Friday, June 30, 2023

Upasampajja Viharati: Attains and lives doing Jhāna samādhi, in all postures, all activities, all the time

Anonymous friend did some research on the phrase "Upasampajja Viharati" (attains, and lives doing [something]).

These are his original notes, which I will incorporate into a new book I'm working on. 

These are his independent, original comments, whereas the vesion I incorporate into my book will likely modify some of his comments and incorporate some of my own.

Friend's notes on researching Upasampajja Viharati" (attains, and lives doing [something]).

Upasampajja Viharati Not Used in Jhana/Formless/Animtta/Etc Formula

Current conclusion: Upasampajja Viharati is another 'jhana unicorn'-a word or phrase that translators give an entirely new meaning in the context of jhana with no other examples in the suttas having that meaning. An expression that in the vast majority of cases outside of the 8 attainments means 'live having entered', 'keep going what you have developed', 'lives having developed, 'lives having attained', it seems to imply the effort of maintenance of skillful qualities which again would be a full life thing. The only place this doesn't make as natural of sense is the formless attainments, but I highly suspect those formulas are late, although the non-formulaic versions are early.

Type 1:I (cetvimuttim, pannavimuttim dittheva dhamma saym abhinna sacchikatva upasampajja viharati)

DN 6.4, I

DN 8.5, I

DN 11.4, I

DN 15.6, I

DN 26.11, I

DN 28, I

DN 29, I

DN 34.7, I

MN 12, I

MN 40.1

MN 53.1

MN 54.2

MN 73

MN 108

MN 119

MN 120

MN 146

SN 16.9 (includes usages with jhana's/formless states as well)

SN 16.10 (includes usages with jhana's/formless states as well)

SN 21.4 (only contains part of usage I)

SN 21.5 "

SN 21.6 "

SN 21.11 "

SN 22.63 " (Seems like the brahmacariyam version is it's own separate pericope. Perhaps one of the two is earlier??)

SN 47.3 "

SN 47.46 "

SN 48.20 (more standard usage including cetovimmuti etc)

SN 48.43 (also standard)

SN 51.11 (Also standard)

SN 51.12 (also standard)

SN 51.14 (also standard)







SN 55.24 (ceto version)

SN 55.25 (ceto version)

AN 7.39 seems to explain the pericope in more detail?

Type 2 (remaining in vedana)

MN 70

MN 102 (kinda, kinda it's own type as well)

AN 5.176

Type 3

MN 117 (seems unique)

Type 4 (remaining in dhamma (dhamme))

SN 22.2 (may include vedana-like usage too)

Type 5 (idk)

AN 3.60 (an important one 'live having entered that' doesn't make much sense as 'remain/stay having entered that' in context)

Unique ones

AN 4.51-used for alms round with measureless mental samadhi (all postures!!)

AN 4.178

SN 5.45

AN 3.65

‘These things are skillful, blameless, praised by sensible people, and when you undertake them, they lead to welfare and happiness’, then you should acquire them and keep them.

‘ime dhammā kusalā, ime dhammā anavajjā, ime dhammā viññuppasatthā, ime dhammā samattā samādinnā hitāya sukhāya saṁvattantī’ti, atha tumhe, kālāmā, upasampajja vihareyyātha.

again, enter and remain doesn't work here, again referring to a full life thing

Vimokkha's it looks like

DN 24.6?

DN 33.11 ?

SN 46.54

From DN 9:

Saṅkilesikā ceva dhammā pahīyissanti, vodāniyā ca dhammā abhivaḍḍhissanti, paññāpāripūriṁ vepullattañca diṭṭheva dhamme sayaṁ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharissati, pāmujjañceva bhavissati pīti ca passaddhi ca sati ca sampajaññañca sukho ca vihāro.

Having entered living in wisdom and joy! Clear reference to third jhana again as a full-life thing.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

A Famous Honesty Researcher Is Retracting A Study Over Fake Data

This is relevant to right speech, right view, and Dhamma teachers who have unusual interpretations of the suttas and self checking that they have integrity, honesty, transparency, and accountability in showing how they interpret the suttas.

Excerpt from

A Famous Honesty Researcher Is Retracting A Study Over Fake Data

Renowned psychologist Dan Ariely literally wrote the book on dishonesty. Now some are questioning whether the scientist himself is being dishonest.

A landmark study that endorsed a simple way to curb cheating is going to be retracted nearly a decade later after a group of scientists found that it relied on faked data.

According to the 2012 paper, when people signed an honesty declaration at the beginning of a form, rather than the end, they were less likely to lie. A seemingly cheap and effective method to fight fraud, it was adopted by at least one insurance company, tested by government agencies around the world, and taught to corporate executives. It made a splash among academics, who cited it in their own research more than 400 times.


Friday, June 23, 2023

A primer on understanding eye-witness, body-witness, and when we can treat "eye" and "body" as metaphorical or literal

kāya-sakkhī: body witness

kāya-sakkhī, kāyena phusitvā = eyewitness, body witness

✅ kāya-sakkhī = eyewitness, body witness. 'Body' here can be both literal and figurative, sometimes only figurative.
✅ kāyena phusitvā = eyewitness, literally contacted with the 'body'. 'Body' here can be both literal and figurative, sometimes only figurative.
⛔ 4 jhānas are part of 8 vimokkhas, part of 8 abhi-bh-āyatanas, part of 9 meditative attainments.
They are part of those groups, not equivalent to them.
So you can not say because formless attainments are also part of 8 vimokkhas,
and formless has a figurative mind only 'body',
therefore 4 jhānas must have a formless mind only 'kāya'.
That's fallacious. It would be like saying, Australia was a British penal colony where they sent their criminals,
and since John Doe is Australian, therefore John Doe is a criminal.

