SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

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

Post by Ruud » Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:29 pm

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?
I indeed think this is the assumption that causes trouble. As Santa mentioned before, the Buddha did have a body (form aggregate) that could feel pleasant and unpleasant (like pain,disease, growing old etc.) sensation (feeling aggregate). He also could recognize things (perception aggregate) and have a will to do one thing or the other (volitional formations). In my understanding the Buddha was not constantly 'blissed out' or abiding in one of the Brahmaviharas. He could (as this sutta also states), if he wished to do so, abide in any of these states. But I assume that there were circumstances in which he didn't wish to do so, for example to be able to teach his disciples. Would that mean that the Buddha would not constantly be acting in a loving, compassionate, joyous way? No, I believe it is exactly the Buddha's compassion of seeing "I reached this state, they can too (either now or in the future), let me try and help them to do so." The Buddha's constant mindfulness will assure all necessary loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity, without having to develop it to the jhanas.

I think that the use of "I" is just a matter of convention (as was said in DN9, referenced above). The Buddha could go around and say "Bhikkhus, to whatever extent this collection of five aggregates not bound by clinging you call the Buddha would wish, ..." but I think this would look rather pretentious, and would likely scare people of instead of attract people. As long as people understand it is a convention, I don't think there is a problem.

As to the meaning/significance of the sutta, besides giving a nice summary/exposition of these states, I think the mention of I (as the Buddha himself, in the role of the teacher) and Kassapa (an accomplished disciple) can be meaningful. First the Buddha explains that he can do this as he wishes. But, in case the bhikkhus believe he is unique in being able to reach that (which would be the reason for him being the teacher), he presents a disciple from amongst them that he taught who can do the same. In other words, so can his audience (if they would wish to do so).
Bhikkhus, this spiritual life is not lived for the sake of deceiving people and cajoling them; nor for the benefit of gain, honor, and praise; nor for the benefit of winning in debates; nor with the thought: ‘Let the people know me thus.’ But rather, this spiritual life is lived for the sake of restraint, abandoning, dispassion and cessation. —AN 4.25

Whatever is will be was. —Ven. Ñānamoli, A Thinkers Notebook, §221

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

Post by FallAway » Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:47 pm

santa100 wrote: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?
Thank you Santa for your continued patience.

For you, and for me, the jhanas are not constant states, but for Buddha who's powers include "mastery with the body as far as the brahma world" back pain would not necessitate journeying into a jhana state. Nor would any physical discomfort including old age, illness and death itself. He himself said (at the conclusion of the sutta under study) “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." I further recollect that he said of the brahmavirahnas that a heart that dwells in these abodes dwells in each one equally "measureless, free from enmity and free from distress." So, both his heart and his mind are liberated from any suffering. Pain is only a belief-choice the mind makes, in reality is it just feeling.
Caodemarte wrote: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?
Thank you Caodemarte for your reply. This, I think, is getting much closer to the mark. Thank you. That he can enter any jhana at will he says himself. He has the volition to do so. No arguments there from me. I will now try to make a more subtle point...given that Nibbana is a changeless state, entered into only with much purification and transcendence of all the aggregates, how can the aggregates "change back" into previous levels of non-purification in order to be able to feel any of the healing effects of a jhana state? Or even "feel" an entry at all? Are the aggregates purified in a permanent way or not? Would not a permanent state of Nibbana also include a permanent state of the aggregates?

I would most appreciate direction to the accounts of the Buddha's death you have mentioned. I also will look. I think Buddha died as a great teacher would, showing by example the masterful way an as yet unenlightened disciple could face and enter death. But my underlying question to that is: Would he have to "disassemble" or somehow separate out the individual constituents of a transcended whole, one that is unchangeable, permanent and eternal? Is that a power too? one of the many that became one and one that becomes many? This would be power beyond our comprehension if it is so. By analogy, can he make the baked cake turn back into eggs, flour, and milk?
Ruud wrote:In my understanding the Buddha was not constantly 'blissed out' or abiding in one of the Brahmaviharas. He could (as this sutta also states), if he wished to do so, abide in any of these states. But I assume that there were circumstances in which he didn't wish to do so, for example to be able to teach his disciples.
Thank you Ruud for your response. This is part of the above questioning I am doing. I feel confident that Buddha could "adapt" himself to any situation whosever, but how did he do this if he himself was basically a transcendent being?

