Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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mikenz66
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by mikenz66 »

rhinoceroshorn wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:24 pm
mikenz66 wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 8:23 pm
greenjuice wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:12 amobviously some people are attached to other other interpretation of the jhanas (which they themselves never entered) so much that they have a need to disparage people who disagree. ...
What about those who have experiences similar to the lighter interpretations, but are not convinced that it is jhana, and just keep working on the the path? What exactly are they missing out on?

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Mike
“Then again, the individual who, being unblemished, doesn’t discern as it has come to be that ‘I have no inner blemish’ is called the inferior man of the two individuals who are unblemished. The individual who, being unblemished, discerns as it has come to be that ‘I have no inner blemish’ is called the superior man of the two individuals who are unblemished.”
Perhaps you could explain what that quote got to do with my question? The sutta seems to be about giving up greed, hatred, and delusion. Why would not thinking one was in jhana make a difference to that?

In any case, I'd be more worried about overestimation than underestimation:
“Reverend, take the case of the person who has a blemish and does not understand it. You can expect that they won’t generate enthusiasm, make an effort, or rouse up energy to give up that blemish. And they will die with greed, hate, and delusion, blemished, with a corrupted mind. Suppose a bronze dish was brought from a shop or smithy covered with dirt or stains. And the owners neither used it or had it cleaned, but kept it in a dirty place. Over time, wouldn’t that bronze dish get even dirtier and more stained?”
https://suttacentral.net/mn5/en/sujato#5
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samseva
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by samseva »

greenjuice wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 7:35 pm - So, he is talking about exiting the jhanas. Just after saying this in the video he mentions that only the 1st jhana has background thinking, so, the other jhanas don't have it. And if it appears, that means you are starting to exit the jhanas. And what he said previously (in this quoted part) is that the 8th jhana is the easiest one to exit; he says that in the previous jhanas when one starts to exit them, one can stop this exiting and return to one-pointedly experiencing the jhana, they don't go away instantaneously or quickly once one start to exit them, but that the 8th is different in that once one starts to exit from it, it disappears very quickly. I don't see the problem in this teaching.
What are you talking about? He literally says, "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."
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."
greenjuice wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 7:35 pm "Access-concentration (upacāra-samādhi) is very common."
- Maybe when people go on retreats and get proficient at it by practicing samatha meditation. Otherwise, I've noticed many many people who meditate and who are not proficient at it, I can't count how many times I've given advice to people on how to train oneself in it.
Oh, so access-concentration (upacāra-samādhi) is difficult to attain—but not jhāna, and not the arūpa-jhānas...
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by samseva »

rightviewftw wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 8:55 pm Here is what i mean by vipassanajhana;
[...]
There is nothing about "vipassāna-jhāna" in the passages that you posted. It's just a word you invented...
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by samseva »

BrokenBones wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:39 am An hour daily? Jhana 'lite'? Where do you get this from? Certainly not from me. There is jhana and there is RIGHT effort... there is also 'mindless' jhana but this was rejected by the Buddha as a dead end.
It's to point that: if Leigh Brasington/Bhante Vimalaramsi's students can so quickly/easily reach jhāna, and the arūpa-jhānas (simply by calling it "jhāna-lite"), then with that same way of thinking, there could be "Enlightenment-lite"! :D

And this "Enlightenment-lite" can be attained in a few weeks!*

*"Enlightenment-lite," not "Visuddhimagga-style Enlightenment"! :P

Again, there is no such thing as "jhāna-lite"—in the same way that there is no such thing as "Enlightenment-lite." There is only jhāna, and as with Enlightenment, it takes substantial amounts of skill and effort.
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by rightviewftw »

samseva wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:15 am
rightviewftw wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 8:55 pm Here is what i mean by vipassanajhana;
[...]
There is nothing about "vipassāna-jhāna" in the passages that you posted. It's just a word you invented...
I never claimed it to be included in the sutta expression, i just explained it's designation as i used it. i didn't invent it, it's quite loosely used by many yogis nowadays.

