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The Essential Dhamma

When speaking of 'The Dhamma', capital "D", it is the following that is being spoken of:

The Four Settings-up of Mind

Living in a body, over-seeing body energetic, alert, careful; observing it's arising, observing its ending, with such penetrating knowledge that one drops one's anger and ambition and is bound down to nothing at all in the world.

Living in sense-experience, over-seeing sense-experience energetic, alert, careful; observing it's arising, observing its ending, with such penetrating knowledge that one drops one's anger and ambition and is bound down to nothing at all in the world.

Living in mental states, over-seeing mental states energetic, alert, careful; observing it's arising, observing its ending, with such penetrating knowledge that one drops one's anger and ambition and is bound down to nothing at all in the world.

Living in the Dhamma, over-seeing things, energetic, alert, careful; observing their arising, observing their ending, with such penetrating knowledge that one drops one's anger and ambition and is bound down to nothing at all in the world.

The Four Consummate Efforts

Generating desire, exerting the heart, seeking out the energy and self-control to prevent the arising of bad, unskillful things not yet arisen;

Generating desire, exerting the heart, seeking out the energy and self-control to let go of bad, unskillful things that have arisen;

Generating desire, exerting the heart, seeking out the energy and self-control to give rise to skillful things not yet arisen;

Generating desire, exerting the heart, seeking out the energy and self-control for the non-confusion, increased standing, and completely fulfilled development of skillful things that have arisen.

The Four Paths to Magic Power

Developing a serene state of energetic intent to create for the self that which is wished.

Developing a serene state of energetic intent to create for the self that energy which is necessary to realize one's intent.

Developing a serene state of energetic intent to create for the self the heart to accomplish one's intent.

Developing a serene state of energetic intent to create for the self the investigation necessary to accomplish one's intent.

The Five Powers

Faith that the Buddha was an Awakened one and has taught the Dhamma well.

Sense of shame

Fear of blame.

Energy

Wisdom

The Five Forces

Faith that the Buddha was an Awakened one and has taught the Dhamma well.

Sense of shame

Fear of blame.

Energy

Wisdom

The Seven Dimensions of Self-Awakening

Mind, Researching the Dhamma, Energy, Entheusiasm, Impassivity, Serenity, and Detachment.

The Aristocratic Eight-Dimensional High Way

High View,
High Principles,
High Talk,
High Works,
High Lifestyle,
High Self-control
High Mind,
High Serenity.

See: SN 3.22.81 SN 3.22.101

 


 

Oblog: [O.12.6.18] Thursday, December 06, 2018 9:55 AM

Comparative Translation Vocabulary

A Study of Some Translatons
of the Terms of the Core Dhammas
with Recommendations and Their Explanations

 


 

The Core Dhammas

The Four Settings-up of Mind

The Four Consummate Efforts

The Four Paths to Supernormal Powers

The Five Forces

The Five Powers

The Seven Dimensions of Self-Awakening

The Aristocratic Eight-Dimensional High Way

The Jhānas

Miscellaneous Terms

 


 

The Four Settings-up of Mind

Pali Recommended PTS Bhk. Bodhi Bhk. Thanissaro Bhk. Sujato
Sati Mind, Memory Mindfulness Mindfulness Mindfulness Mindfulness
Satipaṭṭhāna Setting up Mind Setting Up, Uprisings, Stations, Foundations of Mindfulness Foundations of Mindfulness Frames of Reference Mindfulness
Ekāyano ayaɱ Maggo One Sure Way One Way, The One and Only Path The Direct Path The Direct Path The Path to Convergence
Kāya Body Body Body Body Body
Kāye kāy'ānupassī viharati (Vedana, Citta, Dhamma). Living in the Body (etc) Overseeing Body (etc.) Contemplating the body in the body Contemplating the body as a body Focusing on the body in and of itself Observing an Aspect of the (Body, Feelings, Mind, Principles
Vedanā Experience Feeling Feeling Feeling Feeling
Citte Heart, Mental State Consciousness, thought, Mind Mind Mind
Dhamma The Dhamma Mind-States, Mental Objects, Ideas Mind Objects Mental Qualities Principles

Sati. Most translations conflate 'Sati' with 'Satipaṭṭhāna'. It is "Mind" and "Setting up the Mind". 'Satipaṭṭhāna' deals with the practices necessary to build up, organize and maintain the memory. Sati is the end-product, a mind above it all, seeing how body, experiences, mental states and The Dhamma come to be and burn out, watchful and careful, recollected, reviewing and calming down, overcoming any thirsts, ambitions and disappointments that may appear, able to recall in minute detail things said and done long ago.

