Friday, February 21, 2020

DN 22: vitakka and vicāra as part of the subverbal mental activity hierarchy and 4 jhānas

DN 22, the maha satipatthana sutta, in Theravada is considered one of the most complete, important suttas in the canon. It would be unthinkable (pun intended) for this sutta to have a special extra meaning for vitakka in first jhana than the vitakka that was referenced in the origin and cessation of dukkha (in the preceding section of DN 22). If the vitakka were to take on a special meaning, one would think (pun intended again) that the Buddha would be kind and sensible enough to point it out and explain the difference. He doesn't, so vitakka has the same meaning all the way through.

So this part is clear: Vitakka is the same vitakka inside first jhana. Is vitakka and vicara subverbal mental activity, or ordinary mental talk of vaci sankhara, from the point of this sutta in isolation?

DN 22 towards 6 senses, as part of 'origin of dukkha'

Rūpavitakko loke …
Thoughts about sights …
saddavitakko loke …
thoughts about sounds …
gandhavitakko loke …
thoughts about smells …
rasavitakko loke …
thoughts about tastes …
phoṭṭhabbavitakko loke …
thoughts about touches …
dhammavitakko loke piyarūpaṃ sātarūpaṃ, etthesā taṇhā uppajjamānā uppajjati, ettha nivisamānā nivisati.
thoughts about thoughts in the world seem nice and pleasant, and it is there that craving arises and settles.

DN 22 vicara

Rūpavicāro loke …
Considerations regarding sights …
saddavicāro loke …
considerations regarding sounds …
gandhavicāro loke …
considerations regarding smells …
rasavicāro loke …
considerations regarding tastes …
phoṭṭhabbavicāro loke …
considerations regarding touches …
dhammavicāro loke piyarūpaṃ sātarūpaṃ, etthesā taṇhā uppajjamānā uppajjati, ettha nivisamānā nivisati.
considerations regarding thoughts in the world seem nice and pleasant, and it is there that craving arises and settles.
Idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, dukkhasamudayaṃ ariyasaccaṃ.
This is called the noble truth of the origin of suffering.

DN 22 towards 6 senses, as part of 'cessation of dukkha'


The same dependent origination sequence from 'origin of dukkha', but elided.


And as you know, the 4 jhanas, right samadhi, is the way by which dukkha is brought to cessation.

DN 22 also definition of samma samadhi has 1st and 2nd jhana vitakka refs

Katamo ca, bhikkhave, sammāsamādhi?
And what is right undistractible-lucidity?
Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati.
It’s when a mendicant, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first jhāna, which has the rapture and pleasure born of seclusion, while directing-thought and evaluation.
DN 22, the maha satipatthana sutta, in Theravada is considered one of the most complete, important suttas in the canon. It would be unthinkable (pun intended) for this sutta to have a special extra meaning for vitakka in first jhana than the vitakka that was referenced in the origin and cessation of dukkha.

So this part is clear: Vitakka is the same vitakka inside first jhana. Is vitakka and vicara subverbal mental activity, or ordinary mental talk of vaci sankhara, from the point of this sutta in isolation?

It is not subverbal mental activity, because there is a definite hierarchy here similar to MN 18, and vitakka falls outside of the subverbal area.

For reference: ✴️MN 18 Madhupiṇḍika: honey cake:  sequence, highlighting subverbal portion
Cakkhu + rūpe + viññāṇaṃ → phasso → vedeti (vedanā) → sañjānāti → vitakketi → papañceti
eye + forms + consciousness → contact → feel → perceive → think → proliferate

DN 22 has a similar sequence, with some additions:


Cakkhu + rūpe + viññāṇaṃ → phasso → vedeti (vedanā) → sañjānāti → cetana  tanha  → vitakketi → vicāra
eye + forms + consciousness → contact → feel → perceive → intend/volition   crave  → directed-thinking → evaluation (of those thoughts)

In DN 22, it's even more clear that vitakka and vicara is quite removed from the subverbal mental activity, separated by intending/cetana and craving/tanha in comparison to MN 18. 


