Wednesday, March 31, 2021

You can hear sounds in the four jhanas, AN 10.72, and is 'Theravada' an oxymoron?

• You can 👂 hear sounds in the 4 jhānas.: Which samādhis are silent?

I did a comprehensive research on that article linked above, and AFAIK it contains every sutta and vinaya reference that sheds light on whether one can hear sounds in jhanas.

I also include Ven. Thanissaro's excellent essay on the topic within that article.

The conclusion of the study is that there is not a doubt in the EBT (early buddhist teachings), no ambiguity and absolutely unequivocal that one can hear sounds in the four jhanas. 

Re: Can We Hear Sound in Jhāna?

Post by frank k » 

robertk wrote: Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:21 pm
Dmytro wrote:There's an excellent article by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

Silence Isn’t Mandatory
to me it's anti-Theravada and conveniently ignores the areas of the Tipitaka that disagree with his beliefs
What does 'theravada' mean to you Robert?
vada = sayings, thera = elders. Theravada = sayings of the Elders.
Who's elder, the suttas, or Visuddhimagga? The suttas are somewhere between 500-1000 years older than Vism.

That Thanissaro takes the 'elder' suttas as more authoritative over the 'young' Visuddhimagga and Abhidhamma,
who is anti-Theravada here?


Re: What are the actual differences between "Hard" and "Soft" jhanas?

Post by frank k » 

The state Ven. D is describing below, what he calls 'the post jhana state' is actually the imperturbable state of fourth jhana that can realize the 6 higher knowledges.
One does not have to be in that imperturbable version of 4th jhana to realize nirvana.
For example, 3rd jhana explicitly embeds 'sati and sampajano' within 3rd jhana, that is one does that activity WHILE in 3rd jhana (AN 4.41).
MN 111 builds on that shows vipassana is done from within all 7 perception samadhi attainments.

The 'classical' Theravada texts Ven. D. are referring to are late Theravada texts that contradict the earlier EBT suttas and the teachings of the Elders, and the earliest teachings of the Buddha. I'll take 'early and authentic' over 'classical' with 'semantic shift and intolerable contradictions', thank you.

Dhammanando wrote: Wed Mar 31, 2021 12:57 am
Pondera wrote: Tue Mar 30, 2021 11:25 pmThe purpose of samadhi isn’t to lose all sense of body and mind in an object of meditation.

Nobody claims that this is the purpose of jhāna-samādhi. What is claimed in the classical Theravada is that:

1. This is what authentic jhāna is like. (Though "losing all sense of mind" would need changing to "establishing an intensively focussed and non-ratiocinative state of mind).

2. The state of mind that supervenes upon emergence from it (i.e., what the Suttas describe as "concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability") is the optimal one for insight development.

3. The purpose of jhāna is to arrive at the post-jhānic state described above and while in it develop insight by attention to the features of the now-vanished jhāna factors.

[quote=robertk post_id=734736 time=1691233997 user_id=101]

Check the Abhidhamma pitaka: Katthavatthu 

2023, aug. Robert forgetting we already had this discussion two years ago

Robert wrote:

[b]XV1118 Of Hearing in Jhana[/b]

The heretical sect, who believed that sound could be heard while in jhana were refuted.


Frankk response:

You never got back to me on MN 125 Robert.

That is relevant here.

MN 125, by omitting the first jhāna, is essentially stating explicitly that the extra satipatthana stage they added in place where first jhāna would have been, IS first jhāna.

first jhāna is satipatthana with correct resolves/thoughts + passaddhi bojjhanga. 

3rd and 4th jhāna contain satipatthana and pañña indriya embedded within their formulas (sati and sampajāno).

So if first jhāna is satipatthana, 3rd and 4th jhāna are also satipatthana, then by the sandwich theorem we know second jhana is also satipatthana.

(all 4 jhānas are satipatthana, but not all satipatthana qualify as 4 jhana). 

If you can hear sounds in satipatthana, you can hear sounds in jhana.

DN 21 the Buddha explicitly hears a musician while he is in "jhāna".

Later on, loud noises from Sakka's carriage knock him out of "samādhi" (which we can deduce must be the 4 jhānas from earlier incident.

And at the end of the sutta, something like 84,000 devas become stream enterers WHILE HEARING THE BUDDHA give the DHamma talk.

Unless you think a samādhi lower than first jhāna is possible to attain stream entry, we can assume those 84000 devas were hearing, and thinking with vitakka and vicara while in first jhana.

There are many more suttas, but MN 125 and DN 21 are two of the more explicit in showing 5 senses must be active.

So how do you define heresy Robert?

I define it with respect to the EBT suttas.

So if the Buddha says in MN 125 and DN 21 you can hear sounds while in jhāna,

Vimuttimagga (which uses an earlier version of Abhidhamma than the one you follow) agrees with the Buddha, and states that sounds are thorns in jhana because you can hear and be annoyed by sounds, 

And then a later Abhdhamma book you cite above contradicts Vimt. and the Buddha's suttas,

then that's my definition of heresy.

Besides, the Ab argument they use is flawed. They simply assert "you can't hear sounds in jhana" without ever proving how they arrived at that. That's the fallacy of circular reasoning. If they did try to cite something, it would obviously contradict MN 125 and DN 21. 

Or you can do as Ajahn Brahm and his disciples do, start using pali sophistry, cherry picking, and redefining basic words in the dictionary to butcher the Buddha's Dhamma.

