In chinese agama did buddha enter and remain in cessation of perception and feeling during paribbana?

I just want to know why the buddha
did enter cessation of perception and feeling and fallback to first jhana before unbinding himself in 4th jhana maybe the sutta was corrupted if that is the case the agama should provide us a hint

I think the buddha can go straight to the 4th jhana and unbind himself there without that “additional work”

Hi Sai , fyi .

T7 大般涅槃經

於是如來,即入初禪。出於初禪,入第二禪。出於二禪,入第三禪。出於三禪,入第四禪。出第四禪,入於空處。出於空處,入於識處。出於識處,入無所有處。出無所有處,入於非想非非想處。出於非想非非想處,入滅盡定。

And thus the Tathagata enter the 1st absorption , out of 1st absorption enter 2nd , 3rd , 4th…enter cessation of perception feeling .

爾時,阿[少/兔]樓駄語阿難言:「如來即時未般涅槃,所以湛然身不動者,正是入於滅盡定耳。」

At that time anurudha said to ananda , the Tathagata have not enter parinibbana , because the body is utterly still meant enter the cessation of perception feeling .

爾時,世尊出滅盡定,更還入於非想非非想處,乃至次第入於初禪。復出初禪,入第二禪。出於二禪,入第三禪。出於三禪,入第四禪,即於此地入般涅槃。

Then the Tathagata emerge from cessation of perception feeling and enter the neither perception nor non perception …enter the 1st absorption , re-emerge from 1st absorption …2nd …3rd…enter into 4th absorption , and here enter into parinibbana .

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Ok thanks, much metta to you :blush::blush:

My assumption is wrong this time lol the buddha did enter cessation of perception and feeling

There’s actually four versions of the Parinirvana Sutra in the Chinese Agamas. 3 out of 4 agree with the Theravada version.

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Man, it must have been really confusing to be a Buddhist in China in the early days.

You can read about this topic in Bhikkhu Analayo’s The Buddha’s Last Meditation in the Dīrgha-āgama

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What’s interesting is that the Buddha passes away into final Nibbana from the fourth jhana and not from the cessation of perception and feeling.

Then the Buddha emerged from the cessation of perception and feeling and entered the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. Emerging from that, he successively entered into and emerged from the dimension of nothingness, the dimension of infinite consciousness, the dimension of infinite space, the fourth absorption, the third absorption, the second absorption, and the first absorption. Emerging from that, he successively entered into and emerged from the second absorption and the third absorption. Then he entered the fourth absorption. Emerging from that the Buddha immediately became fully extinguished. - SuttaCentral

The most common accounts of his awakening also have him realizing nibbana from the fourth jhana after recollecting his past lives and seeing beings reborn according to their kamma.

With the giving up of pleasure and pain, and the ending of former happiness and sadness, I entered and remained in the fourth absorption, without pleasure or pain, with pure equanimity and mindfulness. But even such pleasant feeling did not occupy my mind.

When my mind had immersed in samādhi like this—purified, bright, flawless, rid of corruptions, pliable, workable, steady, and imperturbable—I extended it toward recollection of past lives. I recollected my many kinds of past lives, with features and details.

This was the first knowledge, which I achieved in the first watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed and light arose, as happens for a meditator who is diligent, keen, and resolute. But even such pleasant feeling did not occupy my mind.

When my mind had immersed in samādhi like this—purified, bright, flawless, rid of corruptions, pliable, workable, steady, and imperturbable—I extended it toward knowledge of the death and rebirth of sentient beings. With clairvoyance that is purified and superhuman, I saw sentient beings passing away and being reborn—inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, in a good place or a bad place. I understood how sentient beings are reborn according to their deeds.

This was the second knowledge, which I achieved in the middle watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed and light arose, as happens for a meditator who is diligent, keen, and resolute. But even such pleasant feeling did not occupy my mind.

When my mind had immersed in samādhi like this—purified, bright, flawless, rid of corruptions, pliable, workable, steady, and imperturbable—I extended it toward knowledge of the ending of defilements. I truly understood: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the origin of suffering’ … ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering.’ I truly understood: ‘These are defilements’ … ‘This is the origin of defilements’ … ‘This is the cessation of defilements’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of defilements.’

Knowing and seeing like this, my mind was freed from the defilements of sensuality, desire to be reborn, and ignorance. When it was freed, I knew it was freed.

I understood: ‘Rebirth is ended; the spiritual journey has been completed; what had to be done has been done; there is no return to any state of existence.’

This was the third knowledge, which I achieved in the last watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed and light arose, as happens for a meditator who is diligent, keen, and resolute. - SuttaCentral

So these narratives together suggest that the fourth jhana is originally considered more important for awakening than the cessation of perception and feeling.

It’s also interesting that the cessation of perception and feeling seems to always result in one realizing nibbana/the destruction of the taints upon exiting because it suggests that the common narrative of the Buddha’s awakening from the fourth jhana is incomplete or that he realized nibbana and then perhaps after discovered the cessation of perception and feeling. Or it is perhaps suggestive that the cessation of perception and feeling is some kind of later addition.

