Sunday, May 8, 2022

🔗📝 collection of notes on hearing in jhāna, samādhi 👂🌄


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

DN 16, MN 8 Buddha and Alara not hearing sounds from 500 carts and thunderstorm is 'peaceful dwelling', not 'four jhānas'

Forum Discussion

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

Post by frank k » 

Dear Ven.,
I've done a thorough study, and collected every passage that I'm aware of tha deal with the topic of hearing sounds in samādhi.
There are several points you made that I have already given a different analysis concluding differently. So I won't repeat it here unless you bring up a specific case to dispute. I link the article here, and with direct link jumping to the part of the article with the 2 most illuminating sutta passages on the topic. ... l#flink-53

DN 21 Buddha hears carriage moving and is knocked out of ‘samadhi’, he's in a samadhi where thorns knocked him out of it. Also note that AN 10.72 thorns apply to all 4 jhānā (plural)!

KN Ud 3.3 500 monks and buddha in imperturbable samadhi can’t hear
Ananda tries to talk to Buddha, but he doesn't hear because unlike DN 21 (just 'samadhi' unqualified, but probably 4th jhāna since Buddha is always in suññata, which would be either animitta samadhi, any of the 4 jhānas typically).

Imperturbable samadhi means 4 formless attainments, for the case of 5 senses shut off. The other kind of imperturbable samadhi is the 4th jhāna that easily wields psychic powers and 6 higher knowledge.
First jhāna is never referred to as imperturbable samadhi.

MN 125 and the war elephant simile is one of the suttas that explain 4th jhāna imperturbability, where 5 senses are active and imperturbable means one is not overpowered by strong sensations of deathly pain, etc.

Two more sutta references in DN 16 where Buddha and his teacher can't hear sounds:
DN 16 Āḷāra Kālāma doesn’t hear 500 carts pass by while in santa vihara (peaceful dwelling) awake (jagara), percipient (saññi)
DN 16 Buddha can’t hear in thunderstorm while in santa vihara (peaceful dwelling/meditation) awake (jagara), percipient (saññi)

There, the term used is peaceful dwellings (santa vihara), not samādhi, not "first jhāna".
In other suttas, for example ones that differentiate an arahant that's freed by wisdom versus freed in mind (ceto vimutti), the one freed in mind has "peaceful" dwellings that are arūpa formless, as opposed to freed by wisdom they only have four jhānas.

So DN 16 peaceful is formless, formless imperturbable, not 5 sense active imperturbable of 4th jhāna.

One can hear sounds in all 4 jhānas. One can speak in first jhāna, one can use thinking and evaluation (vitakka and vicāra) in second jhāna. But if you do use V&V, then you drop out of 2nd jhāna. There's a very big difference between you can't do something versus you can but shouldn't because it disperses the force of samādhi. ... index.html
AN 9.41 and SN 40.1 are two of the clearest examples where it shows it happening.

All of this is tied to the same ideas from our other discussion on 5 senses being shut off, divorced from mano-vinnana.

Ajahn Brahmalis convoluted arguments just sounds like sophistry to me. I detailed all of my findings on AN 10.72 here: ... l#flink-73
(outline of my analysis)
jhānā (plural), means sound is a thorn for all 4 jhānas, not just the first
many monks are mentioned, so this is a common problem
loud piercing noises from carts, horses, people
4 formless attainments conspicuously absent from list of 10 thorns
but why is samādhi attainment 9 on the list?
Is the thorn an irritator, preventor, or destroyer?
AN 9.41 how V&V, pīti are thorns for 2nd and 3rd jhāna

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