if you witness a crime

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
suaimhneas
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Re: if you witness a crime

Post by suaimhneas » Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:09 pm

frank k wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:26 am
You did not read this did you?
http://lucid24.org/sted/8aam/8samadhi/v ... ndex.html
Because my conclusions are not identical with yours, I must not have read it?
I have actually read most of that at one time or another.

Anyway, I've read it again today and, with it fresh in my mind, I am going to make some high-level comments about its entire content.
On the other points you bring up, you're not going to understand EBT at all if you treat each sutta individually and maximize the fuzziness of each individually. You have to cummulatively apply pieces of data you learn from individual suttas and apply them to others. You're doing that already to have a coherent understanding of EBT in general, but for some reason V&V gets a special exclusion from you.
Well, there's plenty of fuzziness to go around in the EBTs. Things often go wrong when people see more certainly and definitiveness in certain suttas than is probably there. On the basis of those, they form core interpretational premises and then view the rest of the EBTs through that filter or lens (confirmational bias as you said in your link). Perhaps my bias is to be too inclined to see more fuzziness than is always there.

No V&V isn't getting a special exclusion. I think I agree with you on a lot of points (just am not so certain on some aspects of V&V). For you, I think V&V pretty much is ordinary wholesome thoughts. Internal mental chanting of suttas all fits into your V&V too I think.

I simply think the hypothesis that there's a certain amount of refinement for thought in V&V is still perfectly compatible with the suttas (and every piece of evidence you have presented me so far, including your linked audit).

I'll give another non-EBT piece of evidence for this, which is a Vimuttimagga passage I actually gave as a quote to you at one point:
Q. What are the miscellaneous teachings in the field of concentration?

A. Stoppage of sounds; overturning; rising; transcending; access; initial application of thought; feeling; uncertainty. “Stoppage of sounds”: In the first meditation, jhāna, speech is stopped. On entering the fourth meditation, jhāna, the yogin stops breathing.

Gradual stoppage of sounds: When the yogin enters into concentration, he hears sounds, but he is not able to speak because the faculty of hearing and that of speech are not united. To a man who enters form concentration {four jhānas}, sound is disturbing. Hence the Buddha taught: “To a man who enters meditation, jhāna, sound is a thorn”.
There are IMO broadly two explanations for the oft-quoted sutta passage "sound is a thorn to the first jhana": one explanation is sensual seclusion (which I don't think you hold to) and another is an explanation along the lines above. I interpret this as evidence that some of the mental speech apparatus is no longer fully functioning in the first jhana, e.g. coordination between speech and hearing brain mechanisms is breaking down, and sounds, particular verbal sounds, could be jarring to this quiescence (spoken words are painful to hear).

Between AN 8.30, and the how vitakkas/sankappa drop out and are deliberately excluded for first jhana in MN 19 parallel, MN 78, MN 125, it's very clear we're talking about the V&V of the standard first and second jhana formula. At least read that section where I show B. Analayo's fallacies. B. Sujato deliberately avoids talking about those suttas, only seizing on the pali MN 19 for that reason, to maintain a facade of plausible deniability.


Anyway, I await your comment on MN 19, MN 78, MN 125.
I've no issue with those passages. There are obviously transmission errors in there somewhere. Out of the three passages and three parallels (6 passages in total), four tend in one direction. There is fuzziness but that's definitely somewhat more support for the idea that there can be wholesome thoughts of generosity, metta etc. and thoughts of dhamma (of seven enlightenment factors etc.) in first jhana. That's been my favoured position all along. It's just the nature of those thoughts I would quibble about. Can they be literally mental chantings of specific suttas or are we talking about a more conceptual or somewhat more refined level? I'd go more with the later. Those suttas you quote are not incompatible with that idea I think.

Now, onto the rest of your blog audit.

I broadly agree on your MN 128 point. I don't buy that MN 128 necessarily implies that getting into jhana is enormously difficult. I'd tend to think it implies some higher attainment. There was a discussion of this point on suttacentral recently actually, which speculated this sutta refers to the divine eye (that's not a bad theory). There is a fair bit fuzziness there though. By itself, it could conceivably refer to jhana. Personally, I think that's probably not the case.

