A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

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Nyana
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Post by Nyana » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:11 am

Sylvester wrote:Are you prepared to state it?
How could I be any clearer? Vipassanā has to occur and be present as a supramundane dhamma whenever there is path attainment. It doesn't matter if it's the first jhāna, second jhāna, third jhāna, or fourth jhāna path attainment.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Post by Sylvester » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:13 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
Sylvester wrote:Are you prepared to state it?
How could I be any clearer? Vipassanā has to occur and be present as a supramundane dhamma whenever there is path attainment. It doesn't matter if it's the first jhāna, second jhāna, third jhāna, or fourth jhāna path attainment.

All the best,

Geoff
Just state Yes or No. That will be clear.

How difficult can it be?

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Post by Nyana » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:34 am

Sylvester wrote:For someone who has such high disdain for the Pali Commentaries, your resort to the Commentaries certainly looks promiscuous here. Elsewhere, you've indicated your rejection of radical momentariness, but here you have no qualms applying it. You're not weaving a tapestry but hobbling together a patchwork of mutually inconsistent theories. The "pamsukula civara" is recommended for monastic robes, but not for Dhamma.

Clutching at straws?
This is just another sustained ad hom with no basis in fact. I don't have "such high disdain for the Pali Commentaries." The understanding that the noble path is attained at once, designated as "one moment," is a canonical Theravāda doctrine which is stated in the Paṭisambhidāmagga. This doctrine doesn't entail adherence to a theory of radical momentariness; nor does the understanding of concomitant dhammas entail adherence to a theory of radical momentariness. At any rate, it seems that this discussion isn't worth pursuing any further.

All the best,

Geoff

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Post by Sylvester » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:39 am

Don't scuttle away without having given your categorical Yes or No.

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Post by Sylvester » Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:13 am

morning mist wrote:Hi Nana,
Ñāṇa wrote: Saññā is necessary for discernment obtained through meditative development
Where in the sutta did it say that you use Perception ( sanna) while inside Samma Samadhi to develop Vipassana? Most of the suttas on perception suggest that we realize that Perception is non-self, perception is impermanent, perception leads to dukkha. The same goes with the other four aggregates.
And this is the answer -
Ñāṇa wrote: There is no possibility of attaining or abiding in the four jhānas without apperception, just as there is no possibility of attaining or abiding in the four jhānas without feeling. Just because the aggregates are impermanent, unsatisfactory, and selfless doesn't mean that they aren't to be engaged for meditative development. There's no possibility of developing the path otherwise.
The question was about the FUNCTION of jhanic saññā, but why did the answer get diverted to the ABSENCE of saññā?

The pattern is pretty obvious...

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Post by Dmytro » Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:28 am

Hi Morning Mist,
morning mist wrote:Initially , but there are instructions to let go of it and develop insight after you attained jhana.
Buddha clearly discouraged the passion for jhanas in MN 138 and other suttas:

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 60#p118466" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The Buddha did not say not to attend to nimitta or not to practice jhana because it is pleasant.
Yes, there's nothing wrong with the pleasure of jhanas, if it doesn't become addictive.
In the Pasakika Sutta, the Buddha distinguished what is wholesome pleasure ( Four stages of Jhanas that is Samma Samadhi ) and what is unwholesome pleasure ( worldly sense pleasure ).

'' These are the four modes of being attached and devoted to pleasure, Cunda, which conduce absolutely to unworldliness, to passionlessness, to cessation, to peace, to higher knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana. What are the four ? " The four jhanas. - Pasakika Sutta
There's no Pasakika sutta.

In the Pasadika sutta (DN 29), Buddha says (in translation of Ven.Bodhi):

"There are, Cunda, these four kinds of life devoted to pleasure which are entirely conducive to disenchantment, to dispassion, to tranquillity, to realisation, to enlightenment, to Nibbana. What are they? Firstly, a monk, detached from all sense desires, detached from all unwholesome states, enters and remains in the first jhana..."

