The Great Jhana Debate

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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Alex123
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Alex123 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:30 pm

Daverupa,

You are exactly right. The suttas are filled with such kinds of statements. And I also feel that rūpasaññā is related to aggregate of form which are present in 4 Jhānas. What makes something an immaterial (rather than material) attainment is the absence of perception of matter.

rūpa/arūpa Jhana simply reinforce the presence of perception of matter in 4 Jhānas.

Alex
"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..."

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reflection
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by reflection » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:53 pm

Freawaru wrote:too.

It is my experience that during absorption and states of high concentration (such as "flow" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ) there can also be sati. And there can also be other functions such as volition and observation and analysis. It is very much like riding a horse ( http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8448" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ). When doing it in the right way the "horse" will obey the rider's will immediately and without resistance - it is called "throughness" in the case of a horse, don't know what it is called in Pali when taken in the context of jhana). This mental "throughness" during jhana is very useful to practice sati and analysis and the key to use "openings".
Hi Freawaru,

May I ask you: Who is this rider you are referring to?

Absorption is like a horse that throws of the rider.

:namaste:

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daverupa
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by daverupa » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:30 pm

Alex123 wrote:Daverupa,

You are exactly right. The suttas are filled with such kinds of statements. And I also feel that rūpasaññā is related to aggregate of form which are present in 4 Jhānas. What makes something an immaterial (rather than material) attainment is the absence of perception of matter.

rūpa/arūpa Jhana simply reinforce the presence of perception of matter in 4 Jhānas.

Alex
I wondered if this Sutta contradicted something elsewhere in the SuttaVinaya, or if it only contradicted later sources (up to and including modern-day practitioners).
  • "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]

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Alex123
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Alex123 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:54 pm

daverupa wrote:[
I wondered if this Sutta contradicted something elsewhere in the SuttaVinaya, or if it only contradicted later sources (up to and including modern-day practitioners).
It doesn't contradict in that sense.

Also, I suggest reading that part in MN152 where the Buddha ridiculed development of faculties as being able to enter the state where one doesn't see or hear.
"There is the case where one does not see forms with the eye, or hear sounds with the ear [in a trance of non-perception]. That's how the brahman Parasiri teaches his followers the development of the faculties."

"That being the case, Uttara, then a blind person will have developed faculties, and a deaf person will have developed faculties, according to the words of the brahman Parasiri. For a blind person does not see forms with the eye, and a deaf person does not hear sounds with the ear."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
IMHO, it is much better to develop peace based on wisdom rather than getting into a "dark cave" where one doesn't see or hear anything (and thus doesn't at that time suffer from that). Peace should be through elimination of the desire & passion, kilesas, etc, not through mere suppression of seeing,hearing,smelling, tasting, touching itself. In this life, escape from the 5 senses is the removal of desire & passion. Not becoming blind, deaf, mute and so on.

"The subduing of desire & passion for consciousness, the abandoning of desire & passion for consciousness: that is the escape from consciousness." - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Same for other 4 khandhas.
"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..."

rowyourboat
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by rowyourboat » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:09 pm

Hi Alex, Sylvester,

Kama refers to those sense objects, from the five senses, that are enticing. The breath and one's own body is not.

To give up craving for sense objects is to give up the craving to see, to hear etc as well. This leads very well to internalising one's focus away from the 5 sense bases. But of course, the mind sense is intact- hence the action of the hindrances and the upakilesas (upakilesa sutta) remain. When even these are overcome we are heading into deep samadhi territory. The journey is well explained in positive terms in the anapanasati sutta (ie in reference to the changes of the breath, the arising of niramisa piti sukha and other changes to the mind). The upakilesa sutta mentions the light in some detail. That's how I see it, based on the suttas cross referenced with personal experience.

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Alex123
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Alex123 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:47 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Hi Alex, Sylvester,
Kama refers to those sense objects, from the five senses, that are enticing. The breath and one's own body is not.
So are you saying that there are no enticing objects in Rūpa-Loka? Are you saying that an Arahant or the Buddha cannot see any sight that is considered enticing in the world?
rowyourboat wrote: To give up craving for sense objects is to give up the craving to see, to hear etc as well.
As I understand it, one gives up the craving itself.

One can see, hear, etc, with craving or without craving. Buddha could see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. Does this mean that He had craving for seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking? Was He full of Kama in order to be able to see, hear, etc?
Last edited by Alex123 on Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"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..."

Freawaru
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Freawaru » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:49 pm

Hi Reflection,
reflection wrote: Hi Freawaru,

May I ask you: Who is this rider you are referring to?
The question "who" cannot be answered because "who?" requires a personality as an answer. The correct question would be "what?". Because the term "mind" is not defined exactly and used differently by different people I will use a term from modern science: brain. Both "horse" and "rider" are processes of the brain.

"The horse" are specific processes and the "rider" are other processes. A process that is part of the "rider" is sati. Processes that are part of the horse are "walking", thinking, imagining, the personality, and so on.
Absorption is like a horse that throws of the rider.

:namaste:
Do you think so? Think of how you are when absorbed in a book or in a debate - do you have this impression afterwards. That the "rider" had been thrown of?

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reflection
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by reflection » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:43 pm

Freawaru wrote:Hi Reflection,
reflection wrote: Hi Freawaru,

May I ask you: Who is this rider you are referring to?
The question "who" cannot be answered because "who?" requires a personality as an answer. The correct question would be "what?". Because the term "mind" is not defined exactly and used differently by different people I will use a term from modern science: brain. Both "horse" and "rider" are processes of the brain.