Maybe I’ll make this it’s own topic.

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I am wondering if he went down to the cessation of perception and feeling and back up to the fourth jhana because of this

DN12.15
“Sir, they speak of this thing called ‘right view’. How is right view defined?”
“Kaccāna, this world mostly relies on the dual notions of existence and non-existence.
But when you truly see the origin of the world with right understanding, you won’t have the notion of non-existence regarding the world. And when you truly see the cessation of the world with right understanding, you won’t have the notion of existence regarding the world.
The world is for the most part shackled by attraction, grasping, and insisting.
But if—when it comes to this attraction, grasping, mental fixation, insistence, and underlying tendency—you don’t get attracted, grasp, and commit to the notion ‘my self’, you’ll have no doubt or uncertainty that what arises is just suffering arising, and what ceases is just suffering ceasing. Your knowledge about this is independent of others.
This is how right view is defined.

He had to see the cessation and origin of the world. The cessation of perception and feeling is the cessation of the world.

AN9.38
Furthermore, take a mendicant who, going totally beyond the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, enters and remains in the cessation of perception and feeling. And, having seen with wisdom, their defilements come to an end. This is called a mendicant who, having gone to the end of the world, meditates at the end of the world. And they’ve crossed over clinging to the world.”

I assumed that, once one exits Cessation of Perception and Feeling, there is a review of the “Three Knowledges” that culminates in full liberation. As at least 2 of them require a more visual component (reviewing past lives and seeing beings reborn), so it would have to be done in a Rupa Jhana, not an Arupa state. Hence going back to 4th Jhana.

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I think that the Chinese variant SA301 is clearer:

SA301
He then asked the Buddha: “World Honoured One, you speak of right view. What is right view? How, World Honoured One, does one establish right view?”

The Buddha said to Katyāyana: “There are two bases to which people in the world are attached, to which they adhere: existence and non-existence. Because of their attachment and adherence, they are based on either existence or non-existence.

“In one who has no such attachment, bondage to the mental realm, there is no attachment to self, no dwelling in or setting store by self. Then, when suffering arises, it arises; and when it ceases, it ceases.

“If one does not doubt this, is not perplexed by it, if one knows it in oneself and not from others, this is called right view right view as established by the Tathāgata (the Buddha).

“Why is this? One who rightly sees and knows, as it really is, the arising of the world, does not hold to the non-existence of the world. One who rightly sees and knows, as it really is, the cessation (passing away) of the world, does not hold to the existence of the world.

“That is called avoiding the two extremes, and teaching the middle way, namely: Because this exists, that exists; because this arises, that arises. That is, conditioned by ignorance, activities arise, and so on …, and thus this whole mass of suffering arises. When ignorance ceases, activities cease, and so on …, and thus this whole mass of suffering ceases.”

The Anālayo article is great, and I think provides very plausible answers to OP’s questions. I agree with the poster who finds the interesting point to be the buddhas settling on the 4th jhana as the “point of departure”. There does seem to be overall a focus on this attainment as the crucial one. As Anālayo says it is the point from which one can either develop the psychic powers, or the 3 knowledges, or the formless spheres… it does appear to me that there is therefore something fundamental about this 4th jhana.

I’ve lost my train of thought… might return to this comment later.

Recently, I attempted to start a thread which was intended to encompass questions like this. In that context, I find your comments interesting and would be interested to hear why you (or anyone else, because I do feel it is the default narrative) might feel the evidence suggestive of these particular conclusions rather than the other other way around (i.e., that, perhaps, the cessation of perception and feeling may have been considered more important for awakening than the fourth jhāna, or that the fourth jhāna rather than cessation might be some kind of later addition).

I will have a stab at it: for one, 12 of the first 13 suttas in the canon state that the 4th jhana is part of the gradual training but do not mention the immaterial attainments at all. for two there are several accounts of the buddhas awakening that give the same 4th jhana as the point form which the 3 knowledges where attained, for 3 the sutta in question in this thread states that the 4th jhana was the absorbtion from which the buddha attained final nibbana, for 4, right samadhi is almost always glossed as the 4 jhanas, for 5 the four foundations of mindfulness are said to underly the 4 jhanas at multiple points.

so that’s a few reasons.

My impression is that Analayo leans towards your suggestion that the attainment of cessation of perception and feeling was something like the direct “experience” of Nibbana, but I am more of the impression that Nibbana is just one of the words they put at the end of things as a synonym for making an end to suffering, and therefore should simply be translated as extinguishment (of suffering) and not overly fixated on, as in MN 26

‘nāyaṁ dhammo nibbidāya na virāgāya na nirodhāya na upasamāya na abhiññāya na sambodhāya na nibbānāya saṁvattati, yāvadeva nevasañ­ñā­nāsa­ñ­ñāya­tanū­pa­patti­yā­’­ti­.

‘This teaching doesn’t lead to disillusionment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, awakening, and extinguishment. It only leads as far as rebirth in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.’

