Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

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Robert123
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Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Post by Robert123 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:27 am

Hello all,

I have a question: Does "rapture [piti] more not of the flesh" and "pleasure [sukha] more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Here is the sutta that discusses 3 types of raptures (and then repeats the same for pleasure and equanimity): (1) rapture of the flesh experienced through the senses, (2) rapture not of the flesh experienced in jhana and insight, and (3) rapture more not of the flesh experienced without the passion, aggression and delusion (sometimes these three are translated as: worldly, unworldly, and completely unworldly).

[1] And what is rapture of the flesh? There are these five strings of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye—agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Sounds cognizable via the ear … Aromas cognizable via the nose … Flavors cognizable via the tongue … Tactile sensations cognizable via the body—agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Now whatever rapture arises in dependence on these five strands of sensuality, that is called rapture of the flesh. [2] And what is rapture not of the flesh? There is the case where a monk—quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unskillful qualities—enters & remains in the first jhāna: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhāna: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation—internal assurance. This is called rapture not of the flesh. [3] And what is the rapture more not-of-the-flesh than that not of the flesh? Whatever rapture arises in a fermentation-ended monk as he is reflecting on his mind released from passion, reflecting on his mind released from aversion, reflecting on his mind released from delusion, that is called rapture more not-of-the-flesh than that not of the flesh. … And what is the pleasure more not-of-the-flesh than that not of the flesh? Whatever pleasure arises in a fermentation-ended monk as he is reflecting on his mind released from passion, reflecting on his mind released from aversion, reflecting on his mind released from delusion, that is called pleasure more not-of-the-flesh than that not of the flesh.

Is "rapture more not of the flesh" experienced in nibbana? If so is it part of the experience of nibbana? If not, why?

Thanks!

santa100
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Re: Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Post by santa100 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:55 am

Ven. Bodhi's version of SN 36.31 is pretty straightforward:
SN 36.31 wrote:And what, bhikkhus, is carnal rapture? There are, bhikkhus, these five cords of sensual pleasure. What five? Forms cognizable by the eye … tactile objects cognizable by the body that are desirable, lovely, agreeable, pleasing, sensually enticing, tantalizing. These are the five cords of sensual pleasure. The rapture that arises in dependence on these five cords of sensual pleasure: this is called carnal rapture.

“And what, bhikkhus, is spiritual rapture? Here, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the first jhana, which is accompanied by thought and examination, with rapture and happiness born of seclusion. With the subsiding of thought and examination, he enters and dwells in the second jhana, which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without thought and examination, and has rapture and happiness born of concentration. This is called spiritual rapture.

“And what, bhikkhus, is rapture more spiritual than the spiritual? When a bhikkhu whose taints are destroyed reviews his mind liberated from lust, liberated from hatred, liberated from delusion, there arises rapture. This is called rapture more spiritual than the spiritual.
So, the spiritual rapture is the jhanas' rapture. And the rapture more spiritual than the spiritual is the rapture of one who has attained Nibbana (ie. whose taints are destroyed and whose mind has been liberated from the Three poisons of lust, hatred, and delusion).

Robert123
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Re: Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Post by Robert123 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:31 am

Thank you for your Reply Santa100!

If "rapture and pleasure more not of the flesh" or "more spiritual than spiritual" is experienced in nibbana then I have a further question.

The buddha states that he was able to experience the jhanas when he was in nibbana.

Then the Blessed One addressed the monks, “Now, then, monks, I exhort you: All fabrications are subject to decay. Bring about completion by being heedful.” Those were the Tathāgata’s last words. Then the Blessed One entered the first jhāna. Emerging from that he entered the second jhāna. Emerging from that, he entered the third … the fourth jhāna … the dimension of the infinitude of space … the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness … the dimension of nothingness … the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. Emerging from that, he entered the cessation of perception & feeling. Then Ven. Ānanda said to Ven. Anuruddha, “Ven. Anuruddha, the Blessed One is totally unbound.” “No, friend Ānanda. The Blessed One isn't totally unbound. He has entered the cessation of perception & feeling.” Then the Blessed One, emerging from the cessation of perception & feeling, entered the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. Emerging from that, he entered the dimension of nothingness … the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness … the dimension of the infinitude of space … the fourth jhāna … the third … the second … the first jhāna. Emerging from the first jhāna he entered the second … the third … the fourth jhāna. Emerging from the fourth jhāna, he immediately was totally Unbound. When the Blessed One was totally Unbound, simultaneously with the total Unbinding, there was a great earthquake, awesome & hair-raising, and the drums of the devas sounded.

