

The point is that is useless to state again what is already taken out in earlier steps in an instruction. If you enter a club and they ask you "please give us your coat" at the entrance they don't come again when you're eating to say to you "please give us your coat". Obiouvsly it would be strange to find an instruction to abandon vitakka&vicara in fourth jhana. That means that there's a strange repetiton of the same thing using different words (but that really makes me question the Buddha as a Teacher) or, more likely, the shutdown of the senses that you read in the pericope in Pali is simply the seclusion from desires.
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Pondera
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Re: Keren Arbel Jhana

Post by Pondera »

Coëmgenu wrote: Fri Nov 12, 2021 11:03 am
Pondera wrote: Fri Nov 12, 2021 9:28 amCare to explain why?
I'm sorry, Pondera, but I don't think you have a clue what I am talking about, based on your reply thus far. It is best to respond to what I say instead of responding to something that you imagine I might be saying.

Why did you think quoting those two suttas was relevant? It seems like you have no clue what I was talking about, but I'll give you an opportunity to try to contextualize yourself.
Sorry. It seems I have responded to the wrong post.

:anjali:
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Pondera
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Re: Keren Arbel Jhana

Post by Pondera »

Pondera wrote: Sat Nov 13, 2021 5:17 am
Coëmgenu wrote: Fri Nov 12, 2021 11:03 am
Pondera wrote: Fri Nov 12, 2021 9:28 amCare to explain why?
I'm sorry, Pondera, but I don't think you have a clue what I am talking about, based on your reply thus far. It is best to respond to what I say instead of responding to something that you imagine I might be saying.

Why did you think quoting those two suttas was relevant? It seems like you have no clue what I was talking about, but I'll give you an opportunity to try to contextualize yourself.
Sorry. It seems I have responded to the wrong post.

:anjali:
That was meant for Ceiweser (the Welsh seeker).
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frank k
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Re: Keren Arbel Jhana

Post by frank k »

You'll have to ask some pali experts if you want more clarification that that on the difference between samapatti and samapattiya.

when I say "process of attaining that attainment" , I'm talking about all the time prior to that attainment, not just a moment where it transitions into the attainment.

the first jhana formula is describing what one is doing WHILE one is in the attainment of first jhana.
the "process of attaining first jhana (samapattiya)", is the time before I entered first jhana.
Both in the attainment, and the process of trying to attain, I can hear sounds and it's a thorn.

For the cessation of perception of feeling,
I can only hear sounds in the process of trying to attain (samapattiya) that state,
because once I successfully enter that state of cessation (samapatti), I can not hear sounds.
Coëmgenu wrote: Fri Nov 12, 2021 12:46 pm
frank k wrote: Fri Nov 12, 2021 12:05 pm
Coëmgenu wrote: Thu Nov 11, 2021 9:12 pm What you've explained you've explained pretty clearly. I don't have any gripes with it. The issue is I've not explained myself clearly, it seems.

When you said, "it’s the 'attainment of' (samāpattiyā), not the activity within that samadhi itself that is a thorn," I took you as suggesting that samāpatti only refers to the initial attainment of the samādhi and does not refer to the dwelling in it, then I asked you on what grounds you suggest this. Is this not what you suggested?
samāpatti is nominative, a noun, 'attainment'.
samāpattiyā, which is what AN 10.72 uses, can be instrumental, dative, etc., and is referring to the process of attaining that attainment.
Yes. This is what I'm questioning. On what grounds do you say that the word "samāpatti" or its declensions are referring to the process of attaining that attainment and not the dwelling in that attainment itself? This requires a further clarificatory question.

When you say "process of attaining that attainment" are you referring to the moment that the attainment is entered, i.e. the moment of penetration, or the first time the attainment is entered for the practitioner? I took you to mean "any time you enter the samāpatti, the samāpatti itself is merely the entering/penetrating and is never the dwelling/abiding."
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Keren Arbel Jhana

Post by Ceisiwr »

nirodh27 wrote: Sat Nov 13, 2021 1:26 am
First step: in the first jhana then without the 5 senses.
Fifth step: If in the formless then without the 5 senses.

