Thursday, September 30, 2021

KN Snp 5.1 non Buddhist doing jhana, with 5 hindrances present (while in jhana)

A rival Brahman had threatened to kill Bavari with his mighty psychic power and split his head into 7 pieces. In response, Bavarai was terrified, but did not lose his jhana ability:

♦ 991.
♦ ussussati anāhāro,
He wasted away, taking no food,
afflicted with the arrow of grief,
♦ athopi evaṃ cittassa,
and, with his mind this way,
jhāne na ramatī mano.
his heart found no delight in jhāna.

These 16 students of Bavarai (haven't met the Buddha yet) could all do jhana! Note to  Ajahn Brahm, the Buddha did not invent Jhana like you claim. 

♦ 1015.
♦ paccekagaṇino sabbe,
all          with their own groups,
Sabba-lokassa vissutā.
famed in  all the world,
♦ jhāyī jhāna-ratā dhīrā,
endowed          with jhāna, delighting          in jhāna,
Enlightened, perfume          with perfumes3 from previous lives,

The beginning of the sutta mentions  Bavari was working on developing the formless attainment of nothingness, the highest perception samadhi. From the 16 questions from 16 students of Bavari in this Snp vagga, at least 2 of the suttas (Snp 5.7 and Snp 5.15) are unequivocally describing that same attainment of nothingness, so we know at least 2 of Bavari's students are skilled in that samadhi.  

♦ 982.
♦ kosalānaṃ purā rammā,
From the delightful city of the Kosalans,
agamā dakkhiṇāpathaṃ.
a brahman [Bāvarī]
ākiñcaññaṃ patthayāno,
who had mastered mantras,
brāhmaṇo manta-pāragū.
aspiring to nothingness,1
went to the Southern country.

Given some if not all of Bavari's 16 students, and Bavari himself  have some skill in formless attainments, when it talks about their jhana meditation, and enjoyment meditation, it's fair to assume they are talking about 4 jhanas quality of jhana, since those skills are generally prerequisite for formless attainments. 

Now all of this was before they met the Buddha, so we can see there were non-Buddhist jhanas that were functionally equivalent to samma samadhi 4 jhanas, minus the stated purpose of using that quality of samadhi to realize nirvana.


♦ 991.
♦ ussussati anāhāro,
He wasted away, taking no food,
afflicted with the arrow of grief,
♦ athopi evaṃ cittassa,
and, with his mind this way,
jhāne na ramatī mano.
his heart found no delight in jhāna.

So given all the information above, it's pretty safe to deduce that Bavari, who was meditating with fear from the death threat,  could still do jhana, but an impure version of jhana (such as ones described in SN 40 and AN 9.41).

What are the implications of this?
1. His heart (mano) could not delight (rama) in the jhana, yet there must have been some aspect of intrinsic qualities of the 4 jhanas that were present in his meditation. This would be the physical pleasure of sukha in the first three jhanas. 

2. You can see that Visuddhimagga and Ajahn Brahm's redefinition of jhana clearly would not work in this sutta. If you were in a formless frozen stupor, you would not be able to "not delight in jhana" until after you emerged from the frozen stupor.

In other words, if Jabrama👻🥶-jhana and VRJ👻🥶 had a correct description of jhana as described in the suttas, there's no way you would describe the mind (mano) not delighting in jhana. Either you can enter a jhana of formless frozen stupor, and emerge afterwards to delight in it, or you simply can not enter that frozen stupor jhana at all when you're gripped in fear. Either you can do "Jhana" and have delight free of 5 hindrances, or you can't. 

Forum  discussion


hindrances and jhana factors...can they coexist?

DN 2 (T22) agama parallel with unusual 4 jhana smiles and 4 elements meditation simile

nibbanka wrote:

So, despite the shift to the “mental body” in the later literature, the Commentary still preserves the literal “physical body” meaning in this particular context. And explanation in the earlier sources, namely the Paṭisambhidāmagga and the Vimuttimagga, gives support for such a reading.

cdpatton responds:

The problem is that there’s only one Agama parallel that I can find that agrees with these Theravada passages that exist in DN and MN. There’s just not much evidence that it was from the earliest period of Buddhism, otherwise we should see more parallels and consistency the way we do with the jhana formulas themselves.

