Nibbāna this, Jhāna that: Meta Discussion on debates

There’s a sutta that a lay disciple was asked by the leader of the jains if he believes that there can be such a thing as 2nd Jhāna. The lay disciple answer he doesn’t believe.

He knows by direct experience.

But you are right too that the 5 faculties are fully developed for the arahants.

1 Like

Sorry are you saying jains leader or lay disciple knows by direct experience ?

The lay disciple. Not the Jain leader.

Strange , isnt there is a mismatch in the story ? How does the lay disciple not believe in 2nd jhana is a direct knowledge ?

It means that once one knows by direct knowledge, there is no need for faith in it. It is known.

Like we directly see the sky as white or blue or red or black by looking up directly, we don’t need to believe that the sky is any of these colours.

The Buddha would not care about banishment if he published here. Because there is no Buddha, there is no Dhamma. The Sangha is what you make it.
The mind becomes an object and goes wherever it wants.

Metta, Muditā

1 Like

What make you tell such things ? …

Read the Suttas my friend. And read & listen to well-learned people like Ajaan Geoff.

It’s not new. Here is an extract from an essay I wrote in Dec 2009:

The Mahācunda Sutta (AN 6.46) describes two kinds of monks: those ‘keen on dhamma’ (dhammayogā bhikkhū) and those keen on meditation (jhāyī bhikkhū). Dhammayoga is glossed in the commentary as dhammakathikānaṃ ‘a dhamma-preacher’ (AA 3.376), but Bhikkhu Bodhi thinks it means someone (like me) who is more focused on study, i.e. a scholar.

In the sutta it says the scholar bhikkhus disparage the meditating bhikkhus:

ime pana jhāyinomhā, jhāyinomhā ti - jhāyanti pajjhāyanti nijjhāyanti avajjhāyanti. Kim ime jhāyanti, kin time jhāyanti, kathaṃ ime jhāyantī’ti?

“We are meditating, we are meditating” [they say]. They meditate here, they meditate there, they meditate up, they meditate down. Do they meditate? How do they mediate? Why do they meditate?

Similarly the meditating bhikkhus disparage the scholar bhikkhus:

ime pana dhammayogamhā, dhammayogamhāti uddhatā unnaḷā capalā mukharā vikiṇṇavācā muṭṭhassatī asampajānā asamāhitā vibbhantacittā pākatindriyā. Kimime dhammayogā, kintime dhammayogā, kathaṃ ime dhammayogā’ti?

“we are dhamma scholars, we are dhamma scholars” [they say]. They are inflated, showing off, arrogant; they talk too much and loosely, they’re unmindful, unfocussed, scattered and their thoughts stray with senses uncontrolled. Do they study? How do they study? Why do they study?

Buddhists have always argued amongst themselves and gone to great lengths to denounce ideas that they do not like (belief is a feeling about an idea!).

Compare the Kathavatthu, for example, which is a whole book by Theravādin monks dedicated to disparaging non-Thervādin Buddhists. And much the same thing goes on the Abhidharmakośabhāṣya and the Mūlamadhyamaka Kārikā. Very often the depictions of the opposition in ancient texts are far from accurate or fair. The happens here on Sutta Central when people try to put me on trial for my beliefs using straw man arguments, red herrings, ad hominems, and false accusations.

It seems that no sect, ancient or modern is free from the intense anxiety over the idea that Buddhists might be following “the wrong teaching”. And they never held back from expressing that anxiety as condemnation of anything not included in their version of orthodoxy.

We argue now, as Buddhists have always argued. This is our tradition, like it or not.


What do we gain from arguing ?
What is the reward of it ?
Why do we like to do that ?

1 Like

[Internally screaming]


NOTE: It is possible to debate in a constructive way to provide mutual benefit and learning without engaging the ego and its conceit/arrogance or at least mindful of the ego and conceit/arrogance while minimizing it. Not only is it possible, but this kind of healthy debate is still extent in Buddhist communities today. :pray:


On a good day we may gain clarity of thought or at least expression, which is vital for communicating Buddhist insights to those who haven’t encountered them.

We may also identify and correct our own wrong views, if they are not too heavily armoured.

We may identify places where our belief is sincere but out of date.

We gain insights into how religious thinking and religion works, so that we are less susceptible to our own gullibility and credulity around religious ideas.

Being proven wrong is good for deflating the ego. And the only way to do this is allow someone else to analyse our views and point out the faults.

In the Enigma of Reason, Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber, point out that, contrary to long held views, individual humans simply do not use reasoning to solve problems. Reasoning evolved to be a collective activity and logic only kicks in when we are critiquing someone else’s ideas. When presenting our own case, we constantly fall into confirmation bias and other informal fallacies. But when we listen to someone else’s presentation we are able to reason more clearly about them. So if we want to be rationale Buddhists, we must argue with each other!

Lastly, for all the conservative traditionalists out there, it is traditional for Buddhists to argue (viz the Kathavatthu), at least as far back as we have written evidence, so arguing helps connect us with our ancient roots and traditions. It is the duty of all Buddhists to preserve and participate in this ancient activity.

