Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

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Assaji
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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by Assaji »

auto wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:11 pm Whenever i read Visuddhimagga it feels like the information in Visuddhimagga is different from the author who wrote it + also the english translation plays a role in this i guess.
it is really good. I think the gap felt between the information and the author's understanding, makes it more credible source of material.

its like hearing a talk, as you need separate the thoughts from who is telling it from what could be factual.
Yes, the Visuddhimagga, especially its Sila and Samadhi sections, is largely a compilation of authoritative opinions. Ven. Buddhaghosa faithfully renders available opinions, even when they are sometimes contradictory.

As I see the problem, modern readers don't read the Visuddhimagga itself, and confuse it with modern Visuddhimagga practical reconstruction, made in 20th century. This narrow reconstruction is indeed often questionable, and the careful study of Visuddhimagga itself provides more balanced and open-minded view.
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Where To Ordain

Post by Coëmgenu »

Assaji wrote: Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:16 pm Maharashtra is quite close geographically to the historical area of Pāli as a lingua franca, hence Maharashtri Prakrit (and Elu) are quite similar to Pali.
I agree with much of what you say, but I'll have to disagree here. I don't think Maharashtri Prakrit is substantially similar to Magadhi Prakrit.

This is Maharashtri Prakrit from between the first century and the fourth.
pasuvaïṇo rosāruṇapaḍimāsaṃkaṃtagorimuhaaṃdam
gahiagghapaṃkaaṃ mia saṃjhāsalilaṃjaliṃ ṇamaha
amiaṃ pāuakavvaṃ paḍhiuṃ souṃ ca je ṇa āṇaṃti
kāmassa tattatattiṃ kuṇaṃti te kaha ṇa lajjaṃti
satta saāiṃ kaïvacchaleṇa koḍīa majjhaārammi
If you see a river, pray that beings gain entrance into the stream and into the ocean of wisdom. If you see a reservoir, pray that beings swiftly taste the one taste of the Dharma. If you see a pond, pray that beings become great in locution and skillful in preaching. If you see a well, pray that beings draw deep from the well of reason to disclose all dharmas. If you see a spring, pray that beings have inexhaustible roots of virtue. If you see a bridge, pray that beings carry all across to safety, as via a bridge. If you see a waterfall, pray that all beings cleanse the stains of delusion.
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robertk
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by robertk »

posts about jhana /nimitta vimuttimagga moved here

https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=38134
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samseva
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by samseva »

About the Visuddhimagga, what I find (and I think many people find), is that it's highly precise/practical.

I agree with objections about kasiṇa, nimitta and so on, however, these comprise less than 1% of the Visuddhimagga—and also, kasiṇa is one meditation subject among many, and nimitta isn't an essential concept at all (you can easily ignore it altogether). These aren't good reasons to try to devalue the Visuddhimagga as a whole.

[Still, MN 128 (starting at 15, until the end of the sutta) extensively deals with the Buddha describing his personal experience with nimitta, and MN 24 is the full structure of the Visuddhimagga, along with MN 111 and MN 43 having the same structure of jhāna as in the Visuddhimagga—all these, among other suttas.]

With access-/neighbourhood-concentration (upacāra-samādhi), this is simply a state of intense concentration, with the absence of the five hindrances (nīvaraṇa), of which there is still perception of your surroundings—right before entering jhāna. Whether the Buddha considered it important or not to bring attention to and teach this, it is still the case that there is a different and more concentrated state of mind before entering jhāna, whether you give it a name or not.

As for the commentaries (although I don't think it's a good idea to study these in and of themselves), they are still important. The very translations themselves that "Sutta-only" proponents read and study are in part based on the commentaries—many concepts and Pāḷi terms, grammar structures, and so on. I find it makes no sense to dislike the commentaries, all the while viewing in high regards translations partly based on them. Also, yes, many times you can come across commentarial passages that extrapolate, and even speculate, but it's important to remember that the commentaries/post-commentaries are compilations of post-canonical writings of multiple commentators. Still, as with the Visuddhimagga, these aren't good reasons to try to devalue the commentaries as a whole.

