Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
Saengnapha
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Re: Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:17 pm

robertk wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:08 am
I guess that puts you in the camp of the non-hearers in the first jhana. How does this make sense
Well this thread is supposed to be about the other side.

But as you ask it is clearly stated as a wrong view in the Abhidhamma pitika.

Think about it: jhana is nothing like the usual life where sense door objects alternate with mind-door processes. During jhana cittas repeatedly take the same object- impossible for a citta to rake more than one object.

So no hearing or any other sense door experience while in jhana.
It still seems to me you are talking about a formless experience and nothing to do with any wisdom or natural state of equanimity, which the fourth jhana reputes to be. It is the fourth jhana that equanimity is experienced at, not the first. All the senses are calmed, not disengaged, disconnected, nor distracting. This is the point of disinterest, disenchantment, letting go. You don't experience this through shutting out anything. Sorry, I can't agree with what you are saying.

zan
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Re: Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

Post by zan » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:25 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:03 am
Why should it not be possible to hear while in the first jhana? The first jhana is not a formless experience and neither are the next 3 jhanas. The fact that some Bhantes think that hearing is not possbile in the first jhana and others do think it is possible shows a real lack of unity about what is being taught in Theravada.
Excellent point! I do not know of any texts in the Nikayas that state specifically that one cannot hear in the four jhanas. Only the one that mentions sound as a thorn to the first jhana but not the rest. This of course does not necessarily mean that one becomes temporarily deaf but that sound will not be a "thorn" to one's concentration. So perhaps one could hear in even the fourth jhana but the sound would not be processed at all and could not break one's concentration.

So, for example, in the first jhana if someone gently called the meditators name right next to them it may break their concentration. But in the second jhana they wouldn't even register it. However if someone yelled "Tiger!" Then the second jhana meditator may break their own concentration deliberately.

Maybe their concentration cannot be "thorned" by sound but, as they are not said to be literally deaf, their ears still function and they could automatically respond to certain sounds?

A bit like Polar Bear's rain: one can focus on reading and not hear the rain, even thunder can be ignored, however if a tornado slams a car into the side of one's house they will drop the book and run.
Last edited by zan on Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

Saengnapha
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Re: Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

Post by Saengnapha » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:38 pm

zan wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:25 pm
Saengnapha wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:03 am
Why should it not be possible to hear while in the first jhana? The first jhana is not a formless experience and neither are the next 3 jhanas. The fact that some Bhantes think that hearing is not possbile in the first jhana and others do think it is possible shows a real lack of unity about what is being taught in Theravada.
Excellent point! I do not know of any texts in the Nikayas that state specifically that one cannot hear in the four jhanas. Only the one that mentions sound as a thorn to the first jhana but not the rest. This of course does not necessarily mean that one becomes temporarily deaf but that sound will not be a "thorn" to one's concentration. So perhaps one could hear in even the fourth jhana but the sound would not be processed at all and could not break one's concentration.
Of course you could hear in fourth jhana. The body processes all kinds of information being fed to the brain through contact with the senses in spite of you being conscious of it or not. This doesn't stop, like your blood flowing or heart beating. Jhanas can also be thought of as deconstructing stress. Stress is not produced by sound or sight. It is produced by perception and interpretation of feeling into like and dislike and a personal experiencer of this. For me, the whole idea of whether there is sound or not in first jhana is meaningless. All of these experiences have no basis for real equanimity.

zan
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Re: Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

Post by zan » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:49 pm

Interestingly the commentary I believe says that the Buddha, when he was meditating and didn't notice an incredible storm going on, was in arahataphalasamadhi I believe which is an incredibly high meditation state. But according to the idea that one cannot hear even in the first jhana this would not be a unique feat at all as all and every person who can enter the first or at least the second jhana would have identical experiences.

The story is told to show that the Buddha can enter such a high state of meditation so as to hear literally nothing to show that he is special. If no one can hear in even the first jhana or at least the second on up, then what is the point of the story?