I think I've narrowed my question/thought to this now: are the aggregates, once purified, considered "transcendent"? In the state of Nibbana are these aggregates as permanent as the state itself? Once purified, as in the way the Buddha attained to, can they become "soiled" for whatever purpose?

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses.

:namaste:
Be a lamp unto yourself.

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

Post by Garrib » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:30 pm

The aggregates are just the aggregates - the Buddha was said to be quite awe inspiring in terms of his aggregates (body/mind complex) because his virtue/kamma was so extraordinarily good. However, he went beyond kamma when he attained enlightenment - his supernormal powers gave him more power over the aggregates and things of the mundane world, however, the realization of NIbbana (and the teaching of Dhamma that leads to Nibbana) goes beyond any of that. This is my understanding.

There is a sutta which tells the story of the monk Vakkali on his deathbed. He wanted to see the Buddha (in person), and the Buddha says:

"Enough, Vakkali! Why do you want to see this foul body? One who sees the Dhamma sees me; one who sees me sees the Dhamma. For in seeing the Dhamma, Vakkali, one sees me; and in seeing me, one sees the Dhamma."

So, my interpretation is that we should understand that while it may be true from a wordly perspective that the Buddha's aggregates were "purified", ultimately they never became permanent, stable, or capable of providing lasting happiness. They never were a self or belonging to a self, and did not become so after his awakening.

santa100
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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by santa100 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:38 pm

FallAway wrote:For you, and for me, the jhanas are not constant states, but for Buddha who's powers include "mastery with the body as far as the brahma world" back pain would not necessitate journeying into a jhana state. Nor would any physical discomfort including old age, illness and death itself. He himself said (at the conclusion of the sutta under study) “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." I further recollect that he said of the brahmavirahnas that a heart that dwells in these abodes dwells in each one equally "measureless, free from enmity and free from distress." So, both his heart and his mind are liberated from any suffering. Pain is only a belief-choice the mind makes, in reality is it just feeling.
Ah, this must be the source of your confusion. No, the "mastery with the body as far as the brahma world" did not turn the Buddha's body into diamond so that it'd be impervious to all physical discomfort. In MN 53, due to back pain, the Buddha had to take a rest and had Ananda play the substitute teacher for Him:
Then the Blessed One — having spent most of the night instructing, urging, rousing, & encouraging the Kapilavatthu Sakyans with a Dhamma talk — said to Ven. Ananda, "Ananda, speak to the Kapilavatthu Sakyans about the person who follows the practice for one in training. [2] My back aches. I will rest it."
I suspect you came from a Mahayana background or at least your first exposure to Buddhism was thru a Mahayana lense, correct? There's a common misconception among Mahayanist circle about the "transcendent" idea about the Buddha. That all His physical ailments were just "skillful means" to demonstrate lessons in impermanence and dukkha to His students while He Himself already had a body of diamond which is impervious to all pains. This is clearly a wrong view that has absolutely no basis in neither the Pali Nikayas nor the Mahayana Agamas.
Last edited by santa100 on Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by FallAway » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:33 pm

santa100 wrote:I suspect you came from a Mahayana background or at least your first exposure to Buddhism was thru a Mahayana lense, correct? There's a common misconception among Mahayanist circle about the "transcendent" idea about the Buddha. That all His physical ailments were just "skillful means" to demonstrate lessons in impermanence and dukkha to His students while He Himself already had a body of diamond which is impervious to all pains. This is clearly a wrong view that has absolutely no basis in neither the Pali Nikayas nor the Mahayana Agamas.
Hello Santa. No, I don't have any background whatsoever in Mahayana Buddhism. I barely know of it. I don't know what the "diamond" references you have made in this thread mean either. I didn't ask because my focus was on a different area. I came to Buddhism through the Theravadin door. My earliest teachers (on you-tube) were Ajahns Jayasaro and Sucitto. From their wisdom came a great desire to walk the Theravadin path of Buddhism. Namaste to their great understanding of Buddha's teachings and their gift of teaching.

