A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Dmytro » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:36 pm

Thank you, Sylvester.

It's indeed an impressive conclusion to the thread called "A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”", which shows what qualities does this method cultivate in some of its followers.

I would appreciate if someone would let me know about the people who followed this method for a long time with decent results (though I doubt they exist).

Metta, Dmytro
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby daverupa » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:03 pm

It's easy to see
the errors of others,
but hard to see
your own.
You winnow like chaff
the errors of others,
but conceal your own —
like a cheat, an unlucky throw.

If you focus on the errors of others,
constantly finding fault,
your effluents flourish.
You're far from their ending.

Dhp 252-3
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Freawaru » Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:12 am

nyanasuci wrote:http://yuttadhammo.sirimangalo.org/posts/a-critique-of-brahmavamsos-the-jhanas/

A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

“Then, Aggivessana, I had this thought — ‘what if I were to meditate (jhāyeyya) on the non-breathing meditation (jhānaṃ)?’ At that, Aggivessana, I held back the in-and-out breathing of the mouth and nose. Then, Aggivessana, holding back the in-and-out breathing of the mouth and nose, there was a great amount of noise of pressure going out from my ears.”



There is a technique like this in yoga. It can lead to kaivalya (the experience of reality) and that is even beyond samadhi. If I recall correctly the breath stops naturally after the outbreath for quite some time. It has nothing to do with simply holding one's breath as when diving into the swimming pool.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Buddha knew this technique as he had been grown up in a time of yoga.
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby morning mist » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:40 pm

daverupa wrote:The comments below the blog entry make for a more comprehensive read, and offer considerable challenges which the blog author meets with varying degrees of success. I encourage a thorough examination of the many points discussed.


The comments refuting Yuttadhamo's uninformed critique and his promotion of " dry insight" have been deleted by him after removing the discussion to this forum. Critique of his " A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas” is not welcomed . It appears that questioning his theory is not allowed . Any of that will get erased and people who question his theory will get remove. I hope censoring is not the case in this forum. The my way of the highway attitude should be examined.


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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:50 pm

morning mist wrote:
daverupa wrote:The comments below the blog entry make for a more comprehensive read, and offer considerable challenges which the blog author meets with varying degrees of success. I encourage a thorough examination of the many points discussed.


The comments refuting Yuttadhamo's uninformed critique and his promotion of " dry insight" have been deleted by him after removing the discussion to this forum. Critique of his " A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas” is not welcomed . It appears that questioning his theory is not allowed . Any of that will get erased and people who question his theory will get remove. I hope censoring is not the case in this forum. The my way of the highway attitude should be examined.


Metta,
This an uncomfortable thread, but it is also an informative thread with some very carefully done criticisms. it will not be censored. When posting, do keep the TOS in mind: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby morning mist » Fri Mar 04, 2011 4:20 pm

I am really glad that reasonable discussions will not be deleted as in " Truth is Within" blog or people who doesn't follow the same view be removed and told to go away. The way I see it we are on the same path, perhaps with different interpretation. There is no need to kick someone out when they don't share the same view. In fact , it can be beneficial to discuss with others with opposing views. Sometimes we only see things that support our own view, it is difficult to look into what doesn't support the view that we held. Others can bring up things that we fail to see to help us see blind spots that we missed. This gives a more complete picture about the topic at hand. In this way discussion can be helpful. It is also one of the supporting factors for right view.

"Assisted by five factors, right view has cetovimuttiphala as its fruit & reward, and pannavimuttiphala as its fruit & benefit. Right view is assisted by virtue ( sila) , assisted by learning , assisted by discussion, assisted by tranquility (samatha ), assisted by insight (vipassana). Assisted by these five factors, right view has cetovimuttiphala as its fruit & benefit, and pannavimuttiphala as its fruit & benefit.” -MN 143

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby morning mist » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:49 pm

Hi Nana,


Ñāṇa wrote: "the canon offers a much different understanding of singleness of mind (citta ekagga, cittekaggatā). Singleness of mind is possible in any state which has discarded the five hindrances"


There are varying degrees of singleness of mind or mental unification. In the context of jhana, the mental unification required is to a higher degree.