Does this story provide support for the idea that hearing is not impossible in jhana?
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

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Re: Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

Post by Dmytro » Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:05 pm

Hi Zan,
zan wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:43 pm
I was hoping that you all may be able to present all of the arguments and textual evidence that support the idea that one can hear sounds in the first jhana.
Here's an excellent explanation by Geoff Shatz:

http://web.archive.org/web/201603060020 ... jhana.html
http://web.archive.org/web/201603051817 ... hanas.html

Article by Ven. Thanissaro:

Silence Isn’t Mandatory
SENSORY PERCEPTION IN THE JHĀNAS

http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writ ... datory.pdf

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aflatun
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Re: Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

Post by aflatun » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:01 pm

As Robert said, Theravada seems pretty clear about this.

That said I think its worth considering other opinions, particularly from non Theravada sources.

Based on a recent exchange I had with Malcolm it seems the Sautrantikas/Darstantikas (as presented by the pre Yogacarin Ven. Vasubandhu in the Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam) allowed for at least tactile consciousness in the first jhana, because sukha is explicitly a tactile pleasant feeling born of tactile consciousness:
Vasubandhu in Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam wrote:iii. [Objection of the Vaibhasikas:] In order for the happiness of the first two Dhyanas to be agreeable bodily sensation, it is necessary for the person in absorption to produce a consciousness of touch {kayavijnana). And this is not possible. [Answer of the Darstantikas:] In the state of absorption, the body is penetrated by a wind born of excellent mental concentration (samadhi); this wind is a tangible which is agreeably felt (sukhavedaniya) and is called well-being. Hence there is produced a consciousness of touch (together with the agreeable sensation associated with this consciousness).
Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam pg 1233

The opponents Vasubandhu is arguing against in the relevant passages take a position similar to Theravada, which is interesting, to say the least.

Regarding sound specifically, I'm not sure what his take is. But further down when discussing dhyana existences (not states in this life, but post mortem destinations) he says:
Vasubandhu in Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam wrote: a. In the First Dhyana existence, there are three sensations: 1) the sensation of happiness (sukhavedana) associated with three consciousnesses (eye, ear, and body consciousness); 2) the sensation of satisfaction of the sphere of the mind consciousness (manovijnana); and 3) the sensation of equanimity associated with four consciousnesses (eye, ear, body, and manas).
Abhidharmakośabhāṣyam pg 1240

It would be interesting to see what Shramana Zhiyi has to say about this, since he was writing about jhana (dhyana) but I haven't read the book(s) yet.

Of course there is The Great Jhana Debate where you will find Geoff/Nyana arguing something that I think is similar to Ven. Vasubandhu's position
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

zan
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Re: Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

Post by zan » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:16 pm

Dmytro wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:05 pm
Hi Zan,
zan wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:43 pm
I was hoping that you all may be able to present all of the arguments and textual evidence that support the idea that one can hear sounds in the first jhana.
Here's an excellent explanation by Geoff Shatz:

http://web.archive.org/web/201603060020 ... jhana.html
http://web.archive.org/web/201603051817 ... hanas.html

Article by Ven. Thanissaro:

Silence Isn’t Mandatory
SENSORY PERCEPTION IN THE JHĀNAS

http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writ ... datory.pdf
Wow thanks!
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

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Pondera
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Re: Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

Post by Pondera » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:09 am

It’s pretty clear. There’s one attainment where one does not hear (see, smell, feel, etc.). - ie. “the cessation of perception and feeling”.

Even in “neither perception nor non perception” there is sound - ie. neither sound nor not-sound - neither sight nor not-sight”. Etc.

Clearly, eliminating perception (and feeling) is the escape in Buddhism. If that escape was realized in all the lower jhanas, then why even have the final release?!!!

auto
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Re: Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

Post by auto » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:04 pm

Pondera wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:09 am
It’s pretty clear. There’s one attainment where one does not hear (see, smell, feel, etc.). - ie. “the cessation of perception and feeling”.

Even in “neither perception nor non perception” there is sound - ie. neither sound nor not-sound - neither sight nor not-sight”. Etc.