I think there are three main reasons why there are anti-Visuddhimagga and anti-commentary (along with anti-Abhidhamma) proponents:
  1. Some don't understand the context and use of these works (i.e., should be studied after and alongside the Suttas).
  2. Some think that the authority of the Suttas is somehow "threatened."
  3. They might feel intimidated by the amount of study material—the Suttas already being substantial—and therefore prefer to say something along the lines of "the Visuddhimagga, Abhidhamma and commentaries should be ignored altogether" instead of "I prefer to focus my studies and base my practice on the Suttas" (although many do say this).
Basically, I think it's more a sign of immaturity/lack of self-esteem, more than anything (and like already said, such topics are mostly discussed online). The Suttas are the most authoritative and the most important—and even those who study the Visuddhimagga and Abhidhamma are of this opinion. I think there is no point in attempting to disparage other works and others' personal choice of study material (let alone "cry schism" because someone studies other works).
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samseva
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by samseva »

About contemporary teachers, such as Bhante Vimalaramsi and Leigh Brasington, who say they teach "jhāna-light"—and whom at the same time disparage the Visuddhimagga, commentaries and Abhidhamma, the thing is that:

What they teach isn't jhāna, but simply neighbourhood-concentration (upacāra-samādhi).

Not only that, but these teachers further say that what is described in the Visuddhimagga is "Visuddhimagga-style jhāna," and that their "jhāna-light"—i.e., neighbourhood-concentration/upacāra-samādhi—is "real Sutta-jhāna."

There is no "Visuddhimagga-jhana" or "real Sutta-jhāna" (or "jhāna-light"). There is only jhāna.

Such individuals are deluding themselves, as well their students, about reaching jhāna—when what they are teaching and developing is simply neighbourhood-concentration (upacāra-samādhi).

(However, if these students can reach neighbourhood-concentration/upacāra-samādhi, they aren't that far off from jhāna—and further meditation would actually result in jhāna. The very belief that they've "reached jhāna," however, might actually hinder them in their progress with their meditation, and of actually reaching jhāna.)
BrokenBones
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by BrokenBones »

samseva wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 10:25 am About contemporary teachers, such as Bhante Vimalaramsi and Leigh Brasington, who say they teach "jhāna-light"—and whom at the same time disparage the Visuddhimagga, commentaries and Abhidhamma, the thing is that:

What they teach isn't jhāna, but simply neighbourhood-concentration (upacāra-samādhi).

Not only that, but these teachers further say that what is described in the Visuddhimagga is "Visuddhimagga-style jhāna," and that their "jhāna-light"—i.e., neighbourhood-concentration/upacāra-samādhi—is "real Sutta-jhāna."

There is no "Visuddhimagga-jhana" or "real Sutta-jhāna" (or "jhāna-light"). There is only jhāna.

Such individuals are deluding themselves, as well their students, about reaching jhāna—when what they are teaching and developing is simply neighbourhood-concentration (upacāra-samādhi).

(However, if these students can reach neighbourhood-concentration/upacāra-samādhi, they aren't that far off from jhāna—and further meditation would actually result in jhāna. The very belief that they've "reached jhāna," however, might actually hinder them in their progress with their meditation, and of actually reaching jhāna.)
Extraordinarily fascile. Your previous post states that exploring other works shouldn't be criticised but you seem to have omniscience over other people's levels of attainment and their inner thoughts. A couple of vague references to 'sign' within the suttas and a book written centuries after the Buddha and a whole new religion is spawned. It's not jhana lite v Visuddhimagga jhana... it's jhana as opposed to 'dead jhana'. Why dead? Because if there is no discernment... why bother? You could get the same fix with a needle without spending years playing with coloured lights.

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samseva
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by samseva »

BrokenBones wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 11:22 am[...]
I didn't claim to know others' thoughts or attainments. What Leigh Brasington/Bhante Vimalaramsi teach—which you can know simply from reading/listening to their instructions—is that with their "version of jhāna," there is still perception of your surroundings and of sound. There is no perception of your surroundings/sound in jhāna—it's not jhāna. That's the very reason they need to discredit everything that contradicts their claims.

I'm not saying to not study/follow them either—feel free to do so. The only thing I did was refute the claims of such students who say something along the lines of "we don't need the Visuddhimagga, and their impossible 'Visuddhimagga-style jhāna,' our teachers know 'jhāna-light.'"

That's the thing: there is no "Visuddhimagga-style jhāna" or "jhāna-light"—Leigh Brasington/Bhante Vimalaramsi's "jhāna-light" is simply neighbourhood-concentration (upacāra-samādhi).

