Tuesday, May 31, 2022

🔗📝 collection of notes on coherence and internal consistency

coherence and internal consistency in interpreting religious text, Early Buddhist Meditation The Four Jhānas as the Actualization of Insight by Keren Arbel


Sometimes the best way to understand something, is to invert the problem, and understand its opposite.

Detailed example showing how Sujato, Visuddhimagga,  Ajahn Brahm's ambiguation of kāya violates the standards of internal consistency.

KN Snp 5, the Buddha knew about the ambiguities of the word 'body' (kāya) and he spoke accordingly

Collection of articles on coherence and incoherence

On the forum section, there's a rebuttal on validity of interpretations of Brahm

Sujato's 3rd jhāna formula kāya/body is incoherent and inconsistent in light of Buddha's very specific and qualified use of kāya (nāma vs. rūpa, ajjhatta and bahiddha)

Monday, May 30, 2022

coherence and internal consistency in interpreting religious text, Early Buddhist Meditation The Four Jhānas as the Actualization of Insight by Keren Arbel

I came from a math and science background, so these principles seemed very obvious to me.

Most of my life I've applied these principles automatically, in any kind of critical thinking regarding any subject. 

But seeing all the confusion and controversy on jhānas in Theravāda made me realize this is not common sense, not obvious to most people, and it probably doesn't get formally taught in our education system. 

It should. I don't see how critical thinking can even work if people don't do this reflexively.

This is a very short excerpt from Keren's book on Jhāna.

She started her Phd thesis (this book) originally believing the LBT (late buddhist teaching)  traditional orthodox Theravada ideas on Jhāna, such as what's taught in Visuddhimagga. 

But as her study of the EBT (early buddhist teaching) texts progressed, and applying the principles of looking for coherence and internal consistency as a requirement, she came to a much different understanding than LBT on how jhānas work. 



Early Buddhist Meditation
The Four Jhānas as the Actualization of Insight
by Keren Arbel

The history and philosophy of a distant past and ancient texts is a narrative in which the scholar moulds meaning into the different elements he or she finds. Many times, it discloses more about the scholar’s perspective, views and intellectual and emotional tendencies than about ‘real’ past events and ideas. This is an ‘obstacle’ that we cannot totally escape. The past will always be tinged by our current perceptions and our historical and cultural situated-ness. Only an acute awareness of the differences between the way people thought in the past and the way we think and perceive reality in the present can partially bypass the tendency to project current conceptual ways of thinking onto the subject matter. Acute sensitivity to the original setting, the author(s) and the audience of the studied texts is necessary in the endeavour for a meaningful interpretation. However, it cannot be perfected due to the obvious reason that we cannot be completely detached from our own personal biases and historical conditions. That is, there is no neutral vantage point from which we can reveal the ‘real’ meaning of a text; there is no way to arrive at an objective reading of a text or at the ‘original meaning’.

Thus, I find Gadamer’s hermeneutic methodology a valuable perspective for the present study. Gadamer suggests approaching a text with the presumption that the text forms a unity, an internally consistent whole, and this regulative ideal of unity can assist in assessing the adequacy of one’s interpretation of its various parts. This method starts with a specific presumption and is approached with the criterion of unity, but can be revised after rereading:

The text must be approached as an internally consistent whole because it is this assumption of self-consistency that provides a standard for keeping or discarding individual interpretations of the text’s parts. 

Conversely, if one denies that a given text is internally coherent from the start, one has no way of knowing whether its inconsistency is the fault of the text or one’s understanding of it.

In this study I have approached the Pāli Nikāyas from this hermeneutic perspective. Gadamer has also maintained that the presumption of unity is not sufficient to resolve the problem of misunderstanding; in other words, one can still distort the meaning of a text. I hope this study will be sensitive enough not to fall into this pitfall. I am taking Gadamer’s suggestion to be open to the otherness and distinctiveness of the text and to the challenges the text presents to one’s own views. For Gadamer, an illuminating interpretation depends on openness to the possible truth of the study object. This assumes that the text says something new that is truer and more complete than what I previously believed about it and the subject matter. Bearing this in mind is a way to avoid confirming the original views and assumptions of the interpreter.

When I started to write on the topic of Buddhist meditation theory in my master’s dissertation, I approached this object of study from the assumption that the Pāli Nikāyas present two different types of meditative procedures: samatha and vipassanā. I had also accepted the traditional view that the four jhānas and the four formless attainments are similar in nature and belong to the same meditation process. This conjecture was based on many publications on this issue both from the Buddhist tradition and from Western scholars. In my master’s dissertation I accepted this common premise but suggested that these two meditative procedures should be understood as interrelated systems of meditations. However, as I progressed in the present study, I have challenged my own original interpretation. Putting aside categories of thinking and interpretations that were embedded in the way I read these texts before has opened the way for a fresher and illuminating reading. It exposed a different interpretation and meaning that found internal coherence where I did not see it before, clarity that I could not have imagined. Thus, because my starting point is quite different than my ending point, I feel confident that I did not simply project what I was looking for onto these texts.

While I think it is not possible to claim without any reservations that the whole Pāli Nikāyas proffer an entirely a consistent picture, I suggest that when one reads the early texts closely, one can observe an unanticipated overall consistency with regard to the role of the jhānas in the path to liberation.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

MN 56 Bob punches Carl in the face - A Primer on why 3 types of actions are distinct (you can't redefine kāya as 'mind'!)

Alternate title: Bob punches Carl in the face - A Primer on why 3 types of actions are distinct

MN 56 Kāya needs to be one's physical body, in order for 3 types of actions (bodily, verbal, mental) to be distinct.

