pali discussion group questions


All of that is considered Jhāna?

Dear Pali friends,

This part is interesting.
I'm reading B.Bodhi's new AN translations book right now.

from AN 1.382 to AN 1.554, it seems to qualify many activities as being "jhāna", 
for example, AN 1.382 - AN 1.393

382. “accharāsaṅghātamattampi ce, bhikkhave, bhikkhu paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ bhāveti, ayaṃ vuccati,bhikkhave  ‘bhikkhu arittajjhāno viharati, satthusāsanakaro ovādapatikaro, amoghaṃ raṭṭhapiṇḍaṃbhuñjati’. ko pana vādo ye naṃ bahulīkarontī”ti!

♦ 383-389. “accharāsaṅghātamattampi ce, bhikkhave, bhikkhu dutiyaṃ jhānaṃ bhāveti ... pe ... tatiyaṃjhānaṃ bhāveti ... pe ... catutthaṃ jhānaṃ bhāveti ... pe ... mettaṃ cetovimuttiṃ bhāveti ... pe ...karuṇaṃ cetovimuttiṃ bhāveti ... pe ... muditaṃ cetovimuttiṃ bhāveti ... pe ... upekkhaṃ cetovimuttiṃbhāveti ... pe ....

♦ 390-393. kāye kāyānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ;vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati ... pe ... citte cittānupassī viharati ... pe ... dhammesudhammānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. 


up to AN 1.564, they all share, if I'm interpreting the "pe" and ellisions correctly, this ending clause of "... he is called a bhikkhu who is not devoid of jhāna ..."

In the noble eightfold path, sammā samādhi is defined as the 4 jhānas, but how should we understand the "not being devoid of jhāna" as it's used in these AN passages?

metta,
Frank

Follow up comments:

Earlier in AN 1.53 (English is bodhi trans.)
AN 1.53: “Bhikkhus, if for just the time of a finger snap a bhikkhu pursues a mind of loving-kindness, he is called a bhikkhu who is not devoid of jhāna, who acts upon the teaching of the Teacher, who responds to his advice, and who does not eat the country’s almsfood in vain. How  much more, then, those who cultivate it!”

At that point as I was reading, it wasn't so puzzling, since metta bhāvana is a well known way to launch into first jhāna.

At AN 1.382, it starts off reasonably enough, with the four jhanas as the objects of not "being devoid of jhāna", then mentions not just mettā bhāvana but all 4 brahmavihāras. Then it mentions the 4 satipatthana, 4 aspects of right effort, all part o the samādhi group, so again not too surprising and still closely related to jhāna. Then it starts to enumerate more topics under "not devoid of jhana",  what seems like most of the 37 bodhipakkiya, and then even 10 kasinas for samatha development, vipassana themes, and it seems like everything and the kitchen sink.

So what is meant by these passages on Jhāna?

These are the possibilities I can think of:

  1. jhāna is meant here as meditation in general, and not specifically sammā samādhi definition for four jhānas.
  2. jhāna (as sammā samādhi) is a prerequisite to bring all of those meditation topics mention to their culmination.
  3. sammā samādhi, jhāna and the entirety of the eightfold noble path are closely intertwined, so that no part of the buddha's system of practice can be devoid of jhāna (sammā samādhi) if one expects to succeed.

But none of those explanations feels very satisfying. 





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