After I posted my comments in the other thread, I did find a Chinese parallel to DN 2 (T22) that includes metaphors with the four jhanas. They use similar imagery but mean completely different things. Not only do they lack the connecting passage that Theravadins point to as explicitly defining kaya in the third jhana as physical, the explanations of the metaphors specifically avoid that reading of kaya repeatedly.

It reads like this, to paraphrase a bit (T22.274c11-275a7):

The first jhana is like a person entering a bathing pool filled with clean and pure water. They cross over the other side, and their mind rejoices.

The monk is likewise. In quiet seclusion, he’s peaceful and happy. He observes everything that arises from the body and sees nothing of the body. Throughout his observation, there’s no (sense faculties?), and the mind’s activity is quieted, making him joyous and comfortable.

The second jhana is like lotus flowers and water lilies that grow in the muck under water. Although they were in the water, the water and dirt doesn’t cling to their stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit.

The monk is likewise. In this body with samadhi, he’s comfortable and rejoices. With this mental attainment, he reaches a steadfast place, it becomes unchangeable, and his mind is purified without the dust of desire.

The third jhana is like a mountain that’s solid without cracks and it’s limitless in size. When an east wind blows on it, it isn’t moved by it. It’s the same with south, west, and north winds. That’s because it’s root is solid and imperturbable. It has a water spring that’s clear and delicious, without any pollutants. it supports the mountain by filling it up and flows all around it. The water purifies it.

The monk is likewise. In this body of contemplation, there’s no delight or comfort to depend on. His (mental) activity is perfected, observing there’s no body, and then his view is universal.

The fourth jhana is like a person who puts on new clothes on the seventh or eighth day of the month. Their face is shining, and they observe their non-naked body because they wanted to cover it with a fine garment.

The monk is likewise. His physical actions are pure, and his mind is without defilement. With joy, he’s liberated, without any domain for this (mental) activity. He doesn’t see there’s a body, and everywhere observes no abodes (sense fields?). His mind’s function is purified without any of the many pollutants.

Then it goes on (T22.275a9-17):

It’s like a great meeting hall that’s not far from a regional capital. Someone goes up into it and lights a (beacon) fire. It’s light shines, neither high nor low. The wind doesn’t put it out. It’s not obscured by birds (flying) or any other type of creature. It remains steadfast and undisturbed.

The monk is likewise. His mind is unconfused, steadfast, and undisturbed. He has attained the purity of emptiness. The monk has this understanding, has attained this attainment, and his body is tranquil. This body of four elements was born from parents. The consciousness that depends on it discards this body and doesn’t enjoy it. The constantly renewed body and mind is tiresome, so he doesn’t accept it anymore. He makes the mind formless and eliminates all bodies of form and types of existence, but he doesn’t lose the root that establishes the body and mind (i.e., doesn’t die?).

It goes on. Admittedly, the explanations are a little difficult to translate because they use terms that often mean the sense faculties and fields, and the passages about “seeing no body” is unclear. (There are lots of bodies in Buddhism.)

I ought to translate the entire sutra sometime soon. It’s pretty fascinating as an alternate version of DN 2. I really have to wonder if this isn’t the Sarvâstivāda version, but I won’t be able to know until someone publishes something of what’s in the Skt. fragments scholars are working on.

There just isn’t anything else I can find in parallels. I’ve hunted, believe me, because it’s pretty interesting to try to track these things down and see the variations that existed. Another is an EA sutra that calls the four jhanas “bathing pools” (of the mind, not the body). There may be others I haven’t discovered yet - the EBTs and Abhidharma texts in Chinese are voluminous to say the least.

At the end of the day, I think someone caught the literalist bug and wrote these passages we see in a handful of Pali suttas. The sensible reading of kaya in the third jhana to me, given all of this comparative reading, is that “with this body” means “in this life with this incarnation made of five aggregates.” It would jibe with the EBT view of the mortal existence in general.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

DA 20 jhana similes, bodily pleasure, or "personal experience of pleasure"?

Before we dive into DA 20, here is a fictional story to illustrate the importance of distinguishing carefully between the terms  mind, body, and metaphorical use of 'personal' which vaguely encompasses both body and mind.

Charles and Frank were eyewitnesses of an altercation between Alexander and Peggy Sue.

They went to the police to give their report:

Charles went first:

"Alexander made a personal attack against Peggy Sue that was a slap in the face and  left scars. Peggy Sue felt that pain deeply and personally."