 If  Ajahn Brahm, LBT Theravada, Sujato, etc., had their way, then the 3 types of actions (bodily, verbal, mental), would not be distinct actions clearly distinguished from each other.

    MN 561 - (Jain leader explains 3 types of action: bodily, verbal, mental)

        MN 561.1 – (3 types of action distinct from each other)
        MN 561.2 - (Jain leader says bodily action is most potent of 3, Buddha is incredulous)
        MN 562.2 - (Buddha says mental action is most potent of 3)

In other words, if Sujato, Ajahn Brahm, Vism.  exercise their license to turn 'kāya' into a 'mental body' (instead of a physical one) whenever it's convenient for them, then these 3 types of actions, which are used frequently in the suttas, would be violated and void, uncertain in meaning, no longer distinct from each other.

A similar type of sophistry they sometimes employ, is they say, 'kāya' can mean EITHER or BOTH mental + physical body.

But you see in these 3 types of actions, they need to be distinct, mutually exclusive types of actions. You can't smuggle in slippery definitions where they aren't distinct from each other, because then the type of karmic consequence is unclear.

A Primer on why 3 types of actions are distinct

1. bodily action -  Bob punches Carl in the face. 

Carl is in PHYSICAL pain and he bleeds. 

This produces a certain type of karmic consequence, which is different from 2. and 3.

2. verbal action - Bob vocalizes speech (vācā), calling Carl, "you ugly stupid man you don't deserve to live."  

Carl decodes the sound he hears into speech-fabrications (vacī-sankhāra), also known as linguistic, verbal thoughts (vitakka & vicāra) that one thinks before they are vocalized. 

Carl uses his own thoughts (more vitakka & vicāra) to ponder what Bob said, and decides his feelings are deeply hurt.

Carl's decoding of Bob's vocalized speech into vitakka leads him to MENTAL pain.

Carl's mental pain then causes PHYSICAL pain in his crying and body shaking and feeling woozy.

This produces a certain type of karmic consequence, which is different from 1. and 3.

3. mental action - Bob thinks to himself, "Carl, you ugly stupid man you don't deserve to live." But Bob doesn't vocalize it, doesn't say it out loud, doesn't move a muscle or intentionally betray his emotions. Perhaps Bob's body and facial expression unintentionally betrays ill will, perhaps not. Perhaps Bob purifies his mind and decides to eliminate any underlying ill will towards anyone. Or Perhaps Bob lets the ill will fester and accumulate, and the next time Carl angers him, the built up ill will propels Bob into some harmful bodily and verbal action. 

A mental action probably won't produce a visible tangible consequence  immediately.

Bob won't suddenly inflict physical and/or mental pain upon Carl with a split second of mental action. 

But Bob's mental action, leading to a series of other mental actions,  plants seeds for the future that will ripen in karmic consequences. 

This produces a certain type of karmic consequence, which is different from 1. and 2.


1.  Nobody has a (valid) license to redefine the Buddha's definition of kāya from a physical body into a "mental body devoid of any physical property", because this would break the many sutta passages that rely on these three types of action being  distinct from each other.

2. If someone claims they have some special knowledge of knowing when the Buddha is being tricky with slippery and ambiguous use of how 'kāya' is sometimes a 'physical body', sometimes a 'mental body of mental factors devoid of physical factors', they are lying, or incompetent, or fraudulent. You are being groomed. Don't trust that person.

KN Pe section describing defects of four jhānas and formless attainments, show that kāya = physical body and rūpa = physical body

In the first jhāna section, it's contrasting body (kāya) against citta, and also the suttas (MN 19) also uses almost similar type of statement to contrast body getting tired when mind is over excited.

If 'kāya' was  "body of mental only factors", then there would be no contrast with 'citta' (mind). 

So Abhdhamma (they redefine kāya as 'body of mind' in Vb 12 third jhāna gloss), Ajahn Brahm, Sujato, are at odds with their Elders who composed KN Pe. 

For the fourth jhāna defects, it mentions coarse and subtle perceptions of rūpa (material form! not "visions" or "sights").

This tracks with the meditator experience of the body fading away through the four jhānas, but not disappearing (5 senses not getting completely shut off), also with the idea of a subtle body, experienced as a gooey magnetic force that pervades the body and often have currents of energy that don't match ateries, veins, etc.  In other words, when the Tv Subcommentary talks about a subtle non physical body, they're talking about this, and you can experience this in your waking ordinary consciousness, no need to enter a formless state to touch this, as any expert meditator or qigong practitioner knows.

