Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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tiltbillings
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:03 pm

legolas wrote: A really :goodpost:
If only he had not misattributed the quotes.
Clear and lucid, with even commentarial support for the "new wave". I have personally experienced both types of jhana. One leaves you feeling that you've been possessed, the other leaves you feeling that the world is a wonderful place. How could it be anything else when one is able to be in contact with the Dhamma.
And this is an interesting and important point, which is going to continue to be litigated for quite sometime. The Kester quote makes a point that there is the traditional understanding jhana, and it is something that cam be experienced. And he is advising, correctly, that we need to be careful with our reinterpretation of jhana. The sort of thing Geoff is doing is good, because it ties it to the tradition rather than just saying "My experience is other than the tradition." It is part of an ongoing give and take, but kester is suggesting that when we talk to "noobies" we need to be very clear in what is being said, drawing the distinctions. Also, part of the question about the "new wave" of interest in jhana, is there a dumbing down of jhana?
>> 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: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by Nyana » Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:40 pm

tiltbillings wrote:And, Geoff, the whole response, by you, misses the point of what Kester was saying in msg.
Hi Tilt,

If his point was this:
Kester wrote:it's worth letting the noobies know what the usual interpretation is to compare with the unusual, modern interpretation that you and your teachers believe in.
Then it seems to me that my post addresses this point. There are ancient Thera texts much older than the Visuddhimagga that offer commentary on jhāna which is far more in keeping with the suttas than the classical model presented in the Vsm. Kester's notion of a "usual interpretation" is limited due to source bias. Therefore, his rhetoric about an "unusual, modern interpretation" of jhāna is both inaccurate and tired -- it really should be put to bed. There was and still is a whole vibrant world of Pāḷi dhamma beyond the supposed confines of the Mahāvihāra.

All the best,

Geoff

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tiltbillings
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:09 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:And, Geoff, the whole response, by you, misses the point of what Kester was saying in msg.
Hi Tilt,
Thank you for acknowledging your mistake.
If his point was this:
Kester wrote:it's worth letting the noobies know what the usual interpretation is to compare with the unusual, modern interpretation that you and your teachers believe in.
Then it seems to me that my post addresses this point. There are ancient Thera texts much older than the Visuddhimagga that offer commentary on jhāna which is far more in keeping with the suttas than the classical model presented in the Vsm. Kester's notion of a "usual interpretation" is limited due to source bias. Therefore, his rhetoric about an "unusual, modern interpretation" of jhāna is both inaccurate and tired -- it really should be put to bed. There was and still is a whole vibrant world of Pāḷi dhamma beyond the supposed confines of the Mahāvihāra.
Seems to, and maybe does, but Kester is correct and you are quite wrong. The "usual interpretation" of the Theravada is the Visuddhimagga. The earlier texts, little known (if at all) and certainly so compared to the VM, become an important part of the ongoing dialogue. The rhetorical language you are employing probably doesn't help.
>> 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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Sobeh
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by Sobeh » Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:29 pm

The possible experiences which can be undergone through a meditation practice are highly varied with many contrasting features. Meditation was developed in the Vedic period, which is prehistory, and I'm certain there are all sorts of things which arise, persist, and decline in that human history. Calling this or that state "jhana" is of course the problem; no one disagrees that jhana can be experienced, but of course the description defines a subtle variety among the multiple possible outcomes of meditation.

The Buddha wanted us to know that his commonest meditative abode was anapanasati, I suspect on account of there being numerous meditative techniques on hand. Further, anapanasati is wholly adequate to the attainment of jhana; other meditative techniques are a potentially distracting à la carte menu. (The exceptions seem to be the Brahmaviharas and kayagatasati - but the Brahmaviharas are the 'Way to heaven', not therefore necessarily capable of fulfilling all four aspects of sammasamadhi, and after the dozens of suiciding monks on the occasion of a discourse on the foulness of the body, anapanasati appears to predominate.)

Therefore, as a preliminary step I'm inclined to discard all meditative experiences which arise outside of anapanasati; such experiences are too loaded with the risk of not being Right Concentration for them to be pursued.

As for an appropriate definition of the jhanas (and therefore of sammasamadhi), I refer to the Maggavibhanga Sutta (SN 45.8):
And what, monks, is right concentration? (i) There is the case where a monk — 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. (ii) With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluationinternal assurance. (iii) With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' (iv) With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This, monks, is called right concentration.
Four jhana states, and their description. At this point it seems some in-depth Pali studies are in order:

From Tipitaka (Roman)\suttapitaka\samyutta nikaya\mahavaggapali\8. Vibhaṅgasuttaṃ:
Katamo ca, bhikkhave, sammāsamādhi? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati. Vitakkavicārānaṃ vūpasamā ajjhattaṃ sampasādanaṃ cetaso ekodibhāvaṃ avitakkaṃ avicāraṃ samādhijaṃ pītisukhaṃ dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati. Pītiyā ca virāgā upekkhako ca viharati sato ca sampajāno, sukhañca kāyena paṭisaṃvedeti, yaṃ taṃ ariyā ācikkhanti – ‘upekkhako satimā sukhavihārī’ti tatiyaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati. Sukhassa ca pahānā dukkhassa ca pahānā pubbeva somanassadomanassānaṃ atthaṅgamā adukkhamasukhaṃ upekkhāsatipārisuddhiṃ catutthaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati – ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, sammāsamādhī’’ti. Aṭṭhamaṃ.
Which words here are the ones of note in the English? In my opinion, this is the only solid place to begin.

