SN 16.9 Jhānābhiññā Sutta. Jhanas and Direct Knowledges.

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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 1:41 pm

With a significant area of confusion now cleared up satisfactorily for my own understanding, I would like to revisit the matter of Buddha's claim:

"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..."

It would seem this is indeed a puzzling one.
Doodoot wrote: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.
Doodoot, I'd like to ask you for clarification on your meaning of "psychic" in your response. In the Oxford dictionary, this word has two meanings (that are relevant here):

1. Relating to or denoting faculties or phenomena that are apparently inexplicable by natural laws, especially involving telepathy or clairvoyance.

2. Relating to the soul or mind.

Buddha has himself described this as spiritual power, which I would consider falling under the second definition. If you mean the first definition, can you please explain why you think this power is not spiritual and is, rather, psychic?

:namaste:
Be a lamp unto yourself.

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

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:54 pm

FallAway wrote:....

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 hope you don't mean "divine" literally and remember what you say about the nature of Buddha is also true of your nature.

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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 2:30 pm

Caodemarte wrote:I hope you don't mean "divine" literally and remember what you say about the nature of Buddha is also true of your nature.
Thanks Caodemarte, for your concern. I use the phrase "fully human/fully divine" only as a theological "handle" on my understanding of the nature of Christ, Buddha, you, me, and all living beings.

:namaste:
Be a lamp unto yourself.

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

Post by santa100 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:58 pm

FallAway wrote:With a significant area of confusion now cleared up satisfactorily for my own understanding, I would like to revisit the matter of Buddha's claim:

"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..."

It would seem this is indeed a puzzling one.
Indeed it seems puzzling to us worldlings because it's in a dimension we're yet able to penetrate thru. See the flat-landers analogy in a similar thread here. For more info. on the supernormal powers, please see Ven. Nyanatiloka's Dictionary.

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

Post by DooDoot » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:46 pm

FallAway wrote:1. Relating to or denoting faculties or phenomena that are apparently inexplicable by natural laws, especially involving telepathy or clairvoyance.
Yes. I say spiritual power is a poor translation. I am referring to psychic power, as follows:
The Miracle of Psychic Power
And what is the miracle of psychic power? There is the case where a monk wields manifold psychic powers. Having been one he becomes many; having been many he becomes one. He appears. He vanishes. He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space. He dives in and out of the earth as if it were water. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land. Sitting cross-legged he flies through the air like a winged bird. With his hand he touches and strokes even the sun and moon, so mighty and powerful. He exercises influence with his body even as far as the Brahma worlds.

The Miracle of Telepathy
And what is the miracle of telepathy? There is the case where a monk reads the minds, the mental events, the thoughts, the ponderings of other beings, other individuals, [saying,] 'Such is your thinking, here is where your thinking is, thus is your mind.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Many suttas also refer to the Buddha having the Eye of God or Divine Eye (dibbena cakkhunā), as follows:
When my concentrated mind was thus purified, bright, unblemished, rid of imperfection, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, I directed it to knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings. With the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, I saw beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate. I understood how beings pass on according to their actions. https://suttacentral.net/en/mn4
The miraculous powers are mentioned throughout the scriptures & may provide some indication of the powers of Jesus mentioned in the Gospels and the miraculous events in the Book of Acts. However, in Buddhism, this miracle psychic powers are 'worldly' rather than saintly. For example, Satan (Mara) and the Buddha's enemy Devadatta also had these powers. Many modern & current Buddhist monks & nuns (Ajahn Mun, Ajahn Chah, Lama Thubten Yeshe, Dipa Ma, etc) were reputed to have these powers based on experiences of their students. Some Christians have these powers. They are mental dispositions and can manifest if the minds of people with these dispositions becomes more pure. Often it is difficult to believe these psychic powers exist unless you meet someone who demonstrates them. In Buddhism, it is a transgression or sin for monks to demonstrate them to lay people therefore, imo, it is wrong for monks to tell laypeople about monks who have them. But, today, many monks do not follow the rules. Therefore, according to the scriptures, the Buddha could know a person's thoughts (such as in MN 62, when he knew his son's mind, even though his son was walking behind the Buddha) and could transmit thought messages to others. The Dhammapada says:
175. Men pass through the air by psychic powers; but the wise are led away from the world after vanquishing Mara and his host.

