Regarding the Leigh Brasington's term "Visuddhimagga jhana", - evidently it refers not to the Visuddhimagga itself, but rather to the later tradition. Similarly, much of the criticism directed at "commentaries" does not refer to the Commentaries themselves, but rather to the later scholastic interpretations.
Visuddhimagga itself is rather ambivalent on the subject of presence/absence of physical perception in rupa jhanas.
"17. Of course, these [perceptions of visible objects, perceptions of sounds, perceptions of odours, perceptions of flavours, perceptions of tangible objects] are not to be found in one who has entered upon the first jhana, etc., either; for consciousness at that time does not occur by way of the five doors."
"19. In fact it is because they [i.e. sensory phenomena] have not been abandoned already before this that it was said by the Blessed One that sound is a thorn to one who has the first jhana (A. v, 135). And it is precisely because they are abandoned here that the imperturbability (see Vbh. 135) of the immaterial attainments and their state of peaceful liberation are mentioned (M.i,33), and that Alara Kalama neither saw the five hundred carts that passed close by him nor heard the sound of them while he was in an immaterial attainment."
98. But when pervading (rapturous) happiness arises, the whole body is completely pervaded, like a filled bladder, like a rock cavern invaded by a huge inundation.
99. Now this fivefold happiness, when conceived and matured, perfects the twofold tranquillity, that is, bodily and mental tranquillity. When tranquillity is conceived and matured, it perfects the twofold bliss, that is, bodily and mental bliss. When bliss is conceived and matured, it perfects the threefold concentration, that is, momentary concentration, access concentration, and absorption concentration.
Of these, what is intended in this context by happiness is pervading happiness, which is the root of absorption and comes by growth into association with absorption.
175. Now, as to the clause he feels bliss with his body: here, although in one actually possessed of the third jhana there is no concern about feeling bliss, nevertheless he would feel the bliss associated with his mental body, and after emerging from the jhana he would also feel bliss since his material body would have been affected by the exceedingly superior matter originated by that bliss associated with the mental body. It is in order to point to this meaning that the words 'he feels bliss with his body' are said.
So, evidently, Visuddhimagga as a text represents a transition stage between the descriptions of jhana in Vimuttimagga and in medieval scholastic texts.
Last edited by Dmytro
on Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.