The Police are thinking, "ok, sounds like we need to get a restraining order on Alexander, press charges against him for assault and battery."

Then Frank gave his eyewitness account:

"Alexander and Peggy Sue got in a really heated debate over a controversial religious topic. Peggy Sue was a slick talker, and her case sounded compelling, at first. But then Alexander just unleashed a tsunami of incontrovertible evidence from the thousands of suttas that left Peggy Sue speechless and defenseless. Alexander waited for Sue to issue an apology or mount a defense, but when none was forthcoming, Alex started to question Sue's ethical standards in an increasingly unfriendly tone. At this point Sue's face turned red and she started crying. You would have thought Alex literally slapped her in the face. But it was just Sue's own conscience that triggered deep mental pain which in turn directly caused physical pain manifested in crying and a literal red face."

After cross examining Charles and Frank some more, 

the Police said, "sorry Charlie, Alex may have been impolite, but we can't press any charges. Maybe Sue should consult with a more senior clergyman *f1  and ask them to resolve the dispute. And Charlie, personally I think you should be more clear in making a distinction between mental and physical attacks."

*f1: Ajahn Chah doesn't agree with Ajahn Brahm's redefinition of jhana (Ajahn Chah is Ajahn Brahm's teacher, B. Sujato follows a model of redefined jhana similar to Ajahn Brahm)


English is from google translating chinese source. We'll see how well google does distinguishing mind and body in the jhanas, then compare with Charles Patton translation.


Charles Patton translation of same passage from chinese to english

Meditative Attainments


 “They diligently detach themselves from desires and bad and unskillful things.

 Accompanied with perception and contemplation, their seclusion gives rise to joy and happiness, and they enter the first dhyāna.

 They soak themselves in joy and happiness so that it’s everywhere and overflowing.

 No part of them isn’t filled with it.


 “It’s like someone skilled in filling bath containers with a variety of herbs.

 They soak it in water, and it becomes wet both inside and out.

 No part of it isn’t filled with water.

 A monk thus enters the first dhyāna.

 He’s thoroughly joyous and happy.

 No part of him  isn’t filled with it.


 “Thus, student, this is the start of the direct attainment of personal happiness.

 Why is that?

 These things come from diligence, mindfulness, and being undisturbed, which are gained from happily living in a quiet place.


 “They then give rise to faith, focused attention, and unified mind by detaching from perception and contemplation.

 Without perception or contemplation, their concentration gives rise to joy and happiness, and they enter the second dhyāna.

 They soak themselves in unified mind, joy, and happiness so that it’s everywhere and overflowing.

 No part of them isn’t filled with it.


 “It’s like cool water that wells up from a spring on a mountain top.

 It doesn’t come from an outside source.

 Instead, clear water comes out of this pool, which returns, sinks, and becomes soaked.

 No part of it isn’t pervaded with the water.

 Student, a monk thus enters the second dhyāna, and concentration gives rise to joy and happiness.

 No part of him isn’t filled with it.

 This is the second direct attainment of personal happiness.


 “They detach from that joy and its abode.

 Being equanimous, mindful, and undisturbed, they personally experience the happiness that’s taught by noble people.

 Giving rise to equanimity, mindfulness, and happiness, they enter the third dhyāna.

 They aren’t joyous, but they’re soaked with happiness so that it’s everywhere and overflowing.

 No part of him isn’t filled with it.


 “It’s like blue lotus, red lotus, white lily, and white lotus flowers.

 When they first emerge from the mud but haven’t emerged from the water yet, their roots, stems, branches, and leaves are soaked by the water.

 No part of them isn’t covered by it.


 “Student, a monk thus enters the third dhyāna.

 Free of joy and abiding in happiness, they soak themselves with it.

 No part of them isn’t covered by it.

 This is the third direct attainment of personal happiness.


 “They detach from joy and happiness, and their previous sorrow and delight cease.

 Without pain or pleasure, their equanimity and mindfulness are purified, and they enter the fourth dhyāna.

 In body and mind, their purity is full and overflowing.

 No part of them isn’t covered by it.


 “It’s like when a person bathes and washes themselves.

 They then put on fresh, white cloth to cover their body and make themselves pure.

 101 “Student, a monk thus enters the fourth dhyāna.