On your various theories about malign or fraudulent motivations by Bhikkhus Analayo or Sujato, I'm not going to go there. If you want to put stuff like that out there, well, that's your business, though I've no problem arguing the jhana or other points.

On MN 111 and the question of insight in jhana, I'd tend in your direction. As you say, clear comprehension (sampajāno), is a factor in third jhana etc. There's, I think, really only one place where sampajāno is actually defined in the suttas: SN 47.35 (with corroboration at AN8.9):
And how, bhikkhus, does a bhikkhu exercise clear comprehension? Here, bhikkhus, for a bhikkhu feelings are understood as they arise, understood as they remain present, understood as they pass away. Thoughts are understood as they arise, understood as they remain present, understood as they pass away. Perceptions are understood as they arise, understood as they remain present, understood as they pass away. It is in this way, bhikkhus, that a bhikkhu exercises clear comprehension.
That pretty much is like what is happening in MN 111. The coming out of jhana in between to analyze things does seem less likely to me.

On your last section of hearing sounds and speaking (SN 36.11) etc. I'm mostly with you on that too. I found Analayo's argument on imperturbable samadhi unconvincing when I originally read it. Extending sensual exclusion all the way back to first jhana does not seem likely, e.g. surely there's still awareness of the physical process of the breath up until the fourth jhana (given that this messy physical process and its cessation is a defining feature).

Except, of course, my favoured explanation of why "sound is a thorn to the first jhana" is because elements of the verbal mechanism are shutting down and becoming disconnected from hearing (IMO indicating a likely certain refinement in the thought process; though plenty is probably still going on in that regard).

If you don't understand how that eliminates any perceived fuzziness of V&V, then there's no further point in discussing the matter.

There's a certain amount of merit to you wondering exactly how subverbal vitakka really is and how different from ordinary vitakka in first jhana, and even B. Bodhi does, but he even he realized vitakka and vicara needs to be translated as 'thinking and examination' in first jhana, changing it from his earlier following nanamoli's "applied thought and sustained thought" in MN.
Maybe you are right and V&V is just ordinary wholesome thoughts (plus mental sutta chanting and the like). I don't see a lot to rule that out. It's some just small details like the Vimuttimagga passage that make me wonder if some degree of refinement to thought is going on also. IMO that view fits within a not unacceptable range of sutta fuzziness.

Anyway, we've nearly trashed this all out to exhaustion at this point I think! Too much more and we'll probably start going in circles! Agree to disagree on some points?

frank k
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Re: if you witness a crime

Post by frank k » Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:01 pm

suaimhneas wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:09 pm

(Anyway, I await your comment on MN 19, MN 78, MN 125. )


I've no issue with those passages. There are obviously transmission errors in there somewhere. Out of the three passages and three parallels (6 passages in total), four tend in one direction. There is fuzziness but that's definitely somewhat more support for the idea that there can be wholesome thoughts of generosity, metta etc. and thoughts of dhamma (of seven enlightenment factors etc.) in first jhana. That's been my favoured position all along. It's just the nature of those thoughts I would quibble about. Can they be literally mental chantings of specific suttas or are we talking about a more conceptual or somewhat more refined level? I'd go more with the later. Those suttas you quote are not incompatible with that idea I think.

...

On your various theories about malign or fraudulent motivations by Bhikkhus Analayo or Sujato, I'm not going to go there. If you want to put stuff like that out there, well, that's your business, though I've no problem arguing the jhana or other points.
Thanks for your response, I think I understand your positions. The main issue you're driving at though, what exactly the nature of the skillful sankappa/vitakka in first jhana, isn't really the main issue I'm driving at.

The main issue is the translation of the term Vitakka. From MN 19, MN 78, MN 125. AN 8.30, it's very clear one has to translate vitakka exactly the same inside first jhana as outside. Doesn't matter what kind of fuzziness on the nature of those kusala thoughts. B. Bodhi for example, also believes the vitakka is a different nature than outisde first jhana, but he translates it still as "thinking and examination (vicara)".