Buddha would never praise attachment to pleasure.
One is always awake and aware just not of the outside world.
As Brahmavamso writes, in his jhanas one does not comprehend what's going on.
Also , there is no support for the claim that one goes beyond the 5 senses only in the arupa states.
This is described, for example, in Potthapada sutta (DN 9):

‘‘Puna caparaṃ, poṭṭhapāda, bhikkhu sabbaso rūpasaññānaṃ samatikkamā paṭighasaññānaṃ atthaṅgamā nānattasaññānaṃ amanasikārā ‘ananto ākāso’ti ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ upasampajja viharati. Tassa yā purimā rūpasaññā, sā nirujjhati. Ākāsānañcāyatanasukhumasaccasaññā tasmiṃ samaye hoti, ākāsānañcāyatanasukhumasaccasaññīyeva tasmiṃ samaye hoti. Evampi sikkhā ekā saññā uppajjati, sikkhā ekā saññā nirujjhati. Ayampi sikkhā’’ti bhagavā avoca.

"Again, by passing entirely beyond bodily sensations, by the disappearance of all sense of resistance and by non-attraction to the perception of diversity, seeing that space is infinite, he reaches and remains in the Sphere of Infinite Space. In this way some perceptions arise through training, and some pass away through training."

For more detailed discussion, see: http://dhamma.ru/forum/index.php?topic=367.0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
In the Therigatha there are examples of a lay woman entering the form jhana and when someone tried to pour hot oil over her in order to kill her and take her husband, it did not hurt her.
I don't see the connection of this with the matter at hand, and I don't remember such story in Therigatha. Perhaps it is from the Commentary?

Metta, Dmytro

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Post by nathan » Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:46 am

This post is once again from a contemporary and experiential perspective, which may be understandably irrelevant to those who prefer to derive a methodology solely from their studious and reasoned arguments about descriptions recounted from relatively ancient people's direct experience and as recorded in canonical and commentarial books. This owing to these books longstanding cache (the respect for these sagacious ancients is something about which I can only say that I think the highest esteem for the Blessed Buddha and his Noble Sangha is entirely justified in relation to what I have encountered in the nature of my own introspective experience). However what I offer here may be of some use to those who are simply interested in replicating what those in the long gone past have done for themselves without recourse to a great deal of technical jargon.

The development of discernment, insights, skillful mental qualities, realizations, and understandings for oneself, however these are later categorized, can only proceed from intensive and extensive introspective self examination. This would be my interpretation of the meaning of 'the only way' as I suspect the Buddha originally intended that statement and not a reference to some sort of technique.

In practice, successful introspective insights, realizations and understanding are ultimately comprehensive of every phenomena that occurs within an individual human being and a full cognizance of how it is that these phenomena come to occur.

By necessity the investigation begins with a relatively superficial but ever deepening kind of attentive introspection which encounters a diversity of changing conditions arising and passing in the changing elemental forms which make up the body, a diversity of sensory awareness of forms of external stimulus arising and passing in contact with the bodily senses, a diversity of fleeting sensations arising and passing throughout the body, a diversity of thought objects arising and passing in the mind and a diversity of mental qualities which together make up conscious awareness of the rest that is introspectively cognizable.

One can continue examining one's nature in this way for an extensive period of time until one discerns and develops considerable insight into the consistent instability of all of this flux of temporary and shifting perceptions and the patterns of shifting conscious attention which are supportive of this experiential flux. One develops from this the direct insight that none of this can possibly be considered 'ones self' or the property of 'ones self' as it is neither entirely under ones control nor entirely estranged from the influence of ones directed introspective conscious attention.

On this basis one can then proceed to investigate what underlies this flux and one encounters mental qualities more directly in terms of the hindrances to steadily directed mindful attention. In this way one can develop both considerable discernment and insight into unskillful and skillful mental qualities and one can considerably strengthen the mental quality of concentration through the examination and overcoming of the five mental qualities which significantly hinder any kind of singular, steady, maneuverable and fully focused or concentrated mindful attention.

