The Great Jhana Debate

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
Sylvester
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Sylvester » Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:40 am

daverupa wrote:Comments below:

The Sutta I mentioned, however, did not say one sees with the eye. "I see what you're saying" <-- this is a similar use of the word, yes? Nevertheless, the Sutta said that, in 1-4 jhana, whatever exists of material form was to be seen with wisdom. Focusing on "see" is a red herring, because the point is that there is instruction on material form for rupa jhana, and not for arupa jhana.
Ahh, I see where you're coming from. But what sort of "material" rupa is in 1st Jhana?

Firstly, let's acknowledge that the adjective "material" is not in the Pali. But we can definitely follow the Namarupa definition (SN 12.2) and accept that "rupa" is the 4 dhatus and the "rupa" derived therefrom.

Would this be a worthwhile enquiry to find out what is actually meant by "rupa"? Does one take Hamilton's commentary that it is which constitutes "appearance", while Nama is that which allows the observer to conceive/conceptualise that Rupa? Or perhaps Ven Nanananda's commentary of Rupa as 'striking', in the context of patighasamphassa?

Bearing in mind that the dhatus are not little digitised atoms in the Western sense, but are merely designations for certain qualities (solidity, fluidity, heat, motion), what exactly is a rupa?

Viharati = enters and dwells in, or maybe abiding? Well, the word "therein" in the Sutta seems to claim what you are denying. Whatever material form therein, not whatever material form afterwards.
The point I was trying to make was that "viharati" occurs in the sentence preceding what you quoted; that sentence with "viharati" demarcates Jhana -
Idhānanda, bhikkhu upadhivivekā akusalānaṃ dhammānaṃ pahānā sabbaso kāyaduṭṭhullānaṃ paṭippassaddhiyā vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati. So yadeva tattha hoti rūpagataṃ vedanāgataṃ saññāgataṃ saṅkhāragataṃ viññāṇagataṃ te dhamme aniccato dukkhato rogato gaṇḍato sallato aghato ābādhato parato palokato suññato anattato samanupassati. So tehi dhammehi cittaṃ paṭivāpeti ...
The "therein"/"tattha"/"in that place" is certainly referring to the states in 1st Jhana (referred to in the sentence preceding the vipassana sentence), but the issue was whether or not the "seeing" was taking place during Jhana, or post-Jhana.
Sylvester wrote:Secondly, three of the subsequent present tense verbs samanupassati, paṭivāpeti and upasaṃharati all require vitakka-vicara, which is certainly present in 1st Jhana, but absent in 2nd Jhana upwards. These verbs cannot be describing actions that are happening whilst in the Jhana.
Require vitakka-vicara? Where is this stated elsewhere?
Actually, the sutta itself says so, if you read the Pali. Let's take the verb "upasaṃharati". What is the meditator doing ?
So tehi dhammehi cittaṃ paṭivāpetvā amatāya dhātuyā cittaṃ upasaṃharati— ‘etaṃ santaṃ etaṃ paṇītaṃ yadidaṃ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭinissaggo taṇhākkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānan’ti.
The moment you see the clitic "ti", the passage is reporting a thought. Can one think without "vitakka-vicara"?

The thing is, as far as I can tell it isn't inconsistent with the SuttaVinaya, but it is inconsistent with the Canon. That means it's inconsistent with resources I don't consider valid, so no problem thus far...
Not quite sure what you mean by the above. Might you care to elaborate?

rowyourboat
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Post by rowyourboat » Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:24 am

Can someone translate this please:?


Taṃ kiṃ maññasi, māgaṇḍiya, api nu so devaputto nandane vane accharāsaṅghaparivuto dibbehi pañcahi kāmaguṇehi samappito samaṅgībhūto paricārayamāno amussa gahapatissa vā gahapatiputtassa vā piheyya, mānusakānaṃ vā pañcannaṃ kāmaguṇānaṃ mānusakehi vā kāmehi āvaṭṭeyyā”ti?

Thanks

Sylvester, could kaamesu be referring to kaama rather than kaamaa?

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

Freawaru
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Freawaru » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:15 am

Hi Sylvester,
Sylvester wrote: Just like those who read the iddhi sections following 4th Jhana as thinking that one could exercise the iddhis within the 4th Jhana. A quick check with the grammar on the effect of a past participle verb in a locative absolute construction would immediately tell you that the verbs associated with the 4th Jhana happened well in the past and not concurrently with the iddhis.
Okay, for the sake of discussion lets say you are right here. But how? I mean, how does the ability to use the iddhis (and finally master them) arise from the practice of jhana? If one is not IN jhana while using an iddhi, what is the mechanism of jhana that makes exercising the iddhis possible afterwards ? And what is the state called that arises while one accesses an iddhi? Is it just one state or are the iddhis maybe accessible during several different states? In short: what is the connection between jhana and the iddhis if it is not "opening of iddhi during jhana"?

