Thursday, February 28, 2019

What B.Analayo says about V&V in MN 19, 78, 125

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

AN 9.34 V&V why foolish cow is doomed

AN 9.34 V&V why foolish cow is doomed
if you don't have a proper understanding of V&V

excerpt from

In Vimt. (will pull up quotes later) and EBT, first jhana foolish cow (AN 9.34) and skillful cook (SN 47.8) works on purifying wrong thoughts, replacing them with right thoughts (renunciation, non-lust, good will, etc, dukkha), understanding why wrong thoughts happen, finding strategies to remove them, purifing right view and right thought to get into first jhana.

vism. is reduced to samatha kung fu. This is not to denigrate samatha kung fu, that is important and has its place, but for first jhana, the salient and main feature the EBT passages is going after is replacing unskillful wrong thoughts/intentions with right ones connected to the Dhamma, and then attenuating those right thoughts until the volume is turned down enough to satisfy kaya and citta passaddhi and slide you into first jhana. Very different approach.

I spent many years in a VIsm. Jhana training system monastery in asia, so this is a firsthand account, not a theory or hearsay. I’ve seen people spend years just trying to get into first jhana using the Vism. approach of samatha kung fu and protecting their breath nimitta as Vism. recommends for the activity of V&V.  (AN 9.34) The foolish cow is not only foolish under the Vism. model, it’s doomed.


You can compare how Vism.'s use of V&V in first jhāna is quite different than Vimt. They’re both working on earth kasina, and the method is the same, but Vimt. still takes care to mention “separation from lust and hindrances”, the most prominent part of samma sankappo that is active as V&V (vitakka and vicara) in first jhana.

Vism. on the other hand, they segregate the normal “thinking” aspects of V&V to the access concentration portion, and under first jhāna, V&V only takes on the narrow “fixity”.

So this is how this affects the foolish cow. The EBT and vimt. pasture for first jhāna is completely different than the pasture for Vism.!

On the Vism. pasture, they’re trying to anxiously protect a mentally generated visual image of an earth kasina, a photographic memory of a brown/red disk. V&V is striking, threshing, at the disk, trying to “dive into it” to get the redefined Vism. Jhāna.

On the Vimt. pasture, they’re using the same meditation technique, but they still acknowledge that hindrances, thoughts of sensuality, ill will , etc, are part of the job of V&V in first jhana. (applied and sustained thought is translator’s choice of words).

In Vism., V&V becomes reduced to just a pure samatha kung fu training exercise. This is why they had to create “access concentration” , a term not in the EBT. To restore the important functionality of V&V and S&S (sati and sampajano) that they pulled out of EBT jhāna.

book: Bhikkhu Anālayo's mistranslation of V&V

This is why it matters

(V&V💭) vitakka & vicāra = directed-thought & evaluation
(S&S🐘💭) sati & sam-pajāno = remembering & lucid-discerning
VRJ = (Vism. Re-definition of Jhāna)

If one insists on politeness and gentle speech at all times, then it often comes at the cost of clarity.

In the case of V&V, this issue is of vital importance and grave errors need to be clearly expressed.
That includes the degree of severity.
If one is too worried about being polite in how that is expressed,
then it obfuscates the severity of the problem and the nature of the problem.

The Buddha Dhamma comes down to just seeing Dukkha clearly, and abandoning it.
You can only see Dukkha clearly to the degree that samādhi is powerful enough.

If you can’t see it clearly, you won’t abandon it, won’t want to abandon it, don’t realize you would be better off abandoning it.

That’s why samādhi is so important.

The Buddha promised a gradual training, including samādhi.

When you teach V&V (vitakka & vicara) of first jhāna monumentally wrong, you’ve killed the gradual training.

Without first jhāna, people think they “don’t have enough merit and/or wisdom” and need to wait lifetime(s) before they can practice seriously.

This is not conjecture, this is what happened when the VRJ (vism. redefinition of jhāna) became the dominant/popular understanding in Theravada.

Bhante Sujato and B. Analayo  translate V&V following the VRJ model of redefined jhāna (and V&V). There is no support for that anywhere in the EBT.

They need to be held accountable for that.

Until they fix their error, I will keep pointing it out, as politely as I can, but not at the cost of being clear and honest.