 His mental purity fills up his body.

 No part of him isn’t covered by it.

 Again, his mind has no increase or decrease when he enters the fourth dhyāna, and it’s motionless.

 He stands unmoved, without like or dislike.


 “It’s like a secret room that’s plastered inside and out, and the door is tightly shut.

 There isn’t any wind or dust, so a lamp burning inside isn’t disturbed by anything.

 The flame of this lamp is peaceful and unmoving.


 “Student, a monk thus enters the fourth dhyāna.

 Their mind has no increase or decrease, and it’s motionless.

 They stand unmoved, without like or dislike.

 This is the fourth direct attainment of personal happiness.

 Why is that?

 These things come from diligence, not being negligent, mindfulness, and being undisturbed, which are gained from happily living in a quiet place.

The Five Excellent Attainments


 “They attain a concentrated mind that’s pure, undefiled, gentle, and disciplined.

 They stand unmoved, conjuring themselves or someone else in their mind with all its limbs and organs without flaw.

 They then contemplate this, ‘This body’s form made of the four elements has created that body.

 This body is one thing, and that body is another.

 The thought arose from this body to create that body with all its limbs and organs without flaw.


 “It’s like someone who draws a sword from its scabbard and thinks, ‘The scabbard is one thing, and the sword is another, but the sword came from the scabbard.


 “It’s also like someone who spins hemp [threads] to make rope and thinks, ‘The hemp is one thing, and the rope is another, but the rope came from the hemp.


 “It’s also like someone who takes a snake out of a basket and thinks, ‘The basket is one thing, and the snake is another, but the snake came from the basket.


 “It’s also like someone who takes a robe out of a hamper and thinks, ‘The hamper is one thing, and the robe is another, but the robe came from the hamper.


 “Student, a monk is likewise.

 This is the first excellent attainment.

 Why is that?

 These things come from diligence, mindfulness, and being undisturbed, which are gained from happily living in a quiet place.


 “After their mind is concentrated, pure, undefiled, gentle, and disciplined, they stand unmoved.

 They create their own or someone else’s body that’s made of the four elements in their mind, which has all its limbs and organs [without flaw].

 They then contemplate this: ‘This body is made of the four elements, and that body has come from conjuration.

 This body is one thing, and that body is another.

 That created body has this mind residing in this body as its supporting basis.


 “It’s like beryl or maṇi gems that are polished, very bright, pure, and undefiled.

 Whether they are blue, yellow, or red, someone with eyes holding them in their hand can see that when they’re threaded together the gems are one thing, and the thread is another.

 Still, the thread supports the gems and goes from gem to gem.


 “Student, a monk contemplates mind as the supporting basis of this body.

 It goes to that created body in the same way.

 This is the monk’s second excellent attainment.

 Why is that?

 These things come from diligence, mindfulness, and being undisturbed, which are gained from happily living in a quiet place.

Analysis and Conclusion 


Forum discussion

Re: MA 176 translator Charles Patton translates 3rd jhana body like Sujato, "he personally experiences happiness"

Post by frank k » 

Coëmgenu wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 3:49 amIt looks like a very close parallel with the type of dhyāna pericope found in the Arthaviniścayasūtra, which likely (i.e. definitely) has further parallels in the Pāli Canon, given that it is such a plain dhyāna pericope. Given that the Chinese matches so closely the Prākrit, C. Patton's argument would be based on the Indic usage of kāyena, and not the Chinese usage of 身, possibly. So basically, if my thinking is correct, the justification for reading "personally" would be based on the fact that the term translates "kāyena."...
I thought CPatton was translating based on chinese 身, and not on sanskrit kaya. He is even still debating whether to translate every jhana passage differently according to how those chinese translators did.

But let's say he was translating (from chinese) attempting to match indic "kāyena.", which is what I would do.
Pali third jhana and Arthaviniścayasūtra has, "sukham ca kayena patisamvedeti".
Pali and sanskrit grammar there by default is qualifying sukha as bodily.
That's why pretty much everyone in history that I'm aware of translate third jhana (pali and chinese agama) the same way as bodily pleasure, aside from Sujato and CPatton.