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daverupa
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by daverupa » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:55 am

Sylvester wrote:what exactly is a rupa?
I guess "material form" is in fact redundant, so that's fun. =)

I don't think it's precisely the -rupa of namarupa. It's alongside the other qualities directly according to the five aggregate scheme, so I define it thusly as the form-aggregate. I then simply note that rupa and arupa jhana differ in this respect, and conclude that the names of rupajhana and arupajhana are obviously referring to the presence, or absence, of the potential to discern form in these states.

Perhaps jhana 1-4 offer concentration to such a degree that vinnana can remain exclusively defined according to the mental sense base for the duration, but that's speculation on my part. In any event, the Sutta seems clear enough.

(I would be interested to see the Agama correlate to the Sutta in question.)
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

Nyana
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Nyana » Fri Jun 03, 2011 2:32 pm

daverupa wrote:Perhaps jhana 1-4 offer concentration to such a degree that vinnana can remain exclusively defined according to the mental sense base for the duration, but that's speculation on my part. In any event, the Sutta seems clear enough.
Mental consciousness (manoviññāṇa) can take the body sensory sphere as an object. Moreover, SN 47.6 Sakuṇagghi Sutta explicitly differentiates between the five strands of sensual pleasure (kāmagunā) and the four applications of mindfulness (satipaṭṭhānā), and so neither the body nor the breath are strands of sensual pleasure. Thus, all of this is really a moot point.

But if one really wants to split hairs, in commentarial terms the form portion of the "whole body" (sabbakāya) experienced in jhāna is mind-produced form which pervades the physical body. The Dīghanikāyaṭīkā:
  • Mind-produced form (cittajarūpa) suffuses every area where there is kamma-produced form (kammajarūpa).
The Vimuttimagga:
  • Just as the bath-powder when inside and outside saturated with moisture, adheres and does not scatter, so the body of the meditator in the first jhāna is permeated with joy and pleasure from top to bottom, from the skullcap to the feet and from the feet to the skullcap, skin and hair, inside and outside. And he dwells without falling back. Thus he dwells like a Brahma god.

    [Q.] Joy (pīti) and pleasure (sukha) are said to be formless phenomena (arūpa-dhamma). How then can they stay permeating the body?

    [A.] Name (nāma) depends on form (rūpa). Form depends on name. Therefore, if name has joy, form also has joy. If name has pleasure, form also has pleasure.

    Again, form born from joy causes tranquility of body, and when the entire body is tranquillized there is pleasure due to the tranquility of form. Therefore there is no contradiction.
All the best,

Geoff

Sylvester
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Re: The Great Jhana Debate

Post by Sylvester » Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:04 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Can someone translate this please:?

Here you go, courtesy of the MLDB:
Taṃ kiṃ maññasi, māgaṇḍiya, api nu so devaputto nandane vane accharāsaṅghaparivuto dibbehi pañcahi kāmaguṇehi samappito samaṅgībhūto paricārayamāno amussa gahapatissa vā gahapatiputtassa vā piheyya, mānusakānaṃ vā pañcannaṃ kāmaguṇānaṃ mānusakehi vā kāmehi āvaṭṭeyyā”ti?

Would that young god surrounded by the group of nymphs in the Nandana Grove, enjoying himself, provided and endowed with the 5 cords of divine sensual pleasure, envy the householder or the householder's son for the five cords of human sensual pleasure or would he be enticed by human sensual pleasures?
As to your query, kāmā is one of those weird words in Pali, where the singular (kāma) means either (i) sensual desire, or (ii) a sense object, but the plural in the suttas does not mean sensual desires. So, kāmesu is a grammatical case (locative) for kāmā and is understood mean "with reference to the kāmā (sense objects).

Just note that Ven Nanamoli had translated kāmā to be "sensual desire", most probably following the Abhidhammic definition. When BB edited the MLDB, he decided to just stick with the sutta sense and rendered it as "sensual pleasures".