That's sophistry on top of heresy. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

cow uses vitakka and vicara (thinking and evaluation) to ask man to help rescue her calf

3 min. video, well worth watching.

 Below I highlight in the text description where V&V (vitakka and vicara, thinking and evaluation) is taking place.

So the important point here is that V&V as vaci sankhara (vocalization fabrications, the 'essence' of the thoughts you think before you speak them out loud), is a fundamental part of the EBT oral tradition, and how communication between people and animals works.

vitakka, coherent thought containing linguistic labels, is a fundamental concept and dictionary word with well established meaning over thousands of years, across other indian religions besides buddhism. You can not just arbitrarily change the meaning of 'vitakka' from 'thinking' to 'not-thinking, just placing the mind on a nimitta',  just because you're a famous monk influencer and you want to convert people to your view of samadhi. It would be like changing of meaning of 'red traffic light' to 'go' instead of 'stop'. It would cause fatalities all over the world.

So in the video, there's a cow, her calf, using vitakka and vicara in several ways:

1. as vaci-sankhara, vocalized 'moos'. The cow realizes the man doesn't understand her, so she does several more attempts to communicate with the man, and convey  V&V

2. with body language - pacing back and forth between the calf and the man

3. making digging motions with her hoof a few different times at various parts of the video to show she wants the man to help dig out something

4. making long meaningful eye contact

5. also be sure the watch the end of the video where the calf walks up to the man to show appreciation through close body contact and eye contact, and the mom gives long eye contact with the man to show appreciation before walking away.

(from the youtube page description of video)

This video tells the story of "Flo", a wonderful cow with a beautiful disposition, as she encountered serious difficulty soon after giving birth to her baby. On a very hot, spring day in Millbrook, Ontario, Flo was near the pond in the meadow that she called home. She and the rest of the herd live on a gorgeous farm where the cows wander freely and graze as they wish. It's life as close as possible to what nature intended for these sweet creatures. For whatever reason, Flo found herself beside the pond and up against the electric fence when it was time for her baby to be born. This fence is there to keep the cows from wandering on the highway and to keep predators out. The voltage is actually dialed down to a low setting. But her calf must have been slippery enough that it slid down the small slope and under the wires. It would have been difficult, if not impossible for the calf to get back under the fence, and Flo could not get to her newborn. The sun was beating down and the baby was supposed to be nursing, getting that first crucial dose of antibodies in his mother's collostrum. (First milk) Dave, a passing motorist who lived nearby had stopped with his GoPro camera because he wanted to film the other cows splashing and bathing in the pond. Their behaviour seemed interesting enough that he wanted to get some video. He stood by the fence with one camera in his hand and another on the fence post. He saw Flo acting annoyed to his left but he thought maybe she was just trying to express displeasure that he was near the fence. Dave knew very little about cattle and he had no idea that her unusual display was actually a request for help. Still not catching on, Dave began to film Flo as she pawed at the ground and paced back and forth. She looked at him and mooed as she did so. Even the other cows knew something was wrong and they came over to look. Flo was looking at the same spot outside the fence, and at Dave alternately. Dave decided he better investigate and he took his camera with him. He saw a small, newborn calf on the outside of the fence. It was lying still and appeared to be either dead or paralyzed with fear. When Dave got closer, he could see that it was OK but that it wasn't able to help itself. Dave knew the wires between him and the mother were not solid enough to hold her back if she objected to him going near the calf but he was now starting to understand that this is what she was asking him for. Cautiously, he moved over to the calf and used a stick to lift the lower wires. He could see the name "Flo" on her ear tag and he spoke to her as he worked to get the calf back into the meadow. The calf's umbilical cord was very fresh, showing that he was just born. Flo relaxed visibly as she saw what Dave was doing. Her agitation decreased and even the sound of her bellows had changed. She made no sign that she was angry as he shoved and wiggled the calf under the wires. The calf and Dave both touched the wire and got a few shocks in the process but Dave was relieved that the calf didn't cry out, as this could alarm Flo. An angry mama cow can sometimes be protective if they sense their babies are being hurt. The calf was eventually reunited with his mother and she promptly licked him and checked him over. As Dave walked away from the fence, she gave him a long look that seems to convey understanding and relief that this stranger had helped her baby. She led him off into the meadow and he was able to nurse right away. The farmers, who had been on an errand while this was happening arrived as she was leading the calf away. Dave offered to help them catch the calf so it could treat the umbilical cord with iodine and give it a checkup. They also had to tag the calf ("F20"). Dave filmed the two as they grazed with the herd. Unbelievably, the little calf saw Dave and wandered up to him curiously, seeming to recognize him from earlier in the afternoon. Flo also seemed to remember Dave and she gave him a long look before wandering off behind her baby. Dave was surprised by Flo's ability to communicate her need for help, as well as her patience with his inability to understand. She persisted until he finally got the message. What was also impressive was the depth of emotion that she showed for her calf, despite the widespread claims that animals are not capable of profound emotion. And one more thing about this encounter struck Dave as remarkable. Flo and her calf seemed to be able to remember that Dave had helped them. Dave created a video about this experience to demonstrate Flo's capacity for emotion, as well as he.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

AN 4.14 graphic videos warning. 5 stages of corpse, watch out for the nimitta of exploding corpses

(This article is part of 🔗🏦 Bank of Asubha: collection of helpful materials)

If you're going out into the wild looking or a live bloated corpse in the stage of uddhumātaka , be careful. 