As far as I can tell, chinese Agama 3rd jhana with simile, such as DA 20, ... re-or.html

is going to have the same problem as DN 2 if you try to make kaya "personal" (rather than physical) ... -rupa.html

DN 2 shares the same interesting feature of DA 20 where instead of the usual 6 higher knowledges, it adds 2 more special knowledges that don't appear in any other pali suttas (outside of DN). Why? Because those passages follow right after imperturbable 4th jhana (which follows 3rd jhana), so the early sutta reciters/preservers were deliberately glossing the terms 'rupa' and 'kaya' to unequivocally designate them as 4 element anatomical body and differentiate from mind. (to show consistent usage all the way through from 3rd to 4th jhana to the 2 special knowledges)

And as Asahi pointed on in his posts on the thread, CPatton's translation is inconsistent with kaya身 in the jhana similes, suddenly switching from physical to metaphorical "personal". I pointed out the same glaring inconsistency with Sujato and DN 2 in detailed audits.

Note to @waryoffolly, even in those agama passages where the jhana similes are not explicitly called jhanas, it's going to have the same jarring inconsistency as DN 2 and DA 20 were "kaya" in 3rd jhana "kaya sukha" suddenly goes from being "personal" to a physical kaya身 in the similes.

Also notice CPatton in DA 20 ... re-or.html
in first 3 jhanas, it looks like he turns kaya身 into "personal" even for the first 3 similes,
but then in 4th jhana he suddenly jumps back into physical body.
Again, I don't know chinese, but it sure looks like DA 20 is doing exactly the same thing as DN 2 in using kaya to specifically contrast physical from mental, and chaos ensues when you start arbitrarily jumping back and forth between physical and "personal".

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Amazing obvious practice tip I've been wanting to share for years: Finish diminish, and finish the mission


I haven't shared it yet, because I couldn't figure out how to explain it in a way that people could fully grasp and feel genuinely motivated to really go for it, everyday with relish.  

Any kind of obvious good advice that's (relatively) easy to do, people will nod their heads, agree that it's a great idea, maybe try it for a few days, and then forget about it because they didn't see quick results.

I still can't figure out how to appeal to your good senses, but I'm just going to spill the beans and hope you get it. At the rate I'm going, I'll be dead before I ever write about it in detail with super clear examples. So better now that I share the great idea even if it doesn't completely convince you. Ask questions if I'm not being clear.

The full explanation (which is still my notes in raw form) is here

4👑☸ → ☯🦍 → 🦍❤️  <--- click that hyperlink to Gorilla Heart Sutra

This mantra is an acronym that contains essential jhana and taiji practice tips to be performed every moment, every day, whenever applicable.  

always WASTE FREE F3.A.R.M.I.N3.G. 

The two amazing related tips I'm about to share, fall under F1 and F2 of the "Farming" acronym.

cease doing exercises at a time you get diminishing returns.

it’s good to try out bite size samples of various exercises like a buffet, to see how they feel and whether you need them. (see ‘m’ measure for pleasure and ‘a’ assess to progress)

Not to get the wrong idea from (f1), if you haven’t reached a point of diminishing returns, you should exploit every exercise and squeeze as much benefit you can out of it. For example, I fixed my neck problems by doing turtle neck exercises every hour every day, or about a year, then as neck healed I did less of that exercise, and now I only do a few minutes per day of turtle neck.

it’s good to try out bite size samples of various exercises like a buffet, to see how they feel and whether you need them. (see ‘m’ measure for pleasure and ‘a’ assess to progress)

Best way to show benefit is with some examples

1. Instead of "buddho, buddho" as a mantra or "amitabha, amitabha", try this as a mantra.

SN 22.29 Abhinandana. This is one of the best suttas of all time, so short, so easy to remember, really captures the essence of EBT. So pragmatic, so simple, and has unlimited replay value. The very first sutta I memorized, the fire sutta, I discovered some amazing properties of the oral tradition, of memorizing and frequently recollecting and reflecting on important Dharmas. In process of committing to memory, I necessarily had to chant out loud for hours on end. The amazing thing I discovered, is that suttas like fire sutta, and SN 22.29, has unlimited replay value, you always need reminding of the meaning, every second (unless you're ariya), and you could chant it forever without getting sick of it or doubting if your practice time was being used effectively.

"finish diminish": cease competing activities like singing songs to yourself, endlesssly obsessing on social media, where you get diminishing returns and limited short term pleasure of fools gold.