My background is Christian. I am considered heretical because I believe that Christ is an awakened being, just as Buddha is. They share similar powers and gifts of wisdom. For me the compassion of Christ and the wisdom of Buddha are the two wings of the bird I am seeking to find.

Buddhism's fifth precept is what is keeping me on this path. Christianity as a religion is far from ready to extend compassion to non-human beings, in fact many arguments can be made for their exploitation and misuse within the sacred text. Once I found that this path counted all living beings as valuable I committed to it. Theravadin-style. The Buddha's great wisdom has fueled my ardour for this path as well and I look to the earliest of the teachings for the greatest wisdoms.

I want to say that I hope my thoughts in this study are not keeping any others from posting unrelated thoughts and observations. Please "derail" if you desire. I will return to the focus of the thread later today or tomorrow. My son is arriving shortly for a few days' visit. I am very appreciative of having found this site, of having found a Sangha. Namaste to all.

:namaste:
Be a lamp unto yourself.

santa100
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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by santa100 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:48 pm

FallAway wrote:I want to say that I hope my thoughts in this study are not keeping any others from posting unrelated thoughts and observations. Please "derail" if you desire. I will return to the focus of the thread later today or tomorrow. My son is arriving shortly for a few days' visit. I am very appreciative of having found this site, of having found a Sangha. Namaste to all.
Glad you enjoy DW's discussion. I came from a martial art background and strongly believe that one can only make progress after much tear, sweat, and even blood have been shed on the training mat. Playing nice, mincing words will not get one anywhere. Only information and rigorous debate will do. Do not hesitate to post any question here on DW. THere's always good intention to help from knowledgeable members here.

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

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:52 pm

santa100 wrote:...
I suspect you came from a Mahayana background or at least your first exposure to Buddhism was thru a Mahayana lense, correct? There's a common misconception among Mahayanist circle about the "transcendent" idea about the Buddha. That all His physical ailments were just "skillful means" to demonstrate lessons in impermanence and dukkha to His students while He Himself already had a body of diamond which is impervious to all pains. This is clearly a wrong view that has absolutely no basis in neither the Pali Nikayas nor the Mahayana Agamas.
What are these "Mahayanist circles" that do not, by your account, understand Mahayana texts? If this is a reference to the technical Tibetan Tantric term "diamond body," it does not sound like a correct usage.
Last edited by Caodemarte on Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:14 pm

FallAway wrote:...
Thank you Caodemarte for your reply. This, I think, is getting much closer to the mark. Thank you. That he can enter any jhana at will he says himself. He has the volition to do so. No arguments there from me. I will now try to make a more subtle point...given that Nibbana is a changeless state, entered into only with much purification and transcendence of all the aggregates, how can the aggregates "change back" into previous levels of non-purification in order to be able to feel any of the healing effects of a jhana state? Or even "feel" an entry at all? Are the aggregates purified in a permanent way or not? Would not a permanent state of Nibbana also include a permanent state of the aggregates?.... I feel confident that Buddha could "adapt" himself to any situation whosever, but how did he do this if he himself was basically a transcendent being? ....I think I've narrowed my question/thought to this now: are the aggregates, once purified, considered "transcendent"? In the state of Nibbana are these aggregates as permanent as the state itself? Once purified, as in the way the Buddha attained to, can they become "soiled" for whatever purpose?...
As I understand it: In both Theravada and the Mahayana jhanas, unlike Nibbana/Nirvana, are conditioned, caused, temporary states that you can "get into" and "fall out of, " conventionally speaking.

