AN 3.60, DN 28: vitakka and vicara when doing mind reading, B. Sujato's fallacy

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AN 3.60, DN 28: vitakka and vicara when doing mind reading, B. Sujato's fallacy

Post by frank k »

https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... when.html


Breaking down step by step, B. Sujato's fallacy in his translation and interpretation of vitakka and vicara in these two suttas.

This is of interest to you, if you don't understand the difference between jhāna as defined in EBT (early buddhist texts), versus Visuddhimagga's redefined jhana, and Ajahn Brahm (and B. Sujato)'s redefined jhana (same as Vism. without underlying Abhidhamma theory).
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Re: AN 3.60, DN 28: vitakka and vicara when doing mind reading, B. Sujato's fallacy

Post by Ceisiwr »

As far as I understand it, thoughts cease with the first Jhana.


“Then, bhikkhu, I have also taught the successive cessation of formations. For one who has attained the first jhana, speech has ceased. For one who has attained the second jhana, thought and examination have ceased. For one who has attained the third jhana, rapture has ceased. For one who has attained the fourth jhana, in-breathing and out-breathing have ceased.” SN 36

This makes sense since the practice aims at the stilling of all fabrications. Vitakka-Vicāra are the verbal fabrications:

“In-&-out breaths are bodily; these are things tied up with the body. That's why in-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental; these are things tied up with the mind. That's why perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications." MN 44

So it makes sense that the practice aims at calming the bodily formations, verbal formations (Vitakka-Vicāra and thoughts) and the mental formations leading to the cessation of perceptions and feelings, which results in Nibbana.

Based off that it seems to me that Vitakka-Vicāra means something other than “thoughts” or “thinking” in the first Jhana, which lends credence to the first Jhana being an absorption of sorts (not quite sure if it’s how the commentaries portray it to be).
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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Re: AN 3.60, DN 28: vitakka and vicara when doing mind reading, B. Sujato's fallacy

Post by DooDoot »

Ceisiwr wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:41 pm
As far as I understand it, thoughts cease with the first Jhana.

“Then, bhikkhu, I have also taught the successive cessation of formations.
The above so-called "understanding" appears plainly wrong because the sutta quoted refers to the cessation of feelings, breathing, perceptions & defilements, which are not "thoughts". The word "sankhara" in the sutta quoted, translated as "formations", obviously does not mean "thoughts".

The sutta translation quoted literally says: "the first jhana, speech has ceased". "Speech" is obviously not "thoughts".
Ceisiwr wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:41 pm
Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. MN 44
The translation above is obviously wrong when read with understanding of cause & effect. The translation logically should be as follows:
Doot wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:41 pm
Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabricators. MN 44
MN 44 properly translated results in thoughts & speech remaining distinct discrete phenomena, as they always are in the Buddha-Dhamma.
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Re: AN 3.60, DN 28: vitakka and vicara when doing mind reading, B. Sujato's fallacy

Post by sentinel »

DooDoot wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 1:58 am

The sutta translation quoted literally says: "the first jhana, speech has ceased". "Speech" is obviously not "thoughts".
So , what does speech here refers to ?
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Re: AN 3.60, DN 28: vitakka and vicara when doing mind reading, B. Sujato's fallacy

Post by ToVincent »

Ceisiwr wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:41 pm
As far as I understand it, thoughts cease with the first Jhana.


“Then, bhikkhu, I have also taught the successive cessation of formations. For one who has attained the first jhana, speech has ceased. For one who has attained the second jhana, thought and examination have ceased. For one who has attained the third jhana, rapture has ceased. For one who has attained the fourth jhana, in-breathing and out-breathing have ceased.” SN 36

This makes sense since the practice aims at the stilling of all fabrications. Vitakka-Vicāra are the verbal fabrications:

“In-&-out breaths are bodily; these are things tied up with the body. That's why in-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental; these are things tied up with the mind. That's why perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications." MN 44

So it makes sense that the practice aims at calming the bodily formations, verbal formations (Vitakka-Vicāra and thoughts) and the mental formations leading to the cessation of perceptions and feelings, which results in Nibbana.
Yes indeed.

Some remarks though, to abound further in your direction.
1. Jhāna here, might not mean "absorption"; but instead it might take the other meaning of jhāna - namely, jhāna (from jhāyati) - Sanskrit: kṣāyati, from √ क्षि kṣi - to make an end of (RV. AV. MBh.).

