The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:24 pm

I made a comment on another thread this morning on meditation.
That was on Satipatthana, but I have frequently expressed that perfecting Satipatthana
is very similar to perfecting the 4 Buddhist jhanas. So I will place the relevant part of that
comment here.
Satipatthana is not about body meditation, it is about "body and mind' meditation.
In SN 35.206, Buddha mentions five animals leashed to a pole (the notion of self) animals are the eye, ear....that distract constantly, the 6th the mind, the monkey

'Body in body' is not a corpse meditation, it is a body with active sense organs, very much alive, creating the sensory world, the meditator deals with the world created by the body.

To restrain the body housing the sense organs, and that activity, is itself the entire meditation, it is not like a simple walking meditation.
  • One who understands this, will see the first satipatthana is very similar to first jhana meditation.
Sensual restraint, is the key, to both. The sutta itself is a great teaching tool.
Let us look at a another way Buddha teaches Satipatthana, to get a better understanding. https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
condensed Excerpts from SN 47.2 Samudaya
Following is from BB version.
  • 1st Satipatthana: What bikkhus is the origination of the body? With origination of nutrients there is the origination of the body. With the cessation of the nutrient, there is the cessation of the body. (see how powerful this teaching is, one has to bring in Son's flesh SN 12.60 to complete this meditation)
  • 2nd Satipatthana: With the origination of contact, origination of feeling (one has to bring in several suttas to understand this)
  • 3rd Satipatthana: With origination of name and form, there is the origination of mind. DO is brought in subtly, was not Buddha amazing?
  • 4th satipatthana: With the origination of attention there is the origination of phenomena (mind's objects) these include training in the 7 seven factors of awakening etc. (Reading Bojjhanga samyutta will help here)

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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar » Wed Dec 25, 2019 4:00 pm

It is X'mas, just going over the last comment I made,  I noticed the link does not work...and the sutta number is not right either. My apologies.
The correct number is SN 47.42(2) Origination or Samudaya. It is listed under "DEATHLESS" 
i.e. 5th section of the Satipatthana Samyutta

I notice that there is a method to these groupings. For instance the third group of suttas is listed under the heading VIRTUE and DURATION. Here  Ven. Bhadda queries Ananada SN 47.22 (2) about the reasons for non-endurance of the Dhamma, after Tathagata is no more,  and the answer is failure at the 4 establishments of mindfulness, and related bhavana.
Appears these titles bear a meaning and conveys a message.
The 4th section is called UNHEARD BEFORE,
and gives further clarifications on 4 references of mind, e.g. SN 47.32 (2) The 4 establishments  of mindfulness, when developed and and cultivated (bhavana) lead to utter revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation (like in the 4th jhana), to enlightenment (meaning destruction of taints) and thus nibbana.
This thread is on the 4 jhanas,  but it is impossible to understand the need for jhanic concentration without understanding the Four establishments of mindfulness.
The point I am trying to make is, when Satiptthana is referred to as Four establishment of mindfulness, it is only the beginning, or how one begins the meditations, by focussing on 4 different areas.
But the Satipathanabhavana is quite an advanced activity. The previous comment made on 12/7/19, is an example of the latter kind.
Here, each establishment is thoroughly investigated, including its origination, which makes it a sequential meditation on Dependent Origination.
Pretty neat...
It is a teaching on the origination of each of the four objects of meditation.
And in the last bhavana,  Mind's objects, Dhammanupassana, one must remember,  meditation on Suffering, its cause, its avoidance (bliss) and the path are as equally important as meditating on Bojjhanga.
For all our false views arise, due to the mistaken understanding of suffering.
Merry Christmas to All, 🎄💕

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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar » Tue Dec 31, 2019 12:30 pm

It is worth visiting the wandering monk Vaccagotta off and on, just to solidify doctrine, and remind to us the need for meditation.
Addressing Ananda Buddha says the wandering monk Vaccagotta
came to him with a question. Is there a self or not?

'I did not answer him' says the Buddha. In fact to answer that there is a self, is to contradict the truth of things, because no dhamma is a self, nor has any relationship with a self;

and if he had answered that there is no self, he would've increased the folly of Vacca, for he would have thought
'I had a soul/self, but this soul/self does not now exist'
  • for in comparison to the folly of the belief in the existence of a soul, this second folly is
whoever believes in the soul falls into the extreme view of eternity, whoever believes that the soul does not exist, falls into the extreme view of annihilation
  • the burden of error! the careless error! the thoughtless error!
  • Taking into consideration the injury that heresy does and also, the falling off of good deeds,
    Buddha teaches the doctrine in the manner in which a tigress carries its young.
  • Those who believe in the reality of the self are torn by the teeth of heresy; those who do not recognize the conventional self let their good actions fall away and perish.
so for us who are non-arahants the conventional self must remain very much a reality, doing the good
deeds, but not the false teaching that behind the aggregates is a steady soul, witness-
Happy 2020 to all!  🥀

a tigress carries baby, carefully, and thoughtfully, so that the baby is not strangled, not torn by the teeth of heresy, is a metaphor, but this very carrying of the baby is one of the finest meditations
for a us in this brand new year, and it would be very much a part of Samma Sati and Samma Samadhi.
With love

