A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana

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Re: A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana

Postby Dmytro » Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:58 pm

And now with Yogasutra:

vitarka-vicharanandasmitanugamat sanprajnatah

Cognitive contemplation is accompanied by reasoning, deliberation, bliss and the awareness of pure being (asmita). (17)

...

tatra shabdartha-jnana-vikalpaih sankirna savitarka

Whenever the construction of words and meanings is confused and uncertain, the mind wavers in a polemical and chaotic state (sankirna savitarka). (42)

smriti-parishuddhau svarupa-shunyevartha-matra-nirbhasa nirvitarka

When the memory is purified, when the mind is void of its own form, it is luminous with true knowledge of its sole object, attaining to an unclouded state (nirvitarka). (43)

etayaiva savichara nirvichara cha sukshma-vishaya vyakhyata

Also, by this process, the deliberative and non-deliberative states concerning subtle elements (sukshma-vishaya) are explained. (44)

sukshma-vishayatvam chalinga-paryavasanam

And the subtle elements extend up to the noumenal, primordial and undifferentiated (alinga). (45)

ta eva sabijah samadhih

They are only the basis of meditation with its seed. (46)

vichara-vaisharadye ‘dhyatma-prasadah

On attaining the utmost purity of the non-deliberative state, there is the dawning of spiritual light, the gracious peace and luminosity of the supreme Self. (47)

...

vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam

When the mind is oppressed by perverse thoughts, it must summon and sustain their opposites. (84)

vitarka himsadayah krita-karitanumodita lobha-krodha-moha-purvaka mridu-madhyadhimatra duhkhajnananantaphala iti pratipaksha-bhavanam

Perverse thoughts of a violent and destructive nature, whether enacted, abetted or endorsed, whether induced by avarice, anger or delusion, whether mild, moderately present or intensely indulged, result in endless misery and folly; consequently, their opposites must be nurtured and nourished. (85)

http://www.primordialsalt.com/2016/11/12/yoga-sutras/

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Re: A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana

Postby Dmytro » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:07 pm

These independent sources have deep parallels, which help to comprehend the early meaning of 'vitakka'.

CecilN wrote:It is 'yogic' meditation & will not lead far.


It does lead far, when well applied.

Thinking of (craving for) the breath will not reach jhana or even supramundane neighbourhood concentration.


Surely craving won't lead anywhere. On the contrary, proper vitakka and vicara allow to remove hindrances. This is the super-secret highly advanced method described by the Buddha.

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Re: A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana

Postby Buddha Vacana » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:21 pm

Thanks for this very wide ranging research!

It becomes rapidly mind boggling though as each tradition has its very idiosyncratic view on meditation experience.

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Re: A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana

Postby CecilN » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:22 pm

Dmytro wrote:Geoff Shatz writes:

With directed thought and evaluation (savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ)

In the thought-world of the Pāḷi discourses, directed thought (vitakka) is closely related to resolve (saṅkappa). MN 78 Samaṇamuṇḍika Sutta tells us that unskillful resolves cease in the first jhāna and that skillful resolves (kusalā saṅkappā) consisting of the resolve of renunciation (nekkhammasaṅkappa), the resolve of non-aversion (abyāpādasaṅkappa), and the resolve of harmlessness (avihiṃsāsaṅkappa) don’t cease until the second jhāna. This provides some context as to the meaning and significance of directed thought and evaluation (vicāra) in the standard jhāna formula. The Samaṇamuṇḍika Sutta states:

And what are skillful resolves? Being resolved on renunciation, on non-aversion, on harmlessness. These are called skillful resolves. What is the cause of skillful resolves? Their cause, too, has been stated, and they are said to be recognition-caused. Which recognition? — for recognition has many modes and permutations. Any renunciation-recognition, non-aversion-recognition, or harmlessness-recognition: That is the cause of skillful resolves.

Now where do skillful resolves cease without trace? Their stopping, too, has been stated: There is the case where a monk, with the stilling of directed thought and evaluation, enters and remains in the second jhāna, which has internal serene-clarity and unification of mind free from thought and evaluation, and has joy and pleasure born of composure. This is where skillful resolves cease without trace.


Of course, any experienced meditator with proficiency in attention training knows that adventitious discursive thinking inhibits the calming of the mind. And so the directed thought and evaluation of the first jhāna is more refined than adventitious discursiveness. It’s the skillful application of the cognitive faculty to a particular theme of focus, without lapsing from that focus. To be effective, directed thought and evaluation must necessarily work in concert with the concomitant application of mindfulness and sustained attention. In this way, directed thought and evaluation help to serve as causal factors for the abandoning of the hindrances, the arising of the other jhāna factors, as well as aiding in the maintenance of the jhāna factors once the first jhāna has been successfully entered.

MN 78 is certainly an interesting sutta (I have not read it before) but it does not refute Brahmavamso's stance about the 'jhana wobble' because MN 78 is referring to 'intention' rather than to 'active verbal thought'.

Brahmavamso's stance about the 'jhana wobble' is when the citta (mind) is attracted to the rapture, mindfulness, in seeing the attraction, abandons (vossagga) the tendency to cling to the bliss. Thus the citta moves towards and away from the bliss, which is what Brahmavamso refers to as vitakka & vicara. In other words, this movement away from clinging to the bliss is the intention of renunciation & the intention of non-harming, particularly the not harming of the jhana factors & the not harming of the developed liberation through non-clinging (vossagga). But it is not active verbal thought. It is a movement & intention of the citta based in the previous development of mindfulness & wisdom. It does not manifest as verbal thought. It is pure intuition.