Clearly, eliminating perception (and feeling) is the escape in Buddhism. If that escape was realized in all the lower jhanas, then why even have the final release?!!!
Cessation of perception and feeling. So you still will have 1st, 4th and 5th skandhas. Otherwords rupa, cetasikas, cittas.
abhidhamma

“Citta” is defined as ‘consciousness of the senses’ or ‘awareness
of an object’.
Cittas may be divided into four classes in accordance with
the four planes (bhåmi) or spheres (avacara):
1 Kàmàvacara cittas
consciousness mostly experienced in the sense sphere
(kàma-loka)
2 Råpàvacara cittas
consciousness mostly experienced in the fine-material
sphere (råpa-loka)
3 Aråpàvacara cittas
Consciousness mostly experienced in the immaterial
sphere (aråpa-loka)
4 Lokuttara cittas
consciousness experienced in the supramundane (transcendental)
level
-----
Råpa is incessantly produced from four main
sources namely, kamma, citta, utu (heat) and àhàra (nutriment).
And råpa is very short lived – it endures only for 17 conscious
moments. What is formed is almost instantly gone.

First råpa is twofold namely,
i Bhåta-råpa – essentials, and
ii Upàdàya-råpa – derivatives.

The bhåta-råpa is more prominent than the upàdàya-råpa.
Great masses like the earth and the sun are formed when a lot
of bhåta-råpa has accumulated. Consequently bhåta-råpa is also
called mahàbhåta (great essentials).

1 Pathavã
The element of extension with the characteristics of
hardness and softness..
2 âpo
The element of cohesion with the characteristics of
cohesiveness and fluidity..
3 Tejo
The element of heat or heat energy with the characteristics
of hotness and coldness..
4 Vàyo
The element of motion or kinetic energy with the characteristics
of pushing and supporting..
-----
Cetasikas are mental factors or mental concomitants that arise
and perish together with citta, depend on citta for their arising
and influence the mind to be bad, good or neutral as they arise.
A cetasika has the following four characteristic properties:
i It arises together with citta (consciousness).
ii It perishes together with citta.
iii It takes the same object (arammana) which citta takes.
iv It shares a common physical base (vatthu) with citta.

auto
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Re: Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

Post by auto » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:10 pm

abhidhamma (argument against the op)
‘Samàpatti’ means ‘attainment’. A person, who has attained the
råpàvacara jhàna, may enter the meditative absorption corresponding
to that jhàna whenever he wishes. If he practices well,
he may attain the ecstatic trance instantly and remain in the
trance for one hour, two hours, three hours, etc., up to seven
days. During this trance, the jhàna citta occurs repeatedly and
spontaneously focusing the attention on the pañibhàga-nimitta
of kasiõa. So he will not hear any sound nor know any other
sense-object during the trance.
1 For attainment of råpàvacara jhàna:
The pañibhàga-nimitta of kasiõa appears at the mind-door
causing the life-continuum to vibrate twice and become
arrested (Na-Da). Then mano-dvàràvajjana observes the
pañibhàga-nimitta and decides whether it is good or bad.
Then one of the two somanassa-sahagataü ¤ànasampayuttaõ
mahàkusala cittas (take upekkhà-sahagataü to
enter the fifth jhàna) functions as parikamma (omit for
tikkha-pa¤¤à person), upacàra, anuloma and gotrabhu.
Then råpàvacara kusala first jhàna (or second, third,
fourth or fifth jhàna) citta functions many times as
appanà-javana. When the ecstatic absorption is over,
bhavaïga cittas sink into life-continuum.
Na:bhavaïga-calàna – vibrating life-continuum
At the arising instant of this citta, råpà-rammaõa
appears (becomes distinct) at cakkhu-pasàda (eye-door)
Note that atimahantàrammaõa takes one cittakkhaõa for
its full development after uppàda.
Na: santiraõa – investigating consciousness
It investigates the object and the impression.
Da:bhavaïgupaccheda – arresting life-continuum
Bhavaïga-stream is cut off after the dissolution of this
citta.
Da: tadàlambaõa – registering consciousness
It immediately follows javana and runs for two
conscious moments enjoying the taste of the senseobject.
At the dissolving instant of the second
tadàlambaõa citta, the visible object and the cakkhupasàda
dissolve together because their life-time of 17
conscious moments is now complete.
Last edited by auto on Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

auto
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Re: Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

Post by auto » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:50 pm

but the thing is that you may hear the sounds you already know before entering jhana. Jhana arrests lifecontinuum.