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daverupa
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by daverupa » Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:22 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:SN 47.6 Sakuṇagghi Sutta explicitly differentiates between the five strands of sensual pleasure (kāmagunā) and the four applications of mindfulness (satipaṭṭhānā), and so neither the body nor the breath are strands of sensual pleasure.
But the body/breath are still available to perception in jhana 1-4. This is significant.
Ñāṇa wrote:But if one really wants to split hairs, in commentarial terms...
:|
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

Nyana
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Nyana » Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:35 pm

daverupa wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:SN 47.6 Sakuṇagghi Sutta explicitly differentiates between the five strands of sensual pleasure (kāmagunā) and the four applications of mindfulness (satipaṭṭhānā), and so neither the body nor the breath are strands of sensual pleasure.
But the body/breath are still available to perception in jhana 1-4. This is significant.
Yes. Specifically, for one engaged in ānāpānassatisamādhi the object-support is the mental representation (nimitta) of the breath cognized via mental consciousness.

All the best,

Geoff

Sylvester
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Sylvester » Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:38 pm

Freawaru wrote:Okay, for the sake of discussion lets say you are right here. But how? I mean, how does the ability to use the iddhis (and finally master them) arise from the practice of jhana? If one is not IN jhana while using an iddhi, what is the mechanism of jhana that makes exercising the iddhis possible afterwards ? And what is the state called that arises while one accesses an iddhi? Is it just one state or are the iddhis maybe accessible during several different states? In short: what is the connection between jhana and the iddhis if it is not "opening of iddhi during jhana"?
It's going to be difficult to start the discussion, even with that concession. We have quite a gap to bridge in terms of finding some common ground on the characteristics of a Jhana.

Personally, I believe that the samadhi from which the iddhis are accessed is probably that state denoted by the Commentaries as "upacara samadhi". Clearly, the Jhanas are not the only states that are free from the Hindrances, given the many "sudden stream entry" suttas using the standard pericope of the Buddha teaching the 4 Noble Truths when the listener was "free from the Hindrances".

Have you considered the Iddhipadasamyutta of the SN as perhaps containing the answer to your query? It seems to me that all the 4 iddhipada-s are based on certain samadhi-s with specific qualities.

I am of the view that the iddhipadas samadhi are not Jhana, especially when you consider the 1st and 4th iddhipada. The 1st samadhi contains "volitional formations of striving" (padhānasaṅkhārasamannāgataṃ), whereas DN 34 and the Samadhi Sutta (in AN 5s) specifically mention that the Jhanas are "na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagatoti" (without being controlled by volition).

This is further reinforced by the 4th iddhipada which is based on investigation (vimaṃsa). That is the function of the Enlightenment Factor of Dhammavicaya; see this post - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... ti#p121106" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

These are not states that can occur in a Jhana.

Sorry if I cannot be of much help.

Sylvester
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Sylvester » Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:47 pm

daverupa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:what exactly is a rupa?
I guess "material form" is in fact redundant, so that's fun. =)

I don't think it's precisely the -rupa of namarupa. It's alongside the other qualities directly according to the five aggregate scheme, so I define it thusly as the form-aggregate. I then simply note that rupa and arupa jhana differ in this respect, and conclude that the names of rupajhana and arupajhana are obviously referring to the presence, or absence, of the potential to discern form in these states.

Perhaps jhana 1-4 offer concentration to such a degree that vinnana can remain exclusively defined according to the mental sense base for the duration, but that's speculation on my part. In any event, the Sutta seems clear enough.

(I would be interested to see the Agama correlate to the Sutta in question.)
Hi, I think MN 28 places the rupa khandha squarely within the Namarupa scheme. And more tellingly, it mentions the internal and external constituents of the rupa khandha. Rupa khandha is not one's body, but simply one's experience of internal and external dhatus.

As for "material form", BB explains he decided to change Ven Nanamoli's uniform rendition of rupa to "form", so as to be able to distinguish between rupa as rupa khandha, and rupa as cakkhuvinneya rupa (visual data).

Freawaru
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Freawaru » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:36 pm

Hi Sylvester,

thank you for your help :smile:
It's going to be difficult to start the discussion, even with that concession. We have quite a gap to bridge in terms of finding some common ground on the characteristics of a Jhana.
Yes. When I started to look into Theravada I tried to get exact definitions of terms. It prooved impossible because different translators and teachers would use different translations into english (or german at that) and tried to name different experiences and factors of experience by them.

Take for example "samadhi". In yoga the term is translated as "collection". "Concentration" - the term translated as samadhi in Theravada - is "dharana" in yoga, literally "holding fast". In yoga samadhi/collection denotes a state with different possible objects, different activities, I think "flow" is what we use today:
Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
That is why I compare it to how a horse is collected. Same name even. Collection, both in yoga (aka samadhi) and horses refers to a specific state the horse or mind can be in. What horse or mind DO during collection can vary widely. But in Theravada samadhi is just translated as concentration. Concentration is an activity, not a state. It is what is done, to hold something fast, not the resulting state of flow.

