B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
frank k
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B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Post by frank k » Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:39 pm

Detailed analysis of error, and corrected versions of translations provided.
for the four parajikas (expulsion offenses).

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

https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... on-b.html

https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2 ... rect.html
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Re: B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Post by DooDoot » Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:54 am

Frank wrote:First jhāna j1 is vocal silence, SN 36.11, where speech ceases, but thoughts connected to Dhamma continue (MN 19...).
MN 19 does not say the above. MN 19 says the opposite. MN 19 says:
MN 19 wrote:If I were to think & ponder in line with that even for a night... even for a day... even for a day & night, I do not envision any danger that would come from it, except that thinking & pondering a long time would tire the body. When the body is tired, the mind is disturbed; and a disturbed mind is far from concentration.' So I steadied my mind right within, settled, unified, & concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind would not be disturbed.

MN 19
:alien:
Frank wrote:Vicāra explores, inspects, discriminates, evaluates, ponders, scrutinizes, discerns, considers the very same thought initially fixed upon by vitakka.
Vitakka is ordinarily thought. Therefore, being thought, it obviously does not fixe upon thought. In jhana, vitakka & vicara are movements of mind towards to explore the other factors of jhana, particularly the rapture.
Brahmali wrote:I entered and remained in the first absorption, which consists of joy and bliss born of seclusion and is accompanied by movement of the mind.
Brahmali's translation above is not literal but is correct per experience. There is really nothing at all important going in the 1st jhana by vitakka & vicara. Vitakka & vicara are basically irrelevant factors and all they are are movements of mind towards rapture.
Brahmali wrote:clearly aware, experiencing bliss directly
While not literal, an excellent translation.

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Re: B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Post by frank k » Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:38 pm

MN 19 says too MUCH thinking tires the body.
If you keep stubbornly clinging to your wrong views, you're never going to get it. If you compare to MN 125, MN 78, and the agama parallel to MN 19 (which is like MN 125, it explicitly omits the first jhana formula to show that Dhamma vitakka is active in first jhana). Even in canonical abhidhamma, first jhana has vitakka as thought - nekkhamma-vitakka, abyapada-vitakka, etc.

I don't bother responding to 99% of your posts because you're stubborn, you don't do your research properly, and you don't communicate in a courteous and rational way. Read MN 125, MN 78, and agama parallel (they're all there, lined up word for word translated on lucid24.org. Very easy to verify the audit). This is me reaching out to the good person that's somewhere in there in you. If you have something rational to say after researching those 4 suttas, I'll continue to dialogue.
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Re: B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Post by DooDoot » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:30 pm

frank k wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:38 pm
MN 19 says too MUCH thinking tires the body.
MN 19 clearly says: "thinking the 3 types of wholesome thought is far from samadhi".

Must I quote MN 19 to show how bluntly wrong you are?
“As I abided thus, diligent, ardent, and resolute, a thought of renunciation arose in me. I understood thus: ‘This thought of renunciation has arisen in me. This does not lead to my own affliction, or to others’ affliction, or to the affliction of both; it aids wisdom, does not cause difficulties, and leads to Nibbāna. If I think and ponder upon this thought even for a night, even for a day, even for a night and day, I see nothing to fear from it. But with excessive thinking and pondering I might tire my body, and when the body is tired, the mind becomes strained, and when the mind is strained, it is far from concentration.’ So I steadied my mind internally, quieted it, brought it to singleness, and concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind should not be strained.

“As I abided thus, diligent, ardent, and resolute, a thought of non-ill will arose in me…a thought of non-cruelty arose in me. I understood thus: ‘This thought of non-cruelty has arisen in me. This does not lead to my own affliction, or to others’ affliction, or to the affliction of both; it aids wisdom, does not cause difficulties, and leads to Nibbāna. If I think and ponder upon this thought even for a night, even for a day, even for a night and day, I see nothing to fear from it. But with excessive thinking and pondering I might tire my body, and when the body is tired, the mind becomes strained, and when the mind is strained, it is far from concentration.’ So I steadied my mind internally, quieted it, brought it to singleness, and concentrated it. Why is that? So that my mind should not be strained.


“Tireless energy was aroused in me and unremitting mindfulness was established, my body was tranquil and untroubled, my mind concentrated and unified.

“Quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, I entered upon and abided in the first jhāna

https://suttacentral.net/mn19/en/bodhi
:alien:
frank k wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:38 pm
agama parallel to MN 19
Agama is belated inaccurate utterances; hundreds of years after the Buddha. This is a Theravada & Pali forum.
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Re: B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:30 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:30 pm
... Agama is belated inaccurate utterances; hundreds of years after the Buddha. This is a Theravada & Pali forum.
Actually, this is the Early Buddhism section:
Early Buddhism
Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Re: B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:32 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:30 am
Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
Are you claiming Agama are "early"?
Dīrgha Āgama... dated to 413 CE.

Madhyama Āgama.... 397-398 CE.