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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar » Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:41 pm

I was occupied with Nama-rupa, trying to figure out how to say this in the simplest possible
buddhist way, mind you not in samkhya type thought, but I had to think through, 
so I searched the web, I stumble upon none other than Wynn, a kind of win win, situation, a modern scholar trying to create a name for himself, outshine others.
Scholars are scholars esp. those who do not meditate, yet appear to have expertise in the doctrine, they can be as ruthless as hungry tigers, towards the Buddhist canon,
if it helps their cause in academia. It is been well known that the canon contains contradictions, that it is influenced by Upanisad thought, but if read in between bouts of meditation,
it can be helpful in our spiritual progress. Theravadin scholars in the past have the treated the canon with kid gloves, there is a plus and a minus here, some things like introductory suttas to Satipatthana can leave one reeling.
But it looks like for Alex Wynn 'all bets are off'. Who knows it might be a good thing, in the long run??? 
Tsunamis might lead to new and better constructions. I listened to a few of his videos. A. Wynn's ploy appears to be, to make fun of Satipatthana sutta.
Is he unhappy with the intro presentation, perhaps meant for child monks, to be used for rote memorization? clearly it does not offer instructions for practice, but what should a thoughtful scholar do?
Instead of hacking it, one could add a supplement to it, to help the modern contemplative. But things are not ideal.
It pays to be sensational, more than this something else he resorted to kinda shocked me.
This is not new to others, mikenz66 talked about this in 2018 on DW. viewtopic.php?t=32028

A. Wynn pits Kaccana against Sariputta.
I recall Buddha once calling Sariputta
Torchbearer of Mankind
later scholars applied the epithet to Buddha, but if you read Sutta Nipata, it is pretty much clear it was used by Buddha addressing Rahula, to describe Sariputta. 
Wynn saddened me. He uses data from the canon to create a negative image of Sariputta.
To resort to this, he uses  suttas from the canon clearly later constructions, words fed into the mouth of sariputta.
But it is not the first time Sariputta was  a target.. in some sects of Mahayana an imaginary Sariputta had conversations with Subuthi, where Subuthi was the clear winner. 
In the  modern age, a modern scholar uses Kaccana for the same purpose, to present Sariputta in a negative light. Let us see how he does this. Using Madhupindika sutta, he tags the kind of mental state  described in MN 18 as
bare cognition
God help us. Wynn supports his thesis by saying that it was this bare cognition that enabled Bahia to become an instant saint upon hearing the simple formula. "In the seen is the seen". 
Why am I talking about this here? because it all relates to the 4 jhanas, the state of cessation. 
Since Wynn does not meditate, he fails to realize that to function in the state of mind described by Buddha in MN 18, (Mind without mental proliferation) an ordinary Joe or Jane requires quite a bit of preparation...
Wynn presents his information in such a way that his definition of "bare cognition" is all pervasive, available to the man on the street, offering instant enlightenment. 
He is a good lawyer...
How come sharks don’t attack lawyers? From professional courtesy.
will continue later.
A peaceful weekend to all! :candle:

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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:46 pm

Alexander Wynne, Madhupindika, bare cognition, Sariputta, ultimately Buddha. Refreshing our minds, and continuing with the last comment, 
a link to Wynne's take is at the bottom.
Pulsar gives credit to Wynne for singling out MN 18, one could say the most delicious sutta in the entire canon considering it is called "Honeyball"  
In the modern day one might call it best of Swiss chocolates, say Läderach. Taste buds of the modern person is lots more refined than whoever lived in Buddha's time, or so we like to think.

Has anyone read the sutta lately? each time one reads it anew, a new insight emerges, but it is not bare cognition. 
When we use one Holy Spirit (MahaKaccana) to pit against another Holy Spirit (Sariputta), honesty is important, but a good lawyer might say, based on Wynne's perceived lack of experience in meditation (Samma Sati, Samma Samadhi) he is not held culpable.

