SuttaCentral

EBTs which indicate the experience of the body disappears while meditating?


#1

Could someone please points out suttas that indicate this.


#2

I wish I could.


#3

MN119 also reflected in MN10.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/bodymind.html
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/khantipalo/wheel271.html


#4

None of these says that the body must be given up. Quite the contrary: mindfulness immersed in the body!


#5

They practice breathing in experiencing the mind.
They practice breathing out experiencing the mind.
They practice breathing in gladdening the mind.
They practice breathing out gladdening the mind.
They practice breathing in immersing the mind in samādhi.
They practice breathing out immersing the mind in samādhi.
They practice breathing in freeing the mind.
They practice breathing out freeing the mind.
“They practice breathing in observing impermanence.
They practice breathing out observing impermanence.
They practice breathing in observing fading away.
They practice breathing out observing fading away.
They practice breathing in observing cessation.
They practice breathing out observing cessation.
They practice breathing in observing letting go.
They practice breathing out observing letting go.”

I currently understand the sentences in bold above to be placeholders for the eventual fading away of the body while one is developing mindfulness with breathing. Maybe I am wrong! :slightly_smiling_face:

:anjal:


#6

In all 16 steps the meditator is aware of the breathing in and the breathing out happening, so this is not giving up of the body at all.


#7

Did you mean ‘giving up’ as in not craving for the body or not experiencing the body?


#8

I am not 100% sure of that, otherwise at the end of the sutta Buddha would say that the foundation of mindfulness with body is fullfilled across all 16 steps…
Also, as I said, these are placeholders for the experience of the body to fall into the background…
But maybe I am just wrong, who knows…


#9

I meant having a dead-like-body where the five senses are switched off.


#10

“Giving up the body” is an attempt to approximate in English what it feels like to not have access to the five senses and the impressions of those five senses.

The expression “giving up the body” implies a certain interpretation of jhana and the standard jhana pericope:

English:
It’s when 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.
Pali:
Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ vivekajaṃ pītisukhaṃ paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati.

Some monks have the view that ‘bhikkhu vivicceva kāmehi’ actually means something like ‘totally secluded from the five senses’, and they have various arguments ranging from Pali grammar to experience supporting this interpretation.

Of course, not everyone agrees with this interpretation, and they have various arguments ranging from Pali grammar to experience to support some other interpretation.

The fact that texts support multiple interpretations should be of no surprise to anyone, especially when it comes to texts that talk about personal experiences like meditation.

Anyway, the disagreement is really about how to interpret the suttas.

Edit: To put it another way, the disagreement is about what sentences like bhikkhu vivicceva kāmehi actually mean and refer to. It’s a complex issue, and people basically have to hear the arguments, weigh the evidence and make up their own minds about what they think makes sense.


#11

Do you think of some story where the Buddha meditated and it has been discussed(?) later that he would even not have heard a strong thunder (or so)?


#12

What about the simplistic instructions of the young novice to Potthila?

“If there are six holes in a given ant-hill, and a lizard enters the ant-hill by one of these holes, he that would catch the lizard stops up five of the six holes, leaving the sixth hole open, and catches the lizard in the hole by which he entered.
Precisely so should you deal with the six doors of the senses;
close five of the six doors, and devote your attention to the door of the mind.”

‘‘bhante, ekasmiṃ vammike cha chiddāni, tattha ekena chiddena godhā anto paviṭṭhā, taṃ gaṇhitukāmo itarāni pañca chiddāni thaketvā chaṭṭhaṃ bhinditvā paviṭṭhachiddeneva gaṇhāti,
evaṃ tumhepi chadvārikesu ārammaṇesu sesāni pañcadvārāni pidhāya manodvāre kammaṃ paṭṭhapethā’’

https://tipitaka.org/romn/cscd/s0502a.att20.xml


#13

Now at that time Pukkusa the Malla, a disciple of Āḷāra Kālāma, was traveling along the road from Kusinārā and Pāvā. He saw the Buddha sitting at the root of a certain tree. He went up to him, bowed, sat down to one side, and said: “It’s incredible, sir, it’s amazing! Those who have gone forth remain in such peaceful meditations. Once it so happened that Āḷāra Kālāma, while traveling along a road, left the road and sat at the root of a nearby tree for the day’s meditation. Then around five hundred carts passed by right next to Āḷāra Kālāma. Then a certain person coming behind those carts went up to Āḷāra Kālāma and said to him: ‘Sir, didn’t you see the five hundred carts pass by?’ ‘No, friend, I didn’t see them.’ ‘But sir, didn’t you hear a sound?’ ‘No, friend, I didn’t hear a sound.’ ‘But sir, were you asleep?’ ‘No, friend, I wasn’t asleep.’ ‘But sir, were you conscious?’ ‘Yes, friend.’ ‘So, sir, while conscious and awake you neither saw nor heard a sound as five hundred carts passed by right next to you? Why sir, even your outer robe is covered with dust!’ ‘Yes, friend.’ Then that person thought: ‘It’s incredible, it’s amazing! Those who have gone forth remain in such peaceful meditations, in that, while conscious and awake he neither saw nor heard a sound as five hundred carts passed by right next to him.’ And after declaring his lofty confidence in Āḷāra Kālāma, he left.”