The Buddha was always arguing with Brahmins, Jains, Kings, his own followers, etc etc. It’s just that our texts present these as bloodless, passionless affairs, where no one ever puts up any concerted resistance to orthodoxy. Like he tells the Kālāmas not to listen to other people, and they just roll over and say “Yes, Lord, we totally accept everything you say without question or argument or even the slightest quibble” (the next bit of Brian’s speech from the balcony—“you all got to think for yourselves”—is never enacted in Buddhism).


Only because you know I’m right. LOL.


Too busy arguing about the people’s front. Splitters. Thank you for this :rofl: :joy: :pray:

1 Like

A deliberate lie is to be confessed.

“Now at that time Hatthaka the Sakyan had been overthrown in debate. In discussions with adherents of other religions, he conceded points after having denied them, denied them after having conceded, evaded one question with another, told deliberate lies, made an appointment (for a debate) but then didn’t keep it. The adherents of other religions criticized and complained and spread it about….

“The bhikkhus heard them… and having approached Hatthaka the Sakyan, asked him: ‘Is it true, friend Hatthaka, that in discussions with adherents of other religions, you conceded points after having denied them, denied them after having conceded,evaded one question with another, told deliberate lies, made an appointment (for a debate) but then didn’t keep it?’

“‘Those adherents of other religions have to be beaten in some way or another. You can’t just give them the victory!’”

Vibhanga of Pc 1 (trans. Thanissaro Bhikkhu)


Whether it comes from the texts or some internet rando, each person is responsible for what they decide to believe when they read. Blind trust is just as much of problem when the teacher is charismatic and popular as it is when the writer is anonymous. No voice is entitled to reign supreme by default, and we should never forget that it is strictly our impression of the presumed superiority of another that would allow their utterance to be threatening or otherwise appear in such high esteem. Without a confirmation, at best we can grow inspired by another’s words, at worst we can be misled by a lack of vetting the information, and then everything in between (including growing discouraged). Those are the immediate options. To truly be worthy of honor those words must be able to continue to inspire confidence, provide guidance, and eventually produce results. That takes time. It is a gradual effort that won’t immediately produce lasting results.

The work to build an information base (separate from application) is a difficult undertaking and it can be unsavory, especially when conversing with others who may be struggling to make sense of what they’ve gathered. It’s not a simple matter. So much has accumulated over time and waning through it is more challenging than ever before. Yet, the ascetics of ancient India were also inundated with the views of many teachers from different faiths, so this is certainly not a new phenomenon. In the end, even if the chosen information is perfect, the individual would never know that when they take up. That is the inherent challenge of a development that requires faith at the outset. You proceed without a confirmation. That’s a difficult thing for people to come to terms with. They want to know before they go. Not possible.

People should be less rude and use more tact when they speak. I don’t disagree. But readers as well need to be acutely aware of how inherently overwhelmed the market is - not just with the sheer amount of information - but with an ever-growing lack of cohesion. It could take newcomers a long time to realize this, and the key to success is to stop looking for what is right and neat, and instead work with what is least likely to be wrong.

The days of mass arahantship seem to be long gone. These are the last dying days of this dispensation. It is rough and will continue to get rougher. The work, however, is not that of setting out to repair the disjointed accumulation that we call Buddhism. The work is not outside. It is right here in our intentions and actions. In our efforts and diligence to trend toward renunciation.


Why boder about all truths? Four Noble Truths should be enough. And here some strange things are happening. Since when we look around, most people are doing precisely that, they do not insist on knowing any truth, since they are too buisy with sensual pleasures or other worldly matters.

So there is something wrong with your “gata” since all these good people not insisting on truth, remain as they are, without any realisation of truth.

Perhaps you mean in fact MN 37 but this Sutta deals with quite different problem, the nearest your intentions (as far as I understood them) would be the simile of the raft. One should not be attached even to Dhamma. But there is a catch in the simile. Namely when you are in the middle of great expense of water, it would be rather foolish not to be well attached to the raft.

But puthujjana isn’t on the raft at all. He even does not understand how great and dangerous is the ocean of ignorance in which he is aimlessly floating.

There are many factors which are supporting making of Dhamma raft, and one of them is Dhamma discussion, not the least important topic is the nature of nibbana.

As long as there is exchange where one side is interested to clarify ones own understanding and the second side seems to be convinced that he has some knowledge about the discussed problem everything is as it should be.

Perhaps you mean the situation that despite very quick recognition that both sides have a quite different ideas and are both satisfied with them nevertheless continue exchange, despite the fact it is obvious that neither would admit that is mistaken. But even in that particular case, as long as Suttas are quoted, it could be helpful to the third party, namely readers who have no precise ideas about that particular dialectic.

After all what could be discussed on Buddhist forum if not nibbana or jhanas.

Perhaps some users participate in the discussion in the way that doesn’t lead to increase of knowledge, but these who don’t insist on increasing their knowledge aren’t superior to them, unfortunately.:slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

What is the sound of internal screaming?

(This is the way I handle it friend Dogen. When I picture us during metta practice, I visualize scenes from Life of Brian. The women wearing beards so they can participate in the stoneing gets a lot of play)


I wonder if you’ve read my post at all and that it’s not about discussion but attitudes.

I have read it. But than in what attitude you posted the gata, quoted by me?
No doubt dispassionately. But for what reason?