SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

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SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:28 pm

SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.
Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi


https://suttacentral.net/en/sn16.9

At Savatthī. “Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, I enter and dwell in the first jhana, which is accompanied by thought and examination, with rapture and happiness born of seclusion. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, enters and dwells in the first jhana.

“Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, with the subsiding of thought and examination, I enter and dwell in the second jhana, which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without thought and examination, and has rapture and happiness born of concentration. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, with the subsiding of thought and examination, enters and dwells in the second jhana.

“Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, with the fading away as well of rapture, I dwell equanimous, and mindful and clearly comprehending, I experience happiness with the body; I enter and dwell in the third jhana of which the noble ones declare: ‘He is equanimous, mindful, one who dwells happily.’ Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, enters and dwells in the third jhana.

“Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and displeasure, I enter and dwell in the fourth jhana, which is neither painful nor pleasant and includes the purification of mindfulness by equanimity. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, enters and dwells in the fourth jhana.

“Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, with the complete transcendence of perceptions of forms, with the passing away of perceptions of sensory impingement, with nonattention to perceptions of diversity, aware that ‘space is infinite,’ I enter and dwell in the base of the infinity of space. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, enters and dwells in the base of the infinity of space.

“Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, by completely transcending the base of the infinity of space, aware that ‘consciousness is infinite,’ I enter and dwell in the base of the infinity of consciousness. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, enters and dwells in the base of the infinity of consciousness.

“Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, by completely transcending the base of the infinity of consciousness, aware that ‘there is nothing,’ I enter and dwell in the base of nothingness. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, enters and dwells in the base of nothingness.

“Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, by completely transcending the base of nothingness, I enter and dwell in the base of neither-perception-nor-nonperception. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, enters and dwells in the base of neither-perception-nor-nonperception.

“Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, by completely transcending the base of neither-perception-nor-nonperception, I enter and dwell in the cessation of perception and feeling. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, enters and dwells in the cessation of perception and feeling.

“Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, I wield the various kinds of spiritual power: having been one, I become many; having been many, I become one; I appear and vanish; I go unhindered through a wall, through a rampart, through a mountain as though through space; I dive in and out of the earth as though it were water; I walk on water without sinking as though it were earth; seated cross-legged, I travel in space like a bird; with my hand I touch and stroke the moon and sun so powerful and mighty; I exercise mastery with the body as far as the brahma world. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, wields the various kinds of spiritual power.

“Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, with the divine ear element, which is purified and surpasses the human, I hear both kinds of sounds, the divine and human, those that are far as well as near. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, with the divine ear element, which is purified and surpasses the human, hears both kinds of sounds.

“Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, I understand the minds of other beings and persons, having encompassed them with my own mind. I understand a mind with lust as a mind with lust; a mind without lust as a mind without lust; a mind with hatred as a mind with hatred; a mind without hatred as a mind without hatred; a mind with delusion as a mind with delusion; a mind without delusion as a mind without delusion; a contracted mind as contracted and a distracted mind as distracted; an exalted mind as exalted and an unexalted mind as unexalted; a surpassable mind as surpassable and an unsurpassable mind as unsurpassable; a concentrated mind as concentrated and an unconcentrated mind as unconcentrated; a liberated mind as liberated and an unliberated mind as unliberated. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, understands the minds of other beings and persons, having encompassed them with his own mind.

“Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, I recollect my manifold past abodes, that is, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births, many aeons of world-contraction, many aeons of world-expansion, many aeons of world-contraction and expansion thus: ‘There I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life span; passing away from there, I was reborn elsewhere, and there too I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life span; passing away from there, I was reborn here.’ Thus I recollect my manifold past abodes with their modes and details. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, recollects his manifold past abodes with their modes and details.

“Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, I see beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and I understand how beings fare on according to their kamma thus: ‘These beings who engaged in misconduct of body, speech, and mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong view, and undertook actions based on wrong view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in a state of misery, in a bad destination, in the nether world, in hell; but these beings who engaged in good conduct of body, speech, and mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right view, and undertook action based on right view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world.’ Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, I see beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and I understand how beings fare on according to their kamma. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, sees beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings fare on according to their kamma.

“Bhikkhus, by the destruction of the taints, in this very life I enter and dwell in the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, realizing it for myself with direct knowledge. [285] Kassapa too, by the destruction of the taints, in this very life enters and dwells in the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, realizing it for himself with direct knowledge.”