Very short article, a simile to help you get a feel for the type of fallacious reasoning Sujato uses in 3rd jhāna by wrongly applying a context for which it doesn't qualify: 

Sujato and his famous friends get into all the V.I.P. rooms in the hottest spots in town, anywhere in the world

Very short article, this simile shows the fallacy of Sujato taking a narrow interpretation of eye-witness to either be only literal or metaphorical:

Am I a miracle worker more brilliant than the Buddha, or did Sujato erroneously misinterpret kāya here?

quoting passage where Sujato explains the rationalization of his 3rd jhāna interpretation

B. Sujato third jhāna, "The body as metaphor", more like out of context, out of his body, out of his mind

Sujato and his famous friends get into all the V.I.P. rooms in the hottest spots in town, anywhere in the world

 I use this simile to show the fallacious reasoning Sujato uses to justify translating third jhāna's body as "mind devoid of physical body that personally experiences things".

I include a fictional Sujato character in the simile, to make it memorable and easy to connect all the ideas of  3rd jhāna body, nine attainments, this simile,  and Sujato's erroneous understanding of how and when to interpret kāya/body metaphorically.

(fictional) Sujato is good friends with Tom Cruise, arguably the most famous actor/celebrity in the world.

They frequently socialize with a group of 9 friends (including themselves), visiting the hottest restaurants, night clubs, etc.

Tom Cruise and four of the friends are all internationally famous celebrities (5 total).

Sujato and the three remaining friends (4 total) are not famous, and would go unrecognized at most places they visit as a group of 9 friends. 

Everywhere they travelled as a group of 9, they would get the V.I.P. (Very important person) treatment. 

Sitting in a VIP room, or a VIP table, all kinds of special perks.

One time, Sujato and three of the non-famous members of the group of 9 went to a restaurant by themselves and asked to sit in the VIP room.

Even though the host of the restaurant recognized Sujato as as friend of Tom Cruise, the host refused to seat Sujato and his party of 4 in the VIP room.

He explained, "I'm sorry sir. Even though you are sometimes in a group with Tom Cruise and then we definitely seat you in the VIP room, today you are in a group of regular non-famous people, so we are not allowed to seat you there. 

You and your party of 4 (jhāna friends) have to stay in the area of regular (jhāna) people.

You are only allowed VIP access when you happened to be grouped with one of the 5 famous friends (formless attainment group).


Sujato overstepped his bounds in translating and interpreting third jhāna kāya (body) as metaphorical, since in that context 3rd jhāna is part of the group of four jhānas, not part of the 5 formless attainments.

Aside from the 4 jhānas context, the Buddha is also using the language that contrasts body and mind, "sukham ca kāyena patisamvedeti", to resolve the ambuguity of a vedana/sensation potentially being body only or mind only (pati-sam-vedeti). 

So the Buddha is explicitly clarifying that the sukha (pleasure) vedana (sensation/experience) is physical, not mental. 

Thursday, June 22, 2023

eye-witness at 9 summer parties complex: How some body becomes a mind only 'body'


The story takes place in the 9 story apartment complex, called "9 summer parties".  

Rupert Kaya lives on the third floor.  

Denny is the next door neighbor of Rupert. 

Denny is deaf.

Cameron lives in the apartment directly across the hall from Rupert.

Cameron has a doorbell ringer video camera which is constantly recording video, and a view of not only the entrance to his apartment, but that of his neighbor Rupert. 

Frank lives on the fourth floor. He's good friends with Rupert, and often stops by to visit him on the third floor.

Between the fourth and fifth floor, is an exercise fitness center, some shops, and other community services for all the residents in the building.

The architecture and floor design for the first four floors, compared to floors 5 through 9, are radically different. 

And then there is Abby Dahmer who lives in the penthouse, an heiress to a fortune. 

Her personality has been described as dry and humorless. 

Her purpose in life, is to promote her philosphy whose main tenet is that the mind is the only thing that is real, and the physical body can only be experienced as a stream of mind moments. 

Rupert disagreed with her philosophy, but they were civil and seemed to coexist peacefully, though Rupert on more than one occasion had to find ways to physically escape from Abby's overzealous insistence on the correctness of her beliefs.

Rupert Kaya is described by all who know him as someone who is genuinely peaceful and content, the guy who lives happily on the third floor of the 9 story complex. 

He is not just happy when he's sitting down relaxed, he's happy in all of his activities, all the time, even in his dreams while asleep.

Then the unthinkable happened. One could not even place or connect their mind to what happened next.

While Abby and Rupert were chatting in the exercise fitness center, they got into an argument.

Abby Dahmer, as usual was insisting that the mind is the only real thing, the physical is not real.

Rupert replied, "you can believe what you want, but from a practical standpoint, there are very concrete practical delineations between happiness experienced through the body, and happiness experienced in the mind."

They weren't covering any new ground, but something caused Abby Dahmer to lose her mind that day.

She stealthily followed Rupert Kaya back to the 3rd floor of his apartment, made her way in through the unlocked door and murdered him.

Abby Dahmer murdered Rupert Kaya in cold blood on the 3rd floor of the 9 summer parties apartment complex. 