Instead, "finish the mission of exploitation", clean your mind and fully exploit the power of suttas and frequently reciting and reflecting on the meaning of SN 22.29, fire sutta, anatta lakkhana, etc.

Try it out .SN 22.29 .  This is one of easiest suttas to memorize, and you give yourself constant timely reminders on how to abandon suffering and walk towards true happiness. 

2. I thought lower back pain was an inevitable and permanent problem every adult has to face.

I sound like an infomercial don't I? I'm not trying to sell you anything, just sharing important obvious ideas that people don't take advantage of. 

This year I started experimenting with immortal fang exercise (I describe a little bit in my qigong gorilla blog). The last exercise in there, is much like an exercise that I do on the pull up bar, and many parks in the USA even have pull up bars with rings on chains set up for this exercise. Doing circles that flex your spine and really give it a range of motion you don't get anywhere else. 

So wondering if I can fix my spine and end all back pain, I "finished  diminishi"ng return exercises that were redundant or superfluous from my qigong, and made time to do a massive amount ("finish the mission of exploitation")  of spine loosening exercises. The results have been encouraging, it does seem possible I can completely fix the spinr and end all pain (within reasonable constraints of anicca and dukkha). It feels like I'm getting a soft rubbery gooey magnetic coating between every vertebrae, and the more my qi smoothes out, it gets difficult to crack my knuckles and crack my back (those satisfying loud sounds from chiropractic adjustments). My spine and waist movement feels like a bag of water now, frictionless, whereas years ago it felt like a sack of grain require force to turn.

Must like how I fixed my neck in my early 30's by doing turtle neck exercises every hour of the day for a few minutes, I'm doing the same thing now with a pull up bar, and some other core exercises, a few minutes every hour.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

simile of the face mask, the difference between the Buddha, Abhidhamma, and Sujato

Following up on this article,

DN 2 Third jhāna formula translation, "You get to personally experience B. Sujato's sophistry"


There's another important point to make, about the loss of important information when you use Sujato's type of sophistry.

 I'll illustrate the point with a simile, based on a true recent event.

I was shopping for 100% cotton black face masks, an item that's useful in these pandemic times.

One of the ones I bought, came with the instructions, "dry clean only." (see appendix on toxicity of dry cleaning chemicals).

So I've had plenty of experience with cotton material in my lifetime, and I know that you really only want dry cleaning if you're worried about cosmetic appearance, not getting wrinkles, white lint on your shiny and smooth black fabric, etc.

But since it is a facemask I'm going to be breathing through, there is no way in hell I'm going to send it to the dry cleaners, and breathe all the toxic chemicals they would put in there.

So like a sensible person, I ignored the idiotic cleaning instructions, and I washed my 100% cotton face masks like a sane person would do, machine wash cold water, air dry on clothesline instead of drying machine.   

Then this simile occurred to me, illustrating the difference between the Buddha,  Abhidhamma, and Sujato

If the Buddha were the tailor of the cotton mask, the cleaning label would say,

"wash in cold water, air dry."

A few hundred years later, Abhidhamma comes along to explain the Buddha's instruction, saying it  requires the wisdom of Abhidhamma to explain that concise words of the Buddha in detail:

"When the Buddha says wash in cold water and air dry", what he actually means is:

don't wash in cold water!

When Buddha says "dry", he means "use Abhidhamma dry cleaning service (we promise our chemical is non toxic, you can trust us)".

When Buddha says "air", he means  you must "air out the garment  after you've used the Abhidhamma professional dry cleaning service."

When Buddha says "wash in cold water",  Under no circumstance should you wash it in cold water yourself, since the Buddha's wisdom is so profound and deep you must rely on the professional Abhidhamma dry cleaning service to properly explain the Buddha's meaning. 

Then Sujato comes along 2500 years after the Buddha, and he explains, 

"When the Buddha says wash in cold water and air dry, you can't take it literally, since we know that a king's formal attire is not washed in cold water, and since a face mask is sometimes part of the king's formal attire, therefore you also can not wash the face mask with cold water."

Then Sujato says, since it's metaphorical, therefore the Buddha's instruction actually means,

"Don't personally wash the face mask yourself."


You see the problem with Sujato's sophistry?

Essentially it eliminates important details about cleaning (simile for meditation) and is a completely useless instruction that tells you nothing.

