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Sense objects during Jhana?


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#1 RobertK

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 04:14 AM

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Hi Geoff,
op 10-04-2005 17:21 schreef sunnaloka op sunnaloka@...:

And so my question still is: What's the canonical Tipitaka statement that explicitly validates and confirms that the object of jhanacitta is a counterpart sign (or whatever the commentators say it is), and not simply the visible form or tactile form. Also, what statement explicitly confirms that jhana is a state of 'fixed samadhi'?

N: Book of Analysis (Vibhanga), the second Book of the Abhidhamma: Ch 12, Analysis of Jhana.

QUOTE
§538: Abandoning covetousness in the world means:

...Therein what is the world? The five aggregates (as objects of) the attachments are the world...

§ 564: Aloof from sense pleasures...

§602; Having wholly passed the perceptions of form...

§ 603: Terminating perceptions of (sense) impingement means: ...Visible (object) operception, audible (object) perception...

§ 625: Therein, what is the first jhaana? Herein at the time when a bhikkhu develops the path for rebirth in the plane of form [N:of rupa-brahmas], he, aloof from sense pleasures, aloof from bad states, attains and dwells in earth device first jhaana...


In this chapter the jhana-factors are dealt with and the stages of rupa-jhana and arupa-jhana.

****
As to counterpart sign etc: these are not expressively mentioned. The yogavacara cannot immediately dwell in jhana. Jhana is a development. The names of parikamma nimitta etc. merely denote that there is development. He has to persevere with patience and look again and again at the kasina. BTW, the Path of Discrimination deals with insight, the whole work deals with the development of insight, also when jhana is included.

Nina.

#2 RobertK

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 04:19 AM

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op 11-04-2005 17:26 schreef sunnaloka op sunnaloka@...:

... But could you please give me the specific context of these two statements:

QUOTE
§602; Having wholly passed the perceptions of form...


-----------------------

N: This is after the fourth stage of rupajhana, and now he will enter the first stage of arupa jhana.

QUOTE
§ 603: Terminating perceptions of (sense) impingement means: ...Visible (object) perception, audible (object) perception...


N: the same.

QUOTE
§604: Not attending to diversity of perceptions means: therein what is diversity of perceptions? The perception, perceiving, state of perceiving of one who has not attained (to jhaana) but who is possessed of mind-element (mano-dhaatu) and possessed of mano-viññaa.na-dhaatu.


These arise in a sense-door process, having sense objects. This in contrast to jhana subjects of meditation.

G: Are these two statements specifically referring to the first form jhana? If so, how is that stated prior to these two verses?

Prior to first rupa-jhana is about subduing the hindrances, and then the abandoning of the jhanafactors that are no longer needed. But there is more in Dhammasangani, Ch II. It deals with the fourfold system and the fivefold system. It also deals with the kasinas of earth, water, fire, air, blue-black, yellow. red. white. Brahmaviharas, foul. In Ch III the arupajhanas.

Now I understand more what you are wondering about. You wrote to Jon:

QUOTE
G: The bare perception of visible form is the object of 'perception of earth' in MN 121, and the first two of the eight releases/liberations (vimokkha is it??) and the first two of the eight ?masteries? (I don't know the pali term, and am using Sister Upalavanna's translation) stated in MN 77 could be referring to form jhana, again with visible form as object.


He looks at a kasina, and sure, the object of rupajhana is still connected with rupa, it is coarser than arupa jhana. However, looking at earth will change to having a mental image, going away from visible object, it merely begins with looking. It is quite different from our ordinary looking about the house, etc.

Nina.

#3 RobertK

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 04:23 AM

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---------------

If by sensuous objects you mean the five sensory form objects: visible form, sound, odor, flavor, and tactual sensation, and not the five hindrances: impulsive sensual desire, aggression, agitation, laziness/sleepiness, and doubt, then I'm looking for a canonical Abhidhamma statement confirming this assertion.

------------------

N: I read the text you referred to, M.N. 77 and this referred to the eight deliverances in the Great Discourse on Causation, and Co. transl by B.B. Very difficult text, but before going into it, I think it may help to discuss a little more the aim of jhana. Do we realize to what extent we cling to sense objects? As soon as we see, we cling to visible object, but we do not notice it. This happens all the time, countless moments of clinging. After seeing there is the defining of the object, and this is usually done with clinging. We think about what was seen, heard, etc. When the citta is not intent on dana, sila or mental development, we think with akusala cittas. Most of the time we do not notice this.

The aim of jhana is detachment from sense objects, although this is by way of temporal subduing of attachment. When there is no seeing, no hearing, there is not clinging to visible object, sound. What is the use of jhanacitta if one still experiences colour, sound and is thus immediately involved with clinging to them?

There are outside Buddhism meditations that may lead to trance, but one should seriously question whether they lead to detachment. If this is not so, there is no genuine jhana. Some people may wish for extraordinary experiences, but that is not detachment.

Now the difficult text of the Great Discourse on Causation. At the end is a text you also found difficult:

QUOTE
One possessing material form sees material forms. This is the first emancipation.


Vimokkha: release, freedom.

How could that be real freedom, we can ask? Without the Co we cannot understand this very well. Except that in the sutta the word vimokkha is used, emancipation. So, it must be different from seeing right now, with all the clinging involved.

