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Re: [DhammaStudyGroup] Samatha-Vipassana

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  • Jonothan Abbott
    Howard ... On my reading, 2 of the 4 approaches given here (ie. numbers 2 and 4 below) indicate a jhana-less approach. (By jhana-less I mean in the sense of
    Message 1 of 39 , Sep 3, 2001
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      Howard

      --- upasaka@... wrote: > Hi, Jon (and Binh) -
      > This is an interesting sutta you quote below, particularly the
      > last
      > paragraph, apparently indicating a jhana-less approach to arahantship:

      On my reading, 2 of the 4 approaches given here (ie. numbers 2 and 4
      below) indicate a jhana-less approach. (By 'jhana-less' I mean in the
      sense of not requiring prior development of mundane jhana. But all 4 ways
      are accompanied by concentration that is jhana-equivalent in its force.)

      Here are the 4 ways again, with extracts from footnotes to the translation
      [passages in square brackets are mine]:

      1. After developing samatha
      The footnote says that this refers to one who makes tranquillity the
      vehicle of his practice (samatha-yaanika). Tranquillity here refers to
      access concentration, the jhanas or the formless attainments.

      2. Before developing samatha
      The commentary reads: "This refers to one who by his natural bent first
      attains to insight and then, based on insight produces concentration
      (samadhi)." The sub-com reads: "This is one who makes insight the
      vehicle (vipassanaa-yaanika)."

      3. In conjunction with the development of samatha
      [This is the instance of insight being 'based on' jhana. The insight
      arises after emerging from jhana, and takes the jhana moments as its
      object. This is the 'yoked/conjoined' instance.].

      4. By overcoming the corruptions (ie without any part being played by
      samatha)
      The footnote reads: 'According to AA [the commentary], the "agitation"
      (uddhacca) meant here is a reaction to the arising of the ten "corruptions
      of insight" when they are wrongly taken as indication path-attainment.
      The term dhammavitakka, "thoughts about higher states" is taken to refer
      to the same ten corruptions. …'

      Regarding the 4th way just given, you observe:

      > AN IV, 165
      > Translation 'Numerical Discourses of the Buddha'
      > 83. Ways to Arahantship
      > "Or again, friends, a monk's mind is seized by agitation caused by
      > higher
      > states of mind. But there comes a time when his mind becomes internally
      > steadied, composed, unified and concentrated; then the path arises in
      > him. . He now pursues, develops and cultivates that path, and while he
      > is
      > doing so the fetters are abandoned and the underlying tendencies
      > eliminated."
      > *************************************************
      > The questions that occur to me are the following:
      >
      > 1) What is meant by "higher states of mind"?
      >
      > 2) What sort of agitation would arise as a result of them?
      >
      > 3) Exactly what is the state wherein one's "mind becomes
      > internally
      > steadied, composed, unified and concentrated"? It sounds like it *could*
      be
      > access concentration or khanika samadhi (moment-to-moment
      > concentration).
      > That would be interesting. This would, indeed, suggest an approach to
      > complete enlightenment, one out of four, that does not have jhanic
      > attainment
      > as a requirement at all, though it still requires a strong and rather
      > stable
      > one-pointedness of mind.

      Your questions (1) and (2) are covered by the footnote, I think.

      On your Q.3, we need to keep in mind the distinction between samatha and
      samadhi.

      Samatha bhavana (tranquillity development) refers to the development of
      kusala by concentration on a single object, eventually to a degree of
      absorption in the object where all sense-door impressions, and the akusala
      associated with those experiences, are suppressed. Being (temporarily)
      freed from akusala, the mind becomes exceedingly tranquil.

      Samadhi cetasika (concentration mental factor) is a cetasika whose
      function is to fix the citta on whatever object is the object of the citta
      at that moment. It accompanies every citta. At moments of enlightenment
      (magga citta) samadhi cetasika arises and performs its function with an
      intensity equivalent to that of the jhanas. It is developed to this
      'jhana-equivalent' level during the course of the development of mundane
      insight over the many (millions of) lifetimes it has taken to attain to
      enlightenment. In other words, every moment of satipatthana during this
      lifetime means the further development and accumulation of khanika
      samadhi.

      So, yes, it may well be that 'concentration' in the passage from the sutta
      refers to khanika samadhi; but this does not connote the development of
      samatha bhavana.

      I think the important point to realise about all this is as follows, if my
      understanding is correct:

      Regardless of which of the 4 ways of enlightenment one is talking about,
      attainment of supramundane path consciousness (enlightenment) is always
      the culmination of the development of mundane path consciousness (ie.
      mundane insight--vipassana bhavana). In other words, it is not the
      culmination of samatha bhavana. Even those whose attainment is 'based on'
      jhana (No. 3 in the series above) cannot attain unless mundane insight has
      been developed to the necessary degree.

      So on a practical level, it always comes back to the development of
      awareness of realities appearing at the present moment, as taught in the
      Satipatthana Sutta--for this is how mundane insight is developed.

      Jon


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    • upasaka@aol.com
      Hi, Jon - In a message dated 9/4/01 9:27:57 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... ===================== Yes. ;-) With metta, Howard /Thus is how ye shall see all this
      Message 39 of 39 , Sep 4, 2001
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        Hi, Jon -

        In a message dated 9/4/01 9:27:57 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
        jonoabb@... writes:


        > *********************************
        > > 1. After developing samatha
        > > The footnote says that this refers to one who makes tranquillity the
        > > vehicle of his practice (samatha-yaanika). Tranquillity here refers to
        > > access concentration, the jhanas or the formless attainments.
        > > ********************************
        > > (Is the last sentence part of the footnote? It surprises me that
        > > access concentration is included here.)
        >
        > Yes, straight from the footnote. But no source is given, so presumably it
        > does not come from the commentary to the sutta. (I thought you'd find
        > this snippet interesting!)
        >
        =====================
        Yes. ;-)

        With metta,
        Howard


        /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
        in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
        phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)




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