MN 39 similes

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
Nyana
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Re: MN 39 similes

Post by Nyana » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:39 pm

Sylvester wrote:So, what do you think those 2 present tense verbs in MN 140 denote?
Just off the top of my head I think they relate to not forming meritorious, demeritorious, or imperturbable saṅkhāras as in SN 12.51.
Sylvester wrote:I would not disagree with you when you equate the samādhi from AN 10.6 with AN 10.7’s “bhavanirodho nibbānaṃ” perception.

But I think it’s quite a stretch to equate the na saṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato samādhi from AN 9.37 with the AN 10.6 samādhi... The samādhi from AN 10.6-7 is mentioned only one other time, in AN 11.7
AN 11.7, 8, 9 (NDB numbering) are all related to AN 10.6, and AN 10.7. For example, AN 11.8:
  • "Bhante, could a bhikkhu obtain such a state of concentration that he would not attend to the eye and forms, the ear and sounds, the nose and odors, the tongue and tastes, the body and tactile objects; that (1) he would not attend to earth, (2) water, (3) fire, (4) or air; (5) he would not attend to the base of the infinity of space, (6) the base of the infinity of consciousness, (7) the base of nothingness, (8) or the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; (9) he would not attend to this world; (10) he would not attend to the other world; (11) he would not attend to anything seen, heard, sensed, cognized, reached, sought after, and examined by the mind, but he would still be attentive?"

    "He could, Ānanda."

    "But how, Bhante, could he obtain such a state of concentration?"

    "Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu would attend thus: 'This is peaceful, this is sublime, that is, the stilling of all activities, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbāna.' It is in this way, Ānanda, that a bhikkhu could obtain such a state of concentration...."
Given that the subject matter in all of these suttas is concerned with specific perception attainments, and that Ānanda is one of the main characters in all but one of these discourses, and that they are all located in the AN, and that the commentaries see similar parallels, there's good reason to include AN 9.37 in this group.
Sylvester wrote:How do you address DN 34's identification of the jhanas as na saṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato, or that AN 3.100 suggests that such a concentration is jhana?
That phrase doesn't establish anything with regard to the jhāna factors of the four jhānas.
Sylvester wrote:Ven T makes the equation, but he will have to account for why his kiṃphalo ended up being translated as "fruit of what", instead of "of what fruit".
He's just following the commentarial reading. As Ven. Bodhi correctly notes, the question is ambiguous.
Sylvester wrote:If that interrogative were correctly translated as a bahubbīhi instead of a genitive tappurissa, what would be the basis for the connection between the na saṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato samādhi and the perception "bhavanirodho nibbānaṃ"?
The commentary accounts for the other interpretation.

Sylvester
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Re: MN 39 similes

Post by Sylvester » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:39 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:So, what do you think those 2 present tense verbs in MN 140 denote?
Just off the top of my head I think they relate to not forming meritorious, demeritorious, or imperturbable saṅkhāras as in SN 12.51.
Possibly, altho' I'm more inclined to limit SN 12.51 to the arahants, whereas MN 140 seems to be speaking of the Non-Returner at the cross-roads.

Sylvester wrote:I would not disagree with you when you equate the samādhi from AN 10.6 with AN 10.7’s “bhavanirodho nibbānaṃ” perception.

But I think it’s quite a stretch to equate the na saṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato samādhi from AN 9.37 with the AN 10.6 samādhi... The samādhi from AN 10.6-7 is mentioned only one other time, in AN 11.7
AN 11.7, 8, 9 (NDB numbering) are all related to AN 10.6, and AN 10.7. For example, AN 11.8:
  • "Bhante, could a bhikkhu obtain such a state of concentration that he would not attend to the eye and forms, the ear and sounds, the nose and odors, the tongue and tastes, the body and tactile objects; that (1) he would not attend to earth, (2) water, (3) fire, (4) or air; (5) he would not attend to the base of the infinity of space, (6) the base of the infinity of consciousness, (7) the base of nothingness, (8) or the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; (9) he would not attend to this world; (10) he would not attend to the other world; (11) he would not attend to anything seen, heard, sensed, cognized, reached, sought after, and examined by the mind, but he would still be attentive?"