KN Pe : petako padesa


Evaṃ bhāvayantassa ayaṃ ādīnavo.
608. (viii) For one who keeps [it] in being thus, the disappointment is as follows.1
Paṭhame jhāne saṅkhārasamannāgato eso dhammo assuto sāsavo.
(1) In the case of the first meditation: this idea possesses determinations, this idea is still unpurified (?), 2 and 2 has taints,
Sace esa dhammo ayaṃ sīlo āsannapaṭipakkho ca esa dhammo kāmo paticāro pativicāro samāpattīnaṃ ca sabboḷāriko esa dhammo vitakkavicāro ca.
this idea has this habit(?) and has a near-opposite, this idea has sensual desire to shadow [and] haunt [it],3 and it is the grossest of all the attainments. It has thinking and exploring
Tattha cittaṃ khobhenti, kāyo cettha kilamati, kāyamhi cettha kilante cittaṃ vihaññati.
[which still] disturb cognizance,4 and the body [still] gets tired there, and when the body gets tired cognizance is harrassed, 5
Anabhinīhārakkhamova abhiññānaṃ ime ādīnavā paṭhame jhāne.
and the body is unamenable to directive management for the [five worldly] kinds of supernormal acquaintance. These are the disappointments in the first meditation.
Dutiye jhāne ime ādīnavā pītipharaṇasahagato ca eso dhammo, na samudācārasseti cittaṃ.
609. (2) In the case of the second meditation the disappointments are these : this idea is accompanied by the extension 1 of happiness ; [while] cognizance is no longer accessible to disturbance 2 by thinking and exploring(?) 2
Asodhayaṃ upagamo cesa dhammo upagamiparissayo [upagamiparicayo (pī.)] domanassapaccatthiko cesa dhammo.
[yet] this idea [still] has a danger that has access 3 to it, [for] this idea has grief for its enemy;
Tattha tattha yuttīnaṃ pīti parajjato cesa dhammo dukkaraṃ hoti, avattasantāsabhūmiparivajjayanto catūsu dukkhatāsu esa dhammo anuviddhāpanasaddhāya [anuviddhā passatiyā (pī.)] dukkhatāya ca na palibodhadukkhatāya ca abhiññādukkhatāya ca rogadukkhatāya ca, ime ādīnavā dutiye jhāne.
[and] this idea is at the mercy 4 of the happiness [belonging] to the associated [ideas] there, [and accordingly] it has difficulty 5 in avoiding the plane of anxiety about the non-occurrence [of the ceased happiness(?)], and this idea, in regard to the four kinds of painfulness, is interpenetrated by [them,] namely by the painfulness in fear, 5 by the painfulness in impediment, 6 by the painfulness in acquaintance, 7 and by the painfulness in lust. These are the disappointments in the second meditation.
Tattha katame ādīnavā tatiye jhāne?
610. (3) Herein, what is the disappointment in the third meditation?
Upekkhāsukhasahagatāya tattha sātāvīnaṃ pañcannaṃ upekkhāsukhaṃ parivattito esa dhammo tena niccasaññitānañca yaṃ hoti.
Owing to its state of being accompanied by pleasure-due-to- onlooking-equanimity, 1 this idea is subordinate 1 to the onlooking- equanimity pleasure [belonging to] the perceptions (? ) 1 possessing the liking there(?
Dukkhopaniyaṃ sukhaṃ cittassa saṅkhobhataṃ upādāya sukhadukkhāya gato savati.
), hence the pleasure [there] is constantly perceived as accessible to pain, [and so] on account of the disturbance of cognizance it goes with 1 pleasure and pain,
Sukhadukkhānukatañca upādāya anabhihārakkhamaṃ cittaṃ hoti.
and on account of its [still] going with pleasure and pain, cognizance is [still] unamenable to directive management 1
Abhiññāya sacchikiriyāsu sabbepi cete dhammā tīsu jhānasamāpattīsu catūhi ca dukkhatāhi anuviddhānaṃ sā bhayā dukkhatāya palibodhadukkhatāya ca abhiññāya dukkhatāya ca ime ādīnavā tatiye jhāne.
for the verification of the five worldly supernormal acquaintances, and all these ideas, in regard to the [first] three meditation-attainments, are interpenetrated 1 by the four painfulnesses, namely by the painfulness in fear, 1 by the painfulness in impediment, by the painfi1lness in acquaintance, and by the painfulness in lust.1 These are the disappointments in the third meditation.
Tattha katame ādīnavā catutthe jhāne?
611. (4) What is the disappointment in the fourth meditation?
Ākiñcaññāsamāpattikā te dhammānusamāpattikā etissā ca bhūmiyaṃ sātānaṃ bālaputhujjanānaṃ anekavidhāni diṭṭhigatāni uppajjanti.
Up to the Non-Owning Attainment these ideas have further co-attainments,1 and on that plane various types of views arise in foolish ordinary men who like [them] (cf. A. i, 206).
Oḷārikā sukhumehi ca rūpasaññāhi anuvidhāni etāni jhānāni sadā anudayamettājhānakalānudanukalāya sādhāraṇā, dukkarā ca sabbe cattāro mahāsambhārā samudāgatāni ca etāni jhānāni aññamaññaṃ nissāya samudāgacchanti.
And the meditations are interpenetrated 2 by gross and subtle perceptions of form. Always a sentimental lovingkindness 4 [etc.] is shared (see § 602 (? )) with each fraction and sub-fraction of meditation, and all the four accessories (§ 604) are difficult. And these meditations come about [through something else] (§ 605), each coming about in dependence on another [below it],
Ettha samudāgatā ca ete dhammā na samattā honti.
and when come about here these ideas are [still] uncompleted,
Asamuggahitanimittā ca ete dhammā parihāyanti.
and with the sign not properly taken up 6 these ideas fall away.
Nirujjhanti ca ete dhammā na upādiyanti nirujjhaṅgāni ca, etesaṃ dhammānaṃ jhānāni nimittāni na jhānanimittasaññā vokirati.
And [since] these ideas are cessative (cf.§§ 589, 596), 6 they do not arouse [emergent qualities]. 7 The meditations belonging to these ideas have factors of [successive] cessation, and the signs 8 may not be conformable [with(?)] the meditation-sign perception,
Appaṭiladdhapubbā ca jhāyīvasena ca bhavati [jhāyī ca vasena ca bhavati (pī. ka.)].
and that [perception] comes about as something not previously obtained and [only] in virtue of the [right type of] meditator.9
Imehi ādīnavehi ayaṃ jhānaparihāni.
612. (ix) With these disappointments the falling away from the meditation is this.
77.Nirodhasamāpattiyā apaṭisaṅkhāya avasesasaññino ākiñcaññāyatanasahagatā saññāmanasikārā samudācaranti, so nirodhasamāpattito parihāyati.
In one who has some residual perception [while in the fourth Formless State], by his not deliberating upon the cessation- attainment 1 (see M. i, 296-7, 301-2; D. ii, 71), perception and attention 2 accompanying the Base Consisting of Non-owning [which is the third Formless State] take place in him, [and so] he falls away from the cessation-attainment (cf. Vis. 707-8).
Āneñjasaññino asaññāyatanaṃ samāpannassa ākiñcaññāyatanasahagatā manasikārā samudācaranti, tañca bhūmiṃ na pajānāti, so tato parihāyati.
In one who, being percipient of imperturbability 3 (see M. Sutta 106, etc.), has entered upon the Non-percipient Base (see D. ii, 69, 1. 21), [perception and] attention 2 accompanying the Base-Consisting-of-Non-Owning 3 take place' in him, and since he does not understand that plane he falls away from it.
Ākiñcaññāyatanaṃ samāpannassa viññāṇañcāyatanasaññā manasikārā samudācaranti, tañca bhūmiṃ na pajānāti, so tato parihāyati.
In one who has entered upon [the third Formless State, namely] the Base-Consisting-of-Non-Owning perception and attention 2 [accompanying] the Base-Consisting-of-Infiniteness-of-Consciousness take place in him, and since he does not understand that plane he falls away from it.
Viññāṇañcāyatanaṃ samāpannassa rūpasaññāsahagatā.
In one who has entered upon [the second Formless State, namely] the Base-Consisting-of-Infiniteness-of-Consciousness [perception and attention] accompanied by perception of form 4 ...
Vitthārena - pe - yāva paṭhame jhāne kāmasaññāsahagatā kātabbā.
in detail down to ... in the first meditation perception of sensual desire ... can be cited.