Saṃyukta Āgama... dated to 435-443 CE.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%80gama_(Buddhism)
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Re: B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:41 am

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:32 am
Dīrgha Āgama... dated to 413 CE.
...
That's the date of translation to Chinese, not the date of compilation of the Agamas.

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Re: B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Post by Volo » Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:24 pm

I'm trying to use less internet at the moment, and don't want to post too much, but would like to comment on this one:
MN 19 wrote:But with excessive thinking and pondering I might tire my body, and when the body is tired, the mind becomes strained,
Actually it doesn't say "excessive". In Pali it's aticiraṃ, which means "too long" (ati = "overly", ciraṃ = "long"). Horner and Ven Sujato translated correctly as "too long". If vitakka here would be the same as vitakka in jhāna, that would mean that entering the first jhāna for long time would tire the body.
frank k wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:38 pm
MN 19 says too MUCH thinking tires the body.
All jhāna factors are present in jhāna all the time. It's not that sometimes you have vitakka and vicāra in the first jhāna and sometimes not. If it would be the case, that would mean that while being in the first jhāna you occasionally fall into the second one. That is because rūpa jhānas are distinguished only by the jhāna factors (Buddha doesn't give any other way to distinguish between them).

So, basically your idea of vitakka in jhāna = thinking would mean that a person has to think about something non-stop all the time while in jhāna.

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Re: B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Post by Zom » Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:46 pm

That is because rūpa jhānas are distinguished only by the jhāna factors (Buddha doesn't give any other way to distinguish between them).
Actually Buddha does give it, one must look carefully for the most archaic parts (which sometimes are called "cryptic" by some as well -)
From what I see these instructions were given by Alara and Uddaka, Buddha's meditation teachers, but later he introduced his own, while not completely dismissing theirs.

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Re: B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Post by Volo » Sun Jan 26, 2020 2:56 pm

Zom wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:46 pm
Actually Buddha does give it, one must look carefully for the most archaic parts (which sometimes are called "cryptic" by some as well -)
From what I see these instructions were given by Alara and Uddaka, Buddha's meditation teachers, but later he introduced his own, while not completely dismissing theirs.
Well, that probably wouldn't really matter for my argument, since Buddha said that by subduing vitakka and vicāra one goes from the first jhāna to the second one. So, if one got into the first jhāna, and vitakka and vicāra disappeared (even for a while) one should automatically appear in the second one at that time, since removing these two is the way to get there.

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Re: B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Post by frank k » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:11 pm

What the first jhana formula says, is that the state of being in first jhana has vitakka and vicara present. It means one CAN exercise V&V. It doesn't say one MUST continuously exercise it without interruption. And even if it is uninterrupted continuous, as it seems to say in MN 19:
As MN 19 uses in the simile of the cowherd being in first jhana, he constantly remembers (sati)
tassa rukkha-mūla-gatassa vā
While resting under the shade of a tree or
abbhokāsa-gatassa vā
out in the open,
🐘 sati-karaṇīyam-eva hoti — ‘etā VAR gāvo’ti.
🐘 he simply keeps himself remembering ‘those cows.’
evamevaṃ kho, bhikkhave,
In the same way,
🐘 sati-karaṇīyam-eva ahosi — ‘ete dhammā’ti.
🐘 I simply kept myself remembering ‘those Dhammas.’
The Dhamma-vitakka the Buddha is referring to here, how it differs from the excessive vitakka that tired his body (that prevent first jhana), is that it doesn't block kaya-passadhi (pacification awakening factor). This is something that's easily tested out. Go into first jhana. Try different types of vitakka. If your piti sukha stops, then there's excessive vitakka. And it's not an either/or situation. There's a spectrum of how strong the piti-sukha depending on how intense and frequent the vitakka is. So there some grey area where you may wonder if it's first jhana or not.

Your second point about moments of second (or higher) jhana creeping into first jhana whenever Vitakka as absent, that's exactly right. In fact, that's really the great way to describe first jhana quickly and easily. I.e. First jhana is just second jhana that's interrupted regularly by vitakka and vicara. One hasn't learned to just cease vitakka to enter the higher jhanas at will on demand, so the kusala Dhamma-vitakka one uses in first jhana are the training wheels to help you get there.

What is incontrovertible, that even canonical Abhidhamma agrees with, is that first jhana contains kusala samma sankappo and the 3 kusala Dhamma vitakka that result from that: That is:
1. nekkhamma-sankappo (renunciation thought formations) and nekkhama-vitakka (renunciation thoughts)
2. abyapada (non-ill will, metta)
3. avihimsa (non harm, karuna)

How else are you going to do metta and karuna while in first jhana?
in second jhana, the vitakka and sankappa Dhamma-thoughts drop out, but what remains are sañña residue of those thoughts. One is still continuously recollecting (sati) and paying attention (manasi karoti) to perceptions (sañña) of metta and karuna.