There were three eyewitnesses.

Frank from fourth floor was on the 3rd floor to visit Rupert and saw with his own eyes some of the action while the murder was taking place.

Denny who is deaf, Rupert's next door neighbor, heard distinctive murder sounds, as well as the distinctive voices of Abby and Rupert.

Cameron's front door ringer video camera, recorded some of the incriminating action.

Since Abby Dahmer was rich and famous, this murder trial was highly scrutinized by the world.

All the legal experts were unanimous that the case was open and shut, Abby was guilty of first degree murder.

Until two things happened.

The judge assigned to the case was Ajun Braun.

Abby Dahmer announced she had retained the services of defense attorney, Sue Otto.

Sue Otto, world famous for her powers of persuasion as a litigator.

She defended, exonerated, and freed some of the most notorious crime lords in modern history from seemingly inescapable criminal charges. 

Sue Otto even legally changed meanings of standard words in the English lexicon, including new contexts for how the word 'love' is used legally.  

She is loved by her followers, and crime lords who can afford her services. 

The trial seemed to be proceeding as the legal experts had predicted, heading towards a guilty verdict for Abby Dahmer murdering Rupert Kaya on the 3rd floor of 9 summer parties apartment complex.

The three eyewitnesses were called in to testify.

Any of the three witness testimonies, on their own, was not quite enough to render a guilty verdict, but the combination of all three proved beyond a shadow of a doubt Abby Dahmer's guilt.

The 3 eyewitnesses again to refresh your memory:

Cameron's video camera had recorded video from across the apartment.

Denny was deaf but he heard the distinctive voices positively identifying Rupert and Abby.

Frank from fourth floor who saw part of the murder while it was happening with his own eyes.

Then defense attorney Sue Otto had a trick up her sleeve.

She argued that, since Cameron's camera video was being considered 'eyewitness', even though he did not personally see it himself with his eyes in real time,
and Denny the Deaf neighbor's audio witnessing of the murder, was also being considered 'eyewitness', even though he didn't see it with his own eyes,

Therefore Frank's eyewitness account had to be disallowed, since Frank had used his physical eyes as the 'eyewitness', and clearly the English language demanded that 'eyewitness' does not mean using our physical eyes, but are instead metaphorically referring to how we 'personally witness' an event with only our minds.

The honorable judge Ajun Braun agreed with Sue Otto, and ruled that Abby Dahmer was not guilty of murdering Rupert Kaya on the 3rd floor of 9 summer parties apartment complex.

Abby Dahmer was free to go.

Ajun Braun also ruled that the word 'eyewitness' in the legal lexicon be modified accordingly to disallow visual evidence from people witnessing things with their physical eyes.

Don't you just luuuuuuuvv (love) a happy ending?


Weeks after the trial ended, after much public backlash over judge Ajun Braun's controversial not-guilty of murder ruling,

judge Braun noted that defense attorney Sue Otto had one more trick up her sleeve if the legal redefinition of the word 'eye-witness' was not enacted. 

Since the eyewitness Frank, had mispronounced some words and violated some minor grammar rules when he was on the stand testifying, there was a very high probability we would have had to throw out his eyewitness testimony on those grounds.  

You see, you can't underestimate the influence and power of grammar, even though the non-expert of grammar fails to see how grammar remotely relates to Frank's physical eyes seeing Abby's physical body stabbing Rupert Kaya's physical body with a bloody physical knife.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Ven Sunyo (Ajahn Brahm disciple) uses eel wriggling, red herrings to try to explain why first jhāna is a formless attainment


Preston asked Ven. Sunyo why MN 43 and AN 9.37 very conspicuously avoids listing the 4 jhānas, when listing what meditative attainments have the 5 senses of the body shut off, divorced from the mind. 

Ven. Sunyo replied:

Thanks for the clarification, Preston.  I did indeed overlook the quotes [from the two suttas showing absence of 4 jhānas in list of states that are formless], reading too quickly. But these texts also don’t say that the 5 senses cease only in the formless attainments.

They just say the formless attainments “can be known with purified (parisuddhena) mind consciousness released from the five senses”. Where does it say “explicitly” that in the jhanas there are still the five senses, and that they cease only in the formless attainments? To me, that is what you add to it.

I belief the key aspect in this statement is parisuddhena, not the five senses. It’s only in the fourth jhana that the mind becomes purified, namely in equanimity and mindfulness, (upekkha-sati-parisuddhim). Then this purity continues in the formless states. But the five senses already ceased in the first jhana (or even before that generally).

It’s a bit like I would say to my (hypothetical) child: When you get your driver’s license, then with our car you can go into town. This doesn’t mean the car appears the at the moment he gets his driver’s license. We had that car already. Likewise, in the jhanas the 5 senses were already abandoned, but only at the fourth does it become purified in equanimity—with which the 4 formless attainments “can be known”.

Not the greatest analogy, but I think you get my argument.

But that discussion aside, this passage clearly speaks favorably of abandoning the five senses. So that kind of “absorption” (I prefer ‘unification’) away from the five senses was something encouraged by the Buddha, at whatever level we think it is achieved (at the first jhana or the formless states). Therefore, as DeadBuddha pointed out before, if people try to aim for these mind-only states, they are safe either way.

Let’s say (just hypothetically) that I and others with similar ideas are wrong about the jhanas and there was still physical sense perception them. In that case, if people practice to go into the mind-only realm, they’ll at worse just overshoot the mark, and end up in the formless states. That’s way less problematic than if I were right, and they were satisfied with something lower than the jhanas.