MN 106 Sujato 🧇can't decide what rūpa means in the formless (a-rūpa) attainments

 In MN 106, it's talking about how to attain the formless dimensions, where the mind becomes divorced from the 5 senses of the body. 

In his translation of the standard formula for dimension of infinite space, he translates 'rūpa' correctly as 'form' (materiality made up of 4 elements)

SN 54.8: Padīpopamasutta—Bhikkhu Sujato (suttacentral.net)

Now, a mendicant might wish:Tasmātiha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu cepi ākaṅkheyya:‘Going totally beyond perceptions of form, with the ending of perceptions of impingement, not focusing on perceptions of diversity, aware that “space is infinite”, may I enter and remain in the dimension of infinite space.’‘sabbaso rūpasaññānaṁ samatikkamā paṭighasaññānaṁ atthaṅgamā nānattasaññānaṁ amanasikārā ananto ākāsoti ākāsānañcāyatanaṁ upasampajja vihareyyan’ti,So let them closely focus on this immersion due to mindfulness of breathing.ayameva ānāpānassatisamādhi sādhukaṁ manasi kātabbo.

 🧇alert: But in MN 106, he suddenly can't decide whether rūpa means 'visions' or 'form'. He changes translation in mid passage!

MN 106: Āneñjasappāyasutta—Bhikkhu Sujato (suttacentral.net)

Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects:Puna caparaṁ, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako iti paṭisañcikkhati:‘Sensual pleasures in this life and in lives to come,‘ye ca diṭṭhadhammikā kāmā, ye ca samparāyikā kāmā;sensual perceptions in this life and in lives to come; ca diṭṭhadhammikā kāmasaññā,  ca samparāyikā kāmasaññā;whatever is form, all form is the four primary elements, or form derived from the four primary elements.’yaṁ kiñci rūpaṁ sabbaṁ rūpaṁ cattāri ca mahābhūtāni, catunnañca mahābhūtānaṁ upādāyarūpan’ti. Variant: rūpaṁ sabbaṁ rūpaṁ cattāri → yaṁ kiñci rūpaṁ cattāri (bj, pts1ed)Practicing in this way and meditating on it often their mind becomes confident in this dimension.Tassa evaṁpaṭipannassa tabbahulavihārino āyatane cittaṁ pasīdati.Being confident, they either attain the imperturbable now, or are freed by wisdom.Sampasāde sati etarahi  āneñjaṁ samāpajjati paññāya  adhimuccati kāyassa bhedā paraṁ maraṇā.When their body breaks up, after death, it’s possible that the consciousness headed that way will be reborn in the imperturbable.Ṭhānametaṁ vijjati yaṁ taṁsaṁvattanikaṁ viññāṇaṁ assa āneñjūpagaṁ.This is said to be the second way of practice suitable for attaining the imperturbable.Ayaṁ, bhikkhave, dutiyā āneñjasappāyā paṭipadā akkhāyati.

Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects:Puna caparaṁ, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako iti paṭisañcikkhati:‘Sensual pleasures in this life and in lives to come,‘ye ca diṭṭhadhammikā kāmā, ye ca samparāyikā kāmā;sensual perceptions in this life and in lives to come, ca diṭṭhadhammikā kāmasaññā,  ca samparāyikā kāmasaññā;visions in this life and in lives to come,ye ca diṭṭhadhammikā rūpā, ye ca samparāyikā rūpā;perceptions of visions in this life and in lives to come; ca diṭṭhadhammikā rūpasaññā,  ca samparāyikā rūpasaññāall of these are impermanent.ubhayametaṁ aniccaṁ.And what’s impermanent is not worth approving, welcoming, or clinging to.’Yadaniccaṁ taṁ nālaṁ abhinandituṁ, nālaṁ abhivadituṁ, nālaṁ ajjhositun’ti.Practicing in this way and meditating on it often their mind becomes confident in this dimension.Tassa evaṁpaṭipannassa tabbahulavihārino āyatane cittaṁ pasīdati.Being confident, they either attain the imperturbable now, or are freed by wisdom.Sampasāde sati etarahi  āneñjaṁ samāpajjati paññāya  adhimuccati kāyassa bhedā paraṁ maraṇā.