I’m not sure the term even occurs in DN, and in MN it occurs as above, as just one more epithet to describe the completion of the noble quest to make an end of suffering.

as a more reified term it starts to appear much more in SN, which for mine is already getting a bit abhidmaa-ee

I will check out your thread and think on this some more.

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@cdpatton Which one disagrees?

佛般泥洹經 (T5.172c12) doesn’t mention the Buddha going in and out of any specific meditation. Instead, it describes him transcending samsara and entering nirvana after a deep meditation. It’s date is ~290-307 AD according to Muller’s dictionary. It reads:

T01n0005_p0172c13║佛起正坐,深思道
T01n0005_p0172c13║原,棄是善惡,都及三界,年亦自至七十有
T01n0005_p0172c14║九,惟斷生死迴流之淵。思惟深觀,從四天
T01n0005_p0172c15║王上至不想入,從不想轉還身中,自惟身
T01n0005_p0172c16║中四大惡露,無一可珍,北首枕手猗右脇
T01n0005_p0172c17║臥,屈膝累脚,便般泥曰。

What’s kind of fascinating is that instead of naming the meditative states, it describes the Buddha examining all the realms of existence from the four god kings up to the dimension of no perception, and then returning to his body. This is the thing modern people discount or don’t realize when they read about the four dhyanas and samadhis, not thinking of them as associated with the form and formless heavens. This, however, is the likely reason the samadhi of cessation is added to the eight. Otherwise, the Buddha would have just been taking a tour of samsara rather than transcending it.

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That’s sounds so cool. I hope you do a full translation. :pray:t4:

Indeed. I figured it was T5; but, as you always know so many obscure parallels, I just wanted to confirm. Also, I hadn’t yet read the article when I asked to notice that Anālayo also says that.

But I think this is just an ontological way of saying the same thing; that is, I’m at a loss for why we wouldn’t say this one also agrees.

Exactly. So, I see it as: Four God Kings=1st jhāna/access/neighborhood/etc.; no perception=nirodha-samāpatti; body=any of the so-called rūpa jhānas (though probably the 4th). It seems to agree to me.

In this case, I have a good reference to look it up with. The Japanese translation of the Dirgha Agama has a wonderful table in the back detailing the parallels for each section of the Parinirvana Sutra. I really want to stop translating and write up some of the research that’s in that set of books in English. It’s really comprehensive.

Yeah, I guess that argument could be made. It’s strange though that the desire realm heavens are included. It may have been intended to mean he was using the deva eye rather than moving through the nine samadhis. T5 is the earliest translation of the sutra that I know of, so it may be evidence of a version prior to the adoption of the nine samadhis in the passage. It doesn’t have Ananda and Aniruddha commenting about it, either.

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Something really weird happened here: I thought I responded to you the day before yesterday, @cdpatton , but I came back today to find I hadn’t. I tried several times to post, but it kept saying, “read-only mode,” and wouldn’t let me. Then, finally, I thought it went through, but I came back and the whole post was gone. It was long and elaborate, too. I guess that’s a dignified way of saying it was wordy and long-winded. In any case, I can’t go back and do it over; I’m just going to hit the main points as best I can.

Could be the personification of something “sub-jhānic” like access or neighborhood concentration, or (perhaps even more plausibly) devānussati? Theravāda stops at first jhāna; others may not have.

Yes, but I don’t know that the deva eye would be effective in *asaññīsattāyatana–if that is indeed what 不想入 means. Also, in Theravāda at least, that realm belongs to the fourth jhāna, so attaining to it would not constitute transcending saṁsāra. Even if here (we don’t know the school affiliation, do we?) it indeed represents a transcendent level associated with saññāvedayitanirodha–which I personally think is the stronger case here–I still don’t think devas, eyes, or even deva’s eyes “gain a footing” there.

Sure, but there are probably other plausible explanations as well. Again, do we know the school? It may be a different scheme altogether. Assuming that this snippet of a cosmology was meant to correspond to meditative levels like in Theravāda, and that this is an ascent through these meditative levels/cosmological planes, I think there may be something interesting in that in this version the ascent begins, as you pointed out, in the desire realm. Also, it would be remarkable if the placement of their asaññīsattāyatana differed so significantly from the Theravādin.

Yeah, do we know the school?

Exactly. By this point in the narrative, I don’t know what jhāna Ānanda had attained to, but he would not be able to see whatever the corresponding heaven would be–that is, he would not able to see the Buddha’s ascent past a certain point. However, much the same would probably hold for Anuruddha as well; as, again, he would probably not be able to perceive the Buddha in 不想入, whatever it’s meant to represent.

Actually, does anyone know what the deal is with beings’ ability in any case to perceive one another beyond the form realms?

I guess the claim in the suttas is that with the divine eye one can see beings being reborn according to their deeds, and that once a Buddha passes they can not be seen by gods or humans.

This suggests to me that the divine eye can see beings in formless realms, otherwise non-buddhas could hide from the eyes of gods and men in formless realms.

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