sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby alan... » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:18 am

is it in there?

is it possible that, considering the almost uniform ignoring of the whole body similes about jhana by the commentaries, the vipassana jhanas are closer to what the buddha was talking about?

it makes sense, he talks about people gaining insight while in jhana frequently but the commentaries say one must come out of jhana to do insight.

i'm intrigued and perplexed. i've been a vipassana person for years but always sat in commentary meditation and more recently i've been trying to reconcile my practice with the suttas.
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Re: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:25 am

Greetings Alan,

alan... wrote:vipassana jhanas are closer to what the buddha was talking about?

If the commentaries hadn't taken such liberties to redefine jhana, there would be no need for them to be labelled "vipassana jhanas"... they would just be "jhanas".

Terms like "vipassana jhanas" exist only to differentiate it from, and counter-balance, the samatha-centric presentation of jhana as found in the commentaries.

So yes, there is sutta support for "vipassana jhanas"... much more than there is for "commentarial jhana".

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby alan... » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:41 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Alan,

alan... wrote:vipassana jhanas are closer to what the buddha was talking about?

If the commentaries hadn't taken such liberties to redefine jhana, there would be no need for them to be labelled "vipassana jhanas"... they would just be "jhanas".

Terms like "vipassana jhanas" exist only to differentiate it from, and counter-balance, the samatha-centric presentation of jhana as found in the commentaries.

So yes, there is sutta support for "vipassana jhanas"... much more than there is for "commentarial jhana".

Metta,
Retro. :)


well said and refreshing, thank you sir.
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Re: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby marc108 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:02 am

:goodpost:

IMO: Vipassana Jhana = Sutta Jhana
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby Samma » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:08 am

alan you would probably be interested in this series of articles that tries to see how zen, suttas, visuddhimagga relate.
http://bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com/hom ... -variants/

Also
Panditārāma Sayādaw explained the teachings of the Mahāsi Sayādaw as follows.
Ānāpānassati can take two directions. If the meditator strives to be mindful of the form or manner of the in-breath and the out-breath, then it is samatha meditation and leads to one-pointedness of mind. On the other hand, if the meditator notes the sensation of the in-breath and out-breath as it moves and touches, then it is vipassanā meditation. The element of wind or motion (vayo-dhātu) is rūpa or matter, while the awareness or consciousness of the sensation is nāma or mind. Therefore, ānāpānassati can be considered as vipassanā, and can lead to high levels of insight wisdom. However, in the Visuddhimagga, in the section on kāyānupassana, or mindfulness of body, fourteen objects of meditation are discussed, and further subdivided into objects for samatha and vipassanā meditation. In the Visuddhimagga, ānāpānassati is presented as an object of samatha meditation. Consequently, if we are to instruct meditators to develop ānāpānassati as part of vipassanā meditation, we will be inviting much unwanted and unwarranted criticism and controversy. And neither Mahāsi Sayādaw or myself would want to argue here that the Visuddhimagga, the rightly venerated classic, is at fault here.
http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Other/Ques ... tions.html
Last edited by Samma on Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby Mojo » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:17 am

With this topic in mind, which, if any, teachers teach the Anapanasati Sutta in such a way that the vipassana jhanas are attained and not the commentarial jhanas?
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Re: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby marc108 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:24 am

Mojo wrote:With this topic in mind, which, if any, teachers teach the Anapanasati Sutta in such a way that the vipassana jhanas are attained and not the commentarial jhanas?


Ajahn Thanissaro, Joseph Goldstein, Richard Shankman
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby Samma » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:45 am

Mojo wrote:With this topic in mind, which, if any, teachers teach the Anapanasati Sutta in such a way that the vipassana jhanas are attained and not the commentarial jhanas?


Didn't like the answers last time Mojo? :tongue:
Perhaps whats causing the issue is very few people speak of "vipassana jhana".
While Marc might say Thanissaro, because Thanisaro would certainly say there is an element of vipassana in jhana, Thanissaro would not use that term or relate it to the progress of insight like U Pandita does.
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Re: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby pegembara » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:11 pm

Mojo wrote:With this topic in mind, which, if any, teachers teach the Anapanasati Sutta in such a way that the vipassana jhanas are attained and not the commentarial jhanas?


