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Re: [Pali] it's all about jhanas

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  • Hope Raven
    Our Frank proclaimed: When the moment of death arives, what am I going to need more, expertise in Pali, or razor sharp one pointed concentration? When that
    Message 1 of 12 , Oct 6, 2003
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      Our Frank proclaimed:
      "When the moment of death arives, what am I
      going to need more, expertise in Pali, or razor sharp
      one pointed concentration? When that moment comes, I
      intend to tell Mara to kiss my ass while I witness the
      arising and cessation of 5 aggregates for the final
      time."

      Absolutely.
      But nonetheless I've just ordered Warder - maybe if I have enough Pali books
      in my house I can learn the language by osmosis?

      Actually the little Pali that I have managed to learn has mostly come via
      the regular postings to this list of the da Silva and Warder exercises. The
      kindness of the posters - in fact of all the regular contributers here - is
      much appreciated.
      My thanks,
      Hope

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    • rjkjp1
      ... Dear Hope, That is also my main method for pali study. Like you I also pick up bits by reading the other posts. welcome to the group robert
      Message 2 of 12 , Oct 6, 2003
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        --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Hope Raven" <hope_raven@h...> wrote:
        > I've just ordered Warder - maybe if I have enough Pali books
        > in my house I can learn the language by osmosis?
        >
        > ____
        Dear Hope,
        That is also my main method for pali study.

        Like you I also pick up bits by reading the other posts.
        welcome to the group
        robert
      • nina van gorkom
        Dear Hope, ... N: You may be very busy but, it pays to look up the relevant Warder Ch that Jon mentions each time he gives us an exercise. At first I also
        Message 3 of 12 , Oct 7, 2003
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          Dear Hope,
          op 07-10-2003 03:23 schreef rjkjp1 op rjkjp1@...:

          > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "Hope Raven" <hope_raven@h...> wrote:
          >> I've just ordered Warder - maybe if I have enough Pali books
          >> in my house I can learn the language by osmosis?
          N: You may be very busy but, it pays to look up the relevant Warder Ch that
          Jon mentions each time he gives us an exercise.
          At first I also thought that I would not need so much grammar, but I found
          out that even the difference between instrumentalis or ablative can, if we
          are not precise, twist the meaning. We have to be very precises with the
          cases. I found out while studying the text of the Buddha's last meal in the
          Dhamma Study Group. There are many pittfalls. In the course of learning
          interest will grow. I welcome any discussions on grammar on this list. I
          learn by discussions.
          Nina.
        • cheangoo
          Hi Frank, Robert, Nina, Dimitry and others, Fogive me for butting in so late but I see the thread is still running on the jhanas. I tend to agree largely with
          Message 4 of 12 , Oct 14, 2003
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            Hi Frank, Robert, Nina, Dimitry and others,

            Fogive me for butting in so late but I see the thread is still
            running on the jhanas. I tend to agree largely with Franks'
            position. The question of whether to jhana or not, and dry vipassana
            has been hotly debated for many years by meditators and will continue
            for more. Sometimes all the arguements simply remind me of the
            Buddha's simile of the blind men trying to describe an elephant.
            Meditation is to be experienced and not to be argued about. If one
            wants to follow the jhana way, one should find a teacher who has
            achieved it and is skilled in it and learn from such a teacher. Same
            for a vipassana meditation. Such an advice was given by the Buddha
            in either AN or SN where he said that a monk skilled in samatha
            should also visit another skilled in insight and learn from him and
            vice versa.

            About whether it is important to have jhana or not, I personally
            think samatha meditation culminating in jhana is an experience no
            meditator whould forego, no matter how long it takes to achieve.
            This is obvious from the suttas and the way in which jhanas are
            described not only by the Buddha but also by Sariputta and other
            arahants.


            In an earlier post Robert said that the Visuddhimagga categorized
            breath meditation as the most difficult of the 40 odd techniques
            taught by the Buddha. Difficult, yes. But so are all meditation
            techniques for different people. Meditation can never be easy
            because it needs striving, consistency, reflection and
            experimentation. The Buddha taught anapanasati as one of central
            meditation topics, one that he used himself on the night of his
            enlightenment. He wouldn't have taught it if it was impossible for
            people to practice.

            Then about accumulation of good kamma, and how times have
            deteriorated in these declining years of the Sasana - that's all
            Commentary staff. The suttas never say any such thing. What the
            Buddha said was that as long as we follow the Noble Eightfold Path
            persistently and correctly, we should get there some time. The
            Buddha knew hemun beings' minds. He taught us to understand our own
            minds and how to work with it. Have the minds of human beings
            changed since 2500 years ago? I think not. That's why the Dhamma is
            timeless.