One is then more readily capable of examining how it is that consciousness is capable of such rapid movement and change as it rapidly shifts from one object to the next in relation to the sensations arising and passing via sense contacts, in the forms of bodily sensations, in the forms of thought objects and in the nature of mental qualities. One develops considerable discernment and insight in this way into the qualities of and the causes of and the effects of all of the varieties of this flux of conscious attention.

On the basis of these previous discernments and insights one then is capable of noting that conscious contact potentially pervades the entire body. One may then examine what occurs if, instead of directing attention to the flux of sense perceptions, diverse and momentary sensations within the body, diverse and momentary thought objects and shifting mental qualities, one examined the point of contact between consciousness and the entire body as a whole, as a single perception of the body fully pervaded with conscious awareness.

On the basis of the well developed discernment that conscious contact pervades the entire body and on the basis of the well developed mental quality of concentration one steadies this perception of the body pervaded by conscious awareness and one discovers that, in contrast to the diversity, the discomfort and the flux typical of a rapidly changing flow of perception that this sort of perception, the steady perception of the whole body is significantly more pleasant, simple and calm.

On the basis of this discernment of and insight into a much calmer, steadier and more concentrated kind of perception and on the basis of discovering this type of novel and persistently pleasant sensation, a sensation that is not related to the changing responses of the bodily forms, the objects of the senses or of thought objects. One may then discern that one can further stabilize and steady this novel and singular type of perception of the body pervaded by concentrated conscious attention effortlessly.

One may note on the occasion of this singular, steady and novel type of perception the presence of the appearance that the body is filled with light. One can discern that this is briefly interesting but that persisting in the perception of light leads to nothing but the persistence of this perception and that it can therefore be discounted whereupon it will eventually fade from attention as well.

On the basis of the effortless stability of this steadiness of pleasant perception of the form of the body as a whole, wholly pervaded by conscious attention, or in other words on the basis of the fully developed capacity for effortless concentration on one type of perception, one can further directly discern the qualities present within this novel form of perception without concern for any interruptions in the various forms of the more typical or ordinary perceptions of the diversity of bodily forms, the diversity of sense perceptions, the diversity of body sensations, the diversity of thought objects and the changes in mental qualities.

One is then in a position to directly discern the qualities that make up the fully developed mental quality of effortless concentration. One can discern that the attention to the body pervaded by conscious contact is indeed very pleasant and unusual in that it is not connected with the flux of perceptions but rather serves as the basis for consciousness of the more typical flux of perceptions.

One can then move on to examine the subtler qualities involved in the mental quality of concentrated attention and thereby both discernment and the mental quality of concentration are further refined.

One can then discern that the body fully pervaded by conscious contact is a very pleasant perception but not owing to the same causes as the type of pleasant perception that comes through sense contacts with that which is otherwise pleasing but owing to the steadiness and simplicity of the perception of the whole body in itself.

One can then discern that there is a corresponding pleasant perception which is simply a mental quality. One can then discern that in this subtle redirection of attention the perception of the pleasant perception of the body fades away and that the more subtle perception of the simplicity of the mental quality of the concentration is in the forefront of attention, that the mental qualities are even more simple and that this is even more subtly pleasant.

One can then discern that there is a mental quality of concentration which can take this steadiness and simplicity and pleasantness of a mental quality as its object and one can discern that with this subtle shift of attention onto the mental quality of concentration itself the pleasant mental quality which was previously most prominent fades away and the quality of the concentrated conscious attention is now itself the object of its own attention.

One can then discern that due to attention fully occupied with attending to the mental qualities of concentrated attention the awareness of the body has faded entirely from ones concentrated conscious attention. One can then discern that owning to such a refined concentration of conscious attention one is now capable of carefully examining and discerning the mental qualities supportive of consciousness directly without any interruption from the coarser object of conscious attention to form and the subtler object of pleasant mental qualities.