Volo wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:24 pm
I'm trying to use less internet at the moment, and don't want to post too much, but would like to comment on this one:
MN 19 wrote:But with excessive thinking and pondering I might tire my body, and when the body is tired, the mind becomes strained,
Actually it doesn't say "excessive". In Pali it's aticiraṃ, which means "too long" (ati = "overly", ciraṃ = "long"). Horner and Ven Sujato translated correctly as "too long". If vitakka here would be the same as vitakka in jhāna, that would mean that entering the first jhāna for long time would tire the body.
frank k wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:38 pm
MN 19 says too MUCH thinking tires the body.
All jhāna factors are present in jhāna all the time. It's not that sometimes you have vitakka and vicāra in the first jhāna and sometimes not. If it would be the case, that would mean that while being in the first jhāna you occasionally fall into the second one. That is because rūpa jhānas are distinguished only by the jhāna factors (Buddha doesn't give any other way to distinguish between them).

So, basically your idea of vitakka in jhāna = thinking would mean that a person has to think about something non-stop all the time while in jhāna.
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Re: B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Post by Zom » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:09 pm

basically your idea of vitakka in jhāna = thinking would mean that a person has to think about something non-stop all the time while in jhāna.
Indeed. More than that, this goes against the very idea of samatha, calming the mind down. Every meditator knows perfectly that any kind of thinking (even very wholesome one) is too rough for calm meditative state, which happens, obviously, long before jhana, and can be easily attained by almost everyone who meditates long enough.

That being said, I agree, this is a big question indeed, why Buddha used the same term for ordinary thinking and in-jhanic factor, when these are so different.
Last edited by Zom on Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:56 pm

Zom wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:09 pm
That being said, I agree, this is a big question indeed, why Buddha used the same term for ordinary thinking and in-jhanic factor, when these are so different.
That's an excellent point. It seems that Pali terms often have a wide range that can't be easily captured by a single English word. Dukkha is a classic example.

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Re: B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Post by Zom » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:11 pm

That's an excellent point. It seems that Pali terms often have a wide range that can't be easily captured by a single English word. Dukkha is a classic example.
Well, ye, that's an explanation. There is an interesting passage in MN 44 too (ven.Sujato trans.):

** What’s the verbal process (vaca sankhara)?
Placing the mind and keeping it connected (vitakka-vicara) are verbal processes. First you place the mind and keep it connected, then you break into speech (vaca). That’s why placing the mind and keeping it connected are verbal processes.

At the same time, SN 36.11 says (ven.Sujato trans.):

** For someone who has attained the first absorption, speech (vaca) has ceased. For someone who has attained the second absorption, the placing of the mind and keeping it connected have ceased (vitakka-vicara).

Interesting indeed. For one with vitakka-vicara speech is a natural outcome (MN 43). But at the same time for one in 1st jhana, where vitakka-vicara are gained (as jhanic factors), total absense of speech in a natural outcome (SN 36.11).

This all is weird :stirthepot: 8-)

Should be: Someone who has attained the first absorption, delivers the best speech ever. When he finished speaking, he attains the 2nd absorption :D

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Re: B. Brahmali incorrect translation and interpretation of jhāna and samādhi in Vinaya scripture

Post by Volo » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:57 pm

frank k wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:11 pm
As MN 19 uses in the simile of the cowherd being in first jhana, he constantly remembers (sati)
tassa rukkha-mūla-gatassa vā
While resting under the shade of a tree or
abbhokāsa-gatassa vā
out in the open,
🐘 sati-karaṇīyam-eva hoti — ‘etā VAR gāvo’ti.
🐘 he simply keeps himself remembering ‘those cows.’
evamevaṃ kho, bhikkhave,
In the same way,
🐘 sati-karaṇīyam-eva ahosi — ‘ete dhammā’ti.
🐘 I simply kept myself remembering ‘those Dhammas.’
It is not a simile of the first jhāna. This is a simile of a state when still having the wholesome thoughts. The description of the first jhāna comes later in MN 19.
Your second point about moments of second (or higher) jhana creeping into first jhana whenever Vitakka as absent, that's exactly right. In fact, that's really the great way to describe first jhana quickly and easily. I.e. First jhana is just second jhana that's interrupted regularly by vitakka and vicara.
This is utterly weird statement. Buddha clearly distinguished between jhānas.
AN 9.35 wrote:So too, some bhikkhu here is foolish, incompetent, inexperienced, and unskilled, when, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, he enters and dwells in the first jhāna, which consists of rapture and pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by thought and examination. He does not pursue that object, does not develop and cultivate it, does not focus on it well.
“It occurs to him: ‘With the subsiding of thought and examination, I should enter and dwell in the second jhāna [419] ….’ But he cannot enter and dwell in the second jhāna
If that bhikkhu by occasionally not having thoughts in the first jhāna would enter in the second one, Buddha wouldn't say "he cannot enter".
How else are you going to do metta and karuna while in first jhana?
in second jhana, the vitakka and sankappa Dhamma-thoughts drop out, but what remains are sañña residue of those thoughts. One is still continuously recollecting (sati) and paying attention (manasi karoti) to perceptions (sañña) of metta and karuna.
In the metta jhāna yogi's consciousness is accompanied by a strong adosa, which is a metal factor, not a thought. Thoughts like "may he be happy" are only a support during preliminary stage.

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