"The horse" are specific processes and the "rider" are other processes. A process that is part of the "rider" is sati. Processes that are part of the horse are "walking", thinking, imagining, the personality, and so on.
Hi Frea!

Thanks for your explanation. I think you mean what I call 'acting' and 'seeing'. Or 'doing' and 'knowing'. In the brain no 'main center' is found, so no real rider. Processes happen in parallel. Of course this corresponds with the Buddhist view of no self. So YEEYH for Buddhism :toast:
Absorption is like a horse that throws of the rider.

:namaste:
Do you think so? Think of how you are when absorbed in a book or in a debate - do you have this impression afterwards. That the "rider" had been thrown of?
Yes, I think so. But absorbed in a book or debate is totally different from a mental absorption. Not comparable. Absorption in meditation is unlike anything else experienced. As I've said before there are no senses active so you can't even read a book or hear a debate. ;) In Jhana the mind looks at itself with the doing part inactive. The will (the doing) is so still it can not do anything, so you can't come out by will. This is why it is called absorption. For a bit more of a description on how it is totally unlike reading a book ;) , see for example this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1oK4Vt_ntY" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

As also described in the video, you can start to see that it is actually empty inside (after you come out). That's why Jhana does not oppose insights as some claim. In fact they are highly productive, even unmissable. I think the other kinds of 'numbed down jhanas' are therefore not what the Buddha meant. That doesn't mean they are not helpful and usable in their own right, of course. Maybe some brave souls can produce very deep insights with that kind of concentration, they seem to appear in some suttas. However I'm sure the "commentary Jhanas" and "sutta Jhanas" are meant to be the same thing and one who wants to get enlightened needs to cultivate them.

However I'm starting to repeat things I've already said before. I think it's not that bad to misjudge what a jhana actually is as long as one doesn't think s/he experienced them while s/he actually didn't. So to avoid going in circles just to try and prove something quite useless I'll think I'll leave it at this and let everybody decide for themselves.

:namaste:

Nyana
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Nyana » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:14 pm

reflection wrote:The will (the doing) is so still it can not do anything, so you can't come out by will.
This is a good definition of wrong samādhi.

All the best,

Geoff

rowyourboat
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by rowyourboat » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:31 pm

So are you saying that there are no enticing objects in Rūpa-Loka? Are you saying that an Arahant or the Buddha cannot see any sight that is considered enticing in the world?
No and no. Kama-tanha is the hindrance, not rupa-raga, arupa-raga. Buddhas can see enticing things when they are not secluded from it.
One can see, hear, etc, with craving or without craving. Buddha could see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. Does this mean that He had craving for seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and thinking? Was He full of Kama in order to be able to see, hear, etc?
I think without the craving to use the sense doors there would be more inclination towards seclusion, to renunciation, to not take the signs or the details- they just wouldn't be interested. :shrug: in fact there seems to be some anecdotal evidence that arahanths don't even focus their eyes. Rather this 'vacant gaze' sees the cessation of the universe, I like to think. In anycase as long as there is life and the faculties are working, the mind and body are working, consciousness will arise and they will see. :meditate: ..which is why I think that in rupa jhana they can sense the breath and the body, hear nooses etc, if they want to. . It is a very intentional, very deliberate act of breaking from the intense internal focus to use an external sensory stimulus.

With metta

M
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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reflection
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by reflection » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:53 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
reflection wrote:The will (the doing) is so still it can not do anything, so you can't come out by will.
This is a good definition of wrong samādhi.

All the best,

Geoff
This is a good example of a bad argument. :tongue:

In fact, this is not even an argument.

But ok, doesn't matter. I would like to advice you to try it out.

:namaste:
Metta,
Reflection

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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Modus.Ponens » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:11 pm

reflection,

have you read the whole thread to dismiss Nana so easily?
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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reflection
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by reflection » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:44 pm

I didn't read the whole thread because I'm not that interested in the sutta vs sutta approach on this subject, personally. I explained before why I'm not. But I don't see what that has to do with it. Even if Nana says a lot of wise things that doesn't mean the statement above is automatically also correct ;)

But as I've said before I've said practically all I've got to say and from now on it'll probably only go in circles. I think one should be able to support a statement like "this is a definition of wrong samadhi" with some argument, though. Because without arguments the topic becomes even more useless, no matter who's right or wrong.

I just want to add, volitions are without a self and this can be experienced in Jhana. Nothing wrong about that. The Buddha even called it right samadhi. :tongue: ;)

:focus:

With metta,
Reflection
:namaste:

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Alex123
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by Alex123 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:20 am

rowyourboat wrote:I think without the craving to use the sense doors there would be more inclination towards seclusion, to renunciation,
Right. But Buddha/Arhat has to eat, drink, bathe, walk for alms, instruct monks, etc.

rowyourboat wrote: to not take the signs or the details- they just wouldn't be interested.
Right. But there is still sight. Buddha could still see people, and He didn't walk into trees or off the cliffs. He and other arhats could hear, despite being totally secluded (by eradication) from kāma and ALL unwholesome qualities.

There can be seeing without kāma for an Awakened person.
There can be temporary seeing without kāma for a person who has suppressed kāma.
There can be seeing with addition of kāma for a worldling.

With metta,
Alex
"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..."

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daverupa
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Re: Tha jhana debate

Post by daverupa » Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:33 am

rowyourboat wrote:Kama refers to those sense objects, from the five senses, that are enticing. The breath and one's own body is not.
""Whatever exists therein {in jhana 1-4} of material form, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, he sees those states as impermanent, as suffering, as a disease..."
  • "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]

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