“katamañca, bhikkhave, anu-rakkhaṇāp-padhānaṃ?
What (is), *********, protection-exertion?
idha, bhikkhave,bhikkhu
Here, monks, (a) monk,
uppannaṃ bhaddakaṃ samādhi-nimittaṃ
(with an) arisen excellent concentration-sign [a vivid image],
(he) protects (it). (such as the)
worm infested [corpse] -perception
Black-ish / purple / discolored [corpse] –perception
Full-of-holes [a fissured corpse] -perception
swollen [bloated corpse] -perception
idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, anu-rakkhaṇāp-padhānaṃ.
This (is) called, *********, protection-exertion.

video exploding whale 1min, spectacular. I love how the guy runs away after it's too late. 

video exploding elephant corpse, 3min vid, at 2m 30s is where the explosion happens. spectacular.

video elephant post mortem explosion , hidef, start watching at 23m 10s for explosion. guy has to wash his face after, friends laughing at him

video minor exploding whale, about 3min., hi defn. 1080p.  At 1:15, starts to inflate, at 2:15 minor explosion

video: exploding whale , first few seconds, and another segment at 1min are great examples of corpse  bacterial decomposition gas buildup explosion. 

video: science behind exploding whales

video: dead hippo farts on lion, jump to about 40sec, explosive gas and entrails for the next minute after.

bonus asubha video, foot abcess cut open, 5 min

What you should know about exploding caskets

Some of the priciest caskets are prone to burst.

Image without a caption

Before you pay for that pricey casket, make sure it won’t explode. (Rich Legg/iStock)

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By Josh Slocum

Josh Slocum is executive director of the nonprofit watchdog organization Funeral Consumers Alliance. He co-authored Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death.

August 11, 2014 at 6:07 a.m. PDT

Putting dead people in buildings was never smart engineering. Mausoleum burial began as the prerogative of the powerful, providing the perception of a dignified end to a life of esteem. The majesty of the Taj Mahal and the wonder of the Egyptian pyramids carried the idea into the 20th Century. Now heavily marketed to ordinary Americans as the cleaner and classier alternative to six feet under, community mausoleums – with their rows of concrete vaults — appeal to grieving relatives grossed out at the thought of bugs, water and worms mingling with their loved ones’ remains.

But dead bodies have a tendency to rot, and when they do so above ground, the consequences are – to put it nicely — unpleasant. Separating the living from the dead with nothing more than a thin concrete wall was destined to fail and the funeral industry is making money off  public ignorance. Funeral homes push pricey caskets for above-ground burials that ultimately exacerbate mausoleums’ inherent flaw.

You’ve never heard of exploding casket syndrome (ask your mortician if it’s right for you), but funeral directors and cemetery operators have. They sell so-called “protective” or “sealer” caskets at a premium worth hundreds of dollars each, with the promise that they’ll keep out air and moisture that — they would have you believe — cause bodies to rapidly deteriorate. Like Tupperware for the dead, they “lock in the freshness!” with a rubber gasket.


But, in reality, you can’t protect a corpse from itself. While you’re insulating grandma from the outside air, she could be stewing in her own fluids, turning into a slurry from the work of anaerobic bacteria. When the weather turns warm, in some cases, that sealed casket becomes a pressure cooker and bursts from accumulated gases and fluids of the decomposing body. The next time relatives visit grandma, they could find her rotting remains oozing from her tomb in the form of a nauseating thick fluid.

This is not an exaggeration. It’s simple science. There’s no way of telling how common exploding caskets are, since no official agencies are charged with tracking the problem. But as head of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, I frequently hear from families around the country who have sued cemeteries and funeral homes for exploding caskets or have caught mausoleums secretly propping open caskets to prevent a gas buildup. Whole product lines have been created to keep your relatives’ remains from tarnishing the fine establishments they inhabit. There’s Kryprotek, a plastic lining that surrounds caskets to enclose their leaky contents. And there’s Ensure-A-Seal, essentially a bag for a box, which recently ran this advertisement in a funeral trade magazine:

Let Nature Take Its Course


We know what happens after the crypt is sealed. Your clients do not know, or do not want to know . . .  Don’t let natural processes destroy your facility’s reputation.

At bottom, the problem is fraud. Casket-makers and funeral homes know sealer caskets don’t preserve bodies, yet too many peddle lies about the preserving powers of overpriced boxes to grieving people whose emotions are easily manipulated. Federal policy forbids funeral providers from deceptively claiming that caskets will delay the natural decomposition of human remains for long or protect a body from bugs or other disturbances, when they can’t.  But every time a funeral provider pitches a “sealer casket” they are doing exactly that. Funeral homes should stop hawking these caskets and mausoleum operators should stop allowing them. The dead will naturally decompose, no matter how much money we spend on bags and boxes. Consumers should know that and refuse to be sold a bill—or a box—of goods at the graveyard.

Headshot of Josh Slocum

Josh Slocum

Josh Slocum is executive director of the nonprofit watchdog organization Funeral Consumers Alliance. He co-authored Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death. Follow

Worm infested corpse

video maggots on moose corpse  3 days later

Monday, March 22, 2021

all references to nāma kāya (body of mental factors) in the suttas: KN Snp 5.7, DN 15, KN Ps, KN Nidd, KN Nett, KN Pe

Quick summary:

KN Snp 5.7 is talking about how the highest perception arupa formless dimension of nothingness (7th samapatti), in this attainment the mind that attains nirvana in this samadhi is free from nama-kaya (defined same as nama of 12ps dependent origination).