One can then discern that apart from awareness of contact with the body the mental quality of consciousness appears boundless as it has no contact with the object of form upon which to base any sense of confinement. One can then discern that without any contact with the object of form the perception of boundless space is largely useless as a space empty of forms cannot be measured or qualified in any way.

One can then shift attention to the quality of conscious contact that occupies the sense of boundless space and discern that this mental quality also appears boundless. One can then discern that the sense of boundless space fades away and the sense of boundless consciousness predominates.

One can then discern that the sense of boundless consciousness without objects of consciousness to qualify it is likewise largely useless as it too serves no purpose. One may then discern that the sense of boundless consciousness also fades away and with this one may discern that one has shifted one's attention to the perception of nothingness or no-thing-ness.

One can then discern that the conscious attention to no-thing-ness requires both this very comprehensive and subtle kind of concentration of attention to no-thing and no qualities of any-thing together with the quality of consciousness. One may then discern that with the subtle shift of attention to the quality of consciousness itself one can discern the fading away of the consciousness of no-thing-ness.

One can not discern at this point how very subtle and slight and completely useless consciousness so concentrated and refined actually is because it is completely cut off from all other mental qualities and objects of consciousness but upon exiting from this concentration into any of the previous concentrations or into the ordinary forms of conscious attention one can reflect and readily conclude that, fully and absolutely concentrated and in isolation, the quality of consciousness is very subtle, slight and entirely useless.

When one has reduced the previously variously complicated and compounded nature of consciousness to the absolute limit of its simplification by means of the skillful employment of discernment, insight and concentration, one can then move on to examine what might be found if one proceeded to abandon the underlying quality of consciousness itself.

One then discovers that consciousness can indeed fully cease and that there is another kind of unmade, unborn and indescribable dhamma to be found in the absence of consciousness and the objects of consciousness or in other words in the absence of being and becoming.

One then discovers, for the first time, something sukkha, something indescribably pleasant and peaceful, something uncompounded, something neither born nor dying but that it too is without self or atta, that it too is anatta and upon emerging from this cessation one subsequently encounters the arising of incredible dispassion for all that is compounded and conscious together with an incredible relief to have finally encountered something else which is neither conscious nor compounded. One may then discern that one need only wait upon and cultivate this dispassion until it is also comprehensive and complete, while similarly waiting upon this dependently conditioned body and mind until these have run their course and then gratefully acquiesce into that that which remains, the directly known, supreme and lasting sukkha.

This is how discernment and concentration work together, in practice and in fact.

I now return you to the arguments about the much older, highly and justifiably venerated descriptions of this introspective process together with the very old comments on those older descriptions of this process. Thank you for your kind attention.
Last edited by nathan on Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:11 am, edited 4 times in total.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Post by Dmytro » Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:55 am

Hi Sylvester,
Sylvester wrote:You're still evading the elephant in the room. How is the Dhamma-Vicaya and Dhammavicayabojjhanga indicated in red above different from the Dhamma-Vicaya and Dhammavicayasambojjhanga in the suttas? The suttas which Dmytro and I cited clearly state that Dhamma-Vicaya and Dhammavicayasambojjhanga must have vicara, and be preceded by vitakka in Sati.
It seems this elephant is an illusion.

There's no 'must have' in the descriptions of 'dhamma-vicaya' I quote:

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5582" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

For example, "parivīmaṃsa" without the "vicara" would still be dhamma-vicaya.

Best wishes, Dmytro

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Post by Dmytro » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:14 am

Hi Sylvester,
Sylvester wrote: If this indulgence in the subha nimitta of a dhamma were such a bad thing, why would the Buddha have recommended it as part of the Third Vimokkha or as the Subha Vimokkha?
Indeed, why would the Buddha have recommended it?