My point is that the word jhana as is used in the sutta and abhidhamma can be shown to include a scope of states broader than the jhana associated with lights & visions.

I perhaps mistakingly assumed that people knew that i was talking about the 'jhana-lite'. Therefore when you said there is no such thing, i was perplexed as to whether you meant that these states aren't included as 'jhana' by sutta/abhidhamma method or if you meant that the expression is wrong & foreign to sutta/abhidhamma. So i tried to adress both points by showing how i understand the word jhana and what i was referring to as vipassanajhana.

I generally don't use this word but it frequently comes up in public discourse due to popularization by some, usually as a point of controversy, therefore i talked about it.

As to being qualified to be included in the semantic range of 'jhana' i think we can make the case that these are to be recognized as jhana for reasons similar to how a good thought is classically (for lack of a better word) recognized as being qualified.
'Bhikkhus, possessing three qualities, a bhikkhu is practicing the unmistaken way and has laid the groundwork for the destruction of the taints. What three? Here, a bhikkhu guards the doors of the sense faculties, observes moderation in eating, and is intent on wakefulness. He should develop perception of unattractiveness so as to abandon lust... good will so as to abandon ill will... mindfulness of in-&-out breathing so as to cut off distractive thinking... the perception of inconstancy so as to uproot the conceit, 'I am.
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by greenjuice »

samseva wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:11 am What are you talking about? He literally says, "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."

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."
So, "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."
Oh, so access-concentration (upacāra-samādhi) is difficult to attain—but not jhāna, and not the arūpa-jhānas...
Yes, access concentration (and gladdening the mind) is harder to master than - once one has mastered those - to master entering the jhanas. It takes a bunch of practice to master those first two. But once one has done that, and knows what to do, it takes much less practice to master entering the jhanas (at least the first three). But unfortunately if one has hostility towards Leigh and what he teaches, one will most likely not know what to do, afaik, he's the only which gives jhana instructions as specific as this (concretely I mean instructions about gladdening the mind).
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

mikenz66 wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:23 am
rhinoceroshorn wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:24 pm
mikenz66 wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 8:23 pm
What about those who have experiences similar to the lighter interpretations, but are not convinced that it is jhana, and just keep working on the the path? What exactly are they missing out on?

:heart:
Mike
“Then again, the individual who, being unblemished, doesn’t discern as it has come to be that ‘I have no inner blemish’ is called the inferior man of the two individuals who are unblemished. The individual who, being unblemished, discerns as it has come to be that ‘I have no inner blemish’ is called the superior man of the two individuals who are unblemished.”
Perhaps you could explain what that quote got to do with my question? The sutta seems to be about giving up greed, hatred, and delusion. Why would not thinking one was in jhana make a difference to that?

In any case, I'd be more worried about overestimation than underestimation:
“Reverend, take the case of the person who has a blemish and does not understand it. You can expect that they won’t generate enthusiasm, make an effort, or rouse up energy to give up that blemish. And they will die with greed, hate, and delusion, blemished, with a corrupted mind. Suppose a bronze dish was brought from a shop or smithy covered with dirt or stains. And the owners neither used it or had it cleaned, but kept it in a dirty place. Over time, wouldn’t that bronze dish get even dirtier and more stained?”
https://suttacentral.net/mn5/en/sujato#5
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Mike
I don't know why the Buddha would teach a part of the noble eightfold path which (by the words of Budagousa) one in one million can attain. Does it make sense? Everyone can practice some minor degree of right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, but no! You CAN'T practice jhānas because it's NEARLY I M P O S S I B L E, you need to see a light in your mind...


See how this nonsense works? And people believe it.
:console:

It's your choice thinking that way. :coffee:
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by mikenz66 »

rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:02 am See how this nonsense works? And people believe it.
:console:
:console:

I really don't have a strong opinion on this subject, but I share the skepticism of a number of others that states that are rather exalted in the suttas can be easily obtained.
See for example, Ven Analayo's paper: A Brief History of Buddhist Absorption, which unfortunately, may not be currently readily accesible:
https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/1 ... 1268-7.pdf
https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/on ... s/16650/24

It doesn't overly worry me since, as I said, I don't see what difference it would make whether one believes what one is doing is or isn't jhana. If it is jhana it will, according to the suttas, have certain good effects in reducing greed, hatred, and delusion. Which is the aim, isn't it? Why should I be overly concerned about whether or not the level of samadhi that I have developed is actually jhana? What difference would that make to me?