DN 15 is talking about 12ps dependent origination, and labeling the nama-rupa as nama kaya and rupa kaya.

KN Ps reference is the anapana breath meditation section, explaining that step 3, the sabba kaya (entire body) referred here, includes both rupa kaya (body of 4 elements) and nama kaya (12 ps nama). 


In the EBT, you can't find kaya in the 4 jhana context being 'nama kaya' (mental body devoid of rupa body of 4 elements). The most you can get away with, if you consider KN Ps EBT and authoritative on breath meditation, is saying that based on KN Ps it's legitimate to do breath meditation ignoring the physical breath and physical body, and focusing only on the nama-kaya since it is also part of 'sabba kaya'.

But there's absolutely no basis whatsoever to saying that EBT supports a kaya/body that is ONLY mental body that exludes a physical body in the four jhana context. Anyone who claims  that there is, has no sutta basis. 

♦ 6. upasīvamāṇavapucchā (KN 5.61) n
5:6  Upasīva’s Questions
♦ 1075.
Alone, Sakyan, with nothing to rely on,
(iccāyasmā upasīvo)
I can’t venture across
♦ “eko ahaṃ sakka mahantamoghaṃ,
the great flood.
♦ anissito no visahāmi tārituṃ.
Tell me, All-around Eye,
♦ ārammaṇaṃ brūhi samantacakkhu,
the support to rely on
yaṃ nissito oghamimaṃ tareyyaṃ”.
for crossing over this flood.
♦ 1076.
(upasīvāti bhagavā)
The Buddha:
♦ “ākiñcaññaṃ pekkhamāno satimā,
Nothingness observation; remembrance (of that),
♦ natthī-ti nissāya tarassu oghaṃ.
‘There isn’t,’ (by) relying (on that), (you should) cross-over (the) flood.
♦ kāme pahāya virato kathāhi,
sensuality; abandoning (that), abstaining (from) conversations,
Taṇhak-khayaṃ natta-mah-ābhi-passa” VAR .
craving’s-destruction; night-and-day – keep-watch (for that).
♦ 1077.
(iccāyasmā upasīvo)
♦ “sabbesu kāmesu yo vīta-rāgo,
all sensuality, one free-of-passion (for that),
♦ ākiñcaññaṃ nissito hitvā maññaṃ.
Nothingness; relying (on that), letting-go (of) all-else,
♦ saññā-vi-mokkhe parame vimutto VAR,
(among) Perception-emancipations, (this is the) highest emancipation:
tiṭṭhe nu so tattha anānu-yāyī” VAR .
staying {there} is he unaffected?
♦ 1078.
(upasīvāti bhagavā)
The Buddha:
♦ “sabbesu kāmesu yo vītarāgo,
all sensuality, one free-of-passion (for that),
♦ ākiñcaññaṃ nissito hitvā maññaṃ.
Nothingness; relying (on that), letting-go (of) all-else,
♦ saññā-vi-mokkhe parame vimutto,
(among) Perception-emancipations, (this is the) highest emancipation:
tiṭṭheyya so tattha anānuyāyī”.
staying {there} he is unaffected.
♦ 1079.
♦ “tiṭṭhe ce so tattha anānuyāyī,
If, All-around Eye, he stays there,
pūgampi vassānaṃ samantacakkhu.
unaffected for many years,
♦ tattheva so sītisiyā vimutto,
right there
cavetha viññāṇaṃ tathāvidhassa”.
would he be cooled & released?
Would his consciousness be like that?
♦ 1080.
(upasīvāti bhagavā)
The Buddha:
♦ “accī yathā vātavegena khittā VAR,
As a flame overthrown by the force of the wind
♦ atthaṃ paleti na upeti saṅkhaṃ.
goes to an end
♦ evaṃ munī nāmakāyā vimutto,
that cannot be classified,2
atthaṃ paleti na upeti saṅkhaṃ”.
so the sage freed from the name-body3
goes to an end
that cannot be classified.
♦ 1081.
♦ “atthaṅgato so uda vā so natthi,
One who has reached the end:
udāhu ve sassatiyā arogo.
Does he not exist,
♦ taṃ me munī sādhu viyākarohi,
or is he for eternity
tathā hi te vidito esa dhammo”.
free from dis-ease?
Please, sage, declare this to me
as this phenomenon has been known by you.
♦ 1082.
(upasīvāti bhagavā)
The Buddha:
♦ “atthaṅgatassa na pamāṇamatthi,
One who has reached the end
♦ yena naṃ vajjuṃ taṃ tassa natthi.
has no criterion4
♦ sabbesu dhammesu samohatesu,
by which anyone would say that—
samūhatā vādapathāpi sabbe”ti.
for him it doesn’t exist.
When all phenomena are done away with,5
all means of speaking
are done away with as well.
♦ upasīvamāṇavapucchā chaṭṭhī niṭṭhitā.
vv. 1069–1076


1. “Nothingness” here denotes the dimension of nothingness, one of the four levels of mental absorption on formless themes. One attains this level, after surmounting the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, by focusing on the perception, “There is nothing.” MN 26 tells us that Āḷāra Kālāma, the Buddha’s first teacher when the latter was still a Bodhisatta, had attained this level of mental absorption and had thought that it was the highest possible attainment. The Bodhisatta left him upon realizing that it was not true liberation from stress and suffering. Nevertheless, the dimension of nothingness can be used as a basis for the insight leading to that liberation. On this point, see Sn 5:14, below, and AN 9:36. On the strategy of relying on the formless states to cross over the flood, see MN 52, MN 106, MN 111, and AN 9:36.