“What do you think, Pukkusa? Which is harder and more challenging to do while conscious and awake: to neither see nor hear a sound as five hundred carts pass by right next to you? Or to neither see nor hear a sound as it’s raining and pouring, lightning’s flashing, and thunder’s cracking?” “What do five hundred carts matter, or six hundred, or seven hundred, or eight hundred, or nine hundred, or a thousand, or even a hundred thousand carts? It’s far harder and more challenging to neither see nor hear a sound as it’s raining and pouring, lightning’s flashing, and thunder’s cracking!”

“This one time, Pukkusa, I was staying near Ātumā in a threshing-hut. At that time it was raining and pouring, lightning was flashing, and thunder was cracking. And not far from the threshing-hut two farmers who were brothers were killed, as well as four oxen. Then a large crowd came from Ātumā to the place where that happened. Now at that time I came out of the threshing-hut and was walking meditation in the open near the door of the hut. Then having left that crowd, a certain person approached me, bowed, and stood to one side. I said to them: ‘Why, friend, has this crowd gathered?’ ‘Just now, sir, it was raining and pouring, lightning was flashing, and thunder was cracking. And two farmers who were brothers were killed, as well as four oxen. Then this crowd gathered here. But sir, where were you?’ ‘I was right here, friend.’ ‘But sir, did you see?’ ‘No, friend, I didn’t see anything.’ ‘But sir, didn’t you hear a sound?’ ‘No, friend, I didn’t hear a sound.’ ‘But sir, were you asleep?’ ‘No, friend, I wasn’t asleep.’ ‘But sir, were you conscious?’ ‘Yes, friend.’ ‘So, sir, while conscious and awake you neither saw nor heard a sound as it was raining and pouring, lightning was flashing, and thunder was cracking?’ ‘Yes, friend.’

Then that person thought: ‘It’s incredible, it’s amazing! Those who have gone forth remain in such peaceful meditations, in that, while conscious and awake he neither saw nor heard a sound as it was raining and pouring, lightning was flashing, and thunder was cracking.’ And after declaring their lofty confidence in me, they bowed and respectfully circled me, keeping me on their right, before leaving.”

From DN16.25


#14

Sensual pleasures:

Sensual pleasures should be known. And their source, diversity… should be known.’

There are these five kinds of sensual stimulation (/strings of sensuality… kama-guna). Sights known by the eye that are likable, desirable, agreeable, pleasant, sensual, and arousing. Sounds known by the ear … Smells known by the nose … Tastes known by the tongue … Touches known by the body that are likable, desirable, agreeable, pleasant, sensual, and arousing. However, these are not sensual pleasures. In the training of the noble one they’re called ‘kinds of sensual stimulation’.

Greedy intention is a person’s sensual pleasure.
The world’s pretty things aren’t sensual pleasures.
Greedy intention is a person’s sensual pleasure.
The world’s pretty things stay just as they are,
but a wise one removes desire for them.
And what is the source of sensual pleasures? Contact (phassa) is their source.
SuttaCentral

It’s clear what is not present in jhana is sensuality.

Sensual world (kāma-bhava) differs from the Rupa bhava from the lack of sensuality.


#15

The Buddha-to-be when remembering his 1st Jhana experience talk about pleasure. Pleasure has a strong physical component.


#16

Doesn’t this depend on whether one takes the formless attainments to be authentic teachings and path of the path? If so, then I think the answer is yes. Those all require, I think, deep absorption in a non-bodily, non-sensory meditation object, and during that time the conscious experience of the body is not present.


#17

Yes, there’s ‘non-sensual’ pleasure (niramisa sukha) in the jhana (1 and 2). That is not the problem.

There’s a sutta which quotes form and formless attainments as the basis on which Nibbana can be reached, not being nibbana themselves. After the fourth jhana the breath ceases and form is not felt anymore. What is important here is the unification levels of the mind. Not the sensing of the body (or not). An accurate jhana determination shows the practitioner whether adequate amount of samadhi has been developed.


#18

Thank you, musiko, very much. I didn’t remember this exessive width of the story - it is really re-amazing me!


#19

Right, no one argues that the formless attainments are nibbana. But some argue they are part of the path.

If the mind is unified in the contemplation of infinite space, doesn’t that mean it is not at the same time involved in sense consciousness? If it were, it would be divided.


#20

IMO the EBTs aren’t clear-cut on this. It’s easy to see why different people would have different views on this.

It’s not a huge stretch to take certain Pali usage/grammar arguments on “vivicceva kāmehi” in the jhana pericope, the statement on sound being a thorn to the first jhana and accounts in the suttas of those in absorption being unaware of thunderstorms and the like, and conclude the senses are left behind in jhana.

However, an alternative is to interpret sound being a thorn to first jhana as some kind of side-effect of the speech formation shutting down, which seems to be the understanding in a passage of Vimuttimagga, and I’ve seen very complex arguments based on Pali grammar about whether sutta accounts of jhana sense exclusion were referring to rupa or arupa jhana (way beyond my pay grade :slight_smile: ). Maybe that’s not straightforward either?

Plus, on the opposing side, there are passages about drenching the body with the bliss of absorption etc. And the fact that a bodily process, breathing, is so closely tied with the fourth jhana is a point against simple sense exclusion (again I’m sure there are counter explanations to these too).

Analayo, whose writing I like, seems to go with the sense exclusion viewpoint (he references some of the usual suttas). However, it seems from what I have seen in the EBTs, there’s just not enough in them to be definitive either way. Maybe it varies according to person also (different experiences leading to different understandings of words that just aren’t very clear on this point in the first place).