Or:

Dīgha Nikāya 28 states, “The Blessed Lord is able, here and now, to enjoy the surpassing happiness of dwelling in the four jhānas.”


Interestingly, also the first three jhanas have rapture and pleasure. If follows that rapture and pleasure can be experienced while clinging to the aggregates (when a person is not in nibbana), but also when a person is in nibbana when not clinging to the aggregates.

This means that the first three jhanas experienced while being in nibbana, are "rapture and pleasure more not of the flesh" since those types of rapture and pleasure are experienced without clinging to the aggregates.

But if this is so, then we can use the description of the experience of rapture and pleasure described in the first three jhanas to describe the experience of rapture and pleasure occurring in nibbana. Yes?

Thank you!

santa100
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Re: Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Post by santa100 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:00 pm

Robert123 wrote:Interestingly, also the first three jhanas have rapture and pleasure. If follows that rapture and pleasure can be experienced while clinging to the aggregates (when a person is not in nibbana), but also when a person is in nibbana when not clinging to the aggregates.

This means that the first three jhanas experienced while being in nibbana, are "rapture and pleasure more not of the flesh" since those types of rapture and pleasure are experienced without clinging to the aggregates.

But if this is so, then we can use the description of the experience of rapture and pleasure described in the first three jhanas to describe the experience of rapture and pleasure occurring in nibbana. Yes?
Actually Piti/joy already fades away and only Sukha/happiness remains in the 3rd Jhana. Then Sukha in turn drops away in the 4th jhana and only equanimity remains. So the "spiritual rapture" of SN 36.31 are about the conditioned kind that exists while a person is in the jhanas (1st and 2nd jhanas). And since jhanas are conditioned states, the spiritual rapture will come and go when a person is in and out of jhanas. This is in contrast to Nibbana, which is not a conditioned state like the jhanas. So it wouldn't be valid to say a person who already attained Nibbana as currently "in Nibbana" and then "out of it" a moment later just like s/he's in and out of the jhanas. Hence it follows that the "rapture more spiritual thant he spiritual" is not the same kind as that of the jhanas'.
SN 48.40 wrote:It’s when, with the fading away of rapture, a mendicant enters and remains in the third absorption, where they meditate with equanimity, mindful and aware, personally experiencing the bliss of which the noble ones declare, ‘Equanimous and mindful, one meditates in bliss.’

...And where does that faculty of happiness that’s arisen cease without anything left over? It’s when, giving up pleasure and pain, and ending former happiness and sadness, a mendicant enters and remains in the fourth absorption, without pleasure or pain, with pure equanimity and mindfulness..

James Tan
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Re: Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Post by James Tan » Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:02 pm

If a person eliminated the defilements totally such as an arahant , then the person is said attaining Nibbana while still alive . Or to be exact is attaining liberation .
But , to say Nibbana is a kind of fix state is inaccurate , or to say after the break up of the aggregates of an arahant , thereafter abiding in Nibbana state is also inaccurate .
:reading:

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cappuccino
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Re: Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Post by cappuccino » Mon Aug 06, 2018 5:21 pm

James Tan wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:02 pm
thereafter abiding in Nibbana state is also inaccurate.

"Don't say that, friend. Don't misrepresent the Blessed One. It's not good to misrepresent the Blessed One, for the Blessed One would not say, 'A monk with no more effluents, on the break-up of the body, is annihilated, perishes, & does not exist after death.'"
Yamaka Sutta

Robert123
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Re: Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Post by Robert123 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:01 am

Ok good!

So now the question is whether or not rapture and pleasure more not-of-the-flesh are the same as rapture and pleasure in the jhanas experienced in nibbana.

santa100:
And since jhanas are conditioned states, the spiritual rapture will come and go when a person is in and out of jhanas. This is in contrast to Nibbana, which is not a conditioned state like the jhanas. So it wouldn't be valid to say a person who already attained Nibbana as currently "in Nibbana" and then "out of it" a moment later just like s/he's in and out of the jhanas. Hence it follows that the "rapture more spiritual thant he spiritual" is not the same kind as that of the jhanas'.
Thanks for this reasoning santa100. I find it interesting. However, it doesn't satisfy me.