The point is that is useless to state again what is already taken out in earlier steps in an instruction. If you enter a club and they ask you "please give us your coat" at the entrance they don't come again when you're eating to say to you "please give us your coat". Obiouvsly it would be strange to find an instruction to abandon vitakka&vicara in fourth jhana. That means that there's a strange repetiton of the same thing using different words (but that really makes me question the Buddha as a Teacher) or, more likely, the shutdown of the senses that you read in the pericope in Pali is simply the seclusion from desires.
What is overcome and transcended in order to enter the formless is rūpa, but rūpa also includes mental objects.

"the external mind objects cognized by mind consciousness—belong to the rūpa aggregate" - MN 28/MĀ 30

Rūpa aggregate = any object of the 6 senses.

Vedanā aggregate = hedonic tone of the experience.

Sañña aggregate = conceptualisation/designation of it.

Formations aggregate = intentions towards it.

Consciousness aggregate = discriminating awareness.
You seem to be missing all the points that I've made. I've passed all the similes and not only the one that supports a position for a reason. For Nirodha Samapatti, I've actually agreed with you. For the liquor, I prefer the general reading than the narrow one, but I've said no matter how you read it. Seeing a woman cannot stop the celibate life and the diametrical opposed thing is not to be celibate or pursuing womans to make sex with them. This invalidates your position. I've also made the point that the similes can be read both in a narrow sense than in more general terms. I've shown why using a simile of thorn instead of simply say that one thing is diametrically opposed, because the main significance is that you have to remove the thorn. I've also shown how to actually the Buddha praises the removal of the thorn that is different in every case and it is clearly stated how the elders removed the thorn of sound. It is not a list of diametrically opposed thing, the story that precedes the list is there for showing you that the similes are there for suggesting the removal of eventual thorns, precisely what the monks did and they got praised for.

"To one who is keeping morality, breaches of morality are a thorn; to one guarding the senses, bodily adornments are a thorn; to one cultivating [the perception] of foulness, an appearance of purity is a thorn; to one cultivating loving-kindness, anger is a thorn; to one abstaining from liquor, drinking liquor is a thorn; to one leading a celibate life, looking at the female form is a thorn; to one entering the first absorption, noise is a thorn; to one entering the second absorption, [directed] awareness and [sustained] contemplation (vitakka-vicāra) is a thorn; to one entering the third absorption, rapture is a thorn; to one entering the fourth absorption, the inhalations and exhalations are a thorn; to one entering the sphere of [boundless] space, the perception of form is a thorn; to one entering the sphere of [boundless] consciousness, the perception of the sphere of [boundless] space is a thorn; to one entering the sphere of nothingness, the perception of the sphere of [boundless] consciousness is a thorn; to one entering the sphere of [neither-perception-nor-]nonperception, the perception of the sphere of nothingness is a thorn; to one entering the concentration by the cessation of perception and knowing, perception and knowing are a thorn."

- MĀ 84

"To one who is keeping morality, breaches of morality are a thorn;
To one keeping morality, immorality is a thorn. When acting in an immoral way you are no longer keeping morality.

To one guarding the senses, bodily adornments are a thorn
To one guarding the senses, bodily adornments are a thorn. When adorning the body you are no longer practicing sense restraint.

To one cultivating [the perception] of foulness, an appearance of purity is a thorn
To one cultivating foulness, the appearance of purity is a thorn. When purity appears you are no longer focusing on the impure.

To one cultivating loving-kindness, anger is a thorn
To one cultivating loving-kindness, anger is a thorn. When anger is present you are no longer experiencing metta.

To one abstaining from liquor, drinking liquor is a thorn
To one abstaining from alcohol, drinking is a thorn. When drinking you are no longer being abstinent.