And if you examine the EBT parallel suttas to the MN 10 and DN 22 pali satipatthana suttas, in the agama parallels the 4 jhanas are even much more deeply imbedded as an active, simultaneous activity done with sati, and not just a theoretical reflection of the samma samadhi formula as in DN 22.

✴️MN 10 Sati-paṭṭhāna, nearly the same as  DN 22
also see: || MA 98 (4 jhanas are part of kayanupassana here)  agama version of 4sp sutta,
 EA 12.1 (4 jhanas are part of dhamma anupassana here)
MN 119 kāya-gatā-sati 🏃‍kgs, || MA 81 (matches MN 119 very closely, 4 jhanas part of kayaanupassana)


A friend shared his analysis of DN 22, same section as I examined above.



Now this Craving, bhikkhus,
where does it take its rise,
where does it have its dwelling?

In those material things of this world
which are dear to us,
which are pleasant.

The thoughts that arise through sight,
the thoughts that arise through hearing,
the thoughts that arise through smell,
taste,
touch and imagination
— these are the things in this world
that are dear,
that are pleasant.

There does Craving take its rise,
there does it dwell.

Rūpa-vitakko loke piya-rūpaɱ sāta-rūpaɱ,||
etth'esā taṇhā uppajjamānā uppajjati,||
ettha nivisamānā nivisati.|| ||

Etc. Sadda, Gandha, Rasa, Phottabba, Dhamma; and also next: vicara.

http://buddhadust.net/dhamma-vinaya/pts/dn/dn.22.rhyt.pts.htm

and the linked Pali:

http://buddhadust.net/dhamma-vinaya/pali/dn/dn.22.pali.bd.htm

Once again, in this sutta where 'the path to convergence' is being
described, there is no explanation that when entering the first jhana,
the meaning of the term vitakka suddenly changes.

Again, the next section speaks about the elimination of this vitakka
(and later vicara) without remainder. So if vitakka and vicara are
eliminated prior to entering the first jhana, without explanation there
is no justification for thinking that they are to be reintroduced in the
next breath with a different meaning and different implications in order
to experience the first jhana.

No mention: no path to convergence. This is just unacceptable as a
teaching without such an explanation and the Buddha does not teach in
unacceptable ways.

This is such elementary logic that it hurts just to think about it!

(and he points out B. Sujato never explains anywhere what he means by 'convergence' (ekayano) ) 


How is "the path to convergence"
idiomatic English? What does 'convergence' mean? Convergence with what?
Of what? Isn't this coming very close to Hinduism? Convergence with
Brahma? It's "The One Sure Way".

AN 8.63 four categories, vitakka, vicara, even dogs understand and use this, why can't B. Sujato?

It's not just oral tradition for humans, vitakka and vicara is a basic universal phenomena of how intelligent living beings hear, learn, process information and use it in everyday life.

Even dogs intuitively use and understand vitakka (thinking) and vicara (evaluation).
If you study the stories below, they're using the same paradigm as AN 8.63 three way samadhi with vitakka and vicara.

1. dog hears sound as vocalization/speech (vaca).
 2. dog brain mentally works with an audio image of that vaca, vaci-sankhara (vocalization co-activities/fabrications), in the form of  vitakka & vicara.
3. Dog hear's a vitakka command "fetch me a red frisbee" (frisbee is one of dog's 4 toy satipatthana categories).
Dog knows frisbee is not a plush toy, not a ball, etc. (3 other categories).
4. Dog uses vicara/evaluation and recognizes the grammatical structure that he's to get the 'red' frisbee, not the blue frisbee.