However, I know this may sound arrogant, but I’m sure I’m not wrong.

(end of Ven. Sunyo's post)

Start of Frankk's translation and rebuttal

MN 43 mind divorced from 5 body faculties can know what?

♦ 451. “nissaṭṭhena hāvuso, pañcahi indriyehi
[Ven. Mahā Koṭṭhita]: “divorced ****** (from the) five sense-faculties,
parisuddhena mano-viññāṇena
(with a) purified mind-consciousness,
kiṃ neyyan”ti?
what can-be-known?"
♦ “nissaṭṭhena āvuso, pañcahi indriyehi
[Ven. Sāriputta]: “divorced ****** (from the) five sense-faculties,
parisuddhena mano-viññāṇena
(with a) purified mind-consciousness,
‘ananto ākāso’ti ākāsān-añc-āyatanaṃ neyyaṃ,
‘infinite space,’ the-space-infinitude-dimension (can be) known,
‘anantaṃ viññāṇan’ti viññāṇ-añc-āyatanaṃ neyyaṃ,
‘infinite consciousness,’ the-consciousness-infinitude-dimension (can be) known,
‘natthi kiñcī’ti ākiñcaññ-āyatanaṃ neyyan”ti.
‘There is nothing.’ the-nothingness-dimension (can be) known."

AN 9.37 mind divorced from 5 body faculties stated different way

(for example one would not be able to hear sounds, feel mosquito bites in this state)
tadeva nāma cakkhuṃ bhavissati te rūpā
(1) That very eye will-be-present (with) those forms
Tañc-āyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissati.
[and yet] that-base [one] {will} not experience.
tadeva nāma sotaṃ bhavissati te saddā
(2) That very ear will-be-present (with) those sounds,
Tañc-āyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissati.
[and yet] that-base [one] {will} not experience.
tadeva nāma ghānaṃ bhavissati te gandhā
(3) That very nose will-be-present (with) those odors,
Tañc-āyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissati.
[and yet] that-base [one] {will} not experience.
sāva nāma jivhā bhavissati te rasā
(4) That very tongue will-be-present (with) those tastes,
Tañc-āyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissati.
[and yet] that-base [one] {will} not experience.
sova nāma kāyo bhavissati te phoṭṭhabbā
That very body will-be-present (with) those tactile-objects,
Tañc-āyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedissati.
[and yet] that-base [one] {will} not experience.

(What is one percipient of when divorced from 5 sense faculties?)

♦ evaṃ vutte āyasmā udāyī
with-that said, Venerable Udāyī
āyasmantaṃ ānandaṃ etadavoca —
(to) Venerable Ānanda {said}-this:
“saññīm-eva nu kho, āvuso ānanda,
"(Is one) percipient-*** ***, friend Ānanda,
tad-āyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedeti
(while) that-base (is) not experienced,
udāhu a-saññī”ti?
or (is one) not-percipient?"
“saññīm-eva kho, āvuso,
"[One is] Percipient-*** indeed, *****,
tad-āyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedeti,
(while) that-base (is) not experienced,
no a-saññī”ti.
not un-percipient."
♦ “kiṃ-saññī panāvuso,
"What-(is one)-percipient (of), friend,
tad-āyatanaṃ no paṭisaṃvedetī”ti?
(while) that-base (is) not experienced?"

Answer is same 3 formless attainments as MN 43, plus na ca sa-saṅkhāra-niggayha-vārita-gato

Frankk points out some of Ven. Sunyo's logical fallacies

1. red herring: He tries to shift attention away from mind divorced from 5 senses to the term 'purified' (pari-suddha) of fourth jhāna. (regarding MN 43)
But he neglects to notice that AN 9.37 does not say anything about a purified consciousness/mind, using a different way to expresss 5 senses separated from mind.

2. eel wriggling, sophistry: (my paraphrase of what he said) "just because that list of formless attainments did not list the 4 jhānas, doesn't mean 4 jhānas is not a formless attainment."

a. Well, the fact that the 4 jhānas are called rūpa (form) attainments, and formless is a-rūpa (literally not form), should be your first clue.

b. the fact that AN 9.36, the sutta immediately and thematically connected to AN 9.37, explicitly states that the 4 jhānas perceive and examine all 5 aggregates (rūpa/form is first of the 5), should be a second clue.

c. the fact that every single reference to first jhāna in the suttas, 
If you look at what happens right before first jhāna, does not say anything explicitly, or even vaguely hinting at the 5 senses of the body disappearing.

d. Ven Sunyo's analogy with child driving car? Priceless. A master class on sophistry.

But for the sake of argument, let's say his reasoning is valid.
Then why, in the sequence of 9 attainments, where infinite space, the 5th attainment which is formless (a-rūpa), follows the 4th jhāna which is form (rūpa), would the Buddha need to give 3 separate ways of showing how the mind becomes divorced from the 5 senses of the body? 

Did someone steal the car from Ven. Sunyo's son after fourth jhāna, and then have to buy a new car for him on the base of infinite space so we'd have to go through the body divorcing the mind again?

In other words, if first jhāna the kāmehi already supposedly divorces the mind from the 5 senses, why would the base of infinite space need to divorce it again?
Did it get remarried to the body somewhere in 2nd or 3rd jhāna? 