“When he has abandoned these, there still remain thoughts about the dhamma (dhamma vitakka). That samadhi is not yet peaceful and sublime; it has not attained to full tranquillity , nor has it achieved mental unification (ekodibhava) ; it is maintained by strenuous suppression of the defilements . –Pamsudhovaka Sutta


Ñāṇa wrote: "Moreover, MN 111.. support developing vipassanā within jhāna. ... But according to Ven. Brahmavamso's jhāna, there can be no comprehension within jhāna. "


“When he has abandoned these, there still remain thoughts about the dhamma (dhamma vitakka). That samadhi is not yet peaceful and sublime; it has not attained to full tranquillity , nor has it achieved mental unification (ekodibhava) ; it is maintained by strenuous suppression of the defilements .
But there comes a time when his mind becomes inwardly steadied , composed , unified (ekodi), and concentrated ( samadhiyati) . That samadhi is then calm and refined; it has attained to full tranquillity and achieved mental unification (ekodibhava); it is not maintained by strenuous suppression of the defilements. Then to whatever dhamma realizable by supernormal knowledge he directs his mind, he achieves the capacity of realizing that state by supernormal knowledge, whenever the necessary conditions obtain .” –Pamsudhovaka Sutta

Also according to the Yuganaddha Sutta ( AN 4.170) Four Ways to Arahantship


Ven. Ananda said: "Friends, whoever — bhikkhu or bhikkhuni — that declares they have attained the final knowledge of arahatship in my presence, they all do so in one of four paths. Which four?

1. Samatha followed by Vipassana
2. Vipassana followed by Samatha
3. "Then there is the case where a bhikkhu has developed tranquillity and insight joined in pairs ( samatha-vipassanam yuganaddham). As he develops tranquillity and insight together, the path arises in him. He now frequents that path, cultivates, and pursues it. While he is doing so his fetters are abandoned and the underlying tendencies destroyed.

( MA: Samatha-vipassanaṃ yuganaddhaṃ. In this mode of practice, one enters the first jhāna and then, after emerging from it, applies insight to that experience, i.e. one sees the five aggregates within the jhāna (form, feeling, perception, etc.) as impermanent, liable to suffering, and non-self. Then one enters the second jhāna and contemplates it with insight; and applies the same pairwise procedure to the other jhānas as well, until the path of stream-entry, etc., is realized.)

4. dhammuddhaccaviggahitam manasam)

"Friends, whoever — monk or nun — that declares they have attained the final knowledge of arahantship in my presence, they all do so in one of these four paths.

Ñāṇa wrote: " the canon describes the mind in jhāna as vast and expansive. MN 127 describes the expansive liberation of mind (mahaggatā cetovimutti), which is a synonym for the mastery of jhāna"


Although they are related but not the same thing. There are various jhanas. Each jhana can be described differently from the other. In the " Sphere of Infinity of Space" and " Sphere of Infinite Consciousness" , these states of jhanas can be described as expansive. The form jhanas are not described as such. Then in the Sphere of Nothingness, there is nothing ("and aware that there is ’ nothing' ). In this state, how can we say it is expansive when there is nothing. Also in the Cessation of Perceptions and Feelings, are not described as expansive. When describing the form jhana, it makes sense not to describe them as expansive because the text did not described it as expansive. But when it comes to the other states, then yes , he described it as expansive.

Metta, :namaste:
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby legolas » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:37 am

"1. Samatha followed by Vipassana
2. Vipassana followed by Samatha
3. "Then there is the case where a bhikkhu has developed tranquillity and insight joined in pairs ( samatha-vipassanam yuganaddham). As he develops tranquillity and insight together, the path arises in him. He now frequents that path, cultivates, and pursues it. While he is doing so his fetters are abandoned and the underlying tendencies destroyed".

None of the above implies that within the first two instances, that one comes out of jhana to practice vipassana, merely that sooner or later the two have to go together.

The point made by Nana, about jhana being vast & expansive is well made. In the suttas there are only four "jhana's" - the immaterial states are never called jhana. So when jhana is described as being vast & expansive it can only apply in that context to the first four jhana. Later commentary starts talking about 8 jhana's, this is a case of later commentary blurring what is jhana and what is not.
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby pegembara » Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:33 am

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"Is passion-obsession to be abandoned with regard to all pleasant feeling? Is resistance-obsession to be abandoned with regard to all painful feeling? Is ignorance-obsession to be abandoned with regard to all neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling?"