So if a dog understands vitakka and vicara, why can't B. Sujato?
(here is B. Sujato's wrong translation of AN 8.63, where vitakka and vicara are 'placing the mind & keeping it connected).
https://suttacentral.net/an8.63/en/sujato
Clearly V&V is much more than that. The dog is parsing the grammar, differentiating between colors and categories, that's far more than just "placing the mind."



https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-8024135/Experts-train-border-collie-learn-90-different-toys-fetch-request.html
excerpt:
At first it was hard for me to believe that a dog learned the name of so many toys, but after several days of rigorous testing, I had to change my mind,' says lead researcher Claudia Fugazza of the Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary.
'We noticed that, among her toys, Whisky had several exemplars belonging to one of 4 categories: she had 10 different balls, 7 different rings, 4 different ropes and 4 different Frisbees,' the animal behaviour expert added.
The owners refer to each of these toys by both an adjective and a category name — for instance, the 'small Frisbee' or the 'colourful ring'.  

Whisky's owners had not explicitly trained the clever collie to learn different categories — but appeared to have picked them up in the course of play-centred interactions with her humans.
'This provided us a rare opportunity: testing whether a dog had spontaneously formed some mental categories, simply by being exposed to their exemplars — pretty much like a human child would do,' Dr Fugazza said.
'Most studies on the ability of non-human animals to categorise are conducted after the subjects are extensively trained to recognize categories with a given set of exemplars,' added paper co-author and animal behaviour expert Ádám Miklósi.


If you think having 90 words in their vocabulary is impressive, Dog named "chaser" knows 1000 words, and understands basic grammar.

3 min. video bio



12 min. interview on show 60 minutes.






Dog using proper EBT vitakka and vicara of first jhana:

'We noticed that, among her toys, Whisky had several exemplars belonging to one of 4 categories: she had 10 different balls, 7 different rings, 4 different ropes and 4 different Frisbees,' Dr Fugazza said. Pictured, Whisky plays outside with her owner


Dog trying to use B. Sujato's 'placing the mind' & 'Initial application'

Thursday, February 20, 2020

MN 13 B. Sujato translates 'rūpa' as (visible) 'sights'. Why?


Does rūpa ever mean only 'visible sight' and not 'material [aggregate of] form'?

Post by frank k » Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:35 am
MN 13 is maha-dukkha-khandha sutta.
The title kind of gives you a big hint when the Buddha talks about rupa and vedana in this sutta, he's probably going to be referring to the 'rupa' of 5 khandhas.

Here, B. Sujato does something really strange in his Eng. translation. He translates 'rupa' has 'sights' (seeming to shift focus to visible sights and away from the physical rupa form).

https://suttacentral.net/mn13/en/sujato

B. Bodhi translates rupa in MN 13 as 'material form'.
B. Thanissaro translates as 'form'.


I'm pretty sure I know why B. Sujato translates (interprets) 'rupa' as 'sights'. But I just want to check with the experts first, are there suttas where this translation of rupa as only 'visible sights' (excluding other properties of material form aggregate of rupa) is justified?

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

DN 21 vitakka is first and second jhana context, and definitely means thinking, not Vism. "initial application"

The commentary to DN 21 clarifies that the vitakka is definitely 'thinking', like in Vinicchaya (PED defn. below).
A friend forwarded this article from Buddhadust.net:



http://buddhadust.net/backmatter/indexes/sutta/dn/idx_digha_nikaya.htm#p21

has this as one of Sakka's questions:

"What being present,
is desire present,
and what being absent,
is desire also absent?"

"Mental pre-occupation, ruler of gods, —
this is the source,
this is the cause of desire,
this is what gives birth to desire,
this is how desire comes to be.

Wherewith our mind is pre-occupied,
for that desire arises;
if our mind is not so pre-occupied,
desire is absent."