What is Sujato thinking?

Does he know what this sutta is talking about? 

Does he know what his own translation is saying? Could he explain the meditation instructions to his students and they would know how to meditate based on his translation?

The real story

Sujato's  🧇 waffle adventures with translating 'rūpa', as he does with 'vitakka' in first jhāna, probably has something to do with his agenda to redefine jhāna, and redefine the meditator's physical body (kāya, rūpa). 

But how does it work? How does his translation make sense? Even when you corrupt the Buddha's words, you need to make sure it's coherent within its own context. I doubt Sujato could explain MN 106 to his students, let alone himself. 

How do Ajahn Brahm, Abhidhamma and Tv Cmy explain removal of thoughts with ānāpānā sati to get into 2nd jhāna?


How does Abhidhamma and Tv Cmy explain removal of thoughts with ānāpānā sati to get into 2nd jhāna?

Post by frank k » 

Here, Sujato correctly translates vitakka as 'thinking',
Sujato translation, AN 9.1
They should develop the perception of ugliness to give up greed, love to give up hate, mindfulness of breathing to cut off thinking, and perception of impermanence to uproot the conceit ‘I am’.
asubhā bhāvetabbā rāgassa pahānāya, mettā bhāvetabbā byāpādassa pahānāya, ānāpānassati bhāvetabbā vitakkupacchedāya, aniccasaññā bhāvetabbā asmimānasamugghātāya. Variant: ānāpānassati → ānāpānasati (bj, pts1ed)

But I'm wondering how Ajahn Brahm, Sujato, Vism. use that instruction to get from first jhāna to second jhāna.
How how Tv Commentary explain that sutta passage?

Saturday, May 28, 2022

🔗📝 collection of notes on āneñja (imperturbable)


There are two distinct contexts. 

1. Four jhānas, where the meditator has perceptions of both internal rūpa (meditator's physical body), and external rūpa (any material form made of 4 elements or their derivatives).

The most frequent use of this kind of āneñja appears in the formula for imperturbable version of 4th jhāna, which easily access the 6 higher knowledges.

Obviously someone levitating, exercising psychic powers, hearing divine sounds, seeing terrestrial devas living up in the trees, seeing ghosts, hearing divine sounds, has perceptions of his internal form rūpa and external forms as well.

2. The second context, āneñja is referring not to 4th jhāna, but formless attainments, such as the dimension of infinite space, infinite consciousness, etc.

In those formless attainments, both internal form and external form are dropped out, one doesn't have perception of them.

3. As for the formless attainments in the 8 vimokkha and 8 abhi-bha-ayatana, where one doesn't have internal form perception, but external ones, one can assume they must also be classified as 'imperturbable', since they would not be subject to the perturbability of one who still has internal form perceptions. 

MN 66 is one of the best suttas to study, because it explains the imperturbability of 4th jhana (compared to the first three), and then explains how the formless attainments "go beyond" (samatik-kama) the 4th jhana.

🔗📝 collection of notes on MN 66

🔗📝 collection of notes on MN 106


● MN 106 - 🔗🔊 19m, Āneñja-sappāya: imperturbable, conducive (to that): 🔗📝
    MN 1060 - (Problem with 5kg sensuality cords)
    MN 1061 – (first way to imperturbable: with vast, exalted mind: vipulena mahaggatena cetasā)
    MN 1062 – (second way to imperturbable: all form, rūpa, is just 4 elements)
    MN 1063 – (third way to imperturbable: all form, rūpa, from past present future are impermanent)
    MN 10611 - (first practice to dimension of nothingness: drop all perceptions of form and lower formless dimensions)
    MN 10612 - (second practice to dimension of nothingness: seeing emptiness, no self identity there)
    MN 10613 - (third practice to dimension of nothingness: seeing ‘not mine’)
    MN 10620 – (way to neither perception nor non perception: drop perception of nothingness dimension)
    MN 10625 – (clinging to upekkha in formless dimension prevents nirvana)
    MN 10630– (not clinging to upekkha in formless dimension enables nirvana)
    MN 10635– (conclusion)
        MN 10635.1– (define noble liberation, ariyo vimokkho)
        MN 10635.2– (identity, sak-kāya)
        MN 10635.3– (you know what to do: empty huts, trees, jhāna)


MN 106 Sujato 🧇can't decide what rūpa means in the formless (a-rūpa) attainments

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

AN 8.63, MN 128 samādhi in 3 ways, Sujato's first jhāna progression to higher jhānas in general is completely nonsensical

 The  samādhi in 3 ways referenced in AN 8.63, MN 128:

AN 8.63, my translation, with correct interpretation of a rare  5th type of jhāna 

(samādhi in 3 ways fulfills (7sb → 1-6 🐘💭… 🌄) and 4j jhānas)
imaṃ samādhiṃ
this undistractible-lucidty
(1) sa-vi-takkampi sa-vicāraṃ bhāveyyāsi,
(1) with-directed-thought & with-evaluation (you should) develop,
(2) a-vi-takkampi vicāra-mattaṃ bhāveyyāsi,
(2) Without-directed-thought & a-modicum-of-evaluation (you should) develop,
(3) a-vi-takkampi a-vicāraṃ bhāveyyāsi,
(3) Without-directed-thought & wiithout-evaluation (you should) develop,
Sap-pīti-kampi bhāveyyāsi,
(7sb → 4. 😁) With-rapture (you should) develop,
nip-pīti-kampi bhāveyyāsi,
Without-rapture (you should) develop,
sāta-sahagatampi bhāveyyāsi,
Endowed-with-satisfaction (you should) develop,
upekkhā-sahagatampi bhāveyyāsi.
(7sb → 7. 🛆👁 ) Endowed-with-equanimous-observation (you should) develop,

For the four jhāna formula, the part I have highlighted basically adds a 5th jhāna, one in between first and second jhāna.

