the first jhana and thinking.

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Postby alan... » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:02 pm

manas wrote:It occurred to me recently, that in the first jhana, 'restlessness' has been surmounted, but not 'thinking'. But could it be that many persons conflate the two (thinking and restlessness) when they are actually two different things? This might be a long-standing source of much confusion.


interesting. sounds plausible.
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Postby Bakmoon » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:48 pm

alan... wrote:does anyone know of any suttas where the buddha talks about someone using the first jhana in ways that definitely involve thought that cannot be defined as just sustained and directed? i'm positive i've read one.

ah here it is:

"There was the case where Sariputta — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities — entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Whatever qualities there are in the first jhana — directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness,[2] desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him."

MN 111*.

here is venerable thanissaro's note for this section: "Notice that, with each of the previous levels of attainment, Sariputta was able to ferret out the various mental qualities arising there while he was still in the attainment. With this attainment and the following one, however, he was not able to analyze the mental qualities present and absent there until after he had left the attainment. "

it sounds like he was in jhana but definitely still thinking, not fully absorbed in his meditation object. the amount of activity going on in this sutta does not sound like full on absorption that one must leave in order to practice insight. i don't see any room for defining or interpreting this as such either. so is it possible that the teachers teaching full absorption with no thinking in the first jhana are leading students right on past the first and into the second without realizing it? heck according to this sutta you can think in jhana up til the dimension of nothingness!

*"Anupada Sutta: One After Another" (MN 111), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 1 December 2012, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html . Retrieved on 2 February 2013.


It is important to note that it is one of the stylistic features of the Pali of the Tipitika to use language like 'He knows thus "..."' in ways that don't necessarily mean thinking, so you can't conclude that the Ven. Sariputta is engaged in thinking during Jhana. For one thing, as you rightly noted, understanding it that way would mean that the Ven. Sariputta was thinking all the way up to the dimension of nothingness, and that can't be because vitakka and vicara cease in the second jhana.

The part in quotes here refers to the Ven. Sariputta's understanding of these qualities and their relationships, not to a verbalization.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Postby lojong1 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:13 am

SDC wrote:According to Venerable Punnaji, the only difference between vitakka-vicāra in the first jhāna and vitakka-vicāra in a normal state, is that in the first jhāna, while one is still able to think analytically, there can only be good (wholesome) thoughts, as opposed to normal circumstances when both wholesome and unwholesome thoughts can arise.

I SO resonate with this. Searching for Punnaji...
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Postby alan... » Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:12 am

Bakmoon wrote:
alan... wrote:does anyone know of any suttas where the buddha talks about someone using the first jhana in ways that definitely involve thought that cannot be defined as just sustained and directed? i'm positive i've read one.

ah here it is:

"There was the case where Sariputta — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities — entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Whatever qualities there are in the first jhana — directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness,[2] desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him."

MN 111*.

here is venerable thanissaro's note for this section: "Notice that, with each of the previous levels of attainment, Sariputta was able to ferret out the various mental qualities arising there while he was still in the attainment. With this attainment and the following one, however, he was not able to analyze the mental qualities present and absent there until after he had left the attainment. "

it sounds like he was in jhana but definitely still thinking, not fully absorbed in his meditation object. the amount of activity going on in this sutta does not sound like full on absorption that one must leave in order to practice insight. i don't see any room for defining or interpreting this as such either. so is it possible that the teachers teaching full absorption with no thinking in the first jhana are leading students right on past the first and into the second without realizing it? heck according to this sutta you can think in jhana up til the dimension of nothingness!

*"Anupada Sutta: One After Another" (MN 111), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 1 December 2012, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html . Retrieved on 2 February 2013.


It is important to note that it is one of the stylistic features of the Pali of the Tipitika to use language like 'He knows thus "..."' in ways that don't necessarily mean thinking, so you can't conclude that the Ven. Sariputta is engaged in thinking during Jhana. For one thing, as you rightly noted, understanding it that way would mean that the Ven. Sariputta was thinking all the way up to the dimension of nothingness, and that can't be because vitakka and vicara cease in the second jhana.

The part in quotes here refers to the Ven. Sariputta's understanding of these qualities and their relationships, not to a verbalization.


oh okay. it still points to cognition though and not the utterly thoughtless absorption professed by some though, right?
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Postby Dmytro » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:57 am

lojong1 wrote:
SDC wrote:According to Venerable Punnaji, the only difference between vitakka-vicāra in the first jhāna and vitakka-vicāra in a normal state, is that in the first jhāna, while one is still able to think analytically, there can only be good (wholesome) thoughts, as opposed to normal circumstances when both wholesome and unwholesome thoughts can arise.

I SO resonate with this. Searching for Punnaji...