1st question:
What kind of rapture and pleasure would the Buddha be experiencing in the jhanas if not a type of rapture and pleasure that is free from aversion, hatred, and delusion (as SN 36 states)? After all, the Buddha dwells in the abcence of aversion, hatred, and delusion. Is he going to limit himself and congure a type of rapture and pleasure that has aversion, hatred, and delusion, or something the like? Doesn't it seem more plausible that the rapture and pleasure in the jhanas expereicned without aggregates are the same rapture and pleasure since those exact rapture and pleasure in the jhanas are experienced without aversion, hatred, and delusion. They are basically the same by definition.

2nd question:
You say that rapture and pleasure will come and go when a person is in and out of jhanas. Well, it would not come and go if it is the same rapture and pleasure when a person is in the jhanas in nibbana, or in nibbana out of the jhanas, since it would be the same one. It could go away when the Buddha goes into the higher jhanas. However, if that's the reasoning, then also rapture and pleasure experienced in nibbana should go away when one is in the higher jhanas. Otherwise the person would be in the dimension of nothingness while experiencing rapture and plreasure not of the flesh. That would seem a contradiction. Yes?
Regardless, the sutta states that rapture and pleasure more not-of-the-flesh arises in nibbana. Nibbana is not a fix state, as you seem to protray.

Here is the sutta again. Notice the word "arise"

[1] And what is rapture of the flesh? There are these five strings of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye—agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Sounds cognizable via the ear … Aromas cognizable via the nose … Flavors cognizable via the tongue … Tactile sensations cognizable via the body—agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Now whatever rapture arises in dependence on these five strands of sensuality, that is called rapture of the flesh. [2] And what is rapture not of the flesh? There is the case where a monk—quite withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from unskillful qualities—enters & remains in the first jhāna: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhāna: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation—internal assurance. This is called rapture not of the flesh. [3] And what is the rapture more not-of-the-flesh than that not of the flesh? Whatever rapture arises in a fermentation-ended monk as he is reflecting on his mind released from passion, reflecting on his mind released from aversion, reflecting on his mind released from delusion, that is called rapture more not-of-the-flesh than that not of the flesh. … And what is the pleasure more not-of-the-flesh than that not of the flesh? Whatever pleasure arises in a fermentation-ended monk as he is reflecting on his mind released from passion, reflecting on his mind released from aversion, reflecting on his mind released from delusion, that is called pleasure more not-of-the-flesh than that not of the flesh.

Thanks!

James Tan
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Re: Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Post by James Tan » Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:33 am

cappuccino wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 5:21 pm
James Tan wrote:
Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:02 pm
thereafter abiding in Nibbana state is also inaccurate.

"Don't say that, friend. Don't misrepresent the Blessed One. It's not good to misrepresent the Blessed One, for the Blessed One would not say, 'A monk with no more effluents, on the break-up of the body, is annihilated, perishes, & does not exist after death.'"
Yamaka Sutta
Don't say that, friend. Don't misrepresent me .
It's not good to misrepresent me .

Please read again my statements .
After the break up , I did not say doesn't exist .
:reading:

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cappuccino
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Re: Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Post by cappuccino » Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:07 am

once having attained Nirvana, it is your state, everlasting

James Tan
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Re: Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Post by James Tan » Tue Aug 07, 2018 7:46 am

cappuccino wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:07 am
once having attained Nirvana, it is your state, everlasting
Can you quote the sutta stated that ?
:reading:

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cappuccino
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Re: Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Post by cappuccino » Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:04 pm

It is the Unformed, the Unconditioned, the End,
the Truth, the Other Shore, the Subtle,
the Everlasting, the Invisible, the Undiversified,
Peace, the Deathless, the Blest, Safety,
the Wonderful, the Marvellous,
Nibbæna, Purity, Freedom,
the Island,
the Refuge, the Beyond.
~ S 43.1-44

santa100
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Re: Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Post by santa100 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 2:21 pm

Robert123 wrote:1st question:
What kind of rapture and pleasure would the Buddha be experiencing in the jhanas if not a type of rapture and pleasure that is free from aversion, hatred, and delusion (as SN 36 states)? After all, the Buddha dwells in the abcence of aversion, hatred, and delusion. Is he going to limit himself and congure a type of rapture and pleasure that has aversion, hatred, and delusion, or something the like? Doesn't it seem more plausible that the rapture and pleasure in the jhanas expereicned without aggregates are the same rapture and pleasure since those exact rapture and pleasure in the jhanas are experienced without aversion, hatred, and delusion. They are basically the same by definition.