It becomes a superfluous statement that's a complete waste of time and space.

In an oral tradition like the Buddha's, short formulas like the jhanas are important - every word usually has meaning. There is no time and space for superfluous statements that don't add information.



Search for: Is dry cleaning toxic to humans?

excerpts from info extracted and (USA gov. agencies) on a google search:

Is dry cleaning chemicals safe?

Do the chemicals threaten the health of people who work at the dry cleaners? Absolutely. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says, “As a volatile organic solvent, perc may pose serious health hazards if exposure is not properly controlled.Apr 23, 2018

Is working in a dry cleaners dangerous?

Perchloroethylene (PERC), a potential human carcinogen, is the most commonly used dry cleaning solvent. Symptoms associated with exposure include: depression of the central nervous system; damage to the liver and kidneys; impaired memory; confusion; dizziness; headache; drowsiness; and eye, nose, and throat irritation.

Are dry cleaning chemicals carcinogenic?

The NIOSH study was done to confirm earlier reports that showed an increased risk of bladder cancer among workers in dry-cleaning. We also know that animals exposed to relatively high levels of perc fumes develop other types of cancer.

Forum discussion

Re: simile of the face mask, the difference between the Buddha, Abhidhamma, and Sujato

Post by frank k » 

Just a reminder for people, Dhamma wheel forum doesn't notify OP when replies are made, unless you quote reply from their post and it tags their name.

My reponse to bb below:
BrokenBones wrote: Fri Sep 24, 2021 4:18 amFrank, I agree with you 100%... but...

there's probably no need to be so judgmental of Bhante Sujato. I think you can make the argument quite easily of Bhante Sujato's obviously mistaken interpretation without recourse to denigration... his view seems to be a view backed up by his own personal experience (wrong experience/interpretation), it doesn't quite equate to sophistry... just mistaken.

Hard jhana's seem to be a real thing and I can see how some could take them as Samma Samadhi... even though they're not.

Once the mistake has been made and invested in, it's only human nature to cut bits off the jigsaw puzzle to make them fit. Obviously this isn't ideal and needs to be highlighted, which you do.

As far as I am aware, Bhante Sujato upholds the Vinaya.

den·i·gra·tion: the action of unfairly criticizing someone or something.
soph·ist·ry: the use of fallacious arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving.

I did not denigrate Sujato. I described what he did accurately, backed it up with evidence. If the truth of that is harsh, well it's because truth can be harsh. But harsh truth does not make a messenger guilty of denigration.
I suppose you could say labeling him a 'sophist' is unfair because I can't easily prove an intent for fraudulent deceit (according to definition of sophistry I quoted above).
I didn't mean sophistry in that sense, I meant it in just the main sense of making fallacious arguments.
What would be a more fair word to use to describe it? Eel wriggling? Weaseling?

As far as I can tell, Sujato follows Vinaya to the letter from his public activity. He's a terrific human being, a well liked monk. But with his translation of jhana related passages, he is not acting in good faith, is not acting with an internal spirit of vinaya in terms of honesty and integrity.
Many people privately and publicly have complained to him about his translation of jhana related passages.
A person of integrity would at least make a token attempt to justify his interpretation and address the complaints.
For example, his sophist approach to translating vitakka and vicara, he bases it on only two suttas, MN 19 and AN 3.100.
When it's pointed out that MN 20, MN 78, MN 111, MN 125, AN 3.60, and many other suttas thoroughly disprove his sophistic arguments, he completely ignores all the evidence.
At least Bhikkhu Analayo tried to address MN 111 (and in the process indict himself with his fallacious circular arguments).
The fact that Sujato deliberately ignores the mountain of indisputable evidence against his erroneous interpretation, that's a strong signal of someone who knows they're wrong, though we can't legally prove it.
I can't prove he's dishonest and has a lack of integrity, but I can point out he's behaving exactly like someone who is.