The Co and subco helps me, but it may not help you, as I understand.

QUOTE
Subco: Possessing material form means endowed with the material form included in one's own continuity...with the eye of jhaana one sees material forms such as the blue kasina, etc. externally. He arouses jhana through the kasinas based on internal objects, such as hairs of the body (blue kasina).


This is really complicated, but it clarifies that it is not ordinary seeing of visible object. As to more details on this practice, see Nyanatiloka Buddhist dictionary, under abhibhaayatana. One can take a large or small part of the body and use that as a kasina subject of meditation.

I really do not know anything about this. I am not very interested in jhana, but I like to understand the suttas dealing with it. And I think that misunderstandings about jhana should be cleared up. I do not think I can be of much help with Abhidhamma texts about details of the jhana practice. It is as Larry says.

In another post you spoke of bhumi. We have to differentiate bhumi as plane of existence: 31 planes. Bhumi as plane of citta: four planes. What plane a citta belongs to depends on the object that it experiences, that is all. Kaamavacaara citta experiences sense objects, different from the meditation subjects of jhanacitta, different from nibbana. What is the use of the citta plane which is ruupaavacaara if it is not different from kaamaavacara? It must be different.

Nina.

#4 RobertK

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 04:24 AM

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N: Dhammasangani 1019:

QUOTE
Which are states that are limited (paritta)? All states [N ;dhammas] good, bad and indeterminate, which relate to the universe of sense (kaamaavacara); in other words the five khandhas.


N: Paritta (insignificant) denotes all kaamaavacaara dhammas.

Dhsg 1020:

QUOTE
Which are the states that are sublime (mahaggata)?


Is what you have as universe of sense a translation of kamavacara?

N: Yes. I use the PTS transl which is not always clear next to the Pali text I have. It would be useful for you, being a pali student.

N: It goes on about which states have which objects. Dsgn 161:

QUOTE
pathavikasina.m, the earth kasina is the subject of the jhanas.


G: But does it state that earth kasina is necessarily not paritta and therefore not kamavacara? And does it give other objects (subjects) of jhana besides the ten kasinas? If so, does it state that these objects (subjects) are necessarily not paritta and therefore not kamavacara?

N: Yes, they are under the heading of ruupaavacara-kusala.m, Ch II.

QUOTE
§ 203: When, he may attain to the heavens of form, he cultivates the way [thereto], aloof from sensuous desires, aloof from evil ideas, and so, by the artifice of
water
fire
air
blue-black
yellow
red
white...
enters into and abides in the First jhana...


§ 263 deals with the asubha. About corpses.

Now Book 2 of the Abhidhamma, the Vibhanga, Ch 12. At the end there is an Interrogation, very short and compact.

QUOTE
Three jhanas should not be said to have low objects or sublime objects; sometimes have immeasurable object.... The fourth jhaana sometimes has low (paritta) object; sometimes has sublime object; sometimes has immeasurable object...


Here I was puzzlled, but there is a possibility I had overseen: the superpowers. These have as base the fourth jhana, and, as the Co, the Dispeller of Delusion (p.101) says, they have the body as object in the
performing of miracles with a visible body...

So, when we look at the Co and then return to the text we see that we could have known, but the Co. drew our attention to this possibility. This is a way to check whether you find it helpful to sometimes look at a co.

Another phrase:

QUOTE
Three jhanas should not be said to have low objects or sublime objects.


The Co explains: they have a sign as object.

A sign is not a sense object, a paritta object.

One can really stumble without the Co. The Atthasalini is the Co to the Dhammasangani. This mentions also (as I referred to) the example of Kalama Alara who did not hear the sound of five hundred Carts. The Points of Controversy debates about sound being a thorn for jhana. It is explained that when in jhana one does not hear nor see.

Nina.

#5 RobertK

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 04:32 AM

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Well the commentarial position doesn't seem to represent very well at all some of the most graphic descriptions of jhanic experience given in the suttas. In AN V.28 we read (also MN 77):

QUOTE
There is the case where a monk -- quite withdrawn from
sensuality, ...He permeates and pervades, suffuses and fills this very body with the rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal.


---------------------------

N: I can understand the confusion. When in jhana he does not feel the body, but the jhanacitta conditions such bodily phenomena.

The Atthasalini explains the very subtle bodily pleasant feeling that is conditioned by the third jhana and helps us to understand the text. First of all the word body is also used for [i]the mental body, the cetasikas[i/].
Text Co:

QUOTE
Now in the clause 'he experiences blissful ease by the mental factors,' although to one endowed with the Third Jhaana there is no thought of such experience, yet he may experience that bliss which is associated with his mental factors, or, though he has emerged from jhaana, he may still experience that bodily bliss, because his material body has been suffused by the exceedingly refined mind-born matter produced by that associated bliss.


Nina.

#6 RobertK

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 04:33 AM

Vis. IV, 175:
QUOTE
Now, as to the clause he feels bliss [sukha, pleasant feeling] with the body: here although in one actually possessed of the third jhana there is no concern about feeling bliss, nevertheless he would feel the bliss associated with his mental body [N: the cetasikas], and after emerging from the jhana he would also feel bliss since his material body would have been affected by the exceedingly superior matter originated by that bliss associated with the mental body.