To one leading a celibate life, looking at the female form is a thorn
To one leading a celibate life, looking at whichever sex you are attracted to is a thorn. When looking at people with sexual lust, you are no longer living a celibate life.

To one entering the first absorption, noise is a thorn
To one entering the 1st absorption, sound is a thorn. When hearing a sound, you are not in the 1st absorption.

To one entering the second absorption, [directed] awareness and [sustained] contemplation (vitakka-vicāra) is a thorn
To one entering the 2nd absorption, vitakka-vicāra is a thorn. When experiencing vitakka-vicāra, you are not in the 2nd absorption.

We could easily rephrase this, without any loss of meaning, as
  • Immorality blocks or destroys morality.
  • Adorning the body blocks or destroys sense-restraint.
  • Anger blocks or destroys mettā.
  • Drinking alcohol blocks or destroys abstinence.
  • Lusting after men or women (or whatever) blocks or destroys restraining from sexual lust.
  • Experiencing sound blocks or destroys entry into the 1st Jhāna.
  • Experiencing vitakka-vicāra blocks or destroys entry into the 2nd Jhāna.
Certainly when there is loud noise, this will be a distraction. This is why the monks and nuns would move away from crowds and so forth. The same in not mixing too much with members of the opposite sex. That doesn't then mean they still hear sounds whilst in Jhāna. As with vitakka-vicāra being an obstacle for the 2nd Jhāna, sound itself is an obstacle for attaining the first. Certainly this seems to be how the Dharmaguptakas understood it, although being doctrinally close to Theravāda this shouldn't be surprising

云何九證法?謂九盡: 若入初禪,則聲 刺 滅。
"What are the the 9 states to be attained? That is to say the 9 Cessations. When one enters the First Dhyana, the thorn of sounds ceases."


Moving to a quiet area is simply a means for overcoming all sound. If the mind is distracted by loud sounds then, obviously, the mind will be distracted. By moving to a quiet area the mind is disturbed less. By giving less attention to sound and more attention to the meditation object, the meditator can begin to develop the singular perception that is required for Jhāna. Having multiple perceptions, which is the state you have when you are aware of all of the senses, is a hindrance to Jhāna.

“There are, Ānanda, beings who are diverse in body and diverse in perception, such as human beings, some gods, and some beings in the lower realms. This is the first station for consciousness.

“There are beings who are diverse in body but identical in perception, such as the gods of the Brahma-order who are generated through the first (jhāna). This is the second station for consciousness.

“There are beings who are identical in body but diverse in perception, such as the gods of streaming radiance. This is the third station for consciousness.

“There are beings who are identical in body and identical in perception, such as the gods of refulgent beauty. This is the fourth station for consciousness.

“There are beings who, through the complete surmounting of perceptions of material form, the passing away of perceptions of impingement, and non-attention to perceptions of diversity, (contemplating) ‘Space is infinite,’ arrive at the base of the infinity of space. This is the fifth station for consciousness.
- DN 15

Sohaṁ tathā karissāmi yathā me puna na vicikicchā uppajjissati, na amanasikāro, na thinamiddhaṁ, na chambhitattaṁ, na uppilaṁ, na duṭṭhullaṁ, na accāraddhavīriyaṁ, na atilīnavīriyaṁ, na abhijappā, na nānattasaññā’ti.
I’ll make sure that neither doubt nor loss of focus nor dullness and drowsiness nor terror nor excitement nor discomfort nor excessive energy nor overly lax energy nor longing nor perception of diversity will arise in me again.’
- MN 128

“Mendicants, diversity of elements gives rise to diversity of perceptions. Diversity of perceptions gives rise to diversity of intentions. Diversity of intentions gives rise to diversity of desires. Diversity of desires gives rise to diversity of passions. Diversity of passions gives rise to diversity of searches." - SN 14.8

MN 128 is very interesting, in that perception of diversity (5 senses) is said to be a hindrance before attaining the 1st Jhāna. If we take something like the Kasiṇas this makes sense, since they are non-dual states (and so of a singular perception)

“One person perceives the air kasiṇa above, below, across, non-dual (advayaṁ), measureless.”