Reminds me of Dvedhavitakka sutta:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Postby Sylvester » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:40 am

Dmytro wrote:
lojong1 wrote:
SDC wrote:According to Venerable Punnaji, the only difference between vitakka-vicāra in the first jhāna and vitakka-vicāra in a normal state, is that in the first jhāna, while one is still able to think analytically, there can only be good (wholesome) thoughts, as opposed to normal circumstances when both wholesome and unwholesome thoughts can arise.

I SO resonate with this. Searching for Punnaji...


Reminds me of Dvedhavitakka sutta:

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


Not forgetting this last bit of instruction about wholesome thinking -

And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with harmlessness arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with harmlessness has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding. If I were to think & ponder in line with that even for a night... even for a day... even for a day & night, I do not envision any danger that would come from it, except that thinking & pondering a long time would tire the body. When the body is tired, the mind is disturbed; and a disturbed mind is far from concentration.' So I steadied my mind right within, settled, unified, & concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind would not be disturbed.

"Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking & pondering, that becomes the inclination (nati) of his awareness. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with renunciation, abandoning thinking imbued with sensuality, his mind is bent (namati) by that thinking imbued with renunciation. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with non-ill will, abandoning thinking imbued with ill will, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with non-ill will. If a monk keeps pursuing thinking imbued with harmlessness, abandoning thinking imbued with harmfulness, his mind is bent by that thinking imbued with harmlessness.


It appears that one should eventually give up the wholesome thinking when the momentum alone is sufficient to keep the mind bent towards wholesome inclinations. The trick seems to be - how do we recognise when the mind is ready to go on auto-pilot?
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Postby daverupa » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:05 am

Sylvester wrote:how do we recognise when the mind is ready to go on auto-pilot?


Perhaps when it can be steadied right within, settled, unified, & concentrated.
    "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: the first jhana and thinking.

Postby Sylvester » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:29 pm

daverupa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:how do we recognise when the mind is ready to go on auto-pilot?


Perhaps when it can be steadied right within, settled, unified, & concentrated.


:clap:

Sometimes, the simplest answer yields the most fruit.

I just don't know why the good Ven decided to complicate things by translating "nekkhammavitakka" as "thinking imbued with renunciation" etc etc, when this simple compound can be so easily rendered as "thought of renunciation". He just keeps trying to prolong the persistence of thoughts/thinking in jhana... If the translation were correct, the Pali would not have read nekkhammavitakka, but it would have read "nekkhammūpasaṃhitā vitakka ". This kind of thoughts imbued with other qualities pop up in the next sutta, MN 20, where the sutta takes care to furnish the adjective ūpasaṃhitā to give the "imbued".
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Postby Bakmoon » Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:45 pm

alan... wrote:
Bakmoon wrote:
alan... wrote:does anyone know of any suttas where the buddha talks about someone using the first jhana in ways that definitely involve thought that cannot be defined as just sustained and directed? i'm positive i've read one.

ah here it is:

"There was the case where Sariputta — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities — entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Whatever qualities there are in the first jhana — directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness,[2] desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention — he ferreted them out one after another. Known to him they arose, known to him they remained, known to him they subsided. He discerned, 'So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.' He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that 'There is a further escape,' and pursuing it there really was for him."

MN 111*.

here is venerable thanissaro's note for this section: "Notice that, with each of the previous levels of attainment, Sariputta was able to ferret out the various mental qualities arising there while he was still in the attainment. With this attainment and the following one, however, he was not able to analyze the mental qualities present and absent there until after he had left the attainment. "

it sounds like he was in jhana but definitely still thinking, not fully absorbed in his meditation object. the amount of activity going on in this sutta does not sound like full on absorption that one must leave in order to practice insight. i don't see any room for defining or interpreting this as such either. so is it possible that the teachers teaching full absorption with no thinking in the first jhana are leading students right on past the first and into the second without realizing it? heck according to this sutta you can think in jhana up til the dimension of nothingness!

*"Anupada Sutta: One After Another" (MN 111), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 1 December 2012, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html . Retrieved on 2 February 2013.


It is important to note that it is one of the stylistic features of the Pali of the Tipitika to use language like 'He knows thus "..."' in ways that don't necessarily mean thinking, so you can't conclude that the Ven. Sariputta is engaged in thinking during Jhana. For one thing, as you rightly noted, understanding it that way would mean that the Ven. Sariputta was thinking all the way up to the dimension of nothingness, and that can't be because vitakka and vicara cease in the second jhana.

The part in quotes here refers to the Ven. Sariputta's understanding of these qualities and their relationships, not to a verbalization.


oh okay. it still points to cognition though and not the utterly thoughtless absorption professed by some though, right?


Yes.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.
Bakmoon
 
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Re: the first jhana and thinking.

Postby alan... » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:14 am

Bakmoon wrote:
Yes.


thanks
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