It’s when the mind is tranquil. It’s not ordinary mental proliferation. You sit with a calm mind and then the initial thought comes. For example, I think of my brother who just passed away. Or I might think of some other relatives. This is when the mind is tranquil-the tranquility isn’t something certain, but for the moment the mind is tranquil. After this initial thought comes, then I go into discursive thought. If it’s a line of thinking that’s skillful and wholesome, it leads to ease of mind and happiness, and then there is rapture, with its attendant experiences. This rapture came from the initial and discursive thinking that took place in a state of calmness. We don’t have to give it names such as first jhana, second jhana, and so forth. We just call it tranquility.

http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhis ... 0Doubt.htm
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: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby alan... » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:30 pm

pegembara wrote:
Mojo wrote:With this topic in mind, which, if any, teachers teach the Anapanasati Sutta in such a way that the vipassana jhanas are attained and not the commentarial jhanas?


It’s when the mind is tranquil. It’s not ordinary mental proliferation. You sit with a calm mind and then the initial thought comes. For example, I think of my brother who just passed away. Or I might think of some other relatives. This is when the mind is tranquil-the tranquility isn’t something certain, but for the moment the mind is tranquil. After this initial thought comes, then I go into discursive thought. If it’s a line of thinking that’s skillful and wholesome, it leads to ease of mind and happiness, and then there is rapture, with its attendant experiences. This rapture came from the initial and discursive thinking that took place in a state of calmness. We don’t have to give it names such as first jhana, second jhana, and so forth. We just call it tranquility.

http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhis ... 0Doubt.htm

Isnt discursive thought the opposite of concentration?
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Re: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:46 pm

Greetings Alan,

alan... wrote:Isnt discursive thought the opposite of concentration?

Huh? I would have thought anxiety and panic would be closer to the opposite of concentration, as would sloth and torpor.

Discursive thought still exists in the first jhana, so how can it be opposite...? The notion of first jhana would be a contradiction in terms.

That is, unless you're swayed by commentarial reframings of jhana, vitaka, vicara etc. and I know that's your background, so if you are interested in more of a sutta only approach (e.g. "(vipassana) jhanas"), there may be various things to unlearn or unassume.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby pegembara » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:59 am

Isnt discursive thought the opposite of concentration?


Do you need concentration for target practice? Of course you do.
Do you need thinking to hit the target? Yes - taking into account wind factor, distance from target etc. Once that is done, there is only the target to fully focus on.
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: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby pegembara » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:32 am

Mojo wrote:With this topic in mind, which, if any, teachers teach the Anapanasati Sutta in such a way that the vipassana jhanas are attained and not the commentarial jhanas?


The stages through which you have already passed — watching the breath come in and out, long or short — should be enough to make you realize — even though you may not have focused on the idea — that the breath is inconstant. It's continually changing, from in long and out long to in short and out short, from heavy to light and so forth. This should enable you to read the breath, to understand that there's nothing constant to it at all. It changes on its own from one moment to the next.

Once you have realized the inconstancy of the body — in other words, of the breath — you'll be able to see the subtle sensations of pleasure and pain in the realm of feeling. So now you watch feelings, right there in the same place where you've been focusing on the breath. Even though they are feelings that arise from the stillness of the body or mind, they're nevertheless inconstant even in that stillness. They can change. So these changing sensations in the realm of feeling exhibit inconstancy in and of themselves, just like the breath.

When you see change in the body, change in feelings, and change in the mind, this is called seeing the Dhamma, i.e., seeing inconstancy. You have to understand this correctly. Practicing the first tetrad of breath meditation contains all four tetrads of breath meditation. In other words, you see the inconstancy of the body and then contemplate feeling. You see the inconstancy of feeling and then contemplate the mind. The mind, too, is inconstant. This inconstancy of the mind is the Dhamma. To see the Dhamma is to see this inconstancy.

When you see the true nature of all inconstant things, then keep track of that inconstancy at all times, with every in-and-out breath. Keep this up in all your activities to see what happens next.

What happens next is dispassion. Letting go. This is something you have to know for yourself.

Upasika Kee http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... ensed.html
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: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:17 am

I'm still not clear about the labels being used in this discussion - sutta jhana, commentarial jhana and vipassana jhana. Can anyone give a brief description of the differences?
Well, oi dunno...
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Re: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby Bakmoon » Thu May 02, 2013 8:14 pm

Mojo wrote:With this topic in mind, which, if any, teachers teach the Anapanasati Sutta in such a way that the vipassana jhanas are attained and not the commentarial jhanas?