    "He could, Ānanda."

    "But how, Bhante, could he obtain such a state of concentration?"

    "Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu would attend thus: 'This is peaceful, this is sublime, that is, the stilling of all activities, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbāna.' It is in this way, Ānanda, that a bhikkhu could obtain such a state of concentration...."
Given that the subject matter in all of these suttas is concerned with specific perception attainments, and that Ānanda is one of the main characters in all but one of these discourses, and that they are all located in the AN, and that the commentaries see similar parallels, there's good reason to include AN 9.37 in this group.

Problem, problem with the above. Take a look at the pericope from AN 10.6-7 and AN 11.7-8 -
eg

na ākiñcaññāyatane ākiñcaññāyatanasaññī assa
In all, there are 11 objects that one is not percipient of in this concentration, taking the āyatana to be in the locative of reference.

However, AN 9.37 is couched in grossly different terms -
Tadeva nāma cakkhuṃ bhavissati te rūpā tañcāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissati. Tadeva nāma sotaṃ bhavissati te saddā tañcāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissati. Tadeva nāma ghānaṃ bhavissati te gandhā tañcāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissati. Sāva nāma jivhā bhavissati te rasā tañcāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissati. Sova nāma kāyo bhavissati te phoṭṭhabbā tañcāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissatī’’ti.

Evaṃ vutte āyasmā udāyī āyasmantaṃ ānandaṃ etadavoca – ‘‘saññīmeva nu kho, āvuso ānanda, tadāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedeti udāhu asaññī’’ti? ‘‘Saññīmeva kho, āvuso, tadāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedeti, no asaññī’’ti.

Kiṃsaññī panāvuso, tadāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedetī’’ti? ‘‘Idhāvuso, bhikkhu, sabbaso rūpasaññānaṃ samatikkamā paṭighasaññānaṃ atthaṅgamā nānattasaññānaṃ amanasikārā ‘ananto ākāso’ti ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ upasampajja viharati. Evaṃsaññīpi kho, āvuso, tadāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedeti.

etc etc for the remaining 3 formless attainments
What is asserted in AN 9.37 is that one is percipient of the formless attainments while dwelling in that base (tadāyatanaṃ) of the 5 kāmā. On the other hand, the concentration in AN 10 and AN 11 is portrayed as having the meditator not-percipient of any of the formless attainments etc. Looks like we're not comparing like to like.

To add to the distinction -
Evaṃ vutte, sohaṃ, āvuso, jaṭilavāsikaṃ bhikkhuniṃ etadavocaṃ – ‘yāyaṃ, bhagini, samādhi na cābhinato na cāpanato na ca sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato, vimuttattā ṭhito, ṭhitattā santusito, santusitattā no paritassati. Ayaṃ, bhagini, samādhi aññāphalo vutto bhagavatā’ti. Evaṃsaññīpi kho, āvuso, tadāyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedetī’’ti.
The AN 9.37 narrative in blue is addressed to Jaṭilavāsika, while the narrative in red is to Ven Udāyī. "That base" again pops up, which is a back-reference to the 5 kāmā. Strangely enough, none of the 11 bases from AN 10 and AN 11 are brought into AN 9.37's listing of bases from which one is insulated when in that concentration that is na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagata.

What is overlooked about the AN 10 and AN 11 concentration is this bit -
Here, Ananda, a monk is percipient thus: 'This is peaceful, this is sublime— the stilling of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the destruction of craving; dispassion; cessation; nibanna.' It's in this way that a monk could obtain....

ie the etaṃ santaṃ etaṃ paṇītaṃ yadidaṃ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭinissaggo taṇhākkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbāna formula
If you pop into -

AN 3.32 - the formula leads to the end of I-making
AN 11.60 - the formula appears as perceptions of dispassion and cessation

So, it does appear that this perception plays quite a broad range of functions. If you look at the AN 10 passages, the verb used is siyā ...samādhipaṭilābho where the optative indicates a possibility. This leads me to suspect that the etaṃ santaṃ etc formula has quite a number of potentials. I don't actually see any indication from AN 9.37 that its concentration that is na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagata was an outcome of this perception. If anything, because it leads to non-agitation, the perception is probably a sequel to and not the cause of this concentration.