That means,  directed thought (vitakka)  has fixed on a Dharma topic thought to evaluate (vicāra) and explore in more detail,  the 'modicum of vicāra' continues to explore the thought (vitakka), and vitakka term drops out of that stage because it's not changing at this point. For example, one maybe locked in doing metta instead of breath meditation, and evaluation is deciding on what direction to pervade that energy. 

Sujato's nonsensical vitakka + vicāra of 'placing the mind' and 'keeping it connected'

Sujato's  version AN 8.63:

That’s how you should train.Evañhi te, bhikkhu, sikkhitabbaṁ.

When this immersion is well developed and cultivated in this way, you should develop it while placing the mind and keeping it connected. You should develop it without placing the mind, but just keeping it connected. You should develop it without placing the mind or keeping it connected. You should develop it with rapture. You should develop it without rapture. You should develop it with pleasure. You should develop it with equanimity.Yato kho te, bhikkhu, ayaṁ samādhi evaṁ bhāvito hoti bahulīkato, tato tvaṁ, bhikkhu, imaṁ samādhiṁ savitakkampi savicāraṁ bhāveyyāsi, avitakkampi vicāra-mattaṁ bhāveyyāsi, avitakkampi avicāraṁ bhāveyyāsi, sappītikampi bhāveyyāsi, nippītikampi bhāveyyāsi, sātasahagatampi bhāveyyāsi, upekkhāsahagatampi bhāveyyāsi. Variant: savitakkampi savicāraṁ → savitakkasavicārampi (mr) | avitakkampi vicāramattaṁ → avitakkavicāramattampi (mr) | avitakkampi avicāraṁ → avitakkaavicārampi (mr)

The part I highlighted and underlined, is referencing the same 5th type of jhāna, except with Sujato's dictionary of redefined jhāna and vitakka, it means a modicum (mattam)  of 'keeping the mind connected".  

What does that mean, having some modicum (matta) of  vicāra of  'keeping the mind connected'? What's the mind in samādhi doing during the time when it's not 'connected'?

For that matter, when you transition between Sujato's regular first jhāna to regular second jhāna without that intermediate stage,  how can you stop 'keeping the mind connected' from second jhāna and beyond?

So this 5th type of jhāna really highlights what's already a problem in Sujato's standard four jhāna formula.

SN 45.8: Vibhaṅgasutta—Bhikkhu Sujato (suttacentral.net) (excerpt showing Sujato's first and second jhāna)

And what is right immersion?Katamo ca, bhikkhave, sammāsamādhi?It’s when a mendicant, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected.Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṁ savicāraṁ vivekajaṁ pītisukhaṁ paṭhamaṁ jhānaṁ upasampajja viharati.As the placing of the mind and keeping it connected are stilled, they enter and remain in the second absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of immersion, with internal clarity and confidence, and unified mind, without placing the mind and keeping it connected.Vitakkavicārānaṁ vūpasamā ajjhattaṁ sampasādanaṁ cetaso ekodibhāvaṁ avitakkaṁ avicāraṁ samādhijaṁ pītisukhaṁ dutiyaṁ jhānaṁ upasampajja viharati.

Sujato's first jhāna of 'placing the mind' means the mind wavers and tries to lose connection with the visual kasina, and it needs to continue issuing 'vitakka' to stay glued to the kasina. 

For Sujato's second jhāna and beyond to work, the mind needs to 'stay connected' (his vicāra) to the visual kasina.

That means vicāra can't drop out like it does in the standard second jhāna formula, only vitakka should drop out.

This is just completely deranged and nonsensical. 

Even if you accept his redefined jhāna model, his 5th jhāna instruction of the 3 way samādhi still makes no sense

You should develop it without placing the mind, but just keeping it connected.

How do you keep the mind connected to the visual kasina, without first having to 'place the mind (on a visual kasina)' (with vitakka)?

Does Sujato ever try to follow his own translation meditation instruction in real life? 

Does he teach his students that way? 

I'd like to see his students 'keeping it connected to the visual kasina without first placing the mind on the visual kasina.' That would be quite a remarkable accomplishment.

Sujato also failed to translate the 'matta' (modicum) part of  'vicāra-matta', meaning vicāra is not fully active. He's deliberately mistranslating the word to turn the Buddha's jhāna into his redefined one. If he were to translate it correctly, it should read something like:

You should develop it without placing the mind, but partially or sometimes keeping it connected.

(and what is it doing during the times it's not connected? counting sheep? taking a nap?)

And by the way, the Buddha never talks about visual kasina in AN 8.63, 

So really, when Sujato teaches his students jhāna in the words of the Buddha from AN 8.63, they're not getting the instruction  'keeping it connected to the visual kasina without first placing the mind on the visual kasina.',

They're hearing, "keep it connected without first placing the mind."

Keep what connected to what? Without first placing the mind on what? 

That's Buddhist meditation? That's jhāna?