Note

[285] In MLDB [The Nanamoli/Bodhi MN translation] cetovimutti pañnāvimutti is translated “deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom,” as if the two terms were separate items standing in conjunction. I now think it better to omit the conjunctive particle (which is not in the Pāli) and to treat the two terms as a dual designation for what is essentially the same state.

Spk explains cetovimutti as the concentration of the fruit of arahantship (arahattaphalasamādhi), paññāvimutti as the wisdom of the fruit of arahantship (arahattaphalapaññā).

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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by FallAway » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:32 am

Please forgive this post; I am quite sure it is entirely out of place. I've read some of the threads concerning Study Group but I am still unclear about how this works. For example, is there a particular question regarding this Sutta that we are to address, or a focus of some kind?

I'll tag (or try to) mikenz66. Please feel free to move this post to wherever it's most suited, or I can delete it upon response.

:namaste:
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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by FallAway » Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:20 pm

Okay, diving in with a thought...

Who does Buddha mean by "I" when he says that "I can...." enter into such or such a state? He has attained emptiness and returned with the power to re-enter as an observer?

Free of the taints, free of all the hindrances, free of all fetters...it is my understanding that such liberation leaves only empathetic joy, metta, compassion and equinamity. Do these abodes transcend themselves to become some kind of namarupa?

Or, maybe he is talking about freedom from all the taints and only the taints, as the key into the jhanas. If that's the case, I need clarification on "taints". Will start looking.

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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by santa100 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 12:49 am

FallAway wrote:Who does Buddha mean by "I" when he says that "I can...." enter into such or such a state? He has attained emptiness and returned with the power to re-enter as an observer?
The Buddha already transcended all notions of "I", "mine", "myself", but He still used them in a conventional sense, as mere labels to effectively teach others. As said in DN 9.:
In the same way, when there is a gross acquisition of a self … it’s classified just as a gross acquisition of a self. When there is a mind-made acquisition of a self … When there is a formless acquisition of a self, it’s not classified either as a gross acquisition of a self or as a mind-made acquisition of a self. It’s classified just as a formless acquisition of a self.

“Citta, these are the world’s designations, the world’s expressions, the world’s ways of speaking, the world’s descriptions, with which the Tathagata expresses himself but without grasping to them.

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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by FallAway » Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:59 pm

santa100 wrote:The Buddha already transcended all notions of "I", "mine", "myself", but He still used them in a conventional sense, as mere labels to effectively teach others.
Thank you santa100. I do know that. My question/thought was unclear in that I had already applied that knowledge to it. Maybe a better way to phrase the question/thought would be: Given that Buddha dwelled in the heavenly abodes (assuming that is the taint-less state) and could enter jhana states at will/desire...just what exactly was entering these states? What (namarupa) had the associated powers? Or is this kind of questioning/thinking far astray from the purpose of the group study?

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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by santa100 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:00 pm

FallAway wrote:My question/thought was unclear in that I had already applied that knowledge to it. Maybe a better way to phrase the question/thought would be: Given that Buddha dwelled in the heavenly abodes (assuming that is the taint-less state) and could enter jhana states at will/desire...just what exactly was entering these states? What (namarupa) had the associated powers? Or is this kind of questioning/thinking far astray from the purpose of the group study?
The Buddha's already transcended all self-identification, so strictly speaking, when He entered jhanas, it was only the Five Aggregates, or the Nama/Rupa that entered. Even right now as we speak, strictly speaking, there's no "FallAway" who's doing the act. It's simply the functioning of the Five Aggregates operating under a "FallAway" label. The fundamental difference between the Buddha and us, is that He's aware of this 100% of the time, while we only notice that occasionally.

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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by FallAway » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:43 pm

santa100 wrote:The Buddha's already transcended all self-identification, so strictly speaking, when He entered jhanas, it was only the Five Aggregates, or the Nama/Rupa that entered. Even right now as we speak, strictly speaking, there's no "FallAway" who's doing the act. It's simply the functioning of the Five Aggregates operating under a "FallAway" label. The fundamental difference between the Buddha and us, is that He's aware of this 100% of the time, while we only notice that occasionally.
Previously understood as well, thank you santa100. Buddha's wisdom in using the "I" rather than a more general "a monk may" or "a bikkhu may" in this teaching is what is causing me to think/question what may lay behind (the spirit of) this particular discourse. He skillfully outlines the stages of jhana and the associated powers, a valuable teaching for the bikkhus. That he himself had entry at will into each one is my question. Did the bikkus know that? I know that his teachings vary with the varying levels of understanding of his students. But would not saying that his wish/desire to dwell in the jhanas indicate that he could, even in the highest purification of Nibbana?