2. For a discussion of this passage in light of early Buddhist theories of fire, see The Mind Like Fire Unbound, chapter 1.

3. Nāma-kāya = mental activities of all sorts.

4. For a discussion of the meaning of “criterion” in this passage, see The Mind Like Fire Unbound, chapter 1. On the Tathāgata as being undescribable, see Skill in Questions, chapter 9 and appendix 4.

5. This is one of the passages in the Canon that treats unbinding, not as a phenomenon (dhamma), but as the end of phenomena. On this point, see AN 3:137, note 1.

DN 15 Maha nidana (12ps sutta)

‘Phassapaccayā vedanā’ti iti kho panetaṃ vuttaṃ, tadānanda, imināpetaṃ pariyāyena veditabbaṃ, yathā phassapaccayā vedanā.
‘Contact is a condition for feeling’—that’s what I said. And this is a way to understand how this is so.
Phasso ca hi, ānanda, nābhavissa sabbena sabbaṃ sabbathā sabbaṃ kassaci kimhici, seyyathidaṃ—
Suppose there were totally and utterly no contact for anyone anywhere.
cakkhusamphasso sotasamphasso ghānasamphasso jivhāsamphasso kāyasamphasso manosamphasso, sabbaso phasse asati phassanirodhā api nu kho vedanā paññāyethā”ti?
That is, contact through the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind. When there’s no contact at all, with the cessation of contact, would craving still be found?”
“No hetaṃ, bhante”.
“No, sir.”
“Tasmātihānanda, eseva hetu etaṃ nidānaṃ esa samudayo esa paccayo vedanāya, yadidaṃ phasso.
“That’s why this is the cause, source, origin, and condition of feeling, namely contact.
‘Nāmarūpapaccayā phasso’ti iti kho panetaṃ vuttaṃ, tadānanda, imināpetaṃ pariyāyena veditabbaṃ, yathā nāmarūpapaccayā phasso.
‘Name and form are conditions for contact’—that’s what I said. And this is a way to understand how this is so.
Yehi, ānanda, ākārehi yehi liṅgehi yehi nimittehi yehi uddesehi nāmakāyassa paññatti hoti, tesu ākāresu tesu liṅgesu tesu nimittesu tesu uddesesu asati api nu kho rūpakāye adhivacanasamphasso paññāyethā”ti?
Suppose there were none of the features, attributes, signs, and details by which the category of mental phenomena is found. Would linguistic contact still be found in the category of physical phenomena?”
“No hetaṃ, bhante”.
“No, sir.”
“Yehi, ānanda, ākārehi yehi liṅgehi yehi nimittehi yehi uddesehi rūpakāyassa paññatti hoti, tesu ākāresu … pe … tesu uddesesu asati api nu kho nāmakāye paṭighasamphasso paññāyethā”ti?
“Suppose there were none of the features, attributes, signs, and details by which the category of physical phenomena is found. Would impingement contact still be found in the category of mental phenomena?”
“No hetaṃ, bhante”.
“No, sir.”
“Yehi, ānanda, ākārehi … pe … yehi uddesehi nāmakāyassa ca rūpakāyassa ca paññatti hoti, tesu ākāresu … pe … tesu uddesesu asati api nu kho adhivacanasamphasso vā paṭighasamphasso vā paññāyethā”ti?
“Suppose there were none of the features, attributes, signs, and details by which the categories of mental or physical phenomena are found. Would either linguistic contact or impingement contact still be found?”
“No hetaṃ, bhante”.
“No, sir.”
“Yehi, ānanda, ākārehi … pe … yehi uddesehi nāmarūpassa paññatti hoti, tesu ākāresu … pe … tesu uddesesu asati api nu kho phasso paññāyethā”ti?
“Suppose there were none of the features, attributes, signs, and details by which name and form are found. Would contact still be found?”
“No hetaṃ, bhante”.
“No, sir.”
“Tasmātihānanda, eseva hetu etaṃ nidānaṃ esa samudayo esa paccayo phassassa, yadidaṃ nāmarūpaṃ.
“That’s why this is the cause, source, origin, and condition of contact, namely name and form.
‘Viññāṇapaccayā nāmarūpan’ti iti kho panetaṃ vuttaṃ, tadānanda, imināpetaṃ pariyāyena veditabbaṃ, yathā viññāṇapaccayā nāmarūpaṃ.
‘Consciousness is a condition for name and form’—that’s what I said. And this is a way to understand how this is so.

Full digital search for nama kaya

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Seinfeld jokes about jhana, vitakka and vicara

 I heard this joke from Seinfeld, I'm  paraphrasing from memory here so it's going to lose a fair amount of impact from the humor. 

The joke:

What's with 'grape nuts'*? 

You pour it out of the box into a bowl, there are no grapes, and there are no nuts. 

People can just redefine words into whatever they want now?

What's next?

'Shoes' are 'milk'.

You put socks on your feet, and then you pour 'shoes' all over them. 