?

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budo
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Re: Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

Post by budo » Tue May 22, 2018 9:16 pm

From my personal experience, the best jhana's I've had were ones with absolutely zero external sounds and my field of vision was pure white, on the way to this my sound became "localized" as in I could no longer hear outside the windows but only what's in the room, especially things like the floor and walls creeking, and then it leads to zero sound. This had the highest amount of piti and sukha. Any other forms I had that had sound in them were very mild in comparison.

Leigh Brasington also has suttas he translated on his site with the Buddha saying that sound is a thorn to first jhana, which I agree with. The louder the sounds around me (music, motorcycles, people screaming, etc..) the less chance of me being able to enter the full white vision no-sound jhana.

I just don't think one can generate strong concentration without seclusion from the senses, just like it says in the suttas. In fact I have such strong aversion to sound now that I'm planning on moving to a small town in the middle of no where with no houses around me, I just can't bare to be around loud people, motorcycles, scooters, music, etc..

Whenever I have a full blown jhana experience I also lose all desire to eat anything as well, just all desire for sensuality is temporarily suspended.

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Re: Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Wed May 23, 2018 6:03 am

i think you can
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

Saengnapha
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Re: Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

Post by Saengnapha » Wed May 23, 2018 7:58 am

budo wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 9:16 pm
From my personal experience, the best jhana's I've had were ones with absolutely zero external sounds and my field of vision was pure white, on the way to this my sound became "localized" as in I could no longer hear outside the windows but only what's in the room, especially things like the floor and walls creeking, and then it leads to zero sound. This had the highest amount of piti and sukha. Any other forms I had that had sound in them were very mild in comparison.

Leigh Brasington also has suttas he translated on his site with the Buddha saying that sound is a thorn to first jhana, which I agree with. The louder the sounds around me (music, motorcycles, people screaming, etc..) the less chance of me being able to enter the full white vision no-sound jhana.

I just don't think one can generate strong concentration without seclusion from the senses, just like it says in the suttas. In fact I have such strong aversion to sound now that I'm planning on moving to a small town in the middle of no where with no houses around me, I just can't bare to be around loud people, motorcycles, scooters, music, etc..

Whenever I have a full blown jhana experience I also lose all desire to eat anything as well, just all desire for sensuality is temporarily suspended.
What benefit do you feel this brings you?

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budo
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Re: Arguments in favor of being able to hear in the first jhana

Post by budo » Thu May 24, 2018 3:47 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 7:58 am
budo wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 9:16 pm
From my personal experience, the best jhana's I've had were ones with absolutely zero external sounds and my field of vision was pure white, on the way to this my sound became "localized" as in I could no longer hear outside the windows but only what's in the room, especially things like the floor and walls creeking, and then it leads to zero sound. This had the highest amount of piti and sukha. Any other forms I had that had sound in them were very mild in comparison.

Leigh Brasington also has suttas he translated on his site with the Buddha saying that sound is a thorn to first jhana, which I agree with. The louder the sounds around me (music, motorcycles, people screaming, etc..) the less chance of me being able to enter the full white vision no-sound jhana.

I just don't think one can generate strong concentration without seclusion from the senses, just like it says in the suttas. In fact I have such strong aversion to sound now that I'm planning on moving to a small town in the middle of no where with no houses around me, I just can't bare to be around loud people, motorcycles, scooters, music, etc..

Whenever I have a full blown jhana experience I also lose all desire to eat anything as well, just all desire for sensuality is temporarily suspended.
What benefit do you feel this brings you?
The same benefits the suttas claim

- pleasure and bliss born of seclusion
- insights and clearer mind
- equanimity
- peace and quiet
- divine eye sometimes
- divine ear sometimes
- can sit in meditation for several hours
- no 5 hindrances (ill will, sensual desire, doubt, restlessness, sloth)

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