"No... There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With that he abandons passion. No passion-obsession gets obsessed there.[4] There is the case where a monk considers, 'O when will I enter & remain in the dimension that those who are noble now enter & remain in?' And as he thus nurses this yearning for the unexcelled liberations, there arises within him sorrow based on that yearning. With that he abandons resistance. No resistance-obsession gets obsessed there.[5] There is the case where a monk, with the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. With that he abandons ignorance. No ignorance-obsession gets obsessed there."[6]
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:36 am

morning mist wrote:There are varying degrees of singleness of mind or mental unification. In the context of jhana, the mental unification required is to a higher degree.

The suttas you're quoting don't support the premise you seem to be trying to establish.

morning mist wrote:Also according to the Yuganaddha Sutta ( AN 4.170) Four Ways to Arahantship

I'll stick with the canonical Dhammasaṅgaṇī and Paṭisambhidāmagga in order to further clarify this sutta. The Dhammasaṅgaṇī Cittuppādakaṇḍa Rūpāvacarakusala Catukkanaya lists the mental factors engaged in an optimally skillful rūpāvacarajjhānacitta on a specific occasion, specifically, at that time. This list includes sammādiṭṭhi, sammāsati, sampajañña, samatha, and vipassanā:

    What at that time is samatha? That which at that time is stability of mind, steadfastness of mind, thorough steadfastness of mind, unshakableness, non-distraction, imperturbability, calmness of mind, faculty of concentration, strength of concentration, right concentration. This at that time is samatha.

    What at that time is vipassanā? That which at that time is discernment (paññā), thorough understanding, investigation, comprehensive investigation, investigation of phenomena, consideration, discrimination, direct discrimination, erudite intelligence, proficiency, refined intelligence, discriminative examination.... This at that time is vipassanā.

The same is said regarding supramundane jhāna in the Lokuttarakusala Suddhikapaṭipadā section, with the appropriate additions. Also, the Paṭisambhidāmagga Yuganaddhakathā is the canonical commentary on this sutta, where the coupling of samatha and vipassanā are again said to occur together upon attainment of the noble path. This is the same as what is presented in the Dhammasaṅgaṇī Cittuppādakaṇḍa Lokuttarakusala Suddhikapaṭipadā.

morning mist wrote:Although they are related but not the same thing.

They are the same thing.

All the best,

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby morning mist » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:52 am

legolas wrote: None of the above implies that within the first two instances, that one comes out of jhana to practice vipassana, merely that sooner or later the two have to go together.


The exact terms are PRECEDED BY , that means one in front of the other. It doesn't say one vipassana INSIDE samatha.

1.“Here, friends, a bhikkhu develops insight preceded by tranquillity (Samatha-pubbaṅgamaṃ vipassanam). As he develops insight preceded by tranquillity, the path arises in him. He now frequents that path, cultivates, and pursues it. While he is doing so his fetters are abandoned and the underlying tendencies destroyed.

2. "Then there is the case where a bhikkhu has developed tranquillity preceded by insight (Vipassanā-pubbaṅgamaṃ samatham). As he develops tranquillity preceded by insight, the path arises in him. He now frequents that path, cultivates, and pursues it. While he is doing so his fetters are abandoned and the underlying tendencies destroyed.


legolas wrote: The point made by Nana, about jhana being vast & expansive is well made. In the suttas there are only four "jhana's" - the immaterial states are never called jhana. So when jhana is described as being vast & expansive it can only apply in that context to the first four jhana. Later commentary starts talking about 8 jhana's, this is a case of later commentary blurring what is jhana and what is not.


I was using the term jhana to mean meditation in general the way Yuttadhama used it. But since you are using it as the text does ,now I will use it to refer to the four jhanas in Samma Samadhi. Noticed that the only the Four Jhanas are included in Samma Samadhi ( Right Concentration) but not the other states that are expansive. Concentration or Samadhi has to do with one-pointedness rather than expansive as the other states not included in Samma Samadhi.

Where in the ((( suttas))))) does it say cetavimutti is the jhanas or that they are the same thing.

Nanna wrote: What at that time is samatha? That which at that time is stability of mind, steadfastness of mind, thorough steadfastness of mind, unshakableness, non-distraction, imperturbability, calmness of mind, faculty of concentration, strength of concentration, right concentration. This at that time is samatha.


It doesn't say expansive here, but rather concentrated .

Nanna wrote: The suttas you're quoting don't support the premise you seem to be trying to establish.


The sutta below shows that a samadhi where thoughts about the dhamma is still present, has not achieved mental unification, has not attained to full tranquility. So when you are pondering or thinking about dhamma to arouse insight within meditation is not considered full samadhi.