++++++++++++++++++

Mental pre-occupation = vitakka

On which Rhys Davids footnotes:

Vitakka. The Cy. does not give the Abhidhamma definition of this term
(see Dh.S., § 7; 'Bud. Psy.' p. 10 [attached]: 'the disposing, fixating,
focusing, applying the mind.' Cf. also 'Compendium of Buddhist
Philosophy' Appendix: vitakka, P.T.S., 1910), but gives as a parallel
term vinicchaya (see above, p. 55
[http://buddhadust.net/dhamma-vinaya/pts/dn/dn.15.rhyt.pts.htm#pg55]
'lābhaɱ paṭicca vinicchayo'— 'deciding respecting gain'). The word is
used, according to Suttanta method, not with any fine shade of
psychological meaning, but in its popular sense of μεριμνάω, 'taking
thought for' (Matt. vi. 25), 'being pre-occupied about.'

PED: Vinicchaya


Vinicchaya [vi+nicchaya; cp. Vedic vinishcaya] 1. discrimination,
distinction, thought, (firm) opinion; thorough knowledge of (*-) A
III.354 (pāpakamma-); Sn 327 (dhamma-), 838 ( = dvāsaṭṭhi
diṭṭhi-vinicchayā Nd1 186), 867 (-ɱ kūrute; cp. Nd1 265); J III.205
(attha-); PvA 1, 112, 210 (kūṭa-), 287. - 2. decision; (as technical
term in law:) investigation, trial, judgment (given by the king or his
minister) D II.58 (with reference to lābha, explained as deciding what
to do with one's gains) = III.289 = A IV.400 = Vbh 390 (explained at
VbhA 512, where vinicchaya is said to be fourfold, viz. ñāṇa-, taṇhā-,
diṭṭhi-, vitakka-); J II.2. - 3. court house, hall of judgment J I.176;
III.105; IV.122, 370; VI.333; Miln 332 (vinaya-, i.e. having the Vinaya
as the law court in the City of Righteousness). - 4. (as technical term
in logic and psychology:) (process of) judgment, detailed analysis,
deliberation, consideration, ascertainment J V.60 (-ɱ vicāreti); VbhA 46
sq. (according to attha, lakkhaṇa, etc.), 83 sq. (id.); KhA 23, 75.

Matt. 6.25: "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life,
what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what
ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?"

Sorry, I do not have a copy of Compenduium of Buddhist Philosophy. Which
looks like it might be interesting here.

If it were claimed that this referenced only pre-first jhana, it would
still be a strong argument in favor of the necessity for the Buddha to
explain that once this vitakka was overcome upon entering the first
jhana, then the second vitakka (to be understood this second way) needs
to be cultivated and then, within the same jhana (the first), abandoned
to attain the second jhana. Absurd! Why not just go straight to the
second jhana from the ordinary mental state with it's ordinary thinking?
Which is actually what was being described in DN 18.


But in fact this argument should not be made as the Buddha's statement
would apply to whatever meaning one gave to vitakka; pre-jhana or in
jhana, vitakka is the source of desire. I do not think one will find
anywhere in the suttas any suggestion that the bhikkhu should do
anything which actually cultivated desire!

And in this place (at this point in this sutta) would be the ideal point
to teach this difference if there were such as Sakka states he is
destined to enter the Brahma lokas in the future and such entry requires
the first jhana.


http://buddhadust.net




Tuesday, February 18, 2020

updated V&V bird simile corruption by Vism. with some images

continued from the original article:
https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2020/02/v-vitakka-vicara-simile-of-bird.html

Here are some more images to illustrate the dangers of Vism. redefinition of jhāna and vitakka and vicara:

In the vism. version of the simile of the bird,
the initial flapping of the wings taking off is vitakka.

But look what happens if instead of using the EBT version of vicara, which has the meaning of exploring, we instead use Vism. version of vicara and appana samadhi. Instead of being pacified but alert (ready to act if necessary), the Vism. jhana wants you to shut off your 5 senses (ability to see, hear, think), stop all bodily and mental motion putting you into a frozen blanked out mental state.

