The Great Jhana Debate

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
Kenshou
Posts: 1030
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Kenshou » Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:35 am

These could form a part of what is known as path/fruition moment.
I think the magga/phala citta(s) notion is a bit forced, but I don't see the value of swerving into that topic right now, so I'm gonna let that one be.
Insight is an attainment. Strictly speaking, one cannot practice "insight". One can learn and study, and as a result of that, one day insight will come.
Though I agree with that, I think terms like "insight practice" are thrown around commonly enough that you ought to know what I'm talking about. (or at least I thought so, in hindsight that comment sounded snarkier than I wanted it to be, sorry)
No mention of concentration (especially of the don't see, don't hear) for stream-entry.
I intentionally tried to make sure that I was not implying that insight is impossible without concentration, only that it is supportive of it. If that was not clear, allow me to make it clear now. (I don't buy the "don't see, don't hear etc. definition anyway)

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Alex123 » Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:21 am

Kenshou wrote:
These could form a part of what is known as path/fruition moment.
I think the magga/phala citta(s) notion is a bit forced, but I don't see the value of swerving into that topic right now, so I'm gonna let that one be.
It is implied in the suttas, especially those where a person went from good worldling to an Arahant in a split second, or few minutes (ala Bahiya). In that case the 4 path and fruits happened very rapidly.

In Ptsm this is explicitly said. All 37 factors of awakening happen during the path/fruit moment. They aren't practiced, they are a result.
1) Association with people of integrity is a factor for stream-entry.
2) Listening to the true Dhamma is a factor for stream-entry.
3) Appropriate attention is a factor for stream-entry.
4) Practice in accordance with the Dhamma is a factor for stream-entry.
— SN 55.5
In some other places it is said to lead all the way to Arhatship. Notice how instructions seem progressive, where one factor is the cause for the next.

Appropriate attention as a quality of a monk in training: nothing else does so much for attaining the superlative goal. A monk, striving appropriately, attains the ending of stress.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... #fnt-016.3" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

Kenshou
Posts: 1030
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Kenshou » Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:51 am

The underlying issue is that I take a somewhat different and more inclusive stance on what exactly constitutes magga and phala. I do not believe that the Abhidhammic analysis is entirely without value or truth but I think that it can be a little pedantic and rigid, good food for thought but not necessarily a reliable guide to this messy reality of ours.

Nyana
Posts: 2233
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Nyana » Fri Jun 11, 2010 7:23 am

Sylvester wrote:“Cakkhuviññeyyā rūpā iṭṭhā kantā manāpā piyarūpā kāmūpasaṃhitā rajanīyā …”

ie forms cognisable by the eye - agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing.

Are the predicates that follow "form" adjectives that limit the kamaguna to only forms which are agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing?
Indeed they are. I forgot to mention the following from SN 47.6 (S v 146), which differentiates between the kāmaguṇa-s and the four satipaṭṭhāna-s. It's worth remembering in this regard that the contemplation of the body satipaṭṭhāna includes objects of contemplation such as mindfulness of breathing, the foul parts of the body, and the stages of corpse decomposition. Clearly the body, the tactile sensations associated with the breath, the 32 parts of the body, and the stages of corpse decomposition are not considered to be "strings of sensuality." SN 47.6 (S v 146):

"[Y]ou should not wander into what is not your proper range and is the territory of others. In one who wanders into what is not his proper range and is the territory of others, Mara gains an opening, Mara gains a foothold. And what, for a monk, is not his proper range and is the territory of others? The five strands of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable by the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Sounds cognizable by the ear... Aromas cognizable by the nose... Flavors cognizable by the tongue... Tactile sensations cognizable by the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. These, for a monk, are not his proper range and are the territory of others.

"Wander, monks, in what is your proper range, your own ancestral territory. In one who wanders in what is his proper range, his own ancestral territory, Mara gains no opening, Mara gains no foothold. And what, for a monk, is his proper range, his own ancestral territory? The four frames of reference. Which four? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. This, for a monk, is his proper range, his own ancestral territory."