It's not about malign or fraudulent motivation, unless one has accurate divine eye, one can't know. And even if one knew, then one can't prove it to others. The issue is the translation that B. Sujato and B. Analayo use, are wronger than wrong. Heinously wrong. In the EBT world, every reputable translator besides them translates vitakka & vicara the same in first jhana as outside. Not doing so causes massive confusion for the readers.

The reasoning process that B. Analayo used to justify his translation of vitakka, is indefensible, and intellectually dishonest (and that's putting it extremely politely). Regardless of what his intent was, it's totally unacceptable for a Bhikkhu or any virtuous person to engage in intellectually dishonest tactics to achieve an agenda. I believe they're good people, as is their underlying intention to redefine jhana to have higher difficulty entrance requirements. But as they say, the road to a very bad place is paved with good intentions.

What I'm looking for from you (everyone reading this thread), is not to establish what their motivations are, but to understand why the translation is wrong, and hold them accountable. Ask them to change their error. Or at the very least, to attempt to give a defense and address the problems pointed out. They can't, and they won't (I've tried for several years, and others have tried), and that amounts to a tacit admission of guilt.
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frank k
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Re: if you witness a crime

Post by frank k » Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:53 am

https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... v-in.html
That article audits and shows how U Thitthila's mistranslates V&V as "initial and sustained application" for Abhidhamma jhana gloss.

B. Sujato is following U Thitthila's mistranslation (He never admitted it publicly that I'm aware, but I deduced it since "placing the mind and keeping it connected" semantically mean the same thing as "initial and sustained application").
But being supposedly an EBT based translator, there is no EBT evidence to support it, so that's why he in effect is creating his own Abhidhamma in MN 44 by defining the vaci-sankhara V&V as "placing the mind and keeping it connected".

B. Nanamoli translated MN, Vism., and a bunch of commentary and Theravada canonical works, and he believed the Vism. redefinition of Jhana. But
even with that bias, he still translated V&V as "applied-thought & sustained-thought", which is a big difference from U thitthila.

You can have your fuzzy interpretation of vitakka, but I think you can agree that even with that fuzziness, B. Bodhi's translation (who shares a similar level of fuzziness), and B. Nanamoli's translation delimit reasonable boundaries for how vitakka and vicara are translated.

You can see U Thitthila's translation is wrong I hope?
B. Sujato's is similarly wrong.
B. Analayo's vicara is vague but passable (contemplation), his vitakka is wrong.

Just as if a translator were to translate vāca (vocalized speech) as "placing sound waves and connecting it to listener's ear drums", I hope every can see and agree that would be wrong?

I didn't think you had read my audit of B. Analayo, not because you have some differing conclusions, but because if you had understood the implications of MN 19, MN 78, MN 125 (and their parallels), then you would at least agree vitakka doesn't change in meaning when it goes into first jhana. That's what those 3 suttas (and parallels) are saying. So the crucial issue is a correct EBT translation of V&V in first jhana, you must use the same translation that you did right outside of it.

You can see that and agree?

It's just like those logic puzzles where for example a room has 5 light bulbs, and one of them is broken, but with the right deductions, one only needs to flip 2 switches to determine which of the 5 is broken. So by not acknowledging the implications of MN 19, MN 78, MN 125, it's like you're insisting one has to flip all 5 switches to make really sure and eliminate fuzziness of which one is broken.

One final point, when I use the word 'jhana', I use it in the EBT sense, which is a lot broader and fuzzier than most people realize.
https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... a-is.html


So in conclusion, agree to disagree, I consider this discussion concluded.
I may take up some of the interesting passages and points your raised at a later date when I have time.


suaimhneas wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:09 pm
frank k wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:26 am
You did not read this did you?
http://lucid24.org/sted/8aam/8samadhi/v ... ndex.html
Because my conclusions are not identical with yours, I must not have read it?
I have actually read most of that at one time or another.