            I am not a follower of the Commentaries. I have not tried to start
            reading the Vidsuddhimagga, because I find the suttas complete and
            adequate. While there may be odd statements here and there that are
            not satisfactorily understood, the central theme of Dhamma and
            practice stands firm and clear and provides enough of a guide to
            use. Commentaries are good if they help increase understanding and
            practice but I have not found any urge from what I read about other's
            postings and explanations of the Commentaries. From such postings,
            for example, of Nina's painstaking time and effort in this group, I
            see three aspects (a)when the commentaries expand on individual words
            e.g. he walked up meaning he waited for the Buddha toi leqve and then
            walked up ... I find no additional value in understanding the Dhamma
            from such commentaries. (b)when the commentaries explains some simile
            and then adds one more of their own e.g. like a lion king, like this
            and that, getting more and more extravagant with each example, I can
            only imagine that the audience to which the commentaries were
            addressed must have been very simple village folk who need the
            devotional ardour to be stoked to flaming level. Such commentariesd
            do not add to the value I already place on the suttas. (c)when the
            commentaries comment on meditation methods and ways of practice, I
            find this is often confusing and unnecessary. Because meditation is
            something to experience not to intellectualize about. I find many of
            the arguements on this thread tend to follow rational lines, meaning
            each person is appealing to some understanding from our intellectual
            mind. Yet meditation experience, especially jhanas do not fit such
            restrictions. The Buddha said that the power and range of jhanas is
            one of the four imponderables. Ajahn Brahm teaches that in jhana one
            never experience what one expects. Maybe that's why jhana experience
            and the reflection after emerging from then are so powerful to cut
            off the deep underlying tendencies of greed hatred and delusion.

            Wth metta to all,
            Khaik-Cheang Oo


            --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "rjkjp1" <rjkjp1@y...> wrote:
            > --- In Pali@yahoogroups.com, Frank Kuan <fcckuan@y...> wrote:
            > > The buddha goes so far as to say the disciple who
            > > neglects jhana practice is "not one who dwells in the
            > > dhamma"
            > >
            > > http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/sutta/anguttara/an05-073.html
            > >
            > >
            > > "Then there is the case where a monk takes the Dhamma
            > > as he has heard & studied it and thinks about it,
            > > evaluates it, and examines it with his intellect. He
            > > spends the day in Dhamma-thinking. He neglects
            > > seclusion. He doesn't commit himself to internal
            > > tranquility of awareness. This is called a monk who is
            > > keen on thinking, not one who dwells in the Dhamma.
            > >
            > > Then there is the case where a monk studies the
            > > Dhamma... [HOWEVER!] He doesn't spend the day in
            > > Dhamma-study. He doesn't neglect seclusion. He commits
            > > himself to internal tranquility of awareness. This is
            > > called a monk who dwells in the Dhamma.
            > >
            > > "Now, monk, I have taught you the person who is keen
            > > on study, the one who is keen on description, the one
            > > who is keen on recitation, the one who is keen on
            > > thinking, and the one who dwells in the Dhamma.
            > > Whatever a teacher should do -- seeking the welfare of
            > > his disciples, out of sympathy for them -- that have I
            > > done for you. Over there are the roots of trees; over
            > > there, empty dwellings. Practice jhana, monk. Don't be
            > > heedless. Don't later fall into regret. This is our
            > > message to you."
            > And
            > >In fact, to this
            > >day, I'm still only on lesson 2 of the Gair book, and
            > >chapter 4 of the de Silva book, despite my earnest
            > >desire to learn more Pali. Why? Because of priorities.
            >
            > >_______
            > Dear Frank,
            > Certainly only studying Dhamma is of limited value. Still, one of
            the
            > advantages of such study, including Pali studies, is that we learn
            > about the deeper meaning of phrases such as the one you quote
            > above.The Pali (supplied by Jim Anderson) of an almost identical
            > phrase:
            >
            > "Jhaayatha, Cunda, maa pamaadattha maa pacchaa vippa.tisaarino
            > ahuvattha ..." -- M i 46 (near the end of MN 8). Also found at M i
            > 118 (MN
            > 19) with 'bhikkhave' instead of Cunda.
            > Here, the commentary interprets "Meditate" as "Increase samatha and
            > vipassanaa".
            >
            > "Samatha~nca vipassana~nca va.d.dhethaa ti vutta.m hoti." --MA ii
            195
            > (there's a bit more just before this)
            > Jim:
            > >> I know about this translation of 'jhaayatha'. I find
            > >> that it does not
            > >> quite agree with the commentary which includes both
            > >> samatha and
            > >> vipassanaa. That's why I think 'Meditate' is a
            > >> better translation than
            > >> 'Practice jhana'.
            >
            > "Jhaayatha' is a verb in the 2nd person plural with the -tha
            ending.
            > In the
            > PED, the verbs are entered in their 3rd pers. sing. forms with the -
            ti
            > ending. So you will have to look for 'jhaayati' for which you will
            > find two
            > entries. The first one has the following senses: to meditate,
            > contemplate,
            > think upon, brood over (c. acc.): . . . -- and for the second: to
            > burn, to
            > be on fire: . . . They are derived from two distinct roots. In the
            > commentarial passage from which I quoted "Increase samatha and
            > vipassanaa"
            > in explaining 'jhaayatha' there is also the following comment that
            > helps to
            > clarify the difference between samatha and vipassana: "Meditate
            > (upanijjhaayatha) on the 38 objects (aaramma.na) with the meditation
            > (upanijjhaana) on an object and on aggregates, bases, etc.
            according
            > to
            > anicca, etc. with the meditation on a characteristic (lakkha.na)." -
            -
            > MA i
            > 195." end of section by Jim Anderson.
            > -----------
            > When the texts talk about meditation, jhaya, it is useful to
            > know that there are two types.
            > I quoted this to Dimitry earlier: The Dhammapada 371 :"Meditate, o
            > bhikkhu and be not heedless." (same
            > pali phrase as the sutta you quoted above.
            > The atthakatha says "o bhikkhus meditate by the two kinds of
            > meditative absorptions"
            > And the tika notes that this is twofold in "the sense of
            > meditative absorption that arises depending on an object and
            > meditative absorption that arises dependent on characteristics"
            > The tika later explains this by saying that the first is (p506
            > note 6 of carter and palihawadana) "the eight attainments
            > (jhanas) to be obtained by training the mind in concentrating on
            > one of the thirty eight objects such as kasina [or metta, or
            > Buddha or Dhamma or breath etc] and the second means 'insight
            > wisdom, path and fruit'..to be obtained by reflecting on the
            > three characteristics'"endquote
            >
            > Now when it says 'reflecting' this means direct insight into the
            > actual
            > characteristics and conditions of the present moment right up to
            > the vipassana nanas and magga and phala, it is far more than only
            > thinking about Dhamma.
            > THe Dhammapada pradipaya (see p457 of carter and palihawadana) says
            > "to consider the coming into being of rupa on account of
            > ignorance, craving, kamma and nutrition, and also to see the
            > mere characteristics of its instantaneous coming into being,
            > without looking for causative aspect; thus one should consider
            > the rise of rupa in five ways. Likewise to consider the rise of
            > the other 4 khandas in the same way...Thus the rise of the
            > pancakkhanda (five aggregates )is seen in 25 ways. To see that
            > the rise of the khandas is stopped by abolishing the
            > causes:ignorance, craving, kamma and nutrition..in this way the
            > cessation of the agregates should be seen" end quote
            >
            > As Teng kee pointed out the path out of samsara depends on lakkhana
            > jhana - insight into the three characteristics of anicca, dukkha
            and
            > anatta. The jhana labhi after he leaves mundane jhana must also
            > develop this type of special samadhi. The sukkha-vipassaka develops
            > this profound samadhi without having attained mundane jhana.
            > Which is the superior path? Certainly the texts are clear that the
            > one who develops both samatha and jhana is the highest. However I
            > think we should not despise also the lesser path of the sukkha-
            > vipassaka as this too eventually results in the end of rebirth.
            > RobertK
          • rjkjp1
            Dear Khaik-Cheang Oo, ... ____ I appreciate you continuing the discussion, please add more.I just add something on this point for now: ... _____ From the sutta
            Message 5 of 12 , Oct 14, 2003
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              Dear Khaik-Cheang Oo,
              In Pali@yahoogroups.com, "cheangoo" <cheangoo@h...> wrote:
              > Hi Frank, Robert, Nina, Dimitry and others,
              >
              > Fogive me for butting in so late but I see the thread is still
              > running on the jhanas.
              ____
              I appreciate you continuing the discussion, please add more.I just
              add something on this point for now:
              ____