2. When using nirodha in SN 36.11 (//SA 474):
"That has been stated by me with reference:
… to co-actions whose dhamma has been subject to come (pariṇā - develop) apart (vi) (saṅkhārānaṃyeva vipariṇāmadhammataṃ),
… to co-actions whose dhamma has been subject to stop (saṅkhārānaṃye nirodhadhammataṃ),
… to co-actions whose dhamma has been subject to fading away (saṅkhārānaṃyeva virāgadhammataṃ)
… to co-actions whose dhamma has been subject to vanishing (saṅkhārānaṃyeva vayadhammataṃ),
... to co-actions whose dhamma has been subject to destruction (saṅkhārānaṃyeva khayadhammataṃ),
That has been stated by me with reference to the impermanence of co-actions (saṅkhārānaṃyeva khayadhammataṃ).
Nirodha (निरुध् nirudh [ ni-√ rudh ] does not always mean "cessation" - but also: to hold back , stop , hinder , shut up , confine , restrain , check , suppress , destroy (RV.); to keep away , ward off , remove (RV. Br.).

In that sense - in the above sentence - nirodha seems to mean that the saṅkhāras "stop" to "sam-kr", (and continue to "vi-kr" (vi-pariṇā) to the point of fading away).

HOWEVER,
When it comes to translate nirodha in:
"Dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ samāpannassa vitakkavicārā niruddhā honti."
For one who has attained the second jhana, thought and examination have been restrained.
it seems more appropriate to translate it as "restrained".
(For I hardly see one to be able to "cease breathing" in the fourth jhana).

Again, MN 44 speaks about "calming" the sankharas.
[Sankhara (as a khandha) being - in our case - the co-actor of two verbal processes.]

One has to understand a verbal process in its entirety, to comprehend what "thought" has to do with "word".

I am not even bother with Sujato's translation of:
Pubbe kho, āvuso visākha, vitakketvā vicāretvā pacchā vācaṃ bhindati, tasmā vitakkavicārā vacīsaṅkhāro.
as
First you place the mind and keep it connected, then you break into speech. That’s why placing the mind and keeping it connected are verbal processes.
But instead focus on the "reflective" (or sustainment) aspect of the other translators (Bodhi, Anandajoti, Piya Tan) - like the: "Having thought and reflected beforehand" of Anandajoti - or the:"First one applies thought and sustains thought" of B. Bodhi.

Why would there be reflectivity (or sustainment) in a verbal process, from a linguistic point of view?
If, like Buddha, we start from the psychical structures of the feeling/perception experience, (and not from the mere semiological structures, like a structuralist would do;) where in the following diagram should we find reflectivity or sustainment in the verbal process?

A Feeling/Perception experience yields the following linguistic process:
Thought »»Concretism »» word »» syntax »» sentence.

https://justpaste.it/img/58ca0e0dd4199c ... 475dc8.png

Vitakka/Vicāra seems only to encompass the representation process of the verbal process.

If such is the case, then the Vitakka's definition as "thought" would be correct; but "evaluation" and "examination", as the definition of Vicāra, would be far from being convincing; let alone "sustained application".

The representation process is far more involved with the concept of "concretism" than with "reflexion".

Representation should be considered as "concretism" - as a lexical more than a grammatical process (which will develop later as syntax/expression); as representing an abstract idea in concrete terms; as an attempt to embody a thought about a perceived feeling.

Vicāra as "concretism" (representation, embodiement,) seems more appropriate than "evaluation" or "examination;" or even "sustained application".
For instance, words like pek(k)hā (consideration,) seem more suitable than vicāra, when it comes to examine and evaluate.

"Concretism" (representation) would be more in line with such expressions like:
kshatryas', brahmins', householders' representations are wisdom (paññūpavicārā); woman's representation is adornment (alaṅkārūpavicārā); robbers' representation is seizing (gahanūpavicārā) in AN 6.52 (EA 37.8, MA 149).

Words are giving an instance of our thought "perceived feeling" experience; with a communicative intent, either to ourselves; or to the external world.
We express ourselves in sentences; but we represent through words. We need to represent before we express.
There is also a grammatical (formal) aspect in this representation, but the lexical (material) aspect, which comes first, suffice to have us understand how the abstract thought is represented in concrete terms. In the making of a word, the "ideogenesis" delivers a material significance, while the "morphemogenesis" delivers a formal significance that leads to the word to be used in the syntactical expression.