Using Ven. Sunyo's eel wriggling from (2), just because vitakka (thought) disappears in first jhāna, doesn't mean it can't reappear in 4th jhāna because the 4th jhāna formula does not explicitly exclude vitakka.
So we can also smuggle the 5 senses of the body back into 2nd, 3rd, and 4th jhāna since only the first jhāna explicitly omits 5 senses with kāmehi.

But Ven. Sunyo would probably object, "but obviously 9 attainments are a gradual sequence so it's implied vitakka doesn't need to be explicitly removed each time in each higher attainment."

But then Frank would reply, "then why would infinite space attainment need to divorce mind from 5 senses of the body again, if it was already divorced in first jhāna?"

You can't have it both ways Ven. Sunyo.
You have to apply the same reasoning consistently.
Otherwise you can make any set of words mean anything you want to, without any rhyme or reason.

Forum discussion

Re: Ajahn Brahm declares* that the Buddha was wrong about the second noble truth: the cause of suffering is not 'craving

Post by frank k » Fri Jun 23, 2023 2:02 am
Bhikkhu Sunyo wrote: Thu Jun 22, 2023 4:08 pm
frank k wrote: Thu Jun 22, 2023 1:49 am
Bhikkhu Sunyo wrote: Wed Jun 21, 2023 8:33 am...
Kāma doesn't mean 'sensuality'. It either means sense desire or the objects. In the case of kāmataṇhā it is the latter, otherwise we get "desire for sense desire", which makes no sense.
You can quibble about kāma not meaning 'sensuality', but you still have to explain how the Buddha's gloss of kāmehi in AN 6.63, is less valid than your gloss of it, as well as the other sutta I examine here AN 6.74, clearly giving kāmehi the first jhāna context.
I do not see kāmehi in AN6.63, so I don't know what you're asking of me, Frank. I also see a lot of ad-hominens on your blog. To say I'm quibbling is also not very nice. Anyway, to quibble means to object to a trivial matter, and the matter I was objecting to was on your blog. :?

Upon consideration, I think this forum is not the place for me. But I'll address a few more others before I leave.


Frankk responds:

I didn't realize 'quibble' was such an offensive word.
What I mean is, there are a lot more important salient issues to consider that are far more heavily weighted in deterimining the issue in dispute, than the grammar.

again, AN 6.74 which I asked you about, along with AN 6.63, is giving kāma-sañña, kāma vitakka an extremely clear first jhāna context linking it with samma sankappo, the vitakka that feeds into first jhāna vitakka, and just because 'kāmehi" does not appear in the sutta, it means that sutta has no bearing on the first jhāna formula? ... ng-in.html

There's also the issue of abhidhamma vibhanga jhāna book explicitly confirming with the gloss of "kāmehi" what AN 6.63 said about kāma being desire as the issue, not the "Objects".
Which I mentioned in the linked article I referred to you earlier.
So somehow the grammar knowledge of the Abhidhammikas allowed them to make the connection you deem invalid.
There are a lot of logical fallacies I've pointed out, again in the same linked article I assume you read, which does not depend on grammar.
For example, I point out that even if we accept your understanding of kāmehi being 'objects' in first jhana:

3. Even if for the sake of argument, we assume kāmehi was referring to "objects" and not sensual-desire for objects in the first jhāna formula, being secluded from those objects does not mean you have to be in a disembodied formless attainment.

For example, Ven. Sabbamitta can go into an empty cave, lock the door, and she would be 'secluded from objects'. She can still walk, talk, think. All 5 sense faculties working.

I show how one can be secluded without being in a formless samadhi.
What sutta shows that seclusion from kāmehi is what you say it is?

Re: Ajahn Brahm declares* that the Buddha was wrong about the second noble truth: the cause of suffering is not 'craving

Post by frank k » 

frank k wrote: Tue Jun 27, 2023 7:46 am
Bhikkhu Sunyo wrote: Tue Jun 27, 2023 5:42 am...
But Frank... You didn't address the grammar; ...
Direct link to msg. earlier in thread where I addressed grammar quoting your msg so you'd see it, and you didn't respond.

SN 46.2 (which I discuss in that msg) is especially salient to showing the limitations of grammar.
For the record, still waiting for Ven. Sunyo's response to my last msg.
Today is July 10th, the last msg. he wrote to me was in
Post by Bhikkhu Sunyo » Tue Jun 27, 2023 5:42 am,
about 13 days ago.

To recap what happened for our whole exchange on this thread,
he was happy to engage in the thread when he noticed a grammar error on my blog post.
I pointed out the real problems were not grammar, but the problems in the post I quote below.
I tried to steer him to the real issues, but he kept trying to insist grammar needed to be settled first.
I replied with an explanation showing why I didn't think grammar was the issue here (quoted msg. above),
which he didn't acknowledge reading or responding to the grammar points I made.
I posted again asking for a response to the grammar issue.
Several people on the thread expressed appreciation for his participation and asked them to defend the honor of Ajahn Brahm and Vism.'s redefinition of jhāna.
No response from him going on 13 days, so at this point it doesn't look like he has any defense for the problems I point out in the quoted post below.

frank k wrote: Sun Jun 18, 2023 8:34 am
Sam Vara wrote: Sat Jun 17, 2023 9:05 amThat sounds a bit odd, doesn't it!

