What is subjective & objective sides of meditation?

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DooDoot
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What is subjective & objective sides of meditation?

Post by DooDoot »

Dear DW forum

i read the following Bhikkhu Sujato's book:
Generally there tends to be a somewhat curious distance in the Suttas between the subjective and objective sides of meditation. For example, the Suttas describe jhāna in terms of the subjective mental qualities, and elsewhere describe various meditation objects that are intended to develop jhāna, yet they virtually neverspeak of, say, ‘ānāpānasati jhāna’ (but there is ‘ānāpānasati samādhi’), or ‘kasiṇa jhāna’ (though there is a slightly dubious reference to ‘compassion jhāna’.) This distance is not systematically bridged until the Dhammasaṅgaṇī. So satipaṭṭhāna, being thus more ‘grounded’ and specific, fulfils an important practical function in the path. The implication is that the particular meditation objects here are an intrinsic and hence non-optional part of the path. All meditators must develop at least some of the satipaṭṭhāna practices.Meditation subjects outside of the satipaṭṭhāna scheme are very frequently taught in the Suttas, notably the divine abidings and the six recollections, but they are not so essential; however, the feelings, mind states, and dhammas associated with them fit under satipaṭṭhāna. This crossover ‘objective’ aspect of satipaṭṭhāna makes it an odd man out in the 37 wings to awakening, and we shall repeatedly see ambiguities and incongruities emerging in the later attempts to thoroughly systemize these groups.

Page 190: https://santifm.org/santipada/wp-conten ... Sujato.pdf
What are the subjective and objective sides of meditation, discussed above?

Is the writer saying jhāna factors are "subjective" mental qualities but the four objects of satipatthana (body, feelings, citta & dhammas) are "objective" things? I personally don't understand what is being said.

Thank you :shrug:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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mikenz66
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Re: What is subjective & objective sides of meditation?

Post by mikenz66 »

Does this help?
11.3 The Fourfold Establishing of Mindfulness

The next layer of complexity describes satipaṭṭhāna as fourfold. In keeping with the pragmatic and relativist perspective of the Suttas, this is not
a definition of mindfulness but a prescription of how to practice. The standard formulas have both an objective aspect—what to meditate on—and
a subjective aspect—how to approach the practice. I will discuss the objective aspect first. All traditions agree in listing four basic objects of satipaṭṭhāna meditation: body, feelings, mind, and dhammas. Curiously, these
are rarely described in any detail. Only in the various versions of the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta are the meanings specified. Presumably the Satipaṭṭhāna
Sutta acted then, as it does today, as a key with which the brief texts could
be interpreted.
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DooDoot
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Re: What is subjective & objective sides of meditation?

Post by DooDoot »

mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:35 am
Does this help?
1The standard formulas have both an objective aspect—what to meditate on—and a subjective aspect—how to approach the practice. I will discuss the objective aspect first. All traditions agree in listing four basic objects of satipaṭṭhāna meditation: body, feelings, mind, and dhammas.
Thanks Mike. I can understand the above. Therefore, what does the below mean?
For example, the Suttas describe jhāna in terms of the subjective mental qualities...
Does it mean the sutta description below?
Unflagging persistence was aroused in me, and unmuddled mindfulness established. My body was calm & unaroused, my mind concentrated & single. Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities...
Or the below:
He permeates & pervades, suffuses & fills this very body with the rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal. Just as if a skilled bathman or bathman's apprentice would pour bath powder into a brass basin and knead it together, sprinkling it again & again with water, so that his ball of bath powder — saturated, moisture-laden, permeated within & without — would nevertheless not drip; even so, the monk permeates... this very body with the rapture & pleasure born of withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal. And as he remains thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, any memories & resolves related to the household life are abandoned, and with their abandoning his mind gathers & settles inwardly, grows unified & centered. This is how a monk develops mindfulness immersed in the body.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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mikenz66
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Re: What is subjective & objective sides of meditation?