This is what happens to that Vism. bird:







In Genuine EBT jhāna the bird would easily avoid that situation

because vicāra, functioning as Dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhanga, would lucidly discern the moment to moment situation, and take appropriate measures by using upekkha (equanimous observation), sati & vitakka (sati -sambojjhanga) to switch to a different Dharma meditation instruction to handle the hindrance.
File:Gyps Fulvus in flight.jpg

Another meaning of the simile is this:

Not only does the Vism. jhāna meditator harm himself, if they become a popular teacher, they take down a lot of innocent students with them on the passenger plane.


Monday, February 17, 2020

DN 18 use of vitakka thinking to arouse mudita, piti, sukha in first jhana


7. The Three Openings

( Though not explicitly using the labels 4j🌕7sb☀️, --ERROR SUTREF--v&vℹ️}}, clearly 3 openings use the 7sb sequence of SN 46.3 and DN 2 (where samadhi sambojjhanga = 4 jhanas) )

7. Tividhaokāsādhigama
7. The Three Openings
“Taṃ kiṃ maññanti, bhonto devā tāvatiṃsā, yāvañcidaṃ tena bhagavatā jānatā passatā arahatā sammāsambuddhena tayo okāsādhigamā anubuddhā sukhassādhigamāya.
“What do the good gods of the Thirty-Three think about how much the Buddha has understood the three opportunities for achieving happiness?
Katame tayo?
What three?
Idha bho ekacco saṃsaṭṭho viharati kāmehi saṃsaṭṭho akusalehi dhammehi.
First, take someone who lives mixed up with sensual pleasures and unskillful qualities.
So aparena samayena ariyadhammaṃ suṇāti, yoniso manasi karoti, dhammānudhammaṃ paṭipajjati.
After some time they hear the noble teaching, properly attend to how it applies to them, and practice accordingly.
So ariyadhammassavanaṃ āgamma yonisomanasikāraṃ dhammānudhammappaṭipattiṃ asaṃsaṭṭho viharati kāmehi asaṃsaṭṭho akusalehi dhammehi.
They live aloof from sensual pleasures and unskillful qualities.
Tassa asaṃsaṭṭhassa kāmehi asaṃsaṭṭhassa akusalehi dhammehi uppajjati sukhaṃ, sukhā bhiyyo somanassaṃ.
That gives rise to pleasure, and more than pleasure, happiness,
Seyyathāpi, bho, pamudā pāmojjaṃ jāyetha;
like the virtuous-mirth that’s born from experiencing mirth [derived by witnessing Dharmic virtue].
evameva kho, bho, asaṃsaṭṭhassa kāmehi asaṃsaṭṭhassa akusalehi dhammehi uppajjati sukhaṃ, sukhā bhiyyo somanassaṃ.
Ayaṃ kho, bho, tena bhagavatā jānatā passatā arahatā sammāsambuddhena paṭhamo okāsādhigamo anubuddho sukhassādhigamāya.
This is the first opportunity for achieving happiness.

( follow the word ‘passaddhi’ (5🌊) - the gradual cessation of them is the 4 jhanas in the 6 passadhis of SN 36.11)