Ekāyano ayaɱ Maggo. The recommended solution, 'One Sure Way' is a reasonable read of the Pali, but mostly serves to eliminate the idea of 'one and only one way' which today offends some sensibilities. 'The One and Only Way' is problematic only to outsiders; those with insight into the holographic nature of the Dhamma will see that 'This One Way' encompasses the many other ways described in the Dhamma, and those other ways encompass this way.

But what in Bhk. Sujato's translation, does 'convergence' mean here? Convergence with what? Convergence into Nibbāna? That would be a gloss and a bad one at that in that it requires foreknowledge of Dhamma and the Goal by the reader. As it is it doesn't make sense.

Kāya. (Vedana, Citta, Dhamma) Kāyānupassi. Bhk. Bodhi's 'body as a body' is not helpful as an instruction as to how to organize one's memories over the entire category 'body'. The idea is to so observe that mode in which you live so as to have all that occurs in it organized; easily retrievable. That includes such things as seeing that the thing comes to be, is transient, brings pain, etc., as well as being just the thing it is. Bhk. Thanissaro's 'focusing on the body, etc., in and of itself' just passes, but misses the idea of these four things being modes of living. It could be 'observing an aspect' per Bhk. Sujato. It is also 'observing the whole', and observing how things that are not the body proper affect the body, etc., or point to the destiny of bodies, etc.. But the Pali does not point to either an aspect or the whole. The way it is phrased it covers all angles. All ignore the 'viharati' where the idea is 'living in a body, one oversees (synonym for sati; minds) the body'. "Living in" means that this is the primary focus of one's daily habits. One lives primarily concerned with the body and its activities; another primarily with experiences; another primarily with one's mental states; another lives with everything referenced to the Dhamma.

Vedanā. This word serves three functions in the Dhamma: Experience, Sense-experience and sensation. Experience when it is experience in general and when it is the extra-sensory experience of the Arahant; sense-experience when it is experience of an existing being; sensation when it is what is felt upon experience. Feeling covers only one of these uses.

Citta. Translated 'mind' it removes vital information as to the nature of this mind. The broad idea is heart; not in the sense of the physical organ, but in the sense of 'at the heart of the matter' the central focus. And in other uses it conveys the idea of having the will to act.

Dhamma. There are two forms in which this word appears: with capital "D" and with lower case "d". In the Pāḷi there is no such distinction. Determination of which is which must be made from context and sometimes that can be confusing. The former distinguishes the teachings of the Buddha and is a synonym of "Pāḷi". The latter means 'thing'. 'Principles' describes rules for behavior or judgment derived from some source. The Dhamma, specifically The Four Truths, is the source, not the principle. One could make aspects of the Dhamma into one's principles, one cannot turn the whole of the Dhamma into a set of principles.

 

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The Four Consummate Efforts

Pali Recommended PTS Bhk. Bodhi Bhk. Thanissaro Bhk. Sujato
Cattāro Samma-p-padhānā Four Consummate Efforts Right, Supreme, Great Efforts, Strivings, Right Strivings, Kinds of Striving Right Effort Four Right Efforts

Putting forth energy and making an effort
to eliminate bad conditions that are present;
to prevent the arising of bad conditions not yet present;
to acquire good conditions that are not yet present; and
to retain good conditions that are present.