🔗📝 collection of notes on AN 8.63


* Agama || MA 76, doing jhāna in all 4 postures part of all 8 refrains, instead of one line clause in AN 8.63

* The entire chapter in MA that contains MA 76 collects most of the sutras that put the jhāna vitakka squeeze on what vitakka means in first jhāna. Meaning it can only mean verbal, linguistic thoughts, it can not be the Vism. and Sujato redefinition of 'placing the mind'. 


AN 8.63, MN 128 samādhi in 3 ways, Sujato's first jhāna progression to higher jhānas in general is completely nonsensical

MN 118 prime example of samadhi in 3 ways (with vitakka, with some vicara, without V&V), B. Sujato AN 8.63 is nonsensical

AN 8.63 samadhi in 3 ways, another fatal problem with B. Sujato's translation, you can't do brahma vihara and jhana simultaneously

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

🔗📝 collection of notes on MN 111



2023/7 MN 111 Ven. Sunyo (Ajahn Brahm Jhāna) and Ven. Analayo claim emergence with sati in 8th and 9th attainment proves jhāna is a frozen absorbed state: Also discussing exactly what the Buddha means by sati (mindfulness), and how that can not exist in Ajahn Brahm's disembodied frozen state (his redefinition of jhāna).

🔗fun with fallacies: 2021/03 MN 111 Elephant in the room, smoking gun, red herrings, sophistry
🔗clever sophistry 2021/01 sophistry: MN 111 jhana 'lite' vs. jhana 'heavy', sutta vs. vism. 'jhana'.
🔗cognitive dissonance and blind faith: 2020/09 MN 111: example of typical fallacious explanation that late Abhidhamma followers use to explain doing vipassana while in jhāna
🔗ostrich strategy 2020/05 AN 4.41 and MN 111 How B. Sujato, B. Analayo, and Ajahn Brahm understand vitakka and vicara in those suttas. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

🔗📝 collection of notes on MN 56


4👑☸ → MN‍ → MN 56 

● MN 56 - 🔗🔊 40m, Upāli: name of lay follower:
    Nigantha of jains says body action more important determinant of kamma. Buddha says mental. Highlights:
    MN 561 - (Jain leader explains 3 types of action: bodily, verbal, mental)
        MN 561.1 – (3 types of action distinct from each other)
        MN 561.2 - (Jain leader says bodily action is most potent of 3, Buddha is incredulous)
        MN 562.2 - (Buddha says mental action is most potent of 3)
        MN 566.1 – (Upali affirms Jain leader is right, Buddha is wrong)
        MN 566.2 – (Buddha establishes ground rules for fair debate)
        MN 566.11 – (Buddha’s example #1 showing Jain contradiction: dying and rebirth caused by mental action instead of physical one)
        MN 566.12 – (example #2: accidentally killing bugs, intentional makes it blameworthy)
        MN 566.13 – (example #3: evil yogi with psychic power can kill with mind/mano, without bodily karma)
        MN 566.14 – (example #4: wilderness of some areas had become that way because of evil mental actions of some hermits)
    MN 567 – (for the 4th time, Buddha points out Upali’s contradiction violates rules of fair debate)
        MN 567.1 – (Upali confesses to Buddha: “Sir, you had me at hello, with the first simile.”)
        MN 567.2 – (Upali coverts, takes refuge in Buddha)
        MN 567.3 – (Buddha advises Upali to consider carefully before converting)
        MN 567.4 – (Buddha advises Upali to continue offering support to Jains)
    MN 568 – (Buddha leads Upali to Dharma eye and stream entry with talk on gradual training)
        MN 568.1 – (Upali attains stream entry with a sufficient first jhāna, free of 5 hindrances, hearing and thinking while it happened)
    MN 569 – (Jains hear about Upali’s conversion and are shocked)
        MN 569.5 – (Upali makes Jains and Jain leader sit in a visitor area for meal, and Upali himself occupies high seat of honor)
        MN 569.6 – (Jain leader criticizes Upali for getting converted ‘by magic’, Upali says it would benefit whole world to get converted)
        MN 569.7 – (Upali makes simile Comparing Jain doctrine to monkey abuse)
        MN 569.21 – (Jain leader, Nātaputta, spews hot blood)


MN 56 Sujato rewriting dictionary for jhāna terms for 'thinking'

Other points to be expanded on in an essay in the future:

1. In MN 56 Buddha states 3 types of action (bodily/kāya, verbal, mental), are 3 distinct types of karma. This means Vism. and Sujato capriciously redefining 'kāya' as 'mental' would break the fundamental laws of karma. You can't redefine 'up' as 'down' in the dictionary, 'body', as 'mind', 'bad' as 'good' and expect anyone to understand you. 

2. In Anatta lakkhana sutta, the 11 ways of seeing 5 aggregates as empty, Vism. and Sujato redefining rūpa as 'visual kasina' would break these 11 insights and make them incomplete.

3. JST, Jhāna sandwich theorem, hearing and thinking in first jhāna happens here even though it's not explicitly called 'jhāna'. No stream enterer attains without at least a low quality first jhāna.

4. Note the connection between Jain leader Nigantha, and sutta in SN where he believes 2nd jhāna and beyond are not possible, but first jhāna is within their capability. Compare the Upali the highly renowned disciple of Jain leader and how he attains stream entry.

5. Saddha = earned trust. Look at how Upali converts - it's not through blind faith, but careful examination of the qualities of the Buddha.


MN 56 Bob punches Carl in the face - A Primer on why 3 types of actions are distinct (you can't redefine kāya as 'mind'!)