In other words, Vitakka/Vicāra (thought/concretism,) seems to be about mentally embodying a thought we have, about the perception of a feeling.
The role of language is not to provide just the physical means of expressing our experience, but rather the mental means of representing it, of depecting it in expressible units of meaning, each with a sign, and of combining these into sentences. (Waldron).

This article by Hirtle might be of interest:
http://www.fondsgustaveguillaume.ulaval ... -1994a.pdf

_______

To think that (abstract) thoughts & ("concrete") thoughts are verbal fabricators, would be a consumate error.
Saṅkhāra is the "fabricator". It is what "fabricates?/mixes together" (saṃ-kṝ).
.
.
Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: AN 3.60, DN 28: vitakka and vicara when doing mind reading, B. Sujato's fallacy

Post by Ceisiwr »

ToVincent wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:05 pm
Ceisiwr wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:41 pm
As far as I understand it, thoughts cease with the first Jhana.


“Then, bhikkhu, I have also taught the successive cessation of formations. For one who has attained the first jhana, speech has ceased. For one who has attained the second jhana, thought and examination have ceased. For one who has attained the third jhana, rapture has ceased. For one who has attained the fourth jhana, in-breathing and out-breathing have ceased.” SN 36

This makes sense since the practice aims at the stilling of all fabrications. Vitakka-Vicāra are the verbal fabrications:

“In-&-out breaths are bodily; these are things tied up with the body. That's why in-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Having first directed one's thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That's why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental; these are things tied up with the mind. That's why perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications." MN 44

So it makes sense that the practice aims at calming the bodily formations, verbal formations (Vitakka-Vicāra and thoughts) and the mental formations leading to the cessation of perceptions and feelings, which results in Nibbana.
Yes indeed.

Some remarks though, to abound further in your direction.
1. Jhāna here, might not mean "absorption"; but instead it might take the other meaning of jhāna - namely, jhāna (from jhāyati) - Sanskrit: kṣāyati, from √ क्षि kṣi - to make an end of (RV. AV. MBh.).

2. When using nirodha in SN 36.11 (//SA 474):
"That has been stated by me with reference:
… to co-actions whose dhamma has been subject to come (pariṇā - develop) apart (vi) (saṅkhārānaṃyeva vipariṇāmadhammataṃ),
… to co-actions whose dhamma has been subject to stop (saṅkhārānaṃye nirodhadhammataṃ),
… to co-actions whose dhamma has been subject to fading away (saṅkhārānaṃyeva virāgadhammataṃ)
… to co-actions whose dhamma has been subject to vanishing (saṅkhārānaṃyeva vayadhammataṃ),
... to co-actions whose dhamma has been subject to destruction (saṅkhārānaṃyeva khayadhammataṃ),
That has been stated by me with reference to the impermanence of co-actions (saṅkhārānaṃyeva khayadhammataṃ).
Nirodha (निरुध् nirudh [ ni-√ rudh ] does not always mean "cessation" - but also: to hold back , stop , hinder , shut up , confine , restrain , check , suppress , destroy (RV.); to keep away , ward off , remove (RV. Br.).

In that sense - in the above sentence - nirodha seems to mean that the saṅkhāras "stop" to "sam-kr", (and continue to "vi-kr" (vi-pariṇā) to the point of fading away).

HOWEVER,
When it comes to translate nirodha in:
"Dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ samāpannassa vitakkavicārā niruddhā honti."
For one who has attained the second jhana, thought and examination have been restrained.
it seems more appropriate to translate it as "restrained".
(For I hardly see one to be able to "cease breathing" in the fourth jhana).

Again, MN 44 speaks about "calming" the sankharas.
[Sankhara (as a khandha) being - in our case - the co-actor of two verbal processes.]

One has to understand a verbal process in its entirety, to comprehend what "thought" has to do with "word".

I am not even bother with Sujato's translation of:
Pubbe kho, āvuso visākha, vitakketvā vicāretvā pacchā vācaṃ bhindati, tasmā vitakkavicārā vacīsaṅkhāro.
as
First you place the mind and keep it connected, then you break into speech. That’s why placing the mind and keeping it connected are verbal processes.
But instead focus on the "reflective" (or sustainment) aspect of the other translators (Bodhi, Anandajoti, Piya Tan) - like the: "Having thought and reflected beforehand" of Anandajoti - or the:"First one applies thought and sustains thought" of B. Bodhi.