Have you tried contacting him to see what he makes of that interpretation? And have you tried to find a charitable way of resolving that apparent anomaly before publishing the inference that he is making an egregious error?
I'd love to have an open discussion with him, and Sujato.
The main issue, the number one issue I have with them, is not that they have wrong interpretations, but that they do it in a disingenuous and dishonorable way, not becoming of an ordained disciple of the Buddha.
Out of the, let's say 50 suttas relevant to the nature of jhāna, they cherry pick about 5 of them, and pretend to not see the other 45 sutta passages that contradict their interpretation of jhāna.
If they made an honorable, transparent, good faith attempt to address the most important of those 50 sutta passages and explain that in writing, then I would not be continually calling them out publicly.
I could simple point to the webpage where they explain their position,
and the webpage where I explain the incoherence of their positon,
and that would be the end of it.
I'd just refer people to those links whenever an issue on the forums came up.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Ajahn Brahm declares* that the Buddha was wrong about the second noble truth: the cause of suffering is not 'craving'


What the Buddha said for the second noble truth, that the cause of dukkha (suffering) is "craving", is wrong.

“katamañca, bhikkhave,
"and-what, monks, (is)
Dukkha-samudayaṃ ariya-saccaṃ?
sufferings-origination (as a) noble-truth?
yāyaṃ taṇhā ponob-bhavikā
whatever craving [which leads to] renewed-existence,
seyyathidaṃ —
that is -
idaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave,
this (is) called, **********,
dukkha-samudayaṃ ariya-saccaṃ.
sufferings-origination (as a) noble-truth.

Ajahn Brahm points out, that since the pāli word 'kāma' is plural, therefore first jhāna's seclusion from kāma is not about seclusion from craving or sensual desire, but seclusion from the object itself.

(full context here for ajahn brahm's first jhāna interpretation )

And since first jhāna is an extension of realising the four noble truths (see MN 13), 

therefore the Buddha got the second noble truth wrong. 

To be consistent with (Ajahn Brahm's) first jhāna, it's not craving (taṇhā)  for objects of sensual pleasure (kāma) that is the cause of suffering, 

it's that objects  of sensual pleasure (kāma) that are the cause of suffering.

Therefore, the second noble truth according to Ajahn Brahm is:

The cause of suffering, is objects.

And the way cessation of suffering is realized, is by entering a disembodied frozen stupor, whereby one is forever free from (kāma).  

Ajahn Brahm declares* 

My article title, is not a quoted declaration from Ajahn Brahm, just me finishing the job he started for him and making Ajahn Brahm's Dhamma coherent and consistent.

In MN 13, the part to notice, is that 

    MN 131.1 (What is gratification of sensual pleasure? STED 5kg )

    MN 131.2 (What is drawback of sensual pleasure?)

    MN 131.3 (What is escape from sensual pleasure? Remove chanda + raga),

The escape from sensual pleasures is not to enter Ajahn Brahm's redefined first jhāna as a disembodied frozen stupor where the body disappears, you can't hear sounds, or feel mosquito bites.

You can do that all day and it doesn't Remove chanda + raga, doesn't end craving, the cause of suffering.

The Buddha's first jhāna, done correctly, wears down desire and passion (kāma = sensuality, not "objects") because one realizes the dangers of sensual pleasure, and realizes that first jhāna pleasure doesn't depend on sensual pleasures. 

Ajahn Brahm's redefinition of  first jhāna, by redefining important key words, is corrupted into a dry samatha kung fu formless attainment exercise devoid of wisdom, removing the Buddha's injunction to understand the dangers and nature of sensual pleasure with first jhāna, while in first jhāna.

Forum discussion

frankk replying to someone who wrote:

I am skeptical that a reputable monk/teacher thinks the Buddha was wrong

My blog post about Brahm's new 2nd noble truth was pointing out the incoherence with right samadhi. The point of right samadhi is to deepen right view (2nd noble truth), and Ajahn Brahm's redefined first jhana destroys that connection between right samadhi and right view.

A. Brahm does not say the words "the buddha was wrong", but when he

blatantly contradicts AN 6.63 shown here

ignores the Abhidhamma confirming the Buddha's gloss of first jhāna kāmehi,

ignores KN Petakopadesa also confirming that kāmehi gloss, as well as vitakka and vicara being thinking and evaluation (verbal linguistic mental talk), and explicit gloss of sukha as physical sukha indriya faculty in third jhāna,

as well as many other suttas contradicting A. Brahm's erroneous interpretation of jhāna,

that is essentially saying, "the buddha is wrong, Ajahn Brahm knows better than the Buddha".

Re: Ajahn Brahm declares* that the Buddha was wrong about the second noble truth: the cause of suffering is not 'craving

Post by frank k » 

Sam Vara wrote: Sat Jun 17, 2023 9:05 amThat sounds a bit odd, doesn't it!

Have you tried contacting him to see what he makes of that interpretation? And have you tried to find a charitable way of resolving that apparent anomaly before publishing the inference that he is making an egregious error?
I'd love to have an open discussion with him, and Sujato.
The main issue, the number one issue I have with them, is not that they have wrong interpretations, but that they do it in a disingenuous and dishonorable way, not becoming of an ordained disciple of the Buddha.
Out of the, let's say 50 suttas relevant to the nature of jhāna, they cherry pick about 5 of them, and pretend to not see the other 45 sutta passages that contradict their interpretation of jhāna.
If they made an honorable, transparent, good faith attempt to address the most important of those 50 sutta passages and explain that in writing, then I would not be continually calling them out publicly.
I could simple point to the webpage where they explain their position,
and the webpage where I explain the incoherence of their position,
and that would be the end of it.
I'd just refer people to those links whenever an issue on the forums came up.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

license to kill (kāya): SN 47.9 By default, 'kāya' is the physical body (rūpa kāya) made up of 4 elements, porridge, etc.

