Alternative Understanding of the Saṁyutta Nikāya 48.40 - Uppaṭipāṭikasutta

Reading SN-48.40 literally can lead to misunderstandings.
SN-48.40 deals with the arising and passing away of some of the indriya (mental qualities) in the development of jhāna. The indriya spoken of include: dukkhindriyaṁ, domanassindriyaṁ, sukhindriyaṁ, somanassindriyaṁ, upekkhindriyaṁ; all of which are vedana-khanda.
The Buddha explained vedana in various ways in the Sutta Pitaka, in this SN-48.40 the Buddha discusses vedana in the 5 kinds that arise and pass away in the development of jhāna.

We must first understand the context of the terms in SN-48.40 the following meanings:

Dukkhindriyaṁ = bodily pain.
Domanassindriyaṁ = mentally (inner) discomfort.
Sukhindriyaṁ = pleasant bodily sensation.
Somanassindriyaṁ = mentally happiness.
Upekkhindriyaṁ = equanimity.

SN-48.40 states that dukkhindriyaṁ disappears at the attainment of jhāna-1. This is generally understandable. But when SN-48.40 states that there are still domanassindriyaṁ in jhāna-1 and are only eliminated when attaining jhāna-2, then this could be a question.
Shouldn’t the domanassindriyaṁ aspect i.e. byapada, as one of the factors of the nivarana (five hindrances) be abandoned when entering jhāna-1?
If the EBT method is only based on literal terms, it will immediately conclude that SN-48.40 is not EBT. But when one has studied dhammas not only from terms and series of dhammas-facts, but has also quite understood in meaning, then this can actually be understood.
When we attain jhāna-1, we feel spiritual bliss which is immaterial, but jhāna-1 is still very close with the five senses (kāmavacarabhumi). So the mind is worried about our jhāna falling into the five sense realms. This kind of worry is called niramisa-domanassa, i.e. spiritual worry. Not worldly worries (sense realms). With this meaning we can accept what is stated in SN-48.40 regarding jhāna-2.

Another confusion that can arise when reading SN-48.40 is when it is stated that in jhāna-3 sukhindriyaṁ (pleasurable bodily sensations) are abandoned. This means that in jhāna-1 and jhāna-2 there is still the mental quality of sukhindriyaṁ. This we must return to our practical experience. When in meditation we are filled with piti (energetic joy), then at that time our mind can still be directed that from the head, shoulders, arms, to the feet we experience piti (joy). But by that time, there was no longer any touch or temperature sensation in the head, shoulders, arms and legs. But our mind can still perceive (estimate the location/position) of the head, shoulders, arms and legs; which in this case is filled with piti (joy). This is what happens in practice. When we read SN-48.40 then we are more aware that piti physically (physical rapture) and piti mentally (mental rapture) are very closely conditioning each other. This piti sensation will then be released upon entering jhāna-3, dominated by the somanassindriyaṁ, which in other suttas is termed sukha-vedana inwardly.

Without a meaning like the one above, which harmonizes the theoretical framework literally with practical experience, it will produce a meaning that will keep us away from the prejudice that SN-48.40 is not EBT.

In fact in almost all the Suttas on jhāna, it will be specifically stated that jhāna-4 will let go of all aspects of both somanassa and domanassa. The domanassa released here is not a hate-based kind of domanassa akusala (bad thoughts), but a niramisa-domanassa (spiritual worry), which is a kind of worrying about falling into a lower mental quality and still wanting a higher mental quality.

Hello Ahmad. What reasons/grounds are there supporting the view that domanassa (dejection) is byapada (ill-will)?

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The kind of ‘painful feeling not of the flesh’ described in the suttas is not concerned with what has been achieved, but ambition for higher states. Because anger and desire are emotional defilements, the practical logic of feeling on the path importantly means this sorrow forms the motivation for progressing to ever higher states, a yin domain appropriately explained here by a nun:

"“Is passion-obsession to be abandoned with regard to all pleasant feeling? Is resistance-obsession to be abandoned with regard to all painful feeling? Is ignorance-obsession to be abandoned with regard to all neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling?”

" “No… There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With that he abandons passion. No passion-obsession gets obsessed there.[4] There is the case where a monk considers, ‘O when will I enter & remain in the dimension that those who are noble now enter & remain in?’ And as he thus nurses this yearning for the unexcelled liberations, there arises within him sorrow based on that yearning. With that he abandons resistance. No resistance-obsession gets obsessed there.[5]”—Majhima Nikaya 44

Hello again. If you read Ajahn Brahm’s book about jhana, I think the domassana arises in respect of the “jhana wobble”, where the mind sees it is “wrong” for it to be “drawn to” (what Ajahn Brahm calls a “residue of attachment”) the rapture of jhana, which weakens the jhana. I started a topic about this (here: The prefix 'abhi' and abhinandati abhivadati ajjhosāya?), about very subtle types of attachment, such as “welcoming” & “approval”.

Therefore, the domanassa seems to be towards the vitakka & vicara. It seems to refer a domanassa (unpleasant feeing resulting in fault perceiving) when the mind sees it has not yet completely let go & the mind is not yet completely unified. :slightly_smiling_face:

hi… @CurlyCarl, thanks for the response.

domanassa is vedana (unpleasant sensation), while byapada is citta (mental state). so every occurrence of byapada will be accompanied by domanassa as vedana. so it can be said that domanassa is one of the components (mental factors) of byapada.

OK. But I doubt every occurrence of domanassa as vedana will be accompanied by byapada citta. :slightly_smiling_face:

oh… okay… i get your point. why do I associate domanassa with byapada, because byapada is one of the obstacles (nivarana) to entering jhana. when byapada appears it must be accompanied by domanassa. so when someone successfully enters the first jhana, it means that the byapada has been overcome, then the domanassa in the byapada should also have been overcome. but it turns out that the Sutta states that domanassa is only truly overcome when one succeeds in entering the second jhana. So my rhetorical question is: shouldn’t the byapada as a hindrance (nivarana) be overcome when entering the first jhana, then the domanassa (which accompanies the byapada) should also be overcome?

The answer to the rhetorical question above seems to be that the domanassa referred to in the first jhana and will only disappear in the second jhana is actually not the domanassa of byapada. domanassa in the first jhana is more subtle, relating to discomfort with vitakka and vicara. so when vitakka and vicara can be abandoned, entering the second jhana then it can be said that domanassa has been abandoned.

then why is there domanassa over vitakka and vicara? because vitakka and vicara are close to the realm of five senses consciousness. it has the danger, the grossness of the five senses. when he is negligent of the first jhana then the risk of consciousness falling into the realm of the five senses.


because the mind sees it does not yet have perfect equanimity towards the rapture