" there still remain thoughts about the dhamma (dhamma vitakka). That samadhi is not yet peaceful and sublime; it has not attained to full tranquillity , nor has it achieved mental unification (ekodibhava) ; it is maintained by strenuous suppression of the defilements . –Pamsudhovaka Sutta



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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby cooran » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:33 am

Morning Mist said: Where in the ((( suttas))))) does it say cetavimutti is the jhanas or that they are the same thing.


Maybe this will assist:
Ceto-vimutti
Ceto-vimutti: 'deliverance of mind'. In the highest sense it signifies the fruition of Arahatship see: ariya-puggala and in particular, the concentration associated with it. It is often linked with the 'deliverance through understanding' paññā-vimutti,, e.g. in the ten powers of a Perfect One see: dasa-bala See vimokkha I.

It is also called 'unshakable deliverance of mind' akuppa further 'Infinite of m'. appamāna d. of m. from the conditions of existence, or signless of m.' animittā d. of m. from the appendages' ākincañña c.since that state of mind is free from the 3 bonds, conditions and appendants, i.e. from greed, hatred and ignorance; and since it is void thereof, it is called the 'void deliverance of mind' suññatā-c.

In a more restricted sense, 'Infinite deliverance of mind' is a name for the 4 Infinite states, i.e. loving-kindness, Pity, altruistic joy and equanimity see: brahma-vihāra; d. of m. from the appendages stands for the sphere of nothingness ākiñcaññāyatana see: jhāna 7; 'd. of mind from the conditions of existence', for of mind due to non-attention to all conditions of existence; 'void of m' for of m. due to contemplating voidness of self. For further details, see: M. 43.
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... to-vimutti

Maybe read MN 43 Mahavedalla Sutta: The Greater Set of Questions-and-Answers by Thanissaro Bhikkhu:
……….. Awareness-release
"Friend, how many conditions are there for the attainment of the neither-pleasant-nor-painful awareness-release?"
"Friend, there are four conditions for the attainment of the neither-pleasant-nor-painful awareness-release. There is the case where a monk, with the abandoning of pleasure & stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain. These are the four conditions for the attainment of the neither-pleasant-nor-painful awareness-release.
And more …………….
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:40 am

With respect to Ven Yuttadhammo, I wonder if the good venerable might have made a category mistake here -

The reason I didn’t expect to find much I could relate to going into the small booklet is because I don’t agree with this notion that the word “jhāna” implies some special, exclusive entity. To me, it clearly means, simply, “meditation”. The Mahāsaccaka Sutta, the very sutta Brahmavamso cites as proof that “the only time in his life that [the Buddha] had experienced any Jhāna was as a young boy,” (pg. 6) actually describes even some of the Bodhisatta’s tortuous austerities as jhāna:
“tassa mayhaṃ, aggivessana, etadahosi — ‘yaṃnūnāhaṃ appāṇakaṃyeva jhānaṃ jhāyeyya’nti. so kho ahaṃ, aggivessana, mukhato ca nāsato ca assāsapassāse uparundhiṃ. tassa mayhaṃ, aggivessana, mukhato ca nāsato ca assāsapassāsesu uparuddhesu kaṇṇasotehi vātānaṃ nikkhamantānaṃ adhimatto saddo hoti.”
“Then, Aggivessana, I had this thought — ‘what if I were to meditate (jhāyeyya) on the non-breathing meditation (jhānaṃ)?’ At that, Aggivessana, I held back the in-and-out breathing of the mouth and nose. Then, Aggivessana, holding back the in-and-out breathing of the mouth and nose, there was a great amount of noise of pressure going out from my ears.”


I would agree that the "non-breathing jhana" is certainly an example of a type of meditation/jhana.

But when the rest of the Canon refers to Sammasamadhi, it specifically refers to First Jhana, Second Jhana, Third Jhana and Fourth Jhana. As I understand it, these terms were no longer mere words denoting simply a noun, but were understood to be proper nouns in themselves. In other words, they are names describing "special exclusive entities" respectively.
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:49 am

pegembara wrote:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.044.than.html

"Is passion-obsession to be abandoned with regard to all pleasant feeling? Is resistance-obsession to be abandoned with regard to all painful feeling? Is ignorance-obsession to be abandoned with regard to all neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling?"