As Theravada seems to already use samadhi as the deed, rather than the state, thus jhana seemed the appropriate translation of "collection/flow".

To understand flow, collection, one has to experience it. In my experience, flow itself is not lucid. Meaning, there is no sati, no awareness of what happens while it happens. Only afterwards one realises one has been in flow. For becoming lucid during flow other processes need to awaken: sati and uppekha (looking on).

In yoga today the term "samadhi" seeems to always refer to a lucid state, a state with sati, while in Theravada it has several meanings http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#ch1.3" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) . But - just for the sake of discussion - what if neither was the orignal definition, or the definition during the time of the Buddha? What if the original definition was "collection", aka flow? In this case "samadhi + sati + uppekha might be the definition of a lucid flow-state called jhana. Would this make sense in the suttas?
Personally, I believe that the samadhi from which the iddhis are accessed is probably that state denoted by the Commentaries as "upacara samadhi".
In my experience the iddhis do require a specific state of concentration but not absorption with it nor necessarily sati. There had not always been awareness when they happened but their appearance in general was more often when I would practice jhana. Also, all the traditions, Theravada, Mahayana, Hinduism, etc, agree that practice of a specific state of concentration leads to the arising of iddhis. So there is a connection.
Clearly, the Jhanas are not the only states that are free from the Hindrances, given the many "sudden stream entry" suttas using the standard pericope of the Buddha teaching the 4 Noble Truths when the listener was "free from the Hindrances".
I didn't know that.
Have you considered the Iddhipadasamyutta of the SN as perhaps containing the answer to your query? It seems to me that all the 4 iddhipada-s are based on certain samadhi-s with specific qualities.

Yes, but it seems just to describe that it is so, not the mechanism. Sort of "if the monk did that, this will happen." Without further information of the "that" in the "did that" - and there are after all several interpretations - it is not much of a help.

All I can be sure of is that if I practice the way I used to there is an increase of experiencing the iddhis. And not always due to my intent or even lucidity. This is why I search for a way to develop sati during their appearance.

I am of the view that the iddhipadas samadhi are not Jhana, especially when you consider the 1st and 4th iddhipada. The 1st samadhi contains "volitional formations of striving" (padhānasaṅkhārasamannāgataṃ), whereas DN 34 and the Samadhi Sutta (in AN 5s) specifically mention that the Jhanas are "na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagatoti" (without being controlled by volition).

There is control during jhana, has to be, just as there is control during samadhi. But the authority that keeps control can differ. Using the horse-rider analogy, during samadhi (my speculative defintion above aka flow) the horse is in control, but during jhana it is the rider (a transcendental function based on sati). Samadhi is like a horse collecting itself (for fight or impressing another horse). Samadhi with sati is like a rider sitting on a horse that collects itself for it's own reasons - the rider has no control. Jhana is like a collected horse controled by the rider due to the "throughness" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Throughness" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;). The question is: what exactly is "throughness" in terms of Dhamma? Or to put it differently: what is the transcendental authority (in terms of a function) in control of the state of jhana when it is not volition?
This is further reinforced by the 4th iddhipada which is based on investigation (vimaṃsa). That is the function of the Enlightenment Factor of Dhammavicaya; see this post - viewtopic.php?f=13&t=7360&p=121106&hilit=vicarati#p121106

These are not states that can occur in a Jhana.
Let me get this straight: you think that when Gautama moved through the levels of jhana he "sidesteped" fourth jhana and entered another samadhi to access the "recall all my previous lives iddhi"?
Sorry if I cannot be of much help.
You provided me with a lot of new possibilites and links to search for a many-years quest. Thank you for that :smile:

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daverupa
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by daverupa » Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:21 pm

Freawaru wrote: What if the original definition was "collection", aka flow? In this case "samadhi + sati + uppekha might be the definition of a lucid flow-state called jhana. Would this make sense in the suttas?
Nope. Jhanas aren't "flow states" because flow states can involve focus on sensual pleasure. Jhana is never like that.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

Sylvester
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Sylvester » Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:10 am

Freawaru wrote:In my experience the iddhis do require a specific state of concentration but not absorption with it nor necessarily sati. There had not always been awareness when they happened but their appearance in general was more often when I would practice jhana. Also, all the traditions, Theravada, Mahayana, Hinduism, etc, agree that practice of a specific state of concentration leads to the arising of iddhis. So there is a connection.
Hi Freawaru

While I'm defnitely not au fait with what each of these other traditions say about the relationship between samadhi and the iddhis, DN 1 gives an interesting window into the Early Buddhist perspective of non-Buddhist iddhi-s.