              >
              > Then about accumulation of good kamma, and how times have
              > deteriorated in these declining years of the Sasana - that's all
              > Commentary stuff. The suttas never say any such thing.

              _____
              From the sutta Pitaka
              Samyutta Nikaya IX (20)7
              p708 of Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation

              The Peg
              "Monks, there once was a time when the
              Dasarahas
              had a large drum called 'Summoner.' Whenever Summoner was split,
              the
              Dasarahas inserted another peg in it, until the time came when
              Summoner's original wooden body had disappeared and only a
              conglomeration of pegs remained.
              "In the same way, in the course of the future there will be
              monks who
              won't listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata --
              deep,
              deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness --
              are
              being recited. They won't lend ear, won't set their hearts on
              knowing
              them, won't regard these teachings as worth grasping or
              mastering.
              But they will listen when discourses that are literary works --
              the
              works of poets, elegant in sound, elegant in rhetoric, the work
              of
              outsiders, words of disciples -- are recited. They will lend ear
              and
              set their hearts on knowing them. They will regard these
              teachings as
              worth grasping & mastering.

              "In this way the disappearance of the discourses that are words
              of
              the Tathagata -- deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent,
              connected
              with emptiness -- will come about.

              "Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will listen when
              discourses
              that are words of the Tathagata -- deep, deep in their meaning,
              transcendent, connected with emptiness -- are being recited. We
              will
              lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these

              teachings as worth grasping & mastering.' That's how you should
              train
              yourselves."
              _________
              >
              > I am not a follower of the Commentaries. I have not tried to start
              > reading the Vidsuddhimagga, because I find the suttas complete and
              > adequate. >
              > ________
              Anyway I add something from the commentary to the above sutta:
              The commentary notes that this means deep teachings such as
              those dealing with emptiness(sunnatapatisamyutta), explaining
              mere phenomena devoid of a being (sattasunnata-dhammamattam eva
              pakasaka)
              [like the whole of the Abhidhamma? -robert]
              RobertK
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