"No... There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With that he abandons passion. No passion-obsession gets obsessed there.[4] There is the case where a monk considers, 'O when will I enter & remain in the dimension that those who are noble now enter & remain in?' And as he thus nurses this yearning for the unexcelled liberations, there arises within him sorrow based on that yearning. With that he abandons resistance. No resistance-obsession gets obsessed there.[5] There is the case where a monk, with the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. With that he abandons ignorance. No ignorance-obsession gets obsessed there."[6]



Thank you, Traveller, for MN 44. I see there is someone besides myself who is prepared to give this sutta its plain reading, unburdened by the Commentarial qualifications.

It should be noted, however, that another sutta might suggest at least one other locus (besides 1st Jhana) where raganusaya does not anuseti a pleasant feeling. This is in MN 152, where an instructed putthujana reflects on the conditioned nature of vedana and as a result of that, equanimity is established in him. It is only a "possible" reading, since that sutta does not explicity state that the attendant cetasika vedana does not follow the pleasant feeling. It spoke only of the cessation of the pleasant feeling and equanimity replacing it.
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:17 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
morning mist wrote:There are varying degrees of singleness of mind or mental unification. In the context of jhana, the mental unification required is to a higher degree.

The suttas you're quoting don't support the premise you seem to be trying to establish.

morning mist wrote:Also according to the Yuganaddha Sutta ( AN 4.170) Four Ways to Arahantship

I'll stick with the canonical Dhammasaṅgaṇī and Paṭisambhidāmagga in order to further clarify this sutta. The Dhammasaṅgaṇī Cittuppādakaṇḍa Rūpāvacarakusala Catukkanaya lists the mental factors engaged in an optimally skillful rūpāvacarajjhānacitta on a specific occasion, specifically, at that time. This list includes sammādiṭṭhi, sammāsati, sampajañña, samatha, and vipassanā:

    What at that time is samatha? That which at that time is stability of mind, steadfastness of mind, thorough steadfastness of mind, unshakableness, non-distraction, imperturbability, calmness of mind, faculty of concentration, strength of concentration, right concentration. This at that time is samatha.

    What at that time is vipassanā? That which at that time is discernment (paññā), thorough understanding, investigation, comprehensive investigation, investigation of phenomena, consideration, discrimination, direct discrimination, erudite intelligence, proficiency, refined intelligence, discriminative examination.... This at that time is vipassanā.

The same is said regarding supramundane jhāna in the Lokuttarakusala Suddhikapaṭipadā section, with the appropriate additions. Also, the Paṭisambhidāmagga Yuganaddhakathā is the canonical commentary on this sutta, where the coupling of samatha and vipassanā are again said to occur together upon attainment of the noble path. This is the same as what is presented in the Dhammasaṅgaṇī Cittuppādakaṇḍa Lokuttarakusala Suddhikapaṭipadā.

morning mist wrote:Although they are related but not the same thing.

They are the same thing.

All the best,

Geoff


Hi Geoff

Your reading of the Dhammasangani still treats it as furnishing a laundary list of dhammas within each of the avacaras' cittas. As I pointed out in the Bhante G thread, I follow the Dhammasangani's textual presentation of the dhammas as clusters. The Dhammasangani does not, as far as I can see, say -

"Samatha exists in rupavacara kusala citta.

Vipassana exists in rupavacara kusala citta".

The text is quite clear when it states "Samatho hoti, vipassanā hoti," as a cluster. It is nothing more than a iddapaccayata formulation in the locative absolute. What "is" on that occassion (tasmiṃ samaye), IMHO, is not the existence/presence of a dhamma, but the assertion of the various iddapaccayata relations spelt out in the listing.

The locative absolute does not necessarily entail contemporaneity of the 2, and allows vipassana to succeed samatha by any length of time.

This reading of the Dhammasangani list of iddapaccayata relations is perfectly in line with the sutta AN 3.100 that morning mist cited. This reading avoids the obvious difficulty of how dhamma-vicaya can proceed in the 2nd Jhana upwards, without vitakka-vicara.

So, even for those who resort to the later strata of material, it does not seem as if the Abhidhammic material are amenable to one interpretation only, are they?
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:40 pm

Sylvester wrote:The Dhammasangani does not, as far as I can see, say -

"Samatha exists in rupavacara kusala citta.

Are you suggesting that rūpāvacarajjhāna occurs without samatha? That would be quite impossible.

Sylvester wrote:The locative absolute does not necessarily entail contemporaneity of the 2, and allows vipassana to succeed samatha by any length of time.

Nonsense. Your "interpretation" completely fails to account for the fact that this is section is describing a citta which has concomitant gnosis. The enumeration of phenomena are those which occur concomitant with that specific citta at that specific time. It would be better to not attempt to mangle the Tipiṭaka with nonsensical interpretations.