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by Nyana » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:29 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Seems to, and maybe does, but Kester is correct and you are quite wrong. The "usual interpretation" of the Theravada is the Visuddhimagga.
Prior to the 19th century colonial interest in Pāḷi Buddhism the Visuddimagga was little more than a historic artifact relegated to library shelves -- rarely, if ever used. What was used -- and was a living tradition in SE Asia right up until the Cambodian genocide -- was the practices of the Pāḷi Yogāvacara tradition, which has its own corpus of meditation manuals.
tiltbillings wrote:The earlier texts, little known (if at all) and certainly so compared to the VM, become an important part of the ongoing dialogue. The rhetorical language you are employing probably doesn't help.
Historically the Visuddhimagga occupies a rather marginal place in the history of Indian Buddhism. The Vimuttimagga on the other hand, was twice translated in part into Tibetan and fully translated into Chinese.

All the best,

Geoff

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tiltbillings
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:49 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Seems to, and maybe does, but Kester is correct and you are quite wrong. The "usual interpretation" of the Theravada is the Visuddhimagga.
Prior to the 19th century colonial interest in Pāḷi Buddhism the Visuddimagga was little more than a historic artifact relegated to library shelves -- rarely, if ever used. What was used -- and was a living tradition in SE Asia right up until the Cambodian genocide -- was the practices of the Pāḷi Yogāvacara tradition, which has its own corpus of meditation manuals.
Mileage on that varies, but what would be interesting is to look at those manuals in terms of what they have say about jhana, and then the question is how was jhana defined.
tiltbillings wrote:The earlier texts, little known (if at all) and certainly so compared to the VM, become an important part of the ongoing dialogue. The rhetorical language you are employing probably doesn't help.
Historically the Visuddhimagga occupies a rather marginal place in the history of Indian Buddhism. The Vimuttimagga on the other hand, was twice translated in part into Tibetan and fully translated into Chinese.
IIndian Buddhism? Not the subject here. But if the VM were little known among the "scholastic" Theravadins pre19th cent, then the texts you have been quoting, were not known at all. Looking at the scholastic Buddhism of Ledi Sayadaw and the like, the VM plays am important part.

The sort of exegesis you are doing is even more modern, and reflects a Western outlook.
>> 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: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by Nyana » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:55 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Indian Buddhism? Not the subject here.
Then what is the subject here?

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:22 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Indian Buddhism? Not the subject here.
Then what is the subject here?
Theravada as opposed to the whole of the Indian Buddhist history.
>> 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: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by Nyana » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:43 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Indian Buddhism? Not the subject here.
Then what is the subject here?
Theravada as opposed to the whole of the Indian Buddhist history.
The majority of the Pāḷi Canon was constructed in India.
Last edited by Nyana on Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by Nyana » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:47 am

Sobeh wrote:Which words here are the ones of note in the English? In my opinion, this is the only solid place to begin.
Hi Sobeh,

Here is one investigation of the textual subject matter: Jhāna According to the Pāḷi Nikāyas.

All the best,

Geoff

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tiltbillings
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:36 am

Ñāṇa wrote:The majority of the Pāḷi Canon was constructed in India.
I did not know that. Thanks for sharing with me.
>> 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

Nyana
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by Nyana » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:44 am

tiltbillings wrote:I did not know that. Thanks for sharing with me.
:tongue:

BTW, I quite liked the Śiva avatar (if it was Śiva) that you were sporting the other day.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:56 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I did not know that. Thanks for sharing with me.
:tongue:

BTW, I quite liked the Śiva avatar (if it was Śiva) that you were sporting the other day.
I prefer caninds. In rereading this, "Historically the Visuddhimagga occupies a rather marginal place in the history of Indian Buddhism" you were, it looks like, making a funny. As it it stands, outside of being a non sequitur your statement carries no weight as to the veracity of its contents, so you could not have meant it as a serious argument.
>> 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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Moth
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by Moth » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:05 am

nvm.
Last edited by Moth on Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Not Everything Is Written In Stone. . .

Post by Reductor » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:12 am

Moth wrote:As I understand it, Samadhi meditation is a means of practicing concentration, i.e fixating the mind on the breath. I would assume that this means not being carried away by thoughts. In my experience, as my concentration builds I feel as if I am being pulled towards the breath. It takes on my full attention, and I am no longer concerned with mundane thoughts, they seem to fade into the background. Is this approach correct (in reference to scriptures)? Does anyone have any tips for maintaining concentration? Everytime I experience something blissful or unusual I began to analyze it and grasp onto it which then makes the blissful state dissipate. I am also often plague by thoughts like "when should I stop?" "how long have I been doing this?" "what will I do after" etc. Perhaps this is off topic.
Perhaps a new topic? I think you'll get more response, rather than being neglected (or, rather than derail the debate).

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