#7 RobertK

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 04:35 AM

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Sukha can mean bodily feeling that is vipaaka, and also somanassa, mental pleasant feeling that is a jhanafactor.

When someone enters jhana for the first time, it is just for a moment. He could very well notice a bodily sensation when emerging.

When in jhana: he could not. What is otherwise the sense of distinguishing kaamaavacara citta and jhaanacitta as different planes of citta?

When the yogavacara wants to attain the second jhana he must already have mastery of jhana, entering and emerging whenever he wants. For instance, when he develops insight he can in between jhanas be aware of nama and rupa, that includes bodily feelings. Knowing this may be helpful in interpreting texts.

Nina van Gorkom

#8 RobertK

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 04:38 AM

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Visuddhimagga, XIV, 83. Tiika Note 36. (this note given by the translator of the Vis. is a translation of a part of the beginning of Tiika 83).

Tiika text:

QUOTE
' "Sense sphere" (kaamaavacara): here there are the two kinds of sense desire (kaama), sense desire as basis (vatthu-kaama) and sense desire as defilement (kilesa-kaama). Of these, sense desire as [objective] basis particularized as the five cords of sense desire (pa~nca-kaama-gu.na = dimensions of sensual desires), is desired (kaamiyati). Sense desire as defilement, which is craving, desires (kaameti).


N: vatthu-kaama is the basis of sense desire. They are the sense objects that are desired by the defilement of sense desire, kilesa kaama. This is called tanhaa, clinging. The Expositor (I, p. 82) explains that the basis of sense desire is the round of the triple plane of existence. Because of clinging one wants to be reborn. The triple plane of existence are the sensuous planes, the fine material planes and the immaterial planes.

Text:

QUOTE
The sense sphere (kaamavacara) is where these two operate (avacaranti) together. But what is that? It is the elevenfold sense-desire becoming, i.e. hell, asura demons, ghosts, animals, human beings, and six sensual-sphere heavens.


N: We have to distinguish planes (bhuumi) of citta and planes of existence. As to plane (bhuumi) of citta there are four planes: cittas of the sense sphere, kaamaavacara cittas, ruupaavacara cittas (ruupa-jhånacittas), aruupaavacara cittas (aruupajhaanacittas) and lokuttara cittas, supramundane cittas experiencing nibbaana. Thus, there are four planes of cittas classified according to the object citta experiences.

As to plane of existence, this is the locality where one is reborn. There are eleven sensuous planes. Sensuousness frequents these sensuous planes, in these planes the basis of sense desire and sense desire prevail.

We read in the Expositor :

QUOTE
Thus sensuous universe means that this (first class of moral) consciousness frequents this eleven-fold localized sensuousness [the sensuous planes of existence], even though it also frequents the planes of attenuated ruupa and of non-ruupa.... this class of consciousness, though occurring elsewhere, should be known as sensuous


Cittas of the sensesphere also arise in ruupa-brahma planes and in aruupa brahma planes; cittas rooted in lobha, for example, arise in ruupa-brahma planes and in aruupa brahma planes. Seeing and hearing also arise in ruupa-brahma planes, but smelling, tasting and body-consciousness do not arise there. Those born in the ruupa-brahma planes have less conditions for sense impressions. However, cittas of the sensesphere arise in abundance in the sensuous planes of existence.

We read in the Co to the Abhidhammattha Sangaha (Topics of Abhidhamma, p. 10):

QUOTE
Herein that which desires (kameti) is desire (kaama) or sensual craving. [Consciousness] where that desire is active (avacarati) in finding its objects belongs to the sphere of sense-desire (kaamaavacara.m). Alternatively, kaama is that which is desired, [that is,] elevenfold sense-sphere existence; because it is mostly active there, it belongs to the sphere of sense-objects (kaamaavacara.m)- for what is meant is its most common activity, even though [consciousness] that occurs in form and formless existences can still belong to the sphere of sense-desire. Alternatively, kaama is simply sense-sphere existence and what is active there is sense-sphere activity (kaamaavacaro).


Text:

QUOTE
So too with the fine-material sphere and the immaterial sphere, taking 'fine-material' as craving for the fine-material too, and 'immaterial' as craving for the immaterial too. It crosses over (uttarati) from the world (loka), thus it is supramundane (lokuttara)' (Pm. 464).

N: The Tiika explains here word derivations. Craving for rebirth in sensuous planes is called kaamata.nhaa. Craving for rebirth in fine-material existence is called ruupa-ta.nhaa, and craving for rebirth in immaterial existence is called aruupa-ta.nhaa.

****
Nina.

#9 jhana with vipassana

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 12:24 AM

Vipassanā Jhāna: Sayādaw U Pandita

On the other hand, vipassanā jhāna allows the mind to move freely from object to object, staying focused on the characteristics of impermanence, suffering and absence of self that are common to all objects. Vipassanā jhāna also includes the mind which can be focused and fixed upon the bliss of nibbāna. Rather than the tranquility and absorption which are the goal of samatha jhāna practitioners, the most important results of vipassanā jhāna are insight and wisdom.

Vipassanā jhāna is the focusing of the mind on paramattha dhammas. Usually these are spoken of as “ultimate realities,” but actually they are just the things we can experience directly through the six sense doors without conceptualization. Most of them are saṅkhāra paramattha dhamma, or conditioned ultimate realities; mental and physical phenomena which are changing all the time. Nibbāna is also a paramattha dhamma, but of course it is not conditioned.