(As with what I said in my post, nothing bad with that, and already a decent accomplishment—however, to say it's jhāna is still deluding yourself about "having reached jhāna." Just meditate more to actually reach jhāna—no need to try to discredit the Visuddhimagga, commentaries, and 1/3 of the Tipiṭaka—along with twisting the Suttas to fit your "version of jhāna." Much more work/energy needed for the latter than the former IMO.)
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samseva
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by samseva »

Here's Leigh Brasington giving his own (absurd) definition of saññā, and claiming of often reaching the "8th jhāna" (i.e., 4th arūpa-jhāna), all the while saying there is thought in the "8th jhāna."

Thought-conception and discursive thinking (vitakka-vicāra) are abandoned after the first jhāna—let alone the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th jhāna, even less so the four subsequent arūpa-jhānas.

Stock sutta passage on jhāna—in many suttas (in this case AN 5.14):
Here, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the first jhāna, which consists of rapture and pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by thought and examination. With the subsiding of thought and examination, he enters and dwells in the second jhāna, which has internal placidity and unification of mind and consists of rapture and pleasure born of concentration, without thought and examination. [...]
AN 5.14 wrote:Idha, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati; vitakkavicārānaṃ vūpasamā ajjhattaṃ sampasādanaṃ cetaso ekodibhāvaṃ avitakkaṃ avicāraṃ samādhijaṃ pītisukhaṃ dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati


Transcript:
wrote:"And then, the eighth jhāna. The name of it is the realm of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. Word perception is the translation of the Pāli word 'saññā'. Saññā is the ability to name things or identify things. So you look up here, you see 'water bottle', right? Well, you've just conceptualized the colours, shapes that were appearing in your visual cortex as a water bottle. You see a person, you see a black board, you see 'clock', right? But actually, all you're seeing is coloured shapes. You take the coloured shapes, you look them up in your database with potential objects, you find something—"Ah, yeah. That looks like a clock."—so you call it a clock. This is what is meant by perception. So, it's identifying or naming things. So the eighth jhāna is the realm of "neither-identifying-nor-not-identifying." "Neither-naming-or-not-naming." Well, I guess that helps a lot...

The problem is is it's a state that has no characteristics by which you can describe it. Except that you can recognize that you're in a state that has no characteristics by which you can describe it, and if you can pay attention you'll stay there. It's very subtle. All of these states, there's the object, say the contentment of the third, and your one-pointed focus. And you might wobble a bit, right, you drift off into a thought and the contentment doesn't immediately disappear. You drift off into a thought and it starts to go away. You've come out, but whoops, you're back there, right? So you reestablish it. You can even do that in seven, right? [inaudible]. In eight, you might have time for one simple sentence that doesn't contain the words 'me', 'my' or 'I'. Right? It's really fragile.

I couldn't tell you the number of times, I'm there, I'm solidly in the eighth jhāna and then the next thing I know I'm in the middle of some paragraph of distraction. There's no trace of the eighth jhāna left. It's a very subtle state."
As in the part highlighted in red above, what Leigh is describing is not only not the last arūpa-jhāna, nor is it even the first jhāna—but it's either simply neighbourhood concentration (upacāra-samādhi), OR just a common state mind (i.e., thinking during moderately pleasant meditation).
Last edited by samseva on Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:31 am, edited 14 times in total.
BrokenBones
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by BrokenBones »

Discernment exists in the fourth jhana. You seem to think that once it's attained then it's a fixed event, skill comes with practice and wobbles in and out the jhana are part of the learning process. Mindfulness is probably praised more frequently than any other characteristic in the suttas. So the 'dead jhana' brigade want people to practice a meditation that obliterates mindfulness... tosh. It involves a total rewrite of the suttas which has been going on since at least the Visuddhimagga. Where is the Sutta that states the Tipiṭaka is to act as our Dhamma teacher in the future? Where does the Buddha elucidate access Samadhi? Where are the Sutta's that describe the bright lights to merge into in order to practice the Buddha's jhana? And what on earth was Sariputta doing by being mindful throughout all those ambulance jhanas?

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samseva
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by samseva »

BrokenBones wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:08 am[...]
Discernment? "Dead jhāna"? "Obliterate mindfulness"? What are you talking about? Leigh Brasington literally says that he's in the "8th jhāna," and that he "drifts into a thought" or that there is a "word" or "sentence," or even that he's "in the middle of some paragraph."