The Patisambhidamagga has a section on Anapanasati that describes it largely in vipassana terms. Here's a link:

http://archive.org/stream/Patisambhidam ... 5/mode/2up
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: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu May 02, 2013 8:25 pm

Mojo wrote:With this topic in mind, which, if any, teachers teach the Anapanasati Sutta in such a way that the vipassana jhanas are attained and not the commentarial jhanas?

There is no way to do it any other way; any teacher who teaches Anapanasati will teach sutta Jhanas. Commentarial Jhana is too deep for Vipassana.

porpoise wrote:I'm still not clear about the labels being used in this discussion - sutta jhana, commentarial jhana and vipassana jhana. Can anyone give a brief description of the differences?

Sutta Jhana refers to the relatively "light" Jhana that the Buddha discusses in the practice, one in which there is still thought and sense awareness. Commentarial Jhana refers to the later Vissudhimagga Jhanas, which are much deeper states of pure Samatha, often with no awareness of the body at all. Vipassana Jhana is a term invented in the last century to distinguish Jhanas in which insight can still be gained - it is essentially synonymous with sutta Jhanas.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby reflection » Thu May 02, 2013 9:13 pm

reflection wrote:Just to point out the distinction "sutta" vs "commentary" is deceiving. Of course those who practice the latter kind also think the suttas describe them and that the Buddha taught them.

.. and may even disagree with the commentaries.

Better call them 'easy' vs 'hard' interpretations, 'bodily' vs 'non-bodily', 'shallow' vs 'deep' or whatever.

Also, it's not just black and white.

:anjali:
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Re: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu May 02, 2013 9:27 pm

reflection wrote:Just to point out the distinction "sutta" vs "commentary" is deceiving. Of course those who practice the latter kind also think the suttas describe them and that the Buddha taught them.

It's not just a matter of "sutta" vs "commentary". A number of teachers, such as Ajahn Brahm, teach deep jhanas based entirely on the suttas, with no reference to Commentaries. Therefore, classifying his teaching as "commentary jhanas" would be somewhat confusing. It might be better to simply talk about light and deep jhanas.

:anjali:
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Re: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby reflection » Thu May 02, 2013 9:32 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
reflection wrote:Just to point out the distinction "sutta" vs "commentary" is deceiving. Of course those who practice the latter kind also think the suttas describe them and that the Buddha taught them.

It's not just a matter of "sutta" vs "commentary". A number of teachers, such as Ajahn Brahm, teach deep jhanas based entirely on the suttas, with no reference to Commentaries. Therefore, classifying his teaching as "commentary jhanas" would be somewhat confusing. It might be better to simply talk about light and deep jhanas.

:anjali:
Mike

Thanks for the reply. I was editing my writing while you posted this and it also reflects this. Good point.

Better would be to discuss with a description of the experiences instead of a keyword. But if people want to label things, well.. better label it with something that at least has room for the views of everybody.
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Re: sutta support for vipassana jhanas?

Postby manas » Thu May 02, 2013 11:02 pm

i.was.wondering.where.in.the.suttas
it.is.mentioned.that.one.will.meditate
on.the.breath/body.and.eventually
a.light.of.some.variety.is.supposed
to.come.forth.

i.have.tried.to.read.all.the.suttas.that
describe.jhana.practice,but.i.have.not
come.across.anything.which.suggests.that
from.jhanas.1to4,we.will."get."anything.other
than.this.body,in.and.of.itself,as.not.only
the.satipatthana.sutta.suggests,but.also
the.anapanasati.sutta.suggests.

my.readings.suggest.that.we.will.clearly
perceive.just.this— the.body.in.and.of.itself,
with.its.breathing.process.

not.that."meditate.on.the.breath,and
at.some.stage.it.will.disappear,and
something.else.will.become.your.object."

quite.the.contrary.in.fact.

it.would.appear.to.me.that.in.jhanas.1to4,
our.object,the.body/its.breath.remains.throughout;
what.will.change.is.our.perception.of.it.

(and.probably.a.few.other.things.too,but
i.will.stick.with.the.limits.of.my.current
understanding,which.is.of.course.limited.)

the.mind.with.hindrances.can.perceive.the.breath.as."boring"
it.cant.appreciate.the.beauty.of.such.a.simple,neutral.object
but.if.cleansed.of.the.hindrances,a.different.kind.of.mind.arises
one.that.perceives."the.simple".as.beautiful
that.is.sensitive.to.rapture.with.each.in.and.out.breath.

same.object,but
different.perception
different.feeling.

im.wondering.if.anyone.else.thinks.in.this.way.

metta
:anjali:
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