Breathing is a good example of a conditioned process. The sensations you feel at the abdomen are conditioned ultimate realities, saṅkhāra paramattha dhamma, caused by your intention to breath. The whole purpose of concentrating one’s attention on the abdomen is to penetrate the actual quality and nature of what is happening there. When you are aware of movement, tension, tautness, heat or cold, you have begun to develop vipassanā jhāna.

Mindfulness at the respective sense doors follows the same principle. If there is diligent effort and penetrative awareness, focusing on what is happening in any particular sense process, the mind will understand the true nature of what is happening. The sensing processes will be understood in individual characteristics as well as common ones.

According to the fourfold way of reckoning, which admits of four levels of jhāna, the first jhāna possesses five factors which we will describe below. All of them are important in vipassanā practice.

The Five Jhānic Factors

The first of them is called vitakka. It is the factor of aiming, accurately directing the mind toward an object. It also has the aspect of establishing the mind on the object, so that the mind stays there.

The second factor is vicāra (pronounced “vichara”), generally translated as “investigation” or “reflection.” After vitakka has brought the mind to the object and placed it firmly there, vicāra continues to rub the mind onto the object. You can experience this yourself when observing rising and falling. First you make the effort to be precise in aiming the mind at the rising process. Then your mind reaches the object and it does not slip off. It impinges on the object, rubs against it.

As you are mindful in an intuitive and accurate way from moment to moment, the mind gets more and more pure. The hindrances of desire, aversion, sloth, restlessness and doubt, weaken and disappear. The mind becomes crystal clear and calm. This state of clarity results from the presence of the two jhānic factors we just discussed. It is called viveka, which means seclusion. The consciousness is secluded, far away from the hindrances. This viveka is not a jhānic factor. It is merely a descriptive term for this secluded state of consciousness.

The third jhānic factor is pīti, rapture, a delighted interest in what is occurring. This factor may manifest physically as gooseflesh, as feelings of being dropped suddenly as if in an elevator, or as feelings of rising off the ground .The fourth jhānic factor, sukha, happiness or comfort, comes on the heels of the third. One feels very satisfied with the practice. Because both the third and the fourth jhānic factors come about as a result of seclusion from the hindrances, they are called vivekaja pīti sukha, meaning the rapture, joy and happiness born out of seclusion.

Think of this sequence as a causal chain. Seclusion of mind comes about because of the presence of the first two jhānic factors. If the mind is accurately aimed at the object, if it hits it and rubs it, after some time the mind will become secluded. Because the mind is secluded from the hindrances, one becomes happy, joyous and comfortable.

When these first four jhānic factors are present, the mind automatically becomes calm and peaceful, able to concentrate on what is happening without getting scattered or dispersed. This one-pointedness of mind is the fifth jhānic factor, samādhi, or concentration.

Access to the First Vipassanā Jhāna Requires Insight into Mind and Matter

It is not sufficient to have all five factors present for one to say one has attained the first vipassanā jhāna. The mind must also come to penetrate into the Dhamma a little bit, enough to see the interrelationship of mind and matter. At this time we say that access to the first vipassanā jhāna has occurred.

A yogi whose mind is composed of these five jhānic factors will experience a new accuracy of mindfulness, a new level of success in sticking with the object. Intense rapture, happiness and comfort in the body may also arise. This could be the occasion for him or her to gloat over the wondrousness of the meditation practice. “Oh wow, I’m getting really precise and accurate. I even feel like I’m floating in the air!” You might recognize this reflection as a moment of attachment.

Stopping Within

Anyone can get caught up in rapture, happiness and comfort. This attachment to what is happening within us is a manifestation of a special kind of craving, a craving not connected with ordinary, worldly sensual pleasures. Rather, such craving comes directly out of one’s meditation practice. When one is unable to be aware of this craving when it arises, it will interfere with one’s practice. Rather than directly noting, one wallows in the pleasant phenomena unmindfully, or thinks about the further delights that might ensure from one’s practice. Now we can understand the Buddha’s mystifying admonition, for this attachment to the pleasant results of meditation is what he meant by stopping within.

#10 jhana with vipassana

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 12:28 AM

Hi Robert,

I re-posted a section of Sayādaw U Pandita's teaching on vipassanā jhāna where there are sense objects during jhāna. You were having some difficulty with this teaching? Maybe we could discuss it further?

#11 RobertK

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 02:43 AM

Thanks! Yes, sorry about the deletion of your earlier posts. I was making some changes in the myqsl file and had to upload a version from last week.

Although I agree with the venerable Pandita's sentiment about vipassana, I am not sure that he is correct in referring to vipassana jhanas. There are terms in the pali that show right concentration occures with vipassana, and that at the moment of attaining nibbana even a dry-insight worker has concentration equivalent to mundane jhana. But I have never seen vipassana jhana used.
Robert

#12 jhana with vipassana

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 06:30 AM

QUOTE(RobertK @ Nov 6 2006, 02:43 AM) View Post

Although I agree with the venerable Pandita's sentiment about vipassana, I am not sure that he is correct in referring to vipassana jhanas. There are terms in the pali that show right contration occures with vipassana, and that at the moment of attaining nibbana even a dry-insight worker has concentration equivalent to mundane jhana. But I have never seen vipassana jhana used.