Anyway, I've read it again today and, with it fresh in my mind, I am going to make some high-level comments about its entire content.
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suaimhneas
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Re: if you witness a crime

Post by suaimhneas » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:34 pm

frank k wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:01 pm

Thanks for your response, I think I understand your positions. The main issue you're driving at though, what exactly the nature of the skillful sankappa/vitakka in first jhana, isn't really the main issue I'm driving at.

The main issue is the translation of the term Vitakka. From MN 19, MN 78, MN 125. AN 8.30, it's very clear one has to translate vitakka exactly the same inside first jhana as outside. Doesn't matter what kind of fuzziness on the nature of those kusala thoughts. B. Bodhi for example, also believes the vitakka is a different nature than outisde first jhana, but he translates it still as "thinking and examination (vicara)".

It's not about malign or fraudulent motivation, unless one has accurate divine eye, one can't know. And even if one knew, then one can't prove it to others. The issue is the translation that B. Sujato and B. Analayo use, are wronger than wrong. Heinously wrong. In the EBT world, every reputable translator besides them translates vitakka & vicara the same in first jhana as outside. Not doing so causes massive confusion for the readers.

The reasoning process that B. Analayo used to justify his translation of vitakka, is indefensible, and intellectually dishonest (and that's putting it extremely politely). Regardless of what his intent was, it's totally unacceptable for a Bhikkhu or any virtuous person to engage in intellectually dishonest tactics to achieve an agenda. I believe they're good people, as is their underlying intention to redefine jhana to have higher difficulty entrance requirements. But as they say, the road to a very bad place is paved with good intentions.

What I'm looking for from you (everyone reading this thread), is not to establish what their motivations are, but to understand why the translation is wrong, and hold them accountable. Ask them to change their error. Or at the very least, to attempt to give a defense and address the problems pointed out. They can't, and they won't (I've tried for several years, and others have tried), and that amounts to a tacit admission of guilt.
For someone not analyzing motivations, you do seem to sail quite close to the wind! :) There's a lot of hyperbole in there too (you do feel very strongly about this I think).

I don't see any evidence of dishonesty that comes anywhere close to convincing me we are in such territory. Just looks like an academic arguing for a particular stance to me.

Analayo doesn't believe V&V refers to conventional thought or even conceptual thought. Indeed, because of his beliefs, he says "he believes it would be preferable to avoid rendering vitakka as 'thought'" in his 2009 vitakka encyclopedia entry (instead preferring "initial application of mind").

He clearly lays out his arguments for this, as he does in the 2017 EBMS book in the jhana section. He has obviously come down on the one side of various stances in his thinking on jhana. These two works lay out pretty much the same argument in both cases. The EBMS gives plenty of cites to authors who don't hold his views on various aspects of the question.

His argument is what it is. I find your whole discussion of the supposedly nefarious reasons he left out mention of MN117 in the later EBMS publication over-the-top. Perhaps in the intervening 9 years he simply decided the MN117 wasn't so strong as a point of evidence? It wasn't really that key a point in his earlier argumentation anyway.

He's making a lot of calls on suttas whose interpretation IMO is far from certain. He understands MN128 to be talking about first jhana (and hence must therefore be really hard to enter). Possible, but far from certain (could as easily be referring to the divine eye or some other attainment). He understands "sound is a thorn to the first jhana" as meaning one should not be able hear in the first jhana (not an unreasonable standalone interpretation, but not the only possible reading of this as evidenced by my earlier Vimuttimagga quote) and mentions the SN sutta which says there's no speech in first jhana. The impure Moggallāna imperturable jhana example is used. He seems to be assuming this was fourth jhana (maybe, but could also be an immaterial attainment). He uses an AN sutta (can't remember the number), which is somewhat suggestive of no sensual perceptions in jhana (talks about "going beyond the end of the world", though the Buddha only says this has happened in cessation of feeling and perception, so don't think this is that strong) and another saying Mara cannot see meditators in the various jhanas (vaguely suggestive but far from proof). He weaves this data points together to suggest first jhana is difficult and ordinary thought is not involved. He plays up the transmission errors in some of MN 19, MN 78, MN 125 or their parallels (and gives an explanation that comes down on the side of his particular understanding, arguing the ones you rely on are the ones with transmission errors). He also comes down on the side of insight not being done in jhana (MN111 is discussed). He cites others who have come to opposite conclusions, e.g. Bhante Gunaratana. His argument is at least logical: he is saying that how can Sariputta be observing in concentration the passing way of particular jhana factors (wouldn't one no longer be in jhana once those factors have ceased by definition)? Seems kind of a weak argument to me (could as easily argue that this recognition comes in the next jhana up).