My view of how meditation works in relation to the path would be, roughly

Body contemplation > earth element > earth kasiṇa > absorption > leave > insight > knowledge > awakening.

Personally I agree with Sylvester, Sujato, the Visuddhimagga and the unnamed Ābhidhammikas in the Tattvasiddhi-Śāstra in reading the kāmā as being external objects. Seclusion then in the 1st Jhāna pericope then means to be away from the objects which can trigger the underlying tendencies, such as lust, thus intending towards renunciation.

Diversity of elements gives rise to diversity of perceptions. Diversity of perceptions gives rise to diversity of intentions. Diversity of intentions gives rise to diversity of desires. Diversity of desires gives rise to diversity of passions.

By tranquilising the mind and giving rise to the nimitta, you are no longer giving attention towards the things in the world which stimulate lust. You no longer intend towards them, but away from them. You give them up. You experience a bliss and happiness that is not based on them. The Jhāna then burns lust away.
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“Mendicants, I do not see a single thing that, when it’s not tamed, is so very harmful as the mind. A wild mind is very harmful.”

Adantavagga
auto
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Re: Keren Arbel Jhana

Post by auto »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Nov 13, 2021 6:19 pm Personally I agree with Sylvester, Sujato, the Visuddhimagga and the unnamed Ābhidhammikas in the Tattvasiddhi-Śāstra in reading the kāmā as being external objects. Seclusion then in the 1st Jhāna pericope then means to be away from the objects which can trigger the underlying tendencies, such as lust, thus intending towards renunciation.

Diversity of elements gives rise to diversity of perceptions. Diversity of perceptions gives rise to diversity of intentions. Diversity of intentions gives rise to diversity of desires. Diversity of desires gives rise to diversity of passions.

By tranquilising the mind and giving rise to the nimitta, you are no longer giving attention towards the things in the world which stimulate lust. You no longer intend towards them, but away from them. You give them up. You experience a bliss and happiness that is not based on them. The Jhāna then burns lust away.
one of the sense organ object arrives to the vicinity of mind door, which then gives rise to the kama-javana or appana-javana cittas.
abhidhamma pdf 160 wrote:When one of the six senses enters the avenue of the minddoor,
manodvàra vãthi ensues. Manodvàra vãthi may first be divided
into two classes.
1 Kàmajavana-vàra vãthi—here one of the 29 kàma-javana
cittas takes the function of javana, i.e., enjoying the taste
of the sense-object.
2 Appanàjavana-vàra vãthi— here one of the 26 appanàjavana
cittas takes the function of javana.
first there is object then there is lust what arises. In your case you try get into senses off thingy and then lust won't arise or avoid lust so that you would get pleasure better than mundane and thus you won't have lust anymore, nope.
Whereas in doctrine the lust is something what pertains to kama-javana citta and mind door adverts consciousness stream towards sense object, but if jhana is realized then the mind door adverts consciousness towards nimitta. Either cases there is sense organ object.
If there would be no sense organ object then the bhavanga citta is kept produced by the past life nimitta what got you to this present life. Sense organ object is the reason why you "wake up" at first place. And when the sense organ object is presented to the mind at those moments there the jhana is realized, consciousness stream then is adverted towards counterpart sign.
Something like that.
abhidhamma wrote:In the present life a person will be alive as long as the kusalakamma
(wholesome deed), which has given him rebirth in this
life, keeps on supporting him, i.e., keeps on producing bhavaïga
cittas (life continuum) as kamma-resultant.
.. wrote:Now suppose that a sense-object appears at one of the
sense-doors. It is necessary to know this new object so that we
can react to it as the need arises. In order to turn the stream of
consciousness towards this new object, the stream of bhavaïgacittas
must be arrested or cut off first.
piti
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Re: Keren Arbel Jhana