But the Suttas say that right concentration is jhana, so what is the problem with vipassana as right concentration being jhana?

Oh, I also remember that since the topic of this thread is "Sense objects during jhana" I was going to post Ajahn Chah talking about sense experience during appana samadhi. He says:

"In appana samadhi the mind calms down and is stilled to a level where it is at its most subtle and skillful. Even if you experience sense impingement from the outside, such as sounds and physical sensations, it remains external and is unable to disturb the mind. You might hear a sound, but it won't distract your concentration. There is the hearing of the sound, but the experience is as if you don't hear anything. There is awareness of the impingement but it's as if you are not aware. This is because you let go. The mind lets go automatically. Concentration is so deep and firm that you let go of attachment to sense impingement quite naturally. The mind can absorb into this state for long periods. Having stayed inside for an appropriate amount of time, it then withdraws."

What are your thoughts on this?

#13 RobertK

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 12:48 PM

QUOTE(jhana with vipassana @ Nov 6 2006, 03:30 PM) View Post

But the Suttas say that right concentration is jhana, so what is the problem with vipassana as right concentration being jhana?


Dear Jhana..
The main problem is context and definition. Usually jhana refers to the 8 mundane jhanas, although there are 'jhana factors' which can ocure outside jhana. It is really about taking pains with terms so that future generations are not misled. I understand what the Venerable is saying in his book, but am concerned that confusions don't occur.
Right concentartion is sometimes defined as mundane jhana but there are other texts which give other definitions.

QUOTE(jhana with vipassana @ Nov 6 2006, 03:30 PM) View Post

Oh, I also remember that since the topic of this thread is "Sense objects during jhana" I was going to post Ajahn Chah talking about sense experience during appana samadhi. He says:

"In appana samadhi the mind calms down and is stilled to a level where it is at its most subtle and skillful. Even if you experience sense impingement from the outside, such as sounds and physical sensations, it remains external and is unable to disturb the mind. You might hear a sound, but it won't distract your concentration. There is the hearing of the sound, but the experience is as if you don't hear anything. There is awareness of the impingement but it's as if you are not aware. This is because you let go. The mind lets go automatically. Concentration is so deep and firm that you let go of attachment to sense impingement quite naturally. The mind can absorb into this state for long periods. Having stayed inside for an appropriate amount of time, it then withdraws."

What are your thoughts on this?

I think it is completely wrong with regard to appana samadhi. During appana there can be no hearing of sound, this is well established in Theravada.
Robert

#14 jhana with vipassana

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 09:34 AM

QUOTE(RobertK @ Nov 6 2006, 12:48 PM) View Post

The main problem is context and definition. Usually jhana refers to the 8 mundane jhanas, although there are 'jhana factors' which can ocure outside jhana. It is really about taking pains with terms so that future generations are not misled. I understand what the Venerable is saying in his book, but am concerned that confusions don't occur.

Misled by what? Are you suggesting that the Venerable's teaching is misleading? What confusion could occur from vipassana jhana in your opinion?

QUOTE(RobertK @ Nov 6 2006, 12:48 PM) View Post
Right concentartion is sometimes defined as mundane jhana but there are other texts which give other definitions.

In the suttas right concentration is defined as jhana. Thanissaro Bhikkhu says:

QUOTE
The role of jhana as a condition for transcendent discernment is one of the most controversial issues in the Theravada tradition. Three basic positions have been advanced in modern writings. One, following the commentarial tradition, asserts that jhana is not necessary for any of the four levels of Awakening and that there is a class of individuals -- called "dry insight" meditators -- who are "released through discernment" based on a level of concentration lower than that of jhana. A second position, citing a passage in the Canon [AN III.88; MFU, pp. 103] stating that concentration is mastered only on the level of non-returning, holds that jhana is necessary for the attainment of non-returning and Arahantship, but not for the lower levels of Awakening. The third position states that the attainment of at least the first level of jhana is essential for all four levels of Awakening.

Evidence from the Canon supports the third position, but not the other two. As §106 points out, the attainment of stream-entry has eight factors, one of which is right concentration, defined as jhana. In fact, according to this particular discourse, jhana is the heart of the streamwinner's path. Secondly, there is no passage in the Canon describing the development of transcendent discernment without at least some skill in jhana. The statement that concentration is mastered only on the level of non-returning must be interpreted in the light of the distinction between mastery and attainment. A streamwinner may have attained jhana without mastering it; the discernment developed in the process of gaining full mastery over the practice of jhana will then lead him/her to the level of non-returning. As for the term "released through discernment," passage §168 shows that it denotes people who have become Arahants without experiencing the four formless jhanas. It does not indicate a person who has not experienced jhana.

Part of the controversy over this question may be explained by the fact that the commentarial literature defines jhana in terms that bear little resemblance to the canonical description. The Path of Purification -- the cornerstone of the commentarial system -- takes as its paradigm for meditation practice a method called kasina, in which one stares at an external object until the image of the object is imprinted in one's mind. The image then gives rise to a countersign that is said to indicate the attainment of threshold concentration, a necessary prelude to jhana. The text then tries to fit all other meditation methods into the mold of kasina practice, so that they too give rise to countersigns, but even by its own admission, breath meditation does not fit well into the mold: with other methods, the stronger one's focus, the more vivid the object and the closer it is to producing a sign and countersign; but with the breath, the stronger one's focus, the harder the object is to detect. As a result, the text states that only Buddhas and Buddhas' sons find the breath a congenial focal point for attaining jhana.

