Pulsar is indebted to dear Ven Dhammanando for bringing up two
different kinds of cessation found in the Pali canon.
Here is what I uncovered of this state, by doing a literature search.
Of all the meditative attainments, the state of saññāvedayitanirodha is definitely the most difficult to achieve.
This attainment is not available to any ‘ordinary men’, but only to the Arahants and the Non-Returners (anāgāmi) who have developed both the four jhānas and the four arūpas
If so why would we attempt the so-called 'Arupas' whose only advantage is leading to a cessation accessible to the Arahants and Non-Returners?
It makes no sense that popular teachers teach this method in their pricy retreats, do these teachers also promise the ultimate liberation at the end of the ten-day retreat?
If so, every penny is worth it.
Leaving humor aside, can we disregard the "Arupas"
until we become non-returners? just pulsar's passing sensible thought.
There is a great deal of confusion in the literature regarding this state, the name as such is not found in the current Upanishads but there are current yogic descriptions that match this state.
That saññāvedayitanirodha embodies the essence of the yogic meditation is quite obvious, breath restraint, the inactivity of the senses and the cessation of the mind
An excerpt: The following passages from the
Hathayogapradīpikā and from the Nādabindu Upanisad
reveal that this is indeed the case:
Such a one does not hear the noise of the conch and Dundubhi. Being in the Unmanī, his body becomes like a piece of wood
There is no doubt,
such a Yogi becomes free from all states, from all cares, and remains like one dead. He is not devoured by death, is not bound by his actions. the Yogi who is engaged in Samādhiis is overpowered by none. Yogi, engaged in Samādhi, feels neither smell, taste, color, touch, sound, nor is conscious of his own self
He whose mind is neither sleeping, waking, remembering, destitute of memory, disappearing nor appearing, is liberated. He feels neither heat, cold, pain, pleasure, respect nor disrespect. Such a Yogi is absorbed in Samādhi. He who, though awake, appears like one sleeping,
and is without inspiration and expiration,
is certainly free.
The Yogi, engaged in Samādhi, cannot be killed by any instrument
and is beyond the controlling powers of beings. He is beyond the reach of incantations and charms. ... Being freed from all states and all thoughts whatever, the Yogin remains like one dead. He is a Mukta, he does not at any time hear the sounds of conch or Dundubhi (large kettle drum), body in the state of Unmanīis certainly like a log and does not feel heat or cold, joy or sorrow"
An excerpt from our own Ven BB's Middle lengths. In the introduction To Majjhima Nikaya on p 41,
"Several sequences of meditative states mentioned in the Majjhima culminates in
an attainment called the cessation of perception and feeling
(same canon presents contradictory evidence elsewhere, this is Pulsars observation). Although this state always follows the last immaterial attainment, it is not, as may be supposed, merely one high step in the scale of concentration.
Strictly speaking, the attainment of cessation pertains neither to serenity nor insight
It is a state reached by the combined powers of serenity and insight in which
all mental processes are suspended
The attainment is said to be accessible only to non-returners and Arahants, who have mastered the jhanas and immaterial states. Detailed canonical discussions of it are found in MN 43 and MN 44
So writes Ven. BB.
These two later suttas fed into the mouths of Sariputta and Dhammadina have created endless mental proliferations that lead none to Dukkhanirodha.
Considering all of the above, it makes sense to settle for the 4 buddhist jhanas and Dukkhanirodha, explained so well in one of the most ancient suttas of the canon, DN2 Samannaphala sutta, in the simplest possible language. (also in Kayagatasati sutta and others). The 4 jhanas go hand in hand with the Four establishments of mindfulness, they complement each other, in leading one to dukkhanirodha.
Keren Arbel in Early Buddhist Meditation discusses the relevance of
Early Buddhist meditation that leads to Dukkhanirodha.