In fact, he never recommended it. Subha Vimokkha is related to the development of Metta.
I see the Buddha teaching a gradual Path, and if niramisa sukha is not touched, how will His disciples desire to escape samisa sukha?
There's nothing wrong with niramisa sukkha per se, if there's no attachment to it.

As Buddha said:

"And how is one developed in body and developed in mind? There is the case where a pleasant feeling arises in a well-educated disciple of the noble ones. On being touched by the pleasant feeling, he doesn't become impassioned with pleasure, and is not reduced to being impassioned with pleasure.

...

"But perhaps there has never arisen in Master Gotama the sort of pleasant feeling that, having arisen, would invade the mind and remain."

...

"So when I had taken solid food and regained strength, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
As for the arupa-samapatti not having kamasanna, I hope you won't make the same logical mistake of the fallacy of denying the antecedent which Geoff committed with MN 43.
This sounds like an old manipulative trick: "I hope you don't beat your wife every day, don't you?".

If you would like a reply from me, please be more explicit.

Best wishes, Dmytro

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:27 am

nathan wrote:. . . I now return you to the arguments about the much older, highly and justifiably venerated descriptions of this introspective process together with the very old comments on those older descriptions of this process. Thank you for your kind attention.
While interesting, the above is subject to the same sort of problems illustrated in this thread: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=7654" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Also, while the above's author may make certain experiential claim, others can, with no less justification, make claims that are at variance with them. There is something to be said for a careful consideration of the "old descriptions."
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Post by Dmytro » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:36 am

Thank you, Nathan, for your inspiring and valuable posts.

I think this discussion won't be so heated if the participants didn't have a personal experience of the states discussed. The issue is that people tend to mix the experience with it's interpretation, and then to defend this interpretation.

It's interesting how various interpretations of jhana become self-fulfilling prophecies - a person believes in a given interpretation, prectices the methods recommended, and indeed arives to the states described.

That's why the words of the Buddha are so precious to consult.

Metta, Dmytro

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:49 am

Dmytro wrote:Thank you, Nathan, for your inspiring and valuable posts.

I think this discussion won't be so heated if the participants didn't have a personal experience of the states discussed. The issue is that people tend to mix the experience with it's interpretation, and then to defend this interpretation.

It's interesting how various interpretations of jhana become self-fulfilling prophecies - a person believes in a given interpretation, prectices the methods recommended, and indeed arives to the states described.

That's why the words of the Buddha are so precious to consult.

Metta, Dmytro
This all seems to be quite so.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Post by Sylvester » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:51 am

Dmytro wrote:
Also , there is no support for the claim that one goes beyond the 5 senses only in the arupa states.
This is described, for example, in Potthapada sutta (DN 9):

‘‘Puna caparaṃ, poṭṭhapāda, bhikkhu sabbaso rūpasaññānaṃ samatikkamā paṭighasaññānaṃ atthaṅgamā nānattasaññānaṃ amanasikārā ‘ananto ākāso’ti ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ upasampajja viharati. Tassa yā purimā rūpasaññā, sā nirujjhati. Ākāsānañcāyatanasukhumasaccasaññā tasmiṃ samaye hoti, ākāsānañcāyatanasukhumasaccasaññīyeva tasmiṃ samaye hoti. Evampi sikkhā ekā saññā uppajjati, sikkhā ekā saññā nirujjhati. Ayampi sikkhā’’ti bhagavā avoca.

"Again, by passing entirely beyond bodily sensations, by the disappearance of all sense of resistance and by non-attraction to the perception of diversity, seeing that space is infinite, he reaches and remains in the Sphere of Infinite Space. In this way some perceptions arise through training, and some pass away through training."
Hi Dmytro

May I ask why rūpasaññāna above has been translated as "bodily sensations"? Who did this translation?