None of these assertions have any support in the Canon. Although a practice called kasina is mentioned tangentially in some of the discourses, the only point where it is described in any detail [MN 121; MFU, pp. 82-85] makes no mention of staring at an object or gaining a countersign. If breath meditation were congenial only to Buddhas and their sons, there seems little reason for the Buddha to have taught it so frequently and to such a wide variety of people. If the arising of a countersign were essential to the attainment of jhana, one would expect it to be included in the steps of breath meditation and in the graphic analogies used to describe jhana, but it isn't. Some Theravadins insist that questioning the commentaries is a sign of disrespect for the tradition, but it seems to be a sign of greater disrespect for the Buddha -- or the compilers of the Canon -- to assume that he or they would have left out something absolutely essential to the practice.

All of these points seem to indicate that what jhana means in the commentaries is something quite different from what it means in the Canon. Because of this difference we can say that the commentaries are right in viewing their type of jhana as unnecessary for Awakening, but Awakening cannot occur without the attainment of jhana in the canonical sense.

Do you disagree with this assessment also?

QUOTE(RobertK @ Nov 6 2006, 12:48 PM) View Post
I think it is completely wrong with regard to appana samadhi. During appana there can be no hearing of sound, this is well established in Theravada.
Robert

So you disagree with a leading teacher from a practice oriented Burmese tradition and a leading teacher from a practice oriented Thai tradition. Why precisely do you disagree? The Buddha taught that one has to be able to tolerate sounds and sights in right concentration. I don't see Ajahn Chah contradicting that? Where does the Buddha mention that there can be no sounds in appana samadhi? He never mentions appana samadhi at all does he?

#15 RobertK

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 10:21 AM

QUOTE(jhana with vipassana @ Nov 7 2006, 06:34 PM) View Post

Misled by what? Are you suggesting that the Venerable's teaching is misleading? What confusion could occur from vipassana jhana in your opinion?

Dear Jhana..
The problem as I see it is that this term is not, as far as I know, used in the Pali texts except to refer to the moments when nibbana is attained.
Introducing new terms or changing the context, has the potential to confuse because Pali is a dead language. These terms are carefully defined in the exegetical texts already. With many subjects it may not matter too much, but jhana and viapssana have a history of debate and so it remains essential not to conflate any terms. For instance, I know from reading the Venerable Pandiat that he would disagree with what you have quoted afrom venerable Cha and Thanissaro, yet here you are quoting all 3 as if they have similar beliefs. So just on this thread we see how easy it is to miss the point if definitions are changed in any way. .
IB Horner writes ""The prime object of every Commentary is to make the meanings of the words and
phrases in the canonical passages it is elucidating abundantly clear, definite, definitive even....This is to preserve the Teachings of the Buddha as nearly as possible in the sense intended, and as conveyed by the succession of teachers, acariyaparama. Always there were detractors, always there were and still are "improvers" ready with their own notions. Through friends and enemies alike deleterous change and deterioration in the word of the Buddha might intervene for an indefinite length of time. The Commentaries are the armour and protection against such an eventuality. AS they hold a unique position as preservers and interpreters of true Dhamma, it is essential not only to follow them carefully and adopt the meaning they ascribe to a word or phrase each time they commnet on it. They are as closed now as is the Pali canon. No aditions to their corpus or subtractions from it are to contemplated, and no commentary written in later days could be included in it.
""endquote Horner. pxiii Clarifier of the Sweet Meaning" PAli Text Society 1978.

QUOTE(jhana with vipassana @ Nov 7 2006, 06:34 PM) View Post

In the suttas right concentration is defined as jhana. Thanissaro Bhikkhu says:
Do you disagree with this assessment also?

Absolutely. What you quote from Thanissaro is in direct opposition to Theravada orthodoxy.

In the Susima sutta the Buddha explained about sukkavipassaka
arhants - those who are liberated without having jhana.
Venerable Bodhi translates the commentary to this sutta:

[i]Saratthappakasini (Atthakatha) :
Why is this said? For the purpose
of showing the arising of
knowledge thus even without concentration.
This is meant: "Susima, the path and fruit are not the issue of
concentration (samadhinissanda), nor the advantage brought about by
concentration (samadhi-anisamsa), nor the outcome of concentration
(samadhinipphatti). They are the issue of insight (vipassana), the
advantage brought about by insight, the outcome of insight.
Therefore, whether you understand or not, first comes knowledge of
the stability of the Dhamma, afterwards knowledge of Nibbana.
Spk-pt (tika): 'Even without concentration' (vina pi samadhim): even
without
previously established (concentration) that has acquired the
characteristic of serenity (samatha-lakkhanappattam); this is said
referring to one who takes the vehicle of insight
(vipassanayanika)..."[/i]





QUOTE(jhana with vipassana @ Nov 7 2006, 06:34 PM) View Post

So you disagree with a leading teacher from a practice oriented Burmese tradition and a leading teacher from a practice oriented Thai tradition. Why precisely do you disagree? The Buddha taught that one has to be able to tolerate sounds and sights in right concentration. I don't see Ajahn Chah contradicting that? Where does the Buddha mention that there can be no sounds in appana samadhi? He never mentions appana samadhi at all does he?