MN 56 Sujato rewriting dictionary for jhāna terms for 'thinking'

 The term we're interested in, Ananugatantarassa,  from MN 56 verse section describing mind of Buddha in jhāna.

Bodhi has:

He is the Noble One, developed in mind,
who has gained the goal and expounds the truth;
Endowed with mindfulness and penetrative insight,
he leans neither forwards nor back;597
Free from perturbation, attained to mastery:
The Blessed One is he, and I am his disciple.

He has fared rightly and abides in meditation,
inwardly undefiled, in purity perfect;
He is independent and altogether fearless,598
living secluded, attained to the summit;


Of the noble, developed-in-mind, attainment-attained explainer—

mindful, clear-seeing, not bent forward, not bent back,

unperturbed, mastery-attained:

Of that Blessed One, I’m a disciple.

Of the path-completed, absorbed-in-jhāna, uninfluenced-within, pure,

independent, fearless, living-secluded, attained-to-the-summit,

crossed-over one leading others across:

Of that Blessed One, I’m a disciple.

Narada has:

Of him who is noble, is developed,
has attained to advantage, mindful, intuitive,
free from like and dislike,
is devoid of craving and has attained mastery,
of that Blessed One am I a disciple.

Of him who has fared well, is absorbed in meditation,
independent, is pure, is unattached, is to be abandoned,
is secluded, has attained to pre-eminence,
has crossed (the Ocean of Sorrow) and
causes others to cross,
of that Blessed One am I a disciple.

IB Horner has:

Of the pure one, whose self is developed, who has attained the attainable, the expounder,
The one with recollection, whose vision is clear, not bent on passion, without hatred,
Impassible, attained to mastery, of this Lord the disciple am I.

Of him who has gone to the highest, the meditator, inwardly unobstructed, cleansed,
The unattached, the unaiming, the aloof, the attainer of the highest,
The crossed over, the helper across, of this Lord the disciple am I.

Sujato 2022-may 

The noble one, evolved,Ariyassa bhāvitattassa,he has attained the goal and explains it;Pattipattassa veyyākaraṇassa;he is mindful, discerning,Satimato vipassissa,neither leaning forward nor pulling back,Anabhinatassa no apanatassa;he’s unstirred, attained to mastery:Anejassa vasippattassa,he is the Buddha, and I am his disciple.Bhagavato tassa sāvakohamasmi.

He has risen up, he practices absorption,Samuggatassa jhāyissa, Variant: Samuggatassa → sammaggatassa (bj, sya-all, pts1ed)not following inner thoughts, he is pure,Ananugatantarassa suddhassa;independent, and fearless;Asitassa hitassa, Variant: hitassa → appahīnassa (bj, pts1ed); appabhītassa (sya-all)secluded, he has reached the peak,Pavivittassa aggappattassa;crossed over, he helps others across:Tiṇṇassa tārayantassa,he is the Buddha, and I am his disciple.Bhagavato tassa sāvakohamasmi.


From Digital Pāḷi Dictionary:

an-anugat-antara = adj. undefiled inside; internally unafflicted. [na + anugata + antara]

antara = adj. inside; inner; internal; within. [anta + ra]

It would be good for Sujato to give an explanatory note for his translation choice, how the Buddha's jhāna according to Sujato, unlike the other translators and normal Pāli dictionaries, means "not following inner thoughts". 

The several other translators translate the term with some generality and vagueness as to what is 'not followed', unlike Sujato who seems to have special knowledge that it's not 'defilement' or 'affliction' that is being 'followed', but just 'thought' (whether negative or positive or connected to Dharma).

Perhaps to match the special Sujato dictionary where he redefines first jhāna's vitakka as "placing the mind" (i.e. first jhāna is a frozen stupor devoid of thought capability)? 

It looks like Sujato fixed his translation of anenja (imperturbability) here in 2022.

From his 2018 translation, he wrongly had that as 'still':

Anejassa vasippattassa,
he’s still, attained to mastery:
Bhagavato tassa sāvakohamasmi.
he is the Buddha, and I am his disciple.

A  sure sign you (should) know your interpretation of jhāna and vitakka is wrong, is when you inconsistently and incoherently translate it in different suttas.

example, here in AN 1.583 it's a first and second jhāna context and he accidentally translates vitakka correctly as 'thinking': https://notesonthedhamma.blogspot.com/2019/12/b-sujato-accidentally-translated.html

In AN 5.139, where there's a clear connection between enduring unpleasant stimuli via the 5 sense doors  in samādhi to khamo and anenja , Sujato wrongly translates samādhi in AN 5.139 as 'stillness', whereas he normally translates samādhi as 'immersion'. 

When you can't consistently translate vitakka in first jhāna, samādhi, anenja, you probably have a wrong interpretation of jhāna. That's the thought process that should be going through the mind of an objective translator.

Apparently, Sujato translated suttas while he was in his special version of MN 56 jhāna, which does not 'follow inner thought'. Evidently,  he was in a frozen trance of 'stillness' when he was validating his translation for consistency and coherence.

With that kind of 'jhāna', 'no following inner thoughts', how do the scores of sutta occurrences where someone thinking about Dharma WHILE listening to Dharma spontaneously attain stream entry?

Such as this very sutta in question, ,where Upali in MN 56, attain stream entry in an unspecified samādhi (but described as free of 5 hindrances and joyful)?  

How do you attain stream entry WHILE hearing Dharma if you're in a first jhāna with no thinking allowed?

Sujato never explains this mysterious type of rule breaking 'jhana' that is not 'first jhana' that happens with spontaneous stream entry while listening to and THINKING about Dharma, frequently in the suttas.