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

Post by FallAway » Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:02 pm

santa100 wrote:Indeed it seems puzzling to us worldlings because it's in a dimension we're yet able to penetrate thru.
Yes, Santa, I believe I'll just have to leave it at that.

I thank DooDoot for this link:
In it I found further indication of the arahant powers of Jesus, which has been a delightful side dish for me to this discussion. I think I will begin to look into some of the earliest English translations of the Canon. These later ones have compelling parallels to what Jesus spoke and taught. I'm not prepared here to go into comparisons of the words of Buddha and those of Jesus (there are other threads for that) but an example is when Buddha said that when one sees the Dhamma one sees Buddha. Jesus said that when one sees the Father, one sees Him. I'm wondering why such clear parallels haven't been picked up in a serious way by students of Christianity, and will be very interested to see how earlier English translations handled such phrases.

I thank everyone for their valuable input into my study of this sutta.

:namaste:
Be a lamp unto yourself.

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

Post by DooDoot » Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:18 pm

FallAway wrote: I thank DooDoot for this link:
In it I found further indication of the arahant powers of Jesus, which has been a delightful side dish for me to this discussion.

I am sorry to correct you here but, as I posted before, these powers do not necessarily indicate an arahant. The suttas describe the Buddha developing these powers before he was an arahant. As I posted, even Satan has these powers, which is why Satan (the Adversary; Enemy; Mara) can perform the acts of Satan; such as tempt Jesus in the desert.

Also, the link DN 11 is further evidence Jesus was not an arahant in terms of Buddha's discipline (Vinaya) because in DN 11 the Buddha condemned performing miracles for the purpose of generating faith in laypeople. That Jesus performed miracles to laypeople is another difference between Jesus & Buddha.
FallAway wrote:an example is when Buddha said that when one sees the Dhamma one sees Buddha. Jesus said that when one sees the Father, one sees Him. I'm wondering why such clear parallels haven't been picked up in a serious way by students of Christianity, and will be very interested to see how earlier English translations handled such phrases.
Such clear parallels haven't been picked up in a serious way by students of Christianity because students of Christianity generally do not study Buddhism. However, many Western scholars, learned Asian Buddhist monks and Western Buddhists have picked up these parallels, which are quite obvious. The more I studied Buddhism, the more I came to think Biblical Christianity is closer to Buddhism, in terms of its practical teachings, than to Judaism. I think the purported link to Judaism asserted by Jesus is weak & dubious, which is why Jews have rejected Jesus for 2000 years. The Christians said: "God is love", which is obviously quite different to the concept of god found in the Old Testament but is similar to the teaching of Buddha taught to the (Hindu) Brahmans about the way/path to Brahma (god) at this link:
And he lets his mind pervade one quarter of the world with thoughts of Love, and so the second, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around, and everywhere, does he continue to pervade with heart of Love, far-reaching, grown great, and beyond measure.

Just, Vāseṭṭha, as a mighty trumpeter makes himself heard—and that without difficulty—in all the four directions; even so of all things that have shape or life, there is not one that he passes by or leaves aside, but regards them all with mind set free and deep-felt love.

Verily this, Vāseṭṭha, is the way to a state of union with Brahmā.

https://suttacentral.net/en/dn13
When Jesus said: "I am the way to the Father", he was essentially saying the same as Buddha, who taught to the Brahmans: "Love is the way to Brahma" (because one of the meanings of Brahma is "Father"; just as Abram or Abraham means 'father'). All the best with your studies.

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

Post by ToVincent » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:13 am

DooDoot wrote: ... these powers do not necessarily indicate an arahant. The suttas describe the Buddha developing these powers before he was an arahant. As I posted, even Satan has these powers...
Absolutely right!

As Colette Caillat put it, in relation to knowledges in Jainism:
Knowledge is an essential attribute of the soul (jiva). It accrues according to the norms of valid knowledge (pramana):

- The mediate knowledge (paroksa), rests on the indirect perception through the sensory organs. It is of two kinds and it presents two degrees:
. representative knowledge (mati), which is related with personal experience;
. traditional knowledge, which is acquired ex auditu thanks to the teachings of the Jina with the help of sacred texts.
The second furnishes to the first the corroboration of testimony, and these two degrees of knowledge are indissolubly associated.

- The immediate knowledge (pratyaksa) permits the direct perception. It comprises three degrees:
. the avadhi-jnana, which permits to apprehend directly the material objects and which is sometimes innate (thus among the celestial beings and the infernal beings), sometimes acquired (thus among the human beings);
. the manahparyaya-jnana which reaches the mental modes, that is to say, other people’s thoughts.

