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Re: [Pali] Jhana translation in context of samma samadhi

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  • Dieter Moeller
    Dear Nina, I am glad to meet you on Pali list again. Thank you for the feedback. you wrote: There are two stems. The word jhåna has been explained as being
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 24, 2011
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      Dear Nina,

      I am glad to meet you on Pali list again. Thank you for the feedback.

      you wrote:

      ' There are two stems.
      The word jhåna has been explained as being derived from "jhåyati", to
      contemplate, or to think closely of an object. Or else "jhåyati" can
      mean to burn (from another stem, jhåpana, Vis. IV, 119), since the
      jhåna-factors which are developed burn the "hindrances" (akusala cetasikas)
      away.
      In order to understand the meaning of jhaana we can use both of the above
      meanings. As you know word associations were used by the commentaries to
      explain meanings and linguistics was not the aim. It does not matter that
      there are two stems and that these are used to explain meanings.

      D: as you may have seen already from my message to Piya , I am looking for
      sutta sources in order to overcome my doubt that the Jhanas 'burn' the
      hindrances' , instead of
      assuming the lack of them as a precondition. 'To think closely of an
      object ' fits to the 'figurative meaning of absorption "to completely grip
      (one's) attention" (On-line Etymoloy), doesn't it? I understand that
      Dhammasangani and VisM . are expanding the meaning in order to provide
      deeper explanation, but this -I suppose - may as well be a source of
      misunderstandings

      Nina: Also, jhaana can be seen as samatha but also as vipassanaa by which
      the three characteristics of realities are understood. The Atthasåliní
      (Expositor, Part V, Ch I, 167), with regard to contemplation of the object,
      uses the term upanijjhåna, and explains this as twofold: as closely
      examining the object, which are the meditation subjects of samatha; and as
      examining closely the characteristics of impermanence, dukkha and anattå.
      Insight, the Path and Fruition are called "characteristic examining jhåna"
      (lakkha.na
      upanijjhaana).

      D: I think that the state of (first) Jhana allows to do vipassana , however
      I.M.H.O. , that means to switch to Satipatthana , i.e. leaving the context
      of the last path link.
      However I agree with you that 'By understanding the function of the
      jhaanafactors we shall penetrate more deeply into the meaning of jhaana' ,
      in particular because Satipatthana (of D.N.)
      involves the contemplation of the Jhanas.


      with Metta Dieter
    • Kumara Bhikkhu
      It depends on what kind of jhana we refer to. For the jhana according to orthodox Theravada, as described in Visuddhimagga, absorption is very descriptive of
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 24, 2011
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        It depends on what kind of jhana we refer to.

        For the jhana according to orthodox Theravada, as described in Visuddhimagga, 'absorption' is very descriptive of the experience, thus quite apt. However, the jhana as described in early texts is quite different. Being part of the Noble Eightfold Path, which is said to be "kamma that is... leading to the ending of kamma" (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.235.than.html), 'burning' is extremely apt.

        Earlier, I tried to send a file containing a comparison table of the 2, but it didn't go through. Now I'm sending it again without the attachment. You can ask from me. I've also come up with a list of terms related to samadhi that is based on the descriptions of the early tests and not influenced by Visuddhimagga. I can email to anyone who would like to have them.

        I'm pretty excited by this discovery, as this is how I notice suffering being eradicated permanently.

        kb

        Dieter wrote thus at 16:30 24/04/2011:
        >Dear Dhamma friends,
        >I like to ask for you help to clarify a point of discussion which developed out of following:
        >
        >X:The literal meaning is "burning," not "absorption". (I presume the "burning" pertains to attacking the hindrances.)
        >
        >D:Ven. Henepola Gunaratana , Nyanatiloka, Nyanaponika , P.A.Payutto chose ' absorption '
        >Curious to learn about your evidence

        ....

        >I am aware that any (English) translation can only be an approach,
        >but still believe ,' burning' does not fit and 'absorption' is fitting
        >best.
        >Thanks for your comment.
        >
        >With Metta Dieter
      • Nina van Gorkom
        Dear Dieter, Op 24-apr-2011, om 21:05 heeft Dieter Moeller het volgende geschreven: Burning , as my friend X wrote , pertains to attacking the hindrances
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 25, 2011
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          Dear Dieter,
          Op 24-apr-2011, om 21:05 heeft Dieter Moeller het volgende geschreven:


          'Burning' , as my friend X wrote , " pertains to attacking the
          hindrances
          " , obviously supported by Dhammasangani, Atthakatha and Vism.
          But where is it mentioned in the suttas? And if not , don't we have to
          assume that (at least most of ) the 5 hindrances need to be abolished
          before the first Jhana can be accessed?

          -------

          N: As I understand, the jhaanafactors have to be developed to
          overcome the hindrances and at the moment of access concentration
          (upacara) and the moment of attainment (appana) the hindrances
          cannot arise, they are temporarily suppressed.

          ------


          > D: I think that the state of (first) Jhana allows to do vipassana ,
          > however
          > I.M.H.O. , that means to switch to Satipatthana , i.e. leaving the
          > context
          > of the last path link.
          -----
          N: The concentration factor of the eightfold Path has as function to
          focus on the naama or ruupa that appears at the present moment. It
          arises with sammaadi.t.thi and the other factors.
          Nina.