From a Madhyamaka (one of the foundational schools of the Mahayana) viewpoint, neither you, the aggregates, or the Buddha are transcendent nor immanent. Neither are they pure or defiled, become pure or defiled, or remain pure or defiled, if understood correctly. In both Theravada and Mahayana, Nibbana/Nirvana is not conditioned, hence it not changeless, permanent, impermanent,variable,temporary, limited, unlimited, etc. if you must speak it is better to say that it is both transcendent and immanent or neither (as God is in certain Christian theologies). In the Mahayana samsara is not diffent from nirvana (per Nagarjuna) so you too are the same. In Theravada and Mahayana Nibbana/Nirvana is not a place where you park your car or travel to, but rather wake up to in a change of perspective so there is no real "change in the aggregates."

santa100
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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by santa100 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:54 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
santa100 wrote:...
I suspect you came from a Mahayana background or at least your first exposure to Buddhism was thru a Mahayana lense, correct? There's a common misconception among Mahayanist circle about the "transcendent" idea about the Buddha. That all His physical ailments were just "skillful means" to demonstrate lessons in impermanence and dukkha to His students while He Himself already had a body of diamond which is impervious to all pains. This is clearly a wrong view that has absolutely no basis in neither the Pali Nikayas nor the Mahayana Agamas.
What are these "Mahayanist circles" that do not, by your account, understand Mahayana texts? If this is a reference to the technical Tibetan Tantric term "diamond body," it does not sound like a correct usage.
Simply type "Dharmawheel.net" and you should be able to see plenty of examples.
Caodemarte wrote:In the Mahayana samsara is not diffent from nirvana (per Nagarjuna) so you too are the same.
Sounds like eel-wriggling to me. Definitely no support from the Pali Nikayas nor Mahayana Agamas.

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

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:36 pm

santa100 wrote:
Caodemarte wrote:
santa100 wrote:...
I suspect you came from a Mahayana background or at least your first exposure to Buddhism was thru a Mahayana lense, correct? There's a common misconception among Mahayanist circle about the "transcendent" idea about the Buddha. That all His physical ailments were just "skillful means" to demonstrate lessons in impermanence and dukkha to His students while He Himself already had a body of diamond which is impervious to all pains. This is clearly a wrong view that has absolutely no basis in neither the Pali Nikayas nor the Mahayana Agamas.
What are these "Mahayanist circles" that do not, by your account, understand Mahayana texts? If this is a reference to the technical Tibetan Tantric term "diamond body," it does not sound like a correct usage.
Simply type "Dharmawheel.net" and you should be able to see plenty of examples.
Caodemarte wrote:In the Mahayana samsara is not diffent from nirvana (per Nagarjuna) so you too are the same.
Sounds like eel-wriggling to me. Definitely no support from the Pali Nikayas nor Mahayana Agamas.
If Internet posters are your "Mahayanist circles" you will find it as difficult as they do to distinguish fact from fantasy or eel wriggling from the Mahayana. :tongue: Please look at the works of the late David Kalupahana for his claim that Nagarjuna thought is pure Theravada Buddhism or if that is too extreme for you, any respectable book on Nagarajuna, even though it may not accept his interpretations, will establish quite the opposite of your claim.

santa100
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Re: SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

Post by santa100 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:44 am

Caodemarte wrote:If Internet posters are your "Mahayanist circles" you will find it as difficult as they do to distinguish fact from fantasy or eel wriggling from the Mahayana. :tongue: Please look at the works of the late David Kalupahana for his claim that Nagarjuna thought is pure Theravada Buddhism or if that is too extreme for you, any respectable book on Nagarajuna, even though it may not accept his interpretations, will establish quite the opposite of your claim.
Sorry, Kluphana, or even Nagarjuna would need to provide sources from either the Nikayas or the Agamas. If not, then it's eel-wriggling, period. You've been posting 627 posts so far and you should know that.