In your other Dhamma forum, you said this -
The relevant Suttanta passage in this regard, is one that occurs in various suttas:

“There are these five cords of sense desire:” [kàmaguna: "chords of sense desire" -- thanks piotr smile.gif ] “forms cognizable by the eye that are wished for and desired, agreeable and endearing, associated with sense-desire and tempting to lust. Sounds cognizable by the ear... odors cognizable by the nose... flavors cognizable by the tongue... tangibles cognizable by the body, wished for and desired, agreeable and endearing, associated with sense-desire and tempting to lust.” (SN XXXVI.31: Niramisa Sutta; trans. Nyanaponika Thera)

And it unmistakable that the “sensual pleasures” which are to be withdrawn from prior to entering jhana as stated in the jhana formula, are precisely these five: “forms cognizable by the eye... sounds cognizable by the ear... odors cognizable by the nose... flavors cognizable by the tongue... tangibles cognizable by the body ... that are wished for and desired, agreeable and endearing, associated with sense-desire and tempting to lust. And so it isn’t all forms, etc., that the meditator need to withdraw from (as stated in the jhana formula), the meditator simply needs to withdraw from those which tempt him or her, giving rise to lust, as stated here. As always, this makes perfect sense and is borne out by experience.
You may care to re-visit the Nibbedhika Sutta, AN 6.63 where the Buddha specifically injuncts the conflation of the "kāmaguṇā" with "kāmā".
Pañcime, bhikkhave, kāmaguṇā— cakkhuviññeyyā rūpā iṭṭhā kantā manāpā piyarūpā kāmūpasaṃhitā rajanīyā, sotaviññeyyā saddā… ghānaviññeyyā gandhā… jivhāviññeyyā rasā… kāyaviññeyyā phoṭṭhabbā iṭṭhā kantā manāpā piyarūpā kāmūpasaṃhitā rajanīyā. Api ca kho, bhikkhave, nete kāmā kāmaguṇā nāmete ariyassa vinaye vuccanti

There are these five kāmaguṇā. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing; sounds cognizable via the ear... aromas cognizable via the nose... flavors cognizable via the tongue... tactile sensations cognizable via the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. But these are not kāmā. They are called kāmaguṇā in the discipline of the noble ones.
If the "kāmā" meant only the kāmaguṇā, then we are going to end up with very bizzare situations where the kāmaguṇā, instead of giving pleasure, give only pain.

The Critical Pali Dictionary has done a very comprehensive survey and its entries on kāmā and kāmaguṇā distinguish them. The CPD follows the canonical definition of kāmaguṇā and what that leads to is the kāmaguṇā being a sub-set of the kāmā. The "kāmā" are defined simply as rūpā, saddā, gandhā, rasā and phoṭṭhabbā, all WITHOUT the adjectives.

That, IMHO, is the plain and simple meaning of kāmā in the vivicc'eva kāmehi formula of 1st Jhana.
Last edited by Sylvester on Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Post by nathan » Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:16 am

Dmytro wrote:Thank you, Nathan, for your inspiring and valuable posts.

I think this discussion won't be so heated if the participants didn't have a personal experience of the states discussed. The issue is that people tend to mix the experience with it's interpretation, and then to defend this interpretation.

It's interesting how various interpretations of jhana become self-fulfilling prophecies - a person believes in a given interpretation, prectices the methods recommended, and indeed arives to the states described.

That's why the words of the Buddha are so precious to consult.

Metta, Dmytro
Thank you for the kind reply Dmytro. I have no idea what other posters experience or not. Interestingly, in relation to your comment on self-fulfilling prophecies, I initially did this introspection long ago, to the end, before I ever read about buddhism at all simply because I felt compelled to do it. I was searching for my soul, having been raised by a Baptist minister who repeatedly and emphatically insisted that the eternal fate of my soul was all important which led to a great deal of anxiety and concern for it on my part. I went looking for that soul and in the process I encountered all of the above dependently conditioned mental qualities and ultimately the complete cessation of consciousness by means of concentration and insight.