It is a typical legal strategy to use selective data to prove one's case (wrongly motivated acquisition of intellectual knowledge, Pulsar call it).  To use a single Sutta spoken by MahaKaccana (not even of his origin), he was merely explaining words spoken by Buddha moments before.
To be fair, if fairness is known to academia, Wynne could have used MN 133, for it offers a key to the interpretation of this passage, i.e. MahaKaccana's  explanation of Bhaddekaratta verses, but then it would've damaged Wynne's emergent theory of "bare cognition".
This is a chat group, no one has the attention span longer than of momentary bare cognition, including me, so I will end  the note by quoting what I am trying to get at, the sutta is not about bare cognition.
Here is Buddha's take
a certain monk said to the Blessed One, "Lord, what sort of doctrine is it where one does not keep quarreling with anyone in the cosmos with its deities, Maras, & Brahmas,
with its contemplatives & brahmans,
its royalty & commonfolk; where perceptions no longer obsess the brahman
who remains dissociated from sensuality, free from perplexity, his uncertainty cut away, devoid of craving for becoming & non-?
"If, monk, with regard to the cause whereby the perceptions & categories of objectification assail a person, there is nothing there to relish, welcome, or remain fastened to,
then that is the end of the obsessions of passion, the obsessions of resistance, the obsessions of views, the obsessions of uncertainty,
the obsessions of conceit, the obsessions of passion for becoming, & the obsessions of ignorance. That is the end of taking up rods & bladed weapons, of arguments, quarrels, disputes, accusations, divisive tale-bearing, & false speech. That is where these evil, unskillful things cease without remainder."
That is what the Blessed One said. Having said it, the One Well-gone got up from his seat and went into his dwelling.
Here is a brief excerpt from MahaKaccana's explanation 
"When there is no intellect,
when there are no ideas, when there is no intellect-consciousness,
it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of contact.
When there is no delineation of contact, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of feeling.
When there is no delineation of feeling, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation
of perception.
When there is no delineation of perception (Sanna), it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of thinking.

When there is no delineation of thinking, it is impossible that one will delineate a delineation of being assailed by the perceptions & categories of objectification..."
It is well worth reading the version of Sutta found on the web by Thannisaro. But there is no way you can understand it unless you read it in a quiet meditative mood.
If you do so, it will also fill in the blanks of your understanding of Paticca Samutpada, Samma Sati, and Samma samadhi.
With love

PS Wynn'e take on Madhupindika and bare cognition.
https://www.academia.edu/36752191/Sarip ... meditation

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Re: Jhana

Post by Pulsar » Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:35 pm

Reading Maryla Falk this morning, I stumble across 'Aupapaduka beings'. Apparently there are such beings born, who do not hurt their mothers in the process of birth, needless to say my poetic sensibility was blown away,
how wonderful such births must be! Alexander Wynne too was very much on my mind,
I've been reading or listening to all that he has published. He truly presents some scholarly stuff that appeals to me.
For instance 
Objectless meditation
is a big part of his presentation. One finds clear evidence for this in the Pali canon. When a scholar writes profusely it must be hard not to mislead at times, while at some times leading us correctly.
Occasionally to drive a point home too hard, maybe he resorts to a strategy, clearly undesirable. But this is the way things are. Let us try to use him in a constructive way. Presenting an idea, without hurting others, is important.
For instance "Bare cognition". Here he stumbled. But I will not dwell on it right now.
His idea of "Objectless Meditation" deserves a great deal of attention by the wise meditator. 
Buddha has said in no unclear terms that the thoroughbred horse, the 'accomplished meditator' has no object in his mind, his/her meditation is objectless. In AN 11.9, Buddha refers to two types of jhana 
  • 1. One type that should not be practiced, the one with objects
  • 2. One type to be developed, one without objects.
Alexander Wynne goes out on a limb, when he presents the notion of objectless meditation, since Theravada commentary is chock-full of meditations that rely on objects.
I admire him for his series of lectures, which is not without flaws, but  I learnt much from these, for instance the correct definition of Kasina.
According to Wynne,
does not mean an object, it is an abstract noun meaning a totality, cognition is stressed. 
I do not agree with him, when he trashes Satipathana. I interpret Satipatthana, when it is stated as Ekayana, to be Satipatthana bhavana, and not superficial mindfulness.
At one point Wynne goes as far as to say, that Satipatthana sutta was not taught by Buddha, but is a product of the second council. 
Any meditator would agree that here, Wynne is stumbling seriously.
Yet I love the way he dwells into the four similes used to elaborate the four jhanas i.e. DN 2.
Everyone should visit him, one time or another.
I do not agree with his theory of Psychosomatic transformation. At this point it baffles me, but who knows what exactly he means. I will continue with this comment later. If Dhamma were a special drink, one should be careful to only take a small sip at a time, like Madhupindika sutta, to be understood a little at a time.
Restful times to all!  :candle:

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