Post by piti »

frank k wrote: Fri Nov 12, 2021 12:17 pm
waryoffolly wrote: Mon Nov 08, 2021 4:53 pm
frank k wrote: Mon Nov 08, 2021 11:46 am her book is really good, i'm about half way through it right now.
Unfortunately no one wants to spend 75$ for a book, so it's never going to get wide circulation.
Some of the points are really good. However some of her arguments make little sense, such as claiming that vivicceva means discrimination instead of seclusion in the jhana formula.

Ven Analayo discusses the vivicceva point and others in his essay here: https://journals.equinoxpub.com/BSR/art ... 1649/pdf_1
I don’t agree with the entirety of his article either though.

Jumping in here …

Just to point out, that in a later book, Analayo actually accepts Arbel interpretation of viveka in the first jhana, but interestingly, in this book, he does not cite Arbel as the one who suggested it in the first place… Here is what he wrote:
“A secondary meaning of the term viveka, recognized in some dictionaries, is discrimination (Anālayo 2017a: 128). Although in its general use in the Pāli discourses the sense of seclusion is clearly the prominent one, this secondary meaning also has practical relevance. Once the mind is secluded from hindrances and distractions, we become able to discern the true nature of existence, in particular its nature of being subject to impermanence. This insight had in fact already become comprehensive with the previous three satipaṭṭhānas. Seeing the changing nature of all aspects of experience naturally leads on to cultivating dispassion, to a gradual fading away of craving and attachments.”

From Satipatthana Meditation: A Practice Guide

Link to Google Books
https://shorturl.at/ijmHU
waryoffolly
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Re: Keren Arbel Jhana

Post by waryoffolly »

piti wrote: Mon Dec 20, 2021 5:06 pm Just to point out, that in a later book, Analayo actually accepts Arbel interpretation of viveka in the first jhana, but interestingly, in this book, he does not cite Arbel as the one who suggested it in the first place… Here is what he wrote:
“A secondary meaning of the term viveka, recognized in some dictionaries, is discrimination (Anālayo 2017a: 128). Although in its general use in the Pāli discourses the sense of seclusion is clearly the prominent one, this secondary meaning also has practical relevance. Once the mind is secluded from hindrances and distractions, we become able to discern the true nature of existence, in particular its nature of being subject to impermanence. This insight had in fact already become comprehensive with the previous three satipaṭṭhānas. Seeing the changing nature of all aspects of experience naturally leads on to cultivating dispassion, to a gradual fading away of craving and attachments.”

From Satipatthana Meditation: A Practice Guide

Link to Google Books
https://shorturl.at/ijmHU
Thanks for this quote. I think Ven Analayo here is basically saying "even though viveka almost always means seclusion in the suttas, reading it as discrimination has some practical utility". So the point remains that viveka almost always means seclusion. I wouldn't call that 'accepting' Arbel's position that viveka in the jhana formula means discrimination, but instead recognizing that interpreting it that way, even if not technically correct, is still useful. I don't see any change in Ven Analayo's position-just some added nuance based on practical concerns.

For me the main problem I have with her arguing for viveka' as discrimination in the jhana formula is that it undercuts trust in her other arguments. This point is very clear in the suttas, and just quoting a dictionary definition and providing a single dubious (in the sense that it can be easily interpreted either way) sutta quote is very weak evidence.

But as I mentioned before I like her general ideas about the nature jhana; it's just that some of the arguments, like this one, seem very weak to me. Although maybe I'm just too critical :tongue:.
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frank k
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Re: Keren Arbel Jhana

Post by frank k »

I found a nice sutta, KN Iti 38 that gives great support for viveka as 'discernment', and ties in naturally with first jhana.

https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... iveka.html
www.lucid24.org/sted : ☸Lucid24.org🐘 STED definitions
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