User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3476
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Alex123 » Sat Jun 12, 2010 2:54 am

Kenshou wrote:The underlying issue is that I take a somewhat different and more inclusive stance on what exactly constitutes magga and phala. I do not believe that the Abhidhammic analysis is entirely without value or truth but I think that it can be a little pedantic and rigid, good food for thought but not necessarily a reliable guide to this messy reality of ours.
Awakening (magga/phala) being a moment containing all 37 factors of awakening is found in Sutta-Pitaka, Patisambhidamagga


TREATISE XXIII — ON CONVERGENCE
No. At the moment of the supramundane path: there is convergence of seeing, which is right view; there is convergence of directing-onto, which
is right thought; there is convergence of embracing, which is right speaking; there is convergence of originating, which is right acting; there is convergence
of cleansing, which is right living; there is convergence of exertion, which is right effort; there is convergence of establishing (founding), which is right mindfulness; there is convergence of non-distraction, which is right concentration. There is convergence of establishing (founding),
which is the mindfulness enlightenment factor; ... [and so on with the rest of the seven enlightenment factors] ... there is convergence of reflexion,
which is the equanimity enlightenment factor. There is convergence of unshakability by non-faith, which is the faith power: ... [and
so on with the rest of the ñve powers] ... there is convergence of unshakability by ignorance, which is the understanding power. There is
convergence of resolution, which is the faith faculty;... [and so on with the rest of the five faculties] ... there is convergence of seeing, which is
the understanding faculty. There is convergence of the faculties in the sense of dominance; there is convergence of the powers in the sense of
unshakability; there is convergence of the enlightenment factors in the sense of outlet; there is convergence of the path in the sense of cause;
there is convergence of the foundations of mindfulness in the sense of establishment (foundation); there is convergence of the right endeavours
in the sense of endeavouring; there is convergence of the bases for success in the sense of succeeding; there is convergence of the actualities in the
sense of suchness (reality). There is convergence of serenity in the sense of non-distraction; there is convergence of insight in the sense of contemplation;
there is convergence of serenity and insight in the sense of single function (taste); there is convergence of coupling in the sense of nonexcess.
Purification of virtue in the sense of restraint is convergence; purification of cognizance in the sense of non-distraction is convergence;
purification of view in the sense of seeing is convergence; liberation in the sense of freedom is convergence; recognition in the sense of penetration
is convergence; deliverance in the sense of giving up is convergence; knowledge of exhaustion in the sense of cutting off is convergence. In the sense
of root foundation, zeal is convergence; in the sense of origination, attention is convergence; in the sense of combining, contact is convergence; in
the sense of being foremost, [217] concentration is convergence; in the sense of dominance, mindfulness is convergence; in the sense of being the
highest of all, understanding is convergence; in the sense of core, deliverance is convergence; in the sense of end, nibbana which merges in the
deathless is convergence.
Repeat the same for stream-entry path and till arhatship fruition.

Also the faculties are being developed at the moment of 4 paths and fruits.
TREATISE IV. — ON FACULTIES
At the moment of the stream-entry path the five faculties are being developed; at the moment of the fruition of stream-entry the five faculties
have been developed, quite developed, and also tranquillized, quite tranquillized.
[same for other 3 maggaphalas]
The five faculties are supramundane, not to mention Noble Eight Fold Path. Noble (Aryan) means that worldlings cannot practice it as they are worldlings and not noble ones.
[ TREATISE XVIII. - ON THE SUPRAMUNDANE ]
1. What ideas are supramundane?
The four Foundations of Mindfulness, the four Right Endeavours, the four Bases for Success (Roads to Power), the five Faculties, the five Powers, the seven Enlightenment factors, the Eightfold Path; then the four Noble Paths, the four Fruits of Asceticism, and Nibbana.
They are supramundane, they cannot be practiced by ordinary worldling.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

Brizzy

Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Brizzy » Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:03 am

As regards the body being "felt" in jhana.................

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

SN48.040 Then goes on to explain that the pleasure faculty (BODILY pleasure) ceases in the third jhana. There still remains bodily feelings of equanimity.

Sorry I could not find an online version of the sutta, if anybody knows of one that would be cool. The sutta is immensely straightforward and leaves no doubt about the body within jhana.

