Saturday, March 2, 2019

V&V, Analayo's misunderstanding of noble silence

Analayo EBMS 2017 pg 126

(Early Buddhist Meditation Studies)
Another indication relevant to the present theme is that the
second absorption constitutes a noble type of silence.35 Since
speech has ceased before the attainment of the first absorption,36the reference to “silence” here cannot mean that only with the
second absorption one stops speaking (I return below to the
question of hearing sound while being in the second absorption). The point behind the idea of a “noble silence” would
rather reflect that with the attainment of the second absorption,
the mental factors vitakka and vicāra (application) have been
left behind. These two are elsewhere qualified as verbal formations,37 since they are required for being able to speak. However, the same two mental factors of vitakka and vicāra can
also be employed in a way that does not involve breaking into
speech, merely standing for a directing of the mind toward a
theme or object and sustaining it there. ――――――
so vivicc' eva kāmehi, etc. On repetition as a central characteristic
of the early Buddhist texts, see e.g. von Simson 1965: 5ff, Allon
1997: 273ff, Weeratunge 2004, Anālayo 2007: 8ff, and Gethin 2007.
35 SN 21.1 at SN II 273,14: dutiyaṃ jhānam upasampajja viharati,
ayaṃ vuccati ariyo tuṇhībhāvoti, and its parallel SĀ 501 at T II
132a19: 第二禪具足住, 是名聖默然.
36 SN 36.11 at SN IV 217,5: pathamaṃ jhānaṃ (Be and Ce: paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ, Se: paṭhamajjhānaṃ) samāpannassa vācā niruddhā
hoti and its parallel SĀ 474 at T II 121b2: 初禪正受時, 言語寂滅.
37 SN 41.6 at SN IV 293,15: vitakkavicārā vacīsaṅkhāro and its parallel SĀ 568 at T II 150a24: 有覺, 有觀, 名為口行. Another occurrence of this definition in MN 44 at MN I 301,21 has a similarly
worded Tibetan counterpart in D 4094 ju 8a5 or Q 5595 tu 9a5:rtog pa dang dpyod pa ni ngag gi ’du byed ces bya’o.

Two big problems with his analaysis.
1. Fallacious reasoning: "However, the same two mental factors of vitakka and vicāra can
also be employed in a way that does not involve breaking into
speech, merely standing for a directing of the mind toward a
theme or object and sustaining it there."

vaci-sankhara = vocalization-co-doing

(Analayo: verbal-formation). Actions that are essential to the process of vocalizing speech out loud.
Vaci-sankhara is communicable, coherent, un-vocalized verbal activity, meant to be broadcast, received and heard by listeners. If you're only directing your mind toward a theme and silently sustaining it there, it's a mentally silent activity, with no coherent idea or thoughts to broadcast to a listener.
example: mentally reciting some Dhamma you’ve memorized, is like chanting it in your mind without making a sound. You can even move your lips, as long as you don’t emit sound.

The fallacies involved here are false equivalence, biased sample.

He doesn't dispute the nature of vaci-sankhara, "verbal formations", needing to be communicable speech in unspoken form.
The fallacy, is that he claims that since "directing & sustaining" are a subset of the required actions for vaci-sankhara to happen, therefore it satisfies the criteria for it. That's a type of false equivalence fallacy. For example, if you go to a store to buy a horse-and-carriage, you pay for it and they give you only a horse without a carriage. A horse does not equal a horse-and-carriage, and is unable to perform all the functions you need.
Revisiting the example of chanting Dhamma mentally versus vocalizing it out loud: With the proper definition of V&V = directed-thought and evaluation, you would then chant Dhamma out loud that other people can listen to and comprehend. If you used the wrong V&V of Analayo, your mind would just be directed to with sustained attention on an unmoving preverbal thought, and you would not be able to speak anything intelligible.

2. B.Analayo doesn't follow the implications of his redefinition.

If you redefine V&V (the activity of first jhana) to be "directing the mind and sustaining it on an object", then first jhana would be noble silence, not second jhana! The fact that Buddha sets the bar at second jhana is incontrovertible evidence that the

✅ V&V of first jhana must be verbal thinking and reflection!

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