Post by mikenz66 »

I think he means that you don't find suttas that talk about using particular object (objective) to attain jhana. The description is about "attitude" and "how it feels" (subjective):
Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.
An analogous line in MN10 on Satipatthana would be:
They meditate independent, not grasping at anything in the world.
As far as I know there are no suttas that say:
"By meditating on X they enter the first jhana...".
That would be "objective".

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Volo
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Re: What is subjective & objective sides of meditation?

Post by Volo »

mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:53 am
I think he means that you don't find suttas that talk about using particular object (objective) to attain jhana. The description is about "attitude" and "how it feels" (subjective)
Well, for arupa attainments there is a mention of object "space is infinite", "consciousness is infinite", etc
AN 4.190 wrote:Here, with the complete surmounting of perceptions of forms, with the passing away of perceptions of sensory impingement, with non-attention to perceptions of diversity, [perceiving] ‘space is infinite,’ a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the base of the infinity of space. By completely surmounting the base of the infinity of space, [perceiving] ‘consciousness is infinite,’ he enters and dwells in the base of the infinity of consciousness. By completely surmounting the base of the infinity of consciousness, [perceiving] ‘there is nothing,’ he enters and dwells in the base of nothingness. By completely surmounting the base of nothingness, he enters and dwells in the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.
I think it's because 1st-4th jhānas are distinguished by jhāna factors, and (can) have the same object, but arupa attainments have the same factors, but differentiated by the object.

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mikenz66
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Re: What is subjective & objective sides of meditation?

Post by mikenz66 »

Useful points, Volo.

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ToVincent
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Re: What is subjective & objective sides of meditation?

Post by ToVincent »

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Object as Dhamma:
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Dhammas, simply summarized, are the result of the "saṅkhārazation" of the khandhas. With saṅkhāra, being the khandha (saṅkhāra) that allows that process (saṅkhārā/saṅkhārazation).

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Object as Āyatana:
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An āyatana is a place (an abode), a FIELD OF EXPERIENCE (that is caused to exist), and to be reached, or not.
E.g. there is an eye/organ, and there is the influence/power (indriya - aka faculty,) that triggers the eye/āyatana.
The lesser the indriya, the lesser is the āyatana caused & reached.
The scope of the āyatana is vast ("worldly" & beyond).
Somewhat synonymous = khetta, vatthu, adhikaraṇa.
https://justpaste.it/18u12

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Object as Nimitta
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EXPRESSION (a manifestation).
[An appearance / a manifest indication of the existence of some person or thing or communication / a way of showing or communicating something].
The expression/manifestation (nimitta,) is independent of the will of the subject.
https://justpaste.it/7i51j

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Object as Dhātu
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
A dhātu is a constituted, supportive (grasp-able) element [object, artifact, special abstraction] ), with quite a soupçon of desire behind it.

Dhātus are usually elements of the Buddhist's "world" (even divine), and usually desired.
https://justpaste.it/13nk3
______
He then taught me the Dhamma: khandhā, āyatana, and dhātu. Having heard the Dhamma from him, I went forth into homelessness.
So me dhammamadesesi, khandhāyatanadhātuyo Tassāhaṃ dhammaṃ sutvāna, pabbajiṃ anagāriyaṃ.
SN 8.12

The subjective approach is about how we engage with these objects.
And that comprises mindfulness*, restraint of the indriya**, jhana***, equanimity, transcendence**** - or none of the preceding.

* Mindfulness, as defined in https://legacy.suttacentral.net/en/sn35.245/14-15
** Restraint of the indriya = Indriyesu guttadvārā.
*** Jhāna (from jhāyati) - as the the successive cessation of formations (SN 36.11 (SA 474)). https://justpaste.it/1avur
**** Transcendence (samatikkamma) - https://justpaste.it/1c78w

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Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
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What kind of magic do you use?

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