I don't see the dishonesty. He states his beliefs and stance. He makes a coherent argument for it. There's a certain shakiness/fuzziness, I think, in almost all of the underlying data points (he's making calls that I don't think are the likeliest ones; however, that's different from saying they are impossible). However, that's true about all of the data points one could use. One could only be "heinously wrong" about jhana if there was actually some very solid unassailable conclusion to drawn from the suttas. Mostly, though, it seems to be degrees of probability (with very little that is definitive).

Why not just email Analayo and ask him (respectfully: I wouldn't harp on too much about "dhamma crimes" :) )? For every point he makes in these articles, you could just lay out your issues with the evidence and give reasoned counterpoints.
Last edited by suaimhneas on Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

suaimhneas
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Re: if you witness a crime

Post by suaimhneas » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:52 pm

frank k wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:53 am
...
Duplicate Post (not sure how to delete)!
Last edited by suaimhneas on Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

suaimhneas
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Re: if you witness a crime

Post by suaimhneas » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:53 pm

frank k wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:53 am
...
I prefer Bhikkhu Bodhi's thought and examination rendering. The subject is controversial and that translation is relatively neutral (adhering to the original non-technical meaning of the words). I happen to agree that vitakka does mean thought (even though I might quibble with you about what "thought" means in that context).

Bhantes Sujato and Analayo seem to simply not believe vitakka means thought (or that it's such a minor nuance that translating it as "thought" would be misleading or confusing). Analayo's reasons for believing that are well set out. You may disagree with them, but he was confident enough in them to set them out in academic papers. There are pros and cons to Sujato's translation approach. He is going for a straightforward idiomatic translation (keeping well away from footnotes with readability in mind). A downside is the loss in nuance and sometimes being overly simplistic. Some of his word renderings are heavily influenced by his understandings. I think this is a legitimate approach. There are risks, of course, in that approach if the understandings are not correct. The jhana pericopes are fairly terse and cryptic. I doubt anyone is going to directly read these and straightaway try to meditate purely based on that. They'll go and seek clarification. This is the internet age. The jhana controversy is well-flagged online for anyone with access to a search engine and the inclination.

Sure, I think this discussion has pretty much run its course. Was interesting. Being forced to defend one's assumptions can be useful and help clarify things in one's mind.

frank k
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Re: if you witness a crime

Post by frank k » Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:05 pm

This is just outright crime, though I'm sure religious fundamentalists who don't understand their own bible/visuddhimagga would beg to differ.
https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... hana.html

Sadly, this is just like how punishment of white collar versus blue collar crime works in life. Because the crime involves technical complexity that the average person in the jury can't understand, white collar criminals get minimal to no punishment for all the heinous crimes they commit, far worse than blue collar crime.
Last edited by frank k on Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: if you witness a crime

Post by frank k » Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:08 pm

suaimhneas wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:34 pm

Why not just email Analayo and ask him (respectfully: I wouldn't harp on too much about "dhamma crimes" :) )? For every point he makes in these articles, you could just lay out your issues with the evidence and give reasoned counterpoints.
You think I haven't tried contacting B. Analayo and B. Sujato privately and or publicly and politely asked them to explain the problems with their thesis? I already mentioned in the thread some of the evasive tactics I was met with. All I get is chicken feathers floating in the wind and the scent of fear from those who don't have rational data to back up their thesis.
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Late Theravada crime against the Dhamma

Post by frank k » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:42 pm

https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... amma.html

excerpt:
Late Theravada crime against the Dhamma
In the EBT (early buddhist texts), and later non EBT scripture, when a distinction between mind and body is made, they do it the same way.
'citta' or 'mano' to represent 'mind',
in contrast to the anatomical body, 'kāya' or 'rūpa'.