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

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:16 am

Double posting.
Last edited by Caodemarte on Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:16 am

santa100 wrote:
Caodemarte wrote:If Internet posters are your "Mahayanist circles" you will find it as difficult as they do to distinguish fact from fantasy or eel wriggling from the Mahayana. :tongue: Please look at the works of the late David Kalupahana for his claim that Nagarjuna thought is pure Theravada Buddhism or if that is too extreme for you, any respectable book on Nagarjuna, even though it may not accept his interpretations, will establish quite the opposite of your claim.
Sorry, Kluphana, or even Nagarjuna would need to provide sources from either the Nikayas or the Agamas. If not, then it's eel-wriggling, period. You've been posting 627 posts so far and you should know that.
I am not trying to give you a hard time, but I am genuinely interested in this subject. The famous and deceased Dr. Kalupahana (I don't know if "Kluphana" is a typo or insult) was a bit of a Theravada triumphalist, but he knew Theravada and the Pali canon extremely well. I would encourage you to read him if you are interested in why a respected Theravada Buddhist would claim that Nagarjuna thought is Theravada thought (highly controversial, but he does show genuine commonalites and roots). The even more ancient Nagarjuna's knowledge of Buddhism (if not his knowledge of the Pali canon which came into written form well after his time) has never been questioned, but I suppose there is always a first time as there is for eel wriggling. By the way, I should definitely know a lot more, which is why I partcipate here.
Last edited by Caodemarte on Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:45 am, edited 3 times in total.

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

Post by DooDoot » Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:33 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?
As suggested by others, this is merely conventional language. Buddha was comparing his development with that of the arahant Kassapa. It would be clumsy if Buddha said: "This five aggregates can at will enter jhana and that five aggregates over there can enter jhana.
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.

This is incorrect. The four brahmavihara are not the destruction of the taints. Nibbana is the destruction of the taints. MN 43 states of the liberations, which include brahma vihara, the destruction of the taints/emptiness is the foremost & brahmavihara is inferior.
Do these abodes transcend themselves to become some kind of namarupa?
Are you inferring a reincarnation here? This question is difficult to understand.
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.
The destruction of the taints occurs due to vipassana (insight). Here, jhana provides support.
Given that Buddha dwelled in the heavenly abodes (assuming that is the taint-less state)
The heavenly abodes are not the taintless state. Nibbana is the taintless state. However, when a Buddha enters jhana (due to the calming of the body), it is taintless because the Buddha is already taintless. But for a student, such as a once-returner or non-returner, jhana is not yet taintless.
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?
Each jhana is a heavenly abode (refer to MN 1). Whatever purity there is, each of the aggregates remains & is purified.
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...
This is a bonus psychic power and not a requirement for liberation (refer to SN 12.70). While I do not know what it means, I would guess it is merely an ability to create with the mind a mental projection or image, including to another person, such as when Jesus did the transformation to his disciples on the mountain. In other words, I doubt it is anything physical. Just brainwashing others with psychic powers.
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.
Walking, speaking (refer to SN 36.11), eating, etc, is not possible in the 1st jhana. For example, if a Buddha walks up a mountain, the vigor of the breathing required to walk up a mountain prevents the 1st jhana. Then when he reaches the mountain destination and calms the body, the mind will enter the 1st jhana before progressing to the 4th jhana for meditation.
I'll refer to the heavenly abodes now as the Brahmaviharas - the highest abodes of mind and body
This view is incorrect. Nibbana is the highest thing.
I am a perpetual student
It doesn't sound like this, to me. To me, it sounds like you have very fixed & rigid views about the brahma vihara.
Cultivating each and all of the brahmaviharas is almost a prerequisite I would think.
Brahmavihara is a social attitude. Therefore, both before & after enlightenment, the practitioner develops brahma vihara as social attitudes (rather than explicitly means of liberation).
I began by wondering why the Buddha spoke in the first person about his own accomplishments in each of the jhanas and beyond
i would suggest his purpose here was to bring attention to Kassapa as equal to him. The purpose was to praise Kassapa, which would include as a teacher to the other monks.
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.
Many suttas use personal pronouns where not expected, such as the Anapanasati Sutta, which repeatedly states: "I breathe in; I breathe out". This is how many suttas are written. Possibly something goes missing here in the translation because in English there is one word for "I".
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?
As I suggested, this is a psychic power. What it means I do not know. But it is a mental power; power of the mind (rather than the body).
given that Nibbana is a changeless state, entered into only with much purification and transcendence of all the aggregates, how can the aggregates "change back" into previous levels of non-purification in order to be able to feel any of the healing effects of a jhana state? Or even "feel" an entry at all? Are the aggregates purified in a permanent way or not? Would not a permanent state of Nibbana also include a permanent state of the aggregates?
Nibbana is the end of craving; end of greed, hatred & delusion. Therefore, all of the aggregates continually change in Nibbana. But the purity of mind does not change. As for jhana, as I mentioned, these are called "rupa jhana" & are states related to the relaxation of the physical body. For a Buddha, they are not related to purity from craving because a Buddha has already destroyed craving so it can never arise again.