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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

mikenz66 wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:59 am
rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:02 am See how this nonsense works? And people believe it.
:console:
:console:

I really don't have a strong opinion on this subject, but I share the skepticism of a number of others that states that are rather exalted in the suttas can be easily obtained.
Yes, supranormal powers are exalted in the suttas but the Buddha is very clear: they can only be attained when there is an opening. When there is the chance for that. It seems they are really difficult to attain.
If it is jhana it will, according to the suttas, have certain good effects in reducing greed, hatred, and delusion. Which is the aim, isn't it? Why should I be overly concerned about whether or not the level of samadhi that I have developed is actually jhana? What difference would that make to me?
I think it's important to recognize what is and what is not the case. If you meditate and your experience is what the suttas say, then you are doing jhānas.
You need a parameter for the other parts of the path, like right speech. You know telling lies is not right speech, so you must also know that when you enter a meditative state which features piti, sukha, vitakka and vicara, you are in the first jhāna!!!

But you're right. Do what you find best. I said this multiple times here.
rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:14 pm Ok, follow what brings you peace and happiness. Seeing the inconsistencies between suttas and commentaries doesn't bring me any peace or happiness, therefore I'll not follow them.
rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 7:09 pm Throw nimittas into the trash can, all you need are the pleasures or peace of the jhānas the Buddha taught in the suttas to let go of sensual pleasures.
rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:02 pm As long as it brings you happiness and peace, stick to whatever you like.
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by DooDoot »

rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 11:11 am Yes, supranormal powers are exalted in the suttas but the Buddha is very clear: they can only be attained when there is an opening. When there is the chance for that. It seems they are really difficult to attain.
Many arahants did not have psychic powers (SN 12.70), for example, Venerable Sariputta. Then the enemy of the Buddha, namely, Devadatta, had psychic powers.
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by samseva »

rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:02 am I don't know why the Buddha would teach a part of the noble eightfold path which (by the words of Budagousa) one in one million can attain. Does it make sense? Everyone can practice some minor degree of right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, but no! You CAN'T practice jhānas because it's NEARLY I M P O S S I B L E, you need to see a light in your mind...

See how this nonsense works? And people believe it. :console:

It's your choice thinking that way. :coffee:
Here is Leigh Brasington discussing the "1 in a million who can attain jhāna ratio" that you are referring to:

F8567280-C864-49C1-8CFF-3090595DB1BE.jpeg
http://www.leighb.com/jhana_4factors.htm

This is the passage:
8. It is not possible for a meditator to begin to accomplish transformation by supernormal powers unless he has previously completed his development by controlling his mind in these fourteen ways. Now, the kasiṇa preliminary work is difficult for a beginner and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it. The arousing of the sign is difficult for one who has done the preliminary work and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it. To extend the sign when it has arisen and to reach absorption is difficult and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it. To tame one's mind in the fourteen ways after reaching absorption is difficult and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it. The transformation by supernormal power after training one's mind in the fourteen ways is difficult and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it. Rapid response after attaining transformation is difficult and only one in a hundred or a thousand can do it.
—Visuddhimagga, Ch. XII (p. 371)

With the passage itself in front of us, it seems like Leigh took the liberty to interpret it in certain way, and then make specific calculations based on that interpretation.

The passage above can either mean:
  • Out of the "one in a hundred" of those that can accomplish the first task, out of these, only one in a hundred can accomplish the second task, and out of these, only one in a hundred can accomplish the third task (i.e., reaching absorption/jhāna).
If you do the math, (1/100) x (1/100) x (1/100) = 1/1,000,000

This is Leigh Brasington's 1 in a million number. Now if you take the "one in a thousand," also mentioned in the passage...