:smile:

Freawaru
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: The jhana debate

Post by Freawaru » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:53 am

Hi Geoff and IanAnd,
IanAnd wrote:
Brizzy wrote:What is one thing that the Buddha continuously asked his followers to practice? - Mindfulness of Body.
Yes. Indeed.
According to the Kayanupassana http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/T ... assana.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; one can
know the biological insides of our physical body - hairs of the head, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, bone-marrow, kidney, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, ... Speaking from a point of experience do you experience direct knowledge of these aspects of the physical body during jhana? Do you experience them as pleasant, the pleasant feeling of jhana in the nails and kidney and liver? Because I don't. In what I would call jhana I experience pleasant feeling permeating my body, yes, but no liver and pleura and lungs, just an experience of form permeated by pleasant feeling. There are the elements, yes, but no biological aspects. I have experienced the awareness of the biological body now and then but via a different route than the elements - they seem to me to be on another level of observation.

So from my point of experience I would say that kayanupassana is different from jhana. The body experienced during jhana is either the one made of the elements or the mind-made one or the formless one, but never the biological one. This rather agrees with the yoga system and the Tibetan system - in both the body made of the elements (the gross body) is not the biological body - of course this is Theravada and it might be different here but I would like some proove to accept that.

So: are you really sure you are aware of the biological body during jhana: hairs of the head, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, bone-marrow, kidney, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, ...? Can you control the biological body during jhana as one can control the elements - change blood pressure, heart beat, body temperature, guide a poison through the intestine without it being assimilated ... ?

And are there suttic references that identify without doubt the elemental body of the first jhanas with the biological body in contrast to the yogic and Tibetan systems that don't ?

Freawaru
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Freawaru » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:41 am

Hi Geoff,
Ñāṇa wrote:
Freawaru wrote:Do you know the Pali terms used in the Potthapada sutta for "the gross acquisition of a self", "the mind-made acquisition of a self", and "formless acquisition of a self"?
They are oḷāriko attapaṭilābho, manomayo attapaṭilābho, arūpo attapaṭilābho.
Freawaru wrote:Also, what is the Pali term translated as "perception" here (cause this translation translates the very same term as "consciousness"?) http://www.leighb.com/dn9.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (my Pali is lousy, you know)
It is saññā.
Thank you very much for the translations :smile:

User avatar
Sekha
Posts: 789
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:32 am
Location: Earth
Contact:

Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Sekha » Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:18 am

just to make it a little bit more salty:
from http://www.leighb.com/jhana_4factors.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; "Five Factors for the First Jhana - NOT!":
There is a wide spread misunderstanding that the first jhana has 5 factors. But this is not what is described in the suttas and is certainly not what the Buddha taught and practiced. The first jhana has 4 factors (Yes! Four - look it up, see it in Pali):
vitakka - thinking
vicara - more thinking, examining
piti - rapture, glee, zest
sukha - happiness
In the vast majority of cases - over 100 suttas, the first jhana is described as having only the 4 factors listed above.
Actually, I found an occurence where Sariputta on being asked what is 1st jhana gives the usual formula with 4 factors, and in the immediate next question about how many factors there are in 1st jhana he states 5 and adds cittekaggata...

what to think about this?

From MN 43 in Pali:
‘‘Katamaṃ panāvuso, paṭhamaṃ jhāna’’nti?

‘‘Idhāvuso, bhikkhu vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati – idaṃ vuccati, āvuso, paṭhamaṃ jhāna’’nti.

‘‘Paṭhamaṃ panāvuso, jhānaṃ katiaṅgika’’nti?

‘‘Paṭhamaṃ kho, āvuso, jhānaṃ pañcaṅgikaṃ. Idhāvuso, paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ samāpannassa bhikkhuno vitakko ca vattati, vicāro ca pīti ca sukhañca cittekaggatā ca. Paṭhamaṃ kho, āvuso, jhānaṃ evaṃ pañcaṅgika’’nti.
English translation by B Bodhi:
“Friend, what is the first jhana?”
“Here, friend, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhana, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion. This is called the first jhana.”
19. “Friend, how many factors does the first jhana have?”
“Friend, the first jhana has five factors. Here, when a bhikkhu has entered upon the first jhana, there occur applied thought, sustained thought, rapture, pleasure, and unification of mind. That is how the first jhana has five factors.”
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
oceanmen
Posts: 73
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:45 am

Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by oceanmen » Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:09 pm

Do I think that deep levels of absorption are important for being able to maintain one's practice in mindfulness and concentration? Yes, they can be. And you might think so too if you had experienced what I (and many others) have experienced who have been able to attain deep levels of quietude and the benefits thereof. Do I think that it is possible to work at attaining awakening first, and then, after having attained it, to turn one's attention toward deepening one's experience of absorption? Yes. I see no reason why not. Though I was essentially able to achieve deep levels of absorption during the time before being able to achieve awakening, the greater part of my awakening was achieved during moments of contemplation outside of formal meditation, meaning outside of having attained intense absorption states. It was only afterward that I was able to more easily take advantage of these deep levels and to more fully develop my ability to maneuver within absorption.

This last sentiment can be seen to speak to those who say that it is possible to practice a "dry" insight method (without absorption) as opposed to a "wet" insight method (with absorption) and still be able to achieve awakening. Overall, I think that those who work at achieving insight accompanied by absorption are more likely to be able to hold onto their achievement throughout their lives than those who achieve it without the assistance of absorption who yet also don't work to improve their concentration practice. Samadhi (absorption) brings so many mental benefits with it as to out weigh any opposing method or tool, which is why the Buddha had so much to say about it in the discourses. Those who practice and achieve mastery over absorption have a much higher probability of achieving awakening than those who are so unfortunate as to not achieve absorption.

i have a question:
similar to yourself I was essentially able to achieve deep levels of absorption during the time before being able to achieve awakening yet it did not help me at all to reach awakening because i did not understand the dhamma well and i though this is it, i m enlightened! when in fact it was an ego trap, or in other words, i did not make good benefit of it the first couple of years till i had my first vipassana retreat and understood later (through deeper study) that insight is to understand imperminance, dissatisfaction and non self and to work on the 8 fold path in every moment o our lifes

now comes the question: the last few 2-3 years as my understanding of dhamma is deepening i get the deep level of absorbtion either at the beginning without insight yet, or in the middle of the session when i come to a certain realization/awakening of any unskillful action, word, intention that i did during that day/ week/ month/ year, almost like a form of detecting the unskilful behavior and seeing the foolishness of it, and the wisedom of putting an effort to end it

so is it possible that the deep levels of absorbtion come each time we reach a nw insight/awareness? or is it just my imagination?

ps: i m not good with terminology, my understanding of deep absorbtion, is a sensation of light headedness and almost as if the body is gone from down and going up accompanied with a feeling of bliss, and as if there is no gravity, there are some other things but i dont know how to describe....


feedback appreciated!!

Nyana
Posts: 2233
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: The jhana debate

Post by Nyana » Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:39 pm

Freawaru wrote:what I would call jhana I experience pleasant feeling permeating my body, yes, but no liver and pleura and lungs, just an experience of form permeated by pleasant feeling.
This is what we are discussing.
Freawaru wrote:This rather agrees with the yoga system and the Tibetan system - in both the body made of the elements (the gross body) is not the biological body - of course this is Theravada and it might be different here but I would like some proove to accept that.
What "biological body" is there apart from the interdependence of the four elements and the mind?

If by "Tibetan system" you mean the tantric systems such as the Six Dharma-s of Nāropā, these represent a completely separate path and are beyond the scope of the present discussion.

From among the Sūtrayāna systems of Tibetan Buddhism, regarding dhyāna, one can choose to follow the interpretation of the Vaibhāṣika Sarvāstivāda (which is similar to the classical Theravāda abhidhammika interpretation), or the Sautrāntika interpretation given in the Abhidharmakośabhāsya (which is similar to what is given in the Pāḷi sutta-s), or the Yogācāra interpretation given in the Śrāvakabhūmi (also similar to what is given in the Pāḷi sutta-s).
Freawaru wrote:So from my point of experience I would say that kayanupassana is different from jhana.
Please see MN 119: Kāyagatāsati Sutta section on jhāna.