Appana samadhi is defined as mundane jhana and in the tipitaka, (see the Katthavatthu,) it is said that no sounds or any sense objects can appear. I disagree with Ven Pandita using the term vipassana jhana, but I agree with his sentiment that right concentration is present during vipassana.
BTW when you joined you were asked to use your real name or send me a PM with it
http://www.abhidhamm...?act=boardrules
Robert

#16 jhana with vipassana

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 04:20 AM

QUOTE(RobertK @ Nov 7 2006, 10:21 AM) View Post

With many subjects it may not matter too much, but jhana and viapssana have a history of debate and so it remains essential not to conflate any terms.

You acknowledge that the role of jhana and vipassana has been debated for a long time. Here is how Ven. Vimalaramsi defines these terms:

QUOTE
SAMATHA (SERENITY) and VIPASSANᾹ (INSIGHT) – What needs to be said about these two is brief. In the suttas these two were NEVER separated into two meditations. There are many examples of early followers in the suttas doing a meditation where they are in the jhanas while fully aware. It is very clear that Serenity and Insight occur together here. (see MN-111) This was unique to Buddhist meditation.

SAMATHA and VIPASSANᾹ were yoked together.

Since it was presented so widely, I decided to give the position of "separation of these two" a fair chance to prove itself out in the suttas. Checking out the two topics throughout the index of the entire Majjhima Nikaya it was found that the same pages and sections were cited for both topics and In all instances they appeared as "SERENITY AND INSIGHT" within the texts! Neither appeared alone, ever! So to follow the instructions in the suttas for the meditation it is logical to assume that the practice was done in this way: with serenity and insight yoked together. By doing this the experience begins to deepen and to make total sense in conjunction with other sutta materials.

SAMᾹDHI – In the dictionary by Rhys Davies, he notes something about this word; he tells us that the word Samadhi was never used before the time of the Buddha and that the Buddha made this word up to talk about this particular kind of meditation that he discovered.
The Buddha used this word to mean Tranquil or Quiet Wisdom and when we use this definition while reading the texts, they become clear.

JHᾹNA - Jhana was not indicated as being a separate practice of meditation but rather occurred within the regularly taught meditation if the instructions within the suttas were followed precisely. The states we reach while passing through various jhanas are not equivalent to the attainment of Nibbana as assumed and advertised by some people today.

There are two forms of jhāna and it helps to understand them clearly. The form the Buddha was practicing was a Serenity-Insight (Samatha-Vipassanā) meditation with full Awareness or (Sampajjana). The other form of jhana was a one-pointed form of concentration that leads to absorption without full awareness, where the deeper insights cannot take place clearly. The absorption type was what he experienced with his two teachers previous to his enlightenment and which he laid aside.

Today there is a lot of absorption type meditation being taught with a division of Serenity and Insight and people are getting frustrated about their progress. Following many, many years of practice, people are not experiencing what is written about in the texts. But with a slight tweak in understanding, adding back a few ingredients to the recipe, a little different approach, and a little determination, all of their training and discipline can pay off as they begin to experience these deeper states with a clear awareness.

SAMPAJAÑÑA – Full Awareness. This was the nature of the Buddha’s meditation practice while in sitting meditation, while in walking meditation, and all the time. Full awareness of what? Full awareness of the movements of mind’s attention.

I imagine you would disagree with this bhante too?

QUOTE(RobertK @ Nov 7 2006, 10:21 AM) View Post
For instance, I know from reading the Venerable Pandiat that he would disagree with what you have quoted afrom venerable Cha and Thanissaro, yet here you are quoting all 3 as if they have similar beliefs. So just on this thread we see how easy it is to miss the point if definitions are changed in any way.

No, I'm not saying all three have the same beliefs, but it seems that for all three there is allowance that there can be jhana without it necessarily having to be rupavacara. Speaking of definitions, where does the Buddha mention rupavacara-cittas in the suttas?

QUOTE(RobertK @ Nov 7 2006, 10:21 AM) View Post
In the Susima sutta the Buddha explained about sukkavipassaka arhants - those who are liberated without having jhana.

You're mistaken. The arahants in that sutta are said to not have the formless attainments or psychic powers, there is no statement that they haven't developed the four jhanas. Thanissaro bhikkhu's introduction to SN 12.70 Susima Sutta:

QUOTE
This discourse is sometimes cited as proof that a meditator can attain Awakening (final gnosis) without having practiced the jhanas, but a close reading shows that it does not support this assertion at all. The new arahants mentioned here do not deny that they have attained any of the four "form" jhanas that make up the definition of right concentration. Instead, they simply deny that they have acquired any psychic powers or that they remain in physical contact with the higher levels of concentration, "the formless states beyond forms." In this, their definition of "discernment-release" is no different from that given in AN 9.44 (compare this with the definitions for "bodily witness" and "released in both ways" given in AN 9.43 and AN 9.45). Taken in the context of the Buddha's many other teachings on right concentration, there's every reason to believe that the new arahants mentioned in this discourse had reached at least the first jhana before attaining Awakening.