Why would there be reflectivity (or sustainment) in a verbal process, from a linguistic point of view?
If, like Buddha, we start from the psychical structures of the feeling/perception experience, (and not from the mere semiological structures, like a structuralist would do;) where in the following diagram should we find reflectivity or sustainment in the verbal process?

A Feeling/Perception experience yields the following linguistic process:
Thought »»Concretism »» word »» syntax »» sentence.

https://justpaste.it/img/58ca0e0dd4199c ... 475dc8.png

Vitakka/Vicāra seems only to encompass the representation process of the verbal process.

If such is the case, then the Vitakka's definition as "thought" would be correct; but "evaluation" and "examination", as the definition of Vicāra, would be far from being convincing; let alone "sustained application".

The representation process is far more involved with the concept of "concretism" than with "reflexion".

Representation should be considered as "concretism" - as a lexical more than a grammatical process (which will develop later as syntax/expression); as representing an abstract idea in concrete terms; as an attempt to embody a thought about a perceived feeling.

Vicāra as "concretism" (representation, embodiement,) seems more appropriate than "evaluation" or "examination;" or even "sustained application".
For instance, words like pek(k)hā (consideration,) seem more suitable than vicāra, when it comes to examine and evaluate.

"Concretism" (representation) would be more in line with such expressions like:
kshatryas', brahmins', householders' representations are wisdom (paññūpavicārā); woman's representation is adornment (alaṅkārūpavicārā); robbers' representation is seizing (gahanūpavicārā) in AN 6.52 (EA 37.8, MA 149).

Words are giving an instance of our thought "perceived feeling" experience; with a communicative intent, either to ourselves; or to the external world.
We express ourselves in sentences; but we represent through words. We need to represent before we express.
There is also a grammatical (formal) aspect in this representation, but the lexical (material) aspect, which comes first, suffice to have us understand how the abstract thought is represented in concrete terms. In the making of a word, the "ideogenesis" delivers a material significance, while the "morphemogenesis" delivers a formal significance that leads to the word to be used in the syntactical expression.

In other words, Vitakka/Vicāra (thought/concretism,) seems to be about mentally embodying a thought we have, about the perception of a feeling.
The role of language is not to provide just the physical means of expressing our experience, but rather the mental means of representing it, of depecting it in expressible units of meaning, each with a sign, and of combining these into sentences. (Waldron).

This article by Hirtle might be of interest:
http://www.fondsgustaveguillaume.ulaval ... -1994a.pdf

_______

To think that (abstract) thoughts & ("concrete") thoughts are verbal fabricators, would be a consumate error.
Saṅkhāra is the "fabricator". It is what "fabricates?/mixes together" (saṃ-kṝ).
.
.
Hello Vincent,

Some really useful and interesting insights there. Thank you very much :)

Metta

:anjali:
“For that is false, bhikkhu, which has a deceptive nature, and that is true which has an undeceptive nature—Nibbāna. Therefore a bhikkhu possessing this truth possesses the supreme foundation of truth. For this, bhikkhu, is the supreme noble truth, namely, Nibbāna, which has an undeceptive nature.” MN 140

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Re: AN 3.60, DN 28: vitakka and vicara when doing mind reading, B. Sujato's fallacy

Post by confusedlayman »

frank k wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:20 pm
https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... when.html


Breaking down step by step, B. Sujato's fallacy in his translation and interpretation of vitakka and vicara in these two suttas.

This is of interest to you, if you don't understand the difference between jhāna as defined in EBT (early buddhist texts), versus Visuddhimagga's redefined jhana, and Ajahn Brahm (and B. Sujato)'s redefined jhana (same as Vism. without underlying Abhidhamma theory).
vitakka and vicara are mind verbal thing not speech verbal thing. when we think, there is mind thoiughts in form of talking (mind chatter). in 2nd jhana there is no thoughts... speech, smell, touch feeling, hearing, seeing ends in 1st jhana for sure. 2nd jhana no mind thoughts but there is awareness to know. 3rd jhana no physical perception of body yet there is feeling... 4th they say no feeling etc.
Find a tree and practice jhana or dont regret later- Buddha
Something exist, dont exist, both exist and non exist, neither exist nor dont exist .. all these four possibilities are wrong- Nagarjuna
Find a dhamma companion or roam alone like rhinoceros in the wild- Buddha
If you are not happy even after following 8NP then you are doing it wrong- CL (confused layman)

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