 Notice how kāya is used in this sutta, in the two places I have highlighted.

Only then [after doing samadhi] does the Realized One’s body become more comfortable.

The Buddha and arahants, by definition, do not feel mental pain, only physical pain.

So if the Buddha's kāya (physical) body is comfortable, it's not a mental body (nāma-kāya) that became comfortable.

By default, when you see kāya in isolation in a meditation context, such as MN 10, MN 119 as prominent examples, it's talking about a physical body (rūpa kāya), not a mental body (nāma-kāya).

And it's not talking about a physical body that also includes a mental body, as this sutta SN 47.9 makes clear.

(translation style SP-FLUENT by frankk‍)

9. Gilānasutta
9. Sick
Evaṃ me sutaṃ—
So I have heard.
ekaṃ samayaṃ bhagavā vesāliyaṃ viharati veḷuvagāmake.
At one time the Buddha was staying near Vesālī, at the little village of Beluva.
Tatra kho bhagavā bhikkhū āmantesi:
There the Buddha addressed the monks:
“etha tumhe, bhikkhave, samantā vesāliyā yathāmittaṃ yathāsandiṭṭhaṃ yathāsambhattaṃ vassaṃ upetha.
“monks, please enter the rainy season residence with whatever friends or acquaintances you have around Vesālī.
Idhevāhaṃ veḷuvagāmake vassaṃ upagacchāmī”ti.
I’ll commence the rainy season residence right here in the little village of Beluva.”
“Evaṃ, bhante”ti kho te bhikkhū bhagavato paṭissutvā samantā vesāliyā yathāmittaṃ yathāsandiṭṭhaṃ yathāsambhattaṃ vassaṃ upagacchuṃ.
“Yes, sir,” those monks replied. They did as the Buddha said,
Bhagavā pana tattheva veḷuvagāmake vassaṃ upagacchi.
while the Buddha commenced the rainy season residence right there in the little village of Beluva.
Atha kho bhagavato vassūpagatassa kharo ābādho uppajji, bāḷhā vedanā vattanti māraṇantikā.
After the Buddha had commenced the rainy season residence, he fell severely ill, struck by dreadful pains, close to death.
Tatra sudaṃ bhagavā sato sampajāno adhivāsesi avihaññamāno.
But he endured with rememberfulness and lucid-discerning, without worrying.
Atha kho bhagavato etadahosi:
Then it occurred to the Buddha:
“na kho me taṃ patirūpaṃ, yohaṃ anāmantetvā upaṭṭhāke anapaloketvā bhikkhusaṃghaṃ parinibbāyeyyaṃ.
“It would not be appropriate for me to become fully nirvana'd before informing my attendants and taking leave of the monk Saṅgha.
Yannūnāhaṃ imaṃ ābādhaṃ vīriyena paṭipaṇāmetvā jīvitasaṅkhāraṃ adhiṭṭhāya vihareyyan”ti.
Why don’t I forcefully suppress this illness, stabilize the life force, and live on?”
Atha kho bhagavā taṃ ābādhaṃ vīriyena paṭipaṇāmetvā jīvitasaṅkhāraṃ adhiṭṭhāya vihāsi.
So that is what he did.
Atha kho bhagavato so ābādho paṭippassambhi.
Then the Buddha’s illness died down.
Atha kho bhagavā gilānā vuṭṭhito aciravuṭṭhito gelaññā vihārā nikkhamitvā vihārapacchāyāyaṃ paññatte āsane nisīdi.
Soon after the Buddha had recovered from that sickness, he came out from his dwelling and sat in the shade of the porch on the seat spread out.
Atha kho āyasmā ānando yena bhagavā tenupasaṅkami; upasaṅkamitvā bhagavantaṃ abhivādetvā ekamantaṃ nisīdi. Ekamantaṃ nisinno kho āyasmā ānando bhagavantaṃ etadavoca:
Then Venerable Ānanda went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him:
“diṭṭho me, bhante, bhagavato phāsu;
“Sir, it’s fantastic that the Buddha is comfortable,
diṭṭhaṃ, bhante, bhagavato khamanīyaṃ;
that he’s well,
diṭṭhaṃ, bhante, bhagavato yāpanīyaṃ.
and that he’s alright.
Api ca me, bhante, madhurakajāto viya kāyo, disāpi me na pakkhāyanti, dhammāpi maṃ nappaṭibhanti bhagavato gelaññena.
Because when the Buddha was sick, my body felt like it was drugged. I was disorientated, and The Dharmas weren’t clear to me.
Api ca me, bhante, ahosi kācideva assāsamattā:
Still, at least I was consoled by the thought that
‘na tāva bhagavā parinibbāyissati, na yāva bhagavā bhikkhusaṃghaṃ ārabbha kiñcideva udāharatī’”ti.
the Buddha won’t become fully nirvana'd without making some statement regarding the Saṅgha of monks.”
“Kiṃ pana dāni, ānanda, bhikkhusaṃgho mayi paccāsīsati?
“But what could the monk Saṅgha expect from me now, Ānanda?
Desito, ānanda, mayā dhammo anantaraṃ abāhiraṃ karitvā.
I’ve taught the Dhamma without making any distinction between secret and public Dharmas.
Natthānanda, tathāgatassa dhammesu ācariyamuṭṭhi.
The Realized One doesn’t have the closed fist of a teacher when it comes to The Dharmas.
Yassa nūna, ānanda, evamassa:
If there’s anyone who thinks:
‘ahaṃ bhikkhusaṃghaṃ pariharissāmī’ti vā, ‘mamuddesiko bhikkhusaṃgho’ti vā, so nūna, ānanda, bhikkhusaṃghaṃ ārabbha kiñcideva udāhareyya.
‘I’ll take charge of the Saṅgha of monks,’ or ‘the Saṅgha of monks is meant for me,’ let them make a statement regarding the Saṅgha.
Tathāgatassa kho, ānanda, na evaṃ hoti:
But the Realized One doesn’t think like this,
‘ahaṃ bhikkhusaṃghaṃ pariharissāmī’ti vā, ‘mamuddesiko bhikkhusaṃgho’ti vā.
Sa kiṃ, ānanda, tathāgato bhikkhusaṃghaṃ ārabbha kiñcideva udāharissati.
so why should he make some statement regarding the Saṅgha?
Etarahi kho panāhaṃ, ānanda, jiṇṇo vuddho mahallako addhagato vayoanuppatto.
I’m now old, elderly and senior. I’m advanced in years and have reached the final stage of life.
Āsītiko me vayo vattati.
I’m currently eighty years old.
Seyyathāpi, ānanda, jajjarasakaṭaṃ veḷamissakena yāpeti;
Just as a decrepit cart keeps going by relying on straps,
evameva kho, ānanda, veḷamissakena maññe tathāgatassa kāyo yāpeti.
in the same way, the Realized One’s body keeps going by relying on straps, or so you’d think.
Yasmiṃ, ānanda, samaye tathāgato sabbanimittānaṃ amanasikārā ekaccānaṃ vedanānaṃ nirodhā animittaṃ cetosamādhiṃ upasampajja viharati, phāsutaro, ānanda, tasmiṃ samaye tathāgatassa kāyo hoti.
Sometimes the Realized One, not focusing on any signs, and with the cessation of certain feelings, enters and remains in the signless undistractible-lucidity of the heart. Only then does the Realized One’s body become more comfortable.
Tasmātihānanda, attadīpā viharatha attasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā, dhammadīpā dhammasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā.
So Ānanda, be your own island, your own refuge, with no other refuge. Let The Dharma be your island and your refuge, with no other refuge.
Kathañcānanda, bhikkhu attadīpo viharati attasaraṇo anaññasaraṇo, dhammadīpo dhammasaraṇo anaññasaraṇo?
And how does a monk do this?
Idhānanda, bhikkhu
It’s when …