I seem to see a teaching here somehow of "reassembly" in some shape or form...vaguely, and quite possibly without any basis at all. But that's the little knot I'm trying to undo right now. Some clear thinking on my part will help a lot.

Reframed question: Given that Buddha dwelled in the heavenly abodes which of any, or do all five aggregates remain with him in purified form? Could these purified aggregates resonate at all with at least the first three jhanas? Would they not just "bypass" them having no reason to remain?

Maybe a first-step bottom-line question would be why did Buddha choose the first person in which to address this teaching?

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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by santa100 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:24 pm

FallAway wrote:Maybe a first-step bottom-line question would be why did Buddha choose the first person in which to address this teaching?
That's easy, because first person address is the the convenient way of communication that His worldling audience can identify with and understand. Also notice that He did not just talk about himself. He also mentioned Ven. Kassapa who could do the same thing:
SN 16.9 wrote:Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, with the subsiding of thought and examination, I enter and dwell in the second jhana, which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without thought and examination, and has rapture and happiness born of concentration. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, with the subsiding of thought and examination, enters and dwells in the second jhana.

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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by FallAway » Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:48 pm

santa100 wrote:
FallAway wrote:Maybe a first-step bottom-line question would be why did Buddha choose the first person in which to address this teaching?
That's easy, because first person address is the the convenient way of communication that His worldling audience can identify with and understand. Also notice that He did not just talk about himself. He also mentioned Ven. Kassapa who could do the same thing:
SN 16.9 wrote:Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, with the subsiding of thought and examination, I enter and dwell in the second jhana, which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without thought and examination, and has rapture and happiness born of concentration. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, with the subsiding of thought and examination, enters and dwells in the second jhana.
Thank you santa100, first person is a most convenient way in which to speak to others. Just as I am doing with you now. However, it's also a clear way to indicate that one is referring to oneself. Yes, I did notice while reading the sutta that another person is indicated by Buddha. Also thinking about this other person's name "kassapa" which I understand is also the name of the Buddha who preceded our aeon's Buddha...interesting too.

My thinking is now running along these lines...given that Buddha dwelled as a purified aggregate of five factors in a purified state of heavenly abodes (compassion, metta, equanimity, joy) is he saying that each of these purified aggregates can be "downgraded" back to the first jhana, the second, the third, the fourth? in order to experience the fruit of that particular jhana?

The power of "having been one, I become many; having been many, I become one" is making me wonder if his transcendent state has yet another power, i.e. the power to untranscend, so to speak, and separate out that which is inseparable. The power to group, re-group, form and re-form the aggregates in any manner at all, including making what is not changeable, changeable. In an analogy, the power to take a glass of water and turn it into a glass of hydrogen and oxygen, then reform it back into water. The power of changing death into life...

Still not clear, far from it, and possibly of no relevance at all to whatever it is we should be studying...lol, that's what happens when I'm left to my own devices in a study group.

:namaste:
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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by santa100 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:20 pm

FallAway wrote:My thinking is now running along these lines...given that Buddha dwelled as a purified aggregate of five factors in a purified state of heavenly abodes (compassion, metta, equanimity, joy) is he saying that each of these purified aggregates can be "downgraded" back to the first jhana, the second, the third, the fourth? in order to experience the fruit of that particular jhana?
I think the source of your confusion is the wrong assumption about the Buddha's "purified aggregates" and the "purified state of heavenly abodes". First, the Buddha's aggregates are not purified in the sense that you think. After enlightenment, His body (the Form aggregate) didn't turn into diamond and became immune from all diseases and sickness. It's well documented in the suttas that His Form aggregate was also subjected to old age and sickness just like regular worldlings (ie. wrinkled skin, back pain, etc.). His Feeling aggregate wasn't immune from painful physical feeling (ie He still experienced back pain). Second, the "purified state of heavenly abodes" is only relative in meaning. Yes, they're more pure when compared to our human world. But they're still just realms of existence within Samsara, hence there're still defilements. They're just not as crude or coarse compared to ours. Since the 2 points have been clarified, it should be clear by now, that there's no such thing as being "downgraded" when the Buddha entered the jhanas.

