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17:55 24 февраля 2024
Автор Ассаджи, 07:47 09 октября 2003
07:47 09 октября 2003
недавно была опубликована глава из книги досточтимого Хенепола Гунаратаны,
с несколько более полным описанием арупа джхан, чем в его статьях
Интересно, что он говорит об улавливании тонкой материи в первых четырех джханах, что напоминает танматры в йоге.
Before beginning the section on Beyond the Four Jhanas (aruppas) Bhante Henepola Gunaratana completes the first section on The Higher Jhanas with the following:
"From our inquiry two important points emerge concerning the dynamics of jhana development. First, the ascent from one jhana to another is signaled by a progressive elimination of jhana factors. The first jhana, as we saw, has five factors. In moving to the second jhana two factors, applied thought and sustained thought, are abandoned, in moving to the third rapture is abandoned, and in moving to the fourth happiness is abandoned, replaced by neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling. This process of elimination, we can assume, involves concurrently an intensification of concentration, whereby the energy that was diffused among the coarser and more numerous jhana factors comes to be invested in the subtler and fewer factors, enabling the concentration to gain in depth and intensity.
The second point to be noticed is that in the formulas for each of the ascending jhanas new elements were mentioned, most of which did not correspond with jhana factors. The second jhana formula added "internal confidence", the equivalent of faith. The third jhana formula added equanimity, mindfulness, and discernment, and the fourth added "purification of mindfulness due to equanimity". These elements, though not in themselves jhana factors, are still deserving of mention. The jhana factors are the states which directly effect the jhanic functions of countering the hindrances and unifying mind on the object. But beyond these can be found, in each jhana, a number of other factors which contribute to the distinctive character of the attainment, and these have been selected for inclusion in it's descriptive formula. This procedure helps make it clear that the jhanas are not abstract states completely susceptible to schematic analysis, but living experiences with a vitality and directness that elude mere intellectual treatment."
BEYOND THE JHANAS
"Following the attainment of the fourth jhana there are several options open to the meditator. These can be grouped into three basic categories:
1) The attainment of the four aruppas, immaterial jhanas involving further concentration and refinement of mental serenity.
2) The development of the abhinnas, the higher faculties of knowledge in some cases using in supernormal powers, which presupposes the development of the immaterial jhanas.
3) A third alternative is the cultivation of wisdom, which brings about the destruction of the defilements and emancipation from samsara.
In the present chapter we will explore the first and second of these three alternatives, closing with some remarks concerning the relationship between jhanas and rebirth. Then in the next two chapters we will examine the place of jhana in the development of wisdom leading to final deliverance.
Throughout the following discussion it should be borne in mind that the attainment of the immaterial jhanas and the exercise of supernormal powers are not essential to achieving the ultimate Buddhist goal, the realization of Nibbana. What is essential is the practice of the Noble Eightfold Path, which does not necessarily include the aruppas and the abhinnas. However, because these latter two sets of practices can contribute to the growth of calm and insight and embellish the spiritual perfection of a yogin, the Buddha included them in his discipline. There they have remained as an option open to meditators inclined to develop them.
The Four Immaterial Jhanas
Beyond the four jhanas lie four higher attainments in the scale of mental unification. In the suttas they are referred to as the four aruppas, "immaterial states", or as the "peaceful immaterial liberations transcending material form." In the commentaries they come to be called the immaterial jhanas (arupajjhanani); the lower four attainments are named, in contrast, the four fine material jhanas (rupajjhanani) or simply the four jhanas. The immaterial jhanas are individually designated, not by numerical names like their successors, but by the names of their objective spheres: the base of boundless space, the base of boundless consciousness, the base of nothingness, and the base of neither perception nor non-perception. They receive the designation "formless" or "immaterial" for two reasons: 1) because they are achieved by surmounting all perceptions of material form (rupa), even of the
subtle material form
of the counterpart sign which serves as the object for the fine material jhanas; and 2) because they are the subjective counterparts of the immaterial planes of existence.
Before turning to consider the immaterial jhanas individually, some important remarks are called for concerning their "internal constitution". We saw in a previous chapter that the movement from any lower jhana to its successor involves the elimination of the coarser jhana factors. The refinement of consciousness that occurs through this movement thus hinges upon the actual changes being effected in the composition of the states of consciousness corresponding to the jhanas. However, in ascending from the fourth material jhana to the first immaterial jhana, and then from one immaterial jhana to another, no changes in the compositional factors of consciousness are required. In other words, the fourth fine material jhana and all four formless attainments have precisely the same kinds of factors entering into their internal constitution. The factors in each higher attainment are subtler than those of its predecessors, more peaceful and more sublime, but they do not differ in number or in their essential nature. The climb from one formless attainment to another is brought about by changing the object of concentration, not by eliminating or replacing component factors. For this reason the treatises of the Abhidhammapitaka, such as the Dhammasangani and the Vibhanga, treat the four aruppas as modes of the fourth jhana, combining the formula for each with the general formula for the fourth jhana. All five states -- the fourth fine material jhana and the four immaterial jhanas -- contain the same basic constellation of mental concomitants (cetasikas) and the same two jhana factors, namely one-pointedness and neither painful-nor-pleasant feeling. Thence from the standpoint of the Abhidhamma, which defines a class of consciousness (citta) by it's components, the four types of consciousness belonging to the four formless attainments are modes of the fourth jhana consciousness according to the fourfold scheme, and of the fifth jhana consciousness according to the fivefold scheme."
The First Aruppa: The Base of Boundless Space
"The four formless attainments must be achieved in sequence, beginning with the base of boundless space and culminating in the base of neither perception nor non-perception. The motivation which initially leads a yogin to seek the immaterial states is a clear recognition of the dangers posed by gross physical matter. As it is said in the Majjhima Nikaya:
'It is in virtue of matter that wielding of sticks, wielding of knives, quarrels, brawls and disputes take place; but that does not exist at all in the immaterial state, and in this expectation he enters upon the way of dispassion for only material things, for the fading and cessation of only those.'
He might also become repelled by matter as result of considering the numerous afflictions to which the physical body is vulnerable, such as eye diseases, ear diseases and so forth. Aspiring to escape from these dangers connected with material form, the meditator must first attain the four jhanas of the fine material sphere. He then enters the fourth jhana, taking as his objects any of the kasinas except the limited space kasina. By achieving the fourth fine material jhana the meditator has risen above gross matter but still has not completely transcended all material form, which includes the self-luminous counterpart sign, the object of his jhana. To reach the formless attainments he must desire to surmount as well the materiality of the kasina. Such a desire can be induced by contemplating the kasina materiality as the counterpart of gross matter, sharing to some extent it's defects. Buddhaghosa illustrates how this is done by means of a simile.
If a timid man is pursued by a snake in the forest he will flee from it as fast as he can. If he should later see something resembling a snake, such as a palm leaf with streak painted on it, a creeper, a rope, or a crack in the ground, he would become fearful and anxious and would not want to look at it. The time the meditator was frightened by seeing the danger in gross matter is like the time the man saw the snake. When the meditator escapes gross matter by reaching the fourth jhana, this is like the time the man flees from the snake. The time the meditator observes the subtle matter of the kasina to be the counterpart of gross matter and wants to surmount it is like the time the man sees the object resembling the snake and is afraid to look at it.
Once he has generated a strong desire to reach the immaterial jhanas the meditator must achieve the fivefold mastery over the fourth jhana. Then emerging from the jhana, he perceives its defects and the benefits of higher attainment. The defects are: 1) that the fourth jhana has an object consisting of material form and hence it is still connected with gross matter; 2) that it is close to happiness, a factor of the third jhana; and 3) that it is coarser than the immaterial attainments. On the other hand, the meditator sees the base of boundless space as more peaceful and sublime than the fourth jhana and as more safely removed from materiality.
By reflecting on its defects the meditator ends his attachment to the fourth jhana and sets out to reach the base of boundless space. To do so he does not make any effort to eliminate jhana factors, so both the fourth material jhana and the four immaterial jhanas have the same factorial constitution -- one-pointedness and neutral feeling. The method for attaining this first formless jhana is to mentally extend the kasina "to the limit of the world-sphere, or as far as he likes", and then to remove the kasina by attending exclusively to the space it covered without adverting to the kasina.
The original kasina which provided the preliminary sign (parikammanimitta) for concentration was, as we saw, a disc-like object, in the case of the earth kasina, a disc filled with reddish-brown clay. When practicing preliminary concentration the meditator kept focusing his mind on this disc until there appeared the learning sign (uggahanimitta), a mental image apprehended as clearly as the physical object. Concentration on the learning sign gave rise to the counterpart sign (patibhaganimitta), the conceptualized image used as the object for access concentration and the fine material jhanas. After entering each jhana, the meditator learned to extend the sign outwards by degrees, making the visualized kasina cover increasingly larger areas up to a world system or more. Now, to reach the base of boundless space, the meditator must remove the kasina by attending exclusively to the space it has been made to cover without attending to the kasina:
'When he is removing it, he neither folds it up like a mat nor withdraws it like cake from a tin. It is simply that he does not advert to it or give attention to it or review it; it is when he neither adverts to it nor gives attention to it nor reviews it but gives his attention exclusively to the space touched by it [regarding that] as 'Space, space', that he is said to remove the kasina." Vis.p.272
Taking as his object the space left after the removal of the kasina, the yogin adverts to it as "boundless space, boundless space", striking at it with applied and sustained thought. He cultivates this practice again and again, repeatedly developing it until the concept reaches maturity. When his development is fully matured, then the consciousness pertaining to the base boundless space arises with boundless space as its object. It is the first wholesome consciousness of the immaterial sphere, and appears in the cognitive series in the same place that the first jhana appeared in its own thought-process. In the prior moments of the series, the three or four moments of access concentration are always associated with equanimous feeling and pertain to the sense sphere; the fourth or fifth moment, the moment of absorption, pertains to the immaterial sphere.
The standard formula for the base of boundless space, as pertains in the suttas, is as follows:
'With the complete surmounting of perceptions of matter, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, with non-attention to perceptions of variety, [aware of] 'unbounded space', he enters upon and dwells in the based consisting of boundless space.'
There are four phases in this formula worth discussing separately: 1) with the complete surmounting of perception of matter (sabbaso rupasannanam samatikkama); 2) with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance (patigha sannanam atthagama) 3) with non-attention to perceptions of variety (nanattasannanam amanasikara) and 4) unbounded space (ananto akaso).
 "With complete surmounting of perceptions of matter"
The phrase "perceptions of matter," according to the commentaries, means both the perceptions of the fine-material jhanas and their objects, the kasinas. We saw that in developing the fine-material jhanas the meditator began with a coarse physical object, shifted his focus to the subtle counterpart sign, and ascending from the first to the fourth jhana by abandoning various mental factors while retaining the same object. But now he must give up, not only the perceptions of material form belonging to the four jhanas, but also the object of those perceptions -- the fine material form of the counterpart sign -- since it is impossible to attain the base of boundless space without overcoming all perceptions of material form.
 "With the disappearance of perceptions of resistance."
The word patigha, which we translate here as "resistance," generally signifies aversion, repugnance or anger. In this place, however, it is used to mean sensory impact, the striking (gha-han) against one another (pati) of the sense organs and their respective objects. Perceptions of resistance are thus sensory perceptions, perceptions of the five outer sense objects. It should be noted that only perception through the five physical senses is excluded from the base of boundless space. No mention is made of the disappearance of dhammasanna, perception of mental objects, for the reason that this type of perception remains. Although sensory perceptions are also absent in the four jhanas, their disappearance is accentuated here to emphasize the fading away of attachment to material form and to arouse a greater interest in the formless jhanas.
 "With non-attention to perceptions of variety.
According to the Vibhanga, "perceptions of variety" are the non-sensory perceptions of those who are not absorbed in a meditative attainment. When the text lays down non-attention, to perceptions of variety as a condition for reaching the base of boundless space, this means that the yogin must not advert to perceptions having diversified objects, since to attend to them or review them is obstructive to the attainment.
According to the Visuddhimagga, the phrase, "with the surmounting of perceptions of matter" signifies the abandonment of and non-attention to all sense-sphere consciousness and its concomitants.
 "Unbounded space
The "unbounded space" which the meditator becomes aware of is the space left by the removal of the kasina after the latter has been extended boundlessly. The space called "unbounded" or "endless (ananta) because neither a beginning boundary nor a terminal boundary can be perceived for it. The meditator "enters upon and dwells in the base of boundless space" in the sense that after reaching that attainment he abides in the jhana which has the base of boundless space as its object.
The Base of Boundless Consciousness (vinnanancayatana)
"To attain the second immaterial jhana the yogin must gain mastery over the base consisting of boundless space; then he must discern its defects. The first immaterial state is defective, firstly, because it is still too close to the fine material jhanas, and secondly, because it is not as peaceful as the base of boundless consciousness. By reflecting on these defects he develops indifference to the lower attainment and turns his attention to the higher one.
To develop the second aruppa the meditator focuses upon the consciousness that occurred pervading the boundless space of the first aruppa. Thus the second aruppa takes as its object the consciousness pertaining to the first. Since space objectified by the first aruppa was boundless, the consciousness of this object also contained an aspect of boundlessness, and it is to this boundless consciousness that the aspirant for the second aruppa adverts, he is not to attend to it merely as boundless, but as "boundless consciousness" or simply as "consciousness". As he does so the hindrances are suppressed and the mind enters access concentration. He continues to cultivate this sign again and again, until the consciousness belonging to the base of boundless consciousness arises in absorption. The cognitive series should be understood as in the previous attainment, with the appropriate changes made to fit the case.
The formula for the attainment of the base consisting of boundless consciousness reads thus: "By completely surmounting the base consisting of boundless space, [aware of] 'unbounded consciousness' he enters upon and dwells in the base consisting of boundless consciousness". According to the word-commentary on this passage, the phrase "base consisting of boundless space" signifies both the first immaterial jhana and its object. The surmounting of the base means the overcoming, of both the jhana and its object together, since the base of boundless consciousness is to be entered and dwelt in by passing beyond both aspects of the base of boundless space.
To be aware of "unbounded consciousness" is to give attention to the consciousness that occurred pervading the space left by the removal of the kasina. Thus the object of this jhana is the consciousness that had pervaded boundless space in the previous jhana. The boundless consciousness which pervaded boundless space is itself the base consisting in boundless consciousness, and the jhana as well, because it is founded upon this base, derivatively comes to be called by the same name."
The Third Aruppa: The Base of Nothingness (akincannayatana)
To attain the next aruppa, the base of nothingness, the meditator who has mastered the base of boundless consciousness must perceive this attainment as defective due to its proximity to the base of boundless space and its grossness compared to the next higher jhana. By recognizing these defects the meditator removes his attachment to the base of boundless consciousness; then he should advert to the base of nothingness as more peaceful. To concentrate on the base of nothingness the meditator must give attention to the [present] non-existence (abhava), voidness (sunnata), secluded aspect (vivittakara) of that same [past] consciousness belonging to the base consisting of boundless space which became the object of [the consciousness belonging to] the base consisting of boundless consciousness. Vism., p.277
In other words, to attain the base of nothingness the yogin has to focus upon the present absence or non-existence of the consciousness belonging to the base consisting of boundless space. He is advised to advert to it over and over, thinking to himself "There is not, there is not" or "void, void," etc. When his practice matures there arises in absorption a consciousness belonging to the base of nothingness, making the non-existence of the consciousness of boundless space its object.
Though both the base of boundless consciousness and base of nothingness are concerned objectively with the consciousness of the base of boundless space, they relate to it in opposite ways. The second aruppa objectifies it positively, focusing upon the consciousness of boundless space in terms of its content and appropriating its boundlessness for itself. The third aruppa, in contrast, relates to the consciousness of the base of boundless space negatively. It excludes this consciousness from awareness, making the absence or non-existence of this consciousness its object. As the Visuddhimagga explains:
Suppose a man sees a community of bhikkhus gathered together in a meeting hall or some such place and then goes elsewhere; then after the bhikkhus have risen at the conclusion of the business for which they had met and have departed, the man comes back, and as he stands in the doorway looking at that place again, he sees it only as void, he sees it only as secluded, he does not think 'so many bhikkhus have died, so many have left the district', but rather he sees only the non-existence thus, 'this is void, secluded' -- so too, having formerly dwelt seeing with the jhana eye belonging to the base consisting of boundless consciousness the [earlier] consciousness that had occurred making space its object, [now] when that consciousness has disappeared owing to his giving attention to the preliminary work in the way beginning 'there is not, there is not', he dwells seeing only its non-existence, in other words its departedness when this consciousness has arisen in absorption. (Vism., p.277)
The texts describe the attainment of the third aruppa with a standard formula: "By completely surmounting the base consisting of boundless consciousness [aware that] 'There is nothing' he enters upon and dwells in the base consisting of nothingness." According to the commentary on this formula, the "base of boundless consciousness' which must be surmounted is both the second immaterial jhana and its object. The phrase "there is nothing" is explained in the Vibhanga thus: "'There is nothing': he makes that same consciousness non-existent, makes it absent, makes it disappear, sees that 'there is nothing;, hence 'There is nothing' is said." To make "that same consciousness" (i.e. the consciousness belonging to the base of boundless space) non-existent means not to advert to it or attend to it, but to attend only to its non-existence or absence. By so doing, the yogin "enters and dwells in the base consisting of nothingness." The base consisting of nothingness, which is the foundation for the third formless jhana, is "a term for the disappearance of the consciousness belonging to the base consisting of boundless space."
The Fourth Aruppa: The Base of Neither Perception nor Non-perception (nevasanna nasannayatana)
"If the yogin wants to go further and reach the fourth and final aruppa attainment, the base of neither perception nor non-perception, he must first achieve fivefold mastery over the base of nothingness. Then he should contemplate the defectiveness of that attainment and the superiority of the base of neither perception nor non-perception. He can also reflect upon the unsatisfactoriness of perception, thinking: "Perception is a disease, perception is a boil, perception is a dart ... this is peaceful, this is sublime, that is to say, neither perception nor non-perception." In this way he ends his attachment to the base of nothingness and arouses a desire to attain the base of neither perception nor non-perception.
The base of neither perception nor non-perception has its object the four mental aggregates that constitute the attainment of the base of nothingness -- that is, the aggregates of feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness. Just as the second aruppa took as its object the consciousness belonging to the first aruppa, so the fourth aruppa takes as its object the consciousness and associated states belonging to the third aruppa. Focusing on the four mental aggregates of the base of nothingness, the meditator adverts to the base as "peaceful, peaceful," reviewing it and striking at it with applied and sustained thought. As he does so the hindrances are suppressed, the mind enters access concentration, and then passes into absorption pertaining to the base of neither perception nor non-perception. The process of attainment is described in the canon thus: "By completely surmounting the base consisting of nothingness he enters and dwells in the base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception."
Though the yogin, as the formula points out, attains the base of neither perception nor non-perception by passing beyond the base of nothingness, it still should be borne in mind that this fourth attainment has the third as its object. The yogin reached the fourth aruppa by focusing upon the base of nothingness as "peaceful, peaceful." To the question this may arouse as to how the meditator can overcome the base of nothingness if he attends to it as peaceful the Visuddhimagga provides an answer. Although the meditator attends to the third aruppa as peaceful he has no desire to attain it, since he has reflected upon the base of neither perception nor non-perception as more peaceful and sublime. Buddhaghosa gives the example of a king who, when he sees craftsmen at work while proceeding along a city street, might admire their skill but would not want to become craftsman himself, since he is aware of the superior benefits of kingship. (Vism., p.280)
The name "base of neither perception nor non-perception suggests the abstruse nature of this jhana. The jhana receives this name because on the one hand it lacks gross perception, it cannot perform the decisive function of perception -- the clear discernment of objects -- and thus cannot be said to have perception (neva sanna). But this attainment retains an extremely subtle perception and thus cannot be said to be without perception (nasanna). To make plain this ambivalent character of the jhana it is named "the base of neither perception nor non-perception". Because perception as well as all the other mental factors such as feeling, consciousness, contact, and the rest, continue here reduced to the finest subtlety this jhana is also named "the attainment with residual formations" (sankharavasesa samapatti). (Vism., p.280)
The commentaries illustrate the method of naming this attainment by means of the following anecdote. A novice smeared a bowl with oil and an elder monk asked him to bring the bowl to serve gruel. The novice relied, "Venerable Sir, there is oil in the bowl." Then the monk told him, "Bring the oil, novice, I shall fill the oil tube." Thereupon the novice said: "There is no oil, Venerable sir." (Vism.p281) In this tale what the novice said is true in both cases: there is no oil since there is not enough to fill the tube yet there is no utter absence of oil since some remains at the base of the bowl. Similarly, in this attainment perception cannot be said to be fully present since it is so subtle that it cannot perform the decisive function of perceiving; yet it cannot be said to be absent since it remains in residual form.
With this fourth formless jhana the mind has reached the highest possible level of development of serenity. Consciousness has attained to the most intense degree of concentration, becoming so subtle and refined that it can no longer be described in terms of existence and non-existence. Yet even this attainment, as we will see, is still a mundane state which, from the Buddhist perspective, must finally give way to insight that alone leads to true liberation."
From: The Path of Serenity and Insight Ven. Henepola Gunaratana
Following the overview of the four aruppas (The Path of Serenity and Insight) Ven. Gunaratana continues:
General Remarks on the Aruppas
"Although the immaterial jhanas, unlike the fine material jhanas, are not given numerical names, they do follow a fixed sequence and must be attained in the order in which they are presented. That is, the yogin who wishes to achieve the immaterial jhanas must begin with the base of boundless space and then proceed step by step up to the base of neither perception nor non-perception. In this respect the accomplishment of the formless jhanas corresponds to that of the lower four jhanas. However, an important difference separates the modes of progress in the two cases. In the case of the fine material jhanas, the ascent from one jhana to another involves a surmounting of the jhana factors. To rise from the first jhana to the second the yogin must eliminate applied thought and sustained thought, to rise from the second to the third he must overcome rapture, and to rise from the third to the fourth he must replace pleasant with neutral feeling. Thus progress involves a reduction and refinement of the jhana factors, from the initial five to the culmination in mental one-pointedness and neutral feeling.
Once the fourth jhana is reached the jhana factors remain constant. In the higher ascent to the immaterial attainments there is no further elimination of jhana factors. For this reason the formless jhanas, when classified from the perspective of their factorial constitution as is done in the Abhidhamma, are considered as modalities of the fourth jhana. All these aruppas are two-factored jhanas, constituted by mental one-pointedness and equanimous feeling.
Rather then being determined by a surmounting of factors, the order of the aruppas is determined by a surmounting of objects. Whereas for the lower jhanas the object can remain constant but the factors must be changed, for the immaterial jhanas the factors remain constant while the objects change. As we saw, the base of boundless space eliminates the kasina object of the fourth jhana, the base of boundless consciousness surmounts the object of the base of boundless space, the base of nothingness surmounts the object of the base of boundless consciousness, and the base of neither perception nor non-perception surmounts the object of the base of nothingness.
Because the objects become progressively more subtle at each level the jhanas factors of equanimous feeling and one-pointedness, while remaining constant in nature throughout, become correspondingly more refined in quality. Buddhaghosa illustrates this with two similes. The first compares the four formless jhanas to the floors of a four-storied palace with progressively finer objects of sense pleasure on each floor. There is no difference between floors in regard to their nature as palace-floors, but only in regard to the objects of enjoyment found on them. The second simile compares the four formless jhanas to four pieces of cloth of the same measurements, yet made of thick, thin, thinner and very thin thread respectively, all spun by the same person. Though there is no difference in their nature as pieces of cloth or in their measurements, yet they differ in their softness to the touch, fineness and costliness. (Vism., p.282)
Whereas the four lower jhanas can each take a variety of objects -- the ten kasinas, the in-and-out breath etc.- and do not stand in any integral relations to these objects, the four immaterial jhanas each take a single object inseparably related to the attainment itself. These objects also relate to each other by way of successive dependence. Buddhaghosa illustrates this with another of his picturesque analogies. A man arrived at a dirty place where a tent was set up, and being disgusted with the dirt, he hung in to the tent. Another man came along and leant upon the man hanging on to the tent. A third arrived, and thinking both were insecure, stood outside the tent. A fourth came, found the third man more securely placed, and leant upon him. The commentator connects the similes with the four aruppas thus:
The space from which the kasina has been removed is like the tent in the dirty place. The [consciousness of the] base consisting of boundless space, which makes space its object owing to disgust with the sign of the fine-material, is like the man who hangs on to the tent owing to the disgust with the dirt. The [consciousness of the base consisting of boundless consciousness, the occurrence of which is contingent upon [the consciousness of] the base consisting of boundless space whose object is space, is like the man who leans upon the man who hangs on to the tent. The [consciousness of the] base consisting of nothingness, which instead of making the [consciousness of the] base consisting of boundless space its object has the non-existence of that as its object, is like the man who, after considering the insecurity of those two does not lean upon the one hanging on to the tent, but stands outside. The [consciousness of the] base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception, the occurrence of which is contingent upon [the consciousness of the] base consisting of nothingness, which stands outside, in other words, in the non-existence of [the past] consciousness, is like the man who stands leaning upon the last named, having considered the insecurity of the one hanging on to the tent and the one leaning upon him, and fancying that the one standing outside is well placed. (Vism., p.283)
Although the yogin who aspires to reach the base of neither perception nor non-perception has seen the flaws in the base of nothingness, it is necessary for him to take this base as his object since there is no other object sufficiently subtle to serve as a foundation for reaching the highest formless attainment. This is similar to the case of men who remain loyal to a despotic king because they depend upon him for their livelihood.
Although these four immaterial jhanas are separately described in the suttas, they are not mentioned as often as the four fine material jhanas. The reason for this omission can be understood to be their implicit inclusion in the fourth jhana, made on the basis of their similarity of factors. Therefore, in places where the practices beyond the jhanas are discussed, the fourth jhana alone is mentioned as their prerequisite since the aruppas are understood to be incorporated within it."
The Jhana Thought Process
The commentaries and later analytical treatises of the Theravada tradition connect the process of jhana attainment with a special account of the cognitive series (cittavithi) based upon the Abhidhamma. The Abhidhamma analyzes experience into a succession of discrete, causally connected occasions of consciousness called cittas of citt'uppadas. Each citta endures for only a small fraction of a second, undergoing three stages: arising (uppada), duration (thiti) and dissolution (bhanga), Cittas succeed one another with inconceivable rapidity, so much so that it is impossible for an average person to note the distinct mental moments. Experience as we know it is a coarse fusion of a sequence of cittas indiscernable in their uniqueness and discreteness as they rise and fall away.
According to Abhidhamma philosophy, cittas do not occur in isolation but as parts of a series. These series are of two types. One is the passive stream of consciousness which functions as the underlying "limb of becoming", the life continuum (bhavanga). The second type is the process of active consciousness, by which clear perceptons are made, thoughts and volitions generated, and actions perfromed. This active series is called the cognitive process (cittavithi).
The life-continuum is made up of a succession of cittas proceeding through beginingless time. With each new life the continuum springs up in it's mother's womb at the moment of conception (in the case of animal or human life), rooted in ignorance, supported by the desire to exist and given its specific form and character by the generative kamma of the past. Through the course of a lifetime it continues to function whenever the mind is free from active thought processes. It is most conspicuous in deep sleep, but it also occurs very briefly innumerable times during waking life between occasions of active perception and cognition.
When a sensory datum or idea impinges in the mind, the passive flow of the life-continuum is interrupted. The mind the enters a phase of active consciousness, after which it returns to a passive state. The process of jhana attainment occurs as such an active process of cogition. When the mind has been freed from the hindrances and fully prepared for the attainment of absorption, the mind which has subsided into the life-continuum is stimulated to break out from it by the force of the previous intention. This break consists of three moments. The first is simply the past moment of the life continuum (atitabhavanga): the second is the vibration of the continuum (bhavanga calana), caused by the decisive intention; the third is the cutting off or arrest of the passive stream of consciousness (bhavanga upaccheda), as active consciousness is about to supervene. Immediately after this arrest moment the mind, well impressed with the counterpart sign of the meditation subject, rises up in active form, adverting to the object through the 'mind-door' (manodvara) as a datum of internal perception.
Following the act of adverting, there takes place the most important part of the cognitive process -a succession of highly active occasion of consciousness called javanas. We will translate javana as "impulsion". As the hindrances have been suppressed the four or five impulsions that arise in the jhanic process following the advertance are associated with unusually intense applied thought, sustained thought, rapture, happiness and one-pointedness. The first impulsion in this series is called the "preliminary work" (parikamma), since it prepares the mind for the first jhana. In the case of a quick-witted meditator, the moment of preliminary work is skipped over and the series begins with the next moment. The second impulsion is called "access" (upacara) as it brings the mind to the neighbourhood of jhana. The third, called "conformity" (anuloma), qualifies the mind further for the jhana. The fourth, called "change-of-lineage" (gotrabhu), is the act by which the stream of consciousness crosses over from the sense-sphere plane (kamavacara) to the jhanic plane. These four moments gain the general designation "access concentration", (upacarasamadhi), though technically speaking only one is singled out at the moment of access. Immediately after this sequence the jhana consciousness arises. On the occasion of initial attainment it lasts for only one great thought-moment. Then the jhana thought passes away and the mind returns to the passive state of the life-continuum, since the first jhana consciousness is close to the passive continuum.
This process can be made more vivid by the following diagram:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
bh 1 ch m p u a g jh bh bh bh bh bh bh bh
Here line A represents the four great thought moments preceding the jhana process. This comprises the past life-continuum (bh), its vibration (1), its cutting off (ch), and the mind's advertance to the counterpart sign though the mind-door (m). Line B represents the lapsing of the mind back into the passive life-continuum after the jhana attainment is over. p represents the moment of preliminary work (parikamma), u the moment of access (upacara), a the the moment of conformity (anuloma), and g the moment of change-of-lineage, The following jh represents the first jhana. After this the mind relapses into the life-continuum (bhavanga) which is represented by bh repeated seven times. The groups of three dots in each citta represent the arising (uppada), duration (thiti), and dissolution (bhanga) of each thought moment.
It is evident from this diagram that on the occasion of initial attainment jhana lasts only for a single thought moment. Unless the meditator masters this attainment by the five ways of mastery to be explained he cannot sustain it. But when he has mastered the jhana, a succession of jhana thought-moments will continue for as long as he determined before entering the attainment. Therefore if we were to represent this situation diagramatically we would find a repetition of jh rather than bh after the first jh in our diagram."
Ven. then speaks of the fivefold mastery in his explanation of the first jhana and refers to this as well in the references to aruppas. If anyone has interest I'll post.
From: The Path of Serenity and Insight Ven. Henepola Gunaratana
May this be of benefit
07:42 29 октября 2003
: 09:55 14 апреля 2010 от Ассаджи
На dhamma-l было небольшое обсуждение этого отрывка, и вот мое письмо:
In the chapter kindly posted by Joyce Short there are some key points
1. ... They receive the designation "formless" or "immaterial" for two
reasons: 1) because they are achieved by surmounting all perceptions
of material form (rupa), even of the _subtle material form_ of
the counterpart sign which serves as the object for the fine material
jhanas; and 2) because they are the subjective counterparts of the
immaterial planes of existence....
The subtle material form (sukhuma-ruupa) serves as a basis
(aaramma.na) for jhanas on kasinas and anapanasati. The remnants of
such practice can also be found in 'tanmatras' of Yoga-sutra by
2. ... 'When he is removing it, he neither folds it up like a mat nor
withdraws it like cake from a tin. It is simply that he does not
advert to it or give attention to it or review it; it is when he
neither adverts to it nor gives attention to it nor reviews it but
gives his attention exclusively to the space touched by it [regarding
that] as 'Space, space', that he is said to remove the kasina."
...'With the complete surmounting of perceptions of matter, with the
disappearance of perceptions of resistance, with non-attention to
perceptions of variety, [aware of] 'unbounded space', he enters upon
and dwells in the based consisting of boundless space.'..
In these two passages an important point is made: the main instrument
in jhanas is direction and scope of attention.
oac> the sutta accounts (e.g., DN.i.182), which I find to be accurate.
Yes, the account in Potthapada sutta (DN 9) is one of the best. I
especially like the explanation of how apperception (sa~n~naa) evolves
in the course of jhana development:
Tassa yaa purimaa kaamasa~n~naa, saa nirujjhati.
Vivekajapiitisukhasukhumasaccasa~n~naa tasmi.m samaye hoti,
vivekajapiitisukhasukhuma-saccasa~n~niiyeva tasmi.m samaye hoti.
Evampi sikkhaa ekaa sa~n~naa uppajjati, sikkhaa ekaa sa~n~naa
(Apperception (sa~n~naa): the process of recognition, categorization,
and designation of sense-impressions (phassa)).
>>I have clarified for myself the meaning of nimitta, with the help of
>>Vimuttimagga, Patisambhidamagga, other texts and practices. The rendering
>>of nimitta in Visuddhimagga is also fair, the problem is that it is often
>>distorted by commentaries. If you'd like I'll explain my understanding.
oac> I'm not completely unfamiliar with this material but I'd like to read your
The term 'nimitta' is mentioned in AN 2.16 = DN 3.225:
14. "Cattaarimaani, bhikkhave, padhaanaani. Katamaani cattaari?
Sa.mvarappadhaana.m, pahaanappadhaana.m, bhaavanaappadhaana.m,
anurakkha.naappadhaana.m. Katama~nca, bhikkhave, sa.mvarappadhaana.m?
Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu cakkhunaa ruupa.m disvaa na nimittaggaahii
"Katama~nca, bhikkhave, anurakkha.naappadhaana.m? Idha, bhikkhave,
bhikkhu uppanna.m bhaddaka.m samaadhinimitta.m anurakkhati
a.t.thikasa~n~na.m pu.lavakasa~n~na.m viniilakasa~n~na.m
vicchiddakasa~n~na.m uddhumaatakasa~n~na.m. Ida.m vuccati, bhikkhave,
anurakkha.naappadhaana.m. Imaani kho, bhikkhave, cattaari
Here we see that 'nimitta' is closely related to perception, and the
monk, seeing a form, hearing a sound, etc., does not cling to it. Note
that nimitta is not limited to visual perception. Next, we see, that
in the context of samadhi nimitta is the apperception (sa~n~naa) of
the basis of samadhi.
How can we reconcile these aspects of meaning?
The passage from Visuddhimagga (XIV 130) gives the clue:
"sabbaa va sa~njaanana-lakkha.naa, tad ev'etan ti puna
sa~njaanana-paccaya-nimitta-kara.na-rasaa daaru-aadiisu tacchakaadayo
viya, yathaa-gahita-nimitta-vasena abhinivesakara.na-paccupa.t.thaanaa
hatthi-dassaka-andhaa (udaa. 54) viya,
miga-potakaana.m purisaa ti uppanna-sa~n~naa viyaati."
"All (sa~n~naa) has the characteristic of recognition (sa~njaanana);
its property is the making of perceptual image (nimitta) that is a
condition of recognizing again, 'this is the very same thing' - as
carpenters and so on do with the wood, etc.; its manifestation is the
producing of conviction by virtue of a perceptual image (nimitta) that
has been accordingly learnt - like the blind perceiving the elephant
its basis is whatever object that has come near - like the
apperception (sa~n~naa) 'people' that arises for young animals in
respect of scarecrows."
Hence, 'nimitta' is the image one forms in the process of apperception
(sa~n~naa), used to recognize the object in the future. In
psychological terms it is a 'perceptual image' or 'representation'.
What it has to do with samadhi? In Mohavicchedani (Mya: .161) we read:
"Samathova ta.m aakaara.m gahetvaa puna pavattetabbassa samathassa
"The perceptual image of calm (samatha) is a perceptual image used to
produce calm again when one has already learnt the appearance of
The principle of recognition is applied in the practice of samadhi, when
practitioner reaches the jhana again with the help of learnt
perceptual image of it.
oac> I'm especially interested in rather it's always present; that is, is there
oac> jhana without any nimittas (the breath can be seen as a preparatory nimitta of
Surely there are jhanas without nimittas - on brahma viharas. Since
this type of practice is connected with particular beings, it is not
connected with any kind of subtle material form, and it cannot be
directed just to any point of space: a living being has to be there.
So such jhana is less connected to special kind of apperception
oac> I would say that jhana does not require either the uggaha or paribhaga
It depends of how you understand these terms. In the course of samadhi
development, apperception (sa~n~naa) evolves, and perceptual image of
samadhi (samadhi-nimitta) evolves as well, becoming more refined. It's not a
Another question is what is meant by "extension" of perceptual image
(nimitta). It makes sense, and is mentioned, only in the practice of
kasinas and anapanasati. In these practices the basis (aaramma.na) is
the subtle material form (sukhuma-ruupa). The perceptual image
coincides with the apperception (sa~n~naa) of the corresponding subtle
For example, in the case of light, practitioner develops the
apperception of light (alokasa~n~naa) and is able to see light
everywhere, day and night. This is not any kind of visualization,
instead it is a mastery of apperception.
How can one visualize 'space' or 'consciousness', the higher bases of
samadhi? Apperception is what's it all about.
oac> But (everyone?) is doing anapanasati.
For example, Bhikkhu Ayu Kusala Ananda (former Prof. Mirko Fryba, Ph.D.)
writes that he practices with kasinas.
Anapanasati is akin to kasina practice, especially to air kasina,
since the basis is the same - tuning to the subtle material form of
air by contact. Anapanasati has the advantage of better tracking of
mental qualities via the tracking of breath attributes. Hence
anapanasati, when properly applied, combines the benefits of kasina
meditation with enhanced feedback.
On the other hand, kasinas promote supernormal powers, and therefore
require topmost virtue (siila) of such degree that can be hard to
maintain. They can easily lead to hallucination if one doesn't know
the principles of the practice.
Also there are some subtle points regarding the color of kasinas.
Coming upon controversial interpretations of colors, I investigated
this subject and came to conclusion that the proper colors are primary
ones: Cyan, Magenta and Yellow from CMYK color scheme. There is a
Russian article with pictures at:
oac> Ven Gunaratana, following abhidhamma accounts, but opposed to the sutta
oac> account, puts one pointedness in the first jhana. This may seem harmless
oac> but it is
oac> a serious confusion. First, one must change vitakka-vicara (discursive
oac> thought, or, as in the web trans of DN 9, the Potthapada Sutta, "accompanied by
oac> directed thought & evaluation") into a sort of aiming, and holding that
oac> focus, on
oac> the meditation object. (The Buddha discovered paticca samuppada in jhana, which
oac> makes sense on the sutta, but not the later account.) This makes the first
oac> jhana a state of deep concentration, and this, in turn, requires reinterpreting
oac> all the various stages leading up to jhana -- which is always explained in
oac> terms of parikamma-nimitta, etc., and this makes little to no sense in terms of
The important point here is how to interpret 'ekagatta'. 'One-pointedness'
can be a misleading translation since it may imply to some readers a
forceful narrowing of attention, a kind of self-hypnosis.
"Ekaggata" means that one thing ("eka") is dominant ("agga") and thus
serves as a kind of background for everything else. With such a basis,
attention is expanded and stabilized, and observation abilities are
oac> So Bucknell's account, which I find valid in my experience (and
oac> which supports the 4 levels of rupa jhana without supposing something more (like
oac> 4 levels of ever deeper *trace*), goes:
Thank you very much for this account. Is it from "The Twilight
Language" book? I'm looking forward to read more. There's just one
article on the web:
oac> [Ghosts of this state, BTW, will persist, like a drug high, for sometime
oac> after meditating; it's like a lure to draw one back. An addiction? After doing
oac> this for some time I found no transformative benefits and began to think so. Now
oac> I'm not so sure; it's probably more a matter of properly understanding the
oac> purpose of jhana, and putting it into a better context or path.]
Yes, as Leigh Brasington writes, the states of clarity, attained by
jhana, have to be used for developing insight.
oac> So, in a sense, there is just one level of jhana.
Interestingly enough, Buddha encouraged monks to practice not
"samatha" and "vipassana", but jhana, which embraces the development
oac> You may get your 'poetic license' suspended on that
, but okay, I'm not
oac> unsympathetic to that position. Thought is extremely rapid. Each new thought can
oac> be seen as a new universe, a new life. Each though is complex and it may be
oac> useful to see it as having, logically, components not unlike the bhavanga
oac> sequence. Perhaps you have other uses for this schema?
In Satipatthana, the third tetrad, it is useful to understand 'citta'
as a "momentary state of mind". Hence, "a moment of mind with
passion", "a moment of mind without passion", etc.
On the other hand, the linear model can't reflect the nonlinear
dynamics of multiple feedback loops of dependent co-arising:
For example, three things arise simultaneously after contact (phassa):
apperception (sa~n~naa), intention (cetanaa) and feeling (vedanaa).
The linear model can't reflect this, and thus is quite limited in
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