The stock sutta passage on jhāna—repeated throughout the Sutta Piṭaka—categorically says that thought-conception and discursive thinking (vitakka-vicāra) are abandoned after the 1st jhāna. Unless you pull up the Pāḷi and sutta passages, what you're saying is just your 2020 personal opinion/re-interpretation of jhāna.
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robertk
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by robertk »

BrokenBones wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:08 am And what on earth was Sariputta doing by being mindful throughout all those ambulance jhanas?

Metta
The rare types of arahat with all abhiññā have such skill in jhana that they can leave and enter very quickly - and so Sariputta was able to have insight into the factors of each jhana immediately after leaving.
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by BrokenBones »

samseva wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:05 am
BrokenBones wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:08 am[...]
Discernment? "Dead jhāna"? "Obliterate mindfulness"? What are you talking about? Leigh Brasington literally says that he's in the "8th jhāna," and that he "drifts into a thought" or that there is a "word" or "sentence," or even that he's "in the middle of some paragraph."

The stock sutta passage on jhāna—repeated throughout the Sutta Piṭaka—categorically says that thought-conception and discursive thinking (vitakka-vicāra) are abandoned after the 1st jhāna. Unless you pull up the Pāḷi and sutta passages, what you're saying is just your 2020 personal opinion/re-interpretation of jhāna.
Do you maintain that the jhana you are advocating is accompanied by discernment? As for Leigh's take on things... I'm not here to answer for his take on things. Vitakka and vicara are indeed left behind when the second jhana is attained but discernment isn't and until one is accomplished it is quite possible for fleeting thoughts to intrude and disrupt a perfectly linear process in jhanas which is what you appear to be suggesting.

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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by auto »

samseva wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:05 am
BrokenBones wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:08 am[...]
Discernment? "Dead jhāna"? "Obliterate mindfulness"? What are you talking about? Leigh Brasington literally says that he's in the "8th jhāna," and that he "drifts into a thought" or that there is a "word" or "sentence," or even that he's "in the middle of some paragraph."

The stock sutta passage on jhāna—repeated throughout the Sutta Piṭaka—categorically says that thought-conception and discursive thinking (vitakka-vicāra) are abandoned after the 1st jhāna. Unless you pull up the Pāḷi and sutta passages, what you're saying is just your 2020 personal opinion/re-interpretation of jhāna.
Sorry to interrupt.
just an opinion,
vitakkavicara are vacisankharas. Vaci is speech, it is throat area, tongue. If to read written text, in order to read, there is circuit going through the tongue that circuit needs to be cut to be able to read.
evidence? just put your tongue against the roof top, don't move the tongue, you won't be able to read. It will stop your ordinary thinking, but you still can think but need wait till feeling come then also complaining/lamenting comes. Complaining, whining is different kind of thinking, it is feelings(cittasankhara).
if one can reach these emotions, your thinking(mind) can use these as a base instead of vacisankharas.
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samseva
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by samseva »

auto wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:11 pm Sorry to interrupt.
just an opinion,
vitakkavicara are vacisankharas. Vaci is speech, it is throat area, tongue. If to read written text, in order to read, there is circuit going through the tongue that circuit needs to be cut to be able to read.
Both vitakka and vicāra are mental factors (i.e., saṅkhāra).
auto wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:11 pm evidence? just put your tongue against the roof top, don't move the tongue, you won't be able to read. It will stop your ordinary thinking, [...]
I was able to read your post just fine (even with the tongue at the palete of the mouth).
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samseva
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by samseva »

BrokenBones wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:01 pmDo you maintain that the jhana you are advocating is accompanied by discernment?
What you're saying has no basis in the Sutta Piṭaka. What are you even referring to with "discernment"?

Like I've already said, unless you pull up the Pāḷi/sutta passages, what you're saying is your 2020 personal opinion/re-interpretation of jhāna.
BrokenBones wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:01 pm Vitakka and vicara are indeed left behind when the second jhana is attained but discernment isn't and until one is accomplished it is quite possible for fleeting thoughts to intrude and disrupt a perfectly linear process in jhanas [...]
"Vitakka and vicāra are left behind when the second jhāna is attained," but "it is possible for vitakka/vicāra to intrude and disrupt while in [any of the] jhānas"?

That's 100% contradictory.
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