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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by Garrib » Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:47 pm

FallAway wrote:
santa100 wrote:
FallAway wrote:Maybe a first-step bottom-line question would be why did Buddha choose the first person in which to address this teaching?
That's easy, because first person address is the the convenient way of communication that His worldling audience can identify with and understand. Also notice that He did not just talk about himself. He also mentioned Ven. Kassapa who could do the same thing:
SN 16.9 wrote:Bhikkhus, to whatever extent I wish, with the subsiding of thought and examination, I enter and dwell in the second jhana, which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without thought and examination, and has rapture and happiness born of concentration. Kassapa too, to whatever extent he wishes, with the subsiding of thought and examination, enters and dwells in the second jhana.
Thank you santa100, first person is a most convenient way in which to speak to others. Just as I am doing with you now. However, it's also a clear way to indicate that one is referring to oneself. Yes, I did notice while reading the sutta that another person is indicated by Buddha. Also thinking about this other person's name "kassapa" which I understand is also the name of the Buddha who preceded our aeon's Buddha...interesting too.

My thinking is now running along these lines...given that Buddha dwelled as a purified aggregate of five factors in a purified state of heavenly abodes (compassion, metta, equanimity, joy) is he saying that each of these purified aggregates can be "downgraded" back to the first jhana, the second, the third, the fourth? in order to experience the fruit of that particular jhana?

The power of "having been one, I become many; having been many, I become one" is making me wonder if his transcendent state has yet another power, i.e. the power to untranscend, so to speak, and separate out that which is inseparable. The power to group, re-group, form and re-form the aggregates in any manner at all, including making what is not changeable, changeable. In an analogy, the power to take a glass of water and turn it into a glass of hydrogen and oxygen, then reform it back into water. The power of changing death into life...

Still not clear, far from it, and possibly of no relevance at all to whatever it is we should be studying...lol, that's what happens when I'm left to my own devices in a study group.

:namaste:
My understanding is that the Kassapa he is referring to here is not the previous Buddha, but the Bhikkhu Kassapa (famous Arahant disciple of Buddha Gotama), who was also skilled in concentration, and wielded the supernormal powers.
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/db_03.htm

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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by FallAway » Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:48 pm

santa100 wrote: Since the 2 points have been clarified, it should be clear by now, that there's no such thing as being "downgraded" when the Buddha entered the jhanas.
Santa, thank you for all the patience you've had with my musings and postings. However, I don't feel clarified by your clarifications.

My idea of purification = the falling away of the ten fetters.
My idea of the heavenly abodes = one default state of being when all ten fetters have fallen away

So, that is now clear.

I appreciate that you have no idea of where I'm "at" in terms of knowing Dhamma. I have passed Dhamma 101, in that I know how Siddhartha Gautama was born, lived, became enlightened, grew old, and died.

My question/thoughts are evolving, and that is partially thanks to you, Namaste. Perhaps you will now share your understanding of what Buddha means by "having been one, I become many; having been many, I become one" and why such a being would even want to "return" to a first jhana state.

:namaste:
Last edited by FallAway on Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by FallAway » Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:02 pm

Garrib wrote:
FallAway wrote:... Yes, I did notice while reading the sutta that another person is indicated by Buddha. Also thinking about this other person's name "kassapa" which I understand is also the name of the Buddha who preceded our aeon's Buddha...interesting too.
Garrib wrote:My understanding is that the Kassapa he is referring to here is not the previous Buddha, but the Bhikkhu Kassapa (famous Arahant disciple of Buddha Gotama), who was also skilled in concentration, and wielded the supernormal powers.
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/db_03.htm
Hello Garrib. Thank you for the link. Your understanding of the Kassapa in question and mine are the same. I remarked only that the names were the same. With Buddha, there's probably a reason for this...