 

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The Four Paths to Supernormal Powers

Pali Recommended PTS Bhk. Bodhi Bhk. Thanissaro Bhk. Sujato
Cattāri Iddhipādā The Four Power Paths Basis of, Roads to Psycic Power, Effective Power, Mystic Potencies, Stages to Efficiency Bases for Spiritual Power Bases of Power Four bases of psychic power
Chanda Wanting, Wishing Desire-to-do, Intention, Desire Desire, zeal Desire Enthusiasm
Viriya Energy Energy Energy Persistence Energy
Citte Heart, Having the Heart for it Consciousness, thought, Mind Mind Mental development
Vīmaɱsa Rememberance, Investigation Investigation Investigation Discrimination Inquiry
Chanda- [Citta, Viriya, Vīmaɱsa] samādhi-padhāna-sankhāra-samannāgataɱ iddhi-pādaɱ bhāveti begets the Powerpath Consisting of Effort-upon-Effort at Own-Making Serene Wishes [etc.] develops the stage which is characterized by the mental co-efficient of an effort of purposive concentration [intellectual concentration, energized concentration, investigating concentration]; develops the basis for spiritual power that possesses concentration due to desire and volitional formations of striving [etc.] develops the base of power endowed with concentration founded on desire & the fabrications of exertion, [etc.] develops the basis of psychic power that has immersion due to enthusiasm [etc.], and active effort

Chanda. This term must indicate some sort of will to act; Bhk Sujato's 'enthusiasm' in-and-of-itself has no component related to intent to act. Someone with enthusiasm could well have an intent to act, but that is a separate thing.

The paths spelled out. So far I have not seen a translation of the paths that makes sense or really satisfies. Bhk. Sujato's construction makes sense, but where in it is 'sankhāra' (his 'choices'? Oh! Here it is: 'active' [effort: padhāna]. So is 'Sankhāra' for him 'choices' or 'active'? And if both, how? Where is the equivalence?

 

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The Five Forces

Pali Recommended PTS Bhk. Bodhi Bhk. Thanissaro Bhk. Sujato
Indriyāni Forces Faculties Faculties Faculties Five Faculties
Saddhā Faith Faith Faith Conviction Faith
Viriya Energy Energy Energy Persistence Energy
Sati Mind, Memory Mindfulness Mindfulness Mindfulness Mindfulness
Samādhi Serenity, Getting High Concentration Concentration Concentration Immersion
Paññā Wisdom Insight, Intelligence, Wisdom Discernment Wisdom

See below next.

 

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The Five Powers

Pali Recommended PTS Bhk. Bodhi Bhk. Thanissaro Bhk. Sujato [AN.5.15]
Balani Powers Powers Powers Strengths Powers
Saddhā Faith Faith Faith Conviction Faith
Viriya Energy Energy Energy Persistence Energy
Sati Mind, Memory Mindfulness Mindfulness Mindfulness Mindfulness
Samādhi Serenity, Getting High Concentration Concentration Concentration Immersion
Paññā Wisdom Insight, Intelligence, Wisdom Discernment Wisdom

The Balani and the Indriya are essentially the same phenomena, but seen from two different perspectives. One is the natural or impersonal energetic force; the other is the power held by one who has that force. 'Faculties' for 'Indriyana' is the concensus but messes up badly when all the various 'indriyani' are listed. See the Glossology - linked from the topic title above.

 

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The Seven Dimensions of Self-Awakening

Pali Recommended PTS Bhk. Bodhi Bhk. Thanissaro Bhk. Sujato
Satta Sambojjhangā Seven Dimensions of Self-Awakening Parts, Links, Factors in Awakening, Enlightonment, Wisdom Enlightenment Factors The Seven Factors for Awakening Seven awakening factors
Sati Mind, Memory Mindfulness Mindfulness Mindfulness Mindfulness
Dhamma-Vicaya Investigation of Dhamma or Things Dhamma Testing, Investigation, Investigation, discrimination of states Analysis of Qualities Investigation of principles
Viriya Energy Energy Energy Persistence Energy
Pīti Enthusiasm Zest, Rapture (Horner), Joy Rapture Rapture Rapture
Passaddhi Impassivity, Equanimity, Poise Calming Down, Serenity, Satisfaction, Tranquillity, Tranquillity Serenity tranquillity
Samādhi Serenity, Getting High Concentration Concentration Concentration Immersion
Upekkha Detachment Equanimity, poise Equanimity Equanimity Equanimity

Sambojjhangā. Where is the 'sam' in the translations? These are the things that one needs in order to awaken one's self.

Dhamma-Vicaya. How can one effectively investigate one's 'principles' (Bhk. Sujato) if one has not investigated the basis for forming principles? The term would most usefully indicate the fact that it is at this point that one investigates 'things' and 'the Dhamma'.

Pīti. I believe it was Bhk. Thanissaro and his personal experience of what his teacher called 'rapture' (which sounds like it was in fact rapture of a sort) that has imposed that term on us for the translation of Pīti. But Pīti is in fact a term that covers an emotional liking that spans appreciation, mild liking, enthusiasm, excitement, friendly feelings, affection, love and higher order emotions such as rapture. A word is needed that encompasses the lot.

Samādhi. Samādhi is not 'concentration'. Concentration is way too narrow a concept to cover the scope of 'samādhi'. Samādhi has concentration, uses concentration, but is itself a state with flexible attention and is certainly open to interference by insights. As 'immersion' (Bhk. Sujato) this is precisely what 'samādhi' is not. The word either means 'over and above' or 'even higher'. Samādhi is a state of full alertness while being in full control. And if the term is to align with the goals of the Dhamma, it needs to indicate not 'immersion in', but 'detachment from'. And this does not deal with the various other descriptions of Samādhi as encompassing the whole of the practice; as being also the states of signlessness, aimlessness and pointlessness, and consisting of three other sorts (see PED): with thinking and pondering; with pondering only; without thnking or pondering.

Upekkha. Everyone loves equanimity. But 'equanimity' is a state of balance between two conditions. Upekkha is used two ways in the suttas: as a state balanced between two conditions; and as the state of being detached from all conditions. Not between any two things. Technically it is the difference between being freed from things of Time (the world, existence); and being freed from things not of Time (recognizing in the freedom from things of Time that this recognition is one step removed from freedom from things of Time and is an ultimate freedom which because it is not based on anything own-made (things of Time) it is not subject to change or pain.

Passaddhi, Samādhi, Upekkha. These three need to form a progression. First you calm down and stop reacting: impassivity; then you become serene/above it all; then you detach.

The Satta Sambojjhangā is a complete path to Nibbāna. Ask yourself if a path that ends in equanimity is one that does that. Disturbance is implicit in equanimity.

 

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The Aristocratic Eight- Ten-Dimensional High Way

Pali Recommended PTS Bhk. Bodhi Bhk. Thanissaro Bhk. Sujato
Dhamma Dhamma, The Teaching Mental Objects, Mental Qualities, Event, Action, Nibbana Principles
Sammā Consummate, High Right, Perfect, Right, Correct, Perfectly Right Right
Micchā Misguided, Contrary Wrong Wrong Wrong Wrong
Diṭṭhi Working Hypothesis, View View View View View
Saɱkappa Principles Purpose, Aim, Intention; Horner: Thought Intention Resolve Thought
Vācā Talk, Speech Speech Speech Speech Speech
Kammanta Works Action, Doing Action Action Action
Ājīva Lifestyle Livelihood, living Livelihood Livelihood Livelihood
Vāyāma Self-control Effort Effort Effort Effort
Sati Mind, Memory Mindfulness Mindfulness Mindfulness Mindfulness
Samādhi Serenity, Getting High Concentration Concentration Concentration Immersion
Cattāri Jhānāni The Four Knowings, Gnosis Musing, Jhāna Jhāna Mental Absorption The Four Absorption
Avijjā Blindness Ignorance Ignorance Ignorance Ignorance
Ñāṇa Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge Knowledge NA
Vimutti Freedom Freedom Liberation Release Freedom
Diṭṭhā Seeing, The Seen The Seen The Seen The Seen Seen
Upekha Detachment Equanimity, Poise, Indifference Equanimity Equanimity Equanimity

Eight/Ten. The 'Ten' is generally more satisfying in that it can be set up: Sammā Diṭṭhi as working hypothesis > Sammā Diṭṭhā actual experience of seeing. The Eight still works but you need to work out how the story ends either through experience of Fourth Jhāna or from other suttas.

Sammā and Micchā The idea of 'Sammā' is not that a 'sammā thing' is the right thing and all other things are wrong. The idea is that these things are the best choice among other choices which may be best for other purposes. Consummate, best, or highest. The opposite condition is not 'wrong'. It means 'contrary' or 'misguided', or 'opposing'. Why should such an established set of terms be altered? Because hanging on to things being 'right' or 'wrong' is taking sides and holding points of view and that is involvement with the world and the fact that the individual is blind to that fact precludes their escape from such views.

Diṭṭhi. 'View' works if one remembers that 'views' are opinions and opinions are not necessarily true and that what is required to put this step of the path into action is to use Sammā Diṭṭhi as a working hypothesis; to be proved by trial and error following the rest of the path. Using the ten-fold path one is almost compelled to use 'working hypothesis' to avoid an incomprehensible redundancy.

Saɱkappa. This is 'principles'. First one sets up one's working hypothesis, then one determines the principles that follow from that working hypothesis. If it is all pain, what is one's first principle? Dumping it.

Kammanta. To say this term stands for 'action' is to ignore the common context of 'commerse' and to force it into being an exact synonym of kamma which it is not. The word is really a manta, a composite term that means: Work, mantras, commerse. 'Works' covers all this.

Ājīva. The word means 'to live'. What one does to live. So 'livelihood' and 'living' would work if the term did not so completely ignore the idea of making a living or earning one's keep. Sammā ājīva is the practice of analyzing one's situation and determining those aspects of it that are causing good states to vanish or diminish and bad states to appear or increase and getting rid of them. It is a style or manner of living to be applied to every aspect of one's life, not just a way of earning a living.

Vāyāma. A synonym for 'padhānā'. The effort being made is to establish self-control.

Avijjā. Not-vision. Not 'ignorance'. Not seeing. The simile is of two men standing at the foot of a mountain. One climbs to the top and describes the 360° angle of view; the other denies that such a view is possible. The first comes down and brings the second up to the top where he sees what he could not see before. At the foot of the mountain #2 could know in theory about (have knowledge of) what can be seen from a height but could not see it. The term needs to indicate a lack of actual experience of seeing: blindness.

Ñāṇa. Knowlege. Book knowledge. The Streamwinner has 'Ñāṇa and Dassana': knowing and seeing (of the fact that whatsoever has come to be will allso pass away). The Arahant has first Vijjā (he sees the Four Truths as they are) then Upekkhā (Detachment) ... but it is also said of the Arahant (Arahants are also Streamwinners) that he has knowledge and vision.

Vimutti. Freedom is correct. Release is 'Vimokkha'. Release implies a possibly temporary state, freedom points to the absolute state. We want the absolute state and the progression in the suttas is from Vimokkha to vimutti.

 

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The Jhānas

Pali Recommended PTS Bhk. Bodhi Bhk. Thanissaro Bhk. Sujato
Cattāri Jhānāni The Four Knowings, Gnosis Musing, Jhāna Jhāna Mental Absorption The Four Absorption
Paṭhama Jhāna: Vivicc'eva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pīti-sukhaṃ paṭhamajjhānaṃ upasampajja viharati Separated from sensuality, separated from unskillful things, with thinking, with pondering solitude-born pleasurable enthusiasm, there arises and he makes a habit of the First Knowing Aloof from pleasures of the senses, aloof from unskilled states of mind, [he enters] into the first meditation which is accompanied by initial thought and discursive thought, is born of aloofness, and is rapturous and joyful Quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, [he enters] upon and [abides in] in the first jhana, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion. Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities -- [a monk] enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation 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.
Vitakka vicārānaṃ vūpasamā ajjhattaṃ sampasādanaṃ cetaso ekodibhāvaṃ avitakkaṃ avicāraṃ samādhijaṃ pīti-sukhaṃ dutiyajjhānaṃ upasampajja viharati With the resolution of thinking and pondering, attaining impassivity, becoming whole-heartedly single-minded, without thinking and pondering, with the pleasurable enthusiasm born of Serenity, there arises and he makes a habit of the Second Knowing By allaying initial and discursive thought, with the mind subjectively tranquillised and fixed on one point, I entered into and abided in the second meditation which is devoid of initial and discursive thought, is born of concentration, and is rapturous and joyful. With the stilling of applied and sustained thought, I entered upon and abided in the second jhana, which has self-confidence and singleness of mind without applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of concentration. Furthermore, with the stilling of directed thought and evaluation, he enters and remains in the second jhana: rapture and pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought and evaluation -- internal assurance. 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
Pītiyā ca virāgā upekkhako ca viharati sato ca sampajāno sukhaṃ ca kāyena paṭisaṃvedeti, yan taṃ ariyā ācikkhanti 'upekkhako satimā sukhavihārī'ti taṃ tatiyajjhānaṃ upasampajja viharati Dispassionate and detached from enthusiasm, living self-conscious and aware of bodilysense-reactions such as those described by the Aristocrats when they say: "Detached, minding, he lives pleasantly", there arises and he makes a habit of the Third Knowing By the fading out of rapture, I dwelt with equanimity, attentive, and clearly conscious; and I experienced in my person that joy of which the ariyans say: 'Joyful lives he who has equanimity and is mindful,' and I entered into and abided in the third meditation. With the fading away as well of rapture, I abided in equanimity, and mindful and fully aware, still feeling pleasure with the body, I entered upon and abided in the third jhana, on account of which noble ones announce: 'He has a pleasant abiding who has equanimity and is mindful.' And furthermore, with the fading of rapture, he remains in equanimity, mindful and alert, and physically sensitive to pleasure. He enters and remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous and mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding.' And with the fading away of rapture, they enter and remain in the third absorption, where they meditate with equanimity, mindful and aware, personally experiencing the bliss of which the noble ones declare, 'Equanimous and mindful, one meditates in bliss.'
Sukhassa ca pahāṇā dukkhassa ca pahāṇā pubb'eva somanassa-domanassānaṃ atthaŋgamā adukkha-m-asukhaṃ upekkhā-sati-pārisuddhiṃ catutthajjhānaṃ upasampajja viharati Letting go of his former experiences of pleasure and pain, allowing his experience of mental ease and discomfort to subside on their own, without pleasure or pain, with utterly pure detachment of mind, there arises and he makes a habit of the Fourth Knowing By getting rid of joy, by getting rid of anguish, by the going down of my former pleasures and sorrows, I entered into and abided in the fourth meditation which has neither anguish nor joy, and which is entirely purified by equanimity and mindfulness. With the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous disappearance of joy and grief, I entered upon and abided in the fourth jhana, which has neither-pain-nor-pleasure and purity of mindfulness due to equanimity. And furthermore, with the abandoning of pleasure and stress -- as with the earlier disappearance of elation and distress -- he enters and remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity and mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain. Giving up pleasure and pain, and ending former happiness and sadness, they enter and remain in the fourth absorption, without pleasure or pain, with pure equanimity and mindfulness

The position here relative to the whole of the Pāḷi, but most particularly to the jhānas is that there is no-one living today that it is reasonable to trust as to personal claims at experience of such that would inform anything other than a translation that held tightly to the etymological, literal and contextual Pāḷi (all three!). This makes Bhk. Sujato odd man out when it comes to his translation of the formulas for the jhānas (and some other terms).

The way he has constructed the jhānas one begins by sitting down and focusing mindfulness right there (parimukhaɱ satim) (without saying what 'right there' means), and, without instruction as to abandoning thinking and pondering (vitakka and vicara outside jhāna where he accepts this meaning in so many words) one abandons thinking and pondering (vitakka and vicara) classing it as 'unskillful' (though there are clearly skillful thoughts or how would one ever think to study the Dhamma?); then in addition to focusing mindfulness right there (parimukhaɱ satim), one places the mind and keeps it connected (vitakka and vicara inside jhāna — though there is no distinction made anywhere in the suttas as to an inside and outside jhāna vitakka and vicara) (connected to what is not specified) and somehow by solitude alone, rapture (the highest defined meaning of pīti) and bliss arise.