. the third and the highest degree embraces all other forms of knowledge: it is the kevala-jnana, or omniscience, which alone is absolute and perfect.
Patanlali, in his aphorism on Yoga (the bible of Raja Yoga), says that they (avadhi-jnana & manahparyaya-jnana), are unnecessary fetters.
Buddha says the same - unnecessary and optional. And that he loathes them, knowing how some beings can use them (see the price for using these "magic tricks" harmfully, in SN 11.23).
Christ tells his disciples that he has to perform miracles, in order to have them listen to him. But that the truth is elswere; and that he does not like to do such debased things.
Etc., etc.

Therefore, knowing the mind of others; or playing kasina with matter, is not a necessity to reach the kevala-jnana (higher jhana).
Far from it.

There is way too much emphasize in modern "buddhism" on these powers. And echt Buddhism is turning into plebeian voodoo.
Any demons, or lower gods, or "initiated" human (heading for the lower realms, in case of their overwhelming raga and/or dosa and/or moha,) are able to perform these lowlife tricks.
As a human, only direct knowledge by oneself, (starting with right view,) is valuable - and one should not be attached to these powers; if ever one chooses to "turn one's mind" towards them ("when there is an opening").

Hint:
Now one can always send back to the sender.
"This is not mine, this is not me, this is not my atta - this is all yours - all yours!" - rightfully & mindfully.
The Noble & ignoble way:
https://suttacentral.net/en/dn28/155-169

And no; that does not mean that one should be non-judgmental - as in being amoral.
It just means that one should leave in the external, (viz. being mindful - SN 35.245), the disgusting and the non-disgusting. Ultimately, indifferent to both, in equanimity, mindful and clearly aware.
Here the "judgment," as an act of determination, is the assessment that neither one is proper; as far as freeing the citta is concerned.
In other words, letting them in, by considering them "ours"; and having the indriyas descend in the ayatanas, is just defiling the citta.
First comes knowledge of the settled rule of the Dhamma (viz. paññavimutti - liberation by discernment); afterwards knowledge of Nibbāna.
Pubbe kho, susima, dhammaṭṭhitiñāṇaṃ, pacchā nibbāne ñāṇan'ti.
---
.... going forth as a thief of the Dhamma in such a well-expounded Dhamma and Discipline as this has results that are far more painful, far more bitter, and further, it leads to the nether world.
Yā evaṃ svākkhāte dhammavinaye dhammatthenakassa pabbajjā, ayaṃ tato dukkhavipākatarā ca kaṭukavipākatarā ca, api ca vinipātāya saṃvattati.
SN 12.70
Silence & secrecy are the prerogatives of the deluded.
In this world with its ..., Māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------
We are all possessed - more or less.
------
And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
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https://justpaste.it/j5o4

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

Post by Coëmgenu » Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:01 pm

Doodoot wrote:
FallAway wrote:"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..."

It would seem this is indeed a puzzling one.
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,[...]
It sounds like bilocation to me.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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

Post by ToVincent » Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:27 pm

Doodoot wrote: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,[...]
Again, Jainism might help understand what is said in Buddhism (for the most part).
Colette Caillat wrote:There are five varieties of bodies (ka), each one with its proper function.
All corporal organisms possess at least two of them, four at the most. These are from the least to the most subtle:

(1) the physical body(of flesh, of bone, etc), such as that of men and animals;

(2) the body of transformation (vaikriyika), which transforms itself at the will of its possessor, and of which the celestial and infernal beings are naturally endowed;

(3) the body of transference (anarika), inconsistent with the preceding, which permits the soul to know and to operate away from the place where the physical body is, and which is proper to man in particular cases:

(4) the ardent body (Taijasa) which, formed of igneous particles permits the digestive functions and condenses a great quantity of energy and strength;

(5) the karmic body, formed of the karman which is contained in the soul.

The last two are found in all the beings.
Note: the Jain's jiva, is somewhat the Buddhist's citta.
In this world with its ..., Māras, ... in this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------
We are all possessed - more or less.
------
And what, bhikkhu, is inward rottenness? Here someone is immoral, one of evil character, of impure and suspect behaviour, secretive in his acts, no ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. This is called inward rottenness.”
SN 35.241
------
https://justpaste.it/j5o4

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