* 'grape nuts'  = the product name of an American breakfast dry cereal that you pour into a bowl and eat with milk. 

Seinfeld might as well have been joking about Visuddhimagga and Ajahn Brahm redefinition of jhana

What's with 'vitakka' and 'vicara' * in first jhana according to Ajahn Brahm and Visuddhimagga?

There's no thinking, there's no evaluation, nothing that resembles vaci-sankhara, linguistic labels or communicable speech. You pour first jhana into a bowl, and there's no vitakka and vicara to be found. 

Just placing your mind and keeping it in a frozen stupor for a predetermined amount of time.

So monks can just redefine fundamental words with established meaning into anything they want now?

What's next?

Redefining 'body' as a 'body of mental factors completely devoid of a body?' 

Monday, March 15, 2021

SN 41.8 Nice essay on Vitakka and Vicara in Jain practice, and implications of that in SN 41.8

The First Jhana as an assimilated Jain Meditation Practice

Essay, by Gabriel

To recall, the culmination of Buddhist meditation or Samādhi is typically described as having four progressive stages, the Jhānas. The first Jhāna has four factors: thought (vitakka), investigation (vicāra), rapture (pīti), and happiness (sukha). Generally, the Buddhist tradition assumes that the Jhānas are a novel contribution of the Buddha (see for a further discussion Arbel 2016).

In SN 41.8 Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta – commonly known as the Jain master and Buddha’s contemporary Mahāvīra – claims that there is no avitakka avicāra samādhi, i.e. a state of meditation without thought and investigation, and that it would be like catching the wind in a net. Mahāvīra doesn’t mention a Samādhi with thought and investigation, but the plausible implication of his incredulous comment is that he is very familiar with its practice, or at the very least knows of other religious professionals who practice it. What Buddhist texts call the ‘first Jhāna’ would, therefore, be no Buddhist invention at all but a meditation practice available to other ascetic practitioners as well.

Why should we assume that Jains practiced a meditation with thought and investigation? Arbel (2016, 34) observes that of the Buddhist meditation vocabulary only vitakka and vicāra appear in ancient Jain texts. The Jain Tattvārtha Sūtra, describing different kinds of dhyāna (Pāli Jhāna), says in sutras 9.43-44 that vitarka (Pāli vitakka) is scriptural knowledge (śruta) and that vicāra is a shifting between the object, its word, and its activity (Tatia 1994, 242). In 9.42 it also states, however, that there is meditation without vicāra. It has not been sufficiently researched how old the ancient Jain literature is, but this could be another hint that meditation with vitakka and vicāra were common among ascetics of the Buddha’s time.

This interpretation also shines light on a story in MN 36, MN 85, and MN 100 according to which the later-to-be Buddha experienced a state of rapture with thought and investigation, i.e. the first Jhāna. While the commentaries say that Gotama was still a boy at that time (Ñāṇamoli & Bodhi 1995, 1230) nothing in the actual sutta confirms that he was that young – it merely mentions that at that time his father was off working. The story also doesn’t claim that his state was a novel discovery. In fact, there would be nothing unusual about a young man in his mid-twenties with great spiritual talent to have spoken to wandering ascetics on their alms-round, inquiring about their practices and then applying them successfully.

In short, the first Jhāna could well have been an already available meditation practice incorporated by early Buddhism into its fourfold framework of Samādhi. And indeed, there is already established precedence for a very similar incorporation: a well-known part of Gotama’s biography is that early in his spiritual quest he learned from two teachers the so-called ‘formless realms’ – abstract meditation states with hardly any mental content at all (see Rai, 2017). And these ‘formless realms’ became part of Buddhist meditation, with the standard passages usually starting progressing from the four Jhānas to the four Formless Realms.

I want to highlight more aspects from Buddhist sources that the first Jhāna was not regarded that highly, which could be a consequence of an assimilation. As it is well known, the Noble Eightfold Path culminates in the eighth limb of Samādhi, which then again is described with the four Jhānas. But when we look at the standard descriptions of the Jhānas the term samādhi actually only appears in the second Jhāna: The first Jhāna is ‘born out of separation’ (vivekaja), and the second out of Samādhi (samādhija). Which means that the last limb of the Noble Eightfold Path is actually named after the second Jhāna – which again could be a hint that this is where the contribution of the Buddha was seen.

Another sutta might emphasize exactly this point. Snp 1.1, verse 7 (translation Bodhi) says:

“One whose thoughts (vitakka) have been burned out, entirely well excised internally: that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin.”

The implication of this verse is that the transcendence of vitakka (which could allude to the second Jhāna) would result in or lead to liberation. This claim is repeated in a parallel to this verse, in Udāna 6-7: Subhūtisuttaṁ (translation Ānandajoti):

“For he who has dispelled thoughts (vitakka), Totally cut (them) off within himself without remainder, | Perceiving the formless (nibbāna), beyond the shackle, Having overcome the four yokes - he surely does not come (to birth again).”

A text possibly critical of the first Jhāna is a poem that appears in the early Suttanipāta, in Snp 5.13, v. 1109 (also in SN 1.64). In this early material different Brahmin masters present their questions to the Buddha. And in the verse in question Udaya asks the Buddha what keeps the world in bondage. In his answer the Buddha identifies as the culprits some elements of the ‘first Jhāna’, namely thought and investigation (vitakka and vicāra), next to delight (nandi), which in this context could be a misguided version of the Jhāna factor pīti. A possible reading of this verse is, therefore, that the meditation practice of other traditions essentially leaves the system of existential bondage intact since they investigate (vicāra) the wrong Dharma (vitakka) and as a consequence get lost in delight (nandi) – the latter, however, doesn’t sound like a reference to Jain practitioners who were seen as ascetics who embrace pain in their practice.

