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Absorption -- Re: [Pali] All of that is considered Jhana?

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  • Kumara Bhikkhu
    Perhaps in the first place we have different understanding of what absorption mean. As I understand it is used because of the Visuddhimagga understanding,
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 23, 2013
      Perhaps in the first place we have different
      understanding of what 'absorption' mean.

      As I understand it is used because of the
      Visuddhimagga understanding, where the mind is
      fixed on one (conceptual) object and gets
      absorbed into it, and is therefore oblivious to objects of the 5 senses.

      In the Suttas, only in the aruppas is one
      percipient of the mental ayatana (base/sphere)
      only, and therefore not percipient any form (rupa).


      Dieter Moeller wrote thus at 12:46 AM 23-01-13:
      >Hi Gerard (and Ven.Kumara)
      >thanks for your comment. Please allow me first
      >a few general remarks before I answer in detail.
      >I just come back from a visit to a
      >friend living abroad and have now more time to
      >study respective sutta sources as well the necessary quiteude
      >for contemplation /concentration.
      >You may recall , that the contemplation of jhana
      >is included within samma sati /maha
      >satipatthana (i.e. in dhammānupassanā) .
      >I suppose there is not much difference in
      >respect to the first jhana of samma samadhi.
      >However the distinction becomes clear with the
      >2nd Jhana (' After the subsiding of
      >thought-conception and discursive thinking'
      >which is connected with contemplation ) .
      >The Pali orginal may give us hints whether the
      >translation 'susididing' of this standard text
      >doesn't allow absorbtion as a synonym.
      >I still think that the All (as defined by the 5
      >senses media and the 6xt ) is gradually absorbed
      >in the jhana progress ,in particular when it
      >comes to the definitions of arupa jhanas.
      >to be continued
      >with Metta Dieter
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: Gerard
      > To: Pali
      > Sent: Saturday, January 19, 2013 10:28 AM
      > Subject: Re: [Pali] All of that is considered JhÄ ?na ?
      > Hi Dieter,
      > I am not a specialist in these matters, but still I venture to make some
      > observations:
      > I think it is not true that "absorption" and "burning up" refer to the same
      > thing. Absorption is a highly concentrated state in which the senses don't
      > function anymore, or, at least, don't function in a normal way. Somebody is
      > said to be in absorption means, as I understand it, that he or she is one
      > with the object, without any thinking or awareness of the body. Sujiva
      > describes it as follows: "When one enters fixed concentration, the mind
      > undergoes a specific form of mental process,...,which leaves behind any
      > conscious subject-object experiences. This fixation can be cleary
      > experienced as a merging of the mind with its object."
      > I think this is the way "jhana" is normally interpreted. The
      > Buddhaghosa 'etymology is indeed a popular one: according to Nyanatiloka's
      > "Pali-Anthologie und Wörterbuch", the word
      > "jhana" is from the Sanskrit root
      > "dhyaa", or "dhi", which means to perceive, to think. Nyanatiloka writes:
      > "erscheinen, bemerken, denken". There is also the word "jhana" that has the
      > meaning "burn, to set on fire", but that is from the Sanskrit root "ksha".
      > The meaning of jhana as absorption is the way Sujiva uses - and, if I am
      > right, that is the normal conception of
      > 'jhana" - is not in keeping with the
      > sutta's.
      > Let's take an example: in sutta 111 of the Majjhima Nikaya, the Anuppada
      > Sutta, Sariputta's path to deliverance is described.
      > "And the states in the first jhana - the applied thought, the sustained
      > thought, the rapture, the pleasure, and the unification of mind; the
      > contact, feeling, perception, volition, and
      > mind" (that is: the 5 khanda's,
      > GB); the zeal, decision, energy, mindfulness, equanimity, and attention -
      > these states were defined by him one by one as they occurred; known to him
      > these states arose, known they were present, known they disappeared. He
      > understood thus: "So indeed, these states,
      > not having been, come into being;
      > having been, they vanish." Regarding those states, he abided unattracted,
      > unrepelled, independent, detached, free, dissociated, with a mind rid of
      > barriers. He understood: "There is an escape beyond", and with the
      > cultivation of that attainment, he confirmed
      > that there is." (Bikkhu Bodhi:
      > the next attainment, the second jhana)
      > Sariputta goes through all jhana's. At the
      > end of the cycle, after reaching