(standard 4sp🐘 formula)

kāye kāyā-(a)nu-passī viharati
He lives continuously seeing the body as a body [as it truly is].
vedanāsu vedanā-(a)nu-passī viharati
He lives continuously seeing sensations as sensations [as it truly is].
citte cittā-(a)nu-passī viharati
He lives continuously seeing a mind as a mind [as it truly is].
dhammesu dhammā-(a)nu-passī viharati
He lives continuously seeing ☸Dharma as ☸Dharma [as it truly is].
(… elided refrain from each way…)
[in each of the 4 ways of remembering]:
ātāpī sampajāno satimā,
he is ardent 🏹, he has lucid discerning 👁, he remembers 🐘 [to apply relevant ☸Dharma].
vineyya loke abhijjhā-do-manassaṃ;
he should remove greed and distress regarding the world.
Evaṃ kho, ānanda, bhikkhu attadīpo viharati attasaraṇo anaññasaraṇo, dhammadīpo dhammasaraṇo anaññasaraṇo.
That’s how a monk is their own island, their own refuge, with no other refuge. That’s how The Dharma is their island and their refuge, with no other refuge.
Ye hi keci, ānanda, etarahi vā mamaccaye vā attadīpā viharissanti attasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā, dhammadīpā dhammasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā; tamatagge mete, ānanda, bhikkhū bhavissanti ye keci sikkhākāmā”ti.
Whether now or after I have passed, any who shall live as their own island, their own refuge, with no other refuge; with The Dharma as their island and their refuge, with no other refuge—those monks of mine who want to train shall be among the best of the best.”

(end of sutta⏹️)


Yet, you have popular famous monks like Ajahn Brahm and Sujato who gave themselves a license to kill kāya whenever they want in the suttas they translate. They can turn kāya into a physical body or a mental body devoid of a physical body whenever it suits their agenda.

This makes their sutta translations on jhāna incoherent, inconsistent, and unusable.

Even Brahm and Sujato can not teach their students how to do their redefined "jhāna" from the suttas alone. They have to provide a special dictionary where they redefine body to mean "mental body devoid of physical body", thinking as "not thinking", material form of 4 elements as "visual appearance devoid of solidity".

And even then, their students still can't do their redefined "jhāna" based in reading their corrupted sutta translations.

See Sujato's AN 8.63, and SN 47.10 for example. It reads like complete gibberish. There's no way anyone can meditate on the 7 awakening factors and develop jhāna (real Buddha jhāna or their redefined "jhāna") from that translation. 

If I used their translation methodology, giving myself a license to ambiguate and change meanings of important fundamental words like they do, I could translate the Quoran and Christian Bible into an accurate guide to the four noble truths leading to nirvana.

Kāya by default, is the physical body in a meditation and other contexts

Especially check out DN 2 and MN 13