Puna caparaṃ, bho, idhekaccassa oḷārikā kāyasaṅkhārā appaṭippassaddhā honti, oḷārikā vacīsaṅkhārā appaṭippassaddhā honti, oḷārikā cittasaṅkhārā appaṭippassaddhā honti.
Next, take someone whose coarse physical, verbal, and mental processes have not been pacified.
So aparena samayena ariyadhammaṃ suṇāti, yoniso manasi karoti, dhammānudhammaṃ paṭipajjati.
After some time they hear the teaching of the noble ones, properly attend to how it applies to them, and practice accordingly.
Tassa ariyadhammassavanaṃ āgamma yonisomanasikāraṃ dhammānudhammappaṭipattiṃ oḷārikā kāyasaṅkhārā paṭippassambhanti, oḷārikā vacīsaṅkhārā paṭippassambhanti, oḷārikā cittasaṅkhārā paṭippassambhanti.
Their coarse physical, verbal, and mental processes are pacified.
Tassa oḷārikānaṃ kāyasaṅkhārānaṃ paṭippassaddhiyā oḷārikānaṃ vacīsaṅkhārānaṃ paṭippassaddhiyā oḷārikānaṃ cittasaṅkhārānaṃ paṭippassaddhiyā uppajjati sukhaṃ, sukhā bhiyyo somanassaṃ.
That gives rise to pleasure, and more than pleasure, happiness,
Seyyathāpi, bho, pamudā pāmojjaṃ jāyetha;
like the joy that’s born from gladness.
evameva kho bho oḷārikānaṃ kāyasaṅkhārānaṃ paṭippassaddhiyā oḷārikānaṃ vacīsaṅkhārānaṃ paṭippassaddhiyā oḷārikānaṃ cittasaṅkhārānaṃ paṭippassaddhiyā uppajjati sukhaṃ, sukhā bhiyyo somanassaṃ.
Ayaṃ kho, bho, tena bhagavatā jānatā passatā arahatā sammāsambuddhena dutiyo okāsādhigamo anubuddho sukhassādhigamāya.
This is the second opportunity for achieving happiness.

( This is describing how Dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhanga 2💭🕵️ works SN 46.2)

Puna caparaṃ, bho, idhekacco ‘idaṃ kusalan’ti yathābhūtaṃ nappajānāti, ‘idaṃ akusalan’ti yathābhūtaṃ nappajānāti.
Next, take someone who doesn’t truly understand what is skillful and what is unskillful,
‘Idaṃ sāvajjaṃ idaṃ anavajjaṃ, idaṃ sevitabbaṃ idaṃ na sevitabbaṃ, idaṃ hīnaṃ idaṃ paṇītaṃ, idaṃ kaṇhasukkasappaṭibhāgan’ti yathābhūtaṃ nappajānāti.
what is blameworthy and what is blameless, what should be cultivated and what should not be cultivated, what is inferior and what is superior, and what is on the side of dark and the side of bright.
So aparena samayena ariyadhammaṃ suṇāti, yoniso manasi karoti, dhammānudhammaṃ paṭipajjati.
After some time they hear the teaching of the noble ones, properly attend to how it applies to them, and practice accordingly.
So ariyadhammassavanaṃ āgamma yonisomanasikāraṃ dhammānudhammappaṭipattiṃ, ‘idaṃ kusalan’ti yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti, ‘idaṃ akusalan’ti yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti.
They truly understand what is skillful and what is unskillful, and so on.
‘Idaṃ sāvajjaṃ idaṃ anavajjaṃ, idaṃ sevitabbaṃ idaṃ na sevitabbaṃ, idaṃ hīnaṃ idaṃ paṇītaṃ, idaṃ kaṇhasukkasappaṭibhāgan’ti yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti.
Tassa evaṃ jānato evaṃ passato avijjā pahīyati, vijjā uppajjati.
Knowing and seeing like this, ignorance is given up and knowledge arises.
Tassa avijjāvirāgā vijjuppādā uppajjati sukhaṃ, sukhā bhiyyo somanassaṃ.
That gives rise to pleasure, and more than pleasure, happiness,
Seyyathāpi, bho, pamudā pāmojjaṃ jāyetha;
like the joy that’s born from gladness.
evameva kho, bho, avijjāvirāgā vijjuppādā uppajjati sukhaṃ, sukhā bhiyyo somanassaṃ.
Ayaṃ kho, bho, tena bhagavatā jānatā passatā arahatā sammāsambuddhena tatiyo okāsādhigamo anubuddho sukhassādhigamāya.
This is the third opportunity for achieving happiness.
Ime kho, bho, tena bhagavatā jānatā passatā arahatā sammāsambuddhena tayo okāsādhigamā anubuddhā sukhassādhigamāyā”ti.
These are the three opportunities for achieving happiness that have been understood by the Buddha.”
Imamatthaṃ, bhante, brahmā sanaṅkumāro bhāsittha,
That is the topic on which Brahmā Sanaṅkumāra spoke.
imamatthaṃ, bhante, brahmā sanaṅkumāro bhāsitvā deve tāvatiṃse āmantesi:
And having spoken about that, he addressed the gods of the Thirty-Three:

