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AN 4.41 Samādhibhāvanāsutta - awareness unenveloped

Re-reading this sutta I sort of stuck on:
“And so, with an open and unenveloped heart, they develop a mind that’s full of radiance”
My reading is that the intent is something like “unconstrained” Ven Than. renders this:
“awareness open & unhampered”

I guess is that “apariyonaddhena” is translated in relation to the stanza context. I ended up thinking “unconstrained” instead perhaps due to my english English :wink:
“Unenveloped” seems a little odd to me but I am far, far, far from an expert.

Just thinking aloud, no disrespect to the infinitely more learned members here.

Si

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Let’s tag the translator, venerable @sujato, and share with all a link to the translation quoted:

AN4.41 at SC

:anjal:

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“And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision? There is the case where a monk attends to the perception of light and is resolved on the perception of daytime [at any hour of the day]. Day [for him] is the same as night, night is the same as day. By means of an awareness open & unhampered, he develops a brightened mind. This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision.”—AN 4.41

The OP observation reveals a mistake in interpretation where ‘awareness open and unhampered’ has been taken to refer to the brahma viharas when in fact it refers to the conquering of sloth and torpor. This is indicated by the concentration subject ‘light’ which is the standard antidote for sloth and torpor (AN 7.58). A mind subject to sloth and torpor is ‘constricted’ (SN 51.20) so when the hindrance is overcome the mind state is ‘open and unhampered.’

The recognition of sloth and torpor is accomplished under the third foundation of mindfulness (MN 10), where it is in duality with ‘distraction’ a mind scattered outwardly by sensual desire:

“The ability to balance the mind, by avoiding both contraction and distraction, is an important skill required for the development of deeper levels of concentration or insight. The placing of these two states of mind at this point in the instructions for contemplation of the mind indicates the need to cultivate such balance, once one has at least temporarily moved beyond the reach of the grosser types of mental unwholesomeness and is aiming towards the development of “higher” states of mind, such as are described in the remainder of this satipatthãna.”—-Analayo

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Interesting that you have picked up on this. :slight_smile: I love the idea of unenveloped, even though it is not the normal way of presenting the image of ‘unconstrained’. I like it because it hints at there not being (an absence of) a barrier/veil enveloping the heart (delusion and hindrances etc) … so I see it as a richer rendering than just unconstrained…

but this is getting quite poetic :smiley:

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An envelope is an opaque barrier, a two-way limit. It prevents seeing-in and seeing-out. In contrast, constraints permit some to be free while others are constrained. Envelopes are two-way constraints.

SN41.7:6.2: Greed, hate, and delusion are makers of limits.

Dhukka is a two-way limit. It affects “you” and “me”. The Buddha is transparent, without an envelope, with nothing to hide:

DN33:1.10.63: The Realized One’s behavior by way of body, speech, and mind is pure. He has no misconduct in these three ways that need be hidden, thinking: ‘May others not know this of me.’

May all sentient beings become unenveloped.

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I just opened Bhikkhu Bodhi’s rendition “open and uncovered” which seems to align more with unenveloped however…

I am not entirely at ease with that direction as the context is “bringing about the attainment of knowledge and vision” rather than a more mundane overcoming of sloth and torpor. A bright mind contrasts more generally with negative mind-states?

Si

However, ,everyone who aspires to / or does walk the path has different levels of hindrances and perfections so each faces a unique set of “constraints” (* the Buddha saw this and hence taught in so many different ways to be useful to the present audience* ); so this is not a binary closed/open envelope but a variable amount of “mud in the eyes” depending on the individual?

Si

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Yes. Some envelopes have clear windows. Some envelopes, like Tyvek, are almost impossible to tear open with ones own hands.

AN2.126:1.1: “There are two conditions for the arising of right view.
AN2.126:1.2: What two?
AN2.126:1.3: The words of another and proper attention.

Knowledge and vision refers to a process which begins at a mundane level. ‘Purity in terms of view’ means investigating the relationship between sila and reduction in stress (MN 19). It can be seen that sila, samadhi, and panna are followed by a reference to one of the fetters overcome at stream-entry. Stream-entry does not occur until “Purity in terms of knowledge & vision is simply for the sake of total Unbinding.”

“In the same way, my friend, purity in terms of virtue is simply for the sake of purity in terms of mind. Purity in terms of mind is simply for the sake of purity in terms of view. Purity in terms of view is simply for the sake of purity in terms of the overcoming of perplexity (doubt). Purity in terms of the overcoming of perplexity is simply for the sake of purity in terms of knowledge & vision of what is & is not the path. Purity in terms of knowledge & vision of what is & is not the path is simply for the sake of purity in terms of knowledge & vision of the way. Purity in terms of knowledge & vision of the way is simply for the sake of purity in terms of knowledge & vision. Purity in terms of knowledge & vision is simply for the sake of total Unbinding through lack of clinging. And it’s for the sake of total Unbinding through lack of clinging that the holy life is lived under the Blessed One.”—MN 24

SN55 discusses ethical conduct (aka. “virtue”), which occurs at the beginning (i.e. “purity in terms of virtue”) of the MN24 passage rather than at the “knowledge & vision” end of the passage.

SN55.46:1.1: “Mendicants, a noble disciple who has four things is a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening.
SN55.46:2.1: What four?
SN55.46:2.2: It’s when a noble disciple has experiential confidence in the Buddha …
SN55.46:2.4: the teaching …
SN55.46:2.5: the Saṅgha …
SN55.46:2.6: And they have the ethical conduct loved by the noble ones … leading to immersion.
SN55.46:2.7: A noble disciple who has these four things is a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening.”

MN19 and MN24 do not specifically address stream-entry. Considering SN55.46, I would hesitate to demand realized pure knowledge & vision of a stream-enterer, since the “pure knowledge & vision” for me are associated with Right Wisdom at the adept end of the knowledge & vision process described. Because of SN55.46, I would definitely insist on pure ethics practiced and aligned with a knowledge of MN24 towards that goal.

Development of sila is a gradual process, allowing resultant experience of reduction in suffering even at a mundane level:

"As I noticed that it leads to my own affliction, it subsided. As I noticed that it leads to the affliction of others… to the affliction of both… it obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding, it subsided. Whenever thinking imbued with (sensuality, ill-will) harmfulness had arisen, I simply abandoned it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence.

"Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking & pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness.”—-MN 19

This was later formulated into the four great endeavours of right effort, to avoid, to overcome, to develop, to maintain— a temporal process of purification of morality, mind and view.

“the Dhamma is visible in the here-&-now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves.”—AN 6.47

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