Nyana
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Re: MN 39 similes

Post by Nyana » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:22 pm

Sylvester wrote:What is asserted in AN 9.37 is that one is percipient of the formless attainments while dwelling in that base (tadāyatanaṃ) of the 5 kāmā. On the other hand, the concentration in AN 10 and AN 11 is portrayed as having the meditator not-percipient of any of the formless attainments etc. Looks like we're not comparing like to like.
Why would you assume that I was referring to this part of AN 9.37? It should be quite obvious that I was specifically referring to the aññāphala samādhi section.
Sylvester wrote:"That base" again pops up, which is a back-reference to the 5 kāmā. Strangely enough, none of the 11 bases from AN 10 and AN 11 are brought into AN 9.37's listing of bases from which one is insulated when in that concentration that is na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagata.
This doesn't establish anything.
Sylvester wrote:So, it does appear that this perception plays quite a broad range of functions. If you look at the AN 10 passages, the verb used is siyā ...samādhipaṭilābho where the optative indicates a possibility. This leads me to suspect that the etaṃ santaṃ etc formula has quite a number of potentials. I don't actually see any indication from AN 9.37 that its concentration that is na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagata was an outcome of this perception. If anything, because it leads to non-agitation, the perception is probably a sequel to and not the cause of this concentration.
These five AN suttas and the relevant part of AN 9.37 and all of the sutta passages related to the, "Being unagitated, he personally attains nibbāna. He understands: 'Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being,'" pericope, are formalized attempts to articulate what it's like to completely and fully let go and be utterly done with everything in the world. However, formalized statements are merely formalized statements. The actual experience of being utterly done with everything is for each person to realize for him or herself.

Sylvester
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Re: MN 39 similes

Post by Sylvester » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:19 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:What is asserted in AN 9.37 is that one is percipient of the formless attainments while dwelling in that base (tadāyatanaṃ) of the 5 kāmā. On the other hand, the concentration in AN 10 and AN 11 is portrayed as having the meditator not-percipient of any of the formless attainments etc. Looks like we're not comparing like to like.
Why would you assume that I was referring to this part of AN 9.37? It should be quite obvious that I was specifically referring to the aññāphala samādhi section.
It’s precisely your identifying the aññāphala samādhi with the AN 10 and AN 11 samādhis that I find unsustainable. The whole series of attainments in AN 9.37 are unified by a reference to tadāyatana/that base. This means that the formless attainments and the aññāphala samādhi belong to the same series where there are perceptions other than sensual perceptions. On the other hand, the AN 10/11 perception does not have any of the formless perceptions even, which is the first objection to comparing it to the AN 9.37 series. Although AN 10.6 suggests that a means into the AN 10/AN 11 samādhi is the “etaṃ santaṃ” formula, it is amply clear that such a samādhi is an attainment accessible only to arahants. This much comes from AN 11.10, where the same samādhi is described as being attained "by the excellent thoroughbred of a man” (bhadrā purisājānīyā). From AN 3.139 (PTS numbering), we know that this specimen is one who has āsavānaṃ khayā, standard coding for the arahant.

So, how does one make the leap and identify AN 9.37’s aññāphala samādhi (concentration which has gnosis as its fruit) with the AN 10 and AN 11 concentrations which are the fruit of awakening? Ven T tries to circumvent this problem by reading the interrogative kiṃphalo as a genitive tappurisa, instead of the more natural bahubbīhi . But as the placement of the non-agitation pericope demonstrates, the aññāphala samādhi gives rise to non-agitation, which is the precursor to awakening, not the sequel thereto. I don’t think the redactors could have made such a silly mix-up.
Sylvester wrote:"That base" again pops up, which is a back-reference to the 5 kāmā. Strangely enough, none of the 11 bases from AN 10 and AN 11 are brought into AN 9.37's listing of bases from which one is insulated when in that concentration that is na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagata.
This doesn't establish anything.
Well, we are still back to the problem. Since AN 9.37’s aññāphala samādhi/ na saṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato samādhi is the precursor to awakening, what basis is there to equate it with the AN 10/AN 11 concentration which is accessible only to the arahant?
Last edited by Sylvester on Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Nyana
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Re: MN 39 similes