Sutta passages in pali+english here to show some examples of that:
EBT Buddha making distinction between physical body and mind...
Non - EBT: making distinction between physical body and mind...
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Re: if you witness a crime

Post by DooDoot » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:51 pm

suaimhneas wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:53 pm
Bhantes Sujato and Analayo seem to simply not believe vitakka means thought...
The above is nothing new. Its probably only controversial to wanna-be Westerners. My impression is the recent watering down of 'jhana' into 'McJhana' or 'Soft-Jhana' is largely a Western phenomena (Shaila Catherine, Leigh Brasington, Budo, Pulsar, FrankK, MikeNZ, Dhammarato, etc).

Below, a translation of Mahasi:
This first jhana having imbibed or included the attributes of vitakka which reflects on the sensation, and of vicara which investigates into the nature of sensation.

http://www.buddhanet.net/brahmaviharas/bvd021.htm
From Ajahn Chah:
Vitakka is the action of bringing the mind to the theme of contemplation... Then vicāra, the contemplation around that theme, follows... For instance, when we talk about the first level of absorption, we say it has five factors. Along with vitakka and vicāra, pīti (rapture) arises with the theme of contemplation and then sukha (happiness). These four things all lie together in the mind established in tranquillity. They are as one state. The fifth factor is ekaggatā or one-pointedness. You may wonder how there can be one-pointedness when there are all these other factors as well. This is because they all become unified on that foundation of tranquillity. Together they are called a state of samādhi. They are not everyday states of mind, they are factors of absorption. There are these five characteristics, but they do not disturb the basic tranquillity. There is vitakka, but it does not disturb the mind; vicāra, rapture and happiness arise but do not disturb the mind. The mind is therefore as one with these factors. The first level of absorption is like this.

https://www.ajahnchah.org/book/On_Meditation1.php
Even Grandmother Ayya Khema appears on the same page (from 10:19):


Below from 1959 by Bhikkhu Buddhadasa (bottom) and also by Bhante Gunaratana (top).
Attachments
Vitakka guna.png
Vitakka vicara Buddhadasa.png
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Re: if you witness a crime

Post by Volo » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:42 am

DooDoot wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:51 pm
My impression is the recent watering down of 'jhana' into 'McJhana' or 'Soft-Jhana' is largely a Western phenomena (Shaila Catherine, Leigh Brasington, Budo, Pulsar, FrankK, MikeNZ, Dhammarato, etc).
I think Shaila Catherine isn't a clear "light" jhāna adept. She relies on Pa-Auk system (which is for "deep" jhānas), but has a kind of ecumenical approach without rejecting anything. I find it's better than falling into violent debate aggressively insulting those who disagree (as certain people on this forum do).

What concerns Leigh Brasington, he seems to acknowledge that the jhānas he teaches is "not the level the Buddha and his disciples were getting to": viewtopic.php?f=41&t=35009&p=527182#p527148.

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Comparison of Vism. and KN Pe confirms the crimes of Vism. in redefining Jhāna

Post by frank k » Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:56 am

https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... irms.html
excerpt:
Comparison of Vism. and KN Pe confirms the crimes of Vism. in redefining Jhāna

Here is the full KN Pe four jhanas gloss, word commentary, based on B. Nanamoli's translation from the PTS. I highlight the parts that are relevant to mental/physical, 7sb awakening factors, and the number of jhana factors completely different than late Theravada's 'five jhana factors' scheme. I've added some comments to the highlights in curly braces { }. Their fantastic explanation of vitakka/vicara section of course speaks for itself, and is so explicit and detailed there's no way Vism. or B. Sujato could twist it into meaning "having mind glued to a visual kasina."

You can see the straight EBT (early buddhist text, pali) approach I used to establish which factors in jhana are mental and physical, are very similar, nearly the same as what they arrived at in KN Pe. I based my conclusion from AN 48.37 five vedana/indriya scheme, and 7 awakening factors frequently repeated sequence from SN 46.3.
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