I have not read Sujato's article (although browsed it once many months ago) but I assume his viewpoint is similar.

So far, Sujato remains undefeated on this thread.
Last edited by CecilN on Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:35 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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Re: A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana

Postby CecilN » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:24 pm

Dmytro wrote: On the contrary, proper vitakka and vicara allow to remove hindrances. This is the super-secret highly advanced method described by the Buddha.

Please quote. Thanks.

Buddha Vacana wrote:Thanks for this very wide ranging research! It becomes rapidly mind boggling though as each tradition has its very idiosyncratic view on meditation experience.

Non-Buddhist ideas are really not relevant to the discussion since Buddhism often uses older non-Buddhist words but redefines them (such as 'nama-rupa').

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Re: A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana

Postby Buddha Vacana » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:32 pm

Sankappa and vitakka are often interchangeable. For example when they are both broken down into kama-vitakka/sankappa, nekkhamma-vitakka/sankappa, (a)byapada-vitakka/sankappa, (a)vihimsa-vitakka/sankappa, which is the case at MN 78.

When one makes an assumption that sankappa has a completely different meaning, it needs to be duly supported by independent observations, otherwise Occam's razor takes a toll.

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Re: A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana

Postby CecilN » Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:36 pm

Buddha Vacana wrote:Sankappa and vitakka are often interchangeable. For example when they are both broken down into kama-vitakka/sankappa, nekkhamma-vitakka/sankappa, (a)byapada-vitakka/sankappa, (a)vihimsa-vitakka/sankappa, which is the case at MN 78.

When one makes an assumption that sankappa has a completely different meaning, it needs to be duly supported by independent observations, otherwise Occam's razor takes a toll.

Wrong. So far, Sujato remains undefeated on this thread.

Of course, any experienced meditator with proficiency in attention training knows that adventitious discursive thinking inhibits the calming of the mind. And so the directed thought and evaluation of the first jhāna is more refined than adventitious discursiveness.

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Re: A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana

Postby Buddha Vacana » Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:12 pm

CecilN wrote:
Buddha Vacana wrote:Sankappa and vitakka are often interchangeable. For example when they are both broken down into kama-vitakka/sankappa, nekkhamma-vitakka/sankappa, (a)byapada-vitakka/sankappa, (a)vihimsa-vitakka/sankappa, which is the case at MN 78.

When one makes an assumption that sankappa has a completely different meaning, it needs to be duly supported by independent observations, otherwise Occam's razor takes a toll.

Wrong. So far, Sujato remains undefeated on this thread.

:popcorn:

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Re: A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana

Postby Dmytro » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:29 am

Hi CecilN,

Australian Brahmic Buddhism and Brahmavamso's approach have already been discussed in detail in the threads:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=7521
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=7360

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Re: A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana

Postby Dmytro » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:38 am

Hi,

CecilN wrote:
Dmytro wrote: On the contrary, proper vitakka and vicara allow to remove hindrances. This is the super-secret highly advanced method described by the Buddha.

Please quote. Thanks.


Dvadhavitakka (MN 19) and similar suttas have already been quoted here. One removes kama-vitakka/sankappa, byapada-vitakka/sankappa, vihimsa-vitakka/sankappa, by cultivating nekkhamma-vitakka/sankappa, abyapada-vitakka/sankappa, avihimsa-vitakka/sankappa.

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Re: A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana

Postby CecilN » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:27 am

Dmytro wrote:Australian Brahmic Buddhism and Brahmavamso's approach have already been discussed in detail in the threads:
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=7521
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=7360

Did the Buddha himself post on these links?

Dmytro wrote:Dvadhavitakka (MN 19) and similar suttas have already been quoted here. One removes kama-vitakka/sankappa, byapada-vitakka/sankappa, vihimsa-vitakka/sankappa, by cultivating nekkhamma-vitakka/sankappa, abyapada-vitakka/sankappa, avihimsa-vitakka/sankappa.

This is for hindrances. The stage from subduing/ending hindrances to jhana remains a long road & still requires a different practice, as the Buddha taught in SN 48.10 and MN 118 about "vossagga". Brahmavamso is not teaching "Australian dhamma" since the "vossagga" Brahmavamso is instructing is Pali rather than Australian.

Idha, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako vos­saggā­rammaṇaṃ karitvā labhati samādhiṃ, labhati cittassa ekaggataṃ

There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones, making it his object to let go, attains concentration, attains singleness of mind.

Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sati­sam­boj­jhaṅ­gaṃ bhāveti vivekanissitaṃ virāganissitaṃ nirodha­nissitaṃ vos­sagga­pari­ṇāmiṃ

Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops the mindfulness enlightenment factor, which is supported by seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, and ripens in relinquishment.

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Re: A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana

Postby Zom » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:38 pm

Twice now a declaration from you of attaining jhana.


I didn't say I attain jhana. I said I can generate metta feeling which you can take as an object of concentration, and, according to Ajahn Brahm, such concentration can lead you into a jhana.


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