2nd question:
You say that rapture and pleasure will come and go when a person is in and out of jhanas. Well, it would not come and go if it is the same rapture and pleasure when a person is in the jhanas in nibbana, or in nibbana out of the jhanas, since it would be the same one. It could go away when the Buddha goes into the higher jhanas. However, if that's the reasoning, then also rapture and pleasure experienced in nibbana should go away when one is in the higher jhanas. Otherwise the person would be in the dimension of nothingness while experiencing rapture and plreasure not of the flesh. That would seem a contradiction. Yes?
Regardless, the sutta states that rapture and pleasure more not-of-the-flesh arises in nibbana. Nibbana is not a fix state, as you seem to protray.
Just a crude analogy about the 3 levels of rapture in SN 36.31: imagine there're 3 levels of visual capability: regular daylight flesh-eye vision, night vision, and thermal/infrared vision. Although they're all "vision" but they're certainly different in terms of capability and power. Daylight vision only sees objects in broad daylight but not at night. Night vision can see objects at night but can't differentiate dead objects from heat-generating objects. Thermal vision not only can detect objects but also know if the object generates energy or not (live human). Similarly, regular people are like those with just regular vision. Folks in jhanas are like one with that extra night vision capability. And finally the enlightened ones possess all 3 visions. So instead of thinking of 3 completely different kinds of rapture, it's more like rapture with 3 different levels of capacity or strength, from crude to more subtle. Seeing it this way will automatically solve your 2 questions 'cuz an enlightend one is still capable of experiencing all 3 levels of rapture: drinking a fresh cold glass of water during a hot summer day, s/he still experiences the 1st kind; while in deep absorption state of the 1st or 2nd jhana, s/he experiences the 2nd kind; and best of all s/he always have the 3rd kind available knowing all the taints have been completely destroyed. So for an enlightened one, does the 1st kind comes and goes? yes, because it depends on the cold glass of water; the 2nd kind? yes, when s/he advances to higher jhanas; the 3rd kind? no, 'cuz to an enlightened one, the complete destruction of the taints is a permanent state (ie. s/he can't just get out of that state and commits some kind of defilements again).

Robert123
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Re: Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Post by Robert123 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:27 pm

I like your analogy Santa100, but when I read the sutta that’s not what I read.

The sutta is making a clear disctiction between rapture/pleasure experienced with and without clinging to aggregates. That’s the point of the sutta. Yes? This point seems unequivocal to me.

If so the first two types of rapture/pleasure are dependent on clinging to aggregates and the others (the 3rd) are not.

It follows that, you can’t experience the first two types when you don’t cling to the aggregates.

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Nicolas
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Re: Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Post by Nicolas » Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:56 pm

Robert123,

I think the sutta is very straightforward.

My understanding:

The rapture/pleasure/equanimity more not-of-the-flesh than that not of the flesh (3rd kind) comes from reviewing the liberated mind, it is not there all of the time.
When an arahant is in jhana (which is not all of the time), then rapture/pleasure/equanimity not of the flesh (2nd kind) is there. Same if one is not an arahant. This 2nd kind requires jhana, samadhi, ekaggata. This 2nd kind is connected to jhana, not connected to whether or not one is liberated.

What makes an arahant an arahant is not that they are without passion/aversion/delusion for certain lengths of time, but that they have uprooted them, eradicated them, and they are never to arise again.

santa100
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Re: Does "rapture more not of the flesh" refer to nibbana?

Post by santa100 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:56 pm

Robert123 wrote:If so the first two types of rapture/pleasure are dependent on clinging to aggregates and the others (the 3rd) are not.

It follows that, you can’t experience the first two types when you don’t cling to the aggregates.
But nowhere in the sutta where it said the first 2 kinds require clinging to the aggregates to exist. Freel free to provide exact quotes to prove otherwise. Actually it'd be a big problem if that was true cuz an arhant would no longer be able to experience rapture/pleasure when s/he's drinking a fresh cold glass of water in a hot summer day (1st kind); nor the rapture/pleasure arisen during the 1st and 2nd jhanas (2nd kind). Arahants have destroyed greed/hatred/delusion but that doesn't mean they're dead logs or stones. And using my crude analogy, one doesn't gain any power/capability by acquiring thermal vision at the cost of giving up daylight and night visions.

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