I've built a one stop V&V shop containing Bhikkhu Anālayo, Bhikkhu Sujato's views on V&V here:
The one stop V&V shop, where errant views meet the chopping block. 

eighth installment

seventh installment, 3/3/2019

supplementary material:

sixth installment
sunday feb. 24
MN 19, MN 78, MN 125 when Bhikkhu Anālayo met 🔪 Occam's razor ... layo.html

thur. feb 28,
the exciting but bloody conclusion to their meeting:

☸ MN 19, 78, 125 final score: 🔪 Occam's razor six, Bhikkhu Anālayo zero

fifth installment:
Sunday, February 17, 2019
So why are references to MN 117 missing in Bhikkhu Anālayo's EBMS? ... sing.html
(sums up and connects the other posts related to MN 117)

There are several blog posts on MN 117 (in the blog subject titles) between today (2/17) and (2/14).

frank k wrote: 
Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:47 pm
fourth installment:
MN 117 and its implications
It's not easy to explain, so first I need to explain a few concepts.
If you don't understand survivorship bias, bandwagon effect, and cognitive dissonance, it won't be easy to follow the audit.
So first, a parable that explains the big problem that I'm going to expose with Ven. Analayo's lack of mention of MN 117 in EBMS. ... farm.html
A long time ago, in paradise valley, Sid and his family, with the surname of Gotonirvana, had a farm collective, growing a rich variety of fruits. They tasted extraordinary, and the fruit was completely wholesome and nutritious. Their fruit was available far and wide, famous everywhere.

their advertisement read:
Sid and Gotonirvana family farms,
quenching thirst with the tastiest fruit
with an entirely complete and pure variety of fruits.

frank k wrote: 
Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:45 pm
third installment:
Case study on intellectual dishonesty, agendas, biases: Frankk and his views on jhāna, vitakka, vicara ... esty.html

second installment: 
MN 111 Bhikkhu Analayo, circular reasoning and red herrings ... ular.html

First installment: 
covers MN 128, SN 40.1, narrative fallacy ... ayos.html

halo effect, and "Sujato's article on vitakka and vicara is still undefeated!"

The user Buddha Vacana has a nice critique of Ven. Sujato's
mistranslation of vitakka here:

And a few interesting excerpts from his discussion thread

halo effect

Re: A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana
Post  by Buddha Vacana » Sun Dec 25, 2016 6:53 pm

I just stumbled upon this article that seems relevant to this thread: ... ?r=US&IR=T
It turns out that if you want to convince someone that your explanation for something is the best way to explain it, you might want to tack on some useless (though accurate) information from a tangentially related scientific field.

It turns out that when you tack on additional information from a respected field of study, people think that makes an explanation more credible.


And while this is a new finding, it's just one of several cognitive biases we have in favor of certain types of explanations. We think longer explanations are better than short ones and we prefer explanations that point to a goal or a reason for things happening, even if these things don't actually help us understand a phenomenon.

Not just pamojja is a mental trigger. Pīti,

Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:55 pm
Re: A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana
Post  by frank k » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:20 pm

Buddha Vacana wrote:
I have updated a part of the article:

What is possible, on the other hand, is that the mind would be still, the hindrances would be largely reduced, but the first jhana would still not kick in, because one is not skilled in inducing pāmojja (serene joy), which is an essential trigger for the first jhana, as described in many suttas.

frank replied:
Not just pamojja is a mental trigger. Pīti, which appears in the first two jhanas and prior to first jhana in the 7 awakening factors as the piti-sambjjhanga, has the same function as pamojja. I.e. being a mental trigger, something we develop to help cause first jhana to happen. See SN 46.2 and SN 46.3 for very explicit and obvious use of vitakka and vicara in the verbal type of thinking sense in a causal chain leading to jhana.

SN 47.10 then shows, by differentiating between "directed" and "undirected" development how the mental trigger of piti+pamojja happens with V&V (vitakka & vicara) and without V&V.

The main problem with Ajahn Brahm's camp on their understanding of V&V is they're not looking at the relevant EBT sutta passages relating to V&V objectively to see what the possible range of meaning is. They're already starting off with an assumption of Jhāna being of the Visuddhimagga type, and then cherry picking EBT passages to support that understanding, and ignoring the many passages where it's very clear V&V in fist jhāna is a verbal type of thinking. Their defense and counter argument against the verbal thinking of EBT first jhāna is also based on that unproven assumption. They don't offer any evidence, textual or experiential, to show why very profound states of samādhi experienced and taught by Ajahn Lee, Bhante Gunaratana, Thanissaro, Arahant Upatissa (Vimuttimagga) are not genuine EBT jhāna.

Bhante G, Ven. T (thanissaro) on the other hand, have written very clearly and show EBT textual evidence why their interpretation is correct, and clearly show the evidence why the Vism. interpretation of V&V in first jhāna is a redefinition of the term jhāna, vitakka, and vicara.

Sujato's article on vitakka and vicara is still undefeated!

Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:55 pm
Re: A. Sujato's Why Vitakka Doesn't Mean 'Thinking' in Jhana
Post  by frank k » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:33 pm

Someone on the thread posted a few times, hilariously, that "Sujato's article on vitakka and vicara is still undefeated!"