      > the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, he abides in the
      > "cessation of perception and feeling'. Then follow the words: " And the
      > taints were destroyed by his seeing with wisdom."
      > So, it seems clear to me that jhana can
      > coincide with awareness of the body
      > and all other khanda's, that during the
      > jhana's insight (vipassana...) into
      > the arising and falling away of phenomena, i.e. awareness of impermanence,
      > is present, and that the jhana-way can lead to complete liberation.
      > This implies, I think, that the usual interpretation of 'jhana' as
      > absorption, as one pointed concentration, is not in accordance with the
      > sutta's.
      > Metta,
      > Gerard
      > Gerard,
      > sorry for late reply .. but I received your messages only today ..not sure
      > why (?)
      > You wrote:
      > (G: Interesting in this connection are the ideas about meditation and jhana
      > of > > the American monk Vimalaramsi (dhammasukha.org).> > According to him
      > the idea of jhana as absorption, or even, concentration > > meditation,
      > which is, in vipassana-circles, the common vue, is utterly > > false. It is
      > based on the commentaries, he says, in particular on the > > Visuddhimagga,
      > but not on the Sutta’s.)
      > (D: I wonder whether he put it this way, as
      > it is obvious according to the >
      > suttas , that within the first Jhana the 5 senses media is absorbed , and >
      > in the second , the 6xt sense .)
      > G: could you be a bit more explicit: what is
      > the Pali word for “absorbed” ,
      > and can you mention a sutta, an > exact place if possible, where is told
      > what you say
      > Ven. K: I'm interested to know where you find the Suttas say that.
      > D: absorbtion ( I understand is the common translation) and burning up can
      > be synonymously used (e.g. nourishment of fire) in respect to first Jhana:
      > sensual objects =5senses media ,second Jhana: thinking/ mental activity
      > (subsiding of thought-conception and discursive thinking).
      > I would prefe German "ausblenden" English blank out, fade out/down, blind
      > out
      > PTS:Jhāna1 (nt.) [from jhāyati,1 BSk.
      > dhyāna. The (popular etym -- ) expln
      > of jhāna is given by Bdhgh at Vism 150 as
      > follows: "ārammaṇ' ûpanijjhānato
      > paccanīka -- jhāpanato vā jhānaŋ," i.e. called jh. from meditation on
      > objects & from burning up anything adverse] literally meditation
      > Nyanatiloka Buddhist Dictionary :
      > „The stereotype text, often met with in the Suttas, runs as folloows:
      > (1) "Detached from sensual objects, o monks, detached from unwholesome
      > consciousness, attached with thought-conception (vitakka) and discursive
      > thinking (vicāra), born of detachment (vivekaja) and filled with rapture
      > (pīti) and joy (sukha) he enters the first absorption.
      > (2) "After the subsiding of thought-conception and discursive thinking, and
      > by gaining inner tranquility and oneness of mind, he enters into a state
      > free from thought-conception and discursive
      > thinking, the second absorption,
      > which is born of concentration (samādhi),
      > and filled with rapture (pīti) and
      > joy (sukha)."
      > PTS provides following sources :
      > The jhānas are discussed in extenso & in various combinations as regards
      > theory & practice at: D i.34 sq.; 73 sq.; S ii. 210 sq.; iv.217 sq., 263
      > sq.; v.213 sq.; M i.276 sq., 350 sq., 454 sq.; A i.53, 163; ii.126; iii.394
      > sq.; iv.409 sq.; v.157 sq.; Vin iii.4; Nd2 on Sn 1119 & s.v.; Ps i.97 sq.;
      > ii.169 sq.; Vbh 257 sq.; 263 sq.; 279 sq.; Vism 88, 415. -- They are
      > frequently mentioned either as a set, or singly, when often the set is
      > implied (as in the case of the 4th jh.). Mentioned as jh. 1 -- 4 e. g. at
      > Vin i.104; ii.161 (foll. by sotāpanna, etc.); D ii.156, 186; iii.78, 131,
      > 222; S ii.278 (nikāmalābhin); A ii.36
      > (id.); iii.354; S iv.299; v.307 sq.; M
      > i.21, 41, 159, 203, 247, 398, 521; ii.15, 37; Sn 69, 156, 985; Dh 372; J
      > i.139; VvA 38; PvA 163. -- Separately: the 1st: A iv.422; v.135; M i.246,
      > 294; Miln 289; 1st -- 3rd: A iii.323; M i.181; 1st & 2nd: M ii.28; 4th: A
      > ii.41; iii.325; v.31; D iii.270; VvA 4. -- See also Mrs. Rh. D. Buddh.
      > Psych. (Quest Series) p. 107 sq.; Dhs. trsl.
      > p. 52 sq.; Index to Saŋyutta N.
      > for more refs.; also Kasiṇa.
      > I suppose that misunderstandings occur when theory ( contemplation of samma
      > samadhi as an object of contemplation within the framework of Maha
      > SatiPatthana) and practise --see standard texts- is not distinguished.
      > Further investigation of this issue may be benefitial.
      > With Metta Dieter
      > P.S. I wrote to the list owner concerning the delay of postings, no answer
      > so far
      >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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