I would suggest to learn the basics, particularly what Nibbana is, which is simply non-attachment towards the changing aggregates.

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

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:41 am

DooDoot wrote:.....
The power of "having been one, I become many; having been many, I become one"...]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?
As I suggested, this is a psychic power. What it means I do not know. But it is a mental power; power of the mind (rather than the body)....
Would "becoming one, etc." be used to indicate a psychic power in your view (like an iddhi) or simply moving in and out of a state of oneness, a complete samadhi or perhaps a complete jhanic state, and back again?
Last edited by Caodemarte on Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by DooDoot » Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:50 am

FallAway wrote:My background is Christian. I am considered heretical because I believe that Christ is an awakened being, just as Buddha is. They share similar powers and gifts of wisdom. For me the compassion of Christ and the wisdom of Buddha are the two wings of the bird I am seeking to find.
The Buddha taught all beings are not able to penetrate his final realisation or teachings. Therefore, Buddha also taught lesser paths, such as brahma vihara to Brahmans who believe in Brahma, The Creator & Father of the All (refer to DN 13). Jesus may have been awakened, although we cannot know based on his teachings, because Jesus taught a lesser path than Buddha. If a teacher wants to help more people, he/she must teach a lesser path. Even Jesus said his teaching was for the "few", when he taught the "narrow gate". But later, Christianity taught for the many rather than for the few. One matter giving rise to the view of lack of authenticity of the Gospels is the mix between salvation for the few and salvation of the many.
Buddhism's fifth precept is what is keeping me on this path. Christianity as a religion is far from ready to extend compassion to non-human beings, in fact many arguments can be made for their exploitation and misuse within the sacred text. Once I found that this path counted all living beings as valuable I committed to it. Theravadin-style. The Buddha's great wisdom has fueled my ardour for this path as well and I look to the earliest of the teachings for the greatest wisdoms.
Yes. Buddha was a more comprehensive teacher than Jesus, probably due to factors such as the location of teaching (violent Roman Empire Judah vs tolerant India), readiness of disciples and length of teaching career. Many of us have exposure to Christianity but the more we learned about the Buddha, the more we realised it is the Buddha who is the Light of The World (rather than merely the light of Asia).
I want to say that I hope my thoughts in this study are not keeping any others from posting unrelated thoughts and observations. Please "derail" if you desire. I will return to the focus of the thread later today or tomorrow. My son is arriving shortly for a few days' visit. I am very appreciative of having found this site, of having found a Sangha. Namaste to all.
No problem. Buddhism is very technical but logical if it can be discerned clearly.

Heaven in Buddhism is a conditioned impermanent state. Buddhism teaches good karma (without the realisation of emptiness) can lead to heaven. Heaven is not Nibbana. A Buddha can dwell in both heaven (love & bliss) and Nirvana (empty of greed, hatred, delusion & self).

All the best

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

Post by DooDoot » Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:05 am

Caodemarte wrote:.....
Would "becoming one, etc." be used to indicate a psychic power in your view or simply moving in and out of a state of oneness, a complete samadhi or perhaps a complete jhanic state, and back again?
Thanks. I don't know. But in the context, I doubt it is related to jhana because jhana does not necessarily bring psychic power (because many arahant disciples did not have psychic powers). In this sutta, the Buddha is pointing out that Kassapa (unlike Sariputta) had psychic powers. This would appear why the Buddha is referring explicitly to himself & Kassapa (rather than all jhana practitioners & arahants).