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        • Dieter Moeller
          Dear Nina, you wrote: ( D: But where is it mentioned in the suttas? And if not , don t we have to assume that (at least most of ) the 5 hindrances need to be
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 25, 2011
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            Dear Nina,

            you wrote:

            ( D: 'But where is it mentioned in the suttas? And if not , don't we have to assume that (at least most of ) the 5 hindrances need to be abolished
            before the first Jhana can be accessed?)

            -------

            N: As I understand, the jhaanafactors have to be developed to overcome the hindrances and at the moment of access concentration
            (upacara) and the moment of attainment (appana) the hindrances cannot arise, they are temporarily suppressed

            D: yes, the ' jhaanafactors have to be developed to overcome the hindrances' , but this is meant only in respect to their final abolishment ( a condition of ignorance)
            pls compare ( Nyanatiloka : niravana )

            'the temporary suspension of the 5 hindrances on entering the first absorption, the stereotype Sutta text (e g. A. IX, 40) runs as follows:
            "He has cast away sensuous desire; he dwells with a heart free from sensuous desire; from desire he cleanses his heart."He has cast away ill-will; he dwells with a heart free from ill-will, cherishing love and compassion toward all living beings, he cleanses his heart from ill-will."He has cast away sloth and torpor; he dwells free from sloth and torpor; loving the light, with watchful mind, with clear consciousness, he cleanses his mind from sloth and torpor."He has cast away restlessness and scruples; dwelling with mind undisturbed, with heart full of peace, he cleanses his mind from restlessness and scruples."He has cast away skeptical doubt; dwelling free from doubt, full of confidence in the good, he cleanses his heart from doubt."He has put aside these 5 hindrances, and come to know these paralysing defilements of the mind. And far from sensual impressions, far from unwholesome things, he enters into the first absorption, etc."
            The overcoming of these 5 hindrances by the absorptions is, as already pointed out, a merely temporary suspension, called 'overcoming through repression' (vikkhambhana-pahana). They disappear forever on entering the 4 supermundane paths (s. ariyapuggala), i.e. skeptical doubt on reaching Sotapanship; sensuous desire, ill-will and mental worry on reaching Anagamiship; sloth, torpor and restlessness on reaching Arahatship.'

            Hence for our practise , we need to cast them away each time before even fopr the first Jhana..



            N ( D: I think that the state of (first) Jhana allows to do vipassana , however I.M.H.O. , that means to switch to Satipatthana , i.e. leaving the context of the last path link.)
            -----
            The concentration factor of the eightfold Path has as function to focus on the naama or ruupa that appears at the present moment. It arises with sammaadi.t.thi and the other factors


            D: we may agree upon that samma samadhi has- as the other 2 factors of the the samadhi path training sequence- the function to develop panna.
            Useful to have in mind "the Buddha remained throughout of his career " in heavenly dwelling" (dibbavihara) to where he resorted in order to live a happily here and now. He refered to the 4 jhanas figuratively as a kind of nibbana, called them immidiately visible nibbana." (Henepola Gunaratana )

            with Metta Dieter



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          • Dieter Moeller
            Dear Venerable Kumara, thank you for the response. I hope it could be figured out why your message did not reach the group. you wrote: It depends on what kind
            Message 5 of 9 , Apr 25, 2011
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              Dear Venerable Kumara,

              thank you for the response. I hope it could be figured out why your message did not reach the group.

              you wrote:
              It depends on what kind of jhana we refer to.
              >For the jhana according to orthodox Theravada, as described in Visuddhimagga, 'absorption' is very descriptive of the experience, thus quite apt. However, the jhana as described in early texts is quite different. Being part of the Noble Eightfold Path, which is said to be "kamma that is... leading to the ending of kamma" (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.235.than.html), 'burning' is extremely apt.


              D: interesting here to compare : http://www.leighb.com/jhanantp.htm :
              " The Jhanas as discussed in the suttas are accessible to many people. The suttas seem to indicate that they were just part of the monastics' training program; thus they were not a big deal and were accessible to many. However, the Visuddhimagga states in section XII.8 that of those who undertake the meditation path, only one in 1,000,000 (at best) can reach absorption 1. We don't have to take this figure literally to begin to understand that the Jhanas as discussed in the Visuddhimagga are of a much deeper level of concentration than those described in the suttas. Basically, the Jhanas as described in the Visuddhimagga seem to be much more developed and systematized than those of the suttas. Even the factors given for the first four Jhanas are not the same: see The Traditional Factors of the 8 Jhanas. snip "



              I think the diffence of interpretation is depending whether the training is meant or its final aim, i.e. burning may fit in respect to fully abolishment of kamma and the hindrances at Arahantship.
              However for the former which I think is of major interest for us, the use of 'absorption' seems to me the best


              VenK.: Earlier, I tried to send a file containing a comparison table of the 2, but it didn't go through. Now I'm sending it again without the attachment. You can ask from me. I've also come up with a list of terms related to samadhi that is based on the descriptions of the early tests and not influenced by Visuddhimagga. I can email to anyone who would like to have them.

              D: interesting , does your list go with above mentioned link (the traditional factors of the 8 Jhanas)


              with Metta Dieter






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