QUOTE(RobertK @ Nov 7 2006, 10:21 AM) View Post
[i]Saratthappakasini (Atthakatha) :
Why is this said? For the purpose
of showing the arising of
knowledge thus even without concentration.
This is meant: "Susima, the path and fruit are not the issue of
concentration (samadhinissanda), nor the advantage brought about by
concentration (samadhi-anisamsa), nor the outcome of concentration
(samadhinipphatti). They are the issue of insight (vipassana), the
advantage brought about by insight, the outcome of insight.
Therefore, whether you understand or not, first comes knowledge of
the stability of the Dhamma, afterwards knowledge of Nibbana.
Spk-pt (tika): 'Even without concentration' (vina pi samadhim): even
without
previously established (concentration) that has acquired the
characteristic of serenity (samatha-lakkhanappattam); this is said
referring to one who takes the vehicle of insight
(vipassanayanika)..."[/i]


This is prescribing a sevenfold path. The Buddha never said such things. Right samadhi is essential and right samadhi is jhana in the suttas.

QUOTE(RobertK @ Nov 7 2006, 10:21 AM) View Post
Appana samadhi is defined as mundane jhana and in the tipitaka, (see the Katthavatthu,) it is said that no sounds or any sense objects can appear. I disagree with Ven Pandita using the term vipassana jhana, but I agree with his sentiment that right concentration is present during vipassana.

Where does the Buddha specifically mention appana samadhi in the suttas? The Buddha states that jhana is right samadhi:

QUOTE
"And what is right concentration? 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. With the stilling of directed thought & evaluation, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. With the fading of rapture he remains in equanimity, mindful, & fully alert, and physically sensitive of pleasure. He enters & remains in the third jhana, and of him the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding.' 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 is called right concentration." — SN 45.8


#17 RobertK

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 10:45 AM

Dear Jhana
Appana samadhi is a term in the commentaries such as the Visuddhimagga


S± panes± pañcavidh± p²ti gabbha½ gaºhant² parip±ka½ gacchant² duvidha½ passaddhi½
parip³reti k±yapassaddhiñca cittapassaddhiñca. Passaddhigabbha½ gaºhant² parip±ka½
gacchant² duvidhampi sukha½ parip³reti k±yikañca cetasikañca. Sukha½ gabbha½ gaºhanta½
parip±ka½ gacchanta½ tividha½ sam±dhi½ parip³reti khaºikasam±dhi½ upac±rasam±dhi½
appan± sam±dhinti. T±su y± appan±sam±dhissa m³la½ hutv± va¹¹ham±n± sam±dhisampa-
yoga½ gat± pharaº±p²ti, aya½ imasmi½ atthe adhippet± p²t²ti.

#18 RobertK

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 01:01 PM

oops run out of time. Will edit that post tommorow.

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Posted 08 November 2006 - 01:08 PM

Dear J.V. and Robert,

The paali for Visuddhimagga didn't come out right above. Here's a quote from that text. I haven't time to do the paali right now:

QUOTE
"Now concentration is of two kinds, that is to say, access concentration and absorption concentration: the mind becomes concentrated on the plane of access and on the plane of obtainment. Herein the mind becomes concentrated on the plane of access by the abandonment of the hindrances, and on the plane of obtainment by the manifestation of the jhaana factors.

The difference between the two kinds of concentration is this. The factors are not strong in access. It is because they are not strong that when access has arisen, the mind now makes the sign of its object and now re-enters the life-continuum, just as when a young child is lifted up and stood on its feet, it repeatedly falls down on the ground. But the factors are strong in absorption. It is because they are strong that when absorption concentration has arisen, the mind, having once interrupted the flow of the life-continuum, carries on with a stream of profitable impulsion for a whole night and for a whole day, just as a healthy man, after rising from his seat, could stand for a whole day."


Visuddhimagga, IV 32-33.

~Naa.namoli's note 13, too lengthy to reproduce here, gives an interesting discussion of bhavanga and javana which is also relevant.

Sincerely,

Scott.

#20 RobertK

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 04:25 AM

Thanks Scott.
Dear JV,

The quote from Buddhaghosa is talking about mundane jhana. There is always some degree of concentration.
In the Atthasalini -I use The expositor PTS (translator : maung tin).
P58. Triplets in the Matika

QUOTE
QUOTE
"'leading to accumulation' are those states which go about severally arranging births and deaths in a round of of destiny like a bricklayer who arranges bricks, layer by layer in a wall."

"..leading to accumulation are those causes which by being accomplished go to, or lead a man, in whom they arise, to that round of rebirth"



It then defines these causes as "moral or immoral states". i.e akusala AND kusala. It notes that the way leading to dispersion is the Ariyan path (eightfactored path). There is then several chapters (total of 140 pages) that gives much details about the various types of kusala (wholesome consciousness). The last two chapters in this section explain all the different types of "MUNDANE" Jhanas.

The start of the next chapter is interesting: this is where it discusses the eight-fold path. The Discourse on LOKUTTARA (transcendental).


QUOTE
QUOTE
"He cultivates the Jhana means that he evolves, produces the ecstatic jhana of one momenatry flash of consciousness. because it goes forth from the world, from the round of rebirths, this is jhana called going out...This is not like that which is known as 'leading to accumulation' which heaps up and increases rebirths by the moral(kusala) consciousness of the three planes[includes kusala such as giving as well as all levels of "mundane" jhana]"

Robert