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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by santa100 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:10 pm

FallAway wrote:My idea of the heavenly abodes = one default state of being when all ten fetters have fallen away
So, that is now clear.
Sorry to break it to you, but you'll need to go back to the suttas for the mistaken view above. If one's been able to attain a state where "all ten fetters have fallen away", s/he's already attained arahantship. The heavenly abodes would be way too low a qualification for his stage. As already mentioned, heavenly abodes, just like any conditioned phenomena, are not free from anicca and dukkha.
FallAway wrote:Perhaps you will now share your understanding of what Buddha means by "having been one, I become many; having been many, I become one" and why such a being would even want to "return" to a first jhana state.
I see it just as the Buddha had described, in a literal and physical sense. Regarding your second question, why such a being would Not want to return to the jhanas? There're countless benefits to keep practicing them: peaceful abiding in the presence (I did mention He's still subjected to physical discomfort like back pain), setting good examples for the students, peaceful atmosphere for the environment and beings around Him, etc..

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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by FallAway » Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:56 pm

I'll refer to the heavenly abodes now as the Brahmaviharas - the highest abodes of mind and body, of being. It's these very abodes that Buddha exhorts his students to attain to:

The Basic Passage on the Four Sublime States from the Discourses of the Buddha

I. Here, monks, a disciple dwells pervading one direction with his heart filled with loving-kindness, likewise the second, the third, and the fourth direction; so above, below and around; he dwells pervading the entire world everywhere and equally with his heart filled with loving-kindness, abundant, grown great, measureless, free from enmity and free from distress.

II. Here, monks, a disciple dwells pervading one direction with his heart filled with compassion, likewise the second, the third and the fourth direction; so above, below and around; he dwells pervading the entire world everywhere and equally with his heart filled with compassion, abundant, grown great, measureless, free from enmity and free from distress.

III. Here, monks, a disciple dwells pervading one direction with his heart filled with sympathetic joy, likewise the second, the third and the fourth direction; so above, below and around; he dwells pervading the entire world everywhere and equally with his heart filled with sympathetic joy, abundant, grown great, measureless, free from enmity and free from distress.

IV. Here, monks, a disciple dwells pervading one direction with his heart filled with equanimity, likewise the second, the third and the fourth direction; so above, below and around; he dwells pervading the entire world everywhere and equally with his heart filled with equanimity, abundant, grown great, measureless, free from enmity and free from distress.

— Digha Nikaya 13

(Bold mine: link here http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el006.html
Santa100 wrote:The heavenly abodes would be way too low a qualification for his stage. As already mentioned, heavenly abodes, just like any conditioned phenomena, are not free from anicca and dukkha.
Doesn't sound like we're talking about the same place, Santa.

Will return with other thoughts tomorrow.

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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by santa100 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:15 pm

FallAway wrote:Doesn't sound like we're talking about the same place, Santa.
We do talk about the BrahmaViharas here. And you do know that the BrahmaViharas can be used as one of the bases for one to advance into the jhanas, right? That's why I don't understand why you keep asking about why the Buddha "downgrade" or "returning" Himself back to the jhanas.

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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:57 pm

Hi FallAway,
FallAway wrote:Please forgive this post; I am quite sure it is entirely out of place. I've read some of the threads concerning Study Group but I am still unclear about how this works. For example, is there a particular question regarding this Sutta that we are to address, or a focus of some kind?

I'll tag (or try to) mikenz66. Please feel free to move this post to wherever it's most suited, or I can delete it upon response.

:namaste:
Sorry for the late reply. The discussion that has developed in this thread is exactly how I would hope it to work - uncovering details, or differences in the interpretation, of the suttas.

Thank you for your input!

:heart:
Mike

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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by FallAway » Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:56 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi FallAway
Hello Mike. Thank you for responding. Happy to know that I've not upset your intent with these Study Groups. I am a perpetual student and pondering the words of Buddha is challenging and satisfying for me. Thank you for devoting time to this area of the forum. Namaste.
santa100 wrote:We do talk about the BrahmaViharas here. And you do know that the BrahmaViharas can be used as one of the bases for one to advance into the jhanas, right?
Yes I do know that Santa. Cultivating each and all of the brahmaviharas is almost a prerequisite I would think.
santa100 wrote:...I don't understand why you keep asking about why the Buddha "downgrade" or "returning" Himself back to the jhanas.
This indeed, seems to be the question I return to myself.

I began by wondering why the Buddha spoke in the first person about his own accomplishments in each of the jhanas and beyond, rather than use a "monks may..." approach to this subject. So it seemed to me that this sutta is not intended as a training discourse, but is pointing out something else, something that both Buddha and Kapassa would like the bikkhus to understand. Reading the sutta just previous to it - https://suttacentral.net/en/sn16.8 - sheds some light on that. It would appear that the bikkhus are growing arrogant and self-satisfied with themselves.