In the end I cannot claim that there is hard proof for the hypothesis that the first Jhāna is actually an assimilation from a shared spiritual practice of the Buddha’s time. But there is enough supportive circumstantial evidence in order to keep the idea in the back of our mind when contemplating the Buddhist Jhānas.


MN Majjhima Nikāya

SN Saṃyutta Nikāya

Snp Suttanipāta


Ānandajoti, B. (2008). Udāna. Exalted Utterances. Revised version 2.2. Available Online:

Arbel, K. (2016). Early Buddhist Meditation. London & New York: Routledge.

Bodhi, B. (Trans.). (2017). The Suttanipāta. Somerville: Wisdom Publications.

Ñāṇamoli, B. & Bodhi, B. (Trans.). (1995). The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha. A Translation of the Majjhima Nikāya. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

Rai, S. (2017). The Curious Case of the Formless Attainments. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Universities, 6(2), 70-82.

Tatia, N. (Trans.). (1994). That which is. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

EBpedia📚 misc. articles on karma and rebirth


4👑☸ → EBpedia📚  → kamma and rebirth ♾️👶  

misc. articles on rebirth:

AN 4.5 the ludicrous notion of a world without rebirth, and Vism. redefinition of jhana

B. Sujato criticizes Gil Fronsal's treatment of Rebirth in the suttas:

B. Sujato discusses a literal pali word for 'rebirth'

Sunday, March 14, 2021

AN 4.5 the ludicrous notion of a world without rebirth, and Vism. redefinition of jhana


audio and sutta text for AN 4.5 here:

AN 4 Eng. suttas #1-5

The second kind of person, one who goes against the stream, doesn't make sense in a world without rebirth.

Katamo ca, bhikkhave, paṭisotagāmī puggalo?
And who is the person who goes against the stream?
Idha, bhikkhave, ekacco puggalo kāme ca nappaṭisevati, pāpañca kammaṃ na karoti, sahāpi dukkhena sahāpi domanassena assumukhopi rudamāno paripuṇṇaṃ parisuddhaṃ brahmacariyaṃ carati.
It’s a person who doesn’t take part in sensual pleasures or do bad deeds. They live the full and pure spiritual life in pain and sadness, weeping, with tearful faces.

1. Who would ordain into a life of pain if there was no rebirth?

Can you imagine what kind of person would ordain in Buddhism, and live their whole life like that, in pain and missing pleasures of lay life? 

Especially if they don't believe in rebirth, that this is the only life we get and then annihilation at death? That's not a sensible way to live, you would want to maximize pleasure in lay life if there's no true long term benefit in sense restraint.

2. If Vism. redefinition of jhana is true

Then you would expect 99% of all Buddhist monks and nuns to be unhappy (Vism. says only 1 in a million can attain 'first jhana').  On the contrary, you see most monastics seem to be frequently dwelling in pleasant abiding (diṭṭha-dhamma-sukha-vihārānaṃ). That phrase appears more than 50 times in the suttas, and that's not including over a hundred references in the stock 3rd jhana formula.

And that pali phrase, is a code phrase for 3rd jhana, or any of the 4 jhanas :

So the actual observable case, is you see monks and nuns frequently happy, which means they pretty much can do at least a low quality first jhana for at least a couple of seconds. 

Why not trust in the suttas and diligently practice hours a day to stretch those 2 seconds of first jhana into 2 minutes, 20 minutes, 1 hour, etc.? 

first jhāna is easier than you think

don't give up on jhāna, 🔗until you drink from the sutta cup.
AN 5.176 the Buddha and Sariputta tells 500 lay people to work on first and second jhana. Does that sound like something only 1 in a million can people can do?
AN 5.179 same 500 lay people with first jhana from AN 5.176 attain stream entry.
DN 18: 3 ways of using vitakka to attain first jhana. And over 2.4 million lay followers attain stream entry. Does this sound like 'only 1 in a million' can attain first jhana as vism. claims?
MN 68: 🔗MN 68 case study on how easy and accessible first jhana is for newly ordained.
MA 77: agama parallel to MN 68, matches closely. Again, notice how it's expected for newly ordained to get first jhana if they can choose delighting in holy life over 5niv⛅. Also, notice importance of using inspiring ☸Dharma vitakka thoughts to launch 7sb☀️ sequence.
SN 47.4 newly ordained, arahants, and all skill levels in between do the same 4sp🐘 with 4j🌕 quality of samadhi (first jhana or better!) simultaneously.
🔗AN 1 micro first jhana, 37 of them
V&V💭🔗simile of bird corrupted by vism.


Compare these Buddhist terms 

🔬details: Pīti😁 & Pā-mojja😁 (mudita, modati are conjugated forms of pamojja)

with the Sanskrit equivalents prīti, modah pramoda, 



(excerpts: a few paragraphs from the article)


In the AV(S) ānanda and its derivatives are used six times. Twice we have the same phrase: anandā modah pramudo 'bhimodamudas ca ye. At AV(S) 11.7.26 these experiences are among the various elements of the universe that are said to originate from the ucchista, the sacrificial remains, while at AV(S) 11.8.24 they are among the various powers that entered the human body. The contexts of these verses do not provide clues as to the precise meaning of ananda. Sāyana here, as in other places where 

the three terms moda, pramud (or pramoda), and ananda are listed together, explains 

the first as pleasure derived from seeing an object, 

the second as pleasure derived from obtaining an excellent object, 

and the third as the pleasure derived from enjoying the object.