DN 2 Third jhāna formula translation, "You get to personally experience B. Sujato's sophistry"

Sujato's 3rd jhana sophistry

DN 2: Sāmaññaphalasutta—Bhikkhu Sujato ( Third Absorption4.3.2.7. Tatiyajhāna

Furthermore, with the fading away of rapture, a mendicant enters and remains in the third absorption, where they meditate with equanimity, mindful and aware, personally experiencing the bliss of which the noble ones declare, ‘Equanimous and mindful, one meditates in bliss.’Puna caparaṁ, mahārāja, bhikkhu pītiyā ca virāgā upekkhako ca viharati sato sampajāno, sukhañca kāyena paṭisaṁvedeti, yaṁ taṁ ariyā ācikkhanti: ‘upekkhako satimā sukhavihārī’ti, tatiyaṁ jhānaṁ upasampajja viharati.They drench, steep, fill, and spread their body with bliss free of rapture. There’s no part of the body that’s not spread with bliss free of rapture.So imameva kāyaṁ nippītikena sukhena abhisandeti parisandeti paripūreti parippharati, nāssa kiñci sabbāvato kāyassa nippītikena sukhena apphuṭaṁ hoti.

Frankk comment

In other articles I've already shown the fallacy of Sujato's justification for turning the Buddha's explicit qualification in standard third jhana formula, that sukha (bliss) is experienced with the body (as opposed to the mind). In short it's fallacious because  4 jhanas does not equate with the 8 vimokkhas, in fact the vimokkha formula doesn't even explicitly mention any of the 4 jhanas. Even if it did, you can not claim 3rd jhana is a formless attainment just because 7 of the 8 vimokkhas are formless. And he would have to show that 4 jhanas fits in one of the 7 formless slots, and not the first vimokkha where one is percipient of the body.

In the above DN 2 excerpt, one has to wonder, if he thinks 3rd jhana kaya/body experiencing sukha is metaphorical, only "personally experienced" rather than literally felt with the body, then why in the very next paragraph, the start of the 3rd jhana simile, does he not translate and apply the same sophist technique there, a few words away? Why is sukha and kaya in 3rd jhana metaphorical, and then suddenly become literal a few words later in the simile?  

It would be like saying in 4th jhana he personally does not experience suffering or happiness

Do you see the problem if that were how he translated 4th jhana? You lose critical information. Is that suffering of the body or the mind? Is it joy of the body or joy of the mind? 

So why, if 4th jhana is carefully distinguishing between mental and physical factors,  would the Buddha in 3rd jhana suddenly decide to become whimsical and use the same type of terminology that distinguishes between mental and physical factors but actually have it mean the opposite,  metaphorically, "as he personally experiences happiness"?  Wouldn't that be insane to use wording that would easily misconstrued? And we'd have to wait 2500 years for the great prophet Sujato to explain the Buddha's sleight of hand and tricky meaning? 

Either the Buddha is incompetent or Sujato is a sophist. You decide which is more likely.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

AN 7.83, the only definition of 'Dhamma' that really matters, and examples of why 'dhamma' can't be "mental quality" in many places like 'right effort'


Re: Definition/meaning of Dhamma

Post by frank k » 

Assaji wrote: Mon Sep 20, 2021 1:47 am...
You have to take in account the context. For example, "kusalā dhammā" is rather "skillful modes of conduct", as in the Apaṇṇaka Sutta (MN 60; M I 402,17):
'dhamma' needs to remain untranslated.
I dive into the reasons why here:

I can cite many examples where "kusalā dhammā" as "skillful modes of conduct"
would not work.

The primary meaning of Dhamma, is the teachings of the Buddha that lead directly to nirvana. So it's not just skillful qualities we're after, that's a huge class of actions, it's only those that lead to nirvana.

For example, take right effort and viriya indriya.
For example, being a skilled chef is a skillful quality, being a skilled judge is a skillful quality. But those are not the unarises skillful Dharmas that the Buddha wants us to undertake constantly.

Even skillful ethical qualities like being a kind and generous person, on its own (without Buddha DHARMA that leads to nirvana), will only lead to impermanent residence in the deva realms.

The only 'Dharma' definition that the Buddha is talking about, in formulas such as right effort, is this one:

AN 7.83 (it's almost the last sutta in AN 7, before the repetition series starts)
That's mostly sujato translation there, so you can see the problem I point out, where he translated 'dhamma' as 'thing', where "DHARMA" is the kusala Dharma that right effort, right sati/remembering needs to constantly align with and perform.

‘ime dhammā ekantanibbidāya virāgāya nirodhāya upasamāya abhiññāya sambodhāya nibbānāya saṃvattantī’ti;
certain things do lead solely to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, awakening, and nirvana.