The sutta states:
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.
All of this genre of the above psychic powers are the same.

For example, they are different to the following psychic powers of clairvoyance:
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.
Therefore, having been one, I become many, I speculate, refers to the mental power of mental projection, such as creating images of oneself in the minds of others. For example, Buddha may create multiple images of himself and telepathically send those images to different people at the same time, similar to Jesus appearing in different places (if that occurred in the gospels) after his resurrection.

These are just telepathic psychic powers; the ability to send thought messages & thought images to others, as reported below:
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha, on Vulture Peak Mountain. And on that occasion Ven. Sona was staying near Rajagaha in the Cool Wood. Then, as Ven. Sona was meditating in seclusion [after doing walking meditation until the skin of his soles was split & bleeding], this train of thought arose in his awareness: "Of the Blessed One's disciples who have aroused their persistence, I am one, but my mind is not released from the fermentations through lack of clinging/sustenance. Now, my family has enough wealth that it would be possible to enjoy wealth & make merit. What if I were to disavow the training, return to the lower life, enjoy wealth, & make merit?"

Then the Blessed One, as soon as he perceived with his awareness the train of thought in Ven. Sona's awareness — as a strong man might stretch out his bent arm or bend his outstretched arm — disappeared from Vulture Peak Mountain, appeared in the Cool Wood right in front of Ven. Sona, and sat down on a prepared seat.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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

Post by DooDoot » Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:25 am

FallAway wrote: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...
Hello again. At least for myself, I worked out the answer to your question. As I wrote above, not all jhana practitioners & arahants (saints) develop psychic powers. Therefore, in this sutta, the Buddha is explicitly advising the community of monks that Kassapa is equal to him in development of psychic powers & other attributes (where as other arahant monks, such as the renowned Sariputta, were not).

Among the Buddha's arahant disciples, different individuals were leaders in different qualities, such as Sariputta the leader in wisdom & Moggallana leader in psyhic powers (refer to this link: https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=28065).

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

Post by FallAway » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:13 pm

Namaste to all for such thought-provoking replies. I read and re-read all the posts last night and again this morning. I think I even may have included some of the words in my dream last night.

In my mind were these words:
Garrib wrote:." ...we should understand that while it may be true from a wordly perspective that the Buddha's aggregates were "purified", ultimately they never became permanent, stable, or capable of providing lasting happiness. They never were a self or belonging to a self, and did not become so after his awakening.
Caodemarte wrote:...In both Theravada and the Mahayana jhanas, unlike Nibbana/Nirvana, are conditioned, caused, temporary states that you can "get into" and "fall out of, " conventionally speaking.
Doodoot wrote:Walking, speaking (refer to SN 36.11), eating, etc, is not possible in the 1st jhana. For example, if a Buddha walks up a mountain, the vigor of the breathing required to walk up a mountain prevents the 1st jhana. Then when he reaches the mountain destination and calms the body, the mind will enter the 1st jhana before progressing to the 4th jhana for meditation.
Lightbulb moment for me (lol, dim wattage at times). I realized that I can best understand this in light of Christian theology, and that understanding Buddha as fully human/fully divine clarified this muddle for me in an instant.

I have understood much of what Christ taught thanks to Buddha. Now I must thank Christ for helping me to understand Buddha. I am now at rest in my mind about this "assembly" and "reassembly" notion that was piquing me. (And others, no doubt, lol)

I thank the posters here for prodding my mind into what I believe is now the right direction. Namaste.

:namaste:
Be a lamp unto yourself.

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

Post by FallAway » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:21 pm

FallAway wrote:Buddhism's fifth precept is what is keeping me on this path. Christianity as a religion is far from ready to extend compassion to non-human beings, in fact many arguments can be made for their exploitation and misuse within the sacred text.
In re-reading the posts I am dismayed to see a mindless error on my part. It is the first precept, not the fifth precept that both drew me to this path and continues to hold me like a magnet.

This corrected, the statement that follows is more coherent. I apologize for any confusion (I must have had too much to drink, lol. Just kidding).

:namaste:
Be a lamp unto yourself.

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