 Although Sāyana's interpretation does not tell us much about what the terms may have meant in their original contexts, I think his instinct in taking the three as a progressive intensifying of pleasure is correct. And his connection of ananda with the actual enjoyment of the desired object is borne out by evidence from its usage elsewhere, especially within the context of sexual activity. 


 In the VS, then, ananda, besides its sexual meanings, is used with reference to the pleasure associated with drinking, dancing, and music. Taken together with the AV(S) usage with regard to the Apsaras engaged in the game of dice, we see a pattern emerging in the early vedic literature of ānanda being associated with sex, gambling, drinking and dancing. 


The sexual connota tion is most explicit at TB–5, where the term is used twice:

prajāpatih striyām yasah muskayor adadhar sapam | kāmasya trptim ānandam tasyāgne bhājayeha mă || modah pramoda anandah muskayor nihitah sapah srtveva kāmasya trpyāni daksiņānām pratigrahe II

**Prajapati put the penis in the vagina, the glory in the woman – the satisfaction of desire, the ananda. O Fire, make me here partake of that!

"The penis is put in the vagina - the joy, the thrill, the ananda, flowing somehow (with semen) toward the satisfactions of desire in accepting the sacrificial gifts."30 In this eulogy of the pride of masculinity, ananda, as well as the two associated terms moda and pramoda, 31 are identified with the penis placed within the vagina, the penis that brings the satisfaction (trpti) of desire. Moda, pramoda, and ānanda 2 appear as names of three of the fifteen muhurtas of a night at TB 


In a somewhat unclear passage of the Kausītaki Brāhmana (7.2), ānanda is associated with three things, food, drink, and sexual inter course: yaivaike cānanda anne pāne mithune rātryā eva te samtatā avyavacchinnāh kriyante / tesām rātrih karotarah / ya u vaike cānanda annād eva te sarve jāyante / "Whatever joys that are in food, drink, and sexual intercourse, all those are joined together without interruption through the night; for them the night is the sieve. Whatever joys there are, they are born from food." Although here ananda is said to be derived from food, the same passage goes on to state that the essence (rasa) of food gives rise to semen (retas) and the essence of semen gives rise to man. Here too, then, food and semen are closely associated with each other and with ānanda. 


And in lists of synonyms or words with similar meanings, we find ānanda listed with praharsa, prīti, and sukha (MBh 12.187.33; 212.26; 239.23). The closest we come to a “religious" use of ananda is in the list of the thousand names of Visnu where we find surānanda, ānanda, nandana, nanda, and satānanda (MBh 13.135.33, 69, 79). Only once have I found the term used with regard to the ultimate state to which people aspire, a state that is called paramam ānandam (MBh 13.16.55). 


From the above survey of the use of ananda in the early Indian literature we can draw the following conclusions:

1. In the early vedic literature ānanda is used in a variety of contexts, including the thrill of gambling, the convivial joy of drinking, and especially sexual pleasure.

2. The middle vedic literature of the Yajurveda emphasizes the sexual aspect of ananda, using it almost as a technical term for orgasmic rapture. The absence of the term in non-Yajurvedic Brāhmanas, with the exception of a single passage in the KsB, indicates that this usage was by and large confined to the Yajurvedic schools.

3. In the late vedic literature also the term is most frequent in the two Yajurvedic Upanisads, the Brhadāranyaka and the Taittirīya, although the presence of the term with a sexual connotation in the Rgvedic Kausītaki Upanisad makes the picture somewhat less clear. 64 The association of brahmanlātman with ananda, however, takes place principally in the Yajurvedic Upanisads. This semantic development, I believe, took place specifically as an extension of the meaning of ananda as orgasmic rapture, a meaning already found in the early Yajurvedic texts. The connection between these two meanings of ananda, we saw, is made explicitly in BU 4.1.6. Two elements of orgasmic rapture are central in this extended meaning: 1) the connection of ananda to

procreation and, therefore, to Prajāpati, and 2) the loss of consciousness of individual identity associated with orgasm. TU (2.7) is the locus classicus for ananda as the primary attribute of brahmanlātman.

4. The evidence of the Buddhist, Jain, and epic literature indicates that ānanda did not immediately enter the common religious vocabulary either as the joy of heaven or final release (moksa) or as an attribute of the Ultimate Being or State. I think that after the composition of the BU and the TU ananda as an attribute of brahman and as signifying the final state of bliss remained a technical usage confined to a somewhat narrow circle. There must have been a parallel semantic development of ananda leading to its meaning as simple (not necessarily sexual) joy and happiness. This development took the term away from any specifically religious connotation. Unfortunately, we do not have the literary evidence to trace this development from the early vedic usage to the Buddhist and epic texts. We have, however, seen ananda used with such a generic meanings in BU 4.3.32–33; CU 7.10.1; and TU 2.8. It is however, clear that the religious usage of the term in the Brahmasūtras and later literature is derived not from this generic epic usage but from its specifically religious meaning that developed in the Upanisads.

5. ...

6. ...