However, past all that, I began to wonder why the Buddha - fully enlightened - would have need to mention that "to whatever extent [he] wish[ed]..." he could dwell, or enter, or wield the relevant action. Aside from reminding his students just who is Holy around here and who is not, lol, I began to wonder how a fully enlightened being - indeed the very being who defined the jhanas himself through knowledge of experience - could "fit" back into a first jhana. It seemed like a strange place to want to go back to, an impossible place actually given that his powers would have subsumed all the jhanas entirely.

That is, unless he could also separate out all the qualities that individually are treated and healed in the relevant jhana state. Unless he could, for whatever reason, deliberately lower a veil of some level of "ignorance" back into place. His words "having been one, I become many; having been many, I become one" are playing heavily into my musings.

I would like to throw this question out there for any response: What does Buddha mean when he says having become many he becomes one and having been one he becomes many? What has he been "many" of? Lives, yes I know. What is he when he is "one"? What reason would Buddha have to enter into a first jhana state, for example, when he is dwelling permanently in the highest of virhanas possible?

:namaste:
Be a lamp unto yourself.

santa100
Posts: 2688
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by santa100 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:18 pm

FallAway wrote:However, past all that, I began to wonder why the Buddha - fully enlightened - would have need to mention that "to whatever extent [he] wish[ed]..." he could dwell, or enter, or wield the relevant action. Aside from reminding his students just who is Holy around here and who is not, lol, I began to wonder how a fully enlightened being - indeed the very being who defined the jhanas himself through knowledge of experience - could "fit" back into a first jhana. It seemed like a strange place to want to go back to, an impossible place actually given that his powers would have subsumed all the jhanas entirely.

That is, unless he could also separate out all the qualities that individually are treated and healed in the relevant jhana state. Unless he could, for whatever reason, deliberately lower a veil of some level of "ignorance" back into place. His words "having been one, I become many; having been many, I become one" are playing heavily into my musings.

I would like to throw this question out there for any response: What does Buddha mean when he says having become many he becomes one and having been one he becomes many? What has he been "many" of? Lives, yes I know. What is he when he is "one"? What reason would Buddha have to enter into a first jhana state, for example, when he is dwelling permanently in the highest of virhanas possible?
This is exactly why I'm still confused to why you keep asking the question. You say you know everything that I've pointed out and yet, keep going back to the same question again and again. So I'd assume that you'd already knew that the jhanas are not constant states, all of them: the 4 Rupa jhanas, the 4 ARupa attainments, and even including the highest one, the Cessation-of-Feeling-and-Perception attainment. So what I don't understand is that given that you already knew this info., why do you keep asking "why the Buddha "downgrades" Himself back to the 1st jhana"? The body of the Buddha was still made of flesh and bone like all of us. When He's not in the jhanas, it's still subjected to physcial discomfort due to old age and sickness. So, when He experiences back pain, what's wrong with going back to the jhanas to ease this discomfort?

Caodemarte
Posts: 707
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 3:21 pm

Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:22 pm

FallAway wrote:.... Aside from reminding his students just who is Holy around here and who is not, lol, I began to wonder how a fully enlightened being - indeed the very being who defined the jhanas himself through knowledge of experience - could "fit" back into a first jhana. It seemed like a strange place to want to go back to, an impossible place actually given that his powers would have subsumed all the jhanas entirely.....
As I understand this question it is similar to the question: Before death why did the Buddha go to the jhana where no pain is felt and then come back to the realm where pain could be felt to die a physically uncomfortable death? Why is this carefully remembered this way, at least in some accounts? The idea of some kind of holy sacrifice in Christian theological terms seems highly unlikely as a Buddhist religious message.

Perhaps the message here is that the Buddha was not teaching conditioned, temporary, mental or spritual states (except as a training method or expedient means), but rather how to ride the bike without training wheels and pass beyond them as well as ideas of "advancing" or "retreating." To be clear, I am not suggesting a Noumenon/Phenomenon split, or Brahman in Atman, etc. or "turtles all the way down" have a place in Buddhism.

The old Zen koan, "If all things return to the One, what does the One return to?" springs to mind.

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