Nyana
Posts: 2233
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Nyana » Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:50 pm

Dukkhanirodha wrote:just to make it a little bit more salty:
from http://www.leighb.com/jhana_4factors.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; "Five Factors for the First Jhana - NOT!":
There is a wide spread misunderstanding that the first jhana has 5 factors. But this is not what is described in the suttas and is certainly not what the Buddha taught and practiced. The first jhana has 4 factors (Yes! Four - look it up, see it in Pali):
vitakka - thinking
vicara - more thinking, examining
piti - rapture, glee, zest
sukha - happiness
In the vast majority of cases - over 100 suttas, the first jhana is described as having only the 4 factors listed above.
Actually, I found an occurence where Sariputta on being asked what is 1st jhana gives the usual formula with 4 factors, and in the immediate next question about how many factors there are in 1st jhana he states 5 and adds cittekaggata...

what to think about this?
It isn't a problem at all. IMO the few occurrences which list five factors are not as old as the basic jhāna formula. At any rate, the list of five factors doesn't add or take away anything from the formula for the first jhāna.

Freawaru
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: The jhana debate

Post by Freawaru » Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:15 pm

Hi Geoff,

Ñāṇa wrote:
Freawaru wrote:what I would call jhana I experience pleasant feeling permeating my body, yes, but no liver and pleura and lungs, just an experience of form permeated by pleasant feeling.
This is what we are discussing.
Then how could it possibly be the biological body?
Freawaru wrote:This rather agrees with the yoga system and the Tibetan system - in both the body made of the elements (the gross body) is not the biological body - of course this is Theravada and it might be different here but I would like some proove to accept that.
What "biological body" is there apart from the interdependence of the four elements and the mind?
The biological body can be sensed and the elemental body can be sensed. They are different. When one is sensing the biological body one can sense liver and heart and intestine and one can learn to control them. The body made of the elements is different, though also linked to the biological body. When one senses blood it is the biological body, when one senses wind or fire it is the elemental. They are completely different frames of reference.
If by "Tibetan system" you mean the tantric systems such as the Six Dharma-s of Nāropā, these represent a completely separate path and are beyond the scope of the present discussion.
I didn't want to discuss them, but simply the fact that in the Tibetan Buddhism the elements do not construct the biological body makes me doubt that it is so in Theravada. For example, in Tibetan Buddhism the decaying process of the biological body is quite different and on a very different time scale than the body made of the elements. According to them at physical death the elements dissolve (and a large part of their training is to stay mindful of it) within a short time (minutes to hours) and is always identical but as we all know the biological body's deceasing process depends on the surrounding and can rather differ and be very slow and take thousands of years (for example in ice). So these two bodies are different. Which is why I doubt that they are identical in Theravada.

Freawaru
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:26 pm

Re: The jhana debate

Post by Freawaru » Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:25 pm

Hi Geoff,
Ñāṇa wrote:
Freawaru wrote:So from my point of experience I would say that kayanupassana is different from jhana.
Please see MN 119: Kāyagatāsati Sutta section on jhāna.
Thanks for the reference. Indeed, according to this sutta not only is jhana body different from the biological body but also it describes the difference between the biological body and the body of the elements. Question answered :smile:

Nyana
Posts: 2233
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:56 am

Re: The jhana debate

Post by Nyana » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:05 pm

Freawaru wrote:the fact that in the Tibetan Buddhism the elements do not construct the biological body makes me doubt that it is so in Theravada.... So these two bodies are different. Which is why I doubt that they are identical in Theravada.
Hi Freawaru,

In the Pāḷi sutta-s the parts of the body are forms derived from the four great existents (mahābhūtā). SN 22.56 (S iii 59) Upādānaparivatta Sutta:
  • And what is form? The four great existents and the form derived from them: this is called form. From the origination of nutriment comes the origination of form. From the cessation of nutriment comes the cessation of form. And just this noble eightfold path is the path of practice leading to the cessation of form, i.e., right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
SN 22.79 (S iii 86): Khajjanīya Sutta:
  • And why do you call it 'form'? Because it is afflicted, thus it is called 'form.' Afflicted with what? With cold & heat & hunger & thirst, with the touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, & reptiles. Because it is afflicted, it is called form.
For an analysis of the six elements as they pertain to a living sentient being, see MN 140: Dhātuvibhaṅga Sutta.

All the best,

Geoff

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests