Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
chownah
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by chownah » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:46 am

Pulsar wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:36 pm
Chownah wrote
I think you are probably correct in this although they do seem to have benefitted some individuals
Are you able to tell me what extra benefit they received by engaging in the 4 Arupas?
Buddha himself had learnt the Arupas from his teachers Alara Kalama and Uddkarama Putta, and rejected them,
since they only lead one to Brahma Worlds. What helped Buddha was the memory of first rupa Jhana
he engaged in as a child, under the rose apple tree.
For Buddha the goal was the release from suffering, not rebirth in brahma worlds.
Thank you for being polite Chownah :candle:
You would have to ask someone who has mastered them for that information....but from my memory of things I have read in passing (and not substantiated) it seems like a pleasant abiding and maybe a pleasant rebirth......but let's face it.....if one has mastered the arupas one has likely mastered the rupas as well and if one has mastered the rupas it seems that it is probably only a matter of obtaining right view with which to direct that mastery in the right direction which is needed to attain the goal.

Can you bring a sutta where the buddha "rejected" the arupas?.....I seem to remember that he realized that they were not enough for enlighenment but that in itself does not qualify as "rejection" in my mind.

chownah

auto
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by auto » Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:52 am

Suttas about different persons in the world.

https://suttacentral.net/mn70/en/sujato
Mendicants, these seven people are found in the world. Sattime, bhikkhave, puggalā santo saṃvijjamānā lokasmiṃ.
What seven? Katame satta?
One freed both ways, one freed by wisdom, a personal witness, one attained to view, one freed by faith, a follower of the teachings, and a follower by faith. Ubhatobhāgavimutto, paññāvimutto, kāyasakkhi, diṭṭhippatto, saddhāvimutto, dhammānusārī, saddhānusārī.
..
a person freed by wisdom doesn't have direct meditative experience of the peaceful liberations that are formless
And what person is freed by wisdom? Katamo ca, bhikkhave, puggalo paññāvimutto?
It’s a person who does not have direct meditative experience of the peaceful liberations that are formless, transcending form. Nevertheless, having seen with wisdom, their defilements have come to an end.
Idha, bhikkhave, ekacco puggalo ye te santā vimokkhā atikkamma rūpe āruppā te na kāyena phusitvā viharati, paññāya cassa disvā āsavā parikkhīṇā honti.
its possible to interpret this text different ways, i guess

seen by wisdom that there are peaceful liberations what are transcending form without having direct mediative experience. So what is the difference in "direct meditative experience" and "seen with wisdom"?

i think direct experience refers to getting birth, appearing there and the version with wisdom is like scientific; you use reason and reach a conclusion there is heaven where fire, water, earth etc gain no footing.

i think it is certain type of lucid dream.

Pulsar
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:08 pm

Chownah wrote regarding 5-8 jhanas
You would have to ask someone who has mastered them for that information
The ones who price and practice stages 5-8, the so called Arupa Jhanas, if you find a benefit in those in relation to Buddhist goal, willl you pl inform Pulsar?

4th jhana elaborated below as in MN 100.
Knowing and seeing like this, my mind was freed from the defilements of sensuality, desire to be reborn, and ignorance. When it was freed, I knew it was freed.
I understood: ‘Rebirth is ended; the spiritual journey has been completed; what had to be done has been done; there is no return to any state of existence'
This was the third knowledge, which I achieved in the last watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed and light arose, as happens for a meditator who is diligent, keen, and resolute
Pulsar's understanding is that if ignorance is destroyed in 4th jhana, and above things are accomplished therein, what more can be accomplished in stages 5-8, in relation to the buddhist goal?
Sangarava sutta MN 100 https://suttacentral.net/mn100/en/sujato
PS Dear Chownah, I shall get to your second question later. :candle:

chownah
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by chownah » Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:16 pm

While it seems that the buddha achieved enlightenment while in fourth jhana it does not mean that everyone will do so.....I think the path is wider than that and that different people will achieve enlightenment in different ways all being within the context of the four noble truths. Also, I don't know but it might be possible that the buddha attained the arupa jhanas at some point in his career and they benefitted him even though they didn't allow him to reach the goal.....there is more to reaching the goal than the exact state of consciousness at the moment of awakening I think.
chownah

Pulsar
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:42 pm

Chownah wrote
Can you bring a sutta where the buddha "rejected" the arupas?.....I seem to remember that he realized that they were not enough for enlighenment but that in itself does not qualify as "rejection" in my mind
What he felt was disappointment in the Arupa teachings according to MN 100, maybe my mind interpreted it as a rejection.
After the stint with Alara Kalama this is what Buddha noted
Then it occurred to me, ‘This teaching doesn’t lead to disillusionment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, awakening, and extinguishment. It only leads as far as rebirth in the dimension of nothingness.’ Realizing that this teaching was inadequate, I left disappointed
After spending time with second teacher Rama his sentiments were not any different
Then it occurred to me, ‘This teaching doesn’t lead to disillusionment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, awakening, and extinguishment. It only leads as far as rebirth in dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.’ Realizing that this teaching was inadequate, I left disappointed
:candle:
https://suttacentral.net/mn100/en/sujato

Pulsar
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Mon Aug 12, 2019 5:53 pm

Chownah wrote
While it seems that the buddha achieved enlightenment while in fourth jhana it does not mean that everyone will do so.....I think the path is wider than that and that different people will achieve enlightenment in different ways all being within the context of the four noble truths
This may very well be true. But there is a sutta somewhere in the linked series, my memory is hazy,
let me look for it. :candle:

Pulsar
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:16 am

Chownah wrote
Also, if we consider the buddha to be a "buddhist" is it then true that the buddha might have been one of those who had later become buddhist, and had already practiced these in their prebuddhist life.....and tucked the arupas into the pali canon?
If one subscribes to this thought, is it not quite alarming, for one who has faith in Buddha's awakening?
I would not entertain the thought that Sammasambuddha would resort to a tactic that would undermine his own awakening.
Let us examine what happened logically.
Buddha learns step seven and eight from his early teachers, is disappointed in them as they are of no help in ending samsara, that is DO, or Samsaric cycling.
Later he discovers the splendid vehicle of Rupa Jhanas one to four, the insight that will lead to end of suffering, terminating DO.
Very straightforward, there are many suttas that present the path like this, as it happened.
MN 85, MN 36 MN 100 and others, too numerous to mention.
Then let us say Buddha had a change of heart, he introduces the steps seven and eight to the sequence of 1-4 jhanas. inserting 5 and 6 in the middle, to make it eight.
I have two questions here, Chownah.
As as an unawakened Bodhisatta, how did he get to steps seven and eight, without accomplishing Jhanas one to four?
If he already knew steps 7 and 8, does this not make his awakening meaningless?
So adding the prebuddhist methods, as more advanced steps in the series, over and above 1-4, it seems to me Buddha undermined his own unsurpassable awakening that led to ending of Paticca samuppada,
extremely unlikely.
PS the sutta that came to my mind in relation to the prior comment is SN 45.11. I cannot find a link to it.
If you do not have BB copy of linked series I shall summarize it later. :candle:

chownah
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by chownah » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:43 pm

I was under the impression that the buddha learned all of the rupa and arupa jhanas from his previous teachers.....and it was a childhood memory which suggested to him to go back to the rupa jhanas from a different perspective which led him to awakening.
chownah

Pulsar
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:20 pm

Dear Chownah you wrote
I was under the impression that the buddha learned all of the rupa and arupa jhanas from his previous teachers
not at all, the arupas he learnt from the teachers, was no good in leading to terminating of
DO. The Rupa jhanas are entirely his own.
Gotama was frustrated with his acetic practices and Arupa jhanas, he was becoming skin and bones, that his Dad got reports he was dead. The extent of his ascetic practices are reported in MN 36, Mahasaccaka, breath stopping etc, all Vedic practices. Then it occurred to Gotama that as a child of 6 yrs under the rose apple tree, he practiced the first Rupa jhana.
He goes back to this, and in order to practice this, he has to nourish his body. The five monks who attended on him get disgusted with him and leave him, saying Buddha to be is resorting to luxury.
The rest is history, Buddha awakens via Rupa jhanas 2-4.
A lot of the misconception is due to Vedic stuff tucked into the Pali canon, and sometimes highly
reputable monks repeat these on their websites. I shall comment on one instance of
this later. :candle:

auto
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by auto » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:44 pm

Pulsar wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:20 pm
A lot of the misconception is due to Vedic stuff tucked into the Pali canon
so is the "desire to be reborn" a vedic intrusion too in your opinion?

chownah
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by chownah » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:46 pm

Pulsar wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:20 pm
Dear Chownah you wrote
I was under the impression that the buddha learned all of the rupa and arupa jhanas from his previous teachers
not at all, the arupas he learnt from the teachers, was no good in leading to terminating of
DO. The Rupa jhanas are entirely his own.
Gotama was frustrated with his acetic practices and Arupa jhanas, he was becoming skin and bones, that his Dad got reports he was dead. The extent of his ascetic practices are reported in MN 36, Mahasaccaka, breath stopping etc, all Vedic practices. Then it occurred to Gotama that as a child of 6 yrs under the rose apple tree, he practiced the first Rupa jhana.
He goes back to this, and in order to practice this, he has to nourish his body. The five monks who attended on him get disgusted with him and leave him, saying Buddha to be is resorting to luxury.
The rest is history, Buddha awakens via Rupa jhanas 2-4.
A lot of the misconception is due to Vedic stuff tucked into the Pali canon, and sometimes highly
reputable monks repeat these on their websites. I shall comment on one instance of
this later. :candle:
I have not shown that he DID learn the rupas from a previous teacher and you have not shown that he DID NOT. His ascetic practices have nothing to do with arupas that I can discern....seems like two diffent issues to me....I have not seen anything which links them but perhaps you have. If you can find some sutta which links them I'd like to see it and also I'm really very willing to agree with your views on this but really you have not brought anything to support them.

I've been really busy lately but will try to find something about the budda's early training......although.....as I said before....just because the buddha awakened at jhana 4 does not mean that it is the only place where awakening can happen and just because the buddha realized that the arupas were not leading to awakening does not mean that they were not helpful to him in some other way and it does not mean that they are not helpful to others on the path.....I think that they are at least helpful in showing people who ascribe to them that they won't get you to the goal (but who am I to make such a determination?) and then they can give up more easily and move on to something that will.

Again, I'm quit willing to accept some of the thing you assert as for me it will not effect my practice one way or the other but I don't see that you have substantiated your asssertions.
chownah

Pulsar
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:56 pm

Chownah wrote
Again, I'm quit willing to accept some of the thing you assert as for me it will not effect my practice one way or the other but I don't see that you have substantiated your asssertions
In my comment I did refer to MN 36, which is available on the web.
Do you want me to quote relevant sections from this and other suttas? This will
require a large chunk of time and effort. However I can do this over several days, if it will be
meaningful to you. :candle:

Pulsar
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by Pulsar » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:59 pm

Auto wrote
so is the "desire to be reborn" a vedic intrusion too in your opinion?
not at all, this would be purely due to Asava. However in concepts like cessation, Vedic intrusion is rampant :candle:

chownah
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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by chownah » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:34 am

Pulsar wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:56 pm
Chownah wrote
Again, I'm quit willing to accept some of the thing you assert as for me it will not effect my practice one way or the other but I don't see that you have substantiated your asssertions
In my comment I did refer to MN 36, which is available on the web.
Do you want me to quote relevant sections from this and other suttas? This will
require a large chunk of time and effort. However I can do this over several days, if it will be
meaningful to you. :candle:
Well, for me to find the evidence which you wish to present has required a large chunk of time and effort....but never the less I have read most of mn36 but not all of it as it is rather long....I am hoping that I have found what you think is relevant but really I have only found relevance with respect to what I see as being relevant....I hope I haven't missed something which you feel is relevant.

Anyway....the sutta does not say that the buddha had not learned the rupas before going to his teachers....in fact his self evaluation before having reached the arupa taught by his first teacher was "Not only does Alara Kalama have conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, & discernment. I, too, have conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, & discernment." Could this be an indication of having mastered some kind of meditative technique before he started working on arupas?...perhaps....but....combine this with what he said about what he remembered after leaving his two teachers and tried extreme asceticism:
"I recall once, when my father the Sakyan was working, and I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities — I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Could that be the path to Awakening?' Then following on that memory came the realization: 'That is the path to Awakening.'"
This is a direct declaration that the buddha had realized first jhana as a child! It seems difficult to assert that the buddha did not know the rupas before attaining the arupas when the sutta directly indicates that he attained the first jhana as a child!.....also, factoring in his self appraisal which occurred before having attained any of the arupas from his teachers and I think there is a good indication that he very well might have attained the jhanas befor going to them....all of this in the absence of any declaration the he had not attained the rupas (how could that be declared since it states clearly that he attained first jhana as a child!).....

I think this sutta does not say when the buddha first attained jhanas two through four but it certainly says that the buddha attained first jhana as a child.....well before he approached his teachers.
chownah
Last edited by chownah on Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Jhanas, Misconceptions that have arisen regarding the Four Rupa Jhanas.

Post by DooDoot » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:57 am

Pulsar wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:59 pm
... in concepts like cessation, Vedic intrusion is rampant :candle:
:shrug: Please explain... thanks
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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