Sylvester wrote:This reading avoids the obvious difficulty of how dhamma-vicaya can proceed in the 2nd Jhana upwards, without vitakka-vicara.

Are you now suggesting that supramundane jhāna occurs without dhammavicaya? That too, would be quite impossible. The presence of dhammavicaya, just like the presence of sammādiṭṭhi, etc., does not require vitakka or vicāra.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:46 pm

morning mist wrote:The exact terms are PRECEDED BY , that means one in front of the other. It doesn't say one vipassana INSIDE samatha.

The Paṭisambhidāmagga Yuganaddhakathā is the canonical commentary on this sutta, where the coupling of samatha and vipassanā are said to occur together upon attainment of the noble path. This is the same as what is presented in the Dhammasaṅgaṇī Cittuppādakaṇḍa Lokuttarakusala Suddhikapaṭipadā.

morning mist wrote:
Nanna wrote: What at that time is samatha? That which at that time is stability of mind, steadfastness of mind, thorough steadfastness of mind, unshakableness, non-distraction, imperturbability, calmness of mind, faculty of concentration, strength of concentration, right concentration. This at that time is samatha.

It doesn't say expansive here, but rather concentrated.

Dhammasaṅgaṇī 1027:

    What phenomena are expansive (mahaggatā)?

    There are skillful and neither-skillful-nor-unskillful phenomena of the form sphere (rūpāvacarā) and the formless sphere (arūpāvacarā), the feeling aggregate, recognition aggregate, fabrications aggregate, and consciousness aggregate; these phenomena are expansive.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:55 pm

Hi Geoff

Are you suggesting that rūpāvacarajjhāna occurs without samatha? That would be quite impossible.


Careful, careful with your reductio ad absurdum. The iddapaccayata cluster, according to the Dhammasangani, that is "Samatho hoti, vipassanā hoti" necessitates samatha. When this cluster "is", the paccaya/condition (in this case samatha) has to be present.

Nonsense. Your "interpretation" completely fails to account for the fact that this is section is describing a citta which has concomitant gnosis. The enumeration of phenomena are those which occur concomitant with that specific citta at that specific time. It would be better to not attempt to mangle the Tipiṭaka with nonsensical interpretations.


You may find it nonsensical, but you've not answered the objection how there can be dhamma-vicaya without vitakka-vicara. I'm not sure how you read the preface as being description of the citta as having a "concomitant gnosis". Surely not "ñāṇasampayuttaṃ"? That simply means "associated with knowledge". The Abhidhammikas had a special technical term to indicate concomitance, ie sahagata, and this technical term is in fact used to describe another state in the preface. I don't think the Abhidhammikas would have used "sahagata" with one state, while using "sampayutta" in another, if they were synonymous. Sampayutta is not a temporal indicator, but a causal indicator.

Are you now suggesting that supramundane jhāna occurs without dhammavicaya? That too, would be quite impossible. The presence of dhammavicaya, just like the presence of sammādiṭṭhi, etc., does not require vitakka or vicāra.


I've indicated my rejection of the Abhidhammic lokiya-lokuttara bifurcation, when I commented on MN 117 and elsewhere. I'm much happier sticking to the suttas, without this strata of doctrine which only complicates the simplicity of the suttas. I trust you see why I place so little soteriological value with the Abhidhamma.
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Nyana » Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:36 pm

Sylvester wrote:I trust you see why I place so little soteriological value with the Abhidhamma.

All of your nonsensical qualms have been addressed in detail previously. Certainly, ignoring the Tipiṭaka is your choice. Good luck with that "jhāna" devoid of comprehension. I trust that such a "jhāna" will result in a long rest in a non-perceptive realm as an asaññasatta.



All the best,

Geoff
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Postby Sylvester » Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:25 pm

Ahh, yes. Stick & stones. The clarion call of those befuddled and unable to respond. Most satisfying.

Brandishing the "Tipitaka" does not help your cause, not when the term "Tipitaka" itself does not appear in the Canon.

As for associating "my" jhanas with the asañña, that's the same old tired strawman of misrepresenting Ajahn Brahm's description of the jhanas, eg 1st Jhana -

Even though there is no comprehension within any jhana, one is certainly not in a trance. One's mindfulness is greatly increased to a level of sharpness that is truly incredible. One is immensely aware. ...


You do make me laugh, Geoff.
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