and towards the end of the sutta, we learn:

more than 2 million Magadan stream enterers have passed away

Whoever has experiential confidence in the Buddha, the teaching, and the Saṅgha, and has the ethical conduct loved by the noble ones; and whoever is spontaneously reborn, and is trained in the teaching; in excess of 2,400,000 such Magadhan devotees have passed away having ended three fetters. They’re stream-enterers, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening.
Ye hi keci, bho, buddhe aveccappasādena samannāgatā, dhamme aveccappasādena samannāgatā, saṅghe aveccappasādena samannāgatā, ariyakantehi sīlehi samannāgatā, ye cime opapātikā dhammavinītā sātirekāni catuvīsatisatasahassāni māgadhakā paricārakā abbhatītā kālaṅkatā tiṇṇaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā sotāpannā avinipātadhammā niyatā sambodhiparāyaṇā.
And there are once-returners here, too.
Atthi cevettha sakadāgāmino.
And as for other people
Atthāyaṃ itarā pajā,
who I think have shared in merit—
puññābhāgāti me mano;
I couldn’t even number them,
Saṅkhātuṃ nopi sakkomi,
for fear of speaking falsely.”
musāvādassa ottappan”ti.




The sutta is similar to the pair of suttas AN 5.176 and AN 5.179 where they use vitakka to attain first jhana, and these lay followers later become stream enterers. In AN 5, those are 500 lay followers. 


Essence of 🌘 First Jhāna


Essence of j1🌘 First Jhāna

From studying every reference to STED 4j🌕 formula, and examining what happens right before first jhāna, we can see the pattern.

Before one has mastered the skill of stopping internal dialogue at will, entering the 👑😶 noble silence of 2nd jhāna where V&V💭 are shut off and replaced by subverbal awareness and investigation of S&S🐘💭, one first has to:

1. understand the danger, the dukkha, and disadvantages of 5kg and 5niv⛅V&V💭 has a large role in accomplishing this, so one should not be too greedy and shoot for 4th jhāna or 2nd jhāna before mastering first jhāna and how to use first jhāna's V&V💭 skillfully.

2. Before one can completely shut off internal dialogue of V&V💭, one first has to learn how to replace askusala/unskillful v&v with skillful v&v, and then attenuate the v&v so it doesn't block passaddhi/pacification awakening factor and the pīti & sukha (rapture and pleasure) of first jhāna. See MN 19 and vitakka & vicāra in first jhāna.

3. The way to stabilize and prolong first jhāna, is by learning how to use V&V💭 skillfully to direct the mind to inspiring themes to stoke the fire of first jhāna and keep it burning. Suttas such as MN 20SN 47.8SN 47.10SN 46.3AN 6.10AN 8.30 are a few such examples.

4. How do you know if you are on the right track for first jhāna? The most important part of first jhāna is not samatha kung fu, but the correct understanding of section #1 (seeing dukkha in 5kg...). The internal test to verify oneself (MN 14), do you genuinely reject 5kg 5 cords of sensual pleasure because rapture & pleasure of first jhāna is much more enticing not just because of the bliss, but because you truly see it doesn't have the drawbacks of 5kg? A samatha kung fu expert who can sit for 5 hours straight and blank their mind out, but then they still lust after sex and 5 cords of sense pleasure, they completely miss the essence of genuine first jhāna.

5. This is why you should be very wary of following non EBT samādhi systems that falsely claim to be genuine jhāna, but tends to segregate samatha from vipassana and overly emphasize samatha kung fu for first jhāna. V&V💭 has an important role to play in this stage of development, and cutting off v&v (by redefining it as 'placing the mind' or 'initial application') is cutting off one's fuel for jhāna (see section 3). How self defeating is that?