(1/1000) x (1/1000) x (1/1000) = 1/1,000,000,000
(or, at this moment... 8 people in the world)

Considering that the world population at the time of the Buddha was a fraction of our almost 8,000,000,000 population, it would mean that...

- At the time of the Buddha, no one could attain jhāna—not even the Buddha himself.
- And not even the hundreds of monks described in the Suttas as reaching jhāna.

However...the passage continues—if you were to continue with Leigh's way of calculating—it appears the Visuddhimagga claims that only 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 can attain what the passage describes!

This is impossible, and also an impossible statement...

....

OR, the other possibility is that...
  • It's simply "one in a hundred/one in a thousand."
___

To add more meaning/information to the text was a stretch on the part of Leigh—and putting words in Buddhaghosa's mouth (words of which he never thought/wrote).

The interpretation and calculations that were used to come up with the "1 in a million can attain jhāna ratio" are, as shown above, clearly incorrect—especially with the impossibility of the 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 ratio, if you were to do the same calculations for the full passage.
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

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rhinoceroshorn wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 11:11 amI think it's important to recognize what is and what is not the case. If you meditate and your experience is what the suttas say, then you are doing jhānas.
You need a parameter for the other parts of the path, like right speech. You know telling lies is not right speech, so you must also know that when you enter a meditative state which features piti, sukha, vitakka and vicara, you are in the first jhāna!!!
But what should one actually do differently if one did or did not think it was jhāna? What practical difference would it make?

In the other parts of the path, there is a progression. There's not a sudden transition to right speech, it's a matter of reducing wrong speech. As far as I can see, if one is letting to more, and developing more samādhi, that's a good thing. I see much more potential downside in overestimating my progress and thinking that I've achieved more than I actually have than underestimating it.

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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

mikenz66 wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 11:09 pm In the other parts of the path, there is a progression. There's not a sudden transition to right speech, it's a matter of reducing wrong speech.
There is not a sudden transition to jhānas too. But I got scared when I found out people spend years to enter for the first time those nimitta jhānas. That is, for years you have practiced the noble sevenfold path in order to practice the noble eightfold path? I don't buy this ridiculous thing.

It's not because you enter jhāna you master jhāna (sammasamādhi). They also require practice and progression like right speech. You must work on maintaining the concentration level, entering jhānas whenever you want, etc.
AN 4.35 wrote:"He attains — whenever he wants, without strain, without difficulty — the four jhanas that are heightened mental states, pleasant abidings in the here-&-now.
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by BrokenBones »

samseva wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:19 am
BrokenBones wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 12:39 am An hour daily? Jhana 'lite'? Where do you get this from? Certainly not from me. There is jhana and there is RIGHT effort... there is also 'mindless' jhana but this was rejected by the Buddha as a dead end.
It's to point that: if Leigh Brasington/Bhante Vimalaramsi's students can so quickly/easily reach jhāna, and the arūpa-jhānas (simply by calling it "jhāna-lite"), then with that same way of thinking, there could be "Enlightenment-lite"! :D

And this "Enlightenment-lite" can be attained in a few weeks!*

*"Enlightenment-lite," not "Visuddhimagga-style Enlightenment"! :P

Again, there is no such thing as "jhāna-lite"—in the same way that there is no such thing as "Enlightenment-lite." There is only jhāna, and as with Enlightenment, it takes substantial amounts of skill and effort.
You seem to be making up words and arguing with yourself over their veracity. As for RIGHT Effort... a good analogy to use for 'dead jhana' (if we're making up words) is that of a tennis player who spends 8 hours a day in the gym pushing huge weights... no doubting the amazing effort but 8 hours on the tennis court would be RIGHT Effort and a lot more enjoyable. Another is that Dead jhana is like playing tennis without a racquet... what's the point? With no awareness there's no possibility to learn and see things as they actually are.

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Re: Theravada if it includes Buddhaghosa is schismatic

Post by DooDoot »

BrokenBones wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:04 am Dead jhana
The suttas do not appear to refer to "dead jhana".
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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