This reminds me of what Michael Jordan said about himself. Jordan is considered by many basketball experts/historians to be the greatest basketball player of all time, because he had no weakness in his complete game. I'm paraphrasing from memory, but this is what Jordan said on why he thinks he's the greatest: "Because I can score on my guy any time I want, he can't stop me from scoring. And I can shut him down and keep him from scoring."

Similarly, if you're going to be the MIchael Jordan of the V&V argument, you need to show EBT passage evidence of why your interpretation is correct, and you need to show EBT evidence on why the other guy's interpretation is incorrect. If you just cherry pick and score a few empty points, but can't stop the onslaught of points from the opponent, you won't be "undefeated" for long.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

MN 19, 78, 125 conjunction fallacy

You'll need to understand this fallacy to see some of the problems with what B. Analayo proposes,
when we have the exciting conclusion to the chapter on:

MN 19, MN 78, MN 125 ❤️ When Bhikkhu Anālayo met 🔪 Occam's razor

And besides, there's the added mental health benefit.
Learning about a fallacy each day keeps the 🐂💩 away.

excerpt from

Conjunction Fallacy

(also known as: conjunction effect)
Description: The assumption that more specific conditions are more probable than general ones.  This fallacy usually stems from thinking the choices are alternatives, rather than members of the same set.  The fallacy is further exacerbated by priming the audience with information leading them to choose the subset as the more probable option.
Logical Form:
X is a subset of Y.
Therefore, X is more probable than Y.
Example #1:
While jogging around the neighborhood, you are more likely to get bitten by someone’s pet dog, than by any member of the canine species.
Explanation: Actually, that is not the case.  “Someone’s pet dog”, assuming a real dog and not some robot dog, would also be a member of the canine species.  Therefore, the canine species includes wolves,  coyotes, as well as your neighbor’s Shih Tzu, who is likely to bite you just because he’s pissed for being so small.
Example #2: Mr. Pipp, is a sharp dresser, too good-looking, works as an interior decorator and loves everything Barbra Streisand.  Is Mr. Pipp more likely to be a man or a gay man?
Explanation: It would be fallacious to say that Mr. Pipp is more likely to be a gay man—even if we found out that Mr. Pipp worked nights as a dancer at a drag queen show.  There is a 100% chance Mr. Pipp is a man, and a smaller chance that he is a gay man because the group “man” includes all the members of the group “gay man”.
Exception: When contradicting conditions are implied, but incorrectly stated.
In the example above, the way the question reads, we now know that there is a 100% chance Mr. Pipp is a man and a smaller chance that he is a gay man.  However, if the questioner meant to imply, “straight man” or “gay man” as the choices, then it could be more of a poorly phrased question than a fallacy.
Kahneman, D. (2013). Thinking, Fast and Slow (1st edition). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Happy belated Valentine's day!

I can't let that day go by without making a reference to one of my favorite topics, asubha.

Pictures are safe for viewing for everyone of all ages.
but read the Readme.txt file first.

The readme.txt file in that directory says:
If you are observing the abstention of vādita-visūkadassanā (listening to music – watching-shows), it's safe to view the 12 images, but do not watch the video in the subdirectory.

This 2010 pin-up calendar is the weird brain child of a German advertising agency called Butter. The idea was to promote Eizo's high-precision displays for medical imaging so they used X-rays to shoot the pin-up models.

The Butter Agency declares that "pin-ups are more often found in auto garages rather than in medical offices." I'll say. "Eizo breaks this taboo," Butter boasts. "This pinup calendar shows absolutely every detail."

response to comments 

Eko Care wrote: 
Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:01 am
I don't think it is good to focus on bad postures intentionally to practice asubha, unless otherwise in an unavoidable situation.
What is your opinion ?
I assume what you mean, is that even a corpse or skeleton in an erotic posture is unsuitable for asubha contemplation because it can still be too sexually stimulating.

Sure I can see your point, but it's going to vary with individuals. Which is why commentaries give advice for men (heterosexual) to contemplate corpses of male bodies, not female. 

What I find helpful in my practice, is to just see the skeleton in everyone, human and animals, at all times, in any activity.
The whole point of male/female distinction is to satisfy the biological imperative to reproduce.
If we train all the time to see that's all it is, it's nature's way to trick us, and develop a strong desire to end dukkha and rebirth, then skeletons are just skeleton with no meaningful distinction of male/female. 

Another contemplation I like to do, all the time, not just in sitting, is just visualize living beings as bundles of white light (with no gender, race, etc). All beings are brothers and sisters of suffering, just wishing to be happy and find an end to suffering.