That is quite an accomplishment for the first stage of a progression of steps leading away from involvement with such things of the world as sensuality and unskillful things.

The position here is that the first jhāna is the first step up off active involvement with the world. You are still thinking as you were before jhāna, but now the thoughts and pondering are constructive towards achieving the goal: thinkinig and pondering over problems interfering with living the Dhamma and understanding the Dhamma, ending in the transition from the first to the second jhāna when one has reached the point where thinking and pondering are not needed, at least for the time being. Thus the first jhāna is relatively easy to get to in it's simplest form, but it evolves in depth as one's practice evolves. What is necessary for the first jhāna is solitude and an appreciation of that solitude. This way there is nothing hidden from view: the factors of the jhānas are stated and then removed a bit at a time as indicated in the formulas. Going beyond what is there is hubris.

Then, for the second jhāna, after all our work of sitting down and focusing mindfulness right there (parimukhaɱ satim), without instruction as to how it happens, placing the mind and keeping it connected (vitakka and vicara inside jhāna) are stilled.

Where is this headed? I have a theory. This view of the jhānas is one which cannot be practiced. Trying to do it per Bhk. Sujato's formula results in getting twisted up like a pretzel. Looking to the outcome as the intent we recollect the early statements of commentators that the jhānas are no longer possible to attain. This is great cover for one who has no ability to achieve jhāna as described in the suttas using plain speaking Pali. This in turn strengthens reliance on the commentaries which strengthens the rapidly self-destructing pre-eminance of the Theravada tradition. How Bhk. Sujato, who at one time spoke of his 'almost being ashamed of being a Theravadan Bhikkhu' and who also has published works criticizing the commentaries ended up on the side of the commentators with this position is a mystery. Or not. The position serves well as a cover for those who can't whether ancient or modern.

Bhk. Sujato's formulas for jhānas three and four are more or less standard.

Here is the thing: However translated the formulas for the jhānas must go from involvement to less involvement with the world. The Four are a progression ending in utter detachment. Generally, following the recommended formulas or those of the others except Bhk. Sujato's one does go from involvement to detachment. Using Bhk. Sujato's formula you go spinning around and around never getting even to the first jhāna.

 

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Miscellaneous Terms

Pali Recommended PTS Bhk. Bodhi Bhk. Thanissaro Bhk. Sujato
AppamādaAN 10.15 Care Earnestness, diligence Diligence Heedfulness Diligence
AbhiññāAN 5.28 Higher Knowledge/Powers super knowledge, knowledge direct knowledge supernormal realizing anything that can be realized by insight to which they extend the mind
Āhāra Food Food, supports Nutriments Nutriments Food
Viññāṇa Consciousness (Re-knowing-knowing-knowledge) Consciousness, Cognition Consciousness Consciousness Consciousness
Āsavā Influences, Corrupting Influences Cankers, Corruptions, Intoxicants, Poisons Taints Effluents, Fermentations Defilements
Sankhārā Own-making Activities, Volitional Activities, Complexes, dispositions, synergies, mental property, mental adjuncts causal activities, conditioned activities, formations, exertion Fabrications Choice
Parimukhaɱ Satim Mind around mouth set his mindfulness alert established mindfulness in front setting mindfulness to the fore [lit: the front of the chest] focuses their mindfulness right there

Sankhārā. For a thorough discussion of this term and how it is being mis-translated all around see the discussion: Is Nibbāna Conditioned? Bhk. Sujato's 'choices' is a matter of taking one factor of a process and calling it the whole process. What we are doing here is making trouble for ourselves by continuously re-creating existence in a personal world. That is own-making and 'own-making' serves well for the phenomena described wherever sankhāra is found. To chose among alternative plans, schemes, intentions, actions in order to to get experience of living is the meaning of 'upadana'.

 


 

Source Texts:

Almost all the terms found here can be found in DN 33, DN 22, DN 15, MN 10


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