Post by Nyana » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:12 am

Sylvester wrote:It’s precisely your identifying the aññāphala samādhi with the AN 10 and AN 11 samādhis that I find unsustainable. Although AN 10.6 suggests that a means into the AN 10/AN 11 samādhi is the “etaṃ santaṃ” formula, it is amply clear that such a samādhi is an attainment accessible only to arahants. This much comes from AN 11.10, where the same samādhi is described as being attained "by the excellent thoroughbred of a man” (bhadrā purisājānīyā). From AN 3.139 (PTS numbering), we know that this specimen is one who has āsavānaṃ khayā, standard coding for the arahant.

So, how does one make the leap and identify AN 9.37’s aññāphala samādhi (concentration which has gnosis as its fruit) with the AN 10 and AN 11 concentrations which are the fruit of awakening? Ven T tries to circumvent this problem by reading the interrogative kiṃphalo as a genitive tappurisa, instead of the more natural bahubbīhi . But as the placement of the non-agitation pericope demonstrates, the aññāphala samādhi gives rise to non-agitation, which is the precursor to awakening, not the sequel thereto. I don’t think the redactors could have made such a silly mix-up.
According to the commentary AN 9.37 is referring to the arahant fruition samādhi (arahattaphalasamādhi) and AN 10.6 is referring to the post-awakening fruition attainment samādhi (phalasamāpattisamādhi). But even if one were to relegate the AN 9.37 samādhi to the arahant path instead of the fruition, the arahant path attainment and fruition attainment are both supramundane jhānas which take cessation as object.

Related to this, the Nettippakaraṇa classifies the "not reigned in and checked by forcefully suppressing" samādhi as vipassanā:
  • Herein, any samādhi that is presently pleasant and any samādhi that has a future pleasant result are samatha. And any samādhi that is noble and non-carnal, and any samādhi that is not practiced by lowly persons, and any samādhi that is peaceful and sublime, gained by full tranquilization, attained to unification, and not reigned in and checked by forcefully suppressing [the defilements], and any [samādhi of which one is aware] 'I enter this samādhi mindfully and I emerge from it mindfully', are vipassanā.
Be that as it may, this group of suttas does help to illustrate the different perceptual operations that occur with different modes of practice. A jhāna which examines an object-support (ārammaṇūpanijjhāna), a jhāna which examines characteristics (lakkhaṇūpanijjhāna), and a supramundane jhāna (lokuttarajjhāna) each engage in a different perceptual operation.

In sutta terms, a jhāna which examines an object-support includes, for example, the actual refined perception of joy and pleasure born of seclusion (vivekajapītisukhasukhumasaccasaññā). A jhāna which examines characteristics (lakkhaṇūpanijjhāna) includes, for example, the perception of impermanence (aniccasaññā). And a supramundane jhāna includes the perception of cessation (nirodhasaññā).

If I were to analyze the pericope you brought up, I would differentiate the segment, "it is not reigned in and checked by forcefully suppressing [the defilements]" (AN 3.101) as indicating either a jhāna which examines an object-support or a jhāna which examines characteristics; that segment with the addition of the segment, "by being liberated, it is steady; by being steady, it is content; by being content, one is not agitated" (AN 9.37) as indicating the arahant supramundane path attainment; and the segment, "being unagitated, he personally attains nibbāna. He understands: 'Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being'" (SN 22.53) as indicating the arahant supramundane fruition attainment. This last segment could even be further subdivided and differentiated.

However, this type of textual analysis is speculative and too closely allied with conceptual realism and other cognitive ills to be of much value.

Sylvester
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Re: MN 39 similes

Post by Sylvester » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:30 am

Fear not, Geoff, speculate away. I, for one, am not saddled with the Madhyamaka qualms about "existence" and will grant any discussion that makes ontic commitments, so long as they don't stray from the limits in SN 22.62 and DN 15. Taking a look at the Upanishadic antecedents, I don't really feel that ancient commentators (eg Nagarjuna) or modern ones (eg Ven Nanananda) are justified in reading SN 12.15 as a Buddhist polemic against Realism or Idealism.

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