Visuddhimagga jhana

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zan
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:57 pm

Visuddhimagga jhana

Postby zan » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:29 pm

As far as I can tell, according to the Visuddhimagga insight cannot be carried out during jhana.

This seems to be because the three marks of existence are not perceived in the nimitta which, instead of being seen as rising and falling cittas and javanas during jhana, is seen rather as something constant and one is absorbed in this nimitta.

On the counterpart sign (nimitta):
But it has neither
colour nor shape; for if it had, it would be cognizable by the eye, gross, susceptible
of comprehension [by insight] and stamped with the three
characteristics. But it is not like that.


-Visuddhimagga chapter IV paragraph 31

If one could see the three marks of existence in the nimitta during jhana then the nimitta would be susceptible of comprehension by insight. But this is not how the nimitta appears and so the experience of jhana, being an experience of absorption into this nimitta, is not one in which the observing of anicca, dukkha and anatta would be possible as it is in vipassana (insight). For this reason one must exit jhana and then review the impermanence of the experience afterward, not during, if one wishes to use jhanas for insight.

Essentially, jhana is not an experience of the three characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anatta.

Or, as Richard Shankman puts it in The Experience of Samadhi (p 55):

...all experience of changing physical and mental activity ceases.



Do I understand correctly?
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

paul
Posts: 595
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 11:27 pm
Location: Vietnam

Re: Visuddhimagga jhana

Postby paul » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:31 pm

Yes in both the Vism. and the suttas serenity and insight are two separate methods just as samadhi and panna are two separate trainings and the division of the Vism. is into Morality, Concentration and Understanding. But the procedure you explain of jhana preceding insight is only the classic method and while serenity is emphatically necessary as a basis for insight, it is possible to practice insight employing only momentary concentration:
http://www.vipassanadhura.com/jhana.html
Last edited by paul on Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

zan
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:57 pm

Re: Visuddhimagga jhana

Postby zan » Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:16 am

paul wrote:Yes in both the Vism. and the suttas serenity and insight are two separate methods. But the procedure you explain of jhana preceding insight is only the classic method and while serenity is emphatically necessary as a basis for insight, it is possible to practice insight employing only momentary concentration:
http://www.vipassanadhura.com/jhana.html


Okay thank you. That is what I thought but I wasn't sure because the Visuddhimagga and Abhidhammattha Sangaha speak about javanas arising during jhana and I was not clear on the implications of this but it seems automatically inferred that they could not be observed in their true nature of arising and falling until after exiting jhana because, as above, the nimitta is not marked by the three marks which would naturally rule out being seen as rising and falling citta or javana, and all reviewing of what citta/javana/jhana factors were present actually during jhana is always said to come after exiting jhana. So the jhana experience is absolutely seamless, unified and absorbed and no rising and falling of cittas/javanas could possibly be observed during it.

Alternatively, as you point out, one could sit and watch the cittas and cetasikas arise and fall while practicing momentary concentration where the mind is as focused as it is during access concentration but is not fixed as in jhana and so changing citta can be observed.

Is this because the concentration is on change happening while viewing paramattha dhamma rise and fall as opposed to the viewing of the nimitta during jhana being a conceptual object borne of perception which is why it's true nature as rising and falling citta/javana is not observable but it instead is seen as something that is not marked by anicca, dukkha and anatta?

On a side note, it makes sense that jhana would not be an experience in which the perception of the three marks would be possible because the Buddha figuratively called it "nibbana here and now", a comparison hardly fitting if the experience were of watching mental phenomena rise and fall, considering that nibbana is absolutely changeless.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:


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