It wasn't until a couple of decades later when I first began reading the Tipitaka that I discovered such eloquent descriptions of the same process. It would have been and continues to be beyond my capacities to dissect the entire process in terms of such reductive minutia but it did proceed, in terms of the jhana much as Sariputta himself described, one state to the next, and with full cognizance and discernment of what was occurring. I can only say that I find the fixation with the minutia of the descriptions of the process by the Blessed Buddha and his Sangha somewhat odd considering the relative simplicity and fluidity of the process when one is truly concerned with it as if it were a matter more pertinent than life and death, which for me, it certainly was and is.

Further, I have never felt that jhana apart from the simultaneous employment of discernment and the development of insights is of any use or interest. Nor have I ever encountered any passionate desire for remaining in jhana at any length nor for the purpose of avoiding normal day to day life or any other states of mind. Nor have I felt any need to deepen jhana to the point that there is no capacity to emerge from it at any point I would like to nor that there is any point in making a sport of entering into and out of various jhanas. I find both Ajahn Brahm''s and the Visuddhimagga's particular kinds of emphasis of jhana odd in relation to my own experience. I have always attempted to express the benefits of developing discernment and insight together with calm and concentration. As far as I have ever found, the two mental qualities are mutually supportive, mutually instructive, operate well together and together these lead to the realizations and understandings which are the expressed objectives of the Buddhadhamma.

I very much doubt that I would have arrived at cessation for the first time if I was trying to replicate some particular kind of practice technique based upon the Visudhimagga or upon the teachings of anyone else whom I have subsequently encountered with the possible exception of the instructions which are found in the Buddha's own discourses, doctrines and disciplines, which uniquely appear to be entirely direct and to the point. His directness is easily noted in retrospect however it is no less astonishing an accomplishment to subsequently encounter and an impressively comprehensive one as well.

What initially took me to the point of cessation was an intense need to know what was on the receiving end of my conscious existence. It was a great relief to discover what is actually there when consciousness ceases and in comparison everything else I do is simply passing the time peacefully until that which I did find is all that remains. Were it not for the concern for other beings that naturally arises from the gnosis that we are merely empty mechanisms for the furtherance of conditionally dependent dukkha, I would not try to communicate what I have encountered at all. It is my sincere hope that people will set aside their reasoning about methodologies and simply look skillfully, intently and exhaustively within their own bodies and minds to determine the truth of their own nature as this is the only way they can fully confirm the truth of the Buddhadhamma for themselves.

upekkha
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

Sylvester
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Re: A Critique of Brahmavamso’s “The Jhanas”

Post by Sylvester » Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:30 am

Dmytro wrote:Hi Sylvester,
Sylvester wrote:You're still evading the elephant in the room. How is the Dhamma-Vicaya and Dhammavicayabojjhanga indicated in red above different from the Dhamma-Vicaya and Dhammavicayasambojjhanga in the suttas? The suttas which Dmytro and I cited clearly state that Dhamma-Vicaya and Dhammavicayasambojjhanga must have vicara, and be preceded by vitakka in Sati.
It seems this elephant is an illusion.

There's no 'must have' in the descriptions of 'dhamma-vicaya' I quote:

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5582" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

For example, "parivīmaṃsa" without the "vicara" would still be dhamma-vicaya.

Best wishes, Dmytro
Hi Dmytro

I read the SN 46.3 enumeration of Dhamma-vicaya as "must-haves", not enumerations of separate types of investigations, each of which will suffice individually. The Pali lists all three of pavicinati, pavicarati, and parivīmaṃsamāpajjati happening "yasmiṃ samaye" before dhammavicayasambojjhaṅga is aroused etc "tasmiṃ samaye".

I take it from the above that, unlike Geoff, you are of the position that in order to vipassati, one must have Dhamma-vicaya?

Or are you opting for his interpretation that one can vipassati without Dhamma-vicaya?

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