The model coincides to some degree with the iddhipada-s, but looks different at the same time. Taking Walshe's translation -
Here, monks, a certain ascetic or Brahmin has by means of effort, exertion, application, earnestness and right attention attained to such a state of mental concentration that he thereby recalls past existences - one birth, two births ...

Idha, bhikkhave, ekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā ātappamanvāya padhānamanvāya anuyogamanvāya appamādamanvāya sammāmanasikāramanvāya tathārūpaṃ cetosamādhiṃ phusati, yathāsamāhite citte ( ) anekavihitaṃ pubbenivāsaṃ anussarati. Seyyathidaṃ— ekampi jātiṃ dvepi jātiyo ...
It's highly unlikely, IMHO, that cetosamādhi is the text refers to the Jhanas. In the subsequent passages on wrong views No. 59 to 62, the 4 Jhana-s are mentioned explicitly by name. It just looks odd that the Jhana-s are mentioned there, but not in relation to the earlier wrong views.


Let me get this straight: you think that when Gautama moved through the levels of jhana he "sidesteped" fourth jhana and entered another samadhi to access the "recall all my previous lives iddhi"?
I don't think one can decide to move from one Jhana to the next, not when one is abiding in a Jhana. I think suttas that best exemplifies how one moves from one Jhana to another is probably the Pabbateyya Gavi Sutta, AN 9.35. The decision to move from 1st Jhana to 2nd Jhana appears to be made outside of Jhana, which probably explains the Buddha's deathbed attainments - He leaves an attainment before moving on to the next.

Freawaru
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Freawaru » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:26 am

H Daverupa,
daverupa wrote:
Freawaru wrote: What if the original definition was "collection", aka flow? In this case "samadhi + sati + uppekha might be the definition of a lucid flow-state called jhana. Would this make sense in the suttas?
Nope. Jhanas aren't "flow states" because flow states can involve focus on sensual pleasure. Jhana is never like that.
As far as I know, fourth jhana is defined by the presence of the perfected sati and uppekha. I think we all agree on what sati is, and there is no reason to assume that it can not be there during a state of Flow. So what about uppekha? What is, in you definition, uppekha, and why can't it be there during Flow?
Last edited by Freawaru on Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

Freawaru
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Freawaru » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:39 am

Hi Sylvester
Sylvester wrote: While I'm defnitely not au fait with what each of these other traditions say about the relationship between samadhi and the iddhis, DN 1 gives an interesting window into the Early Buddhist perspective of non-Buddhist iddhi-s.

The model coincides to some degree with the iddhipada-s, but looks different at the same time. Taking Walshe's translation -
Here, monks, a certain ascetic or Brahmin has by means of effort, exertion, application, earnestness and right attention attained to such a state of mental concentration that he thereby recalls past existences - one birth, two births ...

Idha, bhikkhave, ekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā ātappamanvāya padhānamanvāya anuyogamanvāya appamādamanvāya sammāmanasikāramanvāya tathārūpaṃ cetosamādhiṃ phusati, yathāsamāhite citte ( ) anekavihitaṃ pubbenivāsaṃ anussarati. Seyyathidaṃ— ekampi jātiṃ dvepi jātiyo ...
It's highly unlikely, IMHO, that cetosamādhi is the text refers to the Jhanas. In the subsequent passages on wrong views No. 59 to 62, the 4 Jhana-s are mentioned explicitly by name. It just looks odd that the Jhana-s are mentioned there, but not in relation to the earlier wrong views.
But samadhi alone is not jhana. Samadhi might not include sati and uppekha. The iddhi of recalling one's past lives does not require jhana, even some people from New Age can do that, but they don't access it with the presence of sati and uppekha.

I don't think one can decide to move from one Jhana to the next, not when one is abiding in a Jhana. I think suttas that best exemplifies how one moves from one Jhana to another is probably the Pabbateyya Gavi Sutta, AN 9.35. The decision to move from 1st Jhana to 2nd Jhana appears to be made outside of Jhana, which probably explains the Buddha's deathbed attainments - He leaves an attainment before moving on to the next.
It is possible to enter fourth jhana directly, without going through the other three first (in fact Buddhaghosa describes this practice in the Visuddhimagga), so I think it possible the Buddha just referred to this practice in the Pabbateyya Gavi Sutta. During jhana there is sati and uppekha, what more does one need to leave the state at will or enter another from here?

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