That’s quite a fine distinction: “excluding the senses” versus “sense exclusion”!
Sure. Or, if I was under general anesthetic, going by such thinking, I’d be quite impressively in the cessation of feelings and perception!
Yes, that’s basically my question. It seems a reasonable question to ask given how the six sense bases are described in SN 35, e.g. in SN 35.23, as “the all”, which probably indicates that categorizing all human experience into one or other of these six categories should make sense. So, presumably, awareness of breathing would fall into the fifth sense base.
Thanks for this. I’m very unfamiliar with Pali grammar. It all seems a bit like Latin with all the different cases.
I’d agree with that. Generally, the thorn seems to be what needs to be suppressed before one can even enter the appropriate state. However, my impression would be that this suppression (perhaps suppression isn’t really the best word) is initially a bit shaky, not fully solid, and is capable of being upset by that which was suppressed (hence which is also a thorn). Of course, that assumes a precision for the Thorns sutta that may just not be there, e.g. this logic doesn’t hold for “For one practicing celibacy, nearness to women is a thorn.” (one doesn’t have to suppress “nearness to women” to maintain celibacy ). And while it might well be the case that sound is a thorn for precisely the reasons you set out, it might also be a thorn for other reasons, e.g. speech and the speech formation might be the key things to be suppressed (and sound then a thorn because hearing sounds might threaten to reactivate the appropriate centres in brain etc.).
We are making a very small number of suttas, even single words, work very very hard to infer these types of conclusions!
So for “outside of a Jhana”, it seems you mean prior to entering any jhana at all? So you’d be of the view that awareness of the breathing is abandoned very early on? Or am I misunderstanding you?
I’d think that the simplest interpretation would be that to go from the third to the fourth jhana, breathing must cease, but that in fourth jhana one is actually aware of this cessation (so there’s still body awareness), and it’s only in the base of infinite space, " Through the complete transcending of material perceptions", that the body formation itself has really ceased.
Something doesn’t quite add up for me with the contrast between “vivicceva kāmehi” and the fourth jhana cessation of breathing. It indicates to me that perhaps either “kāmehi” might not quite equate to “sense objects” (maybe more to “sensuality” as alluded to by Mat) or, if it does, that “vivicceva” might equate to its softer connotation: “staying quite aloof from